Thursday, December 27, 2012

Honolulu Marathon 2012

Just like I wrote the TC Marathon blog post on the way out to Hawaii, now I find myself writing the Honolulu Marathon blog post as I’m heading back to Minnesota. Actually I’m at the airport but same thing.  
Unfortunately, I did not sign up for the Honolulu Marathon when they were offering a $26.2 registration fee for Hawaii residents, however fortunately, I was able to register as a Hawaiian resident right before the race paying $100 something rather than $200 something. Regardless, this race has much more than monetary value to me. Running the 2011 Honolulu Marathon last year left me wanting to experience the Aloha again and again and again. Uncle Paul told me he needed some help with work on Oahu and I decided to book a 2 month trip to Hawaii, making sure to be back in time for Christmas and the special role I will be playing Christmas Eve (Ho ho ho!)
I left Minnesota a couple days after running Twin Cities Marathon and arrived at the Big Island during the buzz of Ironman World Championships.  Aunty Share was able to hook me up w/ a little gig working with semi-professional triathletes Andrea Bess and Thomas Vonach in which we promoted a nutritional supplement Biestmilch. It was heaps of fun talking and connecting with many of the triathletes. Ironman day came and I got the opportunity to pass out water on Queen K at Lapakahi Park, spectate (road leading to finish), work the massage tents for a couple hours in the evening, then spectate until the last finisher came through. Very special to be a part of this event and might see myself trying to qualify for the race.
After TC Marathon, I had 2 months until Honolulu Marathon and was not sure of my goal for the race.  I knew it was going to take some time to recover after racing TC, however even a month after, it felt like I was just slugging to get through my runs. I had the idea of wearing a costume like many of the other runners do for this race but decided against it (another time).  Just a few weeks out from the race, my legs felt like they were starting to come back so I compulsively decided to shoot for 3 hours just to see what would happen. I would have bet 100% against myself for being able to do this so close to TC and especially with how dead the legs were leading up to it, however thought it would be fun to experiment and see what happens.
  My Sunday long-runs leading up to Honolulu were pretty consistent distances as previous marathon training plans, however a bit unconventional in location and the type of runs they were. It probably would have been smarter for me to just do a couple intermediate runs throughout the week rather than put the higher mile Sundays in but out of routine and habit, did my typical Sunday long run lead-up schedule for a marathon with regards to distance. For the 20-miler, I met up with Paul S. whom is a 9x H.U.R.T. 100-miler runner and we ran a loop of the H.U.R.T. course at night. What a blast that was and it was fun putting time on the feet rather than shooting for a pace. The 1.5hour run 2 weeks from the race I decided to do running the first 45min up Kohala Mountain Rd right outside of Aunty’s house and 45min back down. Prob not the smartest if I was going to be shooting for a time at Honolulu but was fun to throw all these unconventional runs in just for pleasure. It was pretty cool running everywhere from the resort lagoons in Ko Olina-Oahu
to Manu Road in Waimea-Big Island.
 Sure would be fun to spend more time out here and continue exploring and running throughout all these beautiful varying locations.
A few days before the race, I flew over from Big Island to Oahu and went to the Marathon Expo. This expo is pretty funny because almost all the vendors are from Japanese companies and it feels like you are in Japan. Bumped into Yuki’s friend Tomo at the Docomo bag handout which was funny because Tomo and I had only met once through Yuki at Marukame Udon Restaurant.  After overstaying my welcome at expo, I decided to rent a scooter from one of the local places in Waikiki. The whole time I had been out here I had wanted to rent one and was always waiting to do it w/ someone else but decided just to do it myself. Putzed around town for a bit, cruised up to the Hawaii Nature Center where the H.U.R.T. race starts, then scootered the marathon course. After, I scootered back to where I was staying at Uncle P’s in  Ko-Olina taking the backroads which was an adventure. In the AM, scootered back to Waikiki to return the scooter and meet Aunty Sharon and Uncle Randy in town. They booked a hotel in Waikiki right off the finish line which was super convenient. Dinner Saturday night before the race I planned on going to Marukame to eat a couple servings of Curry Udon but when I got there the line was humungous so walked down Kuhio St. to Ihop where they were having an All-you-can-eat pasta dinner. Ate 3 large plates of spaghetti and after buying some groceries for the AM’s breakfast, headed back to the hotel and got settled for sleep in the hotel w/ Aunty, Uncle and Bella.
