Thursday, September 29, 2011

Maui 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Last Sunday I ran my first half-marathon in 10 years!  I was pleased with my (somewhat limited) training going in, having only missed one easy 3 mile day and one long run during the 12 weeks leading up to the race.  And really, I didn't totally miss the long run...I was supposed to run 12 miles that Sunday and ended up racing a 10K instead.  I just didn't have it in me that day to run back to the start (it was a point-to-point race) for the full 12.  I'm OK with that.

Everything felt good going into race weekend.  I felt physically ready, the feet were cooperating, and I was calm.  After all, it was only a half-marathon, not a triathlon for Pete's sake!

It was the usual stuff - line everything up and check everything off my list.  For just a running race I sure had a lot of crap to deal with:
  • Charge the Garmin and make sure I had the HR strap
  • Put the race number on the race belt, attach timing chip to shoe
  • Pack "after-race" bag with bathing suit, towel and slippers (BTW, I ended up forgetting the towel and slippers anyway)
  • Get coffee pot ready
  • Prep smoothie without protein powder (to be mixed in in the morning, since I wouldn't run the Vita-Mix at 3:00 a.m.!)
  • Prep cooler bag with post-race recovery brew and snacks
  • Fill bottles (2) with water
  • Find my Nathan belt and store gels (2) in zip compartment
  • Get race clothing together
  • Make final race shoe decision (Zoot Ultras or Mizuno trainers - still worried about the feet even though they felt fine - went with Zoots)
I told my husband that I couldn't remember going to all this trouble 10 years ago for my last 13.1.  It was get dressed, pin on the number and live off the course.  When did I become so high maintenance?!?

A very early wake-up - 3:00 a.m. - since the race start was 5:30 a.m. and it was about an hour drive.  I had 30 minutes to do my business, eat and get out the door.

Everything worked out fine, despite the precious few extra minutes I took standing in the closet, on the verge of a meltdown, wanting to completely change everything I was going to wear at the last minute.  What's up with that?!?  I just kept repeating "nothing new on race day" over and over and I ended up OK.

I mixed up my pre-race smoothie and poured a cup a coffee and was out the door by 3:30, and the ride over to the race was uneventful.  I picked up my co-worker, Malia, on the way and we got to the race start by 4:30, which was good because we got to park right there and didn't have to take a shuttle.  Plenty of time to shed extra clothes (it was 80 degrees by race start!!), wash down gel #1 hit the Porta-Johns and GO!  And I just have to say, there is something delicious about an apple cinnamon Hammer Gel at 5:00 a.m.!

This was my first "big" race - meaning, more than 100 people.  In fact, there were just over A THOUSAND runners!  It was fun at the starting line, but crowded in the chute.  Unfortunately, there was no line up by pace time, so the beginning of the race was a free-for-all.  Malia and I tried to get closer to the front, but it was shoulder-to-shoulder so we had to start about 3/4 of the way back.  Note to self - next year, get to the starting line EARLIER and get closer to the front.

At the gun, we were off!  It was super cool because the race starts pretty much in the dark along the resort road.  Both Malia and I noticed and commented afterwards that it was so quiet.  All you could hear were feet hitting the ground and breathing.  Virtually no one was talking.  It was pretty neat.

It took some time weaving through the slower runners and walkers to get up to cruising speed.  Everyone thinned out by the first mile marker.  It was good because I really wanted to practice pacing with this race and it kept me pretty slow.  I planned to run 10 min miles for the first half, then sub-10 the second.  Just a glance at my Garmin from time to time kept me in range and I felt GOOD!

This is a VERY FUN race.  There are a lot of aid stations and many have music or entertainment.  Each one was staffed with LOTS of volunteers and plenty of supplies.  I also enjoyed running down Front Street in Lahaina - it's funky and scenic and FLAT!

Just before the turnaround (it's an out-and-back course) I ate Gel #2 - Espresso Hammer Gel this time, for a little caffeine kick.  The timing was perfect because I hit the aid station and water right then and everything went down smoothly.  The only thing I forgot was to hit my lap button for the split!

I'm proud to say I ran the entire course with the exception of about 2 aid stations where I walked to get a drink of water.  My plan was to get back onto Front Street before the sun came up over the West Maui Mountains (and the heat turned up!) and I almost made it - just passing Puamana.

My legs started to get a little sore (and my hip flared up a little) toward mile 10, but didn't get any worse, so I pushed on and finished strong!  Very happy with my 2:12 time.

During the last mile or two I had the realization that yes, with training, I completely capable of doing a full marathon.  So that's what's on tap for January 2012!

I really enjoyed the race.  I could have pushed harder, but this was really a test of how well my feet were going to hold up, and to get the voodoo thoughts out of my head (the last 1/2 I ran ended in tendonitis and the end of running for a LONG TIME).


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