Quick Kauai marathon recap: Jen and I arrived in Kauai Friday evening at 7:30 Hawaii time, 1:30 home time. We set our alarm for early the next morning to do a group shakeout run with Bart Yasso. The run was at the Hyatt which is where the expo was located as well. There was also a Keikie Run (kids run) at the Hyatt that I knew Michael Wardian’s, my running idol, boys would be running. Unbeknownst to me, Jen had emailed Mike and arranged for us all to get together after the kids run for a bite to eat. After the fun run with Bart, we watched the kids run and met up with the Wardian family.
We all went to the expo to get our race packets and then headed to Living Market for brunch. We sat and talked race strategies. Mike had run Kauai 3 times prior to this year, placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd. His goal was 2:20-2:30. Mine was 2:50-3:10. It was surreal sitting and talking about running with one of the top runners in the world. His wife and kids were really cool, too, and we all enjoyed just relaxing and chatting. This was definitely an experience I won’t forget.
Fast forward to race day. Jen and I walked to the start from our hotel. The stars were out (5AM) and the roosters were starting to crow. I somehow ended up at the front of the line heading to the start lead by traditionally dressed Hawaiians. I lined up near the front, and ended up bumping into another local runner, Karsten Brown. Yasso walked by and I got a high five. Mike Wardian lined up in front of me and we wished each other luck before the gun went off.
I hit my goal paces for the beginning miles of the race. There is a point in the race where marathoners go right, half marathoners go left. At the first aid station after the split, I asked how many runners were in front of me. Just one, they informed me. What? Second behind Wardian? Wow! I continued running a decent pace, slowed by hills but on track on the flats and downhills. After a big climb from miles 14 to 18, the hills gave way to a stunning vista overlooking the ocean. I hit mile 20 with the prospect of a podium finish a strong possibility. Then things got a little fuzzy. The shaded roads gave way to more sun exposed running. Temps were in the mid 80s and I was feeling it. It seemed like every downhill had a tough uphill. My steady pace turned into a walk. I was soon passed by a speedy girl and then another guy. Maybe I could hang on for a male podium finish. Nope. The wheels completely fell off and I hoped to make it to the finish without passing out on a roadside ditch.
I finally crossed the line at 3:32 in 6th place. Not my best. Not my worst. After a few beers and a ton of potato chips, I returned to the land of the living and enjoyed a nice post race party. I earned 3rd in my age group. Wardian took first overall at 2:45.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first 20 miles of the race and the pre and post race activities. I’d like to forget those miles at the end, but overall, a great destination race. I’d highly recommend this race. Nicely organized and the scenery was breathtaking.
Now it is time to recover with my butt in the sand and a drink in my hand.