Thursday, December 12, 2013

Honolulu Marathon

This isn't a typical race report. I had my dream marathon for this year, it couldn't have gone better. I'm super excited about the result so I wanted to talk about the good things that happened on race day!

I had a pretty lofty goal going into this, the 41st Honolulu Marathon....3:15 was the goal. I didn't verbalize this goal out loud very much and very few people knew what my actual time goal was. I think I was a little embarrassed to say it out-loud. I knew and believed it was possible given the training I've put in this year, but still an 18-minute PR on a marathon course not known to produce PRs is a lot. But I don't know any better, Honolulu is the only marathon I've ever run (besides Ironman marathons and those are completely different). I order to accomplish this goal, it was going to take near perfect execution, for me, when it came to pace, nutrition and hydration.

But most of all it was going to take mental strength. Physically, aerobically, athletically, etc., I was ready, my body knew what it was going to have to do in order to accomplish this and it was ready to perform, but my head needed to get there...I don't think my head was actually there until right before bed Saturday night (probably not the best mental strategy, but live and learn). I was perusing FB and my friend Karen posted this quote (thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, I can't say that enough, Karen for posting this, I'm pretty sure it's what got me through the race), "Your body achieves what your mind believes." Like I said before, I knew what I was capable of, but I needed to believe it. I probably repeated that phrase to myself, no joke, more than 500 times on Sunday. I wrote it on my hand on Saturday night just to be sure I wouldn't forget after having repeated it for 3 hours, I don't think I'll ever forget it and I hope I don't. It was the single most helpful, positive phrase that's ever helped me get through a race.

I wrote some other things on my hand as well...key times I wanted to hit/be close to at certain points in the race. Every 5 miles I had a time goal I wanted to be near. And when I hit that goal, I simply wiped if off my hand. Ticking the miles off and wiping them away. I've never been very good at pacing so I thought that this might help...and it did (thanks Michelle for the suggestion). Focus on what's ahead and not what's already done.

Another thing I wanted to do during this race was keep smiling, when I felt a twinge of pain or wanting to be done, wanting to walk, hopping on a bike to get to the finish, or any negative thought that would detract from my final goal, I forced myself to smile. I probably looked like a crazy person out there at some points running down the street with a huge smile on my face, but if I was smiling I was trying to trick myself into feeling great and enjoying the day, "What the mind believes, your body achieves."

I high-fived every kid/volunteer on the course that asked for one. I didn't go out of my way, but if I was running by and a kid had their hand in the air, I slapped it! If they were offering water or Gatorade, I took it. I didn't always drink it, but I took it and the little kids that were handing out water, begging people to take it, were super happy when I did (well, at least I thought they were, I could have been delirious).

One section of this race that always gets me is the looooooooong section through Kahala and then the slow climb up DiamondHead (before that there was the BOCA aid station with salvation Coke, thank you ladies! and Glen, I think you were there too!! Then Joy and Doom at the gas station with a backup Coke that came with me almost to the top of DiamondHead. Thank you, thank you, thank you!). Back to Kahala....I told myself pre-race that no matter what I was NOT allowed to be negative through this section and by no means was I going to allow myself to walk, even through the aid stations, even if I was on goal pace and had time to spare and could still walking and no being negative. You know what, it worked, I didn't walk and I stayed positive, "what the mind believes, the body achieves."

After cresting DiamondHead and having a little over a mile to go, knowing I was going to have a huge PR, the major stitch in my side was a minor concern. I was too happy to let a little cramp get in my way. I made it to the finish in 3:16.26, and 18-minute PR and have never been SO SORE. I sat down under the showers and didn't want to move, I finally composed myself and was able to congratulate and celebrate with everyone else that was finishing.

