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Saturday, September 17, 2016

#113- The Kaua'i Marathon!

Once again, Bart has outdone himself. With my 50th Birthday approaching on September 21st, Bart's busy work schedule would not allow us to be together that day, so instead, he gave me an early gift and took me to Kaua'i, Hawaii for a week!

He has been an invited guest at the Kaua'i Marathon and Half Marathon since it's inception 8 years ago and since I needed Hawaii for my 50 States, he invited me to come along, run the marathon, run and hike Kauai's beautiful trails and just be together! This was my first visit to Hawaii, so I was excited.

Bart booked our flights so that we would meet in Phoenix (he was flying in from Philadelphia and I was coming from Salt Lake City) and fly from Phoenix to Lahui together.

After a six hour flight we landed in paradise. The warm humid air  hit me like a ton of bricks. I love the dry heat. Four days before race day and I was already nervous about the heat, but by the time Bart and I got to our condo at Suite Paradise in Poipu, there was a nice breeze (a bi-product of looming hurricane Lester).

An Egret greets us at our condo!

Bird of Paridise

Our condo was great. two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and a deck with a view of the ocean. I could get used to this real fast!

I loved these flowers and wore one in my hair every chance I got!

The view from the deck of our condo!

Bart and I dropped our bags off at the condo and wasted no time walking down to the beach and like something you would see in a movie, a beautiful rainbow appeared!

This could not be more perfect!

Can you see the turtle?

After a walk on the beach and a few turtle sightings, we went back to the condo and got ready for the first of many parties we would attend. 

This was a nice outdoor reception held at a place called The Farm. We got there just as it was getting dark and they had cute lanterns on cocktail tables and we ate, drank and Bart introduced me to his old friends and we met new ones.

We parked in the lot below The Farm and walked up!

There was a beautiful view up there!

The food (catered by Living Foods Gourmet Market & Cafe) was incredible!

Such a lovely setting for a party.

As I said earlier, there was a hurricane heading for the Big Island and that brought some wind to Kauai. The party winded down as the wind picked up, but Bart and headed back to the condo early. We had had a long day of travel and with the 4 hour time difference for me (6 hours for Bart), we were exhausted. We went to sleep at 7:45PM! Yep, we know how to party with the best of them! Ha Ha!

At around 3:00am we got a wake up call. No not a phone call or a alarm clock, we were awaken by the pigeon of Kaua'i, a rooster! In 1992, Hurricane Iniki ripped across the island destrying chicken coops and releasing chickens and roosters all over the Island and now they are all over the place.I loved them! They were so cute and some of those roosters were beautiful, but after being at this race 7 times, Bart was less amused at the early wake up call. 

Rooster just walking down the street like a BOSS!

After we got up, we headed down to Living foods for breakfast. Then we hit the Mahaulepu Heritage Coast Trail for a beautiful and scenic trail run.

Bart had the  granola and fruit, but I had the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberries! OMH! SO GOOD! 

Bart's favorite running trail!

Bart was bookin!

Chickens in the woods!

Selfie on the trail!

Go Bart Go!

The views were AMAZING!

Black lava rocks on the beach.

I was curious what  kind of  religious structure this was.

There was lots of cool driftwood on the beach.

Check out the Facebook live video of our hike here!

We did about four miles on the trail then headed back to the condo to get showered and to head over to the expo. Bart was scheduled to speak and do a book signing and talk and I wanted to check out all the gear they had. I saw a pretty sweet backpack that I wanted (but alas could not afford). I got some pretty good stuff! Check out all the good stuff here!

Bart giving his presentation.

Does that sign say Pee? Ha Ha!

After the expo we went for a swim and then got ready for another party to be held at the host hotel, The Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa. What a beautiful place! This party was to welcome all of the VIPs and sponsors and it was so nice. 

I loved this painting in the Grand Hyatt.

Bart and I at the party.

The food was fantastic!

The music was great too!

Beautiful view with tiki torches.

The next morning we were at it again. This time Bart was hosting his shake out run in the morning and we hit the expo in the afternoon. There was a great turn out at the shake out run and we had a lot of fun!

Bart giving a little pep talk before the shake out run!

Me at the shakeout run with bad ass ultra runner Rich Hanna! He placed second in the marathon too! What an honor to meet him!

The start of the Keiki (kid's) run!

The Kaua'i Marathon Race Director, Bob Craver and I. Turns out he also knows my twin, Angel! Small world!

Bart and Aiden! Aiden is going striving to be the youngest boy to run a half marathon in all 50 States! 

Julie Weiss, Bart and I hanging at the expo!

Bart and I got our race numbers!

Bart and Half Marathon course record holder, Tyler McCandless giving a rundown on the course to first-timers and experienced runners alike.

