Monday, January 30, 2012

Hawaii Marathon - State #19 on my Goal to 50

Sunrise view at the summit of Haleakala
     Hawaii was my 19th state marathon, which I decided to run on the beautiful island of Maui.  I arrived in Maui a few days before the marathon, and continued to prepare for the likely higher temperatures I would be running in by drinking plenty of water and avoiding too much sun.

     Race morning I woke up at the lovely 2am hour, got ready and left for my 40 minute drive to the finish line to hop onto a shuttle bus to the start.
The Maui Ocean Front Marathon is a bit smaller, they started out by reading out a few stats and giving props to some marathon veterans who were at the race.  Then they had a Hawaiian blessing for us and the race, with individuals dressed in native attire blowing Conch shell's and then some singing in the Hawaiian language.  Then they took us to the start which was just fire lit tiki torches lining the road, then I believe a Conch shell was blown to signify the start of the race.

West Coastal View
     Then we were off, started off down some steady downhill.  I had to pace myself to keep from going out too fast, because I don't usually warm up before a marathon, I like my first few miles to be the warm up period...
By mile 2 we were right next to the coast, and even though it was completely pitch black dark it was neat listening to the crashing waves on the shoreline.  I was worried about tripping because I couldn't see the road at all, thankfully the roads were great and no problems there.
The first few water stops were okay, but I noticed right off that the less than 1/2 an inch of water in the cup they were handing me wasn't enough.  I knew I may not feel the need for the water at that point, but knew I would need it later when the sun came up.  So by the 3rd water stop I began grabbing two cups instead of one.  Unfortunately, even with two cups with so little water in them it wasn't much.  Then there were a few stops that they were out of water, and I had to drink some other drink that left a nasty after taste (in my opinion).

Waterfall in the National Park
     Around mile 7 running past the central part of the island, the wind kicked up something fierce and of course we had to be running into it head strong.  Man, this took SO much out of me I cannot even tell you.  I had to run just over two miles in this and the only good thing at this point is the sun hadn't quite came up over the mountain just yet.
By the time I rounded the corner I was exhausted but loving the fact that I now had the crazy strong wind at my back, and running downhill felt effortless and then coming into mile 10 the gradual uphill felt flat because the wind was as a helping hand pushing me up.  I was still really enjoying the run.  The sun was up, and the Ocean was turning from gray to those several shades of blue, it was absolutely beautiful.
Waterfall at the National Park

    This was one of those times where all good things have to come to an end.  As I approached the several miles of the climbing up the coastal cliffs, the fierce wind kicked up and was again right into my face.  It was like running into a wall, at one point it almost stopped me right in my step.  Tucking my head down to avoid dirt from getting in my eyes, I pushed on.  The water stops, had continued to either be out of water/cups all together or not handing out much...  I guess the officials just didn't plan ahead for cups, and the volunteers not filling them well, wasn't helping.  If I was taking two cups to get by at some, I know I wasn't the only one.  So because of that, it makes sense why they ran out.
By the time I made it to the half way point I was still okay, but I could feel that something wasn't right but couldn't quite put my finger on it.  So I just pushed the thought out of my mind and watched the ocean and the jumping humpback whales in the distance.
Hiking through a bamboo forest
     This marathon, instead of listing the miles starting at 1.  The race started with the .2 and then counted down from 26.  So near 10 miles to go, things were not going well, and I could feel myself slipping.  It was the oddest feeling, something I had never experienced before.
I pushed on, but could feel my body wanting to just shut down.  It was weird, almost like I knew my body could handle pushing it more, but it just wouldn't react and nothing I could do would change it.

     Shortly after that, that is when things went from bad to worse.  Frankly, I don't remember much of those last 10 miles, only bits and pieces.  I literally lost my mind, and I think it was my subconscious which was making my body continue on.
I was having a hard time keeping upright, and I am pretty sure I wasn't running/walking at this point in a straight line.  I believe this went on for a few miles, I seriously don't remember much.
Somewhere between miles 8 and 7 to go, I saw and heard an ambulance rush by me, then another and another, I think I counted five and that is when I came too a little and realized I was in BIG trouble.  More than anything I didn't want that to be me getting taken from the race and I just wanted to finish.
Lava Sea Cave at a black sand beach

    I remember praying, a lot...  And then somehow I had these moments in-between the loss of my mind that made me alert enough to do what I needed to do.  By now, when I would get to a water stop, I drank the water because I knew I needed it, but I remember having to force it down me.  I had slight stomach cramps which may have been the reason I didn't want to drink it...  At this point hate to admit it, but I was pretty out of it.
The sun was beating hot now on me and had been for a couple of hours, and hitting me straight in the back with 85+ degree heat.   The only good thing, I remember the wind at some point was no longer quite as strong as it was before.

