Thursday, December 17, 2015

Honolulu Marathon - Recap!

Where do I even start with this one? I don't even know. If I started at the beginning, this post might become a novella, and if I start later I'll miss something! Maybe I'll start at the end:

And maybe back to the beginning now? We arrived in Honolulu on Saturday around noon local time which was 4pm central. We left Friday after dinner, caught a plan to LA to catch our connecting flight. After a chilly overnight layover in LAX, we hopped a plane to Honolulu  - and when we arrived, I was pretty much out of words. (I know, seems impossible!) It was hot but not in an overwhelming way - the lack of humidity made it feel perfect. The air port was open air without windows and right away - could see mountains in the distance. Mountains! Or a volcano! I have no idea but it was beautiful.

After a cabride, we got our packets. Pickup was easy. The expo had been going on for days so if we had wanted to, we could have been in and out. Of course, we wandered. My husband ran into his best friend and they chatted as we meandered. (I suck at conversation, so mostly I let them talk since they don't get to see each other much. Peril of being an introvert.) I bought a shirt, because HELLO HAWAII, I may never see you again. I'm not a neon person, but picked a neon yellow shirt the same colour as the pullover I bought at Chicago. Go figure. But it looks like it will be great for running in the heat, even lighter than the awesome tank Kim recommended that I ended up living running in this summer.

And then we wandered Hawaii. I took a ton of pictures which those who have me on FB can see, but since most aren't running related I will just post this pretty sunset from the evening before. In a fit of excellent preparation, my husband decided he wasn't hungry for dinner with the timezone change and got grumpy when I suggested I grab food without him, so neither of us ate the night before the race. He had a beer with his best friend though. We're smart.

On race day we had our alarm set for 3:45a, which sounds awful except that with timezones this was really 7:45. I still didn't want to get up, but hey, Hawaii. Up we got, hydrating and eating a super delicious protein bar. We left around 4:30 to meander to the start line, which my husband said was close to our hotel. He lied, it was about a mile and a half which isn't awful, but would feel awful after the race. We didn't even make it to the start line til 5am, which is bad because the race was supposed to start then and we still had to pee! Oops. Luckily we knew we had until 5:30 to cross, because it took that long to make it through the lines. It's okay though because there were fireworks!


And we were off! was hot. I actually felt okay, it was about 74 to start and the sun wouldn't come up for another 2 hours. I felt warm but okay - I'd been doing a lot of treadmill runs and the lack of airflow in there I guess maintained some of my heat acclimation because I didn't feel stressed at all. My husband was another story and while he'd rocked his November marathon, he was dying at the end of the first mile. He was already dripping sweat and his pulse was racing. We knew we'd end up run walking anyway, and planned to go verrrry conservatively because we were going from lots of 30-40 degree runs to 80+ degrees. So we took a drink, walked a tenth of a mile and then ran again. After the second mile I was still feeling great but he was clearly having a tough time, which wasn't good with 24-odd miles to go. We took another drink, walked another tenth of a mile then ran again, and did that for a few miles but it got clear fast he was not going to be able to keep that up. Heat is hard! We switched to running for a kilometer and walking for a kilometer, and then went more okay. His heartrate stabilized more. No pictures from this stretch because it was dark, but here's the startline we crossed at about 5:28:

Once the sun came up you could really see how gorgeous Hawaii is. I think this was around mile 7 or 8? I'm not sure. Unfortunately we also hit our first huge uphill stretch - you go up a mountain and it was gorgeous. But, mountain! Sun! Hot! We walked. I was okay with that, we got to see the elite women go by and that was pretty cool. I got to tell my husband he was a dope for being surprised she had an escort since she "wasn't winning, the winner had already gone by" and explain that she was winning the women's race. Mostly though, we walked and drank water and admired pretty Hawaii MOUNTAIN views.

Husband says, MOUNTAIN!

