9.18.2012

Maui Marathon - The Race Recap

Sunset before Maui Marathon
Aloha Friends!

My mind is still spinning but I feel I need to just settle down and share my tale before it gets way too fuzzy. Once again, thanks so much for all the congrats and supportive comments. I can't express enough how much it means to me and how much I appreciate each and every one. Many mahalos!

Now onto race day!

Putting on Body Glide
Since darling daughter was having her first sleep over at a dear friend's I was able to get to bed at a decent hour and have a good night's rest. I really am not sure how well I slept because I still remember dreams/nightmares about marathon day. In my dreams I kept forgetting when it was and I would wake up slightly and remind myself it was in the morning. This happened repeatedly through the night. However, come morning I was okay and ready to wake up....as much as you can be at 3:30 in the morning.

I got up and headed to the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee and ate my two waffles with peanut butter and banana. I eat early so I have time to digest my food and absorb my drink. I also drank about 8 oz of vitamin water. Mentally I was feeling ready to go. Physically I was feeling ready to run. And I was.

Dear hubby and I got to the race start with just enough time to take one last potty break, drop off our stuff at the bag check, and move into our corral with just a minute or so to wait until we all started walking to the race start. It is at this time that I remembered something I read years ago. Sorry I don't remember the source but essentially it stated that men tend to place themselves ahead of where they should be and women tend to place themselves behind where they should be. I placed dear hubby and I exactly where we should be....in the 4 hour to 5 hour corral. Dear hubby wanted me to move forward. I said nope and he was fine with that.

As we waited the few minutes for the race to actually start dear hubby and I chatted very little. I have a pre-race ritual of bringing myself into my mind. Reflecting. Saying a silent prayer. Singing a bit of Peace is Flowing Like a River. But he did mention that there were a lot of people, only 1,000 or so though, and that Honolulu Marathon will be more crowded for me. People don't bother me. I get into my own mind.

Dear hubby gave me a kiss and then we were off. My goal was to start sensibly and to be in charge of my pace. My goal was to run negative splits with the hope I could pick things up halfway through when the course flattens out. I started running and felt wonderful. I was tempted to check in on my pace but told myself no. I was afraid that learning my pace might mess with my mindset. I was running well, I was feeling good, I didn't feel like I was overexerting myself at all but I didn't feel like I was taking it too slow. We passed some runners, some runners passed up, and eventually we ended up in a pretty good running bubble. Of course, there was still some passing and being passed throughout the remainder of the race. Lesson 1: Perhaps check in on my pace at the start to ensure I am on target? After reviewing my splits I ran my fastest mile first, although only by seconds. We maintained about a 9:30" pace for the first half. If I were running even splits, my target pace was closer to 10'00".

About 30 minutes into my run I fully realized my play list wasn't playing in order. I guess I had my phone pre-programmed to shuffle songs regardless if I picked a list or went for all songs. Oh well...I didn't let this bother me as there was nothing I could do about it anyhow. It just wasn't important. I put my faith in God that the songs will be there when I needed them and ran on.

Around mile 7 we started a good decline and my right hip began to complain by feeling tight. Nothing too serious but annoying. Lesson 2: Incorporate more down hill running in my future training. This downhill stretch didn't last long and we went into some rolling hills as we moved on through the tunnel that marked the end of uphill climbs and the beginning of some more downhill and then the essentially flat end of the course. Shortly after coming out of the tunnel we reached the 13 mile mark and I checked in on my pace. We were at just over 2 hours and I was happy. I still had dreams of maintaining this pace or perhaps picking it up but I also knew that Front Street was going to be hard for me. I had that ahead of me from about mile 22 to mile 24. But I didn't dwell on it. I ran in the moment.

Throughout this race I repeated the manta "stay in your body". It kept me focused on the present if my mind wandered away too much or if I was bugged by runners passing me. "Stay in your body". It was the only place I could or wanted to be.

My fueling and hydration plan throughout the race also kept me focused on the moment. Every two miles or so I drank some Gatorade or Powerade when we shifted over to the course drank. Dear hubby was in charge of our water bottle and refilling when necessary so I could keep on running. I took a GU at 5 mile marks initially but towards the end the distance shortened to 4 miles as I felt I needed the fuel. Now that I have been able to review my splits I know I was listening to my body well and was probably taking the GU at the same time minute wise. Yep, my pace was slowing.

The second half of the race was TOUGH! Mentally tough. I was fighting the hardest battle of my life and had a couple of times I just wanted to pull over to the side of the course and cry....or perhaps scream. My legs were achy and I kept telling myself they were lying to me. That I was stronger than they were trying to tell me I was.

But for some reason running by this


and this


and this


was annoying me beyond belief. I wasn't loving the beautiful coastline. It was never ending and it was HOT. And the heat was getting to me. And I remembered all the stories of other runners, like you, who had tough moments. And I remembered that Dean Karnazes even found this stretch hot and tough. Lesson 3: Incorporate more training runs that occur in hotter parts of the day. I was prepared for the heat mentally in some regards but wasn't thinking it would start wearing on me as early as it did. And I did my best to keep cool. I took every sponge offered. I even stepped it up by taking cups of water and pouring them down my body.

