Saturday, December 17, 2011

Honolulu Marathon Part 2

First let me tell you a little about the run.  The marathon started in the middle of town on Ala Moana boulevard (which you don't even know where that is but it's fine).  We ran through town for the first seven or so miles was through downtown.  The eighth and ninth miles took us around Diamond Head Crater (the only hilly part, thank the Lord).  Then we were basically on a long stretch of road that ended with a loop at mile 17 and then we made our way back the same long stretch, back down Diamond Head, and finished at Kapiolani Park (but you don't know where that is either).

If you really want to know the exact route, click here.

Right after the gun went off, a display of fireworks was set off.  Mind you this marathon started at five in the morning to avoid the heat of the day.  Those fireworks were spectacular and it just set the entire mood for the whole run.  It was as if I had never seen fireworks go off before in my life, and got me so excited for the run!

The fireworks went off for about the first half mile.  During that time, people were taking pictures of them with their phones (I was surprised people even ran with that kind of stuff. I was so naked compared to these people carrying phones, credit cards, water bottles, and Gu).

Kelsey took off like a bullet and started weaving in and out of people like it was her job.  I stayed back to try to gauge my pace.  It was really hard trying to figure out how fast I should go with a sea of people around me.  I was constantly comparing my pace with others, judging them to determine if I should run faster than them.  Old, fat people?  Go faster.  Anyone skinny or moderately in shape?  Try to lag a little bit.  Intense marathon runners?  Well those people weren't even in sight so I didn't have a problem with them.

It was strange how even before we came up to the first mile marker, people were already walking.  You people paid $150 to do this marathon, why not break a sweat?  No?  Okay, I'll pass by you and have an actual victory at the finish line.

I remember distinctly passing the one kilometer marker.  I was curious for a bit, then realized the people around me were all Japanese and use the metric system.  Silly me and my American ways.  However, I did not know that I should have probably learned how many kilometers were in 26.2 miles, as I found that there were more signs that were in kilometers than miles.  By the time I was at 35 kilometers I was thinking Jesus Christ how much more do I need to run?!?! And then five minutes later I'd pass the mileage sign, and it would make me very sad that I still had a lot farther to run than I thought.

Those first 8 or 9 miles were absolutely spectacular.  The atmosphere was incredible, it was great that there were some people already lined up along the route at 5am to cheer us on.  When I came upon the first water station, I felt like the coolest person ever (when I'm really such a dork).  It was tough trying to drink water while running and not choking on it, but I made it work.  Hey, I said I was running this entire marathon, there was no time for stopping for water breaks.  Shenanigans.  I felt the coolest when I got to crunch up my cup and throw it to the side of the street.  The only time I've ever not felt bad for littering, 'cuz I knew it was going to get picked up.

We passed Kapiolani Park (where we were going to finish) at mile 6, and I couldn't help but think we will meet again.  I will be back.  I really truly am such a goof.

It was a little annoying those first miles when a lot of people were passing me, yet I wasn't really passing anyone at all.  Of course, I hadn't trained much at all for this thing, and people have probably been running for six months preparing, but the competitive person inside me was just pissed off that I wasn't passing anyone, and all these other people were just passing the shit out of me.

Right around mile 9, I ran into Kelsey, which was so bizarre, because running in a huge mess of people I thought I'd never see her again.  We both freaked out and screamed out of pure surprise and excitement to see each other.  We may have also shouted out a few Chee-Hoo's as well.  But our paces were too off to stay and chat much, so I continued on.

The next few miles were a little difficult.  I just kept thinking how I wasn't even halfway done yet which made me a little distraught.  But actually running the  distance wasn't bad.  I had run 13 miles multiple times (well like twice) so physically I was perfectly fine, it was just mentally challenging.  But when I commit to a challenge that's important to me, I will stick to it or die trying.  So I kept on trekking.

A mile or two before I got up to the halfway point, a pack of 4 Kenyans were already passing me going the opposite direction.  There was nobody even remotely close behind them.  That was both amazing but also pissed me off because I knew that they were almost done, as were people that were eventually going to be passing by going the other way.  I couldn't wait to finish the loop and start heading back.

After completing the 13.1 miles, I felt a lot better.  Nothing really exciting happened between then and mile 17 when I started the return trip, besides a large poo building up.  It had been there since about mile 5 or so, and I was determined to finish this race without stopping, even to poo.  I went almost fifteen miles with a full colon, but right before mile 20, I had no choice but to stop or it would've ended badly with me having to throw my pants out.

You have no idea how fast you're able to run when you're playing beat the clock.  I literally picked up my pace so much I was passing people left and right.  By the time I saw the porta-potties I was in a full-out sprint like it was the finish line.  It was a successful poo, didn't take too much time waiting in line, and I got right back in my groove.  I'm actually surprised I was able to get back to my pace easily since I had heard that once you stop it's hard to start back up again.  But I was on a mission.

I had bought a Gu pack, which is an energy gel of sorts that you eat when you do really long, physically demanding, dumb stupid things like run a marathon.  It seemed like a good idea to eat it at mile 20, since that's when everyone says you hit the "wall" where you want to stop and die.  The Gu actually helped, and I felt a lot more energetic.  But that lasted about 2 miles, all the while my stomach trying to argue with me about taking it.  The flavor - mint chocolate.  It was either that, citrus, or "original" flavor (and I didn't want to find out what original gel Gu tasted like).

