Run Holly Run season 25 episode 1 (S1E1)


Day 2 jet lag on Maui. Returning back home every year comes with its limits; twenty-five hours in the air, added to airport connections leads to one rough time.  It seems the last leg of the journey is most debilitating.  My Seattle to Maui flight just about put me over the edge.  Once seated I immediately tried to push my seat back while everybody boarded the plane (perks of flying a lot and getting priority boarding is staring at people walking past for at least fifteen minutes and, often hilariously, trying to deal with luggage and blocking aisles, etc.).

No can (yes, I revert back to Hawaiian Creole English as soon as I can smell the Islands are nearby). Mr. friendly attendant, when asked, simply said "Oh, you can't"- deadpan.  Ready to lose my shit, I decided that at least no one else could do it either so somehow this comforted me.  Pondering how an airline could do something so full of injustice, the seat in front of me suddenly lowered its seat back- nearly into my lap.  Oh boy...

Ms. friendly attendant, when asked, simply said "Oh, you can't because your seat is in front of an exit row". Okay, now we're getting somewhere.  I love receiving information that I can use. I didn't even have to ask. She continued on. "I can check for you to see if there are any other seats available". Yes, helpful.  Soon enough after take-off I sauntered back to my new seat and continued on through the flight in (only) mild discomfort.

At this point though, I know how to sleep on airplanes; here's the ingredients: iPod, earplugs, eye mask, little nib of Valium, if available and BAM. Goodnight. Something about that last leg of the journey though; I'm always about ready to freak out and crawl up the walls. It's the limit of what the human body can do in a non-physical sense- from my experiences so far anyway- outside of when my back goes out...

Fast-forward to today. After a mere five hours of sleep I woke up at 8:30 am.  In typical Holly fashion, I jumped in the shower and threw on my running gear and headed out the door. BAM. I'm in my comfort zone that I've come to consider as one of my top Maui runs.  But first some background.

Running in Istanbul this past year has been a great experience for me.  I've made a lot of gains and went deeper into my game. First, my Kinavara 4s have become indispensable. Hands down, the best running shoes to date. The main reason you ask- a wide toe box.  It seems I've developed this bunion thing that people talk about on my right big toe.  It's not bad, yet still considered a blemish or eyesore to me... Mostly because if I'm not wearing any shoe with a wide enough toe box, I feel that squeeze that is typical to this inconvenient issue...

So, to say that I've come back with renewed enthusiasm is an understatement- especially considering the previous two years I struggled with running while living in Bahrain and oppressive Middle Eastern heat and humidity.  I feel I've hit upon my happy place in my Istanbul running sessions along the Bosphorus and such. Nice to be feeling back in the saddle again.

Now, Istanbul is no Middle East weather-wise, but I've still been challenged by running on weekend mornings- perhaps mostly because I'm up late at night and it is already hot and humid there.  I guess my body has forgotten just how hot it was previously.  Anyway, I started going to the gym at the university and I have to say it has upped the anti in terms of my performance.  I've been running on the treadmill and really focusing on speed and cadence.  I've come to realize just how useful a treadmill can be for training for peak performance. The stair-climber thing, while first looking utterly ridiculous, 'fooleywang' in fact, I've seen a vast improvement in my strength arising outta my glutes.  It may seem silly and I do feel silly on that machine, but the proof is in the pudding...

All this work came into play this morning and I'm pretty happy being a results-driven person; gleeful in fact. So back to the real story...

I woke up to roosters crowing in my ear after five hours of blissful rest! My last thought before falling asleep was that the falling rain was cooing me into heart-felt slumber. Activation.

In typical Holly-style, I woke up suddenly, jumped outta bed, took a flash-shower and threw on my running gear and headed out- all accomplished in about fifteen minutes. My route took me from Makawao up to Oskie Rice Arena- where the famous Makawao Rodeo(s) take place every year with the Fourth of July celebrations and rodeo most famous. This was my first test; that first mile was steady uphill. Cadence, gait, breathing, attitude- all working together producing endorphins instilling such an incredible high that I couldn't help but smile-wide- and inhale bugs in the process...

That was the first testament to my training where I could feel results. Damn I love that; mostly because my Istanbul runs have hardly accounted for hill sprints, etc.

