North Shore Marathon - Hale'iwa, HI

Discussion in 'Course Reviews' started by devilnuts, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. devilnuts

    devilnuts Barefooters
    1. Hawaii
    2. Arizona -...

    Feb 24, 2011
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    So this was last week (4/14), but I am just finally getting around to writing my tale...haha. So here it goes:

    The race is on the North Shore of O'ahu. I live near Waikiki, so it is an hour drive (with no traffic). Race start is at 5 a.m. so if I wanted parking, I needed to leave by 3:15. I actually left at 3:22 and got there around 4:24. So I had a few minutes before the race. I decided to use the restroom before the race started and about 20 minutes before the start of the race, there was a light, but steady rain that got a little heavier for a few minutes and then stopped. So the ground was now nice and wet. While running on wet asphalt isn't a big deal, I knew that this course was going to have about 8-9 miles of rough asphalt on it and I did not bring shoes as a back up plan. Running on wet asphalt for 26.2 miles was not going to be fun. I figured if I just took it nice and slow, I would be fine.

    We start promptly at 5 a.m. The race starts at Kaiaka Bay Beach Park. There are about 500 people there to run (official results had 455 my estimate was close) and we head off. We hang a left after leaving the park and the road isn't too bad. It is fairly smooth and was recently (probably last year or two) repaved. There are a few people out to cheer us on. Most probably don't want to be up that early in the morning out in the rain. We then run through Hale'iwa. I've been up there quite a few times and it was kind of eerie running down the main drag with no one around. Normally you can barely drive or walk around there becaus there are so many visitors, but on this early, drizzly morning, the visitors hadn't shown up yet. Well, I guess they had...they were just running through the streets.

    After we get through Hale'iwa we head towards Wailua and then take another right which heads us back to Kaiaka Bay. We do that loop again. One group of runners behind me is catching up and talking loudly. One of the women notices I'm barefoot and I can hear them talking about it. She says, "He doesn't even have those toe shoes on." Another says, "I tried those; they don't work for me." I turned my head and said, "They don't really work for me either." Then I threw them a shaka. After the second loop, we are at about 10K and I'm keeping a 9:30 pace. I was trying to maintain 9:30 as long as I could because I knew the rough patch ahead was going to slow me down. So we are now actualy heading towards Wailua. The road is a little rougher, but still not too bad. I was still in good spirits and feeling pretty good.

    Then we get to Wailua and they have this little 1 mile detour through some sidestreets (evidently they needed to make up a litte distance) so we have to run through this little neighborhood. A few more people were outside to cheer us on here, which was very cool. This is around mile 8 now. The road was what I would classify as medium grit. hehe. It wasn't too rough, but not too smooth either. It was light enough to see now and you thought that at any moment the sun would poke through the clouds.

    After leaving that little detour it was time for the worst part of this race: About an 8 mile straight shot. You run down Farrington Hwy towards Dillingham airfield. There are some great views on both sides. The clouds occasionally hanging low on the mountains to your left. The glimpse of the ocean through the trees on the right every so often. But from that small detour on for the next 4 miles or so, the road was very rough. It is a two lane road that wasn't shut down or coned off for this race. So not only am I trying to find the best line to run on the road, I'm trying to make sure that I don't get run over. Since it is a two lane road in the country, you can guess that there aren't gutters or sidewalks. It is dirt, rock, and gravel. A lot of that gets on the road. I tried to run on the paint stripe to make it easier. That wasn't much better and in many places the paint line was missing or obscured by dirt and gravel from the side of the road. But I made it through the pain and made it to the smoother part of the road. Just another four miles and then I get to turn around and do that again.

    I was still maintaining an average pace below 10 min/mile at this point, so I was happy. I continued to push along. My right knee started to hurt around mile 14. I think it had to do with my gait through that rough patch. I was trying to adjust to give it a chance to feel a little better, but nothing was working. I decided to just run through it. Around 15 1/2 miles, the road changed back into a very rough surface. I was not expecting that. At 16 miles I had a split of 2:45. So I was just above a 10 min/mile pace. But when I came over the small rise before me and saw that I couldn't even see the turn around point yet, the blow to my psyche was more than I could take. My body was hurting, my feet were screaming, my knee was in agony. I stopped to walk a bit. At this point there had been more and more mud on the road. Evidently from people running on the side of the road, it getting stuck to their shoes, and then being deposited on the road. By the time I got to the turn around, it was almost all mud. I was trying not to slip and cut my foot open. I was still walking...well, it wasn't walking so much as limping my way around. Only about 10 miles left to go, I told myself. Yeah, that helped.

    The entire way back was so painful. The sun would come out for a bit, then the clouds would come in and it would pour buckets. I was sore, raw, tired, demotivated, and considered several times calling it quits and having the medical team just drive me in. The medical teams out there were awesome though. The one group looked like a bunch of surfers that just put their boards away to come play medical crew for a little while. They had music going and were being friendly to everyone going by. One of them pulled out a camera to get a picture of me as I attempted to run back by the second time. I tried to run that 10 miles when I could, but most of the time I could barely walk. There were lots of stupid comments and questions from people about my being barefoot. Most of them I was NOT in the mood for. Although there was one comment that a woman made that put a smile on my face. I was running at this time, but she was catching up to me. As she came up behind me she said, "I like your shoes!" HAHAHA. Yeah, haven't been told that one before.

    So after 10 miles of running/walking/crying inside, I made it back to the park and the finish line. My time was just a smidge under 6:02. So basically it took me 3:15 to go 10 miles. That is nuts. I am nuts. The only thing that prevented me from giving up was that finishers shirt and finishers medal. I was not going to leave the North Shore without those! So I got mine. After crossing the finish line and getting a drink of water and Gatorade, I made my way over to pick up my plate lunch, a roll, and a banana. Evidently the only plate lunches they had left were chili. So after all that hell I put my body through, I was about to ingest chili, rice, banana, roll, and a side salad. Yeah, my stomach loved me so much. I guess next time I will have to be faster if I want Kalua pork instead of chili. HAHA.

    Will I run it again? I don't know. I think that might be a once in a lifetime thing as a barefoot runner. This course is really not barefoot friendly and I would not recommend anyone attempting it that doesn't have several years of barefoot experience. I have a little over two years and many, many, many miles and it still was hell for me. I say all of this now...but you know I'll probably sign up as soon as they open up the registration...HAHAHA. The staff and volunteers were really great and they deserve major props for weathering to provide drinks and support to the runners. They made it all possible. So I might...
    dutchie53 and NickW like this.

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