Monday, March 12, 2012

Hapalua Half Marathon Race Report

Time- 2:42
avg. pace- 12:21

Yesterday the Super Awesome Wife and I participated in the First Annual Hapalua Half Marathon. It was the first time this event ever happened. First one! Want to know how I know? Because they mentioned it every five seconds. The race director was very proud.
I did not sign up for a half marathon because I wanted to run 13.1 miles. I don't like running that much. I signed up for it because I've never run that far before and I'm going to need to during the Honu Half Ironman in June. Figured I should get the distance checked off first. With that in mind, speed wasn't the goal here. Getting out and being on my feet for however long it took was the goal. I'm not really trained up for the distance. My longest run up until yesterday was nine miles, and that was two weeks ago before the Achilles tendonitis and a head cold knocked me down. So expectations were low. I decided to get out there and try to have some fun. Sported my Warrior Dash kilt, my INKnBURN 4arms, and threw my hair into twin pony tails. If I wasn't going to actually have fun, I was at least going to look like it. That being said, I'm still not thrilled with how I did. To put it simply- I was beaten by Fear and Suffering.
After the race I was a happy Dirtbag again [Photo by Brian Clarke]
I know running this far isn't fun for most people, and I know it hurts for everybody, but I wasn't really mentally set up for it I guess. Here's my Garmin data from the race.

Check out what happened to my pace after mile six. Fell apart. Know what that is? That's me walking. For around three miles on and off before getting back to regularly running. Why? I think there were two big contributing factors.
The first, and probably more major was that I dropped one of my GUs. I brought two and pinned them to my kilt with safety pins. I figured two would be good because I would take one at around 1:15, then the other at around 2:00 and that would get me through to the end. But somewhere very early in the race I lost one. Reached down to check them and I found an empty pin. This did not bode well for the future. To prevent it from happening twice I tucked the other into my sleeve. I'm good looking, not stupid.
I was in high spirits for the first couple of mile. Saw Kepa, the Tri-N-Hawaiian, pretty early in the run and ran with him for a few minutes so he could make fun of my skirt  kilt. Then I ran away from him. This would change later. Waved at tourists stuck at crosswalks. Mugged for the television crews zipping by on the back of motorcycles. Energy was there. Did I mention this would change?
I had a strong six mile start. Good pace, steady, everything working, no pain from the Achilles tendons (Yay Rock Tape!), and no stomach issues. But after six miles everything got a little sideways.
I should have, as I said, taken a GU around that time but decided to wait on it since I only had the one and I figured it would be more important later. This probably lead to the beginning of my problems, a low calorie bonk. And we passed the Port-a-Potties, which got me thinking about my stomach. Which got me worrying if it was going to be ok. Which, as you can imagine, doesn't help. So while I never had any GI issues, I spent the next seven miles wondering if I was going to. That is the Fear I mentioned earlier. I know I think entirely too much about this kind of thing and honestly, I think once I am able to get over that my runs will be so much better. Since my trip to the doctor a while ago I have been better. Little to no problems. But old habits are like John McClane.
So that was the start of the middle of the race, basically from the turn-around back to the starting point and up past the park. I walked most of it. I would trot for a while, then drop back down. There is a difference between walking for a few minutes to get some rest and walking for a while. The longer you walk the harder it is to get going again. That's what I felt like as I watched my pace slip away. And that is the Suffer too. I didn't push, didn't embrace the Suffer like I should have. I knew it was going to hurt going in, and I know the Suffer is going to be a big part of having a good Honu, but I didn't go for it. Training shall include more Sufferfests. Miles seven, eight, and nine where by far the hardest for me. I couldn't get it going. I'm almost positive it was because of the calorie debt I'd racked up. I finally allowed myself the GU I'd been saving and started to feel better. And wouldn't you know it, half a mile after I took that GU they were handing out Powerbar Gels. What the hell? I mean, that's really nice of them but I wish I would have known. Then I wouldn't have waited so long. I grabbed one as I passed the nice volunteer handing them out and stuck it in my sleeve for later. Had a little trepidation about eating a gel I'd never tried before during a race, I know better. But I also know better than to not consume any calories during a long workout so...who knows what I know. (Turns out Powerade gels are gross. GU is better.)
The journey up and around Diamond Head was a lot steeper than I expected, which is silly because I've been there a lot of times. Things look different on foot than in a car or even on a bike. That or they jacked up the grade for the race, which seems like a lot of work. Ran/walked uphill, getting it done, starting to feel the energy in my system. I love cresting the crater, its an amazing view out over the ocean from up there and completely worth the work.
By this point in a race you are probably near people that you've been near for a while and will be near until the end. Its not on purpose, but everyone's pace is so similar that there is a lot of leapfrogging. I really noticed a guy and his ten or eleven year old son. They would run for a while, then walk, and so on. So they would pass me, then my ego would pass the eleven year old, then they would pass me. Dad was carrying extra water and being very encouraging. I dug seeing that, even if my ego, which at this point was pretty beaten down and quiet, was still protesting from its corner, "You're being passed by a child again! Gaaaa! Get them!" I'm honestly not sure if I came in ahead of them, so let's go ahead and assume I did. Thanks. The other person I really noticed was a guy who seemed to be doing what I was doing, but on the opposite rhythm. He was running while I was walking and visa versa. So we leapfrogged a lot. I had a fantasy that the two of us would hit 12 miles at the same time then we would look at each other and there would be this bond and a fist bump, then music would start pounding and both of us would reach down deep and we would race full out the final mile to the finish. So why don't we pretend that happened too and I beat him in a lean.
Or I lost sight of him again somewhere and this happened.
I ran most of the final mile, played Pass Me Pass You with some older guy in a shit with a golf club on the back that I was damn sure wasn't going to beat me, and found enough to sprintish to the finish. It was unremarkable.
Doing the race in the kilt was great expect for how windy it was the whole time. I was never, ahem, exposed, but there was probably a good deal of Dirtbag thigh flashing. And the 4arms were nice when it was windy, because that meant it was cold, and kind of uncomfortable when it wasn't, because then it got warm. Not sure I'd make the same call with them again next time.
Super Awesome Wife finished with a time of 3:25, which is good especially because she walked the whole thing and she didn't train for it. So today she's hurting, but she still got it done. She's doing the Diva half marathon on April first and really looking forward to it. I have all kinds of stuff to say about that event, but later. Let's leave it at girls get the really cool looking events.
Here she comes!

