Filed under: Running | Tags: 10 mile Oahu route, Oahu running, Round Top Drive, scenic run Oahu, Tantalus Drive
I’ve been busy. Playing. Chasing rainbows. With less than two weeks before my five-year chapter of Hawaii living has to end, I’ve been doing not much but play, eat, play.
Playing includes running, of course. This past weekend, Ivy suggested that we run the 10-mile Tantalus–Round Top path as my farewell scenic run. It was a daunting five miles of relentless uphill running on Tantalus Drive followed by five miles of knee-crushing downhill on Round Top Drive. I admit I was a little apprehensive about the idea at first. Ascent of 1,415 ft over five miles is nothing to sneer at. We run some hills every week, but never in consecutive miles.
So we started at exactly 5:40 a.m. after stretching on the street lamp-lit road, a 60+ year old lady who was already finishing her morning walk said to us, “are you girls going to run the whole mountain? If you’re good runners, you’ll finish in about two hours.” Hence we good runners went on our ascending ways.
It was my first time running this route, Ivy’s first time in four or so years, so we took it slow and consistent at about an 11 minute mile pace. Even at times steep, the path was surprisingly not harsh on the legs. The air was cool, crisp, and moist, awakening every last bit of me that wanted to keep sleeping. And although it was raining, the vegetation along the route was so dense that we felt only the shadow of the rain.
Lined with ginger flowers, bamboos, and eucalyptus plants, Tantalus Drive gently exchange hands with Round Top Drive as we came to a plateau of about 500 meters. The descent came upon us before I knew we were running the next five miles. Running uphill can be difficult, but downhill running for a person with a bad knee like me is even more challenging. It’s like driving with one foot hovering the brakes at all times. It took a good mile before I found my rhythm, a pace and form that didn’t aggravate the still delicate knee. The descent was not nearly as pretty, and we started to have to yield to cars on windy turns. By then the sun had warmed up the air, evaporating the moistened clouds.
A look at my watch, we were already at 9 miles. Every good run has to come to an end. At 9.81 miles, we were back at our starting point clocking in right at 2 hours and 33 seconds. I guess we were, at least per our soothsayer’s words, good runners.