Running on Kauai

Whenever we go on vacations, one thing that I always look forward to doing is running in an area that isn’t Silicon Valley. Don’t get me wrong, my home town is a great place for running — it’s got plenty of route and terrain options and the weather typically provides near optimal running conditions. But, give me an opportunity to run with different scenery and in different climates and I’ll likely be all over it. And, as fate would have it, we’re hangin’ in Poipu, which is in the southern portion of Kauai.

Since we’ve spent quite a bit of time on Kauai, I thought that I already had a fairly good working knowledge of the roads, elevations and weather patterns. But, since I’d never run here before, there were a number of things that I didn’t know I didn’t know. Firstly, many of the roads on Kauai don’t have actual shoulders and/or sidewalks as they do in much of the rest of the civilized world. So, if you plan on being out on the roads any time after, say 8:30 AM, you have get really good at the game of “Dodge the Distracted Tourist”. Up to this point, I’ve been winning but they seem to be honing their skills. And, as much of a temptation as it is to wear brighter, more visible clothing, I fear that would do little but make me a more obvious target.

Another thing that I didn’t count on was the weather. Again, I’ve been here before so I didn’t think that it’d be much of a problem. Unfortunately though, I was mistaken and have since received  a rather abrupt lesson on what people who live in warm places with high humidity go through all of the time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, imagine running on a beautiful 70 degree day. Have that image locked in your mind? Great. Now, raise the temperature about 40 degrees, place an umbrella made of a magnifying glass above you and take away the air’s ability to remove even a hint of sweat off of your body and you’ve pretty much locked onto what it’s like. The really fun part comes when you try to remove your sweat drenched tech shirt post-run though — I imagine that I look like an incredibly uncoordinated computer nerd trying to disco dance to a constantly changing rhythm and meter. Some would simply shorten it to “dancing like a white guy” but that may hit a bit too close to home.

All in all though, I love running out here, even though these days have contained some of the most fatiguing runs that I’ve ever experienced. I find that, the earlier that I get out, the more enjoyable the run — lacing up and getting out earlier than I otherwise would allows me to meet fewer cars and pedestrians and the cool of the morning helps to mitigate the heat and humidity. We’re already talking about Maui in February of 2012. And, since we’ve been there four or five times, I have a pretty good idea of the lay of the land. Think I’ll try a few afternoon marathons while we’re there.

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