Still smiling [Photo by Brain Clarke]

[Photo by Brian Clarke]
And across the line!
I have a half marathon now, that's been checked off the list of distances. I can be on my feet and moving for over two and a half hours. That's in my head. Training will continue and Sundays will get longer based on that knowledge. By the time June comes I'll feel stronger and more confident than ever.
Also, much thanks to my sponsor, Background Profiles. I couldn't be doing most of this stuff without their help.
And now to finish off the post with more pictures of some of my favorite people.
Dirtbag done did it

My "special souvenir timing chip"

Super Awesome Wife with a Super Awesome medal and a Super Awesome banana



  1. It was good to see you at the race. I remember that you mentioned that you lost a gel. If that happens again, hammer down some gatorade at the aid stations. At least you can get some calories and electrolytes. I can't do gel (GI issues) so I fueled just using the gatorade, water and salt tabs during the race.

    BTW, it was awesome that SAW did the half! Give her a congrats from me.

    Oh, and were you able to tighten up the skirt, I mean, kilt.

    1. Thanks Kepa. I will tell her. And pushing Gatorade would have been a good idea. Next time.

  2. Kepa is absolutely right, gatorade should give you the same sugar rush, and in an even easier to absorb form. You gotta learn to adapt when these little surprises happen, because they will happen at least every other race you do!

    Your biggest enemy is you own mind. If you can jam against a headwind on your bike they way you did Saturday, you should be able to maintain at least a 10 minute pace. What you need now is to follow-up that long run with more of the same, at least every other week! And remember, it will only get better from here dude!

    1. Like we talked about Saturday, I think too much! Had this problem since high school swim meets. I think that's why I prefer running after swimming and biking rather than just running. I'm already deep into the race by the time the run comes. Though I still think we should replace it with more swimming.

  3. Seems like some 9, 10, and 11 mile runs are in your future, just so you can figure out how to knock through those distances. And the other guys are right, adapt, adapt, adapt. We just need to take your brain out of your head while you're racing. That's your biggest problem. And if that happens again, remember that calories are calories, however you can get them, in that state of endurance your body doesn't care as long as they're easy to process.

  4. Looks like you had a blast. I think I see a full marathon in your future.

    I can't wait to get back to the island next month and get out and enjoy the weather.

    1. Totally. When you get back we should try to get some workouts together in.

  5. Really think you should have painted half of your face blue. Good job on getting it done.

    1. You know, I thought about painting my face but when I'm running I'm constantly touching my face and I didn't want to end up with paint all over myself. Still trying to figure out what to do for the Warrior Dash, maybe there will be face painting.

  6. Twin daughter used to call those pig-tails when she was in kindergarten!