Now that I am finally in Relaxation Mode, I can share The Experience!
Friday, Dec 9: Get in a mini 2k run to keep up my running streak. Drive hubby to the airport. Be stressed out. Get a ride to the airport. Meet my Joints in Motion coordinator, Elisha, at the Calgary Airport to send me off! On the other side of security, meet 5 JIM participants from Saskatchewan and Manitoba – very cool to meet new people! Finally arrive in Honolulu after 10pm local (1am Alberta time!)
Saturday, Dec 10: Wake up to sunshine and a relaxing ocean breeze. Meet the JIM team for a walk. Eat some breakfast. Have a quick dip in the ocean. Meet Jamie & Minako for a light run. Head to the Marathon Expo to pick up chip & bib. I was really looking forward to the Expo… Unfortunately due to the high (as in 75%) Japanese participation in the Marathon – EVERYTHING was in Japanese! I did manage to find a pair of my Adizero Bostons in my size for $60, and a sweet Honolulu Marathon shirt though, so all was not lost 🙂 In the evening, the JIM team headed to the Honolulu Zoo to check out the animals and have a pasta party! We also heard some inspiring and motivational chats from the National Event Manager and from one of my fellow participants living with Osteo-arthritis… Yep, I think about half of the participants actually live with Arthritis everyday. I did not realize that until we all finally met in person in Honolulu; quite frankly, that changed the game for me. The marathon very suddenly seemed a hell of a lot easier. Although quite a few people walked the 42km, it still seemed a little easier for ME to run it!
Sunday, Dec 11: RACE DAY! We get our wake-up calls at 2:45am; which was fine because I was wide awake at 2:40am after a surprisingly restful sleep! We hopped on our shuttle at 3:45 and headed to the start line. Whoa. Not only have I never seen so many people in my entire life, I have also never seen that many port-o-potties! They sure had our bodily functions covered! And for me, a new milestone – i did not have to nervous pee! Now… to find Jamie, Minako, and Wayne amidst 20,000 people… I actually did. On my way I did manage to roll my ankle though – sweet. And as soon as I found Jamie I balled my eyes out for 30 secs, tried to tell him I was stressed out – but apparently I did not speak any english – and then I just ran away to find my JIM team. At the time, I was a complete wreck – looking back, hahaha it’s pretty amusing. Before I knew it, the fireworks went off – this marathon is very geared to their Japanese participants, this FIREWORKS! 15min later, it was my turn to go through the official gate – I was starting the marathon!
km’s 1-10: i started the race with Sue – the JIM coach from Toronto. She is super nice, and quite funny. John, she would fit in perfectly with our Calgary gang! the first 10k were so easy… I ran 20min, no break, and felt like I had barely run at all. I felt the sea-level oxygen. There were so many people – we were constantly weaving in and out of slower runners. THe energy of the race was fantastic. This part of the route was through the commercial/downtown part of Waikiki, completely in the dark… Lots of Christmas lights!
km’s 10-20: my pace, nutrition, and hydration have been spot-on. I still feel great.Around the 10k mark, we run up Diamond Head (local crater)…Compared to some of the hills at home (Edworthy, Blood & Guts, 69th Street), this hill is EASY! Sue is still running with me! It makes a HUGE difference to have a running buddy. The sun is starting to rise. Much to our surprise, the crowd is still massive… there has been no break in the flow of people.the entire race, we have been passing people. Approximately 13k, we see the first place marathoners heading in the opposite direction! We are only at km 13 or so, and they are around km25-30!!
km’s 20-25: Japanese runners are addicted to some kind of A535 spray. Along with aid stations with water and gatorade, there are these “spray stations”. Sue gets sprayed – by accident, due to a breeze and the massive spraying going on at the sidelines. YUCK! I still feel surprisingly good. The massive crowds and people have not subsided. We are on the longest straight-away on the planet! This straight piece of highway is BRUTAL.
km’s 25-30: Sue and I discuss what I can expect for my last 12k. At 27k, Sue breaks off to go find the JIM Walkers… BYE Sue! Ok, now I am on my own. I feel ok… Just a little tired. Now I need to figure out my iPhone to get some tunes goin’…I think it took me 10mins to finally get music going hah. I am still on the longest straightaway EVER.
km’s 30-35: Still on the shitty straightaway. I forgot to mention there was a loop in the middle of the straightaway, I think it was 7k straight, 5k loop, 7k straight. Ummm… Did I just pass the 35k mark? Uh, yeah, I did. This is the farthest I’ve ever run! And I’m beginning to hurt! Joints and muscles are starting to stiffen… Up until this point, my pace was incredibly consistent… and it was suddenly broken by this evil 35km point. But this evil 35km point also means I only have 7.2k left. 7.2k. that’s all. THAT IS LESS THAN 10k!
km 35-40: Involved a few extra long walk breaks. Also a sponge. It was getting warmer as the day progressed. It was getting warmer, and I was getting a little slower. At this point, I begin preparing myself mentally that it may take me 6hours to finish. This is ok… Because no matter what I’m going to finish. I notice all the people around me are also slowing down a wee bit. These 5k i just focused to “keep going”. I drank water, ate electrolytes. keep going. keep going. so close. these 5k also included the climb back up Diamond Head cater.A relatively easy hill, but because of how far I’d run… it sucked. More walking.
km 40/41: I have summitted Diamond Head. I only need to grin and bear it for 2more km’s. and it’s downhill and then flat. downhill and then flat. so close. keep going. downhill and then flat. keep going. so close. i realize my time is going to be right on the money – a strange feeling.
km 41/42.2: so many people. only 1km left. where is the finish. only 1km left. the crowd is so much bigger. a loooong finishing chute with A LOT of spectators. i take out my headphones so i can hear the crowd. i start to cry – but i gather myself. then i realize – how on earth is jamie going to find me? regardless, i am going to try and smile at the finish. i see the finish. less than 500metres to go. focus. finish. focus. finish. smile. smile. 100m – there is no sprinting. i have used all my energy. smile. focus. finish. approaching the finish line…. raise my arms! I think I’m smiling! I don’t know what’s going on because all I know is I FINISHED! Now where? Oh… and here is a little emotion again… but not too much because I am so exhausted. Oh, my Finishers Shell necklace is suddnely being placed over my head. I am still in a runners only section… trying to figure out where to go. Ok, I am out of the finishers section. I see my JIM team, get checked in… Now all I care about is finding Jamie! I call him, turns out he was standing beside my JIM team. Haha. Hugs. And then I cry in his shoulder again.
I did it.
Next stop: water, finisher’s t-shirt, and THE BEST DONUT I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Made ON-SITE!
THe experience was not at all what I expected. I thought I would struggle significantly more, and earlier. But I didn’t. I trained right, I ate right, I took it easy. Just like John taught me.
I did it. John and all my supporters, thank you.