There was this lady, I called her the blond in the blue dress lady.  She had been cheering along the entire course.  At first I just figured she had a runner behind me, and she would ride her little motorcycle ahead a few miles and wait, and this was the reason I kept seeing her.  Sometimes she handed out  boxes of chocolates, and others she just smiled and cheered and said really nice things to all of us runners.  You would have thought she was there to cheer you on, so I eventually remember looking forward to seeing her along the way, and having a short chat.  Eventually I learned she didn't even have a runner in the race, she was just out there to support our group of runners.  (Wonder if they had people do that along the entire course, for all the different paces???)  However, I thought it was nice.
Even when I was losing my mind, I made sure to try and smile at her and say something to her...  Even though I was out of it, even I knew deep down if people see you doing badly they can alert officials and have you pulled from the race.
As bad as I was, I didn't want that to happen.
Even when for the first time EVER in all my 26 marathon history I wondered HOW in the heck I was ever going to finish.
Couple of Spinner Dolphins

     It was very bad, I "Hit the Wall" for the first time "for real".  I thought I hit it once several years ago.  I may have a little, but now I know what it really means...  It means you are done, finished, your body is exhausted beyond your control and there is little you can do about it.
Even though I was pretty out of it, during my coherent moments I would remember what to do, how to get my body to go.  Dug deep and pushed my stride a little more. (Of course that is what I think I remember doing or telling myself to do, the reality may have been a bit different.. I just don't really know for sure.)
I remember having to do a stride change it in short burst increments, and I did this for I remember vaguely the last 6 miles of the race.  Other than that, and remembering the heat I don't remember almost anything else of those miles.
View from a south beach

     Finally I do remember seeing the 1 mile to go marker, and there is just something about that point, you know you will make it even if you have to crawl.  (thankfully I didn't have to crawl:)  But I am sure I was a pathetic sight as I trudged along.
As I crossed the finish line who was there to congratulate and greet me?  Well the blond in the blue dress lady.  They must have been talking about me over the intercom system and about my marathon's because I remember her saying "Oh my gosh you have ran 26 of these?"  I wanted to be nice to her, but I seriously didn't know how much longer I could stay standing.  I remember thanking her, and telling her I enjoyed her cheering along the way.  Someone else put the medal around my neck, I don't even think I looked at them..
I feel bad now, because I really like to thank the volunteers who assist, but oh well...
Sunset Beach View

   I was REALLY glad at that point I had decided to wake up earlier and drive my rental car to the finish, because if I had, had to walk and take the public bus system...  Well I doubt I would have made it.
When I did reach my car, I was in no shape to drive and even totally out of it, I knew that.  I seriously had no idea how I was going to find my hotel, strange sort of feeling of being out of control with your mind.  It's like being drugged or something, I hated it.
I took a while to just sit and regroup, and then figured if I used the GPS and had someone (thing) telling me where to go (even as simple as it was to get back) I could drive.
Now, I don't recommend driving as I did, I was probably a hazard to myself and others.  But what can I say I did it...  I just remember every time the fog started to come in my head I did as I would just shake it off, and tell myself don't drive off the cliff and stay between the lines...  It was crazy, I remember nothing else other than I passed a group of dolphins, at least I think I did...
Iao Needle State Park

     Well that was it, now as to what happened.  Well it took me a few hours after I got back to the hotel I passed out a for a bit, then woke up and started drinking water again then more rest, then more water...  Well after a phone call to my dad, he knew right away what happened to me.  I of course was a bit dehydrated, but I also had early stage heat exhaustion...  All my symptoms and crazy thinking fit....

By evening I was doing much better, and was doing everything I needed to, to get the kidney's functioning normal again... Of course it took well into the 2nd day to get rid of the horrible headache..  But other than a very sore body all was good!

