Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hapalua take 2

I keep telling myself I’m going to start blogging again and I have very good intentions when I write a new post and then months go by and……crickets…..hopefully now that race season is starting up again I can get back on track. Not that what I have to say is very important or anyone reads this stuff, but it’s fun when I keep up with it.

I haven’t raced since October! That’s a long time to go without racing when you love to race! I ran part of the Honolulu Marathon with AJS and decided to call it quits early and spent the rest of the morning walking with RR, while she was taking her 6-week break from running, so that doesn’t really count as racing. A lot has happened since then and I’m excited to get back on here and start writing again.

The short version: wake up wayyyyyyy to early, drive to town, warm-up, pouring down rain, laugh about it, run soaking wet, drenched and happy, get a PR, catch up with friends, eat a malasada, drink some coffee, head home to spend the rest of the weekend with friends from out of town.

An early season race to get ride of the cobwebs: The Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half-Marathon. This was the second year of this race and they formatted it a little different than they did last year. Basically, they invited 3 super fast Kenyan runners once again, the reigning world record holder, Patrick Makau, (2:03:38), Jimmy Muindi and Nicholas Manza. In the Chase, the best local runners from Hawaii get a head start on some of the best professional runners in the world. The elites will chase down the local guys and girls to the finish line. In the end, Team Hawaii prevailed.

I woke up early, 415 for a 6am start. It had been raining ALL night long and I woke up to no rain, but wet roads, no big deal. As soon as I started my drive over the Pali into town it started pouring, still not concerned, it ALWAYS rains driving over the Pali and wouldn’t you know as soon as I dropped back into town the rain stopped. I found a parking spot, attached my number, grabbed a GU and some water and started walking to the start. I ran into a few friends on the way and decided to get in my warm up with them. I tried to convince one of them to run with me, but he didn’t like my plan so he bailed. No biggie, I was planning on running alone at my own pace anyways!

I get to the start line and it’s about 5:55, five minutes until go time, they start singing the national anthem and………the skies open up….it starts pouring. I have never been caught outside in such a downpour in my life. The rain pellets were HUGE and they totally water-logged me and 2000 of my closest friends. The only thing left to do was laugh; I was soaked, completely drenched and ready to run! At least I didn’t have to worry about dodging rain puddles in the streets I was already so wet it didn’t even matter.

Dry and blissfully unaware that we were about to get soaked!

The gun goes off and it’s go time, race time. This was the first race of the year and I always want a PR, it’s hard to not want one when you are a competitive person, but I was realistic and know that it is early in the season, I wanted to be in good form, not top form, not yet. I made it a point of not looking at my exact time from this race last year, but I knew in the ballpark where I was, I didn’t do the math on what it would take to do what I wanted to do, I just didn’t want to know, I wanted to race and be fast, but not know specific numbers. Well as soon as I started running I did a little mental math and figured everything out anyways. There goes that pre-race thinking. Going sub-1:30 is something I would like to do in the near future, but it would have been a long shot for this early in the season with the little half-marathon specific training I’ve done. I knew I could be close to a PR and wanted to be in the low 1:30 range. So I went for it.

Just took it a mile at a time; with the pelting down rain and pitch-black dark of the early morning the first few miles flew by and before I knew it I was 10k in, I only looked at my watch at the 5k and 10k marks, in those beginning miles. This is the first time, in a race, that I didn’t look at my watch every time it beeped at me each mile and it was kind of nice. I wanted to start off pretty quick and be able to hold on as long as possible, but was a little nervous about falling apart at the end. Raul told me to take it light post to light post, and that was what I did from 10k on, well maybe a little further than light post to light post, but when it got tough that’s what I focused on and what kept me going. I knew as soon as I got to the hill at Monsarrat, I’d be golden. Everyone I’d talked to before the race and even people racing kept saying they dreaded that hill, call me crazy, but I kinda like it.

Monsarrat and 3ish miles to go. People start falling apart running up that hill trying to get to the other side (probably because they have been psyching themselves out the entire race instead of embracing the hill!). Then you get a little downhill reprieve, the final uphill to the top of DiamondHead, downhill toward the park and the last turn to the finish.

I had been eyeing this girl ahead of me in bright orange shorts all day; just don’t let her out of sight. I gained a little bit of ground on her heading up Monsarrat and then climbing to the top of DiamondHead. We passed two other girls on those inclines. Then she took off down DiamondHead. I think I better work on my downhill running, I can run uphill, but then everyone always runs past me on the way back down. I made the final turn into the park and this street is always, always, always the longest street ever. I had nothing to lose at this point so I just went for it! I passed one more girl in that last ¼ mile and PRed this course by almost 2 minutes and got a new Half-Marathon PR as well.

Half-Marathons are not easy. I can go out and run 14 miles any given Sunday and feel fine the next day, but racing 13.1 is a bit different. I was sore yesterday! I started this day wanting to have a strong race. I knew I had put in enough training to have a solid run; a PR was an added bonus. I would LOVE to run sub 1:30 someday soon, but that will take a little more half-marathon specific training. All-in-all a great morning and an excellent start to the 2013 season!  

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