Training for this marathon was no easy task, it took a lot of hard work and support from others. I couldn't have done it alone and it sure wouldn't have been as fun. Plenty runs that I did NOT want to complete, runs that I dragged people on (they did NOT want to do them), early wake ups, hot runs in the middle of the day, track sessions, wet rainy runs, hilly runs, you name it. Thank you to everyone that was there on those runs with me, Aaron, Gary and Michelle suffered through the majority of them with me, so thank you! Thank you Raul for believing in me, telling me what to do even when I didn't want to do it and helping me believe in myself when I thought your idea of a 3:15 was nuts! Thanks Mom and Pop for being there for the race! And everyone else who was there racing and doing what we love, if you were out there on Sunday, congrats!

Now it's time to relax and celebrate!

"What the mind believes, the body achieves"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Give Thanks

November is the month of thanks, I guess it's my turn to jump on the bandwagon...I think we should be thankful year round, but if it takes a specific month to make people sit back and reflect on the important things in life then I guess that's ok too.

I've learned a lot in the past year and a half and first and foremost is (if you know me, you've probably heard me say this a million times in the past year, sorry!) that if you want to be happy in life, you need to do what makes you, yourself happy. If you aren't happy, you can't and won't be able to do anything for anyone else and you will be a miserable person to be around. You can put a smile on your face and pretend everything is rainbows and butterflies, but the people who really  know you will know you are faking it and once you are able to make that change you will truly be able to be happy and enjoy life.

Enough of that, in no particular order these are some things that I am thankful for this year:

  • My Family...they are always there for me no matter what: happy, sad, mad, ugly, tough, stressful, joyous, no matter the occasion or mood, they are always there (even when I'm having my crazy girl moments)
  • My Friends...both near and far...they too are always there for me no matter what and will give me their honest thoughts opinions even when I might not necessarily want them and for that I am (now, finally) grateful. 
  • My Health...getting up every morning and being able to do pretty much whatever I want to do is something I used to take for granted, but as I get older and become more aware that the world can and will throw anything to get in your way at any given point in time makes me appreciate my health
  • Hawaii...I'm so lucky to be able to call Hawai'i home, I've been here almost 5 years (wow!) and although Hawai'i is very far from my family and friends back on the mainland, I can say that I am 100% happy here and have created a Hawai'i Ohana that I truly treasure 
  • The little things...sleeping in, walks on the beach, a real note in the mail, cuddling, sunrises and sunsets, swimming in the ocean, home-cooked dinners with friends, sunrise runs....
There are so many things to be thankful for and these are just a few. I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Gobble, Gobble

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kona Spectathlete

Last year at Kona, I had the most amazing group of supporters (not all pictured) out there cheering me on, enjoying the day and days leading up to the race and being 100% supportive...this year it was my turn to be on the other side of things...
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed that I wasn't racing, but Kona isn't going anywhere and neither am I! 

There was huge group of people I knew that were racing Kona this year, which makes it so much more fun to be a super spectator!!! I've been at/watched this race for the past 4 years and this was by far my most fun experience! It's so much better when you have multiple friends racing and people to look for, makes the looooooooong day of running /biking around searching for people go by faster and is definitely much more enjoyable. Having raced last year, I was looking forward to watching the race with a different mindset, understanding a little bit more what this day is all about

The few days leading up to the race were typical pre-race days. There was a lot of reminiscing and relaxing. I got to see friends that I haven't seen in forever!!! Yay!

They were spent lounging (see picture), checking in, resting (see picture), doing tune up rides, runs and swims and staying hydrated and cool for everyone that was racing. I on the other hand did a little lounging and LOTS of running and swimming. I swam almost everyday in the crystal clear waters off the Kona pier with 1000 of my closest friends and ran 20+ miles, in very few days, all over Kona town/Ali'i Drive and more in the wee hours of the morning before the heat, there was even a little INSANITY (not sure how I feel about that) going on in the driveway of this girls' house (check out her race results Leslie DiMichele F 25-29. AMAZING! 4th AG, sub 10-hour Kona!).

