Friday, December 17, 2010

Honolulu Marathon Race Recap

Happy Friday!! 
I hope this post finds everyone well, WARM and looking forward to the weekend!  I have been home 3 and a half days and am feeling like a Minnesotan again, not a Hawaiian surf goddess who gets to romp in the ocean, stuff myself with grilled pineapple and have Starbucks and epic sunsets at my finger tips daily.  
I will do a vacay post on a different day, since the race and the vacay have quite different feelings associated with them. 


The expo was actually quite unimpressive! No offense Honolulu, but for a race with 30 thousand people running, you could have had a few more vendors! BUT, the official race merchandise was impressive AND I met Christy and Cindy the running skirt twins! 

They were so entirely nice in person, I was a bit star struck and they didn't mind at all. Thanks girls! It was great to meet you! 

Provided by Bolder Options and our hotel, the Outrigger Reef. It was wonderful, I had TWO plates! 

Pasta, greens, veggies, chicken and garlic bread! SO good.

Bolder Girls digging in!  

ok..a little vacy pic for you. the view from our 
pre-race dinner, our hotel balcony on to Waikiki beach. 

The marathon was early, it was a 5am start time, so the group (30 of us total who raised money for Bolder Options and ran in the marathon!) had breakfast at 2:45am! Early I know, but the breakfast was awesome: I had a bagel, oatmeal, fruit, coffee and OJ.  

 I also got a thank you card from a child who is in Bolder's program. It was very moving to read it. It was humbling knowing that this was not just a race, not just a trip, but something I had worked toward for nearly 8 months of fundraising. It was all about being able to offer a child the chance to change their world.  I love this card that a little girl took the time to make for me, knowing I was running so she could learn a better, BOLDER way to be. 
Totally worth it. 

30 THOUSAND runners. 
26.2 MILES 
1 volcanic crater

Lori and her red sharpie: priceless. 
Lori is a wicked marathoner, she has done a ton of racing! 


We all walked from the hotel to the start, maybe a mile away or so, that is one reason why the breakfast was so early! There were three of us at the bathroom when the fireworks went off and the gun signaled the start! But we jogged over to the mob of marathoners and it still took us 20 minutes to reach the start. 

the back of Mpls man about town, philip p.

There were TOO MANY PEOPLE in this race for my liking. The first four miles at least were crowded with people bumping, hitting and slamming into each other.  Walkers and runners were mixed in, run-walkers would stop dead in their tracks in front of you and you were constantly weaving in and out of the crowd. It was nothing like I had experienced before. 

At mile two, one of my velcro knee braces unvelcro-ed the other one and when I stopped to pick it up, two people slammed into me! Looking up I could see where if you fell or something you could get mowed down faster than a Wal-mart on black friday. 

It was mile 4 I started dedicating miles to people (just a few), starting with Mom, my biggest fan! 

The sun came up JUST before 7am (I think) and it was MUCH easier to SEE where I was, running in a strange city in the dark was NOT very fun. The crowd had thinned out a little bit and it was much more easy going. However I was panicking a little when ever I would see a time clock over a mile marker, forgetting I was about 20 minutes behind! 

Miles 7-8-9 with the sun rising over the pacific, EPIC win mother nature! 

Miles 7-8-9 were hilly, up and down around Diamond Head, an extinct volcanic crater 760 feet high. ( I hiked Diamond head the day prior, but running it was harder!) Still with every up hill is a downhill and I definitely opened up on those, letting my legs fly down them! Mile  9 went out to my new friend CJ who is a major inspiration, a closer, finisher and winner! 

I couldn't believe I was doing this, but at mile 10ish I stopped, YES, to use the port-a-potty. I was kicking myself as I stood there for 30 then 60 seconds then MORE. I thought, I should just GO as I run, but I was coated in body glide and didn't want to risk any chafing. Yep. I waited for a good 3 minutes and tried to calm myself by taking in the scenery--it was beautiful!  By the time I got rolling, I wasn't worried about losing 3-4 minutes in the port-a-potty! Especaily since I could make it up on the downhills that everyone else seemed to be walking down or putting on the breaks. 

I felt GOOD. The sunrise was beautiful, the landscape was beautiful, I was strong, I was in the zone with my pace, and I wasn't tired at all. 

The half Marathon point, I dedicated a few miles to my guy friends who are huge supporters of mine--a little Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Survivor were pulling me along with the feel good music! 

The next 5 miles or so were easy, on a flat highway and it was easy to keep my pace strong and even take it up a notch. Mile 17 went out to blogger girls in Minneapolis and mile 18 to Jewel, my mentee through Bolder, it was my last mile dedication and I put the phone/camera away and declared: 8 miles to go, let's play how fast can I run this? Not that I took it up to a sprint, but I turned it up to 11...I will say that. 

happy little runner me

HOT little runner me

Mile 17-18ish I heard a song called City on our knee's By Toby Mac and I got really emotional. I was thinking about LOVE and HOPE and why I was running and how it was that I was blessed and SO favored to be in paradise, feeling like a million bucks running what CJ called the race of my life. 

