This isn’t a running blog so you might be a bit confused why I would include a running story on here. While I wish I was one of those runners that has incredible journeys to share, the truth is I only have a handful.
One story is the time I ran a half marathon pushing both of my kids in the double BOB and the other is the time I ran 15 miles…and that’s it. I chose to write about the latter because it wasn’t 15 miles around the track. We ran quite literally across the island and saw so many amazing things along the way.
Running Groups Do Crazy Things To Your Head
If you aren’t a runner, 15 miles probably sounds like an insanely bad idea. Shoot, even as a runner, I never thought I could push myself that far. After my second half marathon, I swore to myself I would never go any further than 13.1 miles. There’s a funny thing about being in a running club though. No matter how many times you say no more, no further, I absolutely could not do that, you to find yourself going distances you never before imagined.
I run with a group of super bad mama’s called Stroller Warriors. Roughly 90% of the time I’m running, I’m pushing 140 pounds of kids and stroller. While that is way beyond an excellent workout, it also makes the prospect of running sans kids seem much, much more desirable. When I heard some of the girls talking about running from Kailua Beach to Ala Moana, I really didn’t even think about distance I was just like yep, I’m there!
We arrived at Kailua Beach Park around 5:30 am. It was still dark out, but we squeezed in a few photos regardless. I mean, how else would the world know we went on this journey if we didn’t stop to document it? Photos out of the way, we headed out strong. The first few miles through Kailua were not bad at all. The roads are really flat and there were a few traffic lights that let us catch our breath and save some energy for later on.
Along The Pali Highway
Once we got through Kailua town and onto the Pali Highway, things started to kick up a bit. There was only a slight incline, but the banking on the side of the road was sloped pretty far. It was a weird experience looking down at your feet and seeing them at 45° angles. Luckily, the sun had started to rise behind us so the mountains ahead were glowing. It was one of the most beautiful sights on the entire run.
When we reached the intersection of Routes 61 and 83, about 5 miles into our journey, we had a nice break because of the length of the traffic light. Looking back, this was actually a blessing because we were on an uphill journey for quite a few miles after that. In favor of not running next to faster paced traffic the whole time, we broke off and took Old Pali Road up to the Pali Lookout. This was actually a hike I had on my to-do list so it was cool to kill 2 birds with one stone.
Old Pali Road
The trail started off with a really steep incline and seeing as we were already about 10K into the thing, my calves were hollering! When I say it was a constant uphill battle until we got to the lookout, I mean we literally had to climb a ladder uphill at one point. Although it was rough at the time, I’m really happy we got to experience this trail. Here you will find some of the coolest graffiti on the island and spectacular views of the windward side. We stopped quite a few times because it was too beautiful to not take photos of.
After obligatory group shots proving we survived thus far at the lookout, we continued on toward Nuuanu Pali Drive. This is a windy and lush road, which I noted most for it’s beautiful downhill slope. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery was incredible, but goodness gracious were my legs begging for a break from incline by this point. This road is home to quite a few trail heads so I made of note of where to park and wound up going back a few days later to hike (I’m sure there will be a separate post about that because the trails are super kid friendly).
Nearing The End
At the end of this road, we started to see downtown Honolulu. I was greeted with a rush of emotions at the sight. We had come so far (roughly 10 miles by this point) and I was so proud I had survived. I was also a little overwhelmed that we still had quite a ways to go. To be honest, the miles through the city were a bit of a blur. There were a lot of traffic lights so we had to stop semi frequently. It sounds like a blessing, but it felt like more of a curse. By mile 14, I was ready to be done and have it over with, not wait at a light every few feet.
Arriving At Ala Moana Beach Park
Nevertheless, when the sign for Ala Moana Beach Park was in view, we all picked up our pace. It seemed surreal that we had just ventured from one side of the island to the other all before noon. The end of this run was more than just the longest distance I had ever run in my entire life. It was also my 500th mile of the year. Talk about one heck of a milestone run. Somehow I still had just enough power in my legs to take an action shot in front of the sign before collapsing on the beach for a few minutes.
Although this is the story of a running adventure, it was quite a journey across the island of O’ahu. If you’re a runner here on island or plan on visiting, I would highly recommend taking some time out to tackle this. Not only is it a great workout, but you will see some of the best views the island has to offer.
As I said before, running groups do crazy things to your head. Somehow I wound up convinced I can conquer the Honolulu Marathon this year. If you are interested in hearing about training for this journey, please comment below and let me know. If you have run a marathon, I would love to hear about your training and experiences. Please leave a comment or connect with me on social media. As always, I hope you enjoyed hearing a tiny sliver about my life and Our Happy Place 🙂