Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hawaii - 2009

That's the name of Rita and George's imaginary website. They may actually register it yet, and I hope they do. We had the honor to stay with Rita, George and Chessie (aka Kitty in Paradise) for the first couple nights of our 2009 trip. We didn't plan anything big - just a visit.

Unfortunately, Rita had experienced a death and an illness in her family. It was a tough time to be visiting. She was in the midst of planning to go back to Ohio the same evening that we'd be leaving for Kauai. George was recovering (well) from his knee surgery. In spite of this, we had a nice visit. Rita prepared some nice meals, and we took a grand walk along all of the Kameole beaches in Kihei. A highlight was seeing a whale breach just as we took a rest at the farthest point. George said he could hear the thing flop back into the water. Dinner that night was at Cafe Ole - a wonderful place that we'd been to before.

Rita and I had a very nice run before we had to go on Sunday morning. Sad to go, but it was on to Kauai, and Rita had things to do to get ready for her own trip.

Nualolo/Nualolo Cliffs/Awa-awapuhi Trail Hike
This was some hike. We'd been planning it for months, and it was everything we thought and hoped it would be, and more.

The early part was extremely muddy, and extremely downhill. It was more of a climb than a hike. A climb through mud. After 3.8 miles of thick, slippery muck, and nearly four hours of hiking, we reached the Lolo Vista viewpoint. It was indescribable. Such grandeur to look out upon the Na Pali coastline from the top of the cliffs. It might as well have been top of the world.

After backtracking a bit, the 2.1 mile Cliffs trail was fine, except for one eroded section where we had to literally hug the side of the cliff to get by. Treacherous doesn't begin to descibe the feeling of being inches away from a 2,000 foot drop.

The lookout from the end of the Awa-awapuhi Trail was the most spectacular yet. Simply fantastic. Then it was time to go back up for 3+ final miles of the 9.8. It was a steady uphill hike, not as steep as the climb down. But we were extremely tired and had to stop often.

We made it out alive. It took us over 9 hours - that's about 1 mile per hour - and we were exhausted as I ran down to get the car. What a day.

The Lady Adventurer and I were pretty durn sore for the next day or three.

Island Cars
This was our car rental company. Hertz, Avis, National, etc. are all available, but I decide to save some money with this outfit. I did probably save about $150, but what an experience. We wound up driving a complete wreck. It was so bad it was funny. The guy did tell us that we could swap it for a better one in a couple days, and that we did. Even then we had a problem with the newer car over-heating. I found the loose coolant cap and replaced it after filling it up, and then it was fine. So I guess it all worked out, and we still saved the money.

General Sightseeing
We've been checking out some of the same stuff we've seen on other trips, and also some new stuff, like a waterfall we'd never seen before. The same stuff included home-of-the-magic-dragon Hanalei area (although we'd never before walked that particular beach), Kilauea Lighthouse and Haena/Ke'e Beach. Ke'e beach gets my vote as the world's most beautiful. (Trunk Bay on St. John is second.) We walked it and gawked at the nearby Na Pali cliffs all along. We couldn't believe that we'd actually been on top of them a few days prior. Whenever I see those cliffs I'm always amazed that such an other-worldly place exists. We also saw a couple endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals sunning themselves on the beach there.

Timeshare Presentation
Yes, we'll listen for money. $100 in this case. It was at the Marriott's Waiohai in Poipu. We'd stayed there 24 years back, before it was leveled by a hurricane. Interesting to see, but timeshares don't make no sense at all to me, no matter how nice they are.

Our Marriott
Speaking of Marriotts, ours in Lihue is as nice as ever. We've got a fantastic view of the ocean from our 11th floor room. As nice a home away from home as you can get. Great gardens too. You should see them feed the koi.

Other Hikes
Nothing as big-time as that first big time hike described above, but we're doing other stuff as well. Lots of walking around the resort area, and then some other dirt trail hikes as well. One was the Kuilau Ridge Trail, which was near the middle of the island. The very middle is Mt. Waialeale, the wettest spot on the planet. We weren't far - the mountain was, as always, shrouded in clouds only a few miles to the west of our trail. But we stayed dry for this very scenic and relatively gentle hike. I think I speak for both myself and the Lady Adventurer in saying that we'd happily do this one again.

The Pihea Trail to Alakai Swamp sounded like it would be great hike. Unfortunately, it was raining and very cold (54F) as we started out. And then there was the muddy downhill slope. Not this again. The mud, combined with the cold rain forced us to turn back. The view of the Kalalau valley along the way was awesome as ever, even in the rain.

