The aerial view from the chopper (and by 'chopper' I mean Rich and Ryan standing up on a hill). I'm the second person from the left (in gray/black).
How's this for consistency? I ran the half in 2:12 for the second year in a row! Though this was my third year running the Kona Half, I had predicted a much slower race this time around...partly because my Sunday runs were averaging a very lethargic 2:20-2:25, and partly because this year, I am eight pounds heavier. :-)
The night before the race I got about 5 hours of sleep (4 more than I got the last race, so this was great). I tried to sleep in until 5:15am (since I'm only a few miles from the starting line), but this wasn't quite enough time to get ready, as I ended up having to hurriedly apply sunscreen while race walking my way to the starting line over half a mile away. So I ended up getting there about 1-2 minutes before the race started! Still...perfect-o!
Let me just start off by saying that this was probably the best half marathon I've ever run. It wasn't my fastest, but I felt consistently upbeat, confident and strong the entire race. Normally I have a bit of nervous stomach cramping for the first 3-4 miles, and then miles 5-8 I start to convince myself that I've suddenly been struck with chronic fatigue syndrome (because there can be no other rational explanation as to why I feel so painfully, dreadfully exhausted so early in the race). But today, for whatever reason, I never felt any of those things and ran a totally different race. If every race could be like that...I can see why people get addicted!
Oh, and after running eleven official half marathons, I learned something for the first time yesterday- running in spandex is AWESOME. No sweaty, clingy wet shorts to constantly adjust all day, and NO chafing! I'm sold. I'll never run another race with running shorts again (even if it does mean exposing my ample thigh circumference to the rest of the scrawny, taut, zero body fat running world). I always train in them, but never race in them. No more wet diaper runs! Mama's converting over.
Passing my parents, Rich, Ryan (still half asleep in his Elmo pjs), my aunt and uncle at mile ten (that's their condo in the background...they had a really long walk to the race.)
That's not to say there weren't a few humbling, challenging moments for me during the race. The worst? Around mile 7, I heard my cell phone hit the road. It was then that I noticed the zipper on my Fuel Belt pouch wide open (which is how the phone fell out), and was horrified to see that that my last set of shot bloks had fallen out. You know, the ones that help carry you home when the legs and body and chest are screaming "No more!" I had just taken some at mile 6.5, so I knew that I would be okay until mile 9.5. But you know how it goes...once I realized I had no more energy source...I suddenly started to feel extremely tired...but moreover, panicked. I was so freaked out that I actually started to scan the roadway hoping to find someone else's dropped gels/blocks! (You see them on the road all the time, and you always feel soooo bad for the person who dropped them, but that person has never been me!). I didn't care if the gels were an expired off brand manufactured in a third world country and made of bat guano...I was gonna eat 'em! :-) Fortunately, at the next tent, I calmed down once I saw the Coke and Ultima and decided to risk an upset stomach and take those rather than risk running out of fuel. And of course, Ms. Iron Stomach had no problem with the blocks, water, Ultima and Coke all sloshing around together and did just fine. :-) I've never tested this theory, but I'm pretty sure I could down a moldy burger and fries mid-run and be just spiffy afterward.
My second humbling moment was that as good as I felt throughout the race, at no point did I feel like I could have done the full marathon. Which is funny, considering that the night before the race I was searching for a cheap flight to Oahu to see if I could afford to do the Honolulu Marathon in December. So as much as I have the occasional flight of fancy to do another full this year, I am well aware of my overall wimpiness and know that while 13.1 is manageable, that 26.2 is...not so much. And I have three lost toenails and one very yellowed one from Hilo to remind me of that everyday. :-)
In the interim, to keep myself motivated, I'm going to sign up for...
- The BikeWorks 10k in Waikoloa in a few weeks. I had been debating whether I should run it pushing Ryan, or let Ryan run in the Keiki Dash instead (since they're run concurrrently). However, as much as I love to see my little boy run (and this is very rare indeed), I think I'm going to force myself to run with him instead since I tend to structure most of my life around him anyway. :-)
- The Big Island Road Runners Mana Road Run in August. It's supposed to be a very scenic, challenging 10-miler through the hills of Waimea. Someone told me it's almost more like a hike in some places, so I'm very excited to challenge myself. I think it's a pretty small race, so it will likely be me and the occasional chicken out in the pastureland, but it still sounds super appealing to be able to run on dirt roads and in cooler temps.
- I'm also still waffling on whether or not to run the Volcano Half...it's a week or so before our Iceland trip, so I'm leaning toward not doing it since we should probably be saving money. It just kills me to not be able to support/run in a local half since there are so few here on the island (Ka'u had their inaugural half a few weeks ago, but I didn't think I should push it and do two halfs so close together).
So overall, I had a fantastic run, and was thrilled with how well everything went (not just my performance as a solid middle of the packer, but the overall race experience as well- the aid stations, volunteers, scenery). I'm always happy to have earned another bib to put on my wall (I keep bib numbers instead of medals), and can't wait to do it again.