A Christmas Eve tradition here in Hawai'i, started, by none other than Kim Burnett (if it wasn't, I'm saying it was). I can't believe I've been here for almost 6 years already and this is the first time I've participated in this fun morning. If you know Kim, you know how she enjoys her early morning workouts. So here we go, Christmas Eve morning, 6:30am Tantalus run, bike, jog, walk, enjoy and be merry with a little champagne celebration at the top! What a morning it was! Here's a few pictures!
...........a realllllllllllllly loooooooooong day of running.
This run is no joke. AND signing up on a whim when Aaron, Gary and Michelle decided to do it was probably not my smartest decision ever. I've never been back in Kualoa Valley much farther than the parking area shown above and it's one of the most beautiful places on the island. A nice little trail run to enjoy the stunning scenery and start whipping my butt back into shape seemed like a great idea...famous last words.
The run starts out pretty fast with a short downhill and then right into about a 3/4 mile uphill (if you aren't toward the front of the pack at this point you will/could get caught behind people when you get to the single track section). I made the mistake of going too fast for my current fitness in the section and spent the next 3 miles trying to clam myself down allthewhile trying to not eat it on the steep, fast (if you can run downhill in piles of slippery mud), muddy downhills. After this we get to a single track section (how people ride bikes on this part, I seriously have NO IDEA!) where you are rewarded with sweeping views on the Ocean and a technical, narrow, rocky, muddy, slippery section. Just perfect for someone who is super coordinated like myself. After this there's some more inner trail/forest-y sections with a couple of stream crossings, I did keep my feet dry on almost all of these, thank you very much...but probably should have just ran through them instead of gingerly speed walking/trying not to fall and keep my feet dry.
Anyways, when I saw the 11 mile marker sign, I really contemplated just turning and going back to the start (and little did I know the run hadn't even gotten difficult yet!), I didn't turn and I kept moving forward, I just kept reminding myself, this is a fun exploring training day, but when you are as competitive as I am, it's hard to not want to compete and not having the experience/skills and technical abilities this run is very humbling.
Now, the real fun begins, I knew to be prepared for the "death march," what exactly this was going to be like I wasn't so sure, but I knew it came around mile 9 or 10, I'm still not sure, I think I blocked it from my memory. But around mile 6/7 the group I was running with got to a little hill and EVERYONE around me started walking, so I started walking and then we were at the top, I thought to myself that couldn't have been the death march, but everyone walked so I walked, Then it was down a little hill and up another one, again EVERYONE walked, so I walked, group think at it's finest. Were these the death march? Nope, just short little spurts, these little hills were killing the group I was around. I could have and should have kept running, but I thought everyone must have known something I didn't know so they walked and I walked. Groupthink. After these two teasers I told myself I would keep running until the death march and I did, but it wasn't much farther at this point. I would run the little uphills and get blown past everyone I passed on the climbs going downhill. At one point, this man said to me, "Wow, you're really good at running uphill, but you really suck running downhill." Thanks, buddy, I hadn't noticed!
The death march is no joke, I really don't know how people run up that thing. I'm not sure even if I was racing and if I was in great running shape that I could run up that thing! It's steep, steeper than you think steep is and never would I ever think people would run up it, but they do and I would love to watch how that's possible some day. At the top you think you are going right into a dead end, but nope, they take you down into a super steep, muddy, slippery, narrow, root and rock filled single track that drops down, down, down, down, there are even ropes to help stay standing and you bet I had to use them! I almost stayed clean, but had one slip into the 6 inches of mud, yuck! This mile downhill was my longest (timewise) mile of the day, sooooooo slow, downhill! Once we got to the bottom of the steep single track section, I was so over running and still had a mile or 2 to go. I just wanted to be done, but kept putting one foot in front of the other enjoying the scenery.
We were somehow back onto the single track we were on at the beginning of the run, how we got there, I'm not so sure. I was able to navigate this section a bit better than the first time around, but still found people running up on me and when I heard them, I stopped, stepped aside and let them go on their way, I wasn't about to ruin someone's run because I cannot run on technical trails. The fact that they call this section fast and soft makes me laugh! Finally, after waaaaaaaaaaay too much time out there on the trails I was done. I was not a happy camper when I crossed that finish line, I joked about how long it was going to take me before the start and said 2:30 and I thought that was crazy long, there's no way it will take me that long and if I was still out there then, somebody better come save me, but funny enough, I finished in 2:27.
