Blog hiatus over!
I tried to be as unplugged as humanly possible last week as I took my first VACATION in the year that I’ve been working to Maui, Hawaii with my friend Alyssa. I’ll be sure to do more posts about Hawaii itself including the delicious food that we ate and activities we engaged in but my first post will involve the marathon that we spontaneously ran there.
I titled my CIM race recap “the spontaneous marathon” as I decided to run it just 3 weeks before. Now, the award goes to the Maui Oceanfront Marathon, where the decision to run the full 26.2 (as opposed to the half) was made approximately 17 hours before race start time. Alyssa and I really just wanted to see 4X more of Maui’s coastline, and to remind ourselves that we are badasses. For the cost of a bottle of wine (or in our case, $10) we were officially full marathon entrants. Gulp.
We spent the day drinking margaritas (winning) and eating pizza for dinner. I was still hungry and we needed bananas so we stopped at a grocery store. In a fit of irrationality I also bought whipped cream vodka. Needless to say that bottle was never opened and is now in the hands of whichever lucky person cleaned out our rental car.
Alarms were set for 3:30AM. Mind you, this would be day 3 of vacation time and Day 1 involved a 5:30 alarm, and day 2 a 2:30AM alarm. this was not really starting out to well. It was warm when we walked out at 4AM (great sign…) to catch the bus down to Wailea. We had some announcements from the race director including shoutouts to people who had run ridiculous numbers of marathons (I think someone was at 800… please do the math on that one). We also had a traditional hawaiian blessing/song which was amazing.
Then, us 330-some full marathoners were off, jogging down the road in the pitch dark carrying flashlights. And sweating. It was HUMID! I felt like we were running 8:40s (which is definitely an effort for me) and it was more like 9:15s. So weird. We settled into a comfortable slow jog and enjoyed the sights as it grew a little bit lighter. THE MILE MARKERS COUNTED DOWN! Pain in the ass if you were doing mile laps on your Garmin, but wayyy cooler to see how many miles you had left instead.
It felt exceedingly easy until mile 10 which was a slight uphill inland into SCREAMING WIND. God. I could barely even run. Okay, I’m a wimp and complaining but it was hard! We finally saw the sun rise above the mountain at mile 11.5, which I knew meant trouble for the rest of the race. We ran the first half in 2:05, without many stops other than to fill our bottles, chat with volunteers, eat cookies (okay that may have been just me) and a “I need to catch my breath because I am dying” break right after mile 10. But other than that we were cruising.
This was so different than any race I’ve done to date. There were only 330-something marathoners, everyone was SUPER friendly, and we were actually running ON the shoulder of the road against oncoming traffic (which is much less scarier in Maui than it would be on the mainland, I’m sure). It was so fun to not be giving a rat’s ass about time and to just enjoy the experience. I laughed several times—what the heck were we doing running a marathon on vacation? Who does that?! (Okay, a ton of people I know, but that’s besides the point.)
We entered a period of rolling hills probably from mile 12 through 17. This section reminded us a lot of Big Sur as it was on jagged, hilly coastline with similar views. The hills were not insignificant and once we got to mile 15 I WAS TIRED. Let’s talk about my prep for this thing:
- Ran CIM on December 4 (7 weeks ago)
- Ran no farther than 10 miles in those 7 weeks
- Now currently running marathon on a whim
Yeah so. I was tired. I was out of shape. I started requesting more walk breaks at this point. Alyssa is a machine and could have easily just jogged the whole thing straight and been fine but I couldn’t—everything was starting to hurt by mile 18 or so. I started getting angry at myself at this point, feeling out of shape, feeling fat and heavy and SLOW and like a sucky runner, and then I just had to stop and realize hey, you didn’t train for this and YOU ARE HERE TO HAVE FUN. That’s what this day was about—fun.
It was really hot and humid at this point and at each aid station I was dumping water on me in addition to filling my bottle. I got a little dizzy at one point and stopped to drink and have some cliff bloks but other than that it was okay. We were taking it really easy which helped—I can’t imagine going all-out in this weather! It wasn’t even uncomfortably warm or anything, but you felt the humidity when running.
My feet, knee and hips started really hurting in the last 10K. Granted, I ran my first 3 marathons in stability shoes and I’d never gone longer than 10 in the super lightweight shoes I was now wearing, so it makes sense that I’d feel a little weak. Definitely needed breaks to rest and my focus became DON’T GET SORE. Those of you who have run a marathon know what I’m talking about: those days after when looking down a flight of stairs is the scariest sight imaginable. I did not want that to happen on my vacation! I wanted to SURF! So, lots of walking. Which ended up being great as I was “Long-Run sore” afterwards but no such normal marathon aches and pains. Hooray for lots of walking! And please check out the most amazing “break through the wall” aid station below. I would have been dancing with Alyssa if I had the extra energy. (see “one mile to go” photo for evidence)
The views were really stunning, the participants were friendly and the volunteers were amazing. Even though the last miles were very hard for me and I had to count out loud to get through them, I had a really amazing time. Even though I felt bad about myself at a couple of points because of my current fitness level, I had to squash those feelings and focus on just how BLESSED I was in those moments. Here I was, in Hawaii, on a gorgeous day, running a marathon, in a body that can carry me 26.2 miles on a whim, with a great friend. What an amazing experience!
I am so, so glad we decided to do the full (even if I kind of wasn’t from miles 22-25. Ha!) It may be the only time I get to run a marathon in Hawaii. It’ll probably be the only time I’ll ever get to run a marathon with Alyssa, one of my favorite running friends who is a total speedster but graciously slowed down to share this experience with me. It may be the only time I am rewarded with a medal in the shape of a fish and four days to just sit on the beach and drink.
Despite the humidity, the huge patch of skin missing from my upper inner thigh from my running skirt, and my new marathon PW, this was one of the most fun things I have ever done. Not every race needs to be a race—some of them just need to be about celebrating the joy of running and the running community. And celebrating is much easier when you’re in Hawaii.
More Maui updates to come. Aloha!