1.20.2016

Maui Oceanfront Marathon Race Recap


Sunday I completed my 9th marathon. My first was in September 2011 and I am very happy that in less than 5 years, I made it to #9. This wasn't my fastest marathon. I set my marathon PR in December 2013. Falling short of a PR may bring some people down and trust me, some races were emotional roller coasters for me. My marathon in September 2013 is a prime example of that but I think the more marathons I run and/or the closer I come to God perspective changes. My September 2014 marathon is a great example of my perspective changing thanks to God. And Sunday's race, it was perfection minus a PR. Yep, even though I didn't place or PR I think it was the best marathon ever with a time of 4:33:40 (official). My GPS said 4:33:38. No crying over 2 seconds. It makes no difference. Time makes no difference. At least, not for me.

Race prep
Going into this race dear hubby said what he always says, you are going to PR or come close. I wasn't selling myself short when I said, nope, I am going to run and have fun. I knew my training was thrown off kilter by life and wasn't going to set myself up for emotional failure. I knew I was going to run this race well and be proud of myself. I just didn't realize how awesome I would do mentally and that, my friend, is HUGE in a marathon.

Many marathons I have said, NEVER AGAIN! I QUIT! And yet I keep coming back because those are just moments of weakness but still, when running 26.2 miles you need to keep those moments away.

Dear hubby dropped me off at the start and after spending almost 30 minutes in the porta potty line, I made it to the start just in time. This is a large race series but in the marathon, there were only about 500 or so runners. Small playing field but after looking at the finish times, it draws the speedsters! And a lot of marathon maniacs! They were everywhere easily identified by their running shirts. 

My goal was to not run with music the whole time so when I discovered my "broken" yurbud I wasn't concerned too much. Bummed since it was brand new but knew I could run with one ear bud in and discovered the other would still fit in but would be missing the wrap around ear part. I later discovered this piece comes on and off. Oh if I only knew then! I may have searched in the pitch black for it for a nanosecond.

And yes, it was dark for the first hour and a half or so. I had a little light on me but mainly one so people can see me. Not one that lights my path but there were runners with headlights around me for most of the start that guided me. There was only one guardrail I almost ran into while progressing from South Kihei Road to North Kihei Road. I knew this stretch was tricky and slowed down and wished there was someone with a headlight. I was a-okay and made it to the road and kept on running.

My pace was solid and perhaps a bit too fast but hard to tell since it did have some downhill running. I knew hills were coming so ran by feel and kept my rate of perceived exertion where I felt it should be. When we approached the hills I put in my music and ran happy, in more ways then one. The second song to come on was Open the Eyes of my Heart and I was in bliss. Darling daughter and the other kiddo's had this song at their First Reconciliation so I knew all the hand moments and ran along singing by hand. Yep, people may have thought I was crazy but I was praising God, thinking of darling daughter, running up hills along the ocean, and seeing whales! Don't mess with a happy running {Catholic} mom.


This course runs along some of the same course of the Maui Marathon and I was getting to that part again. The part that gets to me every. single. time. My pace slowed more than I wanted so I stopped the music thinking the slower, yet inspirational, tunes may be impacting my pace. Eventually I realized that wasn't the case and yes, I did listen to music later on.

Around mile 17 my mind was getting more focused but yet a bit weak and it was great seeing a running friend, Trish (may her plantar fasciatas heal up quickly!). I thought about offering my suffering up to God but wondered, can I offer up suffering I chose to endure? As I reflected on this I did make the instant decision to stop all negative thoughts and related them to the devil trying to convince me I am weak and incapable. I imagined stomping on him and turning to God and then it hit me. I have ALWAYS said my spirit was meant to run. I am running because God gave me running legs and this marathon, and every other run, is meant to do His work and glorify Him and I would. I promised God that in my write-up I would honestly tell my story.

You see, I prayed throughout that race. Not continuously but I did keep going back to prayer. I prayed for my family, I prayed for persecuted Christians, I prayed for those who died, I prayed for those in purgatory, I prayed for post-abortive moms and that they find healing in God, I prayed for the end of abortion, I prayed for Toby and his family, and I prayed prayers of thanksgiving for being able to run, for mountains, for the ocean, for humpback whales, for seeing three humpback whales, and I prayed for the ambulance going by. I prayed as I do for every emergency responder rushing by with lights. I am talking the sign of the cross and my prayer to God that He is with the emergency responders and those in need. And for some reason, that ambulance got two prayers from me that day. I have grown confident enough in my faith that I don't think twice about doing the sign of the cross while running and praying.

I was thankful only one ambulance rushed by but after learning later that a runner did go down and was revived by CPR by other runners that one ambulance could have been one too many. If I am getting this right, he was doing the half marathon out and back but the details don't matter. What matters is, he is recovering. Dear God, bless those runners and all the emergency responders that aided this man. May he continue to grow stronger and recovery. Bring peace to him and his wife. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

But back to running....

I stayed mentally strong and yes, I did walk but when I did, I was in complete control and this was the first time this happened. Often once I walk, the walking gets longer and longer and out of my control. At mile 20 the walk thought entered as many were walking around me. I knew I didn't need to walk yet and told myself, go a mile and think about it then. At mile 21 I said, go one more mile and think about it then. By this time the want was greater as my hip was getting tighter.

As I approached mile 22 I knew a walk was needed and I set my plan. Okay, you can walk at the mile marker but only for 0.2 miles, then run 0.8 miles. That was my plan until the end. And I stuck to it, kinda sorta, at mile 25 I walked 0.15 miles and ran to the finish line. Total walking distance: 0.75 miles. All under my control and yes, it helped the hip tightness.

Unofficial time
And as I approached the finish I saw dear hubby who cheered me on and told me just a couple hundred more yards or so. I have no idea how long that is but I do know I had another 0.25 miles to go. I couldn't speak to thank him but gave a shaka and thumbs up. I was focused and from pictures, not smiling on the outside but I was inside. I was happy. I was in control even if my pace was slower than I hoped. I was completing my 9th marathon!

My marathon was fueled by SOS Rehydrate (a citrus berry mix - I put two berry stix and one citrus stix in my CamelBak) and by four Huma gels taken at miles 6, 11, 16, and 21. After I finished, I drank a small bottle of water with mango SOS Rehydrate and wiped down with my ShowerPill athletic wipe. And guess what? They had Oreos at the food table and Oreos are dairy free! I ate two and some orange slices.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my running legs.

Daily Bible Verse: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. ~ James 1:2-3

2 comments:

  1. Such a great report, Erica! We learn so much during each marathon and training cycle. Congrats on a great race!

    P.S. Some of my favorite running songs are by Mandisa (Overcomer, Joy Unspeakable, and Face 2 Face.) They tend to be more upbeat and the words are awesome.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the support and I will check those songs out!

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