Sunday, December 9, 2012

A hot, sweaty and hard Honolulu Marathon...

Aloha! What a day. My first ever Honolulu Marathon complete and actually the 40th anniversary of the race to boot.

Mile 22 and still smiling for the camera
running Honolulu Marathon 2012
I'm not going to lie to you, this was a very hard marathon for me (although let's face it, running 26.2 miles is seldom easy).

I only managed two hours of sleep last night before it was time to wake up at 1 am and meet my fellow T2: Team to End AIDS teammates to walk to the Start Line at 3:15 am.

My T2: Team to End AIDS teammates having fun at the start 
and raising money for AIDS Project L.A
T2 Team to End AIDS runners Honolulu Marathon 2012
Great friends kept me entertained and motivated whilst we waited for the 5 am kick off and if you're wondering why the race starts so early, in a word 'heat'. Compared to cooler races in L.A. and San Francisco I found conditions in Honolulu to be hot, muggy and energy draining.

Even when there was a breeze, we were running into the wind and when the sun broke through after about two hours into the marathon, then things got even hotter and harder.
Running Honolulu Marathon 2012
Over 30,000 people competed in the annual race, with a huge contingent from Japan, and about 25,000 spectators. There certainly were some fast runners out there today.

Around mile 8 I felt my knee injury start to play up running up the gradual incline of Diamond Head, and whilst not as hard as the hill training we've endured this season in Griffith Park, it seemed to exacerbate the problem more. By mile 20 I was struggling and it really did hurt to stop and take walk breaks.

Getting into the Hawaiian spirit the night before the race
Hawaiian lei
In fact, my running strategy was all over the place as I skipped the early walk breaks to get through the crush of the masses at the start and then with the narrow, dark roads up Diamond Head I couldn't stop on the way up.

On the way back you do Diamond Head again and my only joy was knowing that a faster downhill was awaiting to the Finish Line, but then it still takes forever once you're back in that final stretch.
Honolulu Marathon 2012 Finish Line
The good news is I achieved my personal goal and broke the four hour barrier again, achieving a time of 3:55:06, my second best time in the four marathons I've competed in to date.

Time for a well earned drink at Hula's Bar after the marathon
post Honolulu Marathon 2012
More good news is that my fellow runners from L.A., Chicago and Washington D.C. collectively raised $170,000 for this marathon.

And not only is the money important, but our advocacy in the community and on the day raising the profile of HIV/AIDS, letting people know that it still hasn't gone away. Sadly it has more of a stigma surrounding it than running for a cancer charity, so when you think of it, it's an even greater battle and achievement all around.

Honolulu Marathon 2012 Finisher T-shirt
Anyway, as this was the 40th Honolulu Marathon this year participants not only received a Finisher t-shirt, but also a medal, which I didn't know wasn't a regular thing. Believe if I'd not received a medal for this tough race, I wouldn't have been a happy bunny.

40th Honolulu Marathon Finisher Medal
It will take pride of place within my growing running medal collection.

So it's time to celebrate and enjoy the next few days in Waikiki and Maui. Then it's back to the training as the L.A. Marathon is looming next March, quickly followed by the Vancouver Marathon in May. 2013 is shaping up to be a busy year, but for now it's time to bask in the glory of a job well done and a victory hard fought.

Aloha to one and all...

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