On the Run, By the Sea, In the Park

This trip to Hawaii has been great for my running program. In a place where the weather is pleasant, scenery is spectacular, and trails clear of traffic are abundant, I don’t need much incentive to lace up my sneakers and put in a mile. Or two. Or more.

My lodgings put me near three trails that provide a varied set of runs I can mix and match to fit around my work schedule and mood. Plus, I get to see some popular tourist sights and stay in shape at the same time!

1. Queen Kapiolani Park – A 2.5 mile triangular loop that borders a broad, grassy park dotted with sculptures, ponds, flowering trees and huge banyans. There’s a large concert stage, and fields for soccer and flag football. The Honolulu Zoo is here too, which I will unfortunately not have time to visit this trip.

2. Ala Wai Canal – 4 miles out and back along this beautiful canal that runs through the heart of Honolulu and is a popular practice venue for outrigger canoes. The trail is shaded most of the way and borders a nice golf course and sports fields for a local high school.

3. Diamond Head Road – 5 miles around the base of Diamond Head, a little less if you start past the heavily-touristed beachfront area. Offers some spectacular oceanside views, including the Diamond Head Lighthouse, and you can also see some of the old wartime gun emplacements partway up the seaward side of the crater. I took this picture during my earlier hike to the top of Diamond Head--click on the photo for a larger image. Some serious grades on this road, which makes it tough for the first three miles in either direction, but a nice downhill cruise on the last two. Running this loop was one of my goals for the trip, and I did it a couple of days ago. My self-image is much improved.

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