Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Did It!

I got up a little after 3:00 this morning after a restless night. Must have been too keyed up about the marathon. As planned I ate a banana and part of a Clif Bar for breakfast, got ready and did my stretches. Dennis, Kay’s brother, came a little before 4:00 to drive us to Honolulu. He spent all morning with Kay driving to various spots where both took photos of my run.

The marathon started on time at 5:00 with fireworks over the Honolulu harbor. I ran the course pretty much as planned, sticking to a 11 to 12 minute mile pace at first and downing six gel packs, one for every 4 miles. Although I skipped the first water station, I walked through and hydrated myself at every one after that. The stations offered cups of Gatorade and ice water, and wet sponges. Some even had ice cubes available from large plastic bags. The water stations were well spaced, just a few for the first half of the course and then much more the second half about a mile and a half to two miles apart. After a few stations, I got the hang of it first picking up a cup of Gatorade, then some water, ditching the Gatorade cup and picking up a sponge to cool off.

I sort of hit the “wall” again around the 19 to 20 mile mark. My left leg just did not want to move. I think it was my knee. Having experienced a similar “wall” encounter before, I nursed the rest of the run and finished by walking and jogging slowly.

I’m now the proud owner of a “fire engine” yellow T-shirt which I can use running early in the mornings. They’ll see me coming from a mile away.

We all received finisher medallions which I plan to use as a Christmas tree ornament.

Some final questions: Did I have fun today? Yes, although my legs are still sore from being on the road for 5 hours and 41+ minutes. Will I be doing this next year again? It depends if I can convince my “Run Day” logistics support to get up early again.

I just wanted to let you all know that during the run I often thought about all the best wishes I had received. They kept me motivated and focused throughout my marathon run. Kay asked if there was ever a time I felt I could not make it. Told her not really. With all the training I had done, I was confident I could finish. I had a lot of folks supporting me too, and there was no way I could not finish what I had started over four months ago.

This will be my last post. I have enjoyed having you all be part of my marathon experience and appreciated your kind words of support. Thank you all and have a wonderful holiday.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Run, Not a Race

I have learned that training for the marathon is a combination of getting physically fit and mentally prepared. My physical training was pretty much over when I completed the 20 miler last month and spent the past weeks tapering off my mileage. I ran an easy 2 miler this morning and will rest on Saturday. I have also decided it will be a 26.2 mile run and not a race. I’m planning to enjoy the outing and finish running.

Another important part to a marathon is the support one gets. All of those who have read and commented on this blog have really been great for my psyche. Kay and her brother, Dennis, will make the ultimate sacrifice by getting up very early to drive me in. Dennis will be coming by tomorrow to plan for Sunday. We’re trying to convince him to take our Prius but he’s a bit nervous about driving it. Maybe he can drive it tomorrow and get comfortable on the road. We plan to drive the marathon course so they can scope out areas to watch and I can get a feel what I’m in for.

As Kay’s Musings noted, we picked up my bib and timing chip at the Honolulu Marathon Expo on Wednesday. There were a lot of runners from Japan picking up packets too. Since more than half of the runners are supposed to be from Japan, all signs and information were bilingual and most of the vendors catered to them. I stopped by the Maui Marathon booth where the lady encouraged me to signup for their race next fall. After explaining this was my first and I was not sure I’d do another, she still insisted I consider running on Maui where the scenery is much better than Oahu. I asked her for a brochure but to my surprise she had only Japanese language ones, none in English. Oh well, I was more successful at the Lava booth where they sold locally made gels. Got Tropical Mango and Kona Mocha (with caffeine). I tried them on a couple of runs and had no problems. I’ll be taking Gu and Lava gels for my run.

I’m feeling great and the weather forecast for Sunday is nice, partly cloudy in the low 80’s. I’ll check back in on Sunday after my run.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Last Long Run

I did my last long run before race day. It was an 8 miler which brings my total miles for this second to the last week to 16 miles. I ate a banana and part of a Clif Bar, got ready and rested a full hour before starting out. There were no clouds and the temperature was cool, in the low 60’s. Went out with a long sleeve shirt and noticed all the walkers had on light jackets. I still can’t believe I’m running at 5:30 in the morning in shorts with a cotton T-shirt, no ear protectors or gloves. What a difference from running in the Chicagoland area.

