The Honolulu Marathon Game Plan

By now, about 11 months after my husband signed me up for the Honolulu Marathon, I thought I’d be fit, skinny, and ready to run. Isn’t it interesting how your body has other ideas? You may be in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, but let me assure you there will come a time where your body declines what your mind is proposing. It will perplex you and it will piss you off. There will be that moment where you’re angry, then in denial, then you’ll accept it, and then you’ll make a commitment to work with the bag of bones assigned to you. That’s about where I am now.

I am reminded of my 2010 tendon burst every day. My right leg is a fraction of an inch shorter than my left. My healing has incorporated bad habits, accommodations to alleviate the pain of walking, running, using the stairs. I can never stretch it enough, my tendons are grumpy, and my knee cap floats around on my leg. Despite all that, I’ve done everything I could to get better, to become more fit, and to be ready for Sunday’s Honolulu Marathon. It is my first, and I do not plan on doing it again. Once this sucker is in the bucket, that’s it. Famous last words.

For 2013, I’ve signed up for a few triathlons, and the June 1, 2013 Honu Half Ironman in Kona is my main target. I can swim pretty well. I can ride bike like a NYC bike messenger if I have to. And all of my friends give me attagirls when they pass me on the run. Any run, any event, and I’m bringing up the rear with a smile.

So what’s the game plan since I buried my lead in this fourth paragraph? My strategy is to follow the Jeff Galloway Method of running and walking, and hopefully I’ll be able to sustain an 8:4 run:walk ratio. I tooled around with different ratios. I’m too impatient to do 5:5, and 10:5 works for a while, but, I don’t think I could sustain it. So I will adjust as I take on the 26.2 miles.

The other part of my game plan is to stay optimistic, hydrate at all aid stations, and not grumble. I also want to not wince much after the marathon at the Niu and Kaiser Christmas Concert that evening at Kaimuki High. I’ve already grumbled about the bizarre timing of an East Oahu school district scheduling its main event the day of the Honolulu Marathon, requiring parents pour themselves into the gridlock of contraflowed traffic. The marathon dates are set for years. Whose brain is behind this decision?

Back to the plan. Fellow HMSA colleague and veteran runner Roy Mizushima shared a few tips on the HMSA Facebook page yesterday. One of his tips spoke to me:

“Go slow during the first half (13 miles) and if you’re feeling good, pick it up the second half. Relax and take it all in!”

If you know me, going slow won’t be a problem. But I like the idea of keeping energy in the bank. Once I cross the finish line and get my T-shirt and finisher’s medal, I’ll have to wobble to the van, get myself home and to an evening show.  Then I get a vacation week.

Monday is looking really good.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. Love that you’re pushing through a doing it! If I was the kind of person who says “You go girl!” I would say that. SInce I don’t, I’ll just say, good luck and try to find something to enjoy about the day!

  2. Best of luck to you on Sunday! The marathon is a crazy circus – take some “mental snapshots” along the way.

  3. Enjoy the whole experience. You will feel so great when you are finished and have accomplished your goal. Good luck, the Galloway is a great way to do it.

  4. Despite what you’re saying about your body, I’m not sure that this Honolulu Marathon will be your last. Trust me on this, I’ve run 29 marathons in my running career (Honolulu 11 times), and almost everytime I finish one I tell myself “Yep…that’s it. That was my final marathon”. Yet 6 months later, after all the pain of running a marathon is a forgotten memory, I start thinking to myself “You know, I think there’s one 26.2 left in your knees”. I always wind up running “just one more”.

    You will experience total elation (that can be quite addictive) when you cross the finish line in Kapiolani Park…it will be your moment to savor and yours alone. The glory you will earn will be deserved. Enjoy the moment as much as you can.

    Want you to know this about the Honolulu Marathon: The shower you will take after finishing (there’s a bank of showers available for runners to cool off with just after you get your shell lei) will probably be the best one you wil ever take!

  5. The comments that precede mine say it so well. Don’t forget to mentally capture all the moments of beauty and suffering and silliness and grace. Let them spray that mentholated crap on your legs. If you remind yourself to relax and have fun, you will. Use the sponge but keep your socks dry if you can help it. Don’t eat that goop on the stick. Enjoy the company of 30,000 other hardy souls from all over the planet. The shell lei and key fob and shirt are nice mementos. But you’ll carry the most meaningful souvenirs between your ears. Savor it. Enjoy.

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