Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Honolulu Marathon 2011

Pretty much sums up how I was feeling the last 5 miles

This might be a little lengthy....

First and foremost…I did it! I wanted to BQ and PR and at the end of the day, well morning, that’s what happened. Maybe I didn’t get there exactly as planned, but I got there. One of these days, I promise I will be able to stick to the plan throughout the entire race.

 “Nobody said it was going to be easy, they just promised it would be worth it”
Definitely a marathon/long distance racing quote, at least in my mind.

Dave and I decided to get a hotel room for Saturday night to avoid having to wake up at 1am, eat, get ready, drive the 30 minutes into town, find parking and huff it to the race start.  I thought this would alleviate some stress….we ended up getting caught in traffic for 90 minutes on our way to the hotel, great, just what I wanted to be doing, sitting in a car instead of laying in bed resting.  We decided to take a break and get out of the traffic for a while, so we grabbed an early dinner and then headed over to the hotel. We got upgraded, no big deal….

Checked in, went to the shoppette to get a few more supplies because what I already had packed just didn’t seem like it was enough.  It had been pouring ALL day on Saturday and the weather forecast called for rain all day Sunday, so we bought some ponchos. My plan was to wear the poncho to the start so I could stay dry for as long as possible and then as soon as the race started ditch it and deal with the rain. (at least it wouldn’t be hot if it was raining right?). Anyways, supplies purchased, up to the hotel room, bags unpacked and laid out for the morning so I wouldn’t have to think about anything, compression socks on and feet up.  The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and doing some last minute mental prep (maybe some words with friends thrown in there as well, because honestly, who can fall asleep at 8pm).

2:45am came quickly. Got up, looked outside (not raining yet, excellent), ate my breakfast (banana, Luna bar, dry cheerios (I tried to eat them with peanut butter, but I can’t stomach peanut butter, I know I’m weird, but I just don’t like it) and some EFS) and got my race gear on and ready to go.  By the time 4am rolled around Dave and I were out the door and on our way to the start. We planned on meeting our friends, right at the race start, but apparently it takes a bit longer to walk to the start than anticipated, whoops. We got there, used the restroom, saw a couple of friends, the fireworks started and we were off (the start this year was much more anticlimactic than it was last year, partly because we didn’t have much time to sit around and wait)!

Dave and I found Aaron right away, awesome, great start. Kissed Dave bye and Good Luck and then we took off (After the race Dave informed me that we really did just take off, sorry, but you gotta do what you gotta do). I don’t really have anything significant to report for the first 12 miles (although, right at the beginning of the race, the course takes you through downtown Honolulu and you run past the Honolulu City Lights, which is Oahu’s Christmas light display, it’s super cool to see and since it’s still o’dark thirty, it’s fun for the 2 minutes you are running past). These first miles absolutely flew by, as I knew they would and I wanted to make sure I was controlling my effort and keeping it super easy because a marathon is a LONG way to go and I didn't want to get ahead of myself too early. I was pretty consistent: Average  7:57/mi. Perfect right on track, just as planned. Feeling great, staying positive, the miles are flying by at this point.

By this point the race has turned on to a 4-mile stretch on Kalanianaole Highway and we hit a wall of 20-30mph winds (no joke, seriously they were that strong!). I did the best I could at ducking behind people, but it’s hard when most of the people that are running around you are tiny. I saw Joy and she blocked the wind for me for a few miles. Thanks, that was great! Then it was a little Hawaii Kai loop, it definitely seemed much shorter this year than last year, which is a good thing. At the end of the loop I saw Michelle which was super helpful as well. She was wearing a “be relentlessly positive” shirt and that’s exactly what I needed to see at that point in time. She and her shirt are what got be back down Kalanianaole to the gas station. Pace update: Mile 13-21: Average: 7:44/mi (maybe a bit fast, but the plan was to work in 10ks and increase the effort as the race progresses, in retrospect I probably dropped the pace a little too quickly, lesson learned) And this is where it gets interesting….

