March is marching onwards, and since February has flown by – it’s high time for a quick blog post!
And first of all – running!
In terms of the Hawaii running calendar, the spring is full of fun events that really bring the community out on to the roads.
The Great Aloha Run on February 16th is one such run, and a race I was eager to take part in this year. The popular road run attracts people from across Hawaii and the Pacific, including a large number of divisions from the US armed forces. Leading up to the event I joined the BioAstin team at the Expo, where it was fun chatting with people about spirulina and astaxanthin whilst watching the Warrior Fitness Challenge! The race itself set off on President’s Day morning in almost perfect conditions. Starting from the Aloha Tower in downtown Honolulu, the point-to-point course takes you all the way to the Aloha Stadium, 8.15miles away. There was great competition at the front in both the men’s and women’s races, and I finished 6th Elite Woman for Oiselle Team in a time of 50:34. Local studs Polina Carlson and Makai Clemons were the two front Hawaii finishers, both taking 2nd place spots with lightening fast times of 46:23 and 43:32 respectively.
Within 6 hours of finishing the Great Aloha Run I was on a plane across the Pacific to Palau. Travelling with me were two friends, Shawna and Eric, and we were off to meet up with Jesse. After 9 hours of flying we finally landed on the largest island in the Palauan archipelago, Babeldaob – a rocky limestone dot on the map, that in reality is wild and rugged, covered with tropical jungle and gushing waterfalls. We spent the next 10 days exploring a large number of Palau’s 250 islands – covering much of the distance between them in kayaks – slinging our hammocks between palm trees on the shores of secluded coves along the way.
Sea caves, marine lakes, siphon tunnels and mangrove swamps were just some of the areas we could access using the kayaks. And, making the most of being motor-less allowed us to get up close and personal (well, fairly) with a dugong and a small saltwater crocodile (at night…) – magical wildlife moments you never forget, or have chance to take many photos of…
The last island we landed on was Peleliu, renown for a tragic World War Two battle that took place there between US Marines and the Imperial Japanese Army. Covering the tiny island is possible today via hired bikes or on foot, and we paid tribute to the thousands of brave souls who died on Peleliu when we visited the now serene beaches where the US forces landed. We also visited Bloody Nose Ridge – a gnarly ridge dotted with dark caves, battle scars and rusty remnants of war machinery – on our last morning, for a short trail run. Our B&B host gave us a lift to the trail head, and when we explained that we wouldn’t need a ride back, he looked puzzled. So, like good tourists in a foreign country, we repeated ourselves numerous times – hopefully not any louder. Our driver then suddenly laughed out loud (deep belly laugh) as the penny dropped. Yes – we were those mad visitors doing things that only people without cars do. There are quite a few small places to stay on Peleliu and they are happy to cater to the needs of visitors, who mainly fall into one of two categories: divers or WWII specialists/ historians – and not usually runners… Our small group divided and whilst Shawna and Eric went diving to see sharks and manta rays, Jesse & I spent some time visiting the WWII museum and also ended up chatting to the people now in charge of removing unexploded ordinance from the thickly vegetated island – a very difficult and dangerous job. But we reconvened for the evening and spent our final night on Peleliu taking in the sunset whilst re-accounting moments from our time in Palau – a place I highly recommend you try to visit one day soon.
On return from Palau I had a quick turn around to get back into some type of running form in time for the Honolulu Rainbow Ekiden on March 8th. The Japanese road-relay is now an annual feature on Oahu, and there are two different Ekidens, one in March and another in May. This year I was on a team with four fast ladies from Honolulu for the Rainbow Ekiden, and we had a great time
destroying sprinting up and down Diamond Head (which is what a 5km feels like at the moment) – and managed to come home as 1st place women’s team in a time of 1:39:11!!
Signing out, there are a couple of updates I’ll leave you with. First of all, I’m slowly transforming longrunergy to more of a resource site – watch out for more announcements and features over the next few weeks. In the mean time you may have noticed there is a ‘Coaching‘ menu tab, from where I’ll post downloadable training plans and more information about how and when you can either join a yoga class or a running group on Oahu, or enquire about a personalised training plan. The podcast will be back in action soon, but in the interim you might like to check out a couple of podcast episodes that Julia Hanlon (aka Running on Om) and I put together specifically about yoga and running: HERE.
Secondly, I’d like to leave you with the latest free yoga video up on the YouTube channel linked to this website: LongRunYoga. It’s a short and simple sequence that Mariane Uehara and I filmed together in an attempt to capture many of the small details that are sometimes lost with a voice-over and produced style of yoga video. With more yoga video plans in the pipeline it would be great to hear any suggestions for what you would like to see more/ less of. Yes – we will choose a not-so windy day next time, and yes, I will attempt to gesticulate less… but no promises!