Those last 4.2 miles dragged on forever.  Seriously.  I felt like I had been running for like 15 minutes and had to have gone at least a mile, but the signs never appeared.  I'm convinced those last miles were actually at least 10 miles, that's how much it sucked.  Also, those damn kilometer signs didn't help when I was trying to  gauge how much further I needed to go.

Once I got back to Diamond head, the mileage signs were starting to have clocks on them telling us how much time had passed by.  I thought maybe I could make it under 4 hours and 30 minutes.  The original time I had in mind before training was 4 hours, because I heard it was really impressive, and hey, I wanted to be impressive.  But given the time I had to train and the amount I actually trained, there was no way in hell that was happening.  Kelsey said she'd be excited if she was under 5 hours, but I thought that was too easy of a feat, so I set my bar at 4:30.

I knew I was cutting it close to my time, so I knew I had to pick up my pace.  If I had finished with a time of 4:31 or even 4:30:01 I would have been incredibly mad at myself.  I also would have blamed the poo stop for my finishing time, which would not have gone over well with me at all.  So down the Diamond Head hill I picked it up my pace hardcore, without realizing I still had a mile and a half to go.  But hell, that was the home stretch for this long-ass run, so I thought I could handle it.  Plus it was a hill, so I took advantage of it and flew by people towards the finish line.

Finally, I had come into sight of the huge Finish banner and final clock.  It was a long straight stretch, absolutely lined with people cheering and an announcer and all kinds of exciting stuff.  But I was too tired from sprinting down the hill (and the accumulation of just running 26 miles in general) to really look around and enjoy it.  I was excited, of course, but I was just more determined to finish this race in my time goal.  When I thought I could see the time clock, I thought it read 4:31:something and I was absolutely pissed.  I even shouted out "Dammit!".  But I never stopped running.  When I got closer, I saw it was actually 4:28:something, which made me so so so so happy I cannot even explain.

I cruised into the finish line with my hands in the air and a huge smile on my face.  I had just run 26.2 miles without walking, and that was a huge accomplishment itself.

Final time - 4:27:08

My time started when my Championchip crossed the starting line, so I was actually under what I thought it was.  I was officially under 4:30, and I was absolutely ecstatic.  I wanted to go hug a random stranger.

Some of our friends were at the finish line waiting for us, and I was really happy to see them!  I was really glad that they wanted to come out and see us finish this marathon.  It was great.

I thought about sitting down to stretch, but as I began to move to sit, my body said "NO!" and that was that.  I figured I'd be less sore if I stayed up and moving around anyway.  So I got some food at the finisher's table and went to watch Kelsey finish.

Kels came in right after 5:15, so she didn't reach her secondary goal of time, but she ran the whole thing, which was her first and most important goal, and I was so proud of her!!  It was great to have somebody to go through something like this with, and she helped me so much.

We even got lei's when we finished!

We thanked everyone for coming out to watch us, and then went to go get our free massages that were absolutely deserved.

Throughout this whole run, I saw some really crazy and funny things.  People were wearing costumes.  On separate occasions, I saw old Japanese men, one in a Minnie-Mouse costume, and one dressed as Wonder Woman.  People also wore wigs and santa hats and other crazy outfits.  I even saw a man carrying a full-sized American flag on a pole.  Like WTF?!  I also saw some pretty funny signs, like "You're going the wrong way" and "Because 26.3 miles would be crazy".  There were also some really encouraging signs that were adorable.  But it was the funny people and funny signs that made this marathon a lot more enjoyable.

People asked me if I was going to come back next year for the run.  And that answer would be a no.  Because flying to Hawaii just to run a marathon is ridiculously expensive, plus this time of the year is when finals are, and I don't have time to be horsing around running marathons.  But if I'm going to run another marathon ever, I'm not sure about that answer.  It would be great to run a marathon under 4 hours, but I was so proud of this accomplishment, I may just be retired for good.  I don't really understand how running marathons can become addictive like people say they can.

But overall, running this marathon was one of the best  decisions I've ever made.  It's just such a big accomplishment for me, something I can be proud of for the rest of my life, and that is just an absolutely incredible feeling.

And then I got a Happy Meal from McDonald's to top it all off.


1 comment:

  1. Michelle- So I decided to write a mini blog to your marathon blogs. :) So..
    Sunday Dec. 11


    So Sunday I wake up and realize, Katie runs her marathon today! Upon hearing about her training, or lack there of, over thanksgiving I was getting excited about seeing how she would do. I sent her a good luck text but figured she was already running.

    I then log onto facebook and see info about it everywhere. I see she signed up for some tracker thing and think, Oh cool! It will track her and we can look up her time!
    I then do some research and find the map of the route. This is 26 miles! And after finding the map I realize... THIS IS 26 MILES!!! So I post this on my facebook to share in my amazement. Not long after this I see Katies status that says she has reached the first checkpoint in just over an hour! How cool is it that we have the technology to post on facebook a running time in Hawaii when she crosses that point. SO COOL!
    Throughout the morning I continue to check facebook and calculate her time. I realize she is keeping a steady pace through the whole thing! Impressed, I think so!

    Finally she finishes and I post all over her wall. (Cause I am a stalker like that)
    I then patiently wait for this very blog. I read them both and realize just how little training was done.

    This #1 was amazing to me, and #2 made me want to kick Katie in the leg and see if she would have ran it off. My guess is yes. lol The point to this is I am amazed that you ran so far without training like a crazy person!

    I think it is so cool all the things you are doing in Hawaii. Really living. Jumping off cliffs, renting mopeds, going surfing, running marathons, getting a tattoo, swimming with turtles, and everything else! I am very impressed and glad you took the time to share it with us on here! =)