Honolulu Marathon 2012

Apparently, I am a marathoner. All it takes is the completion of one marathon to qualify. I went into the 2012 Honolulu Marathon with low expectations. I knew I’d be bringing up the rear. I knew that there would be pain. I knew that it would drag for hours longer than I could have imagined. I was right about all of that. And I’m still waiting for that glow, that amazing sense of accomplishment that was supposed to wash over me upon completion.

Maybe because my husband John and I had to get right over to Kaimuki High School to watch Kid2 in her very first strings ensemble, I missed the window for icing my knees, replenishing my energy stores, bathing, and resting. It’s two days later and I still haven’t iced my legs down. My rehab team would probably pound me with foam rollers. After Kid2 finished, we quickly drove home and bathed to get back to Kaimuki HS for Kid1’s orchestra performance.

The music that evening was wonderful. It soothed me. It’s amazing how accomplished and poised music kids are.

About my run. Here are my Garmin stats. You won’t be impressed. Whatevs. In the bucket. I’m not feeling the need to beat my personal record of 08:10:25. I wanted to finish between 7-8 hours, but I didn’t. I would think that my runner friends couldn’t stand to run for almost eight hours, and that’s one of the reasons they are so fast. If you know me, you know I’ve got a bum right knee and leg, so it’s not all because I’m a soft and cuddly lazy butt. There are mechanical issues holding me back.

John and I smooched at the start and off he went into the sea of runners. I stuck to the edges because I was using the Jeff Galloway Method at 7:4 run:walk ratio. That worked fairly well for me. I was careful about not stopping in front of people, so I always checked to be sure I didn’t make someone behind me stumble. It is amusing for those of us with an acute sense of awareness to look out for those who operate in the oblivo zone. Several times I had to side step or slam on the breaks for people taking pix, dropping squirty gell containers, and water bottles. The sea of cups at each break station, and the puddles of Gatorade and water, made it difficult to get out of the gunk.

I did fairly well for my first 10 miles. Unfortunately, I added 15 minutes to my time waiting to use the bathroom at Kapiolani Park. If you bother to look at the stats, you can see when the three bathroom breaks occurred as my splits stretch out. After 10 miles, I was feeling my bones, my knees, my hips. Wherever the arthritis has settled in was sore. I pressed on with my 7:4 because, believe it or not, my shuffle of a run is a lot easier to do than my walk. I’m leaning a little more forward, I’m incorporating the all-important arm swing, I’m trying to keep my shoulders back and my head up. But after a while, I felt so defeated.

I watched the winners as they soared down Diamond Head Road toward the finish, while I was still climbing it. I was envious that in a little more than two hours they were done. Who knew where they were at 1 p.m. when I finished myself at 21,601st place? As I watched the wheelchair competitors roll in, I decided I wanted to be a bicycle escort next year.

One of the things that keeps a slow-going gal like me on task is the occasional greeting, high-five, and attagirl I get from friends who spot me on the road. I got several of those! Unfortunately, I’m in this dull and distant zone when people give me a shout out. Startled, I look at who said hi to me. If I’m lucky I respond with their name before they’re more than 25 feet away in the other direction. Talk about a deer in the headlights. That is so me.

After John, the first friend I encountered was Amy who came up on my right, said HI, and kept on going. I saw Tootsie on the side of the road near Cooke Street, in the dark, looking for her Try Fitness sisters. I gave her a holler. It was nice to see her. As I was making my way up Kalakaua Avenue, Faye came up on my left and we had a nice little conversation before she heled on. While we were talking and propelling forward, Logan passed just beyond Faye and we waved at each other. It was a while before I saw another friendly face. Lena was looking strong when she saw me heading out as she headed in. Colleague Miki was looking amazing when she gave me a high five. I spotted another colleague, Roy, looking as though the marathon was just another effortless workout. Then John saw me as I closed in on Hawaii Kai. By then I had done 16 miles. He told me to keep going, probably realizing I was entertaining thoughts of going just one more mile TO OUR HOUSE. LOL.

