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"