9.07.2011

Reflecting Back on The Kaua'i Half Marathon

I love to race and the great thing about doing many races is that you can recognize ones that are really awesome! The Kaua'i Marathon is one of those. This was only its third year but it drew over 1,700 marathon, half marathon, and relay participants. This is one of the pricier runs I have participated in but I would do it again because you do get your money's worth.

The EXPO was small and I wasn't too interested in any of the stuff they offered; however, I did buy my dear hubby some Ultima to drink instead of the Gatorade he drinks all hours of the day. Yes, it is not just a sports drink to him. And runners had the opportunity to meet Bart Yasso (I skipped that one) and Dean Karnazes (I said hello and got some goodies - the Ultramarathon Man movie for my darling daughter and a signed copy of Run for dear hubby and myself to share). It was great talking to Dean for a bit and I love how down to Earth he is. What I really enjoyed on pre-race day was the panel discussion I attended.


The panel consisted of four members - Bart Yasso, Dean Karnazes, JT, cool guy but I can't remember his name, and at the end Michael Wardian jumped it to give a couple of words of advice and inspiration. Michael raced last year and just missed the $15,000 challenge of completing the marathon under 2:30. He was back this year to collect the prize (and by the way, he ended up coming in second and succeeded in breaking the time and is sharing the $15,000 with the 1st place male). The discussion was led by Jeff (the race organizer) who asked great questions. The panel answers were just as awesome. In addition, runners could add their stories about why they are running, etc. I shared. Yep, and then realized this was all being taped. Hmmmm....


I think I walked over 50 miles on that pre-race day and ended up in my room with my feet kicked up for some room service for dinner. I just did not want to walk anymore and savored my pizza with milk! I then set two alarms, watched the end of the movie, and called it a night as I cuddled down into the blankets (missing the warmth of my family).

I was up at 4:10 am on race day to eat, took a quick shower to awaken my mind, and sun screened up from head to toe (kinda....I really don't sunscreen my legs....is that bad?) I headed over to the start line and realized it is really dark right before 5:00 am. In no time I was out of the range of the hotel lights and thanks so much for all the volunteers with flashlights who provided guidance. We literally walked blind from one dim light to the next dim light in the distance. Eventually, we got to the starting area and could see perfectly fine. And I was amazed to discover they had a pre-race buffet set up for the runners. Way cool! I have never been at a race that has done this. I didn't eat (already did that, remember?) but I did take advantage of some extra hydration.


And with one final inspirational thought from Dean to half marathoners ("get ready to have a great race") and marathoners ("get ready to die") we were off! I could feel that I was being pulled along by the enthusiasm and focused on easing up my speed. My goal was to incorporate negative splits even though a part of me really wanted to set a new PR. My logical mind came over --- you are running a marathon in two weeks, you will need to be able to start smart in two weeks so you better practice, and this is an intense hilly course from the word on the street. (Okay logical mind, I will do what is right. No use risking an injury with the big day two weeks away. 'nuff said but that doesn't mean I like it!)

However, it was so much fun to be running with others and having fun just running! The marathoners and half marathoners all start together and our paths diverged around mile 11. I was passed by some runners and I passed some runners. A couple of runners and I also seemed to be in a continual game of leap frog. I must confess, I stopped to take a couple of pictures with my cell phone to share on facebook and with my daughter (who was quite upset I didn't bring her). I was carrying my own water bottle but I did need to stop at a couple of aid stations to refill. I took two GU gels to practice my fueling strategy for the marathon (normally, I would have aimed to do just one for this distance). It was good practice because with my second gel I dropped my extra nuun that was in my handheld water bottle pocket; therefore, I need to fix that for marathon day. See, if I did one gel I wouldn't have learned this lesson.

The race course was absolutely beautiful and yes, hilly. When I looked at footage later I realized just how hilly it was although those two steep downhills should have been an indicator of how much altitude I was gaining. I have to brag that I passed most runners on my uphill climbs and on one long run, many were stopping to walk and I just ran along. Yeah! Incline training has paid off and to you that "little" hill about halfway into the Maui Marathon, I am gonna kick your butt!

Towards the end of the course we ran through a neighborhood and so many people were out in the yards to watch us run by and waved and cheered. It was great! I clearly remember one family of three under a tent on their yard and I still see the old lady in her wheelchair. She was under a blanket (neck to ankles), head covered, and had oxygen. I had this undying urge to run over to her and hug her but fortunately realized that may freak the lady out. So instead I blew her a kiss. I just couldn't pass this woman without doing something. (I told you it was an undying urge.) Moments later I felt my heart swell with the love of my dad and I ended up bawling since I missed him so much and felt his presence so intensely in that moment. (Note: I can't even type this without crying.) I am surprised none of the runners around me didn't look at me more strangely as I continued to run crying my eyes out and hyperventilating. Okay, not really a good running strategy and I did get myself back into check as quickly as possible. Perhaps my craziness felt longer than the reality.

About halfway into the run I focused on picking up my pace and really tried to push the final mile. Towards the end I caught up to a man who was in front of me and we were running almost neck to neck to the finish. I was just behind him but then all of a sudden he slowed....okay I can handle this by easing up a bit....and then he came to a dead stop. YIKES! I am a millimeter away from the finish and this runner is standing there! I veered to the right to squeak beside him and yep, my right foot that had the D-tag veered too much to the right. End result - my foot didn't cross the "line" and my finishing time wasn't officially recorded. Lesson two learned - position yourself midfield at the end of a race just in case you have a runner decide to become a statue.

The post-race was wonderful with massages, good food, cold beer (no thanks), and Jamba Juice smoothies (yes please). I stayed for a bit but missed having my family with me too much to party much longer. It was so strange to finish a race and have no one to congratulate you (okay, the statue congratulated me later but you know what I mean.)

Would I race this one again? Oh yeah!! It was worth every penny - race fees and travel costs! And my row of medals has a new friend!

My stats
Distance: 13.1 miles (and I recalibrated my Nike+ sensor)
Time: 2:07'13"
Pace: 9'43"
Splits (please note, splits reflect time before sensor was recalibrated; therefore, paces are faster than my pace but the trend is the same):

4 comments:

  1. Great job!!! Sounds like a wonderful race. I love Bart and Dean. How fun! :)

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  2. Thanks SupermomE12! I loved every minute of the race and am already mentally scheming how I can take the whole fam next year as an anniversary gift....just need to fine tune the issue of something being with darling daughter while dear hubby and I run.

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  3. Too bad about the d-tag problem. Yay for running faster in the second half of the race! That's hard to do!

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  4. @Tina, yeah, don't know what happened with the D-tag because I have seen a finish line photo and I should have been good to go. No worries and thanks!

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Mahalo for your comments!