We’re back with another great running for travel post by my good friend Libby. This week – after a long stint away due to computer issues (That she’ll touch upon) – she gives us one more amazing reason to get in shape and keep running: it can give you even more reasons to travel! I’ve mentioned my love of Hawaii and my own athletic adventures and wishes to return to these beautiful islands, but after reading all of this through Libby’s perspective I – and I bet you as well, after reading – am all ready to pack my bags and explore all over again. So here we go!
I know in my last post I mentioned that I would tell you all about the NYC Marathon. Due to some technical difficulties, the post I was writing is currently not accessible to me. So instead, allow me to tell you all about a recent runcation I took to the Big Island in Hawaii.
You may be asking yourself: “What’s a runcation?”
Allow me to explain. It’s when you travel to a location to run a race, then you make a vacation out of being there.
There are three things I absolutely love about runcations:
1. It gives me an excuse to travel
2. It allows me to explore new places on foot (the best way to see new places, in my opinion)
3. It gives me an excuse to pig out on local food
I traveled to the Big Island last month with my cousin, but first we had a seven hour layover in Honolulu.
Instead of sitting around in the airport for seven long hours, we decided to take a bus over to Waikiki. There are two things that immediately come to mind when I reflect back on my brief visit to Waikiki: The water was this beautiful blue color that I will never forget and the place was very touristy. There was high-end shopping and hotels everywhere. I could tell almost immediately that locals probably don’t hang out there. After two brief hours, we headed back to the airport and flew over to the Kona Airport.
My first two days on the Big Island were spent running my second Ultra Ragnar Race – Ragnar is a 200 mile(ish) relay race that takes place in multiple locations across the country. Most teams contain twelve runners, but an ultra team only has six, which means you end up running a lot more. I ended up running about 30 miles out of the 200. It was exhausting, but so much fun. My favorite thing about Ragnar is that you run together as a team. I’m used to running races all on my own, so Ragnar is always a nice change of pace (pun intended).
After the race I had two days to explore the Big Island, which, as it turns out, is not nearly enough time. There is a whole lot to do on the Island of Hawaii and I wish I could have had at least two weeks to explore.
I started off by exploring the Town of Kona. It has a small-town authentic type of feel. There are a lot of fun little shops to explore, it’s located right along the ocean, and it’s the location of my favorite shave ice I’ve ever had.
After that we (my cousin and friend were with me) headed to black sand beach. I unfortunately didn’t see any of the turtles that hang out there, but it was still a beautiful place to visit.
Then, we headed to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I had so much fun checking out the active volcano there. I will distinctly remember watching the sun set over the volcano that night. As it got dark you could see some lava peeking out – it was surreal and amazing. Finally, we ended the day by grabbing dinner and drinks at Kona Brewing.
On our final day of exploring, my cousin and I decided to explore the east side of the Island. We started off by going to ‘Akaka Falls – it’s a beautiful waterfall that doesn’t require an extraneous hike to reach.
After that, we checked out the town of Hilo, but it unfortunately wasn’t quite what we expected. The town was run down and there weren’t many great shops to check out. It felt like the opposite of Kona.
After checking out the town we just drove around and took in the scenery. The Hilo side of the island is so green and lush, unlike the Kona side which is full of volcanic rock. We ended up finishing the day back in Kona (where we went back to our favorite shave ice place) and had dinner.
I left Hawaii the next day feeling like there was so much more to do and I’m anxious to go back in the future. I even signed up for a Hawaiian Airlines credit card to try to earn enough miles to go back. I still haven’t decided which island I’ll head to next time…I’m debating between going back to Maui (I visited that island about four years ago) or Kawaii. Until then, stay awesome everybody and go to Hawaii if you have a chance. I’d HIGHLY recommend it.
This is Libby, writing for Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.