If I were asked to describe my marathon experience in one word, I would say “OUCH!”
Since one has censored my speech (yet) I have plenty more to say. Let’s start with the night Saturday night. After the awesome blessing at mass we made the trek back to the Hale Koa Hotel via one of the main drags in Waikiki. Since Saturday was Pearl Harbor Day, we were able to catch some of the parade.
We just so happened to be down in Waikiki last year for the parade. At that time, we had been on Oahu less than a week! Crazy how fast this year has gone.
Because our early bedtime was looming, we needed to find dinner, and quickly. Unfortunately, most places worth eating had a wait so we decided to check out the pre-marathon pasta bar at one of the hotel restaurants. When we arrived it was 7:00pm and there was a line out the door. That was a bust, so we re-grouped and finally got seated at Biba’s, an Italian-ish hotel eatery. The food was ehh, but at a certain point I stopped caring (which rarely happens when it comes to food.) I was too busy fighting off (successfully, I might add) a mini-meltdown because I was stressing out about eating too late and not being able to sleep – which is precisely what ended up happening. At midnight I was still skipping through annoying songs on Pandora trying to find something to block out the silence of our room. Since I never sleep with music, I found it more distracting than soothing, but I must have passed out at some point because at 3:15am I was anything but excited to wake up.
It took us a good 20 minutes for me to align strips of KT and Phiten tape all over my knees, hips, quads, and back. Daniel joked that pretty soon, all he would be able to see were my eyeballs. The consensus: I don’t think I will ever run a long distance again without these tapes on my hips. A few days ago, I could barely get through 2 miles, but yesterday I increased that mileage by 24.2. Not bad! Adrenaline + added support from the KT strips + increased blood-flow from the Phiten strips made a huge difference. In addition to the tape, Daniel and I got suckered in to buying Phiten calf compression sleeves – what a life saver they were! Well, leg saver, anyway.
Also, the under-armer coldblack hat was totally awesome – minus the fact that I had to bobby pin in place because my head is roughly the size of a tennis ball. Even still, I never once wiped a bead of sweat from my face and my head stayed substantially cooler than any other hat I’ve worn while exercising.
Ok. Finally, the race itself. Daniel and I started off shoulder-to-shoulder with a pack of people lined up in the 3-4 hour finishing time section. We were shooting for sub-4 hours so it was a natural place for us to be. It quickly became clear that most others were not paying attention to the time markers. I can’t really blame them because the flags marking each section were not obvious and there was no emphasis at registration on where to line up (which I found very weird.) We ended up weaving slowly in and out of people who clearly had no intention of running at all. As a result, my Garmin and the mile markers were off by .3 miles the whole way, meaning we technically ran .3 farther than we had to! Ugh!
The run was very exciting for the first 13 miles – we were feeling like champions! At mile 15 we began to feel the ground beneath us. At mile 18 the ground started pushing back – hard. At mile 24 we took a literal stretch before the home stretch. It was very cool to hear “Daniel and Abbey Johnson of Waialua” announced as we crossed the finish line, holding hands and grinning ear to ear! We are so so so cheesy 🙂 Speaking of cheesy – I said cheese to the camera at every “smile station” so hopefully I’ll have some funny pictures to reveal when they are published!
Place: 1,772 & 1,773 out of 30,557! Pace: 9:35, Time: 4:11:15
Though we didn’t break 4 hours, we are still very proud to have finished together! Daniel most certainly could’ve broken 4 hours if it weren’t for me – isn’t he sweet?!
Overall I give the event a 7/10.
(-) for the the race expo. It was pretty pathetic considering there were 30,000+ registrants. Even the small Geist half marathon in Indiana had a more impressive selection. Pathetic, but not that big of a deal.
(+) for the start line program. The marathon was initiated with a pretty long and very emotionally charging fireworks show that surely woke up the entire city.
(+) for the water + ice cold sponge stations being well spaced.
(-) for lack of fuel other than Gatorade and two stations with power gel (which are totally disgusting). Thankfully I snagged an orange slice and an ice cube from a generous spectator! I thought the Nashville Marathon had a better race menu with oranges, bananas, salt packets, and gels.
(+) for the scenic route which was mostly flat … although if you ask Daniel it was “soooo hilly.”
(-) for the lack of assigned corrals reflective of expected paces. For any other race I’ve signed up for I’ve had to register with an anticipated finish time – often even having to upload official race times from other events to prove it! There was no such practice for the Honolulu Marathon, meaning it was pretty much a free-for-all at the start.
(+) for the post race set up was pretty neat (as in rad!) and well organized. Daniel had a couple of smashing donuts and I had the best banana of my life. I’m serious – it was dense yet pillowy, sweet and perfectly ripe. Never thought I’d be describing a banana, but kudos to the food vendors for the wonderful fruit!!
(+) Something interesting was that race shirts were passed out after the race rather than at the expo, like other events I’ve participated in. I liked how our T-shirt sizes were printed on our bibs, and the distribution was monitored so that we actually got the sizes we selected at registration. I usually end up with giant sleeping shirts.
(++) The shirts are actually cute!! I like clothes more than I like running so this gets two plus signs.
Big question: Will we do it again?
As of right now the answer is probably not. Click here to read about runner’s kidney. After the marathon my urine looked like Pepsi. Needless to say I was a little freaked out. After doing a little more research I’ve found there are several factors that contribute to this post-marathon phenomenon in 15% of “extreme” athletes: over-exertion, under-training, dehydration, jarring of the kidney’s from ground impact, and NSAID pain relievers seem to be the most common. I was plenty hydrated, but I hadn’t run for three weeks prior to the race (inadequate training), and I loaded up on Aleve for two days prior to the marathon … and the morning of. I don’t normally take medicine unless absolutely necessary and I felt my hip necessitated a few doses. Wow – I didn’t know that exercising and NSAIDs were contraindicated. I am very thankful to share that I am in the clear – literally!
Yesterday feeling about a repeat marathon was a big HECK no. Today, knowing that Aleve was likely the cause of my issue, I may re-evaluate that feeling…
As for today, I am enjoying a guilt-free rest day that may morph into a rest week depending on when my legs decide to wake up.