Running the Queen K

I like to do my last long run one week before the race, which is usually a Sunday, but Kona is on Saturday so I did my run a day early.  Courtney dropped me off at Target so I could run down the Queen K to the Natural Energy Lab and back to Target.  90 minutes, about 11.5 miles.  

Before the run.
 It was a hot day, but not brutal hot.  The sun was shining, but the clouds were rolling in.  Every day we've been here clouds have formed in the mountains and slowly moved into town in the afternoon.  It's been disappointing because they keep ruining the sunsets.  I'm hoping to see a great sunset over the Pacific Ocean while I'm here.

Anyway, the sun was shining at the beginning of my run which made for a hot run down the Queen K.  This is where I welcomed the cross winds.  They help cool you a little.  The clouds rolled in toward the end so that cooled things a little (not much though, which was good because I need to get acclimated).

The thing with the heat out here, it seems, isn't the temperature so much (it gets up to around 85-87....not that bad, really) as the sun beating down and heating up the blacktop and the black lava rocks...not to mention the sun is a little more intense here than it is in Wisconsin.  When the winds would briefly die down, I could feel the heat radiating up and it was stifling.  

I've always been under the impression the run course out here is pretty flat.  No.

Elevation profile of most of the second half of the run course.

The route I ran.

This picture wasn't taken during my run, but it shows the lava fields.  It's basically just black lava rock out there.  In fact, there's one stretch on the bike course past the airport that is nothing but black rock for a while.  It's desolate.

The lava fields.  People write things (mostly names) with white rocks.
My run was decent, but as usual during my taper my legs felt sluggish.  I know it's going to happen.  I expect it.  Yet it still plays mind games with me.  Later in the week my legs should come around and feel good.  

One thing I learned on this run is that the run on Saturday is going to be tough.  This course is hillier than I expected and it's going to be hot.  I'm more impressed with the low 2:40s run times some of the pro men run.  I knew they were doing that in the heat, but I was under the impression the run course was pretty flat so it was just a matter of dealing with the heat.  But that's not the case.  Most of the hills are very gradual so it's not like you're climbing steep climbs, but they wear on you and grind you down. Luckily, I've been doing my long runs the past 6 weeks or so on a very hilly route so hopefully I'll be able to handle the hills.  The heat?  We'll see.  I did a lot of hot trainer rides in the basement and hung out in the sauna before I came over here, and I'm doing my workouts in the afternoon heat out here to try to acclimate. 

It's going to be a tough day Saturday.  That's becoming very evident.  I hope I'm up to the task.

Right now, it's 6:40 am and I'm writing this post on the back deck of the house we rented overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The waves are rolling in, people are already running down Ali'i, and I'm about to head down to the Pier to swim.  


Fitness Freak said...

All the best for your Run, Nice photos to support your blog.

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Mandie Hayes

xl pharmacy said...

this is one of the most great competitions in the country...let me guess you are one of the contesters? incredible!!! you are my hero you know, I can't even think in take part of this, well maybe if I trained by entire year for this.