Lush coastal lava area
     If you had asked me at the end of the marathon if I was going to do another, I am not sure what I would have told you.  But thankfully now, I am 100% back and ready to continue with my goal.
I now have 19 states completed and 31 plus D.C. to go and I am excited to continue on!!!!   This race was an experience, one I have never gone through before and lets be honest, one I hope to NEVER have to go through again!
So all I can say to the next state, Bring it On!!!
Black Sand Beach

     Maui is a beautiful place and I couldn't help explore it, hike it and discover some of it's hidden treasures.  So for fun I have included several of my favorites from some of the pictures I took.
In addition to the Marathon, I woke up at before dawn to visit Haleakala National Park and watch the sunrise.  Such a beautiful experience!!!
I went diving in a Coral Reef at the Molakini Crater, and visited the beautiful red cliff Island Lana'i and became surrounded by pods of spinner dolphins.
I saw dozen's and dozens of humpback whales, both up close and in the distance.  I even got to see a bunch of green sea turtles swimming.
I went Hiking in Haleakala National Park to see beautiful Waterfalls.  Took the drive on the long road to Hana, to see the breathtaking coastal views and walk on black sand beaches.  Explored coastal lava caves, and hiked to blow holes.
Lana'i Island Cliffs (Dolphin hang out here by the dozens during the day)
I had sunset picnic's at the beach many evenings, while I would sit and watch the hundred's of humpback whales playing around in the ocean.  Just to name a few of the things I did while spending 13 days in Maui.  Of and of course I came back with a great dark tan:)
Sunset

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review of CROSSED

     Since I read Matched about a month ago, I have been excited to read Crossed, the next in the series by Ally Condie.  I literally read it cover to cover while on a flight to Maui.  It passed my flight time quickly and I hardly noticed the near 6 hours sitting in an airline seat since I was enjoying the book so much.
In Italics is the except from the book cover, the rest of my review is NOT a book spoiler for those who haven't read this yet.

"Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his sure death - only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons.  On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion.  But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again."

I have to say when I looked at the map at the beginning of the book, it reminded me of some red cliff area's in Southern Utah where I once lived and spent many of my day's exploring.  I had to laugh later on when I read the "About the Author" portion that said she was inspired by Southern Utah for this book.  Because of this, as I read the book I used pictures of canyon's I have hiked, rivers I have rafted and slot canyon's I have done canyoneering in.
This is what I envisioned
As they went through the
Canyon's and sandstone caves:)

A few things I enjoyed about this novel, was finding out a little more about Ky and Xander's past.  I also loved the continued love triangle, particularly because in my opinion each of these guy's Cassia could choose are both completely different but equally great guys.  Although I will admit I have been a Ky fan since the beginning:)

As for the novel itself holding up against Matched...  Well I must admit although I enjoyed it, mostly because Matched was one of my favorite novels of 2011.  I didn't feel it held up to what I had hoped it would be.  Although it is always hard for a sequel to hold up against a previous best seller.  But with that said, I STILL highly recommend it and you will enjoy the read!

Plus, if you've done any hiking in the red canyon's of Southern Utah, then you'll have several places to reflect on as Cassia and Ky make their journey's through the canyon's, caves and desert plains.  And if you haven't been to these places, well I've attached a few pictures of places that I have been to that came to my mind as I read, feel free to think of these as you read Crossed to bring the pictures a little more vivid in your mind.
This area may or may not be what the author had in mind for the river
in the novel.  But for some reason this is the area I pictured.


Monday, January 16, 2012

My Review of "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"

     I have to be honest, I had received several recommendations from my blog followers to read this book.  Initially, I was all for it since several recommendations rarely lead me wrong.
Of course, when I picked up the book I seriously thought to reconsider.  Just looking at the cover and the back alone, made me wonder what the heck I was about to read.  Although I like to read a diverse types of books, this just didn't appear to be something I would normally enjoy.
However, by the time I finished the first chapter I realized I should know better by now to judge a book by it's cover.

After having read the book the pictures all make sense and I find them perfectly fitting, and actually quite exceptional.  I even got literal chills at one point, I was so involved with the words in the novel and the pictures.  I won't lie I found this novel completely strange, but in a interestingly fascinating way!

Jacob being very close to his grandfather, had been told strange and unusual stories of his grandfathers childhood and past life over and over again for sixteen years of his life.  At one point he decided that they had to be just stories, and although he believed his grandfather suffered a horrific war torn childhood. The tales of an enchanted island of wonder and peculiar and talented children who would remain children forever was just that, a fairy tale.  He let go of his childhood dreams of discovering adventures like his grandfather, and accepted that his life may be nothing of exceptional, just plain ordinary.