The race starts at 5am so I woke up around 3:15 after getting to bed around 11. Felt excited and ate up a bagel w/ almond butter, banana and drank some Gatorade.  Walked over near the Honolulu Zoo where the bus pick-up was and took the bus over to Ala Moana Blvd to the Start Line. Was overwhelmed with the 1000’s of runners and kept laughing at people’s funny running costumes. Probably walked pass 4 people eating (onigiri) rice balls. Went over to near the Start Line and ran into Andrea and Thomas and their Team Ichiban. After hanging out w/ them for a bit, warming up a little down the street and finding a nice corner to go to the bathroom, headed over to the start-line and snuck in towards the front. The elites were escorted to the front and boy did they look ready to run. Heard the national anthem as usual and a quick countdown and we were off. Like last year, there was a nice firework display which makes the start very exhilarating.  Started off hitting about 6:50’s and it was nice to be a little more familiar with the course this year. I remember hearing the Japanese guys around me GPS’s beeping at every kilometer and am still unsure if I would like feedback as often as that. Saw some other guys looking at their watches quite a bit and figured they were also shooting for under 3 hours so decided to use them as pacers rather than rely on that rather than my own GPS. The course felt much more familiar this year after staying in Waikiki last year for 1.5 months.  Passed Aunty/Uncle/Bella on the way out to Diamondhead and made it to the hill. My pace slowed significantly going up the hill and I knew the time would have to be made up later as even at around 6 mile into the race, my legs were much more tired than usual at this point. It was a fun feeling running up Diamondhead because there was a spot on the course where there were no street-lights or volunteers and we were running under tree cover so it was completely dark. Made me giddy running in the pitch black w/ so many others around. Even at this point, I knew I was going to blow-up but was just trying to hold on and see how long I could hang onto 650’s. Was running on the highway out towards Hawaii Kai and the sun was starting to rise. There were some spectular views of the mountains with the rising sun illuminating them. This year also, there was a decent headwind heading out towards Hawaii Kai so more often than not I was trying to stick behind another runner to cut back on some of the it. I was still near some of the runners from earlier on and some of them sped off. Saw the first wheelers come past us on the other side of the highway heading back to town and knew I would be seeing the lead runners soon. The lead group blew past and I marveled at how effortless and easy they made it look, while I was already struggling pretty bad at a relatively early mark. It was mainly my hamstrings that were feeling the most fatigued. Came across another guy who blew up and said he was just in surivival mode. We chatted for a bit and after hearing another story of a Marine who spent time in Japan, kept on. It was mile 15 and was doing the loop in Hawaii Kai and was feeling like a pile of junk. My legs were on the verge of cramping, every mile was getting progressively slower and more painful. I ended up catching up to Testutomo whom runs in a Micki Mouse Costume and had passed me last year at Honolulu near the end of the race, and I had passed him at Boston in the Spring.
 After catching up to him an exchanging a few words about how I remembered him, I used what little energy I had to pass him and attempted to put a lead on to try and stay ahead of him. He caught me several miles later and with his quick step-step cadence he yet again passed me this year. Look forward to seeing him at other races!
Despite the pain and uncomfortableness of trying to run a race I was not prepared to run, I often was able to remind myself to enjoy everything as much as possible because of relatively how quick it would be over. Was fun running back with seeing the thousands of others runners on the other side of the highway running out towards Hawaii Kai but was a little shameful for how bad of shape I was in. Got one shout out from someone who recognized the TCRC shirt I was wearing. Saw a bunch of silly costumes, shouted out to many of the Kokoku and Tohoku Highschool runners, and kept trying to trudge through the fatigue and cramps. Overthought bringing Salt Caps with and even my biceps were starting to cramp up.  Throughout the race I had more GUs than normal with probably consuming 7. I couldn’t feel much of a difference taking them, but am sure it would of made a difference if I wouldn’t have. Took a turn off the highway and was in the residential neighborhood which was a sign of getting close to the finish. I remember thinking I had to go to the bathroom so went into a Biffy, stood there for a bit, decided that I didn’t actually have to go and stepped out, thought I needed to go again so went back in, figured out that I actually didn’t need to go, and got out and tried to keep putzing along. My legs kept cramping and unfortunately for the final stretch I wasn’t able to speed up much and even worse, jump at the finish line. Waved over at surfer Joe the announcer whom I’d met earlier at the expo who was announcing the finishers. Went and had a couple hot malasadas, got a Shiatsu massage, had a couple more malasadas and went and watched the finishers coming in for the next couple hours. It was wild how many runners kept on coming and coming and how it never got old watching them run by. Sad to think this race is over but at least I can look back on pictures, re-read this post and if I miss it enough, can always sign up for it again.
Next race on the calendar is Zumbro 50 in April and am excited to do another one of these again!

Splits: (Note nice progression in pace after 13 miles ha)

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