I made it to 21 and started feeling it, by the time mile 22 and the gas station came, you could taste the finish line, but there was still A LOT of work to be done (mainly climbing back up DiamondHead…yippee!). Some lady that had been running near me for the past few miles had a friend/family member/spectator hand her a coke at the gas station and I seriously almost asked her for a sip of it, coke would have been awesome at this point in time. Note to self: next time you do a marathon, bring a little water bottle of coke so you can have it at the end when you need to dig deep, it’ll be just want you want/need to give you that extra push that’s totally necessary at this point in the race. I digressed.

From the gas station there’s about a mile in Kahala (torture) before you start the climb (even worse), at this point I had yet to stop, I was running through all the aid stations wanting to get as far as possible before I walked an aid station (maybe that was part of the problem, probably not though??). I get to the base of the climb, with a wicked cramp (it might have started at the gas station and I tried to ignore it and concentrate on my breathing and form hoping that would help, no dice). At the base of the climb, I spotted a point in the road ahead and told myself to run to that point then I could take a 20 second walk break, well I made it there and then saw the sign for water up ahead, now just get to the sign and the aid station will be there and you can walk the entire aid station. When you get to this point in the marathon you, well at least I have to start playing tricks on myself to keep the feet moving.

This is where it gets bad, once I started walking, I didn’t want to run again and the cramp just kept getting worse and worse. I kept getting passed by more and more people. It’s not fun. I’m not quite sure how, but eventually I made it to the top of DiamondHead and mile 25, I did not stay “relentlessly positive” (that’s something I’m going to need to work on for sure), I wasn’t in a good mental place, at this point, all I could think about was coke, wanting to walk, coke, why people do marathons anyways, they are not fun, coke and really just wanting to be done. I’m not sure how I willed myself to make it to the top given the mental state I was in, but I did.

At this point, my quads were on fire, I had one mile to go and I just wanted to finish. I wasn’t about to walk down DiamondHead so I started running. Maybe I can make up a bit of time I lost run/walking up the mountain. Once I got to the bottom of DiamondHead there was less than a mile to go and it was close to being the longest 1200 meters I’ve ever run. I finally made it to the home stretch, the last turn into Kapiolani Park; I hadn’t looked at my watch in a while because it was just discouraging. I saw that I had a little less than 5 minutes to make it to the finish which was less than a ½ mile away. I can run 800 meters in 5 minutes, I know I can, I’ve done it a million times (well maybe not a million, not even close, but enough times to know I can do it). That last stretch of road was miserable, long and painful. I could see the clock and the finish and I knew I could and would do it. All the training and time I’d put in, I wasn’t about to give up, “Nobody said it was going to be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” I crossed the finish line in 3:34:07. A PR by 11 minutes and BQ!

That was my second marathon and I thought the second one would be easier than the first, but I should have known better. I had no expectations last year, it was my first marathon and I just wanted to finish happy. This year I had more to think about and more I wanted to accomplish, I think I did a pretty good job, but I also don’t think I will ever be 100% satisfied with any performance.  Even when you have the “perfect” race/game/performance there is always something that you can work on to make yourself that much better and that’s what I like about sports and that's what keeps us pushing to make ourselves better.

Dave also finished! He completed his first marathon!! So proud!

Thanks for everyone that was out there cheering all day, running with friends for a while, handing off snacks and drinks and helping get everyone to the finish line. It really was a great day and I’m super happy with how it turned out. I can finally walk like a semi-normal person (I might even attempt a short run tonight), but that’s a marathon for you and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


  1. Great RR, Lectie! Congrats again on your PR/BQ. Well deserved. Tough run out there, I know that feeling of struggling through the last 10k, but way to stick with it and finish it. Very impressive, you showed a lot of strength out there. Boston 2013 - here we go!

  2. Well just think- the marathon in Idaho will be so much better b/c they will have tables offering you COKE every single mile. ;) Congrats!!!

  3. I am glad that I was able to snap a photo of you on the course. Tinman

  4. Well deserved! Congrats... Now the fun begins!