Trail running is not the same as road running and just because you are a semi-decent road runner does not mean you will fair well on the trails at all. This was a "fun" way to get back in the valley and see parts of the island I'd never seen before, but I'm not so sure how I feel about trail running RACES. Getting out on less technical trails and getting off the road is fun and I'll for sure keep doing that when I get the chance, but racing trails totally different.
I have a ton of respect for everyone who was out there yesterday, it is NOT easy! I don't know how people can run so fast on trails, I guess it's a bit like mountain biking and CX, you have to be a little fearless and not worry about injuring yourself. I found my self constantly thinking about twisting an ankle, breaking something or having to get rescued because I hurt myself in some capacity. I don't think you can be a fast, competitive successful tail runner if you think like this. I also think you need to run on trails more often than 2x a year.
Whenever you get the chance to try something new and hang out with great friends in a place like this you should never pass on the opportunity! I will however, think a bit more on it before next year...yesterday I was a total, never happening again, 1 and done mentality, today, I'm not a never again thinker, but I'll have to consider it a bit more and won't just sign up on a whim.
Saturday I decided it would be fun to try something new...cyclocross. Nothing fancy, just a group of about 20 people who like to ride bikes, getting together in a local park to set up their own course and race for 40 minutes. No money, no awards, just fun. The podium is 20 (or however many people show up) deep and there is beer at the 1 and only aid station.
I don't have a mountain bike, I don't have a cyclocross bike, I don't even have a TT bike anymore (for now....), but riding bikes is always fun. To be completely honest, and this is a total blonde moment, I thought it was called cyclEcross until a few days ago, whoops. Anyways, blonde moment aside.....my friend Marcy is out of town and lent me her sweet Julianna mtn bike. I didn't even try it out before Saturday because I didn't want to break such a fancy bike, just a little spin around the parking lot before the race to get the seat height dialed and we were good to go. In retrospect, I probably should have taken the bike out for a little spin beforehand, but it's just like riding a bike, right, I'd be fine!?
the course, thanks to Strava
Aaron, Gary and I showed up early to help Ray set up the course. I'm glad we, well Aaron, decided to go help because it gave me a little view of what was in store beforehand, I was a little nervous, only having truly ridden a mtn bike once before. Aaron and I were able to ride the course once before the warm up lap with everyone before the 40-minute race started. Thank goodness for this. There was only 1 section that made me a bit nervous and that was the only really "technical" part of the course. A short kind of steep downhill (approximately 3 feet long), which wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and then right into a short (no more than 4-5 feet) uphill filled with bumps and rocks and cracks, all things that my mind thinks to avoid when riding a bike! It's hard for me to get my head wrapped around the fact that on a mountain bike and probably a cross bike as well, you can ride through that stuff and in fact it's better to just ride through it them instead of trying to squiggle (yes, not a word, I know this) and maneuver around them. I think you probably need to be a little fearless to be a good mountain biker. The faster and more "recklessly" you go through obstacles, the better and safer the ride is. That's just not me.
Anyways, the rest of the course was dirt road, gravel road, some riding through grass and around trees, up and down hills, over a sand mountain and over some barriers. I'm not so good at the over-the-barrier part. I only had one crash all day and that was right before this barrier....
Colin Cross Photography
I was watching Kate do a flying dismount at one of the barriers, something I know I need to learn how to do as it will benefit me when it comes to triathlon as well. I kept thinking to myself, try it, you can do it, it's not that difficult, she made it look so easy, so, I tried it and proceeded to eat it. Whoops. The worst part of the crash was that I stained my new cute SOAS kit with red dirt! Do you know how difficult it is to get this red dirt off of your clothes!? Oh well. I guess my lack of a flying dismount needs some work before I try it out on the road and seriously hurt myself.
Colin Cross Photography
The race was fun, but I was never super tired or out of breath (which is the whole point of a 40-minute as hard as you can go kind of loop race in the park) because it takes me so long to get on and off of my bike (note to self: something to work on). But, I'm super glad I went and if I have a bike to use I will be back again in 2 weeks for the next one in the series.
Side note....I can't find it right now, but there's a fun video posted on YouTube of the race, CORP CX Series race #3, something like that. Thanks, Al! When I find the link again, I'll try to come back and link it to this page. Here's the link, Thanks, Al!
Off-season fun and time to work on some, apparently much needed, bike handling skills.
After the race we decided to drive home the scenic way and stop for lunch at Turtle Bay. Great company, good food and some surf watching.
Sunday was a water filled day. This is the map of the epic swim we did last weekend. What was supposed to be an "easy" 6.5-7k swim turned into a 6.5 mile swim. Same thing right?! But the conditions were so great and we had an out-of-town guest who wanted to see what "those islands way out there" were so we added a bit to our adventure and had a loooooooong morning of swimming.
