Wednesday, July 16, 2008

While everyone's been doing hard training and events, I've been tapering in Maui for the last week, swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. We're staying at a condo at Kahana Sunset, just south of Napili. I found a good running route a mile from our place that is a vacated golf course with steep asphalt trails with up to 600 ft of elevation gain. But my eye has always been on the 10,000ft volcano Haleakala. The logistics of running most of the mountain was out of the question, but when my wife's cousins decided to drive up to view the sunset, I had a plan. They would drop me off at the 8,000 ft about 5 miles to the top and I would either meet them at the top or they would pick up the road kill on the way down. It's a two hour drive so we left at 3:00 am to catch the 5:37am sunset. The road is in great shape and gently ascends the mountain with many switch backs. The nearly full moon was just setting so it was very dark out but the view of lower Maui was incredible. The mountain only has some sparce scrub brush so you can see all over the place with out those pesky trees being in the way. We reached the 8,000 ft mark at 4:45am and there I started my run with a windbreaker, my hydration pack, and a couple of water bottles. The wind was blowing and it was a little under 40 degrees with clear skies. Quite a change from the 85 degrees I was now used to. It was dark but I could run without a flashlight and there was an occasional car to light the next switch back.
I trotted along (I'm on vacation after all) and really didn't feel any effect from the altitude. The run was surprisingly easy with the moderate grade and the wind even died down. It started to lighten up and I realized I might make it to the top before the sunrise. I stepped it up a bit and the clouds on the horizon delayed the sunrise a bit and I bounded into the summit parking lot just as the sunrise was starting. I was so happy to get there mostly because there are a ton of tourist bikers that coast down the road after the sunrise and I didn't want to try to dodge them! The sunrise was beautiful and I added another conquered mountain peak to my list. Next stop White River 50.