162 Days: My first encounter with fear of running was at Maunawili 2013

Two days from now is the Maunawili Out and Back “race”, also known as Run with the Pigs, that starts up at the Pali Lookout, goes down to Waimanalo, then back up. It’s 22 miles and can be run as a relay or individual run. I’ll be going solo on this one. They do a staggered start using a matrix based on age that should make it so that most runners all finish about the same time. Times aren’t really recorded. It’s just good fun. They put a pig in the pack of the first runner, and if you pass that runner, you take the pig and put it in your pack.

In 2013, this trail was a total eye opener for me a few years ago when I first started running. Prior to this race I had completed my first 50 mile run on road in June, a 32 miler in June, a 26.2 in March, and a 32 in January, so you’d think I would have been prepared for a 22 mile trail run in August. I was humbled big time. Although I had done the shorter distance races that year, this was my first long distance trail race. The first 11 miles were a breeze. I was floating down the mountain at a good clip, when a more experienced runner, shouted to me as I passed him, “Remember you have to go back up. You may regret it,” to which I replied in a slow whine, “I know” in a way reflected the “I can’t help it,” feeling I had inside. I just felt too good to put the brakes on.

When I reached the turnaround, I made a critical mistake. I decided that I had enough water in my pack that I didn’t need to refill and decided to tap the table and head straight back up the hill that quickly started pushing me back down. It was hot, I was super inexperienced with long uphill trails and around mile 16 I was out of water and went into a death march. Brutal. I’d have given almost anything for water. We got to a run off pipe and boy was I tempted to drink that! I splashed it over my face and head, then trudged to the top where I was spent.

Some highlights of my slow demise (pace):
Mile 1 – 7:44
Mile 2 – 10:27
Mile 6 – 12:07
Mile 8 – 8:56
Mile 10 – 9:36
Mile 11 – 14:04
Mile 13 – 17:32
Mile 16 – 18:18
Mile 19 – 19:46

It was that race where I realized that long distance trail was a new animal I had no idea how to tame. And the scariest thing was when I was lying on the grass licking my wounds and it hit me . . . I a few short weeks I’d be running Triple Trek, 30 miles and probably twice the elevation gain . . . first encounter with the fear of running.


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