Yesterday wasn't quite as long, but we did get in a solid 6k in Waikiki. To be able to swim outside in the ocean in November, how great is that!? Saw some HUGE turtles at turtle canyon, an Eagle Ray, the biggest puffer fish I've ever seen, swam to Shipwreck and saw a couple of baby sharks; this was the first time I'd ever seen a shark in the ocean and initially, I wasn't too happy about it, but they were kind of cute (smaller than 3 feet) sleeping in their little living room in the bottom of the ship. A good way to see sharks in the ocean...sleeping and little. A great morning for a swim, followed by an afternoon of paddling out at the Mokes with Aaron and Gary. I will catch a wave and learn to SUP surf before this off season is over with.
Two more days of work and then it's off to Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving and to visit with Aaron's older brother and family!
Five events (50 free, 50 back, 100 free, 50 fly, 200 free...in that order) all within 90 minutes, with not nearly enough warm up, back stroke starts that haven't been performed in approximately 7 years, very little rest between events (not enough warm down between, totally my fault) and not a whole lot (read none at all) of sprint swimming specific training makes for one tired girl come Tuesday night.
I was pleasantly surprised with how I swam, Obviously I wasn't even close to my times the last time I competed in a swim meet, but that totally makes sense and I didn't expect to be close to those times. I am happy with how the day ended.
Bonus, I fit into my High School Speedo Aquablade...size 24!
I woke up yesterday morning and was not motivated AT ALL to get in my car and drive to the pool for a "swim meet" with 10 other people. But, I had made the commitment and paid the money, so in my car I got and I couldn't be happier with that decision. Yesterday was so much fun, I can't wait for another one!
This is what warm up looked like...not your typical swim meet warm up. At least not what I remember swim meet warm ups to look like. I had my own lane, shoot, I had my own 3 lanes if I wanted. I got in, swam a little (less than 1000, whoops), I needed to practice my starts since we are NEVER allowed to dive into the pools here. Thankfully, my goggles stayed on every time! That much can't be said for others practicing their starts...Of course they weren't going to use touch pads, so my backstroke start was a whole different story. It's been a very long time since I've even thought about doing a backstroke start and let's just say it shows. I did a few back splats and decided I would just chance it for the 50, it's not like this was a championship meet or anything, except it was! The Hawaii State Senior Olympics! ha. In the end my backstroke start ended up fine.
The meet got off to a stellar start and the 50 free was up first. Nothing like "sprinting like crazy" and I say that very lightly, right out of the gates. Before the race, I said I would be happy with a 27 or better and I ended up swimming a 26.46. The hand timing was super accurate, it usually only varied by a second or two between the two people timing you (well, maybe not 2 seconds, but there was definitely one of my races that the two hand timers times were over a second apart, whoops! One race down, 1 state record nabbed.
Up next, the 50 back. Didn't slip on the start, almost made it 15 meters under water and broke 30. Happy with the result, since I haven't swam backstroke in years, but, by no means was it fast.
100 free...the race of the meet...you can get a blow-by-blow from the video Michelle posted to facebook.
These next few pictures are a little blurry because I took screen shots from a video Michelle shot at the meet of the Battle Royale between Ryan and I in the 100 free (the full length video can be found on facebook)
Great starts for the both Ryan and I.
This picture is deceiving....we were still neck and neck going into the last 50.
See....flipping together into the final 50
Still stroke for stroke going into the last 15 meters of the race. In the end Ryan pulled away and was the winner. It won't happen again! There will be a rematch in the coming months (if there is ever another master's meet).
50 fly up next, glad I didn't do the 100, but might consider it for the next meet. I think I could have gone faster had I been able to recover more, but super fun to race fly again. Happy, but not fast.
200 free. Yikes, why did I sign up for this one? 200 free isn't even fun when you are in shape to race a 200 and it's your event. Silly, Lectie, maybe I will learn for next time. However, if this race was at the beginning of the meet, I do think I would have been able to go faster and I wish I could have raced "fresh" because I really think I could have been closer to breaking 2-minutes (haha). Oh well, still fun and glad I did it.
I didn't warm down. Michelle and I decided we would warm down at swim practice in the morning. Probably not the best idea we've ever had.
What a diverse group of 10 individuals that decided to come out for the meet. Kudos to everyone that was there, swim meets are not easy, especially if you didn't grow up swimming.