However, his grandfathers suspicious death and the horrific images left in his memory of that night and his grandfathers last whispered words.  Leave Jacob a craving to discover the hidden truths of his family's past, and more importantly the truths of an island and it's past or current inhabitants.  When the opportunity and chance of discovery presents itself, Jacob immediately throws himself into it.  He soon finds he never would have imagined the lurking dangers and adventures that are about to unfold.

     Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs was crafted with vivid imagination, tales and twists that will take your mind on an unforgettable quick page turning adventure.  The strange and at times haunting pictures which accompany this novel, will allow you several moments of thought as the stories of the "peculiar children" unfold.
This novel is overall a fairly clean read although I will mention it does have a bit of teenage foul language.  I do think anyone with an open mind and a love to read YA will enjoy taking their mind on a different kind of adventure in reading!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Review of "Carrier of the Mark"

     "Carrier of the Mark" by Leigh Fallon is a creatively amazing supernatural YA novel.  I don't believe in adding spoilers to my book reviews, so feel free to read on!

     Megan Rosenberg ever since her mothers death has lived a life of moving around never staying in one place long enough to find friendships or to even find herself.  That is until she moves with her father to Ireland.  Almost from the day she arrives everything thing quickly falls into place and she feels comfort and excitement as she settles into her new life.  Almost as if this was where she was finally meant to be.  Soon, Megan becomes drawn to a gorgeous guy in her class, Adam.  Unable to keep her eyes off of him, as if forces were pulling them together, she soon discovers that Adam has been having the same feelings and it doesn't take long before they both give into the forces and allow fate to take it's course.

     However, what comes with love also comes challenges and choices.  Megan discovers that higher powers not only brought her to Ireland.  But also brought her to take hold of her true destiny.  A destiny embracing an amazing life and power.  But, that same destiny could also force Megan to watch from a distance the passions she desires more than anything else.

     Leigh Fallon, has created a quite unique novel, with a love triangle that intertwines choices and challenges with love.  If you enjoy a great read tossed in with a bit of supernatural that is hard to put down.  I highly recommend this book!  I myself will have a hard time waiting until 2013 when the 2nd book is to be released.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Hunger Games Book Series Review

Okay, it is true sometimes I am one of the last readers to finally pick up and catch onto a GREAT book series. However, I have made it a goal this year to keep up on new releases, rather than waiting for years...  Of course waiting has its benefits too.  If I had read The Hunger Games when it originally came out, I would of had to wait a couple of years to see how it ends.  This way I was able to read book 1-3 right after each other.

     WOW, I loved this book series and I completely recommend it to anyone.  Not only are the books well written, interesting and full of action.  They combine just the right amount of science fiction with reality.  The first book The Hunger Games, had my attention at every page.  Seriously made my mind go alive and the book ended exactly how I would have wanted it too.  I couldn't wait to start Catching Fire, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.

     After the first book, I thought I had guessed exactly how the series was going to end.  However, Catching Fire threw in a spin that not even I had guessed would come.  (And I am usually pretty good at guessing where an author is going.).  Just as good of book as the first and ends at a great cliffhanger.  Which is why I was really glad that after I read the last sentence, I could just pick up the 3rd book and read on.

     MockingJay, a great book too, but to be honest my least favorite in the series.  I hate the thought of leaving a spoiler for anyone who hasn't read these yet, so I won't.  But I am going to say, MockingJay to me was much more like a book which could easily be a movie on the Sci Fi channel.  It was JAM packed with lots, and lots of constant action (which I loved).  Although, I won't say anything about the book on what happens, I am going to say I did find the ending a little on the sad side.  However, as someone who loves the occasional Sci Fi movie, I understand like most science fiction doesn't end with the "Happily Ever After, Life is Great" ending.  With that knowledge I wasn't exactly disappointed.

Overall, I highly recommend this series, I am always a sucker for a good love story, and love triangle.  It was fresh and different, and even though there is a lot of death and murder.  The author wrote it in a way that didn't leave me disgusted.  Surprisingly all the books were clean and perfectly written for YA and adults.  I am looking forward to The Hunger Games movie that comes to theaters in March!!!