Saturday, September 30, 2017

Sunrise from the Summit...

I'm writing this right now on an hour of sleep and a deep fuzz thanks to a sucker punch from
elevation.  The thing is, if I don't write while everything is fresh the moment will pass me by, like our recent "Sea to Summit" run that ran away because I was too fuzzy to jot it down.  I owe it to myself to recall & record my HURT100 adventures as a reminder that I get to live out a dream very soon and it should be enjoyed on the way to the start line. 

At midnight, under a black sky cluttered with stars Kawika, Pat, Justin, and I began our trek from Saddle Road to the tippy top of Mauna Kea.  I think that's about 6,000ft to13,677ft or 23 miles. I'm not exactly sure where I got my incredible sense of climate knowledge from but it sucks.  The guys had on pants and I had on shorts not much bigger than my underwear.  We all froze, but I froze more.  32* pretty much became my giant.  Every single run I force myself to face a giant of some sort on my way to HURT100.  While I don't know exactly what to expect over a single 100 mile run I do know to expect the unexpected so I'm preparing like any blonde runner from Big Island would do, I find ways to get comfortable being uncomfortable.  

The first 17 miles was pretty runable, I mean joggable.  We slowly gained some elevation and slowly began to lose our minds.  Once we got to the jagged lava rocks that blended in so nicely with the night sky everything felt surreal.  I mean, shooting stars were dancing, smiles were parading on our faces despite the icicles hanging from our noses, and we knew a sunrise would be happening once we reach the top.  Mauna Loa is the world's largest active volcano and we certainly got to feel her charm.  She's just beautiful!  I haven't been on top of Mauna Loa in 7 years because the last trip was in the snow, during a blizzard, and I declared "once was enough" to poor Kawika during that 6am sunrise.  Except everything has changed now that I'm in HURT100, I have to face giants, remember? So we returned and I managed to become much more appreciative because of it.  

This trip was cool (even without snow this year) because we found the ice cave!  Maybe you haven't heard of if, that's alright, you're not supposed to know about it because Scientists are trying to keep people away from it as it is the world's most isolated ice cave.  If people explore it too much (other than it being dangerous) we have the potential to create heat in there and Scientists won't be able to further study the environmental issues of the islands.  Also...little microbial communities are hiding in there.  I've known about it for awhile now, the adventurer in me can't help but to "explore more" and I convinced Kawika that we should find it one day. we did.  And we went in just enough to know that was the spot by the markers with green tape labeled "ice cave".  I wanted to cry, as it was always a bucket list goal of mine to find it!  Kawika is born and raised Hawaii who adopted me as his Hanai sister 15 years ago and has been making sure I know every drop of the island as well as he does, so if he thinks it's okay to go-I go. Honestly I can't thank him enough

for every single mile we have covered all over Big Island, he's just such great family, he's even the one who taught my little sister to drive stick! I have a feeling he's also the one Mikey trusts most to keep me safe on the edge of volcanoes when he's stuck at work...

The entire Mauna Loa experience, from the company, to the shooting stars, has me just so thankful that I get to call Hawaii home.  It really is the most beautiful place I know, it has a way of tugging at my heart strings and reminding me to never let life just pass me by.  And I love better because of living here and having these incredible experiences, they let my heart stay wild.  

Before I end this summit sunrise I better make a quick note about our sea to summit two weekends ago.  Yes, that was another summit right across the street from Mauna Loa. We ran 46 miles from Coconut Island in Hilo to the tippy top of Mauna Kea, the world's tallest sea mountain.  That one was another night practicing with my headlamp.  I pretty much want to throw those things after about 3 minutes with them, but I'm learning to appreciate lamps on my head as if I'm a unicorn shining out a light stick.  We began at 3am (talk about getting my sleep deprived training on!) and stumbled to the summit about 10 hours and 45 minutes later.  While Mauna Loa wasn't freezing thanks to arriving in the afternoon, the elevation did a number on me.  Two of the miles at the end were the closest to delirious I have ever been.

  Ranger Bruce kept a close eye on us which gave me comfort should the sign holding me up actually fall over and I roll down the mountain.  I'd never run that far ever in my entire lifetime, so my giant that day was definitely the distance. Sincerely, these moments have become the reasons I fear becoming complacent in life, should I miss them it would surely be the death of my wild at heart.

Run Happy,
Bree xo

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