Great Aloha Run Day
Yesterday was the Great Aloha Run, an annual event here in Hawaii where thousands of participants run, jog, walk, wheel, jog/walk, and stagger the 8.15 miles from Aloha Tower in downtown Honolulu to Aloha Stadium in Aiea (those of you not from here go ahead and try to pronounce that, I'll wait.).
As of 365 days ago I had no interest in such an event. Wake up pre-dawn to run? Eight miles? Yeah, no. In the words of Johnny Rico, "Some changes have been made." I've since decided that getting up in the am dark to push my body is somehow fun. Now, I'd rather swim and ride before I run, it seems I'll take what I can get. I have become a whore for endurance event t-shirts.
To be honest, participating in the Great Aloha Run wasn't even my idea. Stitches, Team Dirtbag's Official Super-Awesome Wife, Nutritionist, and Photographer, brought it up. She wanted to walk it and I figured that if I was getting up that early anyway to get her there I might as well play too. Then I could be both moral support for her and I could get a nice long run in. Because for some reason getting a nice long run in is now fun. No, I'm not sure when that happened.
Let me be clear about my goals for the GAR. I wanted to have a smooth, pain-free, good jog. I did not train for it. In fact, I barely thought about it. My focus is completely on the Honolulu Tri. This was a good training opportunity. I've never run eight miles before. And the tri will be six. Seems like I should get as many miles as possible in. Having no goal is both a blessing and a curse. If you look at my pace my Ego says, "Gaaa! You are so slow. 10:30!? Lame. Lame lame lame." But my Training Brain says, "Listen: Saturday you ran five miles. Sunday you rode 35 miles. Tuesday you are back in to your training cycle with an am swim and an afternoon ride. And so on. This was not the time to blow out your legs."For once, Ego lost out. I kept a calm, smooth pace. Slower than I would have liked, to be sure, but I have a long way to go yet.
We woke up at 3:40am and were out of the house by 4:something. We drove to the stadium, which is the end point, and got on a bus. Why? Think about the course. It's one-way. So either we bus from the stadium in, or after the race we have to bus back to the car in Honolulu. Dirtbag hates the bus, but the bus post-run would be worse. Dirtbag sometimes refers to Himself in the third person.
We milled around the streets of Honolulu with a mass of humanity preparing for the run, checking out the other runners and walkers. I saw a bunch of Vibram Fivefingers in the crowds. The minimalist movement is catching on! Me like! I mean, Dirtbag like. I mean, Dirtbag means, Dirtbag like. Damn, this third person stuff is hard.
At the start it still took Stitches and I ten minutes to get from where we were to the actual start, where our race chips activated and started timing us. I took off and she started her power walk. In all, I'd say my run went well. No foot pain, good stride, and I had fun for most of the time. Hawaii locals walk exactly like they drive. That is, slow and in the middle of the road with no awareness of the people around them. And sometimes two or three across. Dodging did occur for the first few miles. They had high school marching bands stationed around each of the aid stations (miles 3, 5, and 7) who were playing inspiring music. The first one was rocking a horn section version of Iron Man. Hell yeah. Some jackass kept yelling at the bands, "Stairway! Play Stairway!" (Oh wait, that was me.)
Some people love stuff like this. So much so that they dress up or bring toys. I saw a Forrest Gump, complete with long beard, long hair, and Bubba Gump hat. Pretty sure I saw a Navii (seriously, dude was painted blue. Full on.). Saw some guy dressed as an anime character I've never seen, but that was what it had to be. And the dragon people. This group made a long yellow dragon out of balloons and hoisted it up on poles, running with it the entire way. It was probably six people long, with the pole-holders trading off as they ran and some crazy dude in the front shouting, "Make way for the dragon!" and smiling. Shouting! And smiling! Jerk. I ran by them for a while. Crazy people help.
Running through the stadium parking lot and down the tunnel on to the field to the finish is a pretty cool thing. Final time was, if you skipped the beginning, 1:24.55. Meh. Not bad for not having set a goal. Inside the stadium there was entertainment, including the Marine Corps band rocking out. What were they playing when I passed by? "Walk This Way." Not sure if that was a joke or not. I followed the herd, grabbed a water and a banana, and went out to the stadium front to stretch and keep an eye out for the wife. Even walked up the course a little ways but didn't see her. Along with bananas they were handing out DingDongs and Cupcakes! Yeah, because after I workout I want a huge shot of fake sugar and crap. Stitches power-walked by and I shouted encouragement then went to meet her by the water and banana people. She was under her goal time by nearly a half hour! Go baby, go!
So it was a good run. I didn't swim yesterday but I figure my swim is the strongest discipline and missing one day wouldn't hurt. Since Monday was supposed to be a ride the rest of this week will be backwards too, with a swim/ride today, a swim/run Wednesday, and a ride Thursday.