Friday, May 11, 2012

Na Holo Wahine 5K Race Report

                The Na Holo Wahine is one of the only 5Ks I regularly run, since I generally prefer 10K and ½ marathon distances for a stand-alone race.  I never ran track in school, outside of mandatory PE, and my recollections of running the 100-yard dash are vague.  Let’s just say I’m an endurance junkie, in it for the long haul, and sprinting (aka speed) has never really been my thing.  Until recently.
                When I began running in my 30’s, I never incorporated speedwork into any of my training.  I didn’t know anyone else who ran, did all of my training by myself, and learned what I could from reading Runner’s World and Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Guide.  They all recommended speedwork and track sessions, but the track intimidated me and I felt like the workout descriptions were written in Greek.  Besides, like many new runners, I figured I didn’t need to work on speed since I was in it to enjoy running and finish each distance on my feet…not win.  I had simple time goals – mostly wanting to finish with what I thought was a “respectable time.”  I didn’t want to be a 10-hour marathoner.
                Fast forward 10 years and that mindset was OK until I start racing, and reading the results, and comparing my rank to those in my age group.  The more I trained, the faster I got (albeit slowly) and I was inching closer to the FOP (front-of-pack) runners.  Suddenly, it wasn’t enough to just “finish respectably.”  I wanted to WIN!
         I still hadn’t actually incorporated any track workouts or serious speedwork into my training outside of the occasional interval session.  I just followed the mantra of one regular BT forum poster who advocates “run lots...mostly slow…sometimes fast."  Well, it's paying off!

        Race start wasn't until 8:00 a.m., so I didn't have to get up early.  I had half a smoothie and a cup of coffee for breakfast.  Didn't see any reason to pop a gel prior to the race, but did take along my new Nathan Quickshot to carry HEED with me on the course.  I also made a new playlist since I was going to run with music this race.

        I thought about riding my bike for about an hour prior to the race as a warm-up.  I've been doing a lot of bike/run bricks and my legs have been responding well, but I thought it might rain and that was an extra factor I just didn't want to deal with.  My plan was to do a little light running drills instead, but I ran into a friend of mine and we started chatting to catch up, then all of a sudden it was time to race!

        I fumbled with my iPhone trying to get it set up to play, but I have a very awkward carrier for it and can't access any of the settings once it started playing (note to self: get a new armband!).  No wonder I don't usually run with music!

        I moved up to the front of the pack to avoid the bobbing and weaving - I wanted a quick start - and we were off!  The first stretch of the race is a gradual downhill for about a 1/2 mile, so it was easy to stretch out and get ahead.  I just kept my eye on the leaders and tried not to get too far behind.  I planned to open up and run this race as fast as I could sustain.  At about the 1/2 way point on an up-hill stretch I realized how freakin' hard it is to run a 5K!  My exact thought was, "I am NO SPRINTER. No wonder I am an endurance runner!"  But I kept at it.  I never really lost sight of the leaders and only one woman passed me the entire race.  Toward the end I heard footsteps closing in behind me, but that just spurred me on to the finish.  I was determined not to be caught.

        My first surprise was at the finish line - the top 15-20 (I'm not sure the exact number) got ti leaf leis - at #13 I was thrilled.  Something so simple yet so meaningful - I've never been in the front before.  I already felt like a winner.  Then they started announcing the age group winners and I came in 3rd in the 40-44 AG!!  WHOO HOO!!  It was my first ever podium finish!!

        I was in good company, too.  Several of the women who are part of a triathlon training group I just joined also placed in their respective divisions.  We are all racing in the upcoming South Maui Triathlon in June and I hope we can create the same picture in the winners circle there as well.  It was a great day - beautiful weather, new friends, and great finishes.  I can't wait until next year!

        I looked at my results for the past four races:
  • 2008:  35:28  53/83 overall
  • 2010:  31:21  35/76 overall
  • 2011:  29:23  35/104 overall
  • 2012:  26:07  13/72 overal, 3rd place 40-44 (AG results not available)
I'm going to shoot for sub-25 my next 5K or next year, whichever comes first!


  1. Nicely done! Your improvement over the last few years is impressive. Great reason to log training and races.

  2. Hi Dianna!

    Found your blog via your comment on Ms. Zippy's post about soy. Saw that you are from Maui so I clicked on through =)

    I'm originally from Maui but living in Honolulu and also an accountant for a non-profit.

    I ran my first 5K last year with the ultimate goal of a sub 30 time. I haven't reached it yet, but I'm working on it.

    Great job on your race!

    Take care- Vanessa (Nessa)

  3. Aloha, Excited for this years race!

    Hope to see you there.