Just a couple miles back down the road, it was sunny again. We started on a Waimea Canyon hike. The trail descended deep into the canyon, and we turned back after a half hour or so. The best views were from the top, but at least we got a workout coming back up.

The Weather
In general, it never got hotter than about 76 or so. Never colder than about 68 (except at the start of the Pihea Trail in the rain at 4,000 feet. I think that Kauai is best in the summer - for a tropical island, it feels pretty cool in the winter and early spring. And we've had some on and off rain. One day Debbie and I started off on a walk from the resort amongst very bright sunshine and perfect blue skies. Wouldn't you know it? By the time we were about a mile away, a sudden rain storm drenched us. A Marriott coutesy shuttle came by and courteously picked our drowned-rat selves up.

Another experience was sitting down to watch the movie, "South Pacific" on the beach at our resort - they had set up a screen, loudspeakers, chairs, etc. The movie was filmed here 50 years ago, so it was appropriate. After some earlier rain, the skies were clear and there was a pretty sunset. Just after the credits came an airplane scene followed by the song, "Bloody Mary", and with that, the rain. In we went, saying we'll rent it and watch it in our dry basement.

Debbie was really pissed. "Where are all the %#$^* rainbows?" We'd been here a week and hadn't seen a single one. And we'd had plenty of rain AND sunshine, often both at the same time. Last I checked, those ARE the main ingredients. Finally we did see a nice bright one from our lanai. Then another the very next day in the Kalalau valley. Maybe they've been around all along and we just hadn't seen them.

Sunsets have not been overwhelmingly beautiful; it's often cloudy in the afternoons and evenings. The sunrises, however, have been sublime. The whole sky has been taking on watercolor/pastel hues, much to my enjoyment during my daily morning runs.

Allerton Garden
$45 each for a garden tour? And it was worth it? Yes, and yes. The Allerton Garden was truly beautiful, and Wendy the guide made it an experience to remember. It shows what an extremely rich guy who likes plants can do. Also included were some of the areas filmed in Jurassic Park - watch out for those raptors!

The Ends of the Earth
We all know it's Polihale, the wind-swept, sun-baked 17-mile beach on Kauai's western shore. Looking west from here, there's absolutely nothing but blue Pacific Ocean for thousands of miles. That wasn't totally true for us this time, since we weren't able to drive to where the road goes through the park - it was closed. So we were actually facing southwest, and could see Ni'ihou from here. But this stretch of sand feels like the end of the planet no matter what. You can walk for miles and hardly see a soul.

We pulled into a parking area and began putting lotion and otherwise getting ready for our beach walk. No other cars around. After I closed the trunk I asked Debbie if she had the keys. You can guess where this is going: car open, keys locked in the trunk. After much consternation, Debbie was able, with me prying the seat away, to reach behind the back seat and use a hiking pole to snare her key-containing purse.

After our beach walk and picnic, we had shave ice for the first time. Not bad stuff.

Duke's is great. Portofino is ok. Roy's, which we remember as the best Hawaii restaurant chain, was good but not as great as we remembered. Buffets at our Kukui's were very good, but too much. Gaylords in Kilohana was the best all-around. Our last day we went to the hole-in-the-wall Lihue BBQ, and it was really great. And it was also a fraction of the cost of the other joints.

All in all, we had a great time. As always. Time to start planning our next trip back!

Running in Paradise

I'll chronical all of my running in Hawaii here. It'll be two weeks worth of running, some descriptive and some not so much so.

Running in Hawaii is like so many other activities in Hawaii. A true pleasure. Yes, it's running in paradise. We spent the first two nights staying with our friends Rita and George on Maui, and then the next twelve nights in the Lihue area of Kauai.

Saturday, March 21
After the previous day's long trip, I didn't feel too awful. I'd planned to do this run with Rita (George is still recovering from knee surgery), but Rita needed to sleep in. So I went out alone. Rita and George live in Kihei. When we used to stay at a Maui hotel, we weren't too far down the road in Wailea. So that's the direction I ran. It was like old times - almost like going home again, to run past the old Renaissance hotel that's now being torn down. I also ran on the Wailea ocean path for a while and looked for whales. An easy 10 miles in about 90 minutes. Great stars. Beautiful sunrise.

Sunday, March 22
This time I did manage to run with Rita. I did 2 on my own first, but then the two of us ran towards Wailea once again. We started at 9.5 mpm pace, and then picked it up to 8.5 pace for the return. So once again it was 10 miles in 90 minutes, this time verified by Rita's gps. Great stars. Beautiful sunrise.