After the expo Bart and I went for a dip in the ocean then met up with some new friends, Sasha and Bryan for a pre-race dinner (well, new friends for me, Bart knows everyone). We went to this great pizza place called Pizzetta in Koloa. What a great place! We didn't have a reservation, but not only did we get a table right away, we probably got the best table in the house! We were seated on the patio surrounded by gorgeous flowers, trees and tiki torches!

Spouting Horn!

Cactus on the beach?

I like this pre-race ritual!

Cute tree outside Pizzetta.

This tree was HUGE!

I will talk to anyone with a dog!

Cool flowers next to our table!

Bart, Bryan, Sasha and I enjoying some great pre-race pizza!

After dinner we got serious about race day. The race started at 6:00am, so we wanted to get there by 5:00am, but we were a little late. We ran to the start and barely had time to drop our bags (which had a change of clothes as the first thing on the agenda after the race was to jump int the ocean!) We did make it in time for Bart to say a few words and we were off!

Bart and Half Marathon course record holder, Tyler McCandless addressing the crowd at the start. (Tyler broke his own course record this year!)

Sneaking a selfie with the speedy folks!

After the National Anthem, a Hawaiian prayer is given and the native Hawaiians start the race.  

No starting pistol here! The race is started by blowing into conch shells!

Blurry pic, but you can see Bart and I  starting the race via conch shell!

Bart was running the half and was going to try and be right around 2:00, I was doing the full and thought running an easy 4:30 was doable. I found out shortly that I was delusional! 

ha unimpressed not funny not amused yeah right
I laugh at your dumb ass thinking you could run a 4:30 on this course in this heat!

I started at what I thought was conservative 10:00 minute miles and scoffed when Bart told me I should slow down. I didn't think I was going fast at all, but Bart know this course and by mile two, I was already dying from the heat and humidity! Note to self: When someone as experienced as Bart Yasso tells you what you are doing wrong, freaking listen, because when it comes to running in hilly, hot and humid conditions, you don't know squat! 

Even though it was tough, the course was one of the most beautiful courses I have ever run on. When we got to the first aid station, we were greeted by the prettiest ladies dancing the hula. Their movements were so beautiful and fluid, I just wanted to jump in and learn how to dance with them!

Hula girls at the first aid station!

Around mile six, we got to run through the Tunnel of Trees! 

The next aid station had cute hula girls too! So cute!

Around mile 11, the course splits. Big chickens on one side, little chickens on the other. Oh, how I wanted to be a little chicken when I saw them start down the hill towards the finish as I looked up the giant hill starting the second half.

Every race needs a rainbow!

At the split, you feel alone. Out of the 2,000 runners, only 300 were running the marathon. This course was tough. Every time I turned around there was another hill to climb. Now, I am pretty good on rolling hills, and this had rollers, but I stink at really long climbs (at  least right now) and the heat drained every bit of energy I had. 

Everything was so green and lush.

This hill was tough, but so beautiful. If you are going to suffer, I can think of worse places to do it!

More beautiful dancers!

At one point I made the decision that I would need to run this race as if I was running an ultra. The heat started making me nauseated. I could not think of eating another gel, so when I got to an aid station, I looked for the fruit and ice. I sat in the shade of the medical tent and let the guys put ice on my neck while sipped sports drink, making sure I was out of there in less than 2 minutes. This helped a lot. At one point I took the Buff I wore around my wrist (to wipe the sweat out of my eyes) and filled it with ice and put it around my neck (tucking the ends in to my bra). That helped cool me off and probably saved my race.

These drummers were awesome! No matter how bad I felt, the aid stations always made me smile and got me back on track!

There were even Hula boys!!

When my easy 4:30 went out the window, I thought for sure I could stay under 5:00 hours! At mile 20, I had picked up the pace and was hauling on the downhill sections, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Schitt's Creek fool schittscreek dan levy catherine o'hara

At mile 24, I could see even the 5:00 hour goal was dead, so I took my time chatting with another suffering runner and finished the last mile as strong as I could! 5:11:02 and 10th in my age group.

I still had a Shaka and a smile in me at the finish!

After the race, I was feeling pretty low. It had been a few years since I ran a marathon that slow (not counting Vermont as we ran that slow on purpose). Then Bart showed me the results:
  • In the Marathon only 25 people ran under 4:00 hours! 
  • Only 100 finished sub 5:00 hours (that includes the previous sub 4:00 people)!
  • More than half the marathon field finished in over 5:00 hours.
This made me feel a little better.

Bart was in the middle of presenting the awards when I finished. He saw me as I walked into the finish area and told me to go sit in the shade tent, which I immediately did. I kicked off my shoes and I saw Elizabeth Lim, who was so sweet to grab me an iced coffee from the Kauai Coffee booth (that stuff is like crack. I drank so much at the expo I had to go in disguise to get refills! Ha Ha!)

Bart finished the awards and went and got me some food and we sat in the grass relaxing!

HUGE CONGRATS to Lisa Davis for completing her 50 States! She carried Old Glory the whole race, and for that she deserves two medals!

