Run #9 & a centipede bite – Puako, Hawaii

Back home in Portland, it’s difficult to drag myself out of bed. I still get up early, but it’s a real struggle. In Hawaii, however, I’m basically springing out of bed by 5:30am so that I can start the day.

Although we see many insane inspiring runners along the 50 mile stretch of highway from Kona to Kohala everyday (probably training for Ironman), my plan of action is to hit the road by 6am or the sun is too brutal for me. While we typically stay in Kailua-Kona, this time we ventured to the much more secluded town of Puako.

I’m still trying to figure out how to transfer my runs from my Apple Watch to my Nike+ app so here’s a map instead, but I logged a couple runs along Puako Beach Drive, both between 3.5 – 4.5 miles.

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Although there was very little shoulder, there were also very few cars (less than five passed me both mornings) and mostly passed other runners and walkers (and a friendly duck).

After deciding the road was safe and getting a feel for the terrain, my plan was to finish with a 6-mile run on our last full day. But this is where the story takes a turn…

It was Saturday night, and we had spent the day lounging by the beach, reading and napping – and then finished up with heaps of a Hawaiian plate dinner and a sunset swim.

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As the perfect day was wrapping up, I was walking through our dimly lit backyard and felt something scurry over my foot. As someone who detests unidentified crawling things, I kicked out and sent my flip flop flying, but then felt an intense sting on my other foot. I kicked that one out, too, and instead of sending my other flip flop into the air, I saw a giant slithering thing land onto the porch-lit grass.

I ran inside screaming. Cue mass confusion for my husband and two friends. Was it a snake? Something else? While my foot began to sear with blinding pain, one person frantically found me ice, and another tried to find the number to Kaiser. Ever the huntsman, my friend, David, ran out back with a flashlight and discovered a centipede right where I left it.

Long story short, I was rushed to urgent care as my foot ballooned in pain, and upon being wheeled into the hospital, a staff member (who looked more like he belonged on a surfboard than in a hospital uniform) remarked, “Centipede, huh? You did Hawaii right!”

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But seriously, look at that golden brown tan.

Having traveled extensively to Hawaii my whole life, I had never heard of these predatory centipedes. I’ve been stung by jellyfish, had a couple run-in’s with wild boar, and had a mongoose steal my sandwich, but never this. Needless to say, after a cocktail of benadryl, ibuprofen, and hydrocodone, I was not in the mood (or condition) for a six mile run.

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Although I was bummed to not run anymore, I still managed to get on a paddle board the next day. My dad insists that my return visits to urgent care are indicative of my active and adventurous lifestyle. “Most people spend all day never leaving the couch,” he said. So ok, I’ll accept that label – but next time I’m in Hawaii I’m going to watch where I step very closely.

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