Sunday, December 13, 2009

Honolulu Marathon Race Report 2009

December 13th 2009, 5:00am, Honolulu, HI

Temperature: 67F-74F, Humidity: 84%-71%

Background:

I noticed that by some bizarre coincidence the Honolulu marathon was going to be held on the same weekend I would be arriving in Hawaii. I had just run the Seattle marathon two weeks back. So running this would make for 4 marathons in 2.5 months. However, this would probably be my only chance to run a marathon in Hawaii so I signed up!

I've lost track of the number of close calls I've had while catching flights. I've usually been lucky to make most of my flights. This time I was not so lucky. I made it to SEATAC 40 minutes before my flight left. This was too late to check-in my bags so I was re-booked via Denver... I'd be going the opposite direction from Hawaii before heading back. I was expecting to make it in at 2pm. This would have given me enough time to pick-up my number from the expo. Now I'd only get there at 6pm, after the expo closed. I emailed the race organizers who effectively told me I was out of luck. Luckily, I noticed on FB that Dane was running too (while hosting a booth to promote his book). He was willing to bail me out!!!

I wasn't going to be visiting Kawaii on this trip. My previous flight to Honolulu was enroute Lihue so I had been hoping to get a brief ariel tour of the island. Alas, that was not to be...

Once I got to my hotel I coordinated a meetup with Dane to pickup my stuff... I really owe him one for getting to finish this race officially. I didn't have any other options.

The marathon was on my cousin's birthday so I called to wish her happy birthday. I would be running my 20th marathon on the 13th which ranks pretty high in my list of favourite numbers.

I had dinner in a nice Italian restaurant and also got myself a Guiness (which I cannot explain at this point :p)

I didn't get to sleep much since the race was starting at 5am (to beat the heat).

I was lucky that my hotel was very close to the race shuttle pickup location as well as the race finish...

This race is practically another Japanese invasion of Honolulu :) 65% of the runners are Japanese. The main sponsor is JAL and all instructions were repeated in Japanese. The race packet had a bunch of stuff in Japanese. The start had a very international or rather Japanese feel to it. It was interesting watching them doing strange warms. I had to admire some of the older Japanese folks who were about to attempt to finish a marathon. I hope I can do the same at their age :)

The announcer at the start for some reason though he was giving us "good" news by telling us that we were in for a beautiful sunny day with a high of 89F :p Hmmm...

This is the 7th largest marathon in the world with about 22,000 runners. I made it a point to line-up towards the front. I did not want to get bottlenecked for miles!

Race:



mile 1: 8:44
mile 2: 8:18
As we started in darkness I remember admiring the Christmas lights on some of the buildings. I had my camera with me so I did briefly stop to take a picture or two.


mile 3: 8:41
mile 4: 8:14
Some Japanese runners seemed to have signed up for a package where a video crew would be recording them running all through. One such crew was blabbering something to me in Japanese. I could not understand what they were saying to me but I am sure they were thanking me for gracing his video (NOT :;) :p

mile 5: 8:17
mile 6: 8:00
After a loop at the start away from Waikiki at the start, the course turns clockwise back through Waikiki, Kapiolani Park (10k mark).

I attempted to hydrate as well as I could. Water and Gatorade.. I not at all aclamitized to the heat. My last run in Seattle was in 15F windchills. We were having a freak cold spell. I knew once the sun was out after a couple of hours things might get pretty uncomfortable.
10k @ 51:58

mile 7: 8:11
mile 8: 8:36
mile 9: 8:28
mile 10: 8:16
mile 11: 8:41
mile 12: 8:27
mile 13: 8:23
half: 1:50:10
My half split was around about where it was for Seattle but I was determined to not have another PW...

mile 14: 8:23
mile 15: 8:30
mile 16: 8:35
The sun begins to rise. I stop to take pictures. Beautiful!

mile 17: 8:21
mile 18: 8:31
There isn't much respite from the sun till the end of the race but I'm holding up OK.
30k@2:37:07
mile 19: 8:48

mile 20: 8:34
mile 21: 8:56
If marathons were 20 miles long it would have been much easier wouldn't it? I tried my best to hold off walking. I knew that once I started walking I'd just lose the mental battle...

mile 22: 9:01
mile 23: 9:18
mile 24: 10:03
40k @ 3:35:25
The last climb upto Diamond Head. Finally, I give in and start walking :(

mile 25: 10:21
mile 26: 8:52
As I ran towards the finish the only thing I wanted to do was stop running and enjoy the water/Hawii like everyone else in the street...
mile .22 1:53

The finish medal was adorned by a classical Hawaiin shell lei. I also got my finisher pic taken with a guy and cute girl dressed in Hawaiin outfit. I wondered how they survived hanging around so many sweaty runners :)

Results:

Chip Time:03:47:15
Gun Time:03:47:49
OA:991/20557
Male:824/10509
AG:103/1202

Reflections:
- After 4 marathons in a bit over a month I'm burnt out from not just racing but running.
- I don't want to have any more of these walk finishes any more. So train well and run well. Enough of these runs to finish.
- This is not a PR race. Works well for 50 staters and people already in Hawaii (vacation, living there). Aside, I ran into some folks who were deployed in the military in Honolulu running the race.
- All in all I'll have good memories of this experience :) It complemented an awesome trip to Hawaii!!!

[I'm writing this report almost a year after running the race. Better late than never :)]

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