Saturday is a long day for everyone involved in the process, volunteers, athletes, families, coaches, friends, significant others, EVERYONE. I signed up to be a volunteer this year and am so happy I did! I got to be in T1 and had an amazing spot on the pier to watch the swim start, no pushing and shoving and jockeying for's pretty much the same on land as it is in the water when you're the one racing...but not if you volunteer in T1! Having done my fair share of races, I can say that without the volunteers, races wouldn't happen, so it was nice to be able to give back while I was on the other side of things! My job was to hand out blue bike bags to a specific section of athletes as they exited the water and ran into the changing was a bit stressful!! But check out the unobstructed, not crowded spot us volunteers had on the pier to watch the best-of-the-best start their days!

you see that kayak? her sister was attached to the
kayak by a rope and she swam the whole course
pulling her sister in the boat!! AMAZING!
After handing out bags and re-racking them, I was off to become super spectator! What a day the athletes had out there, they couldn't have asked for better conditions. It was a bit warm on the bike, not hot, warm and it most definitely cooled off and the weather and temperature they got for the marathon couldn't have been more perfect. The bike had about as close to zero winds (I didn't say no winds, just very few, not the crazy cross winds and typical headwinds at times) as they could get which made for some somikin' fast bike splits. The bike portion of the race is pretty uneventful if you're a spectator, so we camped out in a hotel room and watched the live feed until the pros got back into town.

Seeing the pros come off the bike and start their marathons is beyond impressive, some of them make it look so effortless. The run is where it gets exciting as a spectator, you can track your friends and run all over the course trying to find them! I suggest bringing a bike or a beach cruiser if you want to cover more ground and see more people. I spent some time on Kuakini, Palani and out on the Queen K during the run and it was somuchfuN!

A few pictures from the run....
Run, Kimi, Run

Always a smile for Mariane! And she ran a sub 3:30

The women's champ

Got that monkey off your back now!!



These photos are not all inclusive...just the few I had on my phone, while at the computer.

What a great day out there!!! I loved being able to watch the best-of-the-best. Congrats to everyone that raced and finished...what an should all be very proud of yourselves.....until next time...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Favorite Run

I've done this run a handful of times in the past, but now since I live less than 5 miles away, I think it's going to become a go-to weekday, after-work kind of run.  It's hilly, there's no traffic, it's peaceful, it's hilly, it's beautiful and it's the botanical gardens. Who wouldn't want to run when you can run in a place like this!? It's gorgeous!

It's the "off-season" now, at least for swimbikerun-ing. Living in Hawaii it's hard to find an off-season since it's nice year round and unless you set an off-season for yourself, I think you run the risk (unless you are careful, have knowledge about what you are doing and why, have a coach, etc) of training hard year round and running yourself into the ground, digging yourself into a hole and having a tough time getting out, just my own thoughts. So now, for me, it's time to build strength, rest and get ready for the marathon...nice off-season right!? I think so. 

Anyways, back to my new favorite run. I think I might have blogged about it before, but I can't find it and it's not worth looking since I know Michelle has. She's got some pictures in her post, but actually being there and running that road is what makes it such an incredible run. I have yet to make it down/up, not really sure, to this little lake that is tucked back in the gardens somewhere, but I will make it there soon! Doesn't just seeing these pictures make you want to get out there and going for a run!? I sure want to and I was just there last night.

If you ever find yourself on Oahu and want a nice place to run, off the roads, away from the congestion that is Waikiki, I highly recommend checking out Ho'omaulhia Botanical Gardens on the Windward Side.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hana Relay

I've been in Hawaii for almost 5 years and have heard about this little race that happens over on Maui in September...the Hana Relay. I've always been intrigued, but never actually thought about putting a team together to do the race. It's kind of similar to the Ragnar Relay series that happens on the mainland, but it's not an overnight relay and it's on Maui.
The relay is a 52-mile journey you get to complete with 5 of your friends (even if you haven't met some of them before race morning). The route takes you along Hana Highway, with designated exchange points, from the airport to Hana Park at the end of the road. Along this route we went over 56 bridges and around 617 curves!
Just pulled this from the internet
to give a little more perspective

A few months ago Rachel sent me a message asking me if I wanted to be part of her team for Hana Realy. My first thoughts were, Me? Are you sure you're asking the right person? You can change your mind in case you sent this message to the wrong person by accident, I won't be offended at all. She assured me that in fact, she did mean to ask me to join Chuck's Chicks and I was beyond flattered. I would be joining an amazing group of talented, fast, supportive, strong ladies to complete this 52 mile journey.

