On December 9, 2012 I ran in the 40th Annual Honolulu Marathon. It was my first marathon, one run to raise funds for my sister-in-law as she battles cancer, and ultimately a success. While I’ve typed out a full play-by-play of the race, for brevity’s sake I’m just going to share a few bullet points to mark the 26. 2 miles.
- The Run to Nuke Cancer. Y’all donated $1500 to help my sister-in-law and her family as she battles cancer. That’s $500 over my original goal of $1000. AMAZING. I’m a beyond grateful!
- Running over Diamond Head during the sunrise.
- Amazing views of the Pacific Ocean from Kahala.
- Sharing a race with some incredible elite runners including Olympic Marathon Medalist Wilson Kipsang (who won the Honolulu Marathon – see his time below). Seeing those folks whiz by during out-and-back portions of the course is incredible.
- Finishing my first marathon!
Things that Went Well:
- My previously bothersome little toe held up like a champ. No blister, no irritation. I just slathered it with Vaseline before running and it worked!
- I hydrated perfectly – I was never thirsty and didn’t have to take a bathroom break.
- Talking to God. He kept me distracted and I swear he answered prayers for wind. The tradewinds finally showed up during the race and cooled us off!
- I stuck to my strategy for dealing with heat and poor air quality: slow, steady pace; listening to my body; tons of fluids; and use of every aid station.
- Finishing! My final time is below. As of writing, I finished in the top 18% of my age group, the top 17.5% of all women and the top 26% of all racers. I was pretty down on my time after the race was over, but then I’ve remembered that we Honolulu Marathoners ran in much harsher conditions (heat, humidity, vog) than most U.S. marathons. (Also include the race winner’s time, just for fun)
Things that didn’t go well:
- Around mile 22 or so, I was sure that my lack of a longer run than 16 miles was an issue. I was straight-out suffering and wished I’d been able to tell myself “but you know you can do this.” from experience. Guess I can now!
- Sun protection. I applied sunscreen before the race but the combination of sweat and regular cold water showers (there were mist tents and cold sponges at some of the aid stations) washed the protection away. I’m not burnt, but I may or may not look like I fell asleep in a tanning bed.
- GPS Watch discrepancy. If you’ve ever run a race with a GPS watch, you know that the distance registered on that watch and official mile markers rarely line up because it’s nearly impossible to run the originally measured course. Sometimes you’re ahead of the mile markers, and sometimes you’re behind. Unfortunately, my watch had me .2 miles ahead of the mile markers. This means that when my watch ticked over to 26 miles and I said “YAY! Only .2 miles left!” I actually had .4 miles left. And I knew it. Big morale bust.
- Hotel. Because of parking issues and distance from my house, I would have needed to awaken by 2:30 to make it to the start line on time, so instead I booked a hotel near the start line so I could walk over. I did this with the understanding that Honolulu buses would take me back to the hotel (the start and finish lines were 2 miles apart). Except I forgot to bring bus fare. FAIL. So, I ran 26. 4 miles (see GPS watch above) and then walked 2 more….oops! Do they make 28.4 bumper stickers?
- Over half the runners in the Honolulu Marathon are from Japan and in an effort to share their inspiration with Americans, many of them printed mottos on their shirts in English. Or Engrish. Cases in point: An elderly Japanese gentleman had a shirt that read “I am not a virgin!” and another Japanese national’s shirt said “Do Not Retire!” and featured a photo of a man crawling. Translations : “I have run a marathon before!” and “Don’t give up! Keep running!” SO FUNNY.
- Because we were running down city streets we ran under a number of stoplights. I slowed my pace several times when lights turned yellow and almost stopped at one red light. Guess those are good habits.
- A friend from my running club ran the whole marathon in a taco costume. She was raising funds for Girls on the Run of Hawaii. I enjoyed all the costumes, but seeing that taco go by was priceless.
As I write this on Sunday night, I’m throwing back Advils and icing muscles like it’s going out of style. I’m most proud of all of you who supported the Run to Nuke Cancer – humanity IS good! I’m satisfied with my showing in the marathon and so glad for the experience.
I’m also confident that I’ll never run a hot-weather marathon again. To be honest, by about mile 20 I wasn’t having fun anymore, and I’m just not competitive enough to do something that makes me miserable for bragging rights. I won’t close the door on trying a cooler weather race some day – now that I’ve finished 26.2 in summer weather, I feel like I could own a race in 60 degree weather!
My next goals will relate to speed. I’m running much faster these days than I was a year ago and I’d like to knock out some super-speedy shorter distances, so I’ll be joining my running club for track training nights starting
next week next month.