Running Kauai

We just returned from a week in Kauai spent mostly at the beach, on family hikes, eating pork, and running. I was a little worried about my training schedule while traveling. The Death Race is less than a month away, and last week was going to be one of the heaviest in terms of running volume in my training plan, so I filled my pack with running clothes, a couple pairs of running shoes, a bunch of gels and Honey Stinger waffles, a handheld bottle, and a hydration pack. I also threw in some board shorts and a couple of t-shirts for the not-running part of the day.

I managed to get all of my runs in, logging over 70 miles during the week (with a couple of days off) in the humid and hot weather. One of my dreams is to run the Na Pali Coast, but I decided not to abandon the family for the day along with their only means of transportation, our pimped out Crown Vic rental car. I figured that in order to get all my running in and still have plenty of Griswoldian family adventure, I was going to have to be flexible. That included waking up at 5 AM (which wasn't that hard due to the time zone change) and do my longest run on the second vacation day.

My plan was to run the Kauai Marathon course, which is a beautiful course, especially when the roads are closed. They weren't when I ran it. I was trying to be safe, not wanting to take any unfamiliar scary jungle trails. Instead, I ran on the road, and most of the roads in Kauai, including much of the Kauai Marathon course don't have shoulders, so I spent the first 18 miles dodging sleepy tourists and anxious Hawaiians on their way to work. I was also charged at by a couple of squealing wild boars. They were piglet boars with tiny tusks, but I was still startled at these little squealing things running toward me, or maybe the squealing was coming from me, it kind of all mixed together. I stamped my feet at them and yelled and they ran away. The road turned out to be far more dangerous than any trail I have ran. I ended up veering off the main roads in favor of calmer backroads. I did take in a beautiful Hawaiian sunrise, though.

I decided that I would stick to side roads and traffic-less trails for the rest of the week.

In the quest to be flexible I did a couple of runs where I would leave an hour early and run to one of the local beaches where I would meet the rest of my family. This was a great way to get my running in and still have a lot of family time, all while being able to soak my tired legs in the beautiful waters of the Pacific. One of these runs took us to Maha'ulepu Beach which is a secluded, hard to find, and hard to drive to beach with a number of fun trails. I ran there a couple of times. There's a pretty cool trail that goes from Shipwreck Beach to Maha'ulepu Beach. The trail is sacred to the Hawaiians, and it even allows you to run on the Grand Hyatt golf course for a couple hundred yards (which is sacred to rich people). I was tempted to re-live some of my and my brother's adventures. We lived on a golf course when we were growing up and we used to mess with the golfers, stealing balls, playing football on the fairways, and dumping pudding in the cups and watching the reactions. I've never been a fan of golf courses; I guess it's the socialist in me.

The last run of the week was the hardest. It was a 17 miler, but I could really feel the accumulated mileage from the week in my legs. It was also one of the more humid days, and I ran the last five miles in rain, but it was good to be finished.

It turned out to be a great vacation, and if the Death Race is humid, hot, and flat, I should be just fine.

I'm running the Cuyamaca 3 Peaks 50K on Saturday, and this is probably the least worried I have ever been about a race of that distance. I'm treating it solely as a long training day. It will probably be hot, and with over 6,000 feet of gain, it's going to be a tough day, but I'm actually calm and excited about it. I'm not sure if the absence of my normal pre-race jitters is a good thing or a bad thing. I guess I'll find out on Saturday.

Now, something everyone loves...VACATION PHOTOS.

Poipu Beach
A difficult hike we had no business being on, but  we all made it.

My favorite restaurant on Kauai

Tunnel of Trees (Shoulder of Death)

Fantasy Island...not a fan.


  1. Hawaii sounds sooo exotic to me! Your photos make it look as beautiful as it is in my head (which is probably thanks to some Elvis movie or another!!!)

    Absolutely LOVE that last photo of your daughter - classic!!

  2. Thanks for the info and your photos. It helped me plan my trip. I already miss that place. Happy trails.


  3. Great post!! Going to Kauai in October and as soon as the houses were reserved i hit the intraweb in search of places to run.


    1. Have a great trip. We're headed back next year an I can't wait. This book was very helpful in finding good trails --


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