Run: Koko Crater (21.80 mi @ 08:56)

Adventures10 Comments

Coming to Hawaii, I was excited to do my final long run of the training cycle here. Seemed like a good sea level test. However, I started finding out that any speed gain tended to be negated by heat and humidity and a general “I am on vacation” attitude. As the days in Hawaii started adding up, I started to look less forward to this run. Its so much better to eat breakfast with the family and chill on the beach. But that wasn’t the deal I made with myself and Kim was supportive of one morning solo. So I was going for it — but where to run?

On the way to the bay the other day, Kim noticed this weird trail up the side of a mountain. What’s that? I didn’t know but it looked like a trail and I swore I saw people on it. I did a quick google on it when I got back that night and found out about the Koko Crater. Seemed like a good destination. Google directions put it somewhere between 9-11 miles depending on factors. A little longer than the plan prescribed 18M but since when have I followed the plan.

Rolled out of bed around 6:30 and was running down Waikiki 15 minutes later. I made my way around the shorter side of Diamond Head and then followed bigger streets out to the end of the H-1 Interstate and across the bottom of the island. We had gone this way on the bus the other day to the bay so I just planned on retracing that route. Seemed about the most direct except for one section.

Pretty uneventful on the way out there. Had a few road hill climbs that killed off the pace here and there. Had to run about 100 feet past where we got off the bus the other day. I wasn’t sure where the trail started but I saw a baseball field near a parking lot that had a fair number of cars. No baseball going on so I surmised that the cars were for hikers? I found a road closed to cars and ran down it to the parking lot. Saw a few folks with Camelbaks on so I knew I was in the right spot. I followed a dirt trail through some fields and found myself at the base of an old train track up the side of the crater. The Hawaiian Incline!

Set my watch and started up. Had a good jog going that slowed with a minute or two. Then to a power hike. I couldn’t figure out if I should step on each railroad tie or step in between, etc. They are just spaced unnaturally for running. At about half-way, the tracks go over a ravine so I had to be careful not to fall through and die. That had me paying attention. My pace slowed again near the top and this thing was like straight up.

I hit the top and stopped my Garmin. It had me at 13:43 to the top. 12:50 moving time — I shot video. 0.47 miles with a 847′ elevation gain. 1,066 feet high. My HR was up pretty high throughout. It was a good workout. I wandered the summit taking in the sights and shooting more video before descending back down in about 9 minutes. Took it very slow at the top and then again over the ravine. My legs were shaky. I got passed by one dude but he didn’t run there from Waikiki I assumed.

Ran back out of the park and over to a gas station to get a big Gatorade. I lost more fluid via sweat on that climb than I ever have doing anything. I pounded that and got back on the road for the somewhat long journey back. My legs came back to me a bit and pace was respectable. Got tired around 18. I always had in the back of my mind that I could jump on the bus if I was dead. However, I was off schedule from it and never saw it so I just kept running. Finally, I was back at Diamond Head and knew I had less than 2 miles to cover which were mostly downhill. I ran it in and promptly showered, put on my suit, and hit the beach to find the family.

I am not a fast runner. I don’t enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy the start of the run today either. Felt groggy and off. But coming into the trail at the crater and enjoying the climb there and the subsequent effort and fatigue getting back home — that’s where I get off. Knowing that I ran to the crater, did it and back. That’s my story of the day and I was proud of it. I need that draining longer run in order to feel complete. I know what I like and what makes me feel good.

I went 21.80 miles with an elevation gain of 1,776 feet in 03:14:56, which is an average pace of 08:56. Heart rate average was 141. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.

  • jeffvalliere

    Awesome! I’m so jealous. I heard about this incline on 14erworld a few months ago and though it is a bit short, I have been salivating. Would be fun to rip up that at sea level.

  • JMock

    I’ve heard of that. I think guide books refer to it as “stairway to heaven” and say it’s unofficially closed to the public. Looks cool.

  • georgezack

    “I don’t enjoy it.”

    WTF?

    • Running fast/hard. Not my thing. I am a slow twitcher.