As another season comes to an end, I’m taking some time to reflect on all of the adventures I was lucky enough to experience this past summer. From launching our line of organic, plant-based energy gels to traveling nonstop and squeezing in training runs whenever and wherever I could, it feels like summer slipped by in the blink of an eye. It wasn’t until I arrived in Kauai over Labor Day weekend to run the half marathon there that I finally felt like I could slow down, take in my surroundings and soak up every minute of island time.
I’m a firm believer that traveling is good for the soul. It’s both exciting and humbling. It opens your eyes to different ways of life and often sends you back home with a renewed sense of appreciation. This was my first time traveling specifically for a race, and now I’m officially hooked. It’s the ultimate tour of a new city without actually feeling like a tourist!
Kauai in particular was a truly special place to run. As someone who tends to travel solo, there was immediate comfort in landing on the island and receiving such a warm welcome from everyone I met. And since the Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon is a destination race for many people, I had the pleasure of meeting and befriending fellow runners from all over the country at the hotel we were staying at in the days leading up to the event.
The race itself was challenging at times – there were some steep hills and the temperatures began to rise before the sun did – but easily the most beautiful course I’ve ever run. (At one point, I was taking so many pictures that I completely gave up on tucking my phone back into my belt and figured it’d just be easier to hold it for the rest of the course!) What I loved about the format, too, was that the marathon and half-marathon participants all shared the same course for the first 11 miles, and then the half-marathon runners veered to the left to finish out the race, while the marathon runners veered to the right to continue running. It was also walker-friendly for anyone who preferred to walk it.
So now that I’m back home (and still daydreaming about Kauai coffee), I’m wondering where to go next. So tell me, where have you traveled to for a race? I’d love to hear your recommendations!