Monday, March 23
Now in Kauai, I thought I'd do this 14 mile run that I'd done several times last time I was here (2005). It takes me up Rice street, through downtown Lihue, and eventurally up a dark deserted road to Wailua falls. Only problem is that I got lost trying to find the dark road in the dark. I did another road instead, and then accidentally made a good sized loop and then returned to Nawiliwili. I also ran up by the local high school looking for a track, but there isn't one there. Still another beautiful run in paradise.

Tuesday, March 24
I didn't run in the morning, and wasn't going to run at all- we had this big time hike planned. See my separate post about the hike, but afterwards I had to run back down the road to our starting point to get the car whilst Debbie waited. After 10 extremely tough miles of hiking in 9 hours, it wasn't easy to run, but I managed. Call it 2 miles in 19 minutes.

Wednesday, March 25
Extremely sore and tired from the hike, I managed to drag myself out for some extremely slow miles around the nearby golf course. They're also building a lot around there, so it's pretty interesting. Another beautiful sunrise. 5 miles in fifty (50!) minutes.

Thursday, March 26
I felt a bit better, and I explored a new road today. Can't think of the name of it, but it is deserted for about 5 miles and winds west and south, more or less parallel with the main road. Also goes by the Menehune Fish Pond. It was pretty durn dark out there. I cut over to the main road (Nawiliwili) for the last few miles, and I picked it up pretty well on that downhill section, even managing to get to sub-8 pace for a measured mile. Altogether 9 in 79 minutes.

Friday, March 27
Another gorgeous sunrise, but then aren' they all? (the answer is yes). I just realized that I haven't missed a day of running here yet. And today I was up early for a company conference call (that wound up getting postponed) so I was out the door early. I did 16 miles at about 9 minute pace, mostly on that same deserted road as yesterday, and some over onto Kipu road. This was a pretty good medium-long run for me.

Saturday, March 28
I dragged myself out and did about 4 miles around the resort, airport and golf course. I'd forgotten that the roads do make this loop. It's not the prettiest whilst running by the airport however. I also did some extra unsuccessfully trying to get into the nearby stadium track.

Sunday, March 29
It was time. I'd done the run to Wailua Falls a couple times last time I was here, and dad-gum it if I wasn't going to do it again. I like this run - it's challenging and beautiful. I run three miles into and out of the town of Lihue. This isn't good when there's traffic, so this run is best on Sundays or very early. No traffic today. Just to the north of town, a road leads 4 miles further to the falls. The road is almost entirely deserted. And it's dark! The payoff at the falls is really cool - the falls are really big, and the road is right alongside. I made it to the falls in 61 and a half minutes. This was mostly uphill. Then it was back down to the resort, and this I did in 58 and a half, reaching home in exactly 2 hours. I was exausted, but it was a really nice run. I'll do it again, probably Tuesday.

Monday, March 30
A streak is a streak, so I dragged my weary bones out and did 2 very slow miles around the resort.

Tuesday, March 31
I had measured the nearby deserted road that I'd been putting so many miles upon, and it's 6 to the end where it meets the highway. So of course that's what I did today. It's amazing what measurement can do. Suddenly I was running much faster than I did before when I didn't know the distances. Well, maybe not that much faster. 53 1/2 minutes going out (and that's mostly uphill), and then 48 and a half minutes back down. Another great sunrise.

Wednesday, April 1
For some reason I decided to try that same route again. 12 miles two days in a row? Can that happen? You're asking the guy who once did the Tahoe Triple, but who's only a shadow of that former runner. But I did manage to do this run a second time. And faster too! 52 minutes out, and once again, 48 and a half back. The ole legs really took a beating on those hills, especially the down hills.

Thursday, April 2
Another easy day. I only ran to the end of the Nawiliwili pier, stopped to admire the sunrise (best yet) and then back for 2 miles total.

Friday, April 3
I did the 14-mile run to Wailua Falls once again. 1:57. I've written a little story about this run as a separate post.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

After Running 2 Miles in the Last 10 Days...

I decided I'd had it with sloth. It helped that I was finally starting to feel better. Yesterday I did my 6-mile course in 53 minutes, took a GU and some water, and then ran it again in 51 minutes. Felt like I was flying that second time. And that felt great. Yes, I'm a runner again. Albeit a slow one.

After yesterday's run Debbie and I hiked the Old Carriage Trail. This was our final preparation for the big-time hiking that we're planning for Kauai. Stay tuned for more on that topic.

Today I was tired, and it was tough to get out. But I did manage to drag myself out the door, even though the coffee had never really hit home this time. I wanted to get at least 8 in, so I did my 4-mile course in an extremely slow 38 1/2 minutes. Then, like yesterday, I did it a second time, this time in a faster 37 minutes. It was kinda like running through jello. But at least I was able to get in some real runs for two days in a row. Now I'm ready for vacation.