I got up at the crack of dawn, well probably a little earlier than that to get to the airport and catch a 5am flight over to Maui. 4 of us were on that flight and Rachel and Ingrid were at the start at 5:30. I had no idea what our plan was, I was just along for the ride, you tell me to run and I'll run.

Rachel and Ingrid took care of the first three legs of the course (there were 18 total legs (everyone gets 3) ranging from 1.7ish to 3.4ish (that's what the course directions said, but I beg to leg was bordering on close to 4 miles....just sayin') and we met up with them on the road. Ingrid and Scott (Chuck) had everything all planned out, who was running when, all the hand-offs, drinks, snacks, etc., they took care of it all. All we had to do was run!

The course is a hilly one, even when the descriptions say flat, or rolling hills, expect hills, the entire way. Mariane told me before one of my legs, "It's not a hill, it only looks like a hill." If you keep telling yourself that while you're running, it kind of helps! :-)

I was informed that I was going to be the "lucky" one that gets to run leg 13...apparently you don't want to be the one that has to run that leg, the description reads, "2.1 miles uphill. A tough leg. Put the guy/gal you don't like on this leg." Since Ingrid was in charge of everything, I'd never run Hana and we'd never met before Saturday, I was slated to complete that portion of the course. However, lucky for me,Mariane was running out of her mind and a last minute decision put her on that leg instead. An excellent decision in my professional opinion.

being first team on the road has it's benefits.
Fresh Coconuts!

By the time we were at hand-off #5 we were basically running the course all by ourselves. Rachel and Ingrid had opened up a gap on the rest of the teams from the start and we were in one of the first waves (maybe the 1st). At each hand-off we saw the van for a high-school cross country team that was about 7 minutes back from us almost the entire race, they started 15 minutes behind us so really they were beating us, but we wanted to be the first team to officially cross the finish line at Hana Park so our goal was to run fast and stay ahead of those boys. Well around hand-off 16 or 17, I think, Todd's team caught up to us and made the pass (they started 30 minutes behind us) and just like those high school boys, we wanted to stay ahead of them so we could cross the finish line first. We were passed, but that didn't ruin our spirits. We still had some fast ladies ahead and could possibly catch up to them again to cross first. The last leg was 1.9 miles I think and we had Katherine running that leg, Rachel said she's a ringer and if she saw the guy in front of her on the road she would do everything in her power to catch and pass him. If you are ever in a race with her and it comes down to the finish, she's going to win, she's fit, fast and mentally tough, she has an exceptionally strong mind and body and won't back down! Well when she saw the guy in front of her, she must have kicked it into high gear (as though she wasn't already there!) and made the pass. We were waiting for her right before the finish and when we saw her round the corner after having made the pass, with one final steep uphill, we knew we were going to be able to run it in to the finish together, as a team, crossing the line 1st!

We ended up being the 2nd women's team by less than a minute and 6th team overall when all was said and done! Averaging 6:33 pace for 52-miles...not too shabby!

Thanks so much for letting me join in on this journey surrounded by a great group of ladies and an amazing support team! Thanks JACO rehab, Scott (Chucks Steakhouse) and lululemon for sponsoring us on this ride....hopefully we will be back next year for redemption!

Friday, September 13, 2013

What happens in Vegas...

