Honolulu Marathon Training

40 days until the Honolulu Marathon. Depending on your perspective, that may seem so short or so long. For me though, it is 40 more days of training, anticipation, and trying as hard as I might to make my mind stronger.

I skyped with my coach on Saturday and confessed, I was nervous about my 18 miler run that I was scheduled to run yesterday. I was running solo but using that as a reason for my nerves is just an excuse. I see that now. In all reality, I feared failure.

When I posted about my run on Daily Mile I called it a successful failure. In fact, I called my long runs in general a successful failure. I still believe that but don't worry, I am not dwelling on the failure part. I see the success and embrace the success. The thing is, I am trying really, really hard to run negative splits. To start out slow. I feel I need to do this come race day in order to achieve my goals. I did a pretty good job of it on my recent 16 miler. That run rocked the boat! That run contributed to my anxiety level for the 18 miler. As much as I wanted a repeat performance of awesomeness I knew I didn't need a repeat performance to achieve my race day goals. I do not need to run 9'09" miles to break a 4:20 marathon. I don't. In fact I need to run a 9'54.9" technically but I am training on a 9'50" GMP (goal marathon pace). I like that flex room. It will bring me in at 4:17.49 assuming no slow downs or pit stops. We all know that isn't true.

With the length of my run yesterday I knew it changed the elevation profile of my course with an uphill at the end; however, I still envisioned doing the first half slower and then picking up the pace the second half with perhaps more of a speed pick up in the final four miles. If you have been following my long run discussions you will know my plans ALWAYS change.

The first mile was faster than I wanted. I was running downhill to start and I did tell myself to ease up. Yeah, that didn't work as well as I hoped. Fortunately the uphill climbs were working themselves in more predominantly and that helped me slow down but in all reality, when I hit the 8-mile mark I was ahead of where I was the previous week with my 16 miler run. Oh geeze, I was going up faster than the week before. This had me nervous to some extent. When I hit the halfway point my average pace was 9'41", not 10'13" like the week before. 36 seconds. That could mean a lot.

And this week my halfway point wasn't a turn around to a decline. I was on a hillier portion of the road and it felt like I was going up, up, up with very little downs. I feel my paces for miles 10 and 12 adequately reflect my rate of perceived exertion. I do want to note, I didn't make the attempt to really pick up my pace on the return for two reasons:
  1. I wanted to finish the 18 miles feeling good about the run.
  2. I was already below my GMP at the halfway point. I felt my goal of running 9 miles at 9'50" was achieved.
I listened to my paces when they were announced each mile and my goal was to not slow down. To hold strong and perhaps increase a bit. When I got to the final 3 miles I was dreading the incline up to the start. I went out a slightly different route so I wasn't sure what was around the corner either even though I ran down it less than three hours ago and drive it on a regular basis. I was feeling tired but yet not wiped out. In the final stretch I heard my name and was blessed to have a great lady run along my side for a bit. It may have been just a 1/2 mile but it was nice to chat a bit even if the chatting wasn't as easy as it could be and then we split ways as I made the final uphill climb. My goal was to run the whole way up but it was busy with car traffic and I was jumping to the side of the road, avoiding itchy weeds, and my switchback uphill climb was awkward. The car traffic was messing with an already hard uphill pace and I just walked some of the way. Power walked but walked. And yes, I ran the final bit and do not regret my choice.

To me the run was a success because:
  1. I finished it.
  2. My average pace was 9'37" meaning the second half was ever so slightly faster. Not as much as I would hope with the downhills but who am I to argue?
  3. My legs are not beat up today.
I keep telling myself these are the runs I need to build confidence. At one point in my run yesterday I even yelled at myself to let go of the negativity, fear, and doubt. To believe in myself. It is still hard to get there 100% but I am trying to convince my own doubtful mind that a 18 miler on hills with an average pace of 9'37" will translate to breaking a 4:20 marathon on race day.

Here is the Honolulu Marathon course elevation profile.

How do you get yourself out of the doubt trap?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the exercise ball I sit on at work.
Daily Affirmation: I am growing in strength and confidence.


  1. I think what you are doing is remarkable. Hills are part of the work from some disagreeable imp who likes to stress my calves and lungs to the breaking point. But they do remarkable things to the body when you surmount them. So yes it does make a difference. Run on lady .. run on. You have done so many remarkable things in your life and will continue to blaze amazing pathways into the future. I look forward to what they might be.

  2. That was absolutely a successful run. You ran strong.

  3. Goodness, that was an awesome run!!!! Be tough these last 40 days, you got this mama!!!


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