Aloha – from the Hawaiian islands!

After my race on Sunday, I had to quickly pack up everything and get all my stuff ready for a work trip to Hawaii.  I took off early Monday morning, and after 12 hours of flying time, I descended down into Honolulu.  The good news is I got a CRAPLOAD done during those 12 hours.  Aside from lots of work stuff, I also knocked out a ton of drafts for really solid upcoming posts (all done, yah!) – including:

  • How to race with your Garmin Forerunner/Edge
  • My rant on Sports Photography
  • Long ride hydration
  • …and a whole bunch of other interesting, random or entertaining posts to be sprinkled about the next few weeks.

One cool thing that some United pilots do is to thank some of their more frequent customers.  Upon descent the flight attendant handed me this card from the pilot.   

“Mr. Maker – Thank you for being one of our 100K Flyers.  We DO appreciate your business! –Cap. Shawn Buckley”

The 100K refers to how many miles I flew per year with United – 100,000+.  Pretty cool.  Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference.

IMGP3762 IMGP3763

Now, unlike most leisure trips to Hawaii – being business this one is short.  Only 48 hours. :(  But, I’ve got a busy training schedule to help fill what little off-time I have from work.  And to make matters just a bit more complicated, I leave Wednesday mid-afternoon on a redeye flight to my next location.  But before I leave, here’s what I’ve been up to.

Before I left, I e-mailed Maggs – who lives and trains here in Honolulu to get some ideas for places to swim/bike/run.  She e-mailed back a plethora of options, one of which included joining her for a coached open water swim session with about 20 or so other triathletes.  So early Tuesday morning around 6:30AM I headed out to the beach, just a short jaunt from my hotel.


After a short bit their coach explained to me the rough plan – which included a warm-up, then a bunch of intervals – probably 150-200 yards in length each, and I think we did about 8-10 of them.  I was also working through all of the items to focus on from my coach though.

One of the first things I noticed was just how ridiculously clear the water was.  For most of the workout I either stayed on Maggs or someone else’s feet (read: someone who knew what they were doing).  And for at least the first 5-10 minutes I was completely engrossed by the fact that I could ACTUALLY SEE THIER FEET, as opposed to just seeing little bubbles like in typical less-clear water.  Meanwhile I was apparently missing all sorts of turtles below.

So, I stopped watching feet and instead started watching fish and looking for turtles.  A short bit later I swam just over the top of one a few feet below me.  Pretty cool!

After about 45 minutes I had to bail a bit early to go to work, but I took this photo looking back and you can see the group in the distance swimming the next set.


Oh, and here’s me.  I had a blast swimming with them.  Good fast folks to swim with, and you simply can’t beat an early morning swim with a bunch of EXTREMELY friendly people…in crystal clear water.


I also tossed my little Forerunner 305 in my swim cap for the fun of it too (here’s how).  Because I knew the swim would be longer than the 30 minute IPX waterproofing limit the 305 has, I also wanted to use a Ziploc bag.  But I forgot one. :(  So instead I tore apart a hotel ice-bucket bag and accomplished the same thing.  I was rather proud of myself.


And it was well worth that little effort – because the route is spectacular when viewed from above:


And with a larger view of the beach…


So that was Tuesday…let’s move onto this morning  – Wednesday (note, we’re 6 hours behind EST).

Maggs had also recommended that I could rent a bike from Boca Hawaii – a local tri shop.  So I picked it up Tuesday night in order to be able to ride early this morning.  Since my body is completely time-zone-jacked at this point, I was up again at 5AMish, and after lounging around catching up on e-mail for a bit, I finally headed out – though still in the 6-o’clock hour.

First stop was one of the numerous ABC Stores to pickup some drinks for my ride.  These are touristy convenience stores that are prolific here in Hawaii (like literally every 100-200 feet).


After that I pretty much left Waikiki behind and went towards quieter areas along the coast, essentially starting to circle the island.


A short bit later I came upon a group of three triathletes who were curiously pace-lining it (drafting) in aero.


I say curiously because I’m not entirely sure why you’d want to practice drafting on a tri-bike in aero.  Drafting means you work less – so in reality they weren’t really getting the workout they thought they were getting as typically drafting cuts the work effort by between 25-40%. Oh, and they weren’t actually just ‘riding together’, nope – the front two were within inches of each others wheels.  The back girl though was holding her own much better.


Anyways, soon I left them behind and continued on my little adventure.  It was about this point (30 minutes into my ride) that my workout really began.  My coach, Coach Alan, had prescribed 40 minutes of Fartlek action today.  This is where you do semi-random short burst speed intervals to various points in the distance, in my case between 30 seconds and 3 minutes.  My first point ended up being a big-ass hill.  Doh.  But up I went.

Going down I was rewarded with quite a nice view.

I then continued on past some park with a blowhole (that’s what the sign said!).


And finally a bit further to Sandy Beach Park.  Don’t worry, I don’t know where these places are either, I just rode to them and took photos of them.

After finishing an interval I quickly jumped over to the beach and set my camera on a rock and took a quick photo before heading back.

The road here is really rather pretty and a great place to ride, a bit twisty and rolling hills, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable.  None of this ‘go straight on a flat road for 10 miles’ stuff.


I took one last quick detour through Hanauma Bay Park to snap a photo before continuing on.


Seriously folks, based on all the places I’ve gone – this is the best place on earth to train.  And I’m not saying that because of all the touristy thing you can do here (in fact, I haven’t done a single touristy thing here yet, just work and workouts – no beach or pool time), but rather just because the workout options are so awesome and the people are so friendly.  Plus, there seems to be a pretty solid tri/running crowd here.

