Saturday, September 21, 2013

Maui a Different Kind of Marathon Experience

Now after a year of reflection, I've caught my breath and wanted to share my marathon experience in Maui.   On September 13th, Stacey and I raced (no pun intended) off to Maui to take a break from our everyday DC grind.  The purpose of the trip was two-fold:  1.  to celebrate our 20th anniversary; and 2. to run the full and half marathon.   One day I was paging through Runner's World and came upon the advertisement for the 42nd Maui Marathon.  It was advertised as the most beautiful race you will ever experience and it didn't disappoint.  I thought that maybe Stacey would like to take the trip.  Well, not only did she take the trip, she ran her first 1/2 and killed it!  So proud of her.
    We arrived on the island on a Thursday late afternoon after a 13 hour trek across the Pacific.   After getting our Red Beater from the local car rental, we headed off for the Outrigger.  We thought the car was the smallest piece of shit (more to come on the Red Beater), but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Upon checking in to the Outrigger, we worked our way down to our condo.  We got lucky... a beach side condo on the golf course.  It was newly renovated and was absolutely gorgeous.  After unpacking, we headed off to the grocery store in Lahaina and got a bite to eat at LuLu's.   After eating, we went back to the condo and planned our week.
    The next morning we both got up at 5:30 and both went for our final taper run before the race. Taper run was about 3 miles and at an easy pace.  We headed north and ran along the ocean front on a windy little beach route.  During the run, I reconfirmed why we came here.  To enjoy our 20th together in such an amazing place!  We decided to spend the day chilling on our beach and to go snorkeling.  We were literally on Black Rock Beach, a well known snorkeling spot on the island.  Our condo had a secure cabana on the beach where we could check out towels and store our lunch in a fridge.  We rented snorkeling gear and we were off!  The water had a chill to it.  Upon entering the water with our gear, you could instantly see wild life along the coral.  Within 30 minutes, we saw Coronetfish, Butterflyfish, Moray Eel, Pufferfish and a Giant Hawksbill Sea Turtle.  Because the water was so cold, we could only stay in the water for no more than 30 minutes without turning purple, so we had to take breaks.  After a nice day at the beach, we went off to pick up our race packets at the expo at the Westin in Kanapaali and to grab a nice dinner and call it the night.   The majority of the participants were Japanese which added a energizing atmosphere to the overall experience.  
   After a nice breakfast in the morning, we decided to make the trek on the Road to Hana.  A long windy road, that started through small rolling hills with occasional ocean views to being completely off-the-grid.  The trip was a three hour drive up a two-way one lane road along sheer cliffs with the most beautiful scenery that you could imagine and the Red Beater came through.  The car literally wrestled with a mongoose and won (sorry).   After several scary incidents (that will remain anonymous) with the crazy road, we arrived into a local town out of the sixties (loved it) to grab some groceries.  It reminded me of my SF days in Bolinas lol... Everything was locally grown and homemade.  In fact,  I bought a gazillion home made banana nut breads used them for post marathon recovery and for our plane trip home.  I think I even had a few the following week back in DC.    I'm beginning to wonder if they had happy ingredients:)  We finally arrived at the top of Hana and began a 2 hour hike up to the waterfall and, of course, stubborn me didn't listen to Stacey about wearing the right shoes.  It seems every time I run a long race, I injure myself the day before.  MCM was a broken tail bone and in Hana, well lets just say we wore flip flops and ended hiking without shoes.  Lava rocks, bamboo forests, rain, mud, etc...  OUR feet were so torn up and swollen, I didn't know what 2:30 AM wakeup would bring.    We safely made the journey and the Red Beater came through! 
   That night, we carbed up and rested and iced our feet and prepared for the next morning.  Wake up call came early.  I had to be on the bus at 3:30 AM.  So made the walk and met up with a fellow runner from Japan on the way.  We ended up hanging out before the race and sharing different running experiences which made the bus trip go by a bit faster.  What a psychological drain.  The bus took the running route and just totally psyched me out!   Race time finally came at 0530.  The first 5 miles were sub 8 through the flat sugar cane fields, then came the mountain.  Felt great going through the 6 miles up and down the mountain!  Custis Hill training came through, but then came the coast...Hot...Hot...Hot!  The last 15 or so miles were along the coast.  It was around 0800 and hot with high humidity, but drop dead gorgeous.  The lands changed around each bend.  Watching the surfers take time out to cheer on the runners was so cool!  After reaching the town of Lahaina, I knew the finish was in reach (5 miles out), but cramping started.   Rolled through a sprinkler and then cramped--irony.  At this time, I started to tell myself, 5 miles this is a simple daily routine.  I knew I had 40 minutes and I was finished.  Well 40 turned into 50 and then I could see the finish line in the distance, but cramping kicked in again.  1,000 feet from the line, I had to stop.  Both the front and back muscles in my leg were arguing which could hurt me more.  The crowd was cheering me on, but I told them I'm done.  All of the sudden a volunteer came out and used a little reverse psychology on me and it worked.  I hobbled the rest of the way and beat my 4 hour mark by a few minutes.  Although about 20 minutes slower than MCM, I was pleased that I finished period and anything else was the cherry on top. 
   Post-race fatigue kicked in fast, so I thought that I would get a massage.  What a mistake.  I had two massage therapist students working my legs and then I cramped so bad, I thought my muscles were snapping in half.  I excused myself from the massage table and worked my way over to the medical tent for an IV.  I dropped 64 ounces of saline in 15 minutes.   At that point, I had to pee so bad (too much info) and just wanted to get on with things!  The doctor wanted to keep me for a third bag, but I wasn't taking anymore in.  I ended up pulling the IV out and thanking the doctor and the students for the help.   Parting words (advice from) with the doctor so to speak was to stay away from the beer tonight at the party...wink wink.  In the back of my mind, I thought I was forgetting about something and sure enough I did--my feet and plans for the morning.  My socks were covered in blood.  I ended up going back to the room, changing into flip flops with socks.  I forgot that I arranged a four hour bike trip down the volcano for 0230 the next morning.  Needless to say I was so thankful for a refund!   At that point, I met up with Stacey and we spent the remainder of the day swimming at the beach and pool and swapping stories.  The cold water was like a natural ice bath and worked out just fine.  I was so proud of her!  She wasn't even that sore!  I felt like such a moron. Oh well...:)  Ironically, we met this other couple that was our complete opposite.  The wife ran over 120 marathons and the husband ran the 1/2.  Great company and many funny stories.
   The next morning we decided we enjoyed snorkeling so much that we would just try different beaches around the island, before we had to jump on the plane and head home.  After a few hours of snorkeling we packed up and said our goodbyes to the island!  I must say that Hawaii is our favorite place to visit and some day would love to live there!   Next stop ING NYC Marathon 2013!

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