Monday, September 16, 2013

Hana Relay

I've been in Hawaii for almost 5 years and have heard about this little race that happens over on Maui in September...the Hana Relay. I've always been intrigued, but never actually thought about putting a team together to do the race. It's kind of similar to the Ragnar Relay series that happens on the mainland, but it's not an overnight relay and it's on Maui.
The relay is a 52-mile journey you get to complete with 5 of your friends (even if you haven't met some of them before race morning). The route takes you along Hana Highway, with designated exchange points, from the airport to Hana Park at the end of the road. Along this route we went over 56 bridges and around 617 curves!
Just pulled this from the internet
to give a little more perspective

A few months ago Rachel sent me a message asking me if I wanted to be part of her team for Hana Realy. My first thoughts were, Me? Are you sure you're asking the right person? You can change your mind in case you sent this message to the wrong person by accident, I won't be offended at all. She assured me that in fact, she did mean to ask me to join Chuck's Chicks and I was beyond flattered. I would be joining an amazing group of talented, fast, supportive, strong ladies to complete this 52 mile journey.

I got up at the crack of dawn, well probably a little earlier than that to get to the airport and catch a 5am flight over to Maui. 4 of us were on that flight and Rachel and Ingrid were at the start at 5:30. I had no idea what our plan was, I was just along for the ride, you tell me to run and I'll run.

Rachel and Ingrid took care of the first three legs of the course (there were 18 total legs (everyone gets 3) ranging from 1.7ish to 3.4ish (that's what the course directions said, but I beg to leg was bordering on close to 4 miles....just sayin') and we met up with them on the road. Ingrid and Scott (Chuck) had everything all planned out, who was running when, all the hand-offs, drinks, snacks, etc., they took care of it all. All we had to do was run!

The course is a hilly one, even when the descriptions say flat, or rolling hills, expect hills, the entire way. Mariane told me before one of my legs, "It's not a hill, it only looks like a hill." If you keep telling yourself that while you're running, it kind of helps! :-)

I was informed that I was going to be the "lucky" one that gets to run leg 13...apparently you don't want to be the one that has to run that leg, the description reads, "2.1 miles uphill. A tough leg. Put the guy/gal you don't like on this leg." Since Ingrid was in charge of everything, I'd never run Hana and we'd never met before Saturday, I was slated to complete that portion of the course. However, lucky for me,Mariane was running out of her mind and a last minute decision put her on that leg instead. An excellent decision in my professional opinion.

being first team on the road has it's benefits.
Fresh Coconuts!

By the time we were at hand-off #5 we were basically running the course all by ourselves. Rachel and Ingrid had opened up a gap on the rest of the teams from the start and we were in one of the first waves (maybe the 1st). At each hand-off we saw the van for a high-school cross country team that was about 7 minutes back from us almost the entire race, they started 15 minutes behind us so really they were beating us, but we wanted to be the first team to officially cross the finish line at Hana Park so our goal was to run fast and stay ahead of those boys. Well around hand-off 16 or 17, I think, Todd's team caught up to us and made the pass (they started 30 minutes behind us) and just like those high school boys, we wanted to stay ahead of them so we could cross the finish line first. We were passed, but that didn't ruin our spirits. We still had some fast ladies ahead and could possibly catch up to them again to cross first. The last leg was 1.9 miles I think and we had Katherine running that leg, Rachel said she's a ringer and if she saw the guy in front of her on the road she would do everything in her power to catch and pass him. If you are ever in a race with her and it comes down to the finish, she's going to win, she's fit, fast and mentally tough, she has an exceptionally strong mind and body and won't back down! Well when she saw the guy in front of her, she must have kicked it into high gear (as though she wasn't already there!) and made the pass. We were waiting for her right before the finish and when we saw her round the corner after having made the pass, with one final steep uphill, we knew we were going to be able to run it in to the finish together, as a team, crossing the line 1st!

We ended up being the 2nd women's team by less than a minute and 6th team overall when all was said and done! Averaging 6:33 pace for 52-miles...not too shabby!

Thanks so much for letting me join in on this journey surrounded by a great group of ladies and an amazing support team! Thanks JACO rehab, Scott (Chucks Steakhouse) and lululemon for sponsoring us on this ride....hopefully we will be back next year for redemption!

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