Well, marathon number 4 is in the books!
Sighs. Where do I begin.
I’ll tell you now that this was both my not so best and best marathon. I’ll explain later.
The marathon started at 5am. Woke up just after 3am and got breakfast going: glass of water, banana, and half an english muffin with peanut butter. Everything was laid out the night before so it was quick and easy to get race gear on. Was out of the house just after 4am, and Tommy drove me down to the apartment of a friend, Johnathon, of ours who was also running the marathon. From his place, the start line was only a mile away so it’d be a good warm up.
We got to the start area with just enough time to make a restroom stop. Announcements, in both English and Japanese, were made as we made our way to where everyone was crowding. One thing I’m not entirely a fan of in this marathon is that there are no waves or corrals at the start. Everyone kind of lines up wherever they please and there’s just not very much order. There are banners with finishing times (2-3hr, 3-4hr, 4-5hr, etc) and you’re supposed to stand where you think you should finish. Majority of the runner’s don’t pay any attention to it and line up wherever. And since there’s no cut off time to finish, there are a lot of walkers who participate and they kind of disperse everywhere at the start. Can we say major congestion? Johnathon and I decided to situate ourselves as close to the start as possible. At 5am on the dot, the fireworks went off, which is a pretty cool sight as you start the race and so it began.
Johnathon and I kept a steady pace of about 8:30 the first few miles. It was great to have company but that didn’t last very long. Johnathon’s ran a ridiculous amount of marathons and has also ran Boston a few years ago, so I knew we’d end up parting ways at some point. And that point came when I had to make a beeline for the water station at about mile 5. He was a couple yards ahead while I chugged down some water, and I turn away for one second and he’s gone. No worries, I was used to running races by myself.
Miles ticked away as I ran through Waikiki, and by the time I made it out of Kapiolani Park and up and out of Diamond Head, mile 9, I hit a speed bump. The runner’s knee.
I had terrible runner’s knee last year, and had to wear a knee strap/brace in all three marathons in 2012. This year, it stayed away for the majority of my races, but didn’t stay away for long. It couldn’t have come at the worst time. Seriously, just as I was running a marathon. I felt the annoying dull pain start in my right knee and decided to run through it. Bad idea, it just got worse. Fortunately, and maybe this was foreshadowing, I decided to run with a knee strap in hand. In the Turkey Trot I had felt a weird twinge but attributed it to lack of stretching. I should’ve known then. But I came prepared, and I was really glad I did, because by mile 14 it was full force pain and I had to put the strap on. By the time I was on my way back to the park from the Hawaii Kai turaround (mile 18) I had to do a combination of running and walking. I was able to hold out a few miles before the pain got bad and walked it off before starting running again. I did the walking as I hit the aid stations (every two miles) and drank water and gatorade. At this point I was averaging 10 minute miles.
I knew sub-4:00 was not gonna happen. I was bummed, but I knew I’d be more pissed if I decided to stop at this point and not finish. I don’t give up what I start, even though there was a small voice in my head that said I needed to stop. It was a pretty vicious battle between mind, heart and body. It sucked. I realigned my goal to just finish. Finish even though it hurt to move my knee. I was frustrated, and probably walked more than I should have. But it just hurt.
The following pic says otherwise. I’ve been told I’m a photogenic and very smiley runner. Not quite sure how I manage that!!! This was around Mile 23 or so. Probably just happy and delirious that I was close to being done.
I finally made it back into the Diamond Head neighborhood with less than 3 miles left, and ran (more like speed walked/jogged at this point) to the finish. I was overjoyed when I was on the last stretch and could see the Finish, and even more so when I saw Tommy cheering me on the sidelines. Seriously, he’s the best for putting up with me and my races 🙂
Honolulu Marathon 2013 done at 4:16:46, a 9:48 pace. I’m not gonna bother posting my splits because they’re just way too sad to look at. It seriously fluctuated between 8:01 to 11:00. But here are the splits from the time markers of the marathon:
10K – 51:24, 8:09 pace
21K – 1:56:01, 8:51 pace
30K – 2:54:29, 9:22 pace
40K – 4:03:22, 9:48 pace
Finish – 4:16:46, 9:48 pace
Found Tommy after the finish where all I wanted to do was eat a malasada and kick my shoes off. Which I did in that order. We picked up my finisher’s shirt and medal before heading home.
So that’s the Honolulu Marathon for you in a nutshell. Like I said, it was both my not so best and best marathon.
Not so best because I had to run with an injury. Ugh. Just UGGGGGGHHHHH. Runner’s knee is a pain, literally, because it’s hard to get rid of so I know my recovery is going to involve strengthening my knees. And I need to get back into trail running, I think that helped a lot with keeping injuries at bay. Haven’t done much since the Ultra, and that’s mostly my fault for focusing too much on the marathon. Lessons learned.
Best marathon because even with the runner’s knee, I did manage to PR!!!!! I ran last year’s Honolulu marathon at 5:15:12, so I shaved off 59 minutes on the course which I think it pretty fantastic in itself. And my previous PR was from the Chicago Marathon 2012 of 4:27:46, and I came in exactly 11 minutes under that. Woo to the Hoo!!!
So even though I didn’t get my sub-4:00, I got to walk away with a PR. And I’ll take it, injury and all!
And that’s pretty much it, nothing else left for the remainder of the year other than to recover and take it easy before getting back into it again.
I will do my best not to dwell or beat myself up for not getting sub-4:00. But I’m my own worst critic when it comes to running and life in general. And what sucks is that I know deep down I can do it. Heck, previous races have shown what a fast pace I can get down to. But Honolulu 2013 was just not my marathon to get that done. There’s always next time 🙂 And trust me when I say that I’m already planning out 2014 to hit my new race goals.
Thank you to my husband, for waking up at the butt crack of dawn to take me to a race and always being there at the finish. And to my family and friends that despite even though they all think it’s crazy to be running a marathon, much less marathon #4, for all the well wishes and congratulations.
And thanks to the volunteers and spectators on the Honolulu Marathon course for waking up so early to hand out water, fruit and spray us with water as we ran by.
I’m a lucky runner girl 🙂
And congratulations to everyone else who finished the Honolulu Marathon this year! And to those who finished a race elsewhere this past weekend!
Now time to recover. Bring on the ice, massage therapy, and strengthening exercises!