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The Kauai Marathon Recap

The Kauai Marathon Recap


Whelp, here it goes. It’s been over a week now so I guess it’s time to recap the Kauai Marathon. Holy smokes it was amazing. I loved every single thing about it. It was definitely not my typical race. There was no intent on a PR or anything and thank goodness because it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be.

A full day of travel the day before and being up all night with a few stomach issues wasn’t exactly my normal prerace routine either. But, hey, you give what you can when the time comes.


I went with the black Mizuno outfit at the last minute after not being able to decide what to wear the night before. I did the usual and got ready in the bathroom while sucking down coffee.


Other things I wore: Halo hairband and Halo visor, Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 shoes, Pro Compression socks, Handful sports bra and my SPI belt.


My pre race meal was a whole wheat bagel with peanut free NuttZo and one of those apple bananas I grabbed from the expo.


I took three gels with me. I ended up only using two, but I always take three for marathons just in case.

I had planned on walking to the start which was a little over a mile away, but I didn’t really take into account that it was pitch black out at 5:00 am so I begged Andrew for a ride. I had too many things to carry anyway. Ha.


The start was pretty quiet, but there were enough people around to bother someone into taking a picture. Ha.


The starting festivities were nice. Not too crowded and set up at the parking lot of this cute shopping area.


The Kauai Coffee Company was giving out free coffee again just like at the expo. I love the Hawaiian hospitality and their coffee is delicious!


They also had a huge spread of fruit and bagels and other goodies.


The bathroom lines weren’t too long and the port a potties actually flushed. That was the first time I’d ever seen flushing port a potties.


Right after I used the bathroom it started raining. Then it REALLY started raining and everyone ran for cover.


Oh hey, just getting cozy with a few racing friends.


The timing was perfect. Just as the rain stopped we were told to move to the starting line about a block away.


They did an amazing version of the national anthem and followed it with this awesome Hawaiian prayer. The gentleman told us all to put our phones down and touch each other because we would need each other’s energy for the race. I wish I remembered everything else he said, but the way he said it and sang it gave me serious chills.

After the prayer I looked over to the right and saw this guy.


We chatted really quick. He was running the half marathon with his awesome lady Stephanie.


In hindsight I probably should not have tried to take the picture as the starting sound went off right about the same time. I fumbled my way across the starting line and well, that pretty much set the pace for the race.

I went out very conservatively since it was already warm, I wasn’t feeling that great already and I just really wanted to be careful.

The highlight of the first mile was seeing the family cheering me on. Oh my goodness. Seriously that might have been one of the best moments. I ran over and gave them a high five. It was awesome seeing Andrew, Tutu and the boys out there. The boys were still in their pajamas which made it even better.

Here are Andrew’s pictures.


As soon as I passed them I figured all would be good. I could do anything for the family.

It was hot and humid, I was having stomach issues and I was tired, but overall things felt okay since I was already starting out slow.

Things were actually pretty good until about mile 5 when I got sick and had to make my first stop.

It was then that I started questioning whether or not I was going to switch to the half marathon at the turn around. It was also then that some serious doubts started setting in regarding being able to finish this whole thing.


I was having issues with my phone as the GPS and the music kept stopping. I usually wouldn’t care too much, but I knew I was going to be on that course for awhile and I was going to NEED that music.

Fiddling with it so many times gave me a chance to take some pictures through my Ziploc cover though.



I made sure to stop at every single aid station. They were great. They had cups of ice and water and electrolyte drinks.

The other really cool thing was that a lot of people were out just in front of their house handing out water and oranges and other things. The Aloha Spirit was everywhere.

At mile 10 I decided I was going for the full. That’s where the half marathoners were turning off and I went right instead of left. There was no turning back.

Right about then there was a very long, hot, quiet hill. I mean REALLY long, quiet and hot. I was thinking if something happened to me that I’d be alone out there for awhile. After I started wondering if I was still on the right course, I heard a few runners behind me.

One guy came up right beside me around mile 12 and I looked over. It was Dean Karnazes.

I said “Oh hey Dean” like we were good friends or something. Funny. We’ve met a couple times, but I doubt he remembers me.

He said “Keep it up sister”. (Or something like that. Honestly I’m not quite sure exactly what he said, but I know he called me “sister”.)