Turning right my pace leveled off to more of a trot as the terrain leveled off. Soon enough though I was heading into steady down-hill territory. This is where I really wanted to improve myself. I was already amazed how my butt got my up the rolling hills so I was anticipating some success downhill as well.

Typically I consider myself to be a challenged downhill runner, meaning that I don't embrace it very enthusiastically.  It's kind of like how I used to approach Dhanurasana Pose (backbends) in yoga. I was scared because I though, or I do, have back issues and always approached this with much trepidation.  It's taken a long time for me to realize that with these thoughts one tends to manifest difficulties.

I recently decided that I wanted to dedicate time and energy into running down hills more efficiently.  I always had this thought that it puts too much pressure onto my patellas (knee caps). I think about this scientifically and it makes sense. I am a person of logic. Besides, after all my time spent on archaeology sites conducting data recovery on burials, I've seen far too many individuals' patellas in a severely calcified state due to simple biological processes in Homo Sapiens with all due respect to aging and inflammation, etc.

I pressed on and in fact felt pretty strong.  Feeling my stance was in line with what I've been researching and trying to give myself that comfort of knowing you are supposed to kinda feel that you are falling forward and not holding back so as to keep proper alignment and in fact help save your joints by doing so, i went with it.  Of course in doing this you run faster because you are not 'braking'. When you 'brake' running down hill I am realizing is when you injure your Patellas...

Feeling pretty smug, I suddenly realized the extra pressure it put on my breathing all the while monitoring this. At one point I realized I needed to regain my breath.  I could slow down, which I did, or I could stop and walk for a bit, which I eventually did. In retrospect, I didn't need to, but I decided to coddle myself.

Karma is in fact a bitch... No sooner than I start walking, two cars are coming with each from different directions.  Along the far side of the road is a chicken. It starts walking across the road... The far side car misses it, but the car traveling in my direction hit it and continued on.  I'm taking this all in, realizing that I would not have witnessed this if I had continued on running...

The bird was still alive in the middle of the country road.  I came up to it and as I did so, it seemed to draw its last breath.  I picked it up, and it was bloody, hoping that it came all in one piece (it did not), and brought it to the side of the road in the tall, sweet grasses. A horse stared at me. Eyeing me from the safe zone, I realized another chicken was silently taking in the scene.  I felt its stare.

The burial was quick as I just laid it down.  I think how soft it felt in my hands. I felt this tenderness and connection. It was a solemn experience. I was in this zone, and then I was in that zone.  There was this compassion I felt for the situation. And then it was over. It was sweet. I was affected. I continued on.

Continuing on, sweet rolling hills full of sweat and ecstasy flushed over me. Famous Maui mists drenched me at some point and the build-up of intensity goaded me on down the hills. I gained my confidence again and flew down the hill into Makawao town once again. The winding country road took me past familiar sights, senses and scents. One scent that was missing this year though was the scent I have always smelled at one point of the journey of da kine green stuff.  For years and years I would get to a certain point along the trail where I could smell the sticky green. I'm talking for years.  As I was nearing this point, I started to inhale and exhale deeply, anticipating this olfactory delight.

Sadly I was disappointed. Just a little side-story there folks. I guess this was always something I looked forward to on this run of mine.  It just always made me smile.  I mean, you know.  Another disappointment soon followed.  As I got to the street to return to my starting route on this circuit, I would usually stop running and walk up because it is a steep hill and I tend to see this as my warm-down. My ulterior motive though is one specific property.  I like to be walking when I come up on this dwelling because of the plethora of runaway Liliko`i (passion fruit) on the ground.  Always so delightful to road scavenge Liliko`i, I felt this was a definite void when nearing the finish line.

Here my journey ended. I am filled with joy and gratitude that my legs brought me to this point along with my strength and determination. I was rewarded soon afterwards with a torrential down-pour! Just in time! Still on my endorphin-high, I relaxed into a quiet contemplation that Maui usually instills within me. These deep thoughts are what continue to draw me to Maui and to this home of mine. I have tried to replicate this feeling everywhere- with much success, but still there is no place like Maui... Nope. Indeed.