H.U.R.T.s so good!
Today was the day that I finally made it out to run with the Hawaii Ultra Running Team (H.U.R.T.). I have been eying their website for some time, looking at their training runs and trail races that they put on monthly. My schedule and/or ambition has not matched up with the dates of the races until today, when I joined them for the Kaena Point Firecracker trail race (best decision ever!).
Before I get to the race, let’s discuss how interesting the 5 o’clock hour is. The race started at 7 a.m. on the North Shore, which is pretty much the farthest place away on the island, so we left the house at 5 a.m. Things got really weird, really fast. While driving out of our small neighborhood I saw what I thought was a shirtless man walking down. Then we got closer and I realized he was a fully naked man walking down the rode, in hiking boots, bare butt glistening in the moonlight. It was one of the strangest things I have ever seen. Then while driving down the highway we saw a girl clad in going out gear, getting a field sobriety test. Woah girl, 5:30 a.m. and you are heading home from the club, drunk and driving? Check your priorities.
Anyway, the race started at Kaena Point State park, the northwest tip of Oahu, and was run on a trail next to the shore for the entirety. You just had to show up a little early to register and pay a measly $10, and you were good to go. There was a good crowd of 50-75 people out for the race. The race got started at 7, with the blow of a conch shell, and we were off.
We are the little ants down there. Although Tim did not run the race, he hiked up the cliff face just to take pictures of me… just kidding, he was looking for plants and happened to get some great photos of us running.
The first 2.5 miles were on this trail/dirt road with nice rolling hills. Then we came to Kaena point, the corner of Oahu that connects the West side with the North Shore and is also a bird sanctuary. Then we rounded the corner and ran down the West side. Words cannot explain, but that view rounding the bend was INCREDIBLY beautiful, all mountains and ocean and gorgeous. I had a smile plastered to my face the whole time like this…
Seriously it was one of those days that I felt so lucky and greatful to be alive, to be running, and to be in Hawaii. We ran to Yokohama Bay on the west side, where there was a turnaround at mile 5. They had ice cold water, gatorade, and grapes, which were all delicious. I just set out to run my own race and keep it comfortable but challenging, but as I approached the turnaround I didn’t notice that many women heading back and I knew they were giving prizes for the first 10 men and the first 10 women finishers. I am a sucker for prizes, so I made sure to keep my pace as speedy as possible, which was around 8:20 min/mile, and seemed appropriately fast for a trail race.
I headed back around the point and around mile 7.5 the course veered toward the ocean and we didn’t run back on the same dirt path that we ran out on. This was both a brilliant and painful course choice because we headed closer to the ocean to run on the beach. Beach equals sand, which is hard on tired legs nearing the end of the race, but it also made things interesting and challenging.
I just kept pushing and smiling through the effort. It really helped to take quick, small steps through the sand so my feet didn’t sink too far. Oddly enough, the last 2 miles through the sand was where I passed a good amount of people. See those three ladies in front of me? Yeah, they ate my dust.
I finished the race in about 1 hour and 31 minutes and felt great through the end. I ended up being the 9th place woman, and was rewarded for my efforts with a commemorative glass and some natural energy chews. There was a nice potluck at the end of the race with lots of watermelon, grapes, oranges, cherries, and baked goods, most notable being the pumpkin mochi bars.
I had a blast running with H.U.R.T., they put on a fantastic race, and I cannot wait to run with them in the future!