Before wrapping up my 40 minutes of Fartlek action, I saw one last hill in the distance.  I decided this would be my last interval.

It may look kinda tame…but it was not.  It was steep as crap.  It had 200 feet of elevation gain in just under half a mile.  The grade was 13.7%.  Yikes!

So I attacked it with all I had.  By the time I got to the top, my heart rate was 184 – the highest I’ve EVER seen it on the bike before.  I don’t even have a HR zone for that high.  And I felt like this:

From there, I wandered down into Waikiki for a nice 10-15 minute cool down ride back to my hotel.

All in all – a very solid two days of training in paradise.  And while I didn’t get to enjoy it in the typical sense of a tourist, I did get to do a lot of neat things most tourists don’t get to do.  Oh, and I did very briefly walk out the back of the hotel and snap this photo of the beach…before going back in to finish packing up.


And with that – I biked to work today (it’s bike to work week after all), and now I’m sitting at the airport ready to head off to another ‘exciting’ location.  See ya!


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  1. Awesome that you had your Garmin to see the swim ‘route’. I would be so disappointed in how crooked I swam if I did that.

    I’ve been staring at the picture of the 3 people riding trying to figure out who they are. haha.

    The beach you took a picture of (right before the blow hole) is where they filmed part of “From Here to Eternity” It’s simply called Eternity Beach now. And I love riding that section past Hanauma Bay. Most people take the inside route (the other side of the crater) because it’s a little safer… easier. The north shore is the flat for 10 miles part of the island, but it still winds along the coast so it’s nice to ride. And Sandy Beach is one of the most dangerous beaches in the country. The surf break is so close to shore, but the waves are great for body surfing, so there are a lot of broken bones and necks there.

    And the last hill you rode, Kilauea Ave, we have a way around that so we don’t have to ride it.

  2. Most people go to Hawaii and lay on the beach. You go and bike. Wow.

    But gorgeous photos. I LOVE Hawaii! I’m jealous that you were able to swim in those beautiful waters.

  3. I can see how you rack up enough air miles to be a part of the 100K club! Sounds like you definitely got some quality training in out there. The swim sounds amazing…the bike looks absolutely gorgeous…good stuff!

    Funny how hills look so tame when you take a picture…but really they aren`t…

    Safe travels!

  4. How cool. Those pictures say it all.

    I think I would of had someone pack all my belongings up and ship them to my new home in Hawaii

  5. Jelous is all I can say… keep up the fun training in Hawaii :)

  6. Way to maximize 48 hours on the Hawaiian Islands!! Hope you had at least one delish seafood meal!

    Looking forward to Part 2 of Maker’s Notes from the Road. While long distance flying exhausts me, it seems to energize you!!

  7. A work trip to Hawaii? win!

  8. I’m really impressed with your ability to put together workouts while you are on the road. I couldn’t manage it. You give me hope in that area. Excellent work, and oh yeah, I’m so freaking jealous of your work trips. Hawaii? So how I get Atlanta alot, but never Hawaii.

  9. Kim

    wow that is one beautiful ride! (except for that crapass hill). nice job swimming/biking and sweet pictures!

  10. in North Carolina, ABC store means alcoholic beverage co….and u said you were getting drinks… Just thought id highlight this semi funny wordage. Sounds like you had an awesome time in Hawaii..have a safe trip wherever you’re off to…

  11. I know a lot of people who are dedicated to their blogs … but putting a Garmin in a ziploc and then tucking it under your swip cap to show your swim route? That sets a whole new standard.

    Have a great time in Hawaii!

  12. I’m not envious…jealous..or …..whatever…Hey…who goes to Honolulu on biz anyways?

    Love the photos – thanks for sharing!

  13. awesome shots..ray… you are leading the life young man…

  14. Nice, Ray.

    Good to see the place again. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve traveled those roads.

    And got stuffed into the bottom at Sandy Beach.

  15. Too bad your trip was so short!! But, yes, Hawaii is an AWESOME place to train, esp. the Big Island (but I may be biased :-) Great photos and thanks for sharing your two days in paradise.

  16. Nat

    I love your posts mostly because we never know where you’re going to be posting from! I am jealous you are in Hawaii. Way to get in the training.

  17. I think it’s super the way you make the most of your time anywhere in the world by finding ways to train. And did I say this already? Your new blog template or skin (or whatever it’s called) is so clean and clear. I love the way the pictures have the tiniest bit of shadow/look 3-D on the “page”. It makes them subtly more accessible. Great details. (And of course the pics themselves are fab as always.)

  18. Great post! You are a daring man putting that garmin in a baggy. I would have be scared the whole time of losing it. Smart idea though.

  19. Can I say that I am very jealous?

    Um, well, I am.

  20. What gorgeous pictures! I love crystal clear water.

    How hot was it when you were there?

  21. I took my Garmin to Hawaii, but I did not take the charger. Guess what–it was dead.

    There was a blowhole near Sandy Beach–not very exciting since the surf was rather calm. Where did you stay? I was at the Hilton Hawaii village the last two days there and it was worse than Vegas.

  22. I can only assume from this that United does NOT appreciate my (puny) business. (Yes, that was my takeaway from this post.) Nawww,not really!

    I went to boston for three days and could only manage one crappy swim. There’s your book: “Training While Traveling”

    gorgeous photos, etc. my heart rate hit 198 in the pool the other day. Fail.