Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Maui Half Marathon Recap

This is part one of my recap of my trip to paradise. (Hawai'i.... oh how I miss you so!)
Part one will cover the Maui Half Marathon!

Soooo where should I start.... Hmmm. We arrived in Oahu on Thursday evening, and spent Friday chillaxin on the North Shore. On Saturday morning, James and I headed to the airport to board the flight to Maui. (A big shout out to James' mom for driving us!)

On board the flight, we were treated to a special treat. Two (maybe three) guys pulled out their ukes and started singing these lovely Hawaiian songs in amazing falsetto voices. Side note: Hawaiian music is my ABSOLUTE favorite! These guys were amazing, and definitely made the entire half hour plane ride an enjoyable one. 

From the airport we drove west to Kaanapali, where the race was to be held. (Incidentally, the route we drove was the exact route the full marathoners ran). The drive to Kaanapali was one of the most beautiful routes I have ever been on. Jamming to Jawaiian music and seeing the gorgeous blue ocean.... oh man, it was one of those moments that made me so happy to be alive :)
en route to Kaanapali

Once we got to Kaanapali, we headed straight to the expo. I found the expo to be disappointingly small. There weren't any vendors there I was interested in, but I got some supplement samples and Bubba Gump lip balm (score!) Also disappointing was that we found out that we were not going to have timing chips for this race. Apparently, they had run out. They had also run out of racing bibs, so lots of people (including James) got an assortment of bibs from past races. I found this to be quite odd: why wouldn't an established race order enough bibs?????? How could you be short by several hundred? Weird. 

The starting and finishing area. I run slippers. Don't you? 

Since conserving energy for the big race the next morning was our main priority, we just chilled for the rest of the day, chilling in the ocean a bit, eating enough carbs (and no fiber! very important advice for pre-race prep), and admiring the sunset from the hotel balcony. 

And I set up all the running gear for the next morning on the spare bed. We got to sleep on the king sized bed, of course. Must get our beauty rest!

Racing bibs; check!
HRM; check!
Race nutrition; check!
Rasta sweatbands; check! (totally got this idea from Trials of Training! thanks!)
Body Glide; check!
Clothes; check!
Garmie; Check!
Ibuprofen; check!

Since roll call was 5:30 am, we hit the sack by 7 pm and was up by 3:30 am. This gave us enough time to take silly pre-race pics, thoroughly warm up, and PUMPED for the race. Oh and eat and drink some cafe. 

When we got to Whaler's Village (the starting point) something unusual happened. There was an announcement that the computer system had crashed the night before, and they lost all the bib numbers and names. They had ALL of the half marathon runners line up to double check and re-enter the correct names and bib numbers into the system. I found this to be odd as well. I wonder if they got all of the runners? But since people had all sorts of different bibs, I don't know how accurate they really were. 

Before the race was an aerobics class demo and a Hawaiian fire dancer. I couldn't see any of it. Only the two front rows could see anything. I found this to be odd thing #3. Why didn't they have a stage for the performers, or at least have them perform on the side so that more people could see?

The race started 5 min late as well, but at least we were off!

The Race:
It was still dark when the race started, and I couldn't see my Garmin at all. My strategy was to take is kind of slow for the first two miles and then pick up. I was not afraid to pass people in the first few minutes, like I was in the first HM. I think I was running at around 9 min miles for the first mile. I ran with James to the mile 1 marker, and he took off. I continued at my slower pace for a little bit, and tried not to go out too fast. 

The first 20 min or so was a slight decline. I got scared, since that also meant the last 20 min would be a slight incline. (it was an out and back race). But I tried not to let it intimidate me and kept going. 

Soon, the sky started to get lighter. As we ran past some homes, I think we woke up all the neighborhood dogs and roosters! I even shouted out loud 'good morning to you too!' to one of the roosters, lol. 
Most of the course was along the coast, and all of the aid stations were playing music. I looooooved all the aloha spirit the volunteers were spreading. It made the race so enjoyable, and the pain of running more tolerable. 

At mile 4 was a big aid station with tons of LOUD music, spectators, and an announcer cheering each and every racer on. That was a MUCH needed boost of motivation!

I tried to pick up my pace around this point by running fast to a random object in front of me, and then catching my breath until another object, and repeat repeat. This got me into a nice rhythm and the time flew by. 
Mile 5.5 to the mid point was downhill, so again, I got scared about the return, but kept plugging. After the turn around point, I started following the footsteps of a girl who was going sub 8 min miles. I followed her for about a half mile, but had to drop behind. That is waaaayyy too fast for me to sustain for another 10k! 
So I played this game where I would run my heart out for three cone lengths (about .2 to .25 miles) and then jog for one cone length. I kept this rhythm up for who knows how long. It got me in such a trance that I didn't even notice the incline I was so nervous about. 
It also felt good that at the 10 mile point, I was still lapping people. It made me feel super fast! :) Much needed motivation boost number 2.

I also said thank you to each and every volunteer I passed. It really made me happy to partake in the aloha spirit. I also know how much work it is to volunteer (from the time I volunteered at the SB Triathlon), so I wanted to let them know I appreciated their kindness. Plus, most of them were kids, who were so sincerely encouraging.