The man kneeling in the front of the picture is Archie Hapai. He competed in the first Iron man distance race ever here on Oahu back in 1978 (see link) and was first out of the water and finished the race. That's a pretty cool accomplishment, no? And he's still going strong! He was super fun and supportive all morning yesterday, encouraging everyone, offering advice just joking around and having a good time. AND he has a finishing kick like no other, you should have seen the speed he has in the last 5 yards of all of his races, unreal! I hope at 68, I can still be that enthusiastic about swimming!
What a fun morning. Everyone came away winners. Really, if you competed at this meet, you were a state champ! Michelle set a new state record in the Women's 40-44 100 fly, I set two state records in the Women's 30-34 50 free and 50 back and Ryan was a state champ x4!
If this is something that intimidates you, scares you or makes you nervous..next time a meet like this comes around, you have to sign up! I will be trying to get more people to participate next time for sure. What a perfect opportunity for people who like swimming, but are hesitant to race for whatever reason to come out for a couple of hours, have a good time and race in a supportive, competitive-esque environment. And how lucky are we to be able to have an outdoor swim meet in November!
So the race director just sent out the entries, some might call it a "psych sheet," for the swim meet I entered for next week Tuesday. It's quite comical. Michelle and I tried to get a bunch of people to sign up, but no dice. I think it will still be a good time, at least the two of us will enjoy ourselves! Take a little looksee...I think we might both come away as State Champs! It pays, well not really, to live on a small island/state.
That's it, those are the only people entered...doesn't a swim meet on a day off sound like a good idea? We thought so, but apparently it didn't appeal to the masses.
Lots, well maybe not lots, but some new things happening around here in the off-season. Here they are, bullet-point style.
I joined a gym. Yes, I live in Hawai'i, where you can train and be outside year-round and don't have to worry about cold, inclimate weather shoving you indoors for months on end. I caved. Since I'm not running right now and trying to remedy my stubborn foot situation, I needed something else do to, so I joined. It's been pretty fun actually, spin classes, body pump (a little off-season strength training, that I hope to continue year round, thanks for finally getting me to attend, Kendra), cardio with ellipticals, stair steppers(!) and stationary bikes and some free weights, TRX. It's been fun to change things up a bit and hopefully the gym will still come in handy when I get back in the swing of swimbikerun. It being open 24-hours and all will make squeezing in those extra sessions if I run out of daylight much easier.
I've been toying with the idea of signing up for and racing the Double Roughwater swim here in December. It hasn't even been a month since Kona and I'm itching for something else. Not something like the Honolulu Marathon, which I, like many locals here got roped into signing up for back in January for $26 and will not do, but something I can have a little fun with and still keep the racing juices flowing. Haven't pulled the trigger and signed up just yet, but it's a definite possibility.
I sold my TT bike. It was a sad day, but I was ready and definitely need a new one. I used Aaron's SHIV at Kona and it was fabulous, I never knew you could be so comfortable on a bike! Love that ride. Many thanks for that. Now, I just need to find me a new TT bike that fits me like the SHIV, is comfortable and fast and won't put me in debt for the foreseeable future. Any ideas?
I am signed up for a swim meet! WHAT!? Yes, a swim meet. Next week Tuesday, there is a little masters swim meet happening here on Oahu. The last time I swam at a swim meet was Patriots in February of 2006 and let's be honest, this will be NOTHING like that. Hopefully I remember how to dive off the blocks. A backstroke start, that could be interesting. What else am I going to do on Veteran's Day? Might as well sign up for a swim meet, should be super fun. IF we can get enough people to sign up so the event actually happens. (last year, I wasn't old enough to compete (you have to be 30) and they ended up not getting enough people signed up so the meet didn't happen. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen this year, I'm looking forward to a fun day at the pool with my swimming friends. We might even be able to put together a relay! Now wouldn't that be fun!
We went bowling on Halloween. Got out of the house and away from any trick-or-treaters we might have had. I have been wanting to go bowling for months and months and months and since the season has finally come to an end we were able to go! I used to be on a bowling league with my Mom back in grad school and I really like bowling, It's a fun way to hang out with friends, while being semi active. I used to be a pretty good bowler (bowled over 200 once and usually averaged 140+), now, notsomuch. I only broke 100 once and didn't even get a strike! Oh well, still had a great time!
Aaron and I got hooked on Breaking Bad and have been watching more episodes in a day than I would like to admit. If you haven't seen this series, it's a good one, but beware, you will spend your evenings (or time on the trainer if you are training for a late season race) glued to Netflix waiting to see what Hank and Jesse get into next. One more season to go and we can resume normal people evening socializing and relaxing.
I would like to try to get in a few new hikes before the end of the year. This is the perfect time for that, so now to make it happen.