I guess I could have been a little more creative when coming up with a post title, but this just seems so fitting...What happens in Vegas never really stays in Vegas anyways so here goes...

The three days leading up to the race were stiflingly (is that a word?) hot! They were every bit as hot as I expected it to be and maybe just a little bit more. I did everything I could to stay hydrated and off my feet. Typical race week assembly, shake out runs, rides and swims, bike check-in, bag check-in, athlete meeting, you know the drill.

Success #1 of the trip was getting my bike assembled and put together all by myself! There's a first time for everything and what a way to start with my first solo bike assembly than at a pretty big race. It was successful and I was pretty proud of myself!

Anyways race morning we wake up and it's least it won't be hot!

We managed to get to the Westin and find parking relatively easily, I got transition set up and then it was time to take cover so we didn't continue to get soaked all morning waiting for my start (~1:40 back of the first age groupers...we all know how I feel about wave starts, but I'll get to that soon).

After watching wave, after wave, after wave, after wave, after wave start the race (I was wave 15!!!!) it was finally my turn. I went down to the corral about 10 minutes before my start and embraced the rain (thank goodness for no lightning, which would have canceled the swim and been a HUGE bummer). We got in the water and swam out to the start, there are always aggressive people in the swim and this was no different, at least before the cannon (horn) went off. There were girls pushing and pulling and kicking and just yelling at each other. No one would give anyone any room. I tried to tell everyone to "swim with Aloha"
doesn't that water look nice!
cause that's what Aaron does and it usually works, but these girls would have none of that. Finally the cannon went off and I took off. I had clear water within 10 seconds...wooo00hooooo! That's always nice. The swim was a typical rectangle, clockwise swim and by the time I hit the third buoy I was catching the stragglers in the group that started 4 minutes ahead of us, at the 4th buoy it began to be chaos and I was swimming in, out and around people just making my way through the swim. Lake swimming has been pretty good to me this year, although the water wasn't crystal clear, beautiful ocean water, the water was still fast. I think I ended up 2nd amateur women out of the water (by 2 seconds!) and 12th woman overall. The run out of the water and into transition was quite long, up and downhill and muddy, muddy, muddy and slippery. I had no idea my swim time because I forgot to start my watch, whoops. But I felt super confident and happy with how my swim went and was able to start the bike happy! 1 down 2 to go!

Side note on the wave starts...I usually HATE wave starts, but the last two races I've done, Lake Stevens and Vegas both had multiple wave, wave starts and they were both super successful and less aggressive/crowded/chaotic than a strictly pro wave, men wave and women wave. I'm still not sold on wave starts, but splitting the waves and having many different waves seems like a pretty good way to do least it worked well for theses races...and it's just my opinion anyways so it doesn't really matter at all.

Onto the bike... The rainy, wet, scary bike...Maybe next year I'll be better and more confident since we moved to the rainy part of the island and I foresee more rainy rides in my near future. Anyways, I was really looking forward to this ride, it was hilly, it was supposed to be hot and it was supposed to be windy, perfect conditions for someone used to riding in those conditions. We got the hills and we got the rain and slick roads, but missed out on the hot and windy.
The ride was pretty uneventful, I didn't really get to see the beautiful scenery in the national park, I was focused on the rain pelting me in the face (think little needles stabbing you for 2+ hours every time you go downhill), trying to see with the rain in my face (I chose to not wear glasses on the bike, which I'm not sure was the best choice, but had I had glasses on, I wouldn't have been able to see anyways because of the fogginess factor and the rain..not sure if I made the right choice or not? hard to say), not crashing when crazies were passing me at 40+mph going downhill on super wet, twisty roads and just trying to go as fast as I could. 4 girls and myself were flip-flopping back and forth almost the entire ride, I would pass them all on the uphills and they would blow by me on the descents...I seriously need to learn how to ride my bike downhill! The ride went by fast, I never really got grumpy, which is a step in the right direction for me, I think I'm getting close to understanding what and when my body needs to take in calories. The last 17 miles of the bike were basically all downhill with a few rollers, this is when it kind of stopped raining and I could really put in some not scared efforts and get back to transition and start running!

