Saturday, December 17, 2011

Honolulu Marathon Race Report

Let me just start out by saying Hawaii is awesome!  I had such an amazing time on this vacation.  I hadn't seen my friend Deanna in about 8 years and we picked up like we hadn't lost a day with each other!   I could write a whole, very long, post about the vacation itself.  But I am just going to move on to the race.

Saturday night before the race one of Deanna's friends was having a party.  Even though we had the race the next day, we did stop by and stay for about an hour.  It was hard to leave, as in college both Deanna, Ann (my other friend from college, and who also lives near me in TX who came on the trip as well) and I were always the last ones to leave the party.  But we headed home and went to bed to get a good nights sleep before our 3am wake up call.  Yeah, did I mention that the race started at 5am!!  Here in TX our races start at 7-7:30 so I was a little worried about this early start.  However, it ended up being awesome and I am going to petition all of the races here to do that from now on!

Sunday morning my alarm went off at 3am exactly.  I could not believe the race day was actually here.  It really seemed like just yesterday Deanna and I were planning this whole thing.  Anyway, I got dressed, put my race bib on, ate whole wheat English Muffin with peanut butter and we were ready to go.  One quick picture and we were out the door.

Deanna is lucky enough to live about a half a mile from the start of the race, so we were able to walk over so we could loosen up a bit.  We also did a little big of a jog just to make sure everything was feeling good.  We got to the start line and headed, no not to our pace group, but to the VERY front with the Kenyans.  This was hard for me to do, as A. I am a rule follower, and B. I knew Jeff would not approve.  I didn't want to be the jerk who people had to run over to get going.  But Deanna assured me for this race this would be our best option so I listened.  Our Sherpa Ann and personal paparazzi snapped a couple more pics and then we were going to be running a marathon!!

Deanna and I planned to run the race together, and to try to negative split.  We started out, planning a warm up for the first two miles and were pretty successful at this.  I am not the best at pacing so it was nice to have Deanna to do that for me.  There were a couple of times we were going to fast for the first few miles of a marathon, and had she not been there to pace us I probably would have killed myself in the beginning, as I was feeling pretty awesome.  The first 5 miles were pretty dark, and uneventful.  I was not looking forward to mile 6 as I knew this was going to be the first hill I would have to conquer that day.  I typically do not do the whole, drive the course thing before a race.  However the day prior I decided it would be a good idea to see the hills at mile 6 and mile 25.  Yes, mile 25.  I am very glad that we did this.  I was able to mentally prepare ahead of time for both of them.

Since Deanna runs these hills all the times I was pretty sure that she was going to drop me at mile 6.  However, I hung with her and survived the first hill!  Don't get me wrong, it kicked my ass, but not as bad as I thought it was going to.

Miles 6-15 were pretty uneventful.  I was enjoying the beautiful scenery on the run, and we were trucking along.  One thing I did differently during this race was run through the water stations.  Typically I walk them, but Deanna doesn't, and since my training was much more this year I decided last minute to hang with her and run through them.  Overall I think this was one of the reasons why I had the great time I did.  However around mile 15 I was feeling the effects of it, I think more mentally than physically.  I told Deanna that I didn't think I had much more and she might have to go on without me.  She wasn't ready to do that, and told me to walk this water station to see how I felt.  I did, had some water and was feeling much better.  But the real life saver at mile 15 was Deanna's friend Angie, her boyfriend and cousin.  Angie is from Pittsburgh and had an awesome sign that said "Yinz better run faster than dat"  but more importantly they had peeled and cut up oranges for us and real Gatorade.  Not the watered down crap the water stations had.  Angie and her oranges were life savers and gave me the boost I needed to keep up at the pace I was going for the next few miles.

I knew I was well hydrated during this race, because around mile 18 I really had to pee.  I asked Deanna how she felt about stopping.  She didn't have to go and really didn't want to stop, so I decided to try to make it the last 8 miles.  However at mile 19 I just knew I couldn't, and I think she did too.  I had just asked her what we were on pace for, which at that time was about a 4:05.  She must have seen a look on my face because she asked me if I had anymore and I told her no.  I told her to go and she took off.  I ran a bit longer, and then just couldn't wait anymore.  I had to pee, so I stopped at the potties and went.  What a relief.  It was hard to get going right away again, but it was so much easier to run!

