Donʻt chase your dreams, RUN them down! – A first timer’s experience at the Honolulu Marathon

By Misty I.

Did you make a New Yearʻs Resolution this year?  I am struggling with my current resolution, but the success I had last year still gives me hope.  At around this time last year, I was in what I will call “resolution mode,” I was eating well and sticking to my exercise regimen.  During that time, I was feeling a little “invincible,” and I got a text from my friend asking if I wanted to run the Honolulu Marathon.  I still remember blinking a few times and lifting my eyebrows at the text to make sure I was reading it correctly.  My initial reaction was “no way, Jose!”  But then I thought about it and decided I needed to push myself.  I quickly texted back “yes,” signed up online, and paid the early bird entry fee before I could change my mind.   I almost immediately regretted it and wondered how on earth I was going to run 26.2 miles!  I had only run one half-marathon and a few 5Ks– what the hell was I thinking?!?  I decided the best thing to do at that point was not to think about it!  After all, it was months away.Fast forward to July and conversations about training for the marathon began to surface.  Luckily one of our TRX friends knew this bad-ass marathon coach named Kim Bates-Pierce of the Hilo Health Co-op who, it turned out, was willing to train us.  We met Kim on a sunny Saturday morning in mid-July where she shared her philosophy of running and assigned us some required reading.  “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen” by Christopher McDougall.  Although slow in the beginning, that book turned out to be so fantastic that I read it twice!

The months went by quickly and we trained hard with Kim every Saturday morning.  She would assign us additional “floater workouts” to get done throughout the week.  The floater workouts always varied and I learned a lot about how to train.  By December, we had grown to love Coach Kimʻs philosophy, training methods and infectious positive attitude!Before we knew it, marathon weekend had arrived.  Each of us picked up our bib at the Honolulu Marathon Expo and met up for dinner at Assaggio where we carbo-loaded, guilt free!  After dinner, we said our goodbyes and made plans to meet at 4:20 a.m. the next morning.  Of course, I couldnʻt sleep that night.  To say I was nervous was an understatement.  But because Kim thinks of everything, she warned us not to worry about the amount of sleep we got the night before.

The next morning my friends and I met at the starting line next to Ala Moana Center and took selfies.  I was nervous but distracted by the tens of thousands of fellow runners.  I felt ready.  At 5:00 a.m. sharp, the fireworks began and we were off!  Woohoo!  We ran through the Downtown Honolulu area, Chinatown, back to Ala Moana and Waikiki before heading up Diamond Head then back down toward Kahala Mall.  I kept a steady pace and felt pretty good.  Before long, I was making my way out toward Hawaii Kai and kept myself entertained with the sweet melodic sounds of gangsta rap like Jay-Zʻs Big Pimpinʻ, Eminemʻs Lose Yourself, Dreʻs The Next Episode, and of course 2Pacʻs California Love.  After the Hawaii Kai turn-around I knew I would be challenged by the last seven miles, especially running back up Diamond Head.  I continued to focus on using the pose method that Coach Kim taught us and drank Gatorade at every single aid station.  After stopping at all of those aid stations I still could not trot and drink Gatorade without half of it spilling onto my shirt.  Geez, can anyone do this?  Whatevers, I embraced it and told myself “thatʻs what marathoners do, they spill s**t, then throw the cups on the road with reckless abandon!  Yippee, I was running a marathon, I was finally one of them!”  The truth is, I was embarrassed that I kept spilling it all over myself even though the cups  were only filled two-thirds of the way, what an amateur!

By mile twenty-two I began to see a sea of runners on the sidewalk cramping up.  I wondered if I was next but managed to keep going.  I ran up Black Point and when I got to the highest point I made the mistake of looking at my watch for the first time since I had started hours earlier.  I got excited at what I saw as I knew the rest of the two-plus miles left would be down hill.  I told myself “alright Misty, you need to run your %$# off!  I tried to run faster, I really did, but within about fifty steps something happened.  My calves started to feel different and I felt a twitch/cramp/ache for a few seconds, but I continued to hobble along.  The feeling subsided after a few more steps of trotting but did not go away completely. For the last two miles, the cramp in my calves felt like it could return at any moment so I had no choice but to take it easy until I finished the marathon.  Shucks, so much for my “wrecking ball”- type finish I had fantasized about in my mind where I just “smashed it” and ran like a Kenyan does across the finish line!In the end, we all finished and some of my friends even had a PR (personal record).  We celebrated at the finish line with shots of whisky, malasadas, and bananas! That evening we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at Michael Minaʻs StripSteak at the newly renovated Honolulu International Marketplace.  We enjoyed our meal and traded stories about the day’s events.  My pricey lobster pot pie was good, but what I will always remember about that evening will be sharing a meal with a group of very special people!

If you are kamaʻaina, you can early-bird sign up for the Honolulu Marathon until January 22, 2017 for just $45.  Cʻmon you can do it, you have almost a year to train!

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