I woke up this morning filled with excitement and nerves… and grogginess since we got up at 2:00AM! Honolulu Marathon was my 52nd marathon, but the idea of running 26.2 miles still astonishes me. You never know if it is going to be an amazing run or something that crushes your spirits. Fortunately in the case of the Honolulu Marathon we were on the happy side of life for most of the run!
We started our morning ritual with a bagel and NuttZo, coffee and Imodium AD, while putting on our running clothes and gear (KT Tape on feet, bandages on nipples, and Vaseline under the pits). We took our time and were out the door by 3:40. However, we didn’t actually exit the hotel property until 3:50. The elevators were out of commission and we had to descend 16 floors down the fire escape. Walking down stairs wearing an AFO is difficult. That used up half the energy from my bagel! Luckily we still had our Perfect Bars to eat at the starting line.
We joined hundreds of runners on Ala Moana Boulevard on the 1.5 mile trek to the start. It was pitch black, but the skies were clear and we could see the moon. We had been on Oahu for three days and it was rainy and cloudy the whole time. We never saw the moon nor the sun until today. We wished the marathon was the day before!
Scroll over each image for the caption. I still don’t know how to publish the caption when using gallery!
We were packed like sardines in the start corrals, but no one was sweaty or stinky yet! There wasn’t that much yammering either. Over half of the field was from Japan, so it was a calm and polite crowd. It was rather nice and helped my nerves… until the fireworks started shooting off and everyone began whooping and hollering, including me! Perhaps if I was more aware of my own being I would have noticed my iPhone slipping out of my pocket!
Yes, again. I lost an important piece of technology on this trip. In Cape Town I lost my XCom Global wifi device inside an Uber car and this time I lost my iPhone a minute after starting the marathon. I was trying to take pictures of the fireworks with my GoPro while running. I reached for my iPhone to shoot back up pictures and it was gone. I yelled, “Oh nooooo!!! I lost my iPhone!” Brian said, “What? We have to turn back!” I paused in the middle of the road and saw thousands of runners coming towards me. There was no way I could go back. We had to move forward. I did not stress about my iPhone during the run. I was able to let it go. Letting go of stress was a valuable lesson I learned while running the Buenos Aires Marathon.
It was 72 degrees at the start and humid. I was sweaty by the first mile. We ran in the dark for about two hours, sunrise was at 7:00. The first 16 mile markers when by quickly. We were not running very fast, but we were enjoying the run and that made time pass. The Christmas lights in downtown led the way for about 4 miles and the glow of storefront windows along famous Kalakaoua Avenue led the way for another 3 miles. Then the streets were really dark while running along the side of Diamond Head. Although we could not see much, we could definitely feel the 760 foot climb. The course was out and back and most of it was along Kalanianaole Highway and posh neighborhoods. Having Koko Head, Diamond Head and palm trees as a backdrop was beautiful, but to be honest, I was thinking we would see lots of ocean views and this course had very little.
The sun came out full force around mile 19 and temperatures rose to 86 degrees. My right leg got very heavy and my knee was also becoming excruciatingly sore. The strong camber of the roads pulled on my knee and made it ache so badly for the last miles of the race. We took long walk breaks. I could not put much force on my knee. But I didn’t worry too badly about being slow. I still tried to have fun. A lot of people were dejected and walking up Diamond Head (second 760 foot climb) with their heads hanging down, but I kept my form and Brian reminded me to pump my arms forward.
At one point Brian and I were so tired and delirious, we joked about putting in a bid on a house in Kahala. Click here for the video. You’ll notice in the video Brian carrying sponges. The volunteers handed out ice cold sponges at several spots. It was a welcomed relief to wipe the salt from our faces and cool off our bodies.
Tip for ladies: I wore the Keep It Chill tank top by Running Skirts. The inside is lined with xylitol and when wet, it keeps you cool. I used the wet sponge to activate the xylitol. The tank is really nice.
There were a few bands along the course, but they were always on break whenever we passed, so we made our own entertainment. I have video of us singing “96 Degrees in the Shade,” but that will never be shared! We butchered the song badly! I had a fun time and I owe it to Brian.
There were some interesting costumes along the way: Santas, wedding clothes, and loin cloths. Some people ran in bare feet, some wore sandals and one guy was on stilts. The best person we sighted on the course was our friend Stephanie Connolly. She arranged her whole work schedule to coordinate with our race so she could be there to support us. She was at mile 6 and at the end.
We crossed the finish line with an official time of 5:41. It was slow, but we were still in the top 1/3. Plus we FINISHED! Over 29,000 runners started the race, but only 20,235 crossed the finish line. Honolulu Marathon does not have a time limit, so those 9,000 people were true DNFs. I’m lucky to have completed this run.
I am also luck because a kind sole found my iPhone and carried it 26 miles to the finish line. I was reunited with my iPhone! During the race I kind of had a feeling that someone would turn it in. Runners are an honest and tightknit community. I had hope. A heartfelt thank you to the kind stranger who took care of my iPhone!
Honolulu treated us well. This was a world class event with exceptional organization, energetic volunteers, an international vibe and filled with aloha spirit. Mahalo nui loa.