Today is day 4 of 5 in our Hawaiian odyssey. Yes, tomorrow we fly home to the still cold and rainy mainland (from what I have heard). The weather here hasn't been COMPLETELY idyllic, but can you really complain about 80 and slightly cloudy? (Or perhaps voggy.*)
We got here on Friday, after a long day of flying (I inadvertantly booked us on a flight with a change in Honolulu). We were beat enough that all we had energy for was a delicious dinner at Huggo's. Thanks to getting up at 4:30 a.m. and a three hour time difference, we crashed early. I valiantly tried to stay awake for awhile but gave up at 7:58.
One thing about the time difference, it makes getting up at 5 a.m. to go running a breeze! I've been out at 5:30 the last three days. Sunrise is at 5:45 but it's plenty light earlier. Tomorrow I'm not going to run, because I need to rest my legs (I'm tapering, really). I might go for a walk though. I feel the need for some movement before spending 8 hours in air travel (with layover).
Saturday - 7-ish miles out and back on Ali'i Drive. This was our most humid day and walking out into it and running was like running in a bowl of warm soup! I seriously reconsidered any desire I've had to run the Kona Half Marathon (or marathon) which is at the end of June. It was actually quite a relief when it rained and drizzled off and on. Average pace for this run was, I believe, almost exactly 10 minutes.
Sunday - This was my (medium) long run day (11.5 running miles). I didn't want to overdo so close to the marathon, but I also wanted to log some miles. I also wanted to run the route of the Kona Half, which I did, short about a mile. I ran from our hotel along Ali'i to the starting line by the Outrigger Resort (about 4 miles one way way), then back, then north through Kona to what I estimate was about half a mile or so short of the turnaround, then back toward our hotel. I stopped running at 11.5 miles to buy mangos at the Farmer's Market, then walked the remaining half mile to the hotel. (Laden with half a dozen mangos, a loaf of banana bread, diet coke from the ABC Store, and finally two coffees from Java on the Rocks, I BARELY made it to the room!) Not sure of my average pace but I expect it was around 10 minutes. (That is for running, not including grocery lugging.)
Monday - 9.15 miles (further than I really intended). What I wanted to do today is finish the portion of the half that I left out yesterday. I calculated that to be five miles out and back from the front of the hotel. Then I could add a mile or few along Ali'i as I wished. The nice thing about this route was that the 2.5 miles "out" were all slightly uphill, which meant I could cruise back down. It worked like a dream. The portion along Ali'i was more hilly, but still I kept going as far as the Living Stones Church (almost two miles from the hotel). Hence my 9.15 mile total, average pace 9:40.
Other than early morning running, we've been rather dedicated sightseers in our rental car. On Saturday we drove all around the island, to Hilo where we had loco moco at Blane's Drive-In for lunch and exchanged our car because we had a tire with a slow leak. On the way back we drove through the lava fields but didn't take the time to actually go into Volcano National Park.
We had another lovely dinner at Huggo's (fresh catch was ono!) and they were so kind, giving us free dessert because we'd come there two nights in a row. Warm chocolate tarts with vanilla ice cream, oh my.
On Sunday we drove down to Captain Cook (an actual town) and had the famous pork chop for lunch at the Manago Hotel. This is a very unfancy hotel with good plain food and a pork chop that has gained some fame.
Then we went to the Painted Church, a wood-frame old Catholic church that was painted inside to replicate a Spanish gothic cathedral. I loved it; this short stop was one of my favorites.
Finally, we visited the City of Refuge, another fascinating historical spot. In their shop I bought a copy of Mark Twain's Letters from Hawaii, which is compiled from his reports when he visited the Sandwich Islands as a writer for the San Francisco Examiner. Rod's been reading it--starting with the 100 or so pages about the Big Island--and from the excerpts I read it is both witty and informative. (And I could say the same for one of the books I read while we've been here, My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster. Hysterical!)
Today we drove around the north end of the island and ended up in Kawaihae (where, incidentally, Mark Twain sailed from to return to Honlulu--I have just been told). Our main goal in Kawaihae was lunch at the Harbor Inn. This is the home of the best loco moco** Rod has enjoyed. In the interest of exercising my better judgment, I ordered a delicious grilled ono (fish) sandwich. This is one of my favorite things but I have to admit to gazing hungrily at Rod's plate after I finished my sandwich and he was still working through his pile of food!
We abandoned further sightseeing after that to return to the hotel for some beach time and a little swimming (well, bobbing in the water). It's been pretty cloudy but now, at 5:00 as we're thinking about packing it up, the sun has finally made a showing.
Dinner tonight will be at Quinn's, near the King Kamehameha Hotel at the other end of town. This place was recommended to us by the manager at Huggo's who so kindly treated us to dessert. So either it must be a good restaurant or he has a business on the side. :)
*Vog = volcano fog, which is what sometimes occurs on an island with an active volcano.
**Loco moco = rice topped with a ground beef patty, gravy, and fried eggs. A light lunch.
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