I told him I was struggling. He told me that he was too and that he was having a hard time in the heat.

Then he said that he always tells people to “celebrate the pain” and that he was living out his own words. I like that outlook, don’t just celebrate the finish or the completed journey, but the celebrate the pain and the hard work and the struggles along the way.

Thanks for that mid marathon inspiration Dean. There he is up there in the blue shorts.


I tried to keep up with him for awhile. It didn’t last too long, but long enough to witness him eating a yogurt tube someone handed him at an aide station. I’m not sure which was more weird, the fact that Dean was eating a yogurt tube while running or that they were actually handing out yogurt tubes on a marathon course. Yogurt or dairy products never sound good when you’re running 26 hot miles.


Tutu’s family is pretty well known around the island. I passed the family Medeiros Farm around mile 17.


I stopped to chat with some relatives for a bit there and they gave me a whole cold bottle of water. I don’t know how long I stood there and talked, but I knew if I stayed any longer I would never start running again so I went on my way.

There were a couple shady areas and a few downhill portions after mile 18. There were still a few climbs and lots of the course was still in the sun, but at least there were a few breaks thrown in there.

It was nice around mile 21 when everyone watching kept telling us we were on our way home. Ahhh…. home. I COULD NOT wait to get there.

I always put things into perspective at mile 21 also and tell myself it’s just like watching a short Parenthood episode now to get to the finish. Piece of cake.

At mile 22 I realized my calf was starting to cramp up. Ugh. Not again. I was very careful with my steps and foot placement because I knew it would just take one step for my calf to cramp up big time. I was not going to let myself collapse with a calf cramp. There was no way.


They gave out wet towels at the last aide station at mile 25. I stuck that wet towel in my shirt and ran with it the rest of the way pretty much.

Oh man I was struggling really hard to get to that finish line.

When I saw the 26 mile mark on the ground (yes, this one) I wanted to cry, but instead I just loudly said “Thank God”.

Slowly, but surely I made it across that finish line.

I almost didn’t post this video on here because even Andrew said that of all the marathons he’s seen me finish, this one looked the toughest. But, that’s all part of the journey AND the fact that I got high fives right there at the end from the boys in freaking Kauai, well, that pretty much was all I needed to remind me that I was living a dream.


That’s right. There’s no mistake with that time. My official finish time was 3:53:37. That’s right up there with my slowest marathon time ever, but I did it. I ran the Kauai Marathon.


It was amazing. Where else are you greeted with hula dancers at the finish line?


They had a nice area where finishers could get massages


and a little finishers party set up on the other side of the street.


The boys got to grab some chips and I did everything I could to keep standing and fight off any calf cramping for a little longer. Turns out it was just enough time to get a quick picture.


These poor guys waited for me for a very long time.


We made our way to hang out by the entertainment for a bit at the finishers party.


I sucked down a Vega Sport Recovery packet.


Then I realized the whole calf cramping thing was not going away so I decided to go visit the physical therapy tent before I was laying on the grass all cramped up and such. That just would not have been a good thing.


Thank you Hawaii Sports and Balance Center for saving me. I don’t know what this board is called, but it did wonders to stretch out my calves.


I also don’t remember what this guy’s name is, but he pretty much saved the day also.


Thank you sir for making it possible for me to walk the rest of the day.

Back at the festivities we met up with our cousin Megan who ran the half marathon as her first ever half marathon.


I checked the stats and realized that I got 2nd in my age group so obviously we had to stick around for awards.


We were going to anyway since our bestie Bart was doing the awards ceremony.


The boys were so excited to finally meet Bart in person and were wondering why he wasn’t wearing the same shirt or why he didn’t have a big head like “Mommy’s treadmill coach” (aka Flat Bart).

They had to escort me to pick up my special plate.


Do you see the lady in the pink?

She was THE WINNER of the entire marathon. Yes, a woman won with a time of 3:00:25. It was a pretty big deal that they had a female overall winner. Talk about an inspiration. Shoot.


I already miss Kauai, the slow life there without anything to worry about and the awesome Kauai Coffee which they just happen to be handing out at the end of the race also.


