Last Ultra of the year.
This has been the completion of my “Haleakala Trilogy”.
Run down hill from the highest point on Maui (10,023 feet) to the nearest beach on paved roads. Roughly 38 miles.
FKT does not recognize a downhill only route so it’s not “officially” on the list, but I did it for my own accomplishment.
Because I already ran the up and downhill
Phases, I kind of knew what to expect. But with any Ultra, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.
Especially with Haleakalā at 10,000 feet, the weather can change in 5 minutes. I was prepared for blistering sun, to potential snow.
What I wasn’t prepared for was not being let in the park between 4 and 7 a.m. without a reservation. ??♂️ More on that later.
My plan was to start at 12 a.m. to complete the run in 18 hours. That would give me just enough time to be back before dark. The weather report was calling for rain all day and night so I planned accordingly.
This time I had support so my truck was loaded with coolers, change of clothes, extra shoes, jackets, rain gear etc.
The first 27 miles are pretty uneventful. There is nothing to see in the dark except the white line on the road. I was feeling pretty good with some minor foot pain but the rain held up so I was stoked with 6 hours of dryness.
I set my support truck at 3ish mile intervals. That part gets tricky when you start getting into the windy roads as there is not many places to pull over.
Then comes the ranger station. My driver called me saying they won’t let him in, or anyone without a reservation. Even if I was walking or hiking, no one goes thru without a reservation, which has a 60 day waitlist.
I couldn’t believe they were gonna stop me when I’m just 10 miles to the summit!
It was about 6 o’clock so option 1 would be to wait till 7 when the park opens. That is a long time. I wanted to keep moving.
Option 2 would be to turn it around and run back. Make it a short day.
My mind was playing tricks on me telling me to take the easy way out but knowing how much planning goes into these things, and being so close to the top, I decided to haggle with the Park Ranger to get through.
After a frustrating 20 minutes of trying to explain how we were not tourists going up for the sunrise, and some sweet talking, the ranger let us in.
About mile 30, the real work begins. From 8,000 feet and up, I have a hard time breathing. Lots of walking with short runs. This is also when it started raining.
Normally, the views up there are amazing. Because of the rain, you could barely see cars 100 yards away.
Cold, windy and wet to the summit then back down to the ranger station where it cleared up. Pretty uneventful until I started having some major stomach issues.
Maybe it was the shot of Casamigos I had at the top, or maybe the dried Li Hing Mui mango? Not sure but I couldn’t keep anything down.
With only 27 miles to go, I had to just power it out. I love running downhill and I’m pretty good at it. It was painful to have to walk while trying to settle my stomach. This has happened to me before and it’s something I need to figure out.
As the miles clicked away, the rain would come and go. Around mile 65, my foot and knee started giving me some problems but I was listening to Ultra Marathon Man on audio book so it helped me power thru the pain. ?
The last 2 miles, the sun set and it was pretty dark. I pulled up to Kanaha parking lot and made my way to beach to finish in 18 hours 39 minutes.
As I sit here writing this recap, barely able to walk, I can’t help but recollect on this last year of ultras and FKT’s. Had a lot of fun and some great adventures. Can’t wait to see what 2022 brings!