I recently traveled back to Maui – a special place for my husband and me as we’ve visited and lived there for various lengths of time starting back in 1999. My trips to Maui have occurred during various life stages – from aimless, wandering free spirit to responsible business person, wife and mom. However, one thing has remained constant throughout the years, and that is the 7 mile loop that I run when I’m there.
When I head out on that loop it is always like re-visiting my past with all of the memories of the runs I’ve done there over the years. Regardless of which way you run it, it’s about a 3 mile ascent with a 3 mile descent and one mile of rolling hills. The scenery varies constantly throughout the run, but the fascinating part is that none of it has changed one bit in fourteen years.
I start out by running a short stretch along the highway overlooking the surf before heading up a quiet road lined with trees.
This the most shaded part of the run. Although it’s uphill, it’s a nice way to ease into it. The wind is often at my back going up here as well.
Then I pass the old abandoned high school.
This marks the end of the shade and the paved road but that’s ok as it also signifies that I’m about two-thirds of the way to the mid-point. I can keep pushing as the the mid-point marks the beginning of a long downhill section.
As I run out of the cover of the trees onto a dirt road through the cane fields I now have a great view of the ocean.
I can recall times when I would stop to check the swell here to give an accurate report to my husband and his friends for the surf that day.
Then I make it to the end of the dirt road and the top of my climb and turn to let my legs cruise for three miles into town.
As I relax and run downhill, I’m reminded of my earlier visits here when I was in my early twenties. I now imagine myself running beside my younger self from then and try to compete against her. I wonder if I’m also racing myself from 10 years in the future doing the same loop?
I know I’m getting close to the bottom when I reach the sign for the town limits.
Signs of human activity become more abundant as I pass chickens and cats wandering through the streets.
Then I start to smell the familiar smells of breakfast cooking and I know I’m almost in the heart of the town.
It only takes about a minute to run through the town. Then it’s the final hilly mile home – not my favourite part, I’ll admit, but it’s only a mile.
It’s hard to top this run. I can and do run the exact same route every day without boredom. And when I return, whenever that may be, I’ll do it all again.