Monday, December 9, 2013

Honolulu Marathon 2013

So, that didn't go according to plan. But marathons rarely do - I feel like the longer the event, the more you must be prepared to adapt. I dragged HK out of bed at 3 for the 5 am start. He had a huge project this weekend, and worked 15 hours laying tile Saturday, then got 4 hours of sleep - he was not too excited and flashed his typical pre-marathon or track workout face at me:

As we waited at the start, I tried to come up with a goal. I didn't have one. Goal-less races never go well for me - in Boston I had no goal and ran 3:03 on a day when I really could have done better, had I gone after it. I tried to jump on board with sub-3:10, but I couldn't make myself care. And then the gun went off. I ran with the Dooder, fresh off of pacing Hillary to her Ultraman World Championships, and Stacky and Mariane for the first mile or so. Easa was going to run with me, but I could tell from step one it wasn't a PR day - my quads always warn me. I told him to go race for the Kamaaina win instead of wasting his time with me, and off he went. I decided to set up a good day anyway, running 6:50 - 7 for the first 10k, because you never know how things might turn around. It was doable, but not great. Then the hills hit (8-9) and suddenly, I felt great. I booked it on the flat till mile 11, thinking I might just be able to escape all the things I had going against me, like: 
  • the fact that I have work-dream/nightmares all night every night that wake me up every hour worrying I forgot something, so I'm more sleep-deprived than usual
  • the unshakeable feeling that I can't do anything right lately - eat, work, parent, budget, and so on 
  • the feeling I had when I woke up, same as every day: please just let me survive today
  • the eight extra pounds I never dropped after paddling season
  • the two speed workouts in three months
  • the limited mileage/skipped runs due to utter exhaustion
It turns out that no, I couldn't escape it. And as usual, I could fake it for 10-11 miles. Around mile 11, I stopped being optimistic and fell into the negative pit of my mind. I suck at everything. Nothing I do is ever good enough. I can't possibly run fast when I had to go buy new shorts, a size bigger, yesterday. Look at all the skinny little people, gliding along effortlessly because they weigh 100 lbs. I can't do it all. You name it, I thought it. I ran a 7:50 for mile 13, in case anyone needs proof that you can only be as good as you think you are at any given moment.

HK wanted to break 4 hours. We had a contingency plan: if I was hurting or staring down a 3:15+, I would stop and wait for him, and pace him to his goal instead. So I ran to the half (1:34) and stopped to wait for him. It never occurred to me that by waiting for him, I would risk not finishing. I talked to friends and cheered until the 2:00 mark came. And went. And then suddenly it was 2:20, and I realized he wasn't coming. Something must have gone wrong. At that point, I was worried. And I'd been standing still for 45 minutes and didn't want to bother with the additional 7 miles of the Hawaii Kai loop without a hat in the sun and the crowds, so I just started to walk back along the sidewalk.

Then along came my friend Candes on her way back from Hawaii Kai,. We've been friends since high school.  She's a great athlete who helped introduce me to triathlon. She came up as I was walking somewhere between mile 20-21 (I skipped the out-and-back to Hawaii Kai, so I'd been waiting at the 13/20 mile mark) and asked me to run her in. I wasn't sure I could start up fast again after being still for nearly an hour, but she said Please - I just need to run 7:30s! so I jumped in. I'm so glad I did. The rest had done wonders for me, and I felt like I was starting fresh. We ran a couple of miles together and she was working really hard. At the 22 mile-mark, I did the math and realized she was headed for 3:15 - 3:16, and I knew her PR was in the low 3:20s. It was game on. I ran a step ahead, chattered, and told her all the mental tricks that I've learned to carry me through the really hard last miles. We caught some great runners. She was maxed out - because that's what a PR takes - but still managed to smile for the camera: 

In the end, she ran 3:16, taking the Kamaaina win and setting a 5 minute PR. I ducked out just before the finish line, since I hadn't run the whole course, and found HK in the grass. He had pulled or torn his calf at mile 9 and hobbled back. He can't walk, so I'm worried it's badly hurt. It's not even the one that bothered him last year.  So there you have it - just call us Team DNF. It sucked not to finish, but it was so great to watch Candes kick ass and set a new PR that it completely made up for it. 

It's amazing the difference between 26 miles fast and 19-20 miles fast: I'm a little achy today, but nothing like after running an entire marathon. I woke up wanting to run (I didn't, though) and I also woke up motivated to make some changes - I don't want to just survive each day. 


  1. I'm going to hell because a bit of me is enjoying seeing you finally suck at something. Now, you have an idea of what it's like to live all of my ironman experiences. Welcome to the SUCK club, though I'm sure your stay will be brief.

  2. Thank you for coaching me through one of my favorite years in sport yet. You may not be able to do it all (who can?), but what you do, you do very well.

    1. Kim, thank you for letting me be a part of your amazing year! I've loved it.

  3. So awesome that you were able to help your friend out. You two look great - although your shorts might be a size too big;) Yeah to TEAM DNF. Sorry to hear about HK - hope he heals in time for the next one;)

  4. You seriously do NOT suck. Life is challenging you right now and you're not in your groove but you have to believe you're growing and getting stronger. And when you find that groove, you're going to come back with even more drive.

    At least you showed up at the starting line. I may have cried a little bit at 5am, from the streets of Kailua.

  5. sorry about the dismal race experiences.. but it's always good to help a PR..

    in re jobs, I made that mistake once - went from a routine 8-5 to a challenging interesting 50-60hr/week job, and tried to maintain run training and racing. As Bilbo says in another context, you end up feeling scraped thin, like not enough butter for too much bread.. so you have to periodize training in more ways than one..