Once we hit Front Street at mile 22 I was harder off than I imagined I would be. It was getting harder to drink and my sips were getting smaller. Part of me didn't even want to drink as the idea made me sick. Front Street was torture and I envisioned it as a deserted ghost town in the middle of the desert. And in some regards that is a fitting description. On a normal day there would be bumper to bumper cars moving at a snail's pace and the sidewalks would be crowded with people shopping, eating, walking, whatever. But on race day this road is closed. And the aid stations seem to be minimally manned. But that one family as you just begin to enter this zone of drudgery was there again at the corner with fruit. I gladly took some again as I entered what I knew would be a tough 2 miles.

And it is in here my memory is already getting fuzzy as to what happened first. I remember grabbing a piece of watermelon and thanking a volunteer from the bottom of my heart. He told me to go through the cooling tunnel. I detoured a bit to the side and obeyed. At this point, getting my phone too wet didn't matter and it didn't look like a rain shower. And it wasn't. It was Heaven on Earth. There was a slight mist as I entered and then a cooling breeze. Indeed Heaven. I found a moment of peace and then had to run on out of it. I think it was post cooling tunnel and somewhere near mile 24 that I asked dear hubby for water. Up until this point I always kept moving while drinking. For some reason this time I stopped. Lesson 4: Don't completely stop. I still remember seeing the policeman at the intersection while I took a sip of Powerade. And then I honestly felt as if I was swaying or the world was spinning. I told dear hubby to "take the water, NOW!". He did and I held my head for a nano-second to ascertain what was happening to me. All I could think was get moving so I forcibly shook out my hands and got moving again. Isn't that what we should all do when we feel we are about to hit pavement?

My ideal race plan was to start picking up the pace when I left Front Street as there would only be 2.2 miles or so left. I tried. I don't think it was working. Runners passed us. Dear hubby kept pacing himself with each passing runner. I was getting annoyed. Trust me, I don't like to be passed but I was really giving it everything I had at that moment. I had checked in on my pace at mile 24 and knew I could PR if I just kept moving. I kept moving as best as I could. Mile 25ish came and I really wanted to put more into it. It didn't work that way. I was making the final turn and I wanted to put more into it. Once again, I couldn't find any reserves. The finish was in sight and two ladies on the side cheered and must have said just the right thing but for the life of me I can't remember what they said. I found my final reserves and gave a final kick. And then I crossed the finish line with a new PR and felt good....and drained.....and ready to collapse....and my legs hurt. But I was happy.

My time was 4:36:16. I had a new PR. I placed 14th out of 63 in my division. I did my best.

Lesson 5: I am mentally strong. Mentally strong doesn't mean you run a race with only positive thoughts. I feel you are strong when you are able to knock each and every negative thought out of your mind and keep going. Around mile 20 I did think about quitting. I didn't. Those times I wanted to pull over and cry I didn't. Although if I did, that would have been fine and maybe it would have served better at flushing the negative thoughts out quicker. Who knows.....

On bus back to start
Lesson 6: Take your playlist off of shuffle. Although this didn't bother me during the race I think it is worth doing if you are going through the time and effort of lining songs up in a certain order with "uplifting" or "upbeat" songs being played when you know you will be mentally challenged.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I am able to run....no matter what the pace.
Daily Affirmation: I know my body. I listen to my body. I push my body sensibly.

15 comments:

  1. Congratulations on a great race and new PR. Sounds like it was rough. I can't stand that dizzy feeling in a hot race. Glad you were able to push through.

    Love the outfit too!

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  2. Congratulations on your PR. This was a recap. I am running my first marathon in three weeks and I plan on keeping your lessons in my mind.

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  3. Congrats on a PR! Way to push through :)

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  4. Wow, great race! Very cool that your husband ran with you! Only in the middle of a marathon could those shores be annoying.:) But I totally get it. Songs I love somehow become instantly annoying in certain running situations. And I'm the opposite of you in that I always shuffle my playlists for marathons. I like being surprised by what song will play next.

    And big congrats on your new PR!

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  5. You did great! I love all your little lessons! That is why we keep going back time after time right? B/c we learn from the time before! You did awesome!

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  6. Woooooow!!! You are AmAZING!!!!! great job!!!! Awesome PR and thanks for sharing the gorgeous pics! Ur an inspiration!!! Spa love!

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  7. Congrats to you!! A hot race makes it so tough... and those downhills can be killer, too! Awesome job.

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  8. Awesome run, great report! Sounds like it was a real roller coaster and you rallied when it got super tough. Sounds very scary at mile 24 with the swaying but glad you were ok.

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  9. This was an awesome race report - I love reading your lessons along with the recap. I just might have to borrow this idea sometime. Congrats on a great race, a new PR and for being so focused and strong. Awesome.

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  10. GREAT recap! I loved the mile by mile play by play. I always learn so many lessons during my marathons and truly enjoy hearing what others have learned as well! -- Ericka @ The Sweet Life (sweetlifeericka.com)

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  11. Wow - that was incredible. I couldn't stop reading. Congratulations - I'm going to pocket that mental toughness you showed and use it when I need it.

    Again - congratulations!

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  12. Awesome job! Congrats on the PR and the ental toughness to get through tough times. You trained very hard for this and it paid off! Congrats again!!!

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  13. Fantastic job! I'm running my first full marathon in November and I'm going to have to keep some of your lessons in mind!

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  14. Congrats on your new PR! It sounds like it was physically and mentally tough race, but you pushed through for the victory :)

    Good luck training for your next one!

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  15. Awesome job on your race. You have reminded me how tough running a marathon is. I am training for my second one now. I will try to apply your words of advice.

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