Review of Honolulu Marathon (part 1 of 2)

Me, hanging out at the expo with some inflatable thing that looks like Toad.

Me, hanging out at the expo with some inflatable thing that looks like Toad.

OK, so after the marathon I needed a little bit of time to recover before writing.  Then I forgot.  So here is my marathon story, 5 months later and in Readers Digest form. 

So here is my pre-marathon plan.  Hit the Expo and register.  Get some rest on Saturday check out the city a little bit.  Sunday, get up at 3, meet everyone at 3:30 and be ready for 5am start.  For the race I plan on doing the first 10 miles slow, maybe 15-30 seconds/mile slower than my standard pace.  Mile 11-20, pick up the pace a bit, bring it up to my planned race-pace.  Mile 21-finish, close strong at whatever pace I feel comfortable with.  I have a mile+ walk back to the hotel after the race, so I can’t just fall apart at the end.

 Monsoon, Rain Storm, Flood, Swimming, they are all great words you can use to describe the morning of the marathon.  The temperatures were nice, but it was very wet.  The entire AIDS Marathon group met at the hotel lobby and walked the 1.5 miles to the starting area.  There were a couple of puddles that were as wide as the entire road.  Most people were wearing rain ponchos like lame-o’s, but since I was a tough guy, I just wore my shorts and shirt (and some shoes, socks, and running belt).  Despite the fact that mother nature filled up a bucket and dumped it on Honolulu, the spirits were pretty high as I guess they always are at the start of a marathon. 

 When we finally got to the starting line (or about 2 blocks behind it as I was) people chatted and took pictures galore.  I posed for a few, but I think most people’s camera’s couldn’t handle this much sexiness at 5 am.  Time flew by and the next thing I knew, Barack’s sister was saying some things in a microphone (I only heard Charlie Brown’s teacher talking) then she fired the starting gun and a whole big fireworks display began.  It was a pretty good show, about 5-10 minutes in all.  It took about that long for me to hit the starting line.

Here are the fireworks at the starting line

Here are the fireworks at the starting line

The buzz was very surprising and once it broke up in a few blocks, people were running at a pretty good clip.  It was faster than my pace, but hard to fight the crowd to slow down.  I think the first 1.5 miles were about 45seconds/mile fast.  Luckily I would have more than enough time to bring that back.  It was still pretty early, but the city got pretty excited about the race and there were a ton of people out cheering.  If it was me, I’d be sleeping in and annoyed by the loud fireworks at 6am, but the Honolulu people seemed to dig what was going on.  During this time our pace group was at about 8 or 9 people.  A few dropped off when we saw a gas station with a bathroom at mile 3.  Around this time we were able to see the ocean and got back on the main road.  The rain was on and off the whole run so far, but we had our first good break and the sun came out for a second. 

Next came the hill ascent.  And by hill, I mean volcano.  Running up a volcano was definitely tough on my legs (our group dropped to 3), but we trained for it and I was feeling OK.  Then a weird sensation came over me… I’m running up a volcano.  Now I’m not a volcano-ologist, but from what I remember in school, at the top of a volcano is lava.  I’m not afraid of spiders, or heights or enclosed spaces, but I’m pretty sure I’m afraid of lava.  Nothing like an irrational panic came over me, but at that moment in time I realized the lunacy in what I was doing (sidenote: I did not encounter any lava, nor melt from exposure to lava as I feared). 

Volcano from far away, it doesn\'t look too bad from here

Volcano from far away, it doesn\'t look too bad from here

If I remember correctly mile 9 was the top of the volcano (or as high as we went).  I took a sweet picture that should be on the previous post that I was sending to Krissy as I was running.  I distinctly remember saying to Brody (a woman in my pace group) that I felt if we could handle that incline as well as we did, the next 17 miles should be doable.  The opening 6-7 miles, plus the uphill volcano miles should be the tough part.  NOPE.

Running downhill (down-volcano) was surprisingly easy on my legs.  My knees didn’t love it, but the pain seemed pretty standard.  We made it down to flat ground, put some distance in, then made the turn for the main highway that the marathon took over for the next 13 ish miles.  At this point we would run about 5ish miles on one side of the highway, do a little 2 mile loop, then run another 5 on the other side of the highway.  Then it was back up and down the volcano and at the bottom was the finish line.

 We were down to 2 in the group and I was still feeling surprising well.  I definitely felt like we were running slow and I was excited about the middle of the race.  Around this time, mile 11 or 12ish that I started feeling something funny.  My feet, especially my left foot felt kind of hot.  Now the rain stopped and the sun came out and was blazing, but my foot seemed hotter than it should be.  One thing I definitely learned in running is sometimes you get little pains that hit your feet, shins, legs, etc, stick around for a while, then iron themselves out and you feel fine.  Surely this must be one of those situations…. Except it wasn’t, it was a huge blister-in-training.


One Response

  1. Very nice man, we’re all proud of you, can’t wait for part 2!

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