One more thing: The 24 hour run website is finally up and running. Lots going on. This is very exciting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Ran a Mile Today

My injuries continue to compound, causing me to take yet another week off. My fall was about a month ago, and I was starting to feel a bit better, when I somehow displaced a rib last week. Indescribable pain. I almost couldn't function as a human being at all. I somehow did manage to get to my downstairs office and do some actual work. But even that was nearly impossible.

About that rib. At least that's what the chiropractor (Dr. Lisa) told me. She said she relocated it to it's proper position, and voila, I'm better. Really. So she did do something right. Now I'm still sore, but I can actually bend a bit once again without too much excruciating pain. Thanks Dr. Lisa.

So I made up my mind to go out for a run today. I ran a mile, and felt so good that I turned back and did another one. I even broke 10-minute pace for the final 100 meters or so as I sprinted it in.

It feels great to be a runner once again.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Week of March 8, 2009

Sunday: Cold rain. Did I ever mention how much I hate it? I had it yesterday, and today I'd planned to run with Ladd, Marsha and company. I was in the car, driving through the 40F driving rainstorm when I turned back and jumped on the mill. There I did 9 x 1200 in about 5 minutes each. Not a pretty one, but at least I got something in. Got another cold - probably because of yesterday's run in the rain. Taking Zicam again.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Egads, it's March!

Not only is it March, but I've got a marathon in May. Not only do I have a marathon in May, but I've got a half in April. Not only do I have that half (and probably other series races), but I haven't been running more than 50 miles per week, and those have been super slow. I could go on.

So yes, egads is the operative word here. As in, Egads, I'd better start to train.

I hadn't done a 20 (or even 18) all year. Blame the maladies. And the lousy weather. So Monday, when temps were in the single digits, I stepped on the mill and did a lousy 20. It wasn't pretty. I took yesterday off. Duh.

I hadn't planned to do another long one anytime soon; probably 15 or so on Saturday with Dave and Amy. But this morning I awoke very early and decided to go for one again, this time outside.

It's always a good omen to be out the door before four. Don't ask why. It just is. I didn't make it today; it was about 4:15 or so. And it was stil cold - in the lower teens. But it was clear and the stars were pretty. I did my 16-mile course for 15, and then zigged and zagged in the nearby to make it up to 20. Those last 5 were quite a struggle. I even had to walk for a good part of the last one. So I'd have to say that this was even less pretty than Monday's run. Maybe it was because of getting out so late.

So now at least I'm doing long runs again. Maybe I should do *only* twenties from now on. I've got a streak of two going.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Week of March 1, 2009

Monday: Took yesterday off to travel home. Today I stepped on the mill and banged out 20. First 20 in a long, long time. It wasn't pretty. Next time I'll try to do it outside.

Wednesday: Another 20 on the roads. See separate post (egads it's march).

Friday: It was a nice day. Temps were in the mid 50s. I hit the track for the first time this year. It was back to reality in a big hurry. I did 5 x 400, and never broke 90 seconds - I averaged 92. Being slow wasn't so bad, but the p___ was. It's so discouraging to know that I haven't really healed in any of the three areas (foot, back/leg, side) where I've been hurting. They weren't all that bad until this run, where I pushed myself a bit.

Saturday: I had thought about doing 2+ hours in the valley with Dave and Amy. The rain, continuing injuries and general lack of gumption made me quit after about an hour twenty. Dave and I did tackle some big-time hills going in and out of the valley within Brecksville reservation, so it was still a workout.

Visiting Veronica (and Valerie)

Debbie and I drove through a driving rainstorm all the way through Pennsylvania. It subsided by the time we got to New Jersey, but Valerie's flight into Newark was nevertheless delayed 2 hours. Probably because they *thought* about rain that may or may not occur some day. We walked around Ikea whilst awaiting the flight. After we picked her up, we had to drive through NYC on I95 at 5pm to get to Veronica and Barry's. Lotso luck. We finally made it in around 7pm - 12 hours after we started out.

But that's when the fun began. It was Veronica's birthday (a big one!) weekend celebration, so after pizza, we had the scrumpti-delicious cake that Debbie had made and brought in the trunk. We watched Meed the Robinsons. Saturday we went to Norwalk's Maritime Aquarium, dinner and a little shopping. Then of course it was more cake, and also some cupcakes.

Sunday we dropped Val off at Newark (no traffic this time) and drove home. Great to see the girls. Lotso fun.

North Canton YMCA 4th of July 5-mile

Since I have participated in the Ohio Challenge Series many years, I've done this race many times, albeit many moons ago. It's a fun...