I would say around mile 20 I hit a small wall.  Not quite as big as I have in the past two marathons, but still a small one.  I really need to figure out what causes this.  Is it all mental?  Nutrition based?  I really want to figure it out.  My hips were really hurting at this point, but I looked at my watch and knew I had to keep running if I was going to hit my goal of 4:15.

I don't know how I did it, because to be honest I was hurting, but I kept on moving.  I did walk a couple of the last water stations too.  I took a Popsicle from someone on the side of the road because I felt like I needed sugar.  And I kept on moving.

And then the HILL.  Mile 25.  I was determined not to walk this hill.  And I didn't.  A lot of people were, but I knew the end was near.  And why give up when the end is near.  Plus I knew I had this waiting for me at the top of the hill.

After that gorgeous  scene I got a little  bit of a downhill to gain some momentum before the final stretch.  And what a long freaking stretch is was.  You hit the end of the hill, turn a corner and then feel like you are still running forever.  You can't even see the finish line when you make the turn.  I looked at my watch and knew I had to pick it up if I was going to hit my goal.  So I did.  And I crossed at 4:14:53.  A 25 minute PR!!

I have to give a shout out to Deanna, who pulled me for the first 19 miles.  And for also having a 1:20 minute PR.  She is a freaking rock star!!!  Also to Ann, who was an awesome Sherpa, and photographer!

A few other notes about the day.  We had perfect weather.  It was in the 70's, overcast, and most importantly there was NO HUMIDITY!!!!!  I could not have asked for better weather.  Also, most of the other participants were Japanese, so most of the supporters were, and most of the signs I could not read.  I only saw two barefoot runners that day, expected more than that in Hawaii.  Due to the overcast conditions I actually had goosebumps during some of the race.  The medal is a key chain, which is so awesome.  We also got shell lies after the race.

Yay we did it!!

Getting in the ocean after the race.  Best.Thing.Ever!

Holy Crap, I can't believe I have another one of these in 4 weeks.  What the hell was I thinking???


  1. Finally your race report! You know that once you start with the Kenyans you can't go back! This race seriously couldn't have been anymore awesome. Even if we didn't get PR's just getting to see you was amazing. Doing both was amazing!!! Remember what coach Raul said about your next race!

  2. Congrats on an awesome race!! Sounds like such fun!! 25 min PR!!! AWESOME!

  3. Congrats on the race and PR!! Staying .5 miles from the start must have really been helpful. We stayed at a placed that was at about the 13 mile mark so we had to drive in and take the buses.

    What did you think of the post race coral & food? I had never seen so much disorganization as I did last year. Hopefully they reorganized it for you.

    Good move starting up front. I started further up than normal but still not nearly as far forward as I should have.

    I ended up putting my keychain on the lei for a regular style medal that I could hang with the rest of them.

    Congrats again!

  4. Great job babe! Very proud of you and Deanna! You guys are amazing!

  5. Congratulations on a fabulous race! Every single picture you posted on FB made me want to go back to Oahu just a little bit more! It's such an amazing place!! :)

  6. Congrats on the PR!
    amazing trip with a successful race
    great photos


  7. YAY! Congrats Annie! It was so fun to follow you (although I was slightly jealous the whole time, thinking about how much I wish I had been there). You had a great race!!!

  8. Holy cow! What a PR!! Congrats on a great race, and how cool was it to end it in the ocean?!

  9. I'm jealous. What a great place to run a race! Congrats on your PR. Regarding the peeing, my advice is that as soon as you have to go- GO! When you're uncomfortable like like, it directly translates to slowing you down-sometimes significantly.

    Good luck in your marathon coming up.

  10. Congrats on your PR! Keep up the good work. I like the post race moments near the ocean. resveratrol

  11. It is nice to hear that you enjoy your travel to Hawaii and I also heard that it is quite a place. Specially if you are into surf.