We could not get enough of that over there.I sucked down a couple of those and had to get one for the hubs too since he made the long walk back to get the car for us.


Other random things about the marathon I forgot to mention:

The course is BEAUTIFUL. It starts and end in Poipu. The have a marathon course video here on their website. I don’t know the exact elevation gain of the course, but I read that it’s similar to the Big Sur Marathon. It felt harder, but that might have been due to the heat. There are some other great course photos here.

It’s on out and back loop course where you run through the famous Tunnel of Trees towards the beginning. You really get to experience and see a lot of the island. I was surprised I didn’t see more chickens along the course, but I did see some horses.

There were about 1800 marathon runners.

I had one GU and one Vega Sport gel along the course. Other than that I had a lot of ice water, electrolytes they were giving out and a bite of a popsicle at mile 23 or so. A few times I just ran with a cup of ice water in my hand.

The spirit of this marathon is amazing. It has such an island/small town feeling. Everyone is friendly along the course and they’re just hanging out in front of their houses cheering people on.

I’m already trying to convince Andrew we have to make this an annual thing and that we should start planning next year already. I We just have to get there a day earlier so the boys can run in the fun Keiki Run that we missed this year. He he.



I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but there you go.


I went into this race just wanting to finish and have an amazing time as a family afterwards. That’s exactly what happened. My time was a lot slower than I thought it would be, but nothing hurt afterwards so I was extremely happy.

This race was a life changer. I really had to fight for this one and find out how strong I could be. I’ve been dealing with a few medical things over the past 6 weeks or so, so just getting through this was one heck of an accomplishment.

It wasn’t just the race that was a life changer either. It was the whole experience of just resting and relaxing and slowing life down afterwards with the most important people in my life in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

It was a dream come true.

If you haven’t put The Kauai Marathon on your bucket list yet, I think you really need to.

Heck, maybe I’ll see you there next year!




Thank you to The Kauai Marathon for the opportunity to race the race of a lifetime.

Thank you to HumanX for being the official sponsor for this race.

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  1. 1
    Tracy says:

    You’re so inspiring, Kristin! Thanks for the awesome recap. Sounds like an amazing experience! You should definitely plan on it for next year!!

  2. 2
    Ashley L. says:

    Congratulations, Kristin! Sounds like an amazing race. I’ll have to be there for it next year!

  3. 3
  4. 4
    beth says:

    Hi Kristen!

    I noticed you mentioned medical issues you’ve been dealing with…I’m curious to knkow what exactly you’ve been facing? I just ask because I’ve been dealing with some issues myself and I would love to hear your advice on working through medical problems without compromising your running. Thanks so much!!

  5. 5
    Kim says:

    I hope that you recovered quickly and truly enjoyed all of your time in Hawaii!!! Bummer that you had stomach issues and ended up sick during the race – that’s never fun!!
    Great job on that 2nd AG!!!
    I like Dean’s words of wisdom – celebrate the pain. I have a feeling that I will be doing a lot of that tomorrow:)

  6. 6
    Tricia says:

    Congrats on your finish! I really liked the part that you included about your conversation with Dean. That was very inspiring and spoke to me. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. 7
    Heather says:

    Congratulations on conquering such a tough marathon! And also a huge congrats on your division win!!! It looks like an absolutely beautiful marathon sorry that you were having some stomach issues along the way and some cramping with the heat. I have had a few tough marathons like that before and just to finish feels like a big victory no matter what my time is. Great job!

  8. 8
    Catherine says:

    Congratulations! You inspire me always!

  9. 9
    MichelleB says:

    Wow, you rocked it! I’m going to remember what Dean said and try to tell myself this when I’m having a hard time. You are a strong woman! Seriously. The half marathon started well for me until I got to the hill at around mile 5.5. I had to walk it and then it was all walk/jog from there. 🙁 But, the locals who came out and cheered, hula danced and handed out water were amazing! My husband and I will be signing up next year for sure. It’s hilarious because I spotted my husband in your portapottie photo! LMAO! He’s at the furthest blue portapottie wearing a green shirt and sunglasses on top of his head. He was in line waiting behind me which means I’m inside! LOL! I’m still bummed we didn’t run into each other in Poipu but I had a blast! Until next year!

