Posted by: runwithgarrison | September 1, 2013

Tantalus Triple Trek–2 steps forward, 1 step back


Yesterday I hit the local trails for the Tantalus Triple Trek hosted by the HURT crew. Before I start with the race report, I want to explain the title of the post and the 2 steps forward, 1 step back since it accurately describes both the race and the past 3 weeks of training.

It has been 3 weeks since I last posted about the 15K and in the first 2 weeks, I was able to hit the trails several times, put in a nice long run and get my mileage up into the 60’s. After 2 solid weeks, I thought that I would be able to put in a solid weekend at the Tantalus Triple Trek and the Runner’s HI 20k. Then, in the beginning of week 3 (this past week) I started to feel not that great..congestion, sore throat, lethargic and this forced me to take the week off running heading into this busy weekend. On Friday morning, I could barely get out the door for a 4.5 mile struggle around Diamond Head. 2 solid weeks of training followed by a week of illness and junk….

The tantalus triple trek is a 3 lap course throughout the tantalus trail system here on Oahu. It is very tough terrain with plenty of roots, rocks, hills, mud, and amazing scenery. The total elevation gain per lap is around 2418 feet which means total climbing for the day wound up at 7254′. I had some Garmin issues early in the day so my mileage looked a little short and I also think that the race is just a bit shorter than the listed 30 miles. One thing is for sure, no matter the distance, this is a tough race and it gave me a tiny glimpse of what I hope to see if I make it off the wait list and into the HURT 100 in January.

The race started in the darkness at 5:30am and I was stoked to pull out my new headlamp for the first 30 minutes of racing. My plan was to just run even and conservative for all 3 laps. I was not trying to compete with anyone but myself, especially after the fun week of nose-blowing lethargy. I also did not want to dig myself into too big a hole after a week of illness. Over the past few weeks, Jeff and I met with the HURT group to run a few laps on the course and that practice certainly paid off. These trails can be a bit complicated (for me at least) and it was great knowing the loop. I must say that the course was also very, very well marked–Thanks HURT!

Lap 1 went very well and according to plan. I love my new headlamp and I had zero issues with footing. I had to use the lamp all the way thru the bamboo forest and until I crossed round top road to head up the Manoa Cliff trail. The trails were in great shape, unlike myself..I was huffing and puffing on the long climbs and sweating up a storm. I came thru the end of the first lap with no ankle turns, feeling decent in 10th place right under 2 hours. 2 hours was kinda the magic number for me. Heading into the race, I thought I could run 3 laps under 2:10 so I knew I was right on track.

Lap 2 started out well I hiked up the long climb at the beginning of the lap and it all felt like a new trail since it was completely dark the first time I ran up the hill. I was very aware of my pacing and I was starting to feel surprisingly good. I rolled over the top of the mountain, thru the 2 pig gates and onto the really fun downhill on the kalawahine trail. Then, the race changed a bit for me. I took a bit of a fall on one of the short straightaways and I took the brunt of the fall with my face. Yep, my hands were the last thing to hit the ground…Head, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee. I must say the fall caught me by surprise and it hurt pretty bad. As I laid on the trail, I did a quick mental scan to make sure nothing was broken, ran my tongue along my teeth to make sure they were all intact and then I got up to start running again. My adrenalin was really surging and I was feeling amazing!

On my way down the trail, I wiped some sweat out of my eyes and I noticed that my sweat looked an awful lot like blood. Yep, I bloodied up my face during the fall–nice job. I was a bit afraid to touch my face at that point since my hands were completely dirty and I decided to ride out the adrenalin rush and keep on running. I passed thru the aid station on tantalus road and the volunteers did not quite know what to think. I must have been a bit of a site. A few people coming up the trail also took notice of my bloody face and probably thought that I was a total idiot for still racing. Oh well…

I completed lap 2 still in 10th place right around 4 hours. HURT volunteers Heather and Mike refilled my bottle with Skratch and cleaned up my face a bit. They even made an impromptu little bandage to keep the blood out of my eyes—I probably should mention, the small gash is in the middle of my forehead about an inch above my eyes. The hole is a little smaller than a dime. Anyway, in my rush to get back out on the course, I ate nothing at the aid station..This would become a bit of an issue..

I headed out on lap 3 with my adrenalin rush intact and I was ready to crank out another 2 hour lap. However, about 10 minutes into the lap I just totally crashed. I had nothing left in the tank. I think it was a combination of lack of eating, week of illness, and my fight or flight wearing off–All of which were totally my fault. Lap 3 turned into a solid hike and run. This lap gave me a nice bit of insight as to how I might feel while running the HURT 100.

I finished up around 19th place in 6:38. After the race, Heather cleaned the dirt out of the wound and I sat around for a bit with the HURT crew. They put on a great race and I hope to hook up again with them soon. I spent the rest of the afternoon laying around and listening to Pauline make “massive headwound Harry” jokes. The plan to race the 20k this morning was scrapped around 8:45pm when I decided that I could use the rest a little more than a slow 12 miler.

Next on the agenda….Noble Canyon 50K in San Diego on September 21. Hopefully, I can get in a few solid weeks of training and have a nice run. I always love going to San Diego and I hope to hang out with friends and family there.

P training update–Pauline is starting to run again and is happy to be out and about. She even went back to her favorite..Koko Head and cranked out a 20 minute effort on the climb!

Gear note..I picked up a pair of Hoka know the ones with a double midsole that a bunch of ultra runners wear. They look funky and I was a bit skeptical but wow they are awesome. I have put a few runs in them, including the triple trek. They are my new ultra shoes of choice.

Happy Birthday Garrett and best of luck to Tyler McCandless today at the Kauai Marathon.

Happy Running




  1. Enamored still. Stay upright bro. Hoping for your Nor Cal big finish here in Rocktober!!!!

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