An emotional rush

LIHUE — Knocking out miles at steady, quick splits satisfies that competitive edge. It’s different than the game day rush playing Division 1 soccer at Duke University, but a sporty jolt of adrenaline not too unlike those playing days.

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of features on Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon participants leading up to Sunday’s race.

LIHUE — Knocking out miles at steady, quick splits satisfies that competitive edge.

It’s different than the game day rush playing Division 1 soccer at Duke University, but a sporty jolt of adrenaline not too unlike those playing days.

“I still miss soccer, of course, because it was a huge part of my life,” said Lauren Tippets, who played center midfielder for the lady Blue Devils from 2003-2007 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

But graduation forced her retirement, and to fill the void, Tippets had to find something. So she picked up a pair of running shoes.

“I love it,” the UCLA business student said. “It’s made me miss soccer a lot less.”

And it turns out, she’s pretty good at it.

The 30-year-old Tippets will be on hand Sunday to defend her title as the fastest female finisher in the Kauai half marathon. She won it each of the last two years, clocking just under 1:27.

“It’s always nice to win,” she said. “But for me, it’s just important to have a good race.”

The California resident splits her time between school in the south and living and working on an organic farm in the Bay Area.

She ranks the Kauai race as one of her favorites. As far as the scenery though, she said she can’t really enjoy it on race day, because of the self-inflicted pain that comes with running 6:30 splits. But she does enjoy it when she tours the course before and after the run.

“It’s hard to enjoy it at the beginning when you have 13 miles ahead of you,” she said of the course she rated an 8 out of 10 on the difficulty scale because, in part, of the steady climb up the Tree Tunnel.

“The hills, then you have the weather,” she said of the course’s two greatest obstacles. “It’s really hard coming from here because there’s no humidity and there’s no real heat here.”

Still, her family plans their vacation every year around the race, so they’re here for the starting gun.

Tippets, who logs 50 to 60 miles a week training, is shooting for a 1:25 finish, which would match her PR.

It’s a goal that has her competitive twitch going — so much so she has to remind herself not to get caught up and start too fast.

“It’s hard because I get excited,” she said.

It can almost remind an athlete of the ol’ playing days.

“I think they do compare,” she said of running and collegiate team sports. “As emotional highs, they’re both up there.”

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