O’AHU: Race the 50 States #aloha edition

In planning our trip to Hawaii, I knew this might also be our chance to medal in the Aloha State.  I’m one of those people who runs to stay fit and races for the swag.  The races started locally, then my cousin & I started doing half marathons in other cities. Eventually I got more partners for this madness….my husband Eric, my brother Jack, my cousin Monkey & my friend Donna have all run in different places with me.   I found that combining half marathons with vacations is a bit tough (I still like to enjoy myself, you know) so now I opt for races 10K or more to get my medal from new states.

Some of my favorites have been the Seawheeze in Vancouver (so pretty & fun, even though a bird pooped on me), a 10K in Seattle (for which the race medal misspelled “Seattel”) and the Cherry Blossom Race in DC (which runs by Washington monuments – sweet!)  At this point, the collection of medals spans 14 states & 3 countries.

So O’ahu included many beautiful beaches, a bit of history AND running the Great Aloha Run with 20,000 of our new, closest buddies. Here’s the rundown:

EATS:

Leonard’s Masaladas: This place has been open since the 1950s and their masaladas (aka Hawaiian donuts) are made to order. That means long lines while people wait – for their hot, sugary pockets of fried dough. It was our first stop after we left the airport.

Yauatcha Written up in Eater as one of the 12 Hottest Restaurants and next door to our Honolulu hotel, I was pretty excited to try this place known for its dim sum.  We ordered way more than we should – ‘nough said.

STAY

Tiki Moon Villas – Our North Shore beach bungalow was super cute. Equipped with kitchen, outdoor shower and a bajillion rooster neighbors. This view wasn’t bad either…

Tiki Moon Villa view
Tiki Moon Villa view

Laylow, Autograph Collection– We only stayed at this mid century inspired Honolulu hotel one night. I loved the hula dancer collection at the front desk and the welcome package in our room, complete with flip flops & Hi Chews. It was pouring the night we arrived, so I was also pumped that it was also right next door to the Aloha International Shopping Plaza so we didn’t have to go far for eats.

SIGHTS/TO DO

Oh sure, we visited Pearl Harbor and some real beautiful beaches, but every guide book will tell you about that.

Turtle Bay Resort: My O’ahu research told me this Hilton resort was the best place to catch the sunset on the North Shore. Luckily it was just a few miles up the road from Tiki Moon. Lots of others got the memo too, but it was still worth it for these dreamy colors.

Turtle Bay Sunset
Turtle Bay Sunset

Crazy Shirts: All our trips to Hawaii include a pilgrimage to Crazy Shirts.

The back of one of Eric's new Crazy Shirts (Hawaiian shark design!)
The back of one of Eric’s new Crazy Shirts (Hawaiian shark design!)

These tees are straight up cotton deals with some Hawaii reference – volcanoes, whales, surfboards and for some reason Eric LOVES them. I’ve got to count them when we get home but I’m betting he has at least 10.  He got 2 more on this trip.

Great Aloha Run: This 8.15 mile race is hosted in Honolulu on Presidents Day, starting at Aloha Tower, ending at Aloha Stadium. They could benefit from some improved organization (corrals at the start, signage for medals & shuttles at the end), but the pros definitely outweighed the cons. The highlights:

  • The expo included a concert with kids singing & playing ukuleles. Adorable!
  • A good chunk of the race was in the shade.  Man, it’s flipping hot in Hawaii
  • The people handing out bananas were line-dancing to “Its Tricky.”  Run DMC would be proud.
The cutest expo entertainment ever!
The cutest expo entertainment ever!
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