After he encouraged me, a woman to my left said, “We can do it.” And I look at her and say, “ANNE?!” Yup. Another of my Mothership colleagues was putting in the miles. We were together for a while. She said last year she did 17 and she stopped but this year she was going to finish. I told her that I had to finish. There was no way that I wanted “never did a marathon” etched on my urn that gets shot into space after my body, used for scientific purposes, is pressure cooked into pixie dust. Fortunately, two of my other Try Fitness sisters, Barbara and Jules, were on the side of Hawaii Kai Drive with salt tabs, pain reliever, soda, water, and fruit. They also had music and Jules and I danced a bit while I chugged two salt tabs and kept a water bottle for myself. A morale push to the rescue. Another Hawaii Kai friend and veteran runner Eileen saw me at the other end of Hawaii Kai Drive. I almost collapsed into her when she gave me a hug. And before I left Hawaii Kai, one of Kid1’s friends from school cheered me on. Some kids are so awesome, and she is one of them.

I don’t remember a lot of my run. It’s an odd sensation to drive where I had run and realize that I might have blocked the experience because of the pain. By the time I was passing Kalani High School, about six miles out from the finish, I noticed that my fellow participants were mostly walking, and mostly quiet. Each of us was bearing this suffering, focusing on getting one foot in front of the other, getting by the Waialae Country Club golf course, up Kahala Avenue, along Triangle Park, over Diamond Head, and into Kapiolani Park. I started ignoring my Garmin on Kahala Avenue, disobeying the notifications to walk and run. I felt my blood pressure drop a little, so I took a sodium pill and another energy gel. I had to finish. I couldn’t slump over and stop when the end was so near.

When I got to the edge of Kapiolani Park my Garmin reminded me again it was time to run for 7 minutes. And so I leaned forward into an easy trot, passing people I felt I just had to pass, saying hi to Robert Smith who probably had been done for hours but hung around to take pictures. I closed in on the finish and about 50 feet out more of my Try Fitness friends started loudly cheering me. I am intrigued at how this has such an incredibly positive effect on me. The pain fades because there are friends who will spare the few encouraging words it takes to make a huge difference in a friend’s outlook. And it was perfect because right across the street from them was John who managed to get his phone out to shoot a few pictures of me as I smiled and shuffled and shaka’d my way to complete the 40th annual Honolulu Marathon of 2012.

I didn’t have the energy to walk to the malasada tent, but I did get my giant tech-t-shirt and finisher medal. I tried to walk up Monssarat to get the van but I couldn’t, so John got it for me and came down and rescued me from a bus stop. We had things to do. There was no time for taking a break. I had just done the hardest thing of my life and I didn’t have time to collapse. I know I probably don’t remember giving birth, but I feel like this hurt more.

That’s a wrap on 2012 events. I’m not receding into old age now. You should see what I’ve got planned for 2013! I can assure you a marathon is NOT on the schedule. A half Ironman, a metric century and a few triathlons? Of course. Training begins January 8.

Who’s in?

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. I read today’s post with tears of joy and tears of envy. I’m so extraordinarily proud of you, my friend. What a journey you have had. I had to get out of Kaimuki because I just couldn’t take the idea of seeing people running when I couldn’t participate, and I cried at Ala Moana when a saw a bunch of tourists in Finisher shirts.

    A girlfriend of mine was so inspired by a gentleman in an old school wheelchair that she said she is going to get a shirt with “I run because I can!” You have been such an inspiration. Let me tell you, when I’m all healed up, I’ll be back with a vengeance! Thanks for letting me live through you this year! Keep telling stories and keep moving!

  2. Awww, Lynn. You know what? I feel extraordinarily ordinary. I was one of the masses, one of those people who are the faceless stats that pad the ranks of events month after month. And it’s OK. While there will be those who do so well and are fine examples to us all, each of us owes it to ourselves to venture into whatever our hearts, souls, and minds want to explore. This is why I do these things. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We owe ourselves a life well lived.

  3. From the moment I’ve known you, online or in person, to me you have never been ordinary. In sharing your day to day, you bring laughter and love, tears and compassion, and for me constant inspiration. To me, you and our Crazy Lady friend are both larger than life! Have a wonderful holiday season, my dear!

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