HUGE CONGRATS to Bart for placing 2nd in his age group in the Half Marathon!

After the race we went for a swim, showered, took a quick nap and got ready for the post-race party and celebration!

The post-race party was held in at private space at The Shops at Kukui'ula. There we all talked, ate more delicious food catered by Living Foods and drank. Everyone was celebrating a job well done as well as the fact that Hurricane Lester left us alone!

Bart and I at the post-race party!

We were both pretty tired, so we didn't stay that long. I crashed so hard when we got back to the condo, I don't even remember falling asleep!

The next morning Bart and I hit the Heritage trail again, but no sooner did we start, Bart got a call to go golf and Bart LOVES to play golf, so we headed back to he could get cleaned up.

I took the opportunity to shop for a few souvenirs and hit the grocery store. Bart is so nice to me, I wanted to make him a nice lunch when he came home. We had lunch and later that night we hit the trail again!

The next day we headed for Waimea Canyon! This is like the Grand Canyon of Kaua'i! We did 8 miles through the canyon, stopping at the top for a swim in Wiapoo Falls!

We got a great view of the falls from the road!

Heading on the trail!

Such pretty flowers!

We made it to the top of the falls!

We could not pass up the opportunity to swim in the waterfall!

After our swim, we ran into Sasha and Bryan!

This flower looks like a bunny.

I love the texture on these leaves!

After we got back to the condo, we took a nap and Bart took me out to Eating House 1849  for my Birthday dinner. It was busy so Bart and I waited at the bar where I had a Lychee Sangria that was so delicious, I wanted to suck on every piece of ice in it!

Bart had a wonderful blackened tofu dish and I had a great ramen bowl which was one of their most popular dishes.

As if we didn't get enough trails, the next day we saved the best for last! We drove to the Napali Coast and hit the Kalalau Trail! This is by far the most beautiful trail I have ever been on!

Hitting the trail!

So much bamboo!

I did NOT want to run on this!

There were kittens on the trail! I called her Napali.

This trail was very rugged with lots of slippery rocks.

There were three water crossings before we made it to the Hanakapi'ai Falls.

The weather on the trail is crazy! One second it's sunny and the next it's raining. The terrain was tough after the beach where most people turn back. The rocks are wet and moss covered, so even in my Altra Lone Peak 2.5's I was sliding all over.

Before one of the water crossings, there was a beautiful smaller waterfall and we thought it would be fun to swim in the water. Bart started down into the water, but as I started down, I slipped on a rock and fell, hitting my elbow really hard on the rock. 

My elbow started bleeding and luckily I had a buff with me, which I wrapped around it to stop the bleeding. We decided to skip the swim there and just head straight to Hanakapi'ai Falls. As I started across the water, I slipped again cracking my leg on a rock and scraping up my leg. I finally got across the water and within a few minutes we were at the falls. The pain was so worth it to see something so spectacular.

Bart and I swimming in Hanakapi'ai Falls!

The falls were just stunning!

After the swim we started to head back down the trail, and you guessed it, I fell again. Now I was extremely paranoid about falling and just wanted to get back. When we finally got back, Bart and I took a swim in the ocean and went back to the condo.

I wanted to get back to the condo, but not before fawning over more chickens!

Now from the time I fell, until the time we got back to the condo, it had been about 4 hours and my arm was really swollen, red and very painful. I took a shower, cleaned out my wound, took some Ibuprofen and got some ice on it.

My arm after the fall.

Bart made me feel so much better by taking me out to Mexican food at this great place called Mariachi's where we ate salty chips, enchiladas and I had a margarita to numb the pain. Then we went home and slept like rocks!

On our last day in Kauai, we went for a swim, had breakfast at Joe's On The Green, and went to the Keahua Arboretum to check out the Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees of Kauai. I learned of these trees when I saw my friend Cheralynn's  photos of them that she took on her trip to Kauai. I had never seen anything like them and I HAD to check them out!

The bark on the trees shed each year exposing different colors under each layer!

They are pretty spectacular!

This big guy was just hanging out!

When we got back, we packed our stuff, took in one last sunset, and headed to the airport.

Our last sunset in Kaua'i.

This was the experience of a life time! There is no way I could thank Bart enough for this wonderful vacation. He is so amazing to me and I only hope I could do half as much for him as he does for me. THANK YOU baby! You have already made 50 FABULOUS! XXOO

THANK YOU to Bob Craver and EVERYONE at the Kaua'i for making me feel so welcome (I still need my drink at the Red Rooster Lounge). I know this marathon is tough, but the race staff and volunteers are top notch! Everything was so well done and I had the time of my life! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Not every marathon has to be run downhill, some times we need a challenge to make us stronger and better runners. If you are looking for a challenge while running in one of the most beautiful places on earth, with amazing aid and organization? Definitely run the Kauai Marathon or Half Marathon. You will LOVE IT!!  

State #30 

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