I’ll be picking up my packet on Wednesday at the Honolulu Marathon Expo being held at the Hawaii Convention Center. That’s where I’ll get my running number and timing chip. There is supposed to be a bunch of vendors, but with the slow economy in Hawaii I don’t think there will be much free stuff. The major sponsor this year is Japan Airlines. Wonder if I can get free upgrades to first class for our coach tickets we have to Tokyo next year.

I’m still working on my marathon game plan for next Sunday. Thus far, it looks like this: get up around 3:00, eat a banana and Clif Bar breakfast with water, clean up and get dressed, and do my stretches. Plan to bring 6 Gu gel packs, one for every 4 miles. I’ll also have a cell phone to call Kay and Dennis, her brother, who will be driving my tired body back home. I’m very thankful to have both who are willing to get up early and drive me to Honolulu for my early 5:00 start.

I’ll check in again next week before the race.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Very Good Day

Well, I was able to do 10 miles early this morning. It was one of those beautiful mornings with a nice cool breeze under partly cloudy skies. Hope to have the same weather come marathon day.

I received my official pick-up card in the mail this week. I had read several weeks ago that over half the Honolulu Marathon runners last year were from Japan. Since the Japanese yen has been at near record highs against the US dollar this year, they are expecting an even large group. It’ll make up for the lower numbers they are expecting from the West Coast which has been hit hard by the economy.

By the way, I finished in time to bake our belated Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Only problem was we didn't have any shortening for the crust. I substituted margarine for it and ended up with a crust having a hard cracker like consistency instead of one with a light flakey texture. The pie filling was pretty good though especially with lots of whipped cream. Kay tried brining our turkey this year, and it turned out moist and delicious. We had a great family dinner to end a very good day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I went for my turkey day run this morning bringing my total midweek mileage to 12 miles. A woman startled me with a “Happy Thanksgiving” greeting when I passed her. I didn’t think anyone had their act together at 5:30 in the morning but seeing a familiar face, I suppose, brings us all closer. Actually, while running I had totally forgotten what day it was since we’re not having our Thanksgiving get together until Saturday.

I have a 10 miler this weekend and will likely do it on Sunday. I have to bake a pumpkin pie on Saturday and have been told the oven is mine in the morning. The turkey has the afternoon time slot. However, if I can be out the door by 5:00 on Saturday morning I should be back by 7:00 which should be plenty of time to bake a pie.

Here’s wishing everyone a “Happy Thanksgiving.”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

To Stop or Not to Stop

I did my 12 miler this morning. Got up early and eat a banana and part of a Clif bar washing it down with some water afterwards. I made sure to wait an hour to allow everything to settle before hitting the road. Also, downed a Gu gel on the road without a problem.

It was a nice relaxing run working on pacing myself and drinking water more often. I did encounter an interesting dilemma. While running on the sidewalk under the H-1 freeway, I noticed a bright shiny quarter right in front of me. I had to make a quick decision: should I slow down, stop and pick it up or just run pass it. Well, I just could not resist. I stopped and put it in my pocket. Had it been a smaller denomination, I suppose I would have left it for someone else.

This reminds me of all the coins I picked up while riding my bike (when the weather was nice) commuting to and from the train station to work. I had several old film canisters at the office filled with change I called “street money.” I made it a practice to drop the coins into those donation cans they have on convenience store and fast food counters.

No, I don’t plan on stopping to pickup anything during the marathon…but, if it’s a big paper bill I may be tempted.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Banana for the Road

I did my 18 miles for the week and will top it off with a 12 miler on Sunday. I can’t do the long run on Saturday as Kay has us going to a flea market at Pearl Harbor’s Richardson Rec Park in the morning.

I eat half a banana this morning before running to see if my tummy would be okay. It was fine. On the morning of the race day, it is recommended runners eat a light snack such as a banana, bagel, toast, or energy bar 1 to 2 hours before running. It helps maintain glycogen storage. On Sunday, I will eat an entire banana and down it with some water before starting off.