Sitting in the IHoP across the street from my hotel in Honolulu about to eat my pancakes, I was letting myself feel a little too smug about finishing a marathon the previous day -- not a very good race performance by any means, but feeling smug nevertheless from the satisfaction of finishing my fourth marathon or longer race that fall, and believing I was well on the way to recovery for the next. All sense of smugness was shattered, though, when I realized I was pouring coffee, not syrup, all over my pancakes. Yes, the
I flew out on a Friday morning and got in about midnight
Early on race morning, I started out in the wrong direction walking toward the race start, and then after a mile or so of somewhat frantic run-walking I just made it to the start area as the fireworks were going off (5 a.m.). Shades of the JFK 50 Miler start--still very dark, a crescent moon high in the sky--except it was much, much warmer than Boonsboro in November. I had to work my way through the corral of hundreds of 10K walkers to get up to the marathon runners' corrals, and then it was a good hour and a half of running on sidewalks, weaving in and around people, etc., to get to where I fit in with the paces of other runners. I took the hassle somewhat "in stride" and was just hoping to get into a rhythm soon.
The local paper said this race of 22,000 is something like 65% Japanese, about 25% locals, and about 10% mainlanders. Japan Airlines and other sponsors seemed to have some kind of promotion to bring tourists out for the race, and they must have been successful in their recruiting the general populace because this was the slowest overall field I've ever seen in a race. Perhaps not unexpectedly, the day after the race there were many people wearing finishers' shirts limping really badly all around
This was the first race where I wore my Marathon Maniacs singlet, and I found that pretty cool. Other Maniacs came up and introduced themselves, took a picture, or waved as we passed, and people in the crowd regularly yelled "Go Maniac" or something like that as I went by. Recalling races where my name is printed on the bib, I found it much preferable hearing "Maniac!" called out rather than hearing my name. Normally I wouldn't want to join a club that would have the likes of me as a member (to quote a famous Marxism--Groucho, I believe), but the Maniacs seem like a good group to be a part of.
As Liz predicted, once daylight was in full swing, by about 7 a.m., we had nearly an hour of sun in the eyes, except for a few turns here and there. In general, there are not a lot of turns in this fairly simple course. After a loop at the start away from Waikiki, it turns clockwise back through Waikiki, Kapiolani Park (10k mark) and then up the edge of Diamond Head, and out several more miles following the shore line (but not usually seeing the shore) to the Hawaii Kai area, then a turnaround and heading back toward Kap. Park. The last climb gets you up to mile 25 on
At the finish you're given a shell lei, and a medal you can clip on it, or not. There was no need for space blankets to keep you from overcooling, and the finish area showers to cool you down were much preferable to that amenity. There were the usual tents with food lines, and you needed to pick up the all-important finisher's shirt--a pretty good one, I think. I didn't really need the clothing change I had checked the day before, but put on a fresh hat and stuck my medal in the bag. The walk back to the hotel was about another mile, a slow one and kind of tough with my quads stiff and sore. After cleaning up and resting a while, it was out to refuel with Mexican food, hydrate with a couple local brewskis, and watch Sunday night football at the bar in the middle of the afternoon.
So the next morning, after my humbling experience with that weird syrup at the IHoP, I shopped a little more for souvenirs, including returning to Kapiolani Park to look at the post-race "finisher" merchandise (but deciding to skip the long lines to get my finisher's certificate), then checked out of my room and took a bus out to tour Pearl Harbor for the afternoon. (That was a wonderful experience, and is a whole story in itself.) That all made for a pretty full time and in many ways I was ready to leave and get back home by the time of my Monday evening flight. (