Mile 11 and 12 were hard. The sun was now beating down HARD, and my legs were seriously tired. I just wanted the race to be over so bad! But I just kept going and going and going. When I finally caught a glimpse of the finish, I was ecstatic! And when I looked at Garmy, I also realized I had a chance of beating my goal time! I also saw James (who had finished a whopping 15 min earlier in his FIRST HM!) and he cheered me on, saying Krispy Kreme! Krispy Kreme! (That's where we were going to go post race to celebrate). I gave it EVERYTHING I had for the last two min or so, and finally crossed the finish line! Woo hoo!
I am sooooooo excited to report that I beat my previous HM time by 7 minutes, and beat my goal time by 49 seconds, and beat my goal pace by 2 seconds! YAAAAY! 

But, I could not have been more relieved to be finished though, not gonna lie. The elusive runner's high never happened, and it was SO HOT outside. I just wanted to eat and sit down! haha. 

I would like to say a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE congrats to James, who totally kicked some serious ass in his first HM. Not only did he finish at an amazing time of 1hr 39 min, but he placed 3rd in his age group!
Woooo hoooo! Way to go James! 
(not gonna lie, I was kinda jealous! haha. But I did well too, placing 5th in my age group! and 32nd female out of 800)

sooooo tired.....
Cheerleaders cheering us on to the finish line
Reggae band at the finish line
Yay for finishing!

James and his third place award.

Battle wounds (no, those aren't my feet! They're James')
After the awards ceremony we headed to recover in the ocean. Nothing like salt water to help you heal, right? The swim was soooo relaxing, and the no-gravity thing felt amazing for my tired legs. 

After a good swim, and a shower later, we headed into town for Krispy Kreme donuts (omg they were amazing! Esp the pineapple fritter.....ohhhh so good and so guilt free after a HM!) and some lunch. 

Then it was a quick hop, skip, and a jump over the islands and back to Oahu. 

It was such an amazing experience to be able to go to Maui with James and experience a Half Marathon together. I'm so glad all of our training paid off and we were both able to have a strong finish. And my tendonitis gave me almost no trouble at all! (score!) 
Maui was so beautiful, the ocean was so warm and amazing, and the sky was so blue and inviting. I have no idea when I'll be back, but I sure hope it won't be too long!


  1. Great job!! Fun photos too. Weird about the bibs and computers crashing, but glad everythign worked out.

  2. wow what a dream.. How awesome.. Great job!!

  3. O. M. G.!



    So happy for you!


    Fricking weird about all the other ish... Seriously... WTF??!?

  5. I am so excited for you! Congrats on your awesome race and for placing 5th in your AG! I bet that was an amazing feeling. I'm glad that you and James had a great experience.

  6. CONGRATS!!! You both kicked so much butt. Glad you had such a great race and time in Hawaii. And really glad you are back to your blog!

    Now on to the full monty....The Marathon awaits!

  7. Wow, talk about some craziness at the start. Sounds kinda unorganized, but glad to hear it didn't get in the way of your race.

    You rocked it, girl! Congrats on the huge PR and beating your goal! Big congrats to James too. Nice debut!!

  8. That sounds like a great race. And what a smile after the finish! Makes the training worth it...

  9. Congrats on the HM and a great PR!! I can't imagine how hot it must have been! Glad you enjoyed your time in Hawaii!

  10. You and James totally rocked it! Great job!!!
    So glad you enjoyed Hawaii and had such a good half marathon experience!!! Glad you are back safe too!!

  11. Congrats on a great race! Weird about the bibs!

  12. Racing in Hawaii is my DREAM! Congrats on a great race.

  13. Congrats on such a stellar race! What a great race report too. Placing 5th is so fantastic, and great job to James too! I think I'll be re-reading this post before my next HM to get some ideas and inspiration!

  14. Ha! LOVE your wrist-sweatbands!!! you got creative, mine are just white ;)

    Congrats to BOTH of you! 3rd and 5th in the AGs?! that's a great accomplishment!! And the pics are awesome - Love that you brought flip flops. I always *think* about doing this, and ALWAYS forget! ha, dangit. next time!

  15. Congrats, sounds like a great experience! It always feels great to beat your expected time. It's interesting that you did interval-type running throughout the race. I have never thought of doing that before. That's a great idea to keep you focused on something other than wanting to quit, haha. It is weird that they were so unorganized. I wonder if they are always like that or if it was just this year?

  16. Great job! That would be very frustrating about all of the issues at the start.

    BTW - did James win an ashtray for his AG award? That is sure what it looks like!

  17. Amazing job and AMAZING race report for you both! It looks like you had an amazing time and i'm uber jealous you went to Hawaii!!! You rocked it girl!!!! Glad your back though!

  18. What a great write up.. play by play. Cool!
    So what was your pre night race meal, leaving out the fiber? That's always my biggest fear and why I won't enter any race more than a 5k. The dreaded porta-potty phobia...or worse if they don't have one.



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