Harbor to Harbor 17.3k Race Report

Woah! What a weekend! Time is flying by and I can't believe I get one extra day with darling daughter today since she is off for Veteran's Day and I am on furlough today. All dark clouds come with a silver lining! And there is indeed awesomeness around every corner...one of which I found Saturday at the Harbor to Harbor race hosted by the Valley Isle Road Runners.

My race goal was plan and simple. Don't kill myself. Don't push too much. Try to run negative splits and make sure I come out of race day ready to complete my training and enter taper for the Honolulu Marathon on December 9th. I ran this race two years ago, last year I had a broken toe and was out of commission so I volunteered, and knew that runners were fast and knew the course, although it is running in the reverse direction now (for the second year). My race plan wasn't all that odd and in fact, the Harbor to Harbor promotes itself as a shakeout race for the Honolulu Marathon. But I did doubt my ability to not get competitive with myself. And I did fear a "failure" and how I would cope with that with a bigger race around the corner.

Dear hubby was also running but for this race, we were running "together, separately". Yep, he was on his own and lined up at the front with all the speedy gents. I lined up back a bit near some good friends but within moments we separated. For the first mile or so we had a good strong headwind but not as bad as I feared. I work near the start and the day before the winds were crazy strong. Thank goodness for a little let up but at least I knew the winds were going to be there. My goal, slow and steady, slow and steady, slow and steady. Ironically I had just read the story "The Tortoise and The Hare" to darling daughter and had the tortoise in my mind for this race. I didn't rush too much past other runners to get to a clear pocket and let myself run in the "group" knowing I would need to be used to this since the Honolulu Marathon is HUGE in attendance.

Since I was focused on negative splits and not going crazy I checked into my pace each mile. At mile 1 I discovered I was running faster than my predicted 10'00" easy pace run at just over 9'00" miles. I felt good, wasn't breathing too heavy, and wasn't hurting. I focused on running in the moment, told myself I could ease up a bit since I wanted to speed up at the end. Thing is, I was now in a bit of a downhill, which was making all of us pick up the pace a bit. I tried to be smart and soon my left calf was aching a bit. I knew it was the extra impact of a downhill landing and repeated "slow and steady" focusing on the evening of the course ahead. And fortunately, once things evened out my leg felt fine. And hey, this just trained my muscles a wee bit more in downhill running. Although I was surprised it bugged me since the decline was not extreme. And I learned, I need new sunglasses that will bounce less in running.

Throughout the run I pretty much maintained my space in the pack. I did pass some in the start, some passed me back a little later, and I let them go. I had my race plan in my head and was totally running in my head, in the moment, cherishing each step. At one point a car drove by honking and I had an overwhelming feeling of my spirituality rushing through my body and I knew my angels were with me. It is really hard to explain but this was the second time this happened to me in a race and it really causes tears to well up in my eyes and I have to focus on getting my breathing in check. The first time was at the Kaua'i Half Marathon.

I have nothing negative to say about this race. The course was well marked for turns off and then back onto the main path. There was a policeman here and there providing support. The aid stations were manned and the volunteers were cheerful. It is a well-organized local event that I know I will do again in future years. And I was just plain happy and running well, every step of the way. I knew my mile points but the course was clearly marked at each mile as well. I saw my pace was holding steady or getting slightly faster. And for the final 2.5 miles, I really focused on allowing myself to steadily increase my pace. I saw people in front of me I wanted to pass but kept to the "slow and steady" approach telling myself, they could have the same plan to increase pace now. Stay in your head. Stay in your pace. Run. And I slowly passed lady, after lady, after lady, after guy, after guy. And rounded the gravely corner to the finish, which prevented my normal speedy pick-up across the line.

And I finished in 1:30:28 with a new PR! 1:38:59 was my time from two years ago and I knew I was on path to beat it early on but dismissed that as a driving force. In the final miles, I knew I was still on target. In the final mile, I knew it was mine. And it felt good. Really good! I finished 38th out of 102 runners and was the 8th out of 50 females. And I achieved my primary goal of running negative splits with an overall pace of 8:37!  FYI: Dear hubby finished in 1:21:11 and really wanted to break 1:20:00. I am trying to convince him 17th overall and 15 out of 52 men is great! His overall pace was 7:44.

And dear hubby, I know you are hurt that I needed to keep moving post-run and didn't stop when you were congratulating me. I am sorry and your words of support, smiles, and pride mean the world to me so I am telling the world, I am sorry. Love ya!

Now onto a few race logistics: This race is typically held in November and the entry fee is $50. The fee covers a race shirt and finisher's medal....both of which really rocked the boat this year! I am usually not impressed by race shirts but I love this one this year! The post-race breakfast is hosted by Beach Bum's, a local restaurant, and included scrambled eggs, bacon, white race, and pancakes. I really couldn't stomach any of it but I am not much of an eater right after running.

And forgive me for a moment while I toss this question out there and perhaps vent a bit....What is it with this new trend of giving "finisher" shirts out at packet pick-up? I totally understand it is an easy time to give stuff to runners but then it really isn't a finisher shirt, is it? It then becomes a race shirt....simply put. But hey, perhaps I just would have liked a shirt there for me at the end of this point-to-point race. What are your thoughts?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to be able to talk to fellow runners about runner things like shoes and gels!
Daily Affirmation: Balance is integrated into all aspects of my life.

I am thankful to FitApproach for helping make today happen for me. I am proud to say I ran this race as a SweatPink Ambassador and thought PINK throughout the run!


  1. Congrats to you and your husband for finishing.

    AMAZING JOB on your pr!! Congrats!!

  2. Erica, you inspire me day after day. I love that you are able to share your running life with John and that he totally gets it. Your an awesome couple!!

    I will be praying that you both nail your Marathons in December.

    Any words of advice for me as I prepare for running the 26.2 distance and not so concerned with my time this first go around as only three weeks later is the Valley to the Sea and my goal is to pr from last year?

    PINK is awesome! :-)

  3. WOW what a great recap and a HUGE PR!!!!!!!!!! YAY :) so proud of you

  4. What an awesome recap and congrats on the PR. I do not care weather I get a shirt before or after because I never wear a shirt until the race is over and sometimes it is nice to get all swag (not medals) before to either leave it home or pack it in the car so you dont have to juggle it with your post race food and water.....but medals should always come AFTER!


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