We came to Oahu's North Shore on holiday with close friends to celebrate and relax, but many of us were also weeks into our marathon training plans with lofty goals set for the fall. 

We knew that this wouldn't be your typical beach vacation; it wouldn't be all suntans, waves and drinks on the beach. Our training plans didn't seem to care that we were spending some time in paradise and thus we still had to put in the work. Thankfully one of us had been to this area many times and knew some great spots to run. That doesn't mean we didn't do some exploring, just that one of us always had a good idea how to get  back.


We learned rather quickly that we needed to avoid the hottest parts of the day, so we'd rise early in the morning for runs. Knowing that all of our runs would finish with a soak in the ocean made all the difference when setting the alarm for early o'clock. One of our mid-distance runs took us up a long winding road to Puu O Mahuka Heiau, a religious temple site that dates back to the 1600's with incredible views out over Waimea Bay. The tree lined road to the temple offered some coverage from the sun which was a welcome change. Sometimes avoiding the sun and its heat was impossible like on our Sunday long run in Mokuleia.  We knew the sun wouldn't show any mercy on the long stretches of open and flat road but they were great for maintaining pace and would eventually lead to a beautiful trail and the western most tip of the island. The view didn't disappoint even if a few of us came close to death to get there.


For speed work we hit a track at Kahuku High and Intermediate School, in the town of Kahuku. Circling it would leave our shoes and legs covered in a red grimy film like we had been training in Iten, Kenya. Like those who travel to Iten, we, without really noticing, had turned our vacation in the sun into our own mini training camp, but I'm sure our schedule involved much less running and way more beach time.

While most of our down times was spent in the ocean, on the beach or eating we did spend one early morning climbing the 3,922 stairs and 2480 feet of elevation up the Haiku stairs. This wasn't your typical off day; after a 1am wake up call, climbing through a storage drain, sweet talking a security guard and surviving the wind and rain we were rewarded with an unforgettable experience and view. Pictures or words cannot come close to doing it justice.

Some may think that vacations and marathon training don't really go together, and it does in fact seem difficult to do both well, but we some how managed to find the perfect balance of laying on the beach and getting out for runs. Having your good friends and travel companions also be your training partners makes striking this balance much easier and way more fun.