 Best lyrics: 
Through the Fog there is hope in the distance, 
from cathedrals to third world missions,
 love will fall to the earth like a crashing wave. 
Tonight's the night, for the sinners and the saints, 
two worlds collide in a beautiful display.
 It's all up tonight when we step across the line, 
we can sail across the sea to a city with one king. 

Listen to it here: 

It got HOT folks. I told myself this: I would walk, but ONLY through water stops and yes, like a big running geek I had my fuel belt on, and I am SO glad. I needed it when there was no water stop. But I did walk through nearly all of them, even if only 5 steps to drink, some a few more. At every water stop after the sun came up, they had yellow sponges which I wiped my arms and face down with and then squeezed on my head, there is actually a pic of me with one:

beautiful landscape

Mile 22 brought an emotional response as well. With four miles to go I couldn't believe I was so close. A song called Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman came on my playlist. He is an artist I listened to in High School and is SO inspirational.  

I am speechless, I'm astonished and amazed, I am silenced by your wondrous grace. You have saved me, you have raised me from the grave. I started to cry and even raised my hands in thanks to GOD!  I AM A NEW PERSON, really, if you would have known me three years ago, you could say just how different I am. He has really raised me from the dead life, the dead habits and dead person I was. The song goes on to talk about how the God of the universe rejoices over US. Over me! How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called the Sons and the daughters of God.  I thought about Him running there with me, rejoicing over my race. 

MILES 24-25: 
Do you see what I see? Yep, that's Diamond head again with 2 miles to go I faced a huge hill. 

Here I skipped out on a water stop, I had some one me and I just wanted to tackle this huge incline and put it behind me. I am good at hills, I plow into them, pumping my arms and lifting my knees, I have always been that way, but this was a steady mile incline and it was a giant staring me and my little sling shot down.  One step at a time I did it. I ran it all, I didn't walk it, or stop as much as I wanted to! This race was under my belt and I was running for God's glory-the God who told us to Speak to our mountains and move them. 

The Man in Black, Johnny Cash helped my push up this hill. Then at mile 25, I couldn't believe it: the clock said 4:19! I knew I was faster than that, but I didn't know how much so I opened up on this down hill and gave it my all. My quads started to cramp and shut down, I got a side ache and there was no water stop in sight which meant I was running this walking. 

When I saw the finish line in the distance, I felt a twinge of sadness: OVER ALREADY? I could have laughed out loud at myself. I can do more marathons I reminded myself and then finished strong and hard. 

It was AWESOME. I was so blessed and wanted to point to my JOY, my Strength, my Savior as I crossed that finish line!  The great day, the great time, the great memories--all more than I could have asked for!

10k Split: 1:05:05
21.1 Split: 2:17:32
30 Split: 3:09:30
40 Split: 4:06:46
Finish: 4:18:31
AVERAGE pace: 9:53

Thoughts on the race: my first half was slower than my half marathon PR, but I am ok with that in that this being my first marathon, I was worried about going out too fast. I didn't want to blast my first 13 miles and then die on a then sun baked, hilly course and have a bad experience.  Instead, I had a strong pace, sent a few mile dedications to facebook, took some pics and enjoyed the journey. After all, many people and supporters were watching me online and on FB as I ran. It wasn't a regular race or even a regular marathon, it was very special. Around 15-16 I took the pace up more and then like I said, at 18 I cranked it out.  

One thing I may change up for my next race is the bathroom stop  and walking at water stations. Sometimes you can't help the need to use a bathroom, but if I CAN avoid it I will, so maybe not having a coffee and OJ pre-race. And I think that I wouldn't have had to use ever water stop I did. I think that in a different climate or race, I could get by with my fuel belt and about half the water stops, cutting off some time. 

The beauty of a first race is that it's automatically a PR! The scary thing is that when I do other marathons, that 4:18:31 is the time to beat. I think I can do it. My goal was between 4:30-45 but I wanted to stick by a 4:15:00 pace group which I never found and don't even know if it existed. I think that I could have ran this faster, but don't know with all the variables if it would have felt better. For instance, would I have felt as strong had I skipped water stops? Maybe not. Bottom line is, I had a plan, stuck to it and it worked, I got the results I wanted: Finishing goal, time goal, look good doing it. I did better than I anticipated and had a boatload of fun!  I am plotting more marathons... 

finishers medal! 

sporting a finishers tee and sweet tan at the post race luau! 

Last year in October, after watching my friend Mike run Twin Cities Marathon, I said I would never do that--it's a stupid far distance and there's no purpose. But, what I put on my fitness bucket list was that I would do a Destination Marathon someday. The power of writing things down--be careful what you say you will do SOMEDAY!  It feels like years ago when I signed up for this, people thought I was crazy: you just quit your job, have no income, have to raise HOW much money and pay your way to Hawaii? But I did it. With your help. I am a marathoner and I have the racing bug. 

Yvette, Deb and I  POST race--all first time marathoners! 

Thank you to all those who donated, thank you to all my friends who sent VM, text, email, FB posts and are there for me when I need you most. Thank you to Bolder Options for being an amazing organization with amazing people making a difference in the lives of Minnesota youth and in our own. I love you guys! 

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