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Woke up Thursday morning at the Kahala
in Waialae and watched the sunrise over Koko Head from the lanai of my suite. Observed the dolphins in their man made lagoon swimming within their confines, 9 stories down. Landscaped palms on the perimeter of the beach and resort were black against the waking dawn and their fronds swayed loftily in the breeze. To the west was a volcano, brown slopes turning pink in the haze of a morning glow yet a tunnel blasted into its cliff face sucked the light into its black maw and for the life of me I couldn’t recall its place name.

My traveling companion was still in bed tucked well into the comfort of the hotel’s Frenette linens, roughly asleep. I began my pre-run preparations, getting the ice for the CamelBak and filling it with a liter of Fiji water. I started with a shower but opted for the bath then used and reused the electronic Japanese toilet with the warm spray and under the rim blow dryer. Had trouble with the high tech capuccino maker. Munched on the doughy portion of a char shiu I bought the night before at the 7-11 in Makiki but the pink barbequed pork filling was too congealed to be palatable. By then Michael had got out of bed and was nice enough to help me out and make me an espresso while I programmed a Heavy Metal playlist on my iPhone. My iPod Shuffle had its last gasp at Ka’ena.

I wore my Saucony’s and my Adidas shorts with the 1.5″ inseam. North Face T and a new pair of black Adidas running glasses with electric neon green arms and vented lenses to prevent fogging. Left my visor at mom’s but then I was good to go. Was getting worried now about having a late start and asked Michael if I was ok. He said, “of course you are.” I was a little beat up and intimidated by the Hawaiian sun, but I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity to run into the crater of Diamond Head. Took the elevator 9 floors down and walked through the Kahala’s grand lobby. Continued down the front drive and to the main entrance where I sat on a low wall of mortared lava boulders, stripped off my shirt and stowed it, started my playlist and my GPS. Hotel employees checking into work were kind enough to wish me a good morning.

I started my run which I estimated would be around 6 miles. The route is pretty basic, straight up Kahala Avenue and cut North to the crater. I was pleased to run on the well watered short lawns of the multimillion dollar estates under the shade of their palm trees, bouganvillea and plumeria. Landscape contractors were in some driveways of these properties, topless and hauling out equipment from the flatbeds of their pickups. Just a hint of weed was aloft on the drift of an ocean breeze. Felt really strong and happy and found my legs. Got the tingly sensation that is sheer pleasure from a good run. I was worried about the ascent but it turned out to be gradual. After the second mile I realized that I was starting to descend down towards Waikiki and had passed the scenic overlook on the pali. I stopped to figure out how I missed my turn to the crater and at the light house I took a piss in the bushes. I should have turned at Fort Ruger Park to connect to Diamond Head Road to get inside the crater so I backtracked and made the correct turn.

There were quite a number of joggers out, and I was happy to note that I was passing a few. From the pali it was just a mile to the entrance to the crater and I realized that the black maw I was looking at this morning when the sun was rising was the tunnel entrance into Diamond Head Crater. Diamond Head is so iconic I didn’t recognize it from the backside. Up a short trail, I realized that the park had an entrance fee, but it was a good thing I had a $50 bill in my CamelBak if need be I could get into the park. So through that blasted tunnel and into the crater itself. The fee entrance was only a dollar but I saw no need to go past the check point. I got a park brochure and took some photos at a bus-stop. I was feeling really strong, really dynamic, and I knew that I had just participated in a Polynesian pasttime that stretches to antiquity: run up a volcano as fast as you can then run back down. Coming back down the volcano was all I need do and I still had a nice supply of water.  Sweating loads, I’m beginning to experience chafe. I’m feeling good but I’m getting caught in the sun so on the way back to the resort I try to stay in the shadows on the manicured lawns and under the shade of the landscaped trees of the multi-million dollar estates that grace the beachfront of beautiful Kahala.

Heroically I run up the roadway of the resort and sprint up its driveway to dissemble on a bench near the parking valet. A resort employee offered me a bottle of water, but I declined telling him I still had some in my pack. Stopped my GPS and sent my data to RunKeeper. Went into to the lobby and to my delight saw they had put out chilled pineapple water sweetened with vanilla. Thought I would take some pictures of the dolphins, but was just too covered in sweat and all I wanted was a bath upstairs. I heard Michael’s voice as the elevator doors were shutting so I commanded them open  and ran to the lower level  to catch him . He was with Stewart, the hotel executive, finishing up their site tour. Michael said I looked tore up, but hot and Stewart was impressed by my run and offered to send up breakfast.  I asked for Ahi poke, rice and a fried egg. It was delivered shortly after my shower and I had room service set it up on the lanai.  It was so good I had a hard time getting past the perfectly cooked rice and it was the freshest poke I ever had in this lifetime.

  • 7.45 miles
  • 1:18:49
  • 10:35 avg. pace
  • 599 feet climbed
  • 1,000 calories burned

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