Aloha!! Half Marathon #3

It’s been many years since I’ve seen such darkness and bright stars in the sky. It was 4:30 AM. I use the sound of waves crashing as my guide to the paved path next to the beach.

Previously mapping out the route, it would be short out and back for a total of two miles. This was the “warm up” for the half marathon because the training program that day called for 15 miles and previous experience suggested that after running a half, my body would balk at following that with another 2 miles. Very good decision because I sprinted at the end of the marathon to the finish.

It was difficult to see my watch and there were a lot of people walking the opposite direction, including one gentleman who didn’t speak much English who asked if he was going in the right direction for the half (he was). My concern grew that I wouldn’t make it in time even though I had meticulously planned out a 13 min/mile pace for this warm up. Turning back at just .66 miles, I decide it was enough with the extra .1 mile of the 13.1 and the race pace I am sure to be hitting would make up for it.

At the start, now 5:18 AM runners were wandering around, looking into doors and restaurants. Gut instinct said they were looking for bathrooms. This rerouted me back to my hotel room to alleviate my bladder one last time and to offload the breakfast bar that I would no longer have time to eat. This jaunt fulfilled the 2 mile warm up (and then some).

Returning to the start two minutes before gun time, half the crowd of ri
runners were lined up in the corrals and the other half were stretching and standing around. There was a lack of energy in the air that usually fills the corrals in a race, perhaps it was the time of day or that Hawaiian spirit.

No seeding was in place, maybe due to the size of the participants (later I found out that the marathon had seeding), so I hung out in the back. This was going to be a relaxed race, just like my March half, because it was mid-training. I even made a pace band that was just 3 mins faster than my spring half to keep me from going to fast (this backfired). I wriggled into the corral just a little bit after that and the crowd surged forward as anticipation for the gun to sound increased. I looked down at my watch and was happy to see that it found GPS because on three previous attempts by the ocean failed and I thought I’d have to use my iPhone for to track this memorable event.

Before I knew it I was crossing the start (was there a gun or someone that yelled “Go!”? If so, I don’t recall it). The crowd thinned quickly and I was able to slow my pace after catching a street lamp on my watch, which said my heart rate was above 150.

Internal goals before the start:

  • Stay in a heart rate zone of 150 or less
  • Finish in similar time to spring half (2:29-2:32)
  • Smile for the cameras
  • Enjoy the views
  • Take pictures and upload to Facebook during walk breaks
  • Say thank you to volunteers
  • Run with a Lei

Internal goals at mile 2 :

  • Stay in a heart rate zone of 160 or less
  • Finish in similar time to spring half (2:29-2:32) according to my GPS watch
  • Smile for the cameras
  • Enjoy the views
  • Take pictures and upload to Facebook during walk breaks
  • Say thank you to volunteers
  • Run with a Lei it broke apart

Internal goals at mile 4 :

  • Stay in a heart rate zone of 160 or less
  • Finish in 2:29 when I would pass the posted mile markers, not my GPS watch
  • Smile for the cameras
  • Enjoy the views
  • Take pictures and upload to Facebook during walk breaks
  • Say thank you to volunteers

Internal goals at mile 7 :

  • Stay in a heart rate zone of 160 or less
  • Finish in 2:29 when I would pass the posted mile markers, not my GPS watch find a comfortable pace, I was 5 mins ahead at this point
  • Slow down so I would be in the picture alone and position for best backdrop/Smile for the cameras
  • Enjoy the views and be grateful the sun is behind clouds
  • Take pictures and upload to Facebook during walk breaks
  • Say thank you to volunteers

Internal goals at mile 10 :

  • Stay in a heart rate zone of 160 or less
  • Finish in 2:29 when I would pass the posted mile markers, not my GPS watch find a comfortable pace, I was 5 mins ahead at this point
  • Slow down so I would be in the picture alone and position for best backdrop/Smile for the cameras
  • Enjoy the views and be grateful the sun is behind clouds
  • Take pictures and upload to Facebook during walk breaks the sun came out at mile 11
  • Say thank you to volunteers
  • Listen to body, try to find a non-awkward running form
  • Take scheduled walk breaks until I could see the finish line
  • Finish – its only 5K left

I had enough in me to sprint the last .1 mile and I took note that it was with good form (mid foot strike instead of heal). After obtaining the medal, with shell necklace, one last photo for the record book, I grabbed a glass of water, a half of a banana, some type of coconut popsicle and left the shoot. (They also had red delicious apples, and milk for the runners).

