Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm a maniac

Crossed the finish line at the Kona marathon on Sunday with the Flashdance song in my head ( 8 days after Anchorage, I completed the Kona marathon on Sunday. Hanging out in Kona was awesome, running in the heat somewhat less so. It kicked my ass and kicked my asthma into high gear. The expo was outdoors (advantage Hawaii). I met several maniacs there. Also, a big shout out to Jason from Big Island Running, who gave me some great insight into the course and chatted running with me on Saturday afternoon (he finished 3rd in the half). Easy logistics, big plus for the smaller race. Off we set at 5:30. Interesting that a Boston Qualifier does not use timing chips of any kind. I was surprised that the first water station wasn't until almost mile three, but they were frequent thereafter (water and Ultima, which I don't like, but drank anyway). Great volunteer support, Sonja and Kelly had a personal team with all kinds of motivational comments posted and chalked throughout the race, which were fun to read. I met them briefly at the finish. The first 13 miles were great, rolling hills and cool with the sun still generally out of sight. I actually did them 6 minutes faster than Anchorage. After that it went downhill due to the heat and the rolling hills, which I had hardly noticed through the first half. 13 through 15 climbed uphill into the sun and then 15-20 were on the hot highway (I had been warned). 20-21 were downhill and 21-26 along the ocean so some breeze and shade, but by then I was feeling pretty overheated and definitely a bit wall-like, although it seemed more mental than physical to me. Great ocean views though including spinner dolphins jumping. No food at the finish line, which I thought odd, though plenty to drink. While I finished slowly, I finished and the good news was that a) I finished and b) my legs felt great, almost no soreness at all. Went for a Manta snorkel that evening, beyond cool. I had done the Dolphin snorkel on Friday which was also exceptional. If you are ever in Kona, Great crews and great organization. I also spent a bunch of time hanging out in the general vicinity of the beach, selecting places for meals based on proximity to the water, rather than quality of the food, although the food was quite good, especially at Huggos. Found a great yoga place, and did yoga Friday and Saturday. All in all a great finish phase to a wonderful vacation. I need to get into the vacation habit.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fun in the sun in Kona

When I think tropical paradise, it conjures something very close to Kona in my mind. Lots of beaches, ocean views from almost everywhere, balmy breezes and hot sunshine. Yesterday morning, I had the phenomenal experience of swimming with the dophins. These are wild Hawaiian spinner dolphins. We went out in a boat and got dropped into the middle of a swimming pod, hung out until they all swam by, with several swimming within a few feet, then back in the boat to pass them or a different group and repeat. It was truly amazing. Clear, warm, blue water. Dolphins everywhere and bonus green sea turtles. Just really, really excellent

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One down, one to go

I'm in San Francisco, where it is wonderfully sunny. Got here yesterday after my stay in Anchorage for the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon. I left Philadelphia Thursday morning. My original flight was canceled, so I ended up flying to Anchorage via San Francisco and arriving 8 hours later than planned after 11 hours of airport/travel time. My bed and breakfast was conveniently located and had a comfortable bed, but otherwise nothing to recommend it. Friday, I spent in the city of Anchorage, which reminded me surprisingly of Kalamazoo. It pretty much seems like a small town anywhere, although the mountains are lovely and given that it is the north, spring was far behind Philadelphia which meant that the lilacs were blooming and I have never seen so many large and beautiful lilac bushes. Reindeer sausage and birch syrup were included in breakfast at the Snow City Cafe, which I highly recommend, then generally wandering about downtown, a little souvenir shopping and packet pick up at the expo. A fairly early bed time, with the curtains pulled to block out the light (still full light at 9:00 - and as I later discovered, at 10:00 and at 11:00 pm). Saturday morning, had a cup of tea and then headed to the bus pick up for the race. The first bus was full, but the second had some room. I heard from people at the start that some ended up taking taxi cabs to the start line as the buses did not seem to have enough room. The high school gym was open, so it was a very civilized wait, with much shorter lines than last year's big races (around 2000 runners I believe). At 8:00 am we were off. We had chips, but there was no mat at the start. All start times were assumed to be gun time (though I was a few minutes before getting through the start). The route was lovely, with nice scenery. Chunks of it were on gravel road and park trails, so times were not super fast. There were some hills, including the particularly nasty one between mile 25 and 26. After coming back into the city, we saw two moose along the bike/walking trail we were running on. I walked on and off, especially in the second half, but felt pretty good and finished with no trouble, then walked back to the bed and breakfast, showered, and walked into town to check out the solstice festival (which was great, but would have been even better had it not been raining). Dinner at Orso, fresh wild salmon, yummy. Sunday, I had breakfast at Snow City again, walked about 3 miles to a yoga studio and did yoga, Yin yoga, not the traditional 108 sun salutations for the solstice, which I really didn't think I could manage. Then the afternoon was a tour of the area around Anchorage, including the very cool museum and and the Native Heritage Center, more moose and an eagle sighting. And off to the airport for the red-eye, still light as we took off approachng midnight. An uneventful trip (with a plane change in Denver) got me to SF mid-morning Monday.

Here until Thursday and then off to Kona for marathon 2