  10. 10
    Lesley says:

    Great race report! What is best is your candor with the situation. I think we expect a lot of “performance ” out of ourselves and there is a lot of pressure to get faster and better. I have been struggling with a medical issue for more than a year and for a healthy 40 year old, a decrease in performance was hard to accept. I want to do what i know i am cabaple of doing. Alas, my body many times has other ideas. The lack of consistency can be difficult. I don’t have sponsors and companies aren’t knocking on my blog door because I am nothing special or fast or noticeable. BUT, I can tell you that having a medical issue has made me hungrier for wellness and hopeful for restoration. My heart of running is SOO much stronger now because every run, good or bad represents the fight I have in me. The fight to become more, to be healthy and to enjoy my journey no matter what. The days I feel my worst, I still run. No time can match the victory as I have achieved a PR in what truly matters. I have not given up, and running is the key. Keep running!

  11. 11
    Monica H says:

    Love hearing about this race and your Kauai adventure. Haven’t done a marathon in 5 years because of recovering from a surgery. This one looks tough , but it’s about the journey. I you have convinced me to make the trip next year!

  12. 12

    Oh how I loved reading this race recap. It brought me right back to Kauai and the race and I wish I was there again now. There are so many things that resonated from your post. It was such a tough course and that hill at the marathon split was a killer. I love what Dean told you about celebrating the pain. I’m going to remember that in Chicago in a few weeks. I also thought the race experience was spectacular. It was just special. There is no better way to describe it. I had zero expectations for the race since I didn’t even know I was running it until I got to Hawaii, but I thought it would be really tough to get under 4 hours in those conditions and hills. So proud of us that we both did it and so impressed by your time given your stops. You should be really proud of that. Bart told me after the race that it was really impressive to run under 4 on that course on that day. So yay for you!!!! Thanks for sharing your recap and bringing back so many good memories. Your pictures are all awesome too.

  13. 13
    kendyl says:

    Aloha running family! Looks like a super groovy race! I think I love reading your race recaps the most of all your posts! I am praying for you- for everything you’ve got going on. Hang in there and hoping to hear some positive updates soon.

  14. 14
    Tess says:

    Congrats on a speedy race and an amazing trip with family!!!

  15. 15
    marti says:

    what an amazing recap – looks beautiful!! you are such an amazing person and runner and a continuous inspiration to me. so proud of all you accomplished at this race. it takes a lot of strength to get through something like this. you freaking rock. 🙂

  16. 16
    Brittany says:

    Congrats on the race, what an inspiring accomplishment! Now I’ve started looking up half and full marathons in Hawai’i 🙂 By the way, its a slant board. Its great for stretching and doing eccentric calf raises for achilles tendinitis.

  17. 17
    Laura says:

    Congratulations on your marathon. Sometimes the hardest races are the most rewarding experiences. Glad you were able to enjoy Kauai. I haven’t been there in almost 10 yrs (honeymoon) and desperately want to go back!

  18. 18

    SOOOOO amazing!! Love your recaps 🙂 Congrats on placing in your age group!! And holy moley YAY for the ladies winning the race 😉

  19. 19
    Tracy Carson says:

    Congratulations on another great race! I hope all of the medical issues can be healed with rest and that it’s nothing more serious. Hugs to you, friends!

  20. 20
    Joe says:


    Congrats on finishing the Kauai marathon. Sounded really tough, but you stuck with it. And second place AG is fantastic. The part that really amazes me is that the overall winner was female. Awesome. I wonder if that is the first time that has ever happened? Meeting Dean and unflat Bart must have been great. The only experience I have close to that is when Lance Armstrong and his entourage passed me during the Boston marathon. Speaking of, congrats on your entry. I have to wait until Monday to see if I can get a spot, but I do already have the hotel room booked. Fingers crossed…

  21. 21
    Kanoelani says:

    You are ao inspiring! I miss Hawaii lol! I’m part Hawaiian & I miss it sooo much.ust save & save hahha!! I obviously have a TuTu too hahaha ;-). Congrats lady ur amazing!

  22. 22

    Aloha for days… stay blessed.

  23. 23

    Awesome job on finishing a tough race.
    I don’t think I have ever heard of a marathon having a female overall winner. Love that.

  24. 24

    You are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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