The goodie bag had a livestrong-like bracelet, SPF 15 Chapstick and a men’s sizing only tech tee. The expo was small, but I bought a few items and they had a lavish carbo load dinner (@$55) and an after party (round table pizza, @$35). There were 17 aid stations for the full marathon; with the out and back course for the half, this included 5 of those. There was music along the way, and tons of people in volunteer shirts. At the finish, were cheer leaders and live bands playing. They had a full medical tent ready for the runners with hanging IVs and gurneies. Highly organized – the only thing I would comment on is more food choices at the end with bottles of water (a cup was not enough) and to move the food shoot back away from the finish and spread out the food items.

I walked around and stretched. I ate my half of a banana, and then to get the wrapper off the pop, had to down my cup of water. With that gone, and knowing I needed more, I walked back to the hotel. The pop was hard to eat and more of it dripped off than went into my mouth. With water, a bag and Chapstick acquired and some items offloaded, I went back to the finish to cheer others on and exchange the men’s small for a men’s medium for Luv. Only then did I decide I should try to eat something, since the half of a banana and two bites of a pop were clearly not enough.

At 9 AM, brunch was still being served at my hotel. The fruit tasted so good and they had potatoes roasted with onions and peppers which danced on my tongue. Getting up from the table for a round of protein, my knees were stiff and ached. Uh oh. This is not good. Was it the way I ran, the higher temperatures or the choices I would make the rest of the day (not icing right away, sitting in a sauna, eating meat?)? Those questions are still not answered and I was in tears by the end of the night. I have not been in physical pain for a number of weeks now and have lost my tolerance.

Right now in my running career, I’m trying to run faster with good form (sub 10min/mile). I’m also trying to run slower with good form (below 150 bpm). This is proving to be difficult.

Changes to next race:
1. Create custom “negative spilts” pace band. At mile 2 I freaked that I was 6+ minutes behind, but looking back, I was probably that far behind during the spring half, I always need time to warm up.
2. Practice race pace (10min/mile) for 2 miles at a time after warming up with good form. Increase to see if I can replicate knee pain. Need to find out why this occurred. Was it lack of training with this new form? Is it just the way my body is? Can self massage of the hips help?
3. Massage glutes with tennis ball 3x per week and research knee pain caused by hip issues
4. Eat more veggies, less meat and dairy
5. Ice knees right after the race, swim in the ocean or try an ice bath (eek!)
6. Do not do anything to warm up the legs (like a massage or sauna or hot tub) for 24 hrs after the race – keep hot showers short
7. Keep working on arm position, the shoulder pain subsided with good run form during this race

This was my first destination half marathon. Planning was key: making the rice, pancakes, oatmeal, ahead of time and packing it along with fruit, and veggies in throw away containers. This provided me with meals I knew were within my pre-race diet throughout the plane ride. I need to keep in mind that if I travel on Friday for a Sunday race that fruits and veggies may not be allowed at my destination. Knowing the temperature and weather conditions that were possible was also important: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, shorts, tank top or t-shirt, even down to the pair of socks. Pack light and put your shoes in your carry on. The expo most-likely will have clothes, but no guarantee they will have your exact brand, style and size of shoe if your luggage is delayed or lost. (This did not happen to me, but there have been horror stories).

Regarding #4 above, I just finished reading Eat and Run and am considering a more vegan diet. Currently, I avoid gluten and dairy, tracking when it is consumed. So the plan is to start tracking meat intake to see if its a factor. More so, may be the gluten free donuts, cinnamon rolls, cakes, etc that I crave. The convenience of convenience food and time it takes to prepare nutritious food is a deterrent some weeks. On the hopeful side, maybe a more raw diet would allow me to have gluten again – my csa farm grows different types of wheat so I could try a less commercial brand of flour.

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