Hawaii is often referred to as Alaska’s sister state. Probably because they’re the 49th and 50th states, and Alaskas LOVE to go to Hawaii. Alaskans do travel to California and Arizona to escape the winter but not like they travel to Hawaii!
This past week I had the opportunity to travel with my work, Skinny Raven Sports, with 16 other people to the Big Island–specifically the Kona area. This was my first time on the Big Island (aka Island of Hawaii). Prior to that I had traveled to Maui three times with my family.
We arrived in Kona late Sunday night, and friends had told us about the wind storms that had hit the island earlier than day. I also found out about the snow on Maui! (On the top of the inactive volcano–Haleakala.) It was too dark to see anything when we arrived, so the lush green of our vacation rental when we woke up was a beautiful surprise.
Naturally, the first thing I did when I woke up on Monday was to go for a run. I had mile repeats on my schedule for the day, so I went for a run along the ocean since it was flatter there. I did a 3 mile warm-up with some friends, and then completed the 4 x 1 mile repeats on my own. While I personally loved the warmer temps, I definitely struggled to hit my paces in the 70+ degree temps and slight humidity. It was fine though because I was running in Hawaii!
Monday afternoon we spent some time at Waikoloa Beach and then watched The Bachelor back at our vacation rental.
Tuesday we started our trainings with The Mann Group who specializes in working with retail employees–especially those who sell outdoor and sporting items.
It was surreal working pool-side every morning in the Hawaiian sun, but we learned a lot about communicating effectively with our coworkers, working to get to the bottom of tough situations, the importance of maintaining the same standards for all employees, and we also practiced real-life situations.
Tuesday afternoon, we headed to Waipio Valley for a “hike.” It wasn’t so much a hike but a walk down a very steep paved road to the beach. Once we got to the beach, we waded in the water, took some pictures, and admired the views. Then it was the steep hike back up. It was about a 1000 foot climb over a mile, so it was pretty intense, but we took it slow and steady.
Wednesday and Thursday morning were some more trainings followed by trips to the beach.
Wednesday we went to Mauna Kea Beach, which was my favorite beach we visited during the trip. I loved the iconic white sand beach that stretched for several hundred feet and a gradual drop-off into the ocean.
Thursday afternoon I spent just a little bit of time at Magic Sands Beach before heading out for my 11 mile run with 4 x 8 minutes @ tempo. My tempo pace goal was 6:25, but I knew I would probably have to adjust that with it being the afternoon and warm and windy. I ended up averaging 6:38 for the tempo portions, so I was happy with that–especially since the effort was there.
Friday was our last day in Hawaii. We got up, packed up everything, and then headed to Two Step Beach for one last beach day, plus some snorkeling. I enjoy snorkeling, but I get cold really quickly. (ie I’m not even warm to begin with. Ha!) But it was still enjoyable to soak up one last day of sunshine and warmth.
I hadn’t had a salad all week, so for lunch on Friday, this salad from Lava Java totally hit the spot.
We then walked through the shops in the downtown Kona area, showered, and had one last meal together as a team at Kona Brewing Company before heading to the airport to fly back to Anchorage all night.
It was a great trip, and I feel so fortunate to work at a place that values their employees and is able to do fun trips like this, which they have talked about doing for years! And even if this trip would have never happened, I would still love where I work!