Aloha! The “rookie runner” has returned from the land of paradise. It seems taking a week off surrounded by tropical breezes, sun and sand was just what I needed. Although we were sad to have to leave, we thoroughly enjoyed every moment in the sun, sand and surf.
On a typical day off, I tend to be one of the last ones to rise in my house. I am not a morning person. Strangest thing happened in paradise. I was the first to rise, every morning!! Our first morning in Hawaii, I was up before dawn. Just as the sun was rising, I headed to the beach and this is what greeted me…
Even though I was on vacation, I stayed true to my word and I completed my first ever beach run. Just a short 5km (I was on vacay after all), but it was definitely memorable. This was the 5km portion of the Valley to the Sea Half Marathon held in Maui. My run was 100% on the beach. I did some test runs a few days before the race and very quickly learned how the tides can affect a run on the beach. It gave me a good feel for all the different challenges that running on sand can bring. The morning of the race, it was raining, but Maui’s rain is like a light summer sprinkle where I live, so it didn’t affect me in the least. If anything, it kept the heat away. The tide was high at 7 am, so for the first half of the race, I was forced to run in the softer sand at a bit of an angle. It was mildly challenging (remember, I am a true rookie runner!), but once we hit the turn-around point, the tide was already backing off and I was able to run on the more compact sand, which I much prefer. I was happy with my time of 36:18. Not bad, for a brand new runner with no experience running on sand (I thought) and so I finished with a smile.
Through this experience, I discovered that I actually like running on the beach! Somehow, the running seems a little less strenuous when the ocean is literally by my side. Originally, the only reason I signed up for this race was so that I could add a running bib from Hawaii to my collection. This was my fifth 5km race since I began this whole running ordeal. Had I not signed up for this event, I’m not sure I would have ever considered trying to run on the sand. As the days get longer and the temperatures start to warm up, I will be making an effort to include more beach runs in my future. In fact, I now have my eye on returning to Maui one year to run the actual half marathon that begins at Iao Needle and brings the runners back down to the beach in Kihei. A new goal to pursue, and a great reason to return to paradise, n’est-ce pas???
Anyhow, now that I’ve returned to reality, I am feeling refreshed and renewed about my running, which is a good thing, because now it’s time to amp up my training! With only 10 weeks to go, I have much work to do!! I’ve signed myself up for a set of weekly interval training sessions through one of our local running stores. I generally prefer to run alone, but I’m quickly realizing that to push past the 10km distances, I cannot do it alone. I need all the help I can get!
And so, with new sessions to look forward to and fresh memories of the beach behind me, here’s hoping it will be enough to push me towards my goal of reaching that finish line come June..