Side note...the race directors, or whomever is in charge of setting the course, had some sick idea that putting a hill in the last 2 miles of the bike to get back into transition was a good idea....thanks!

Onto the run..three loops....I wasn't sure how I felt about a three loop run course. On one hand, it was three loops, you could break the run into manageable sections and one loop wasn't much longer than 4 miles and how many times have I run 4 miles...plenty. On the other hand it was three loops, you get to see the good,
the bad and the ugly each loop, as well as other people, AND every time you passed the finishers shoot you could hear people's names being announced that they were done and you had to keep going (downside of starting ~1:40 back from the first group of age-groupers)....and repeat it two more times!

Each loop of the run has two, long gradual, one-mile hills, nothing steep, nothing daunting, just loooong and gradual. As well as some looooong gradual downhills. There was no finding a rhythm on this run course, up and down and up and down, repeat 3x. The first loop of the run went by in a flash, before I knew it I only had two more loops to go, I remember thinking these hills aren't that bad, just long and gradual, nothing I can't do 2 more times and be happy about. Start loop 2...these hills are getting a little more challenging, but it wasn't hot out, I was eating and drinking and icing and feeling pretty darn good. The start of the third loop (and the second loop) is all downhill for close to 2 miles (pounding on the!), when I made that turn to go back uphill (with only 2 more uphills and a downhill to the finish to go) I felt it, I wanted nothing to do with running up that hill, but kept one foot in front of the other and kept running at a pretty consistent pace. I didn't slow down too awful much, but ANOTHER hill 10.5 miles in was tough. I knew all I had to do was get to the top of the next hill and then it was all downhill into the finish. Finally I made it to the top, made the turn to head home and got a major side
stitch, I knew I had less than a mile to go and it was all downhill, but I slowed for maybe 45 seconds (what was I thinking?!), had a mini pity party for myself (seriously Lectie, you have less than 1/2 a mile to go, this is the 70.3 World Champs and it's ALL downhill, are you crazy...GO don't slow down!!) and then I pulled myself together and took off. I rounded the corner into the finisher shoot and was flying.  I don't think I've ever had a more exciting finishers shoot, not emotional, or sappy, just exciting. I ended up crossing the finish line (we tied, after 70.3 miles, and 5:04.34, we tied) with a friend who used to live here and now lives in Colorado.

All-in-all I'm super happy with how the race went, obviously I wish I would have/could have done some things differently and made for a faster stronger day. But that's racing, I don't think anyone ever has a 100% perfect race, there's always room for improvement. I learned A LOT from this race, I think I've been learning a lot racing this year in general and I won't bore you all with all of those details, but I'm super excited to start to put all those new lessons to good use and be able to see what will happen next year and in the future. There's still plenty of racing to be done, adventures to be had and life to enjoy!

Thanks for everyone who supported me and stood by my side through these past few months of training and racing, you know who you are. I couldn't have done this on my own without the love and support of family, friends, coaches, etc.

Post Race Shenanigans:

The Spa at Lakeside 2.0

Thursday, August 29, 2013

T-minus 5 days

When most people think of Las Vegas, this probably comes to mind...
or this......

 Well in 6 days, I leave for this kind of Vegas...

I couldn't be more excited!!!

It's going to be a tough day out there for everyone and I can't wait!!! Everything I've heard and read about this race is that it's brutal. It's hot (think Honu hot (is that even possible?!), but dry heat), it's hilly, it's windy, it's unrelenting, did I mention it's hot? It's the 70.3 World Championships, I wouldn't expect anything less! Bring it on!!

It's been a whirlwind here the past few weeks, with school starting again, a move! and all the training leading up to this race. As Jerry Foley says, "the hay is in the barn." I'm super pumped to get to race in a few short days!

What happens in Vegas...