After the mountain we went back to running a kilometer and walking a kilometer. I was getting worried about him, he struggled more and more as we went on. I was okay though, making sure to gel and hydrate appropriately. We were sweating a lot so we were taking water and gatorade at each water stop plus what we had in our bottles, but mostly having a great time because HAWAII! So pretty, even if the whole course was on the roads so we got a lot of urban/suburban views. We meandered our way to mile 12, where disaster struck. We had just started a run interval and I managed to stub my toe on one of those light reflector things between lanes. (What are they called, anyway? I have no idea!) As I stumbled I briefly entertained the notion that I was going to catch myself and not fall, but alas, 'twas not to be. (I should have known better - I haven't fallen in a race since 2014 and I was running out of 2015!) I hit the pavement, going down hard and skidding. I did manage to avoid the cute Japanese ladies running next to me, so I'll call it a win. They did flutter around me as I sat embarrassed on the asphalt and handed me itty bitty bandaids for my knee, which was sweet. I have no idea what they told me, but it sounded encouraging and helpful!

Deceiving angles are deceiving, it's actually a pretty huge scrape.

At the water stop shortly after my fall, we saw Keith's best friend going the other way on course. I was trying to wash off my knee and didn't recognize him until he'd already passed us, but they managed to shout some playfully insulting things at each other, and on we went. I was still able to run, but I noticed we were walking earlier and earlier in our "kilometer run". We hit the halfway point in about 3:40, ran downhill for a stretch, and Keith said he thought he was done running "for a while." We didn't know it then, but this ended up being the rest of the race. It was in the 80s and he just couldn't keep cool enough. I had been rubbing ice on him and making him drink, but it wasn't enough. So - we walked! Or limped, in my case. At med tents we stopped for bags of ice to keep on his back / chest / neck and I packed my sports bra with ice when they had ice at the aid stations. At one point he stopped sweating, which scared the heck out of me, and I started making him take a second cup at aid stations and wiping him with the sponges they were offering. Honestly, he usually does much better than me with heat so the whole thing had me a little freaked out, although I didn't share that bit on course. When there started being a little bit of shade on the sides of the road I made him walk there.

We're hot but halfway done! ...did I mention it's hot?

I did okay until about mile 20, which was about 5 hours in. At that point my hip flexors started cramping, which kind of sucked, because the roads in Hawaii had a huuuuge cambre, and the heat did start getting to me because the sun was right overhead. My toe had bled through my sock at this point (from when I'd stubbed it - I broke the nail, ouch. I'll spare you pictures.) which wasn't much fun either. So, the last 10k was a bit miserable. But we did finally cross the finish line in 7:30 and change.

Overall, I am glad we did it. It was hot and I hadn't realized how much of it we'd end up walking, but I knew it was going to be a slow one because of the heat. It was definitely hard but so beautiful. We grabbed our finisher shirts (weird cut on the women's shirt, but I'm wearing it anyway!) and trudged...slowly...back to the hotel.

Sad shoeless trudging! Haha.

I don't know if I'd do it a second time, but don't regret doing it this time. I wish we'd been able to run more, but doing it in a safe manner definitely was more important. The only thing is, I now kind of want to do another marathon, because it occurred to me that if I did, I would qualify for Maniac status...'s official, I'm nuts. And probably not doing that. But, Hawaii was fun?


  1. If I ever did a marathon, Hawaii would be the place to do it. And at least with all the walking, you got a chance to really enjoy the scenery! Congrats on finishing, I can imagine the heat would be rough coming from here! I had a rough couple of runs when I was in Hawaii a couple years ago for the same reason - it definitely takes time to acclimate.

    1. It was gorgeous but so hard. I am not sure I would have done another if this was my first, but I am so glad I did it!

      It does. I meant to do a shakeout run but time zones zapped me out, and I am not sure how much it would have helped since he ended up unable to run anyway. Didn't matter, still gorgeous!

  2. Oh man, what a tough race! I am happy you got to do it, and do it together! And in HAWAII!!!

    LOL, is it really worth it to go after Marathon Maniac status?! I thought you decided on your focus for next year (and it wasn't that, lol)?

    1. No it's probably not and I did, but I couldn't help that it crossed my mind. I didn't end up doing it...but I thought about it! I'm crazy.

      Hawaii was BEAUTIFUL! :)

    2. Hee hee hee. Take some time to recover! :)

    3. Definitely. I took the week off running - mostly because the enormous scab on my knee pulls painfully whenever I move - but I'm starting to get the itch again. The good thing is since we walked it really wasn't hard to recover from, and I'm ready to do some short but intense workouts.