So I’ve been in Hawaii for less than a week and already I know I don’t belong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m having a truly wonderful time here and am already regretting having to say goodbye. The weather’s been fantastic, the views spectacular and I’ve already gotten addicted to 7-11 spicy ahi poke and deluxe spam masubi that I know I won’t find anywhere at home. (I've already had these for lunch for three days straight!) But the one thing I’ve noticed though is that I have a hard time identifying with the sports people around here are most passionate about. For one, I am not a swimmer (although I am signed up for beginner lessons once I’m home) so it’s hard for me to appreciate endurance swimming, surfing, jet-skiing or other athletic pursuits that involve submerging one’s body into a bottomless body of water. Second, because of the widespread access of bike routes, running paths and picturesque scenery at every turn, training here occurs year round and endrance race events seem out of proportion to what I’m used to back home. Instead of 20 mile bike rides across a state, people here routinely do 100 mile bike rides along the north shore of Oahu or up on the side of a mountainous range and back down. Similarly, instead of training for marathons, people here speak of 40-60 mile runs on trails, overnight, to train for 100Ks and an annual event known as the H.U.R.T. 100 miler! Umm, no wonder I wore my Honolulu Marathon finishers shirt around town yesterday but haven't felt like much of an athlete.
Now, I know I probably have a warped sense of reality because I’m hanging out with F.L. who ran the marathon as a training run for her 100K race this weekend (Go ahead, you can go over there, shower her with words of encouragement, then come back…I'll be here...) but still, I can’t help feel as if I’m such a wimp for never having completed a single run longer than 26.2 miles, when her and her local running group friends are chattering about so and so doing 50 miles on the H.U.R.T. last week and another person is tacking 45 miles after the marathon to train for Western States (100 mile) race and so-and-so’s going to pace someone for 40 miles in the H.U.R.T. 100 mile race next year. It is an intimidating bunch to say the least. I’m just glad I’m not here on a daily basis and am going back soon to my own neck of the woods where running 20 miles in the wind, cold, and snow one or twice a month is considered hardcore and somewhat of an accomplishment. Maybe one day I’ll be up to tackling 32 hour runs on an steep and arduous trail run here fighting hallucinations, nausea, vomiting just for fun, but for now, I’m content to just revel in my own marathon accomplishment, eat all the crummy food I want, hang out at the beach all day, rest and recover in paradise and NOT think about running, racing or marathoning for the foreseeable future!
Towards that end, here are a few sun, fun, and sandy beachy pictures for you all to enjoy! Don't judge, it's the best I can do short of a personal invite to come over and experience paradise for yourselves! Aloha!