Monday, November 1

Xterra Makena Beach Trail Run

After being gone for the better part of five days, it has taken me almost a week to recover some semblance of normalcy and it will undoubtedly be a few more days before I fully regain my composure. My recovery has been in part delayed due to an annoying bout of bronchitis and a rather large corporate realignment at work. Life certainly isn’t dull.

As for the race itself, apart from seeming like a lifetime ago, it was desperate, brutal and unforgiving. Essentially everything you could and would wish for in a trail race.

I was very fortunate to be staying at the race hotel, and with the event starting almost directly below my fourth floor balcony my usual pre-race routine was quite truncated. That said, with almost 600 nervous competitors milling about the grounds being caught up in the excitement was inevitable. And so after a light warm-up (not difficult when it’s 28C) I toed the grassy start line with naught but a smile and a dry cough for company.


Never in my life have I experienced such a loud starting noise. I should have taken more caution when I noticed the previous year’s winner with his fingers in his ears. I literally jumped with fright and was quickly swallowed by 50+ people at the start.

But with relatively open and rolling terrain over the first mile it wasn’t long before I was near the front. This worried me. But as we made a sharp right and struggled up the steep lower slopes of Haleakala gaps quickly formed and ‘racing’ quickly turned to ‘survival’, as the next two miles turned to a lung burning, quad bruising fight for survival.

After reaching the race high point and quickly sneaking a peak at Molokini off in the distance, the course turned right again before plunging down the notorious Cactus Alley. After spending a lot of time running under a canopy of rocks and roots in BC’s rain forest, I was hoping to use the downhill to gain a few positions. Unfortunately, either a) so were my competitors or b) my quads were spent. Probably both.

After coming off the volcano the route pops out onto the very southerly tip of Big Beach. Never has running been so difficult or my throat so parched, as I shuffled along the next mile of open shoreline. We’ve all experienced those dreams where you’re violently running and going nowhere, this was the harsh reality for each competitor.

Our hopes and speed were only raised slightly as we exited the coast, only to once again trundle through a very sandy ‘spooky forest’. At this point I was desperate. With my nearest rival a distant memory I scrambled over the last mile of black sand and sharp lava before crossing the finish line, a wilted version of myself.

Training: 47:43 10th OA, 2nd AG, 06:54 pace/mile


Thomas said...

Your overly modest race report does not quite square with the fact that you finished 10th overall and 2nd in your age group! Well done!

Love2Run said...

Stunning scenery that must have distracted you at some point! I had the impression it was some kind of team race? Good effort in your race and nice result!