April 13 was the Hapalua Half Marathon in Honolulu. My running buddy, Laura, made the trip to Hawaii to run it with me. This was my 7th half marathon, Laura’s 12th, and the 5th one that we have run together. Both of us have goals of running a half marathon in every state, so we try to get together once a year to run one! We always color coordinate our race outfits. This year, for the first time, we got the exact same shirt and sports bra (from Kiava), and had the same color running skirts though they were different brands (Laura’s was Kiava and mine was Nike).
The Hapalua Half Marathon was an awesome race to run and it was incredible because there is no reason we should have done as well as we did! It was the fastest half marathon that we have run together yet, I felt amazing the entire time running, and we were barely even sore the next day. Why is that incredible? Because neither of us trained properly for this, we didn’t get enough sleep the night before, and we fueled our race with beer and cookies.
I started training 9 weeks before the race. A half marathon is 13.1 miles so I should have started at least 13 weeks before. I am an experienced runner but I hadn’t run in a few months so I started my training at 1.5 miles and increase slowly from there. I started out strong running consistently for the first 4 weeks and then I got lazy busy and slowed down to once a week… oops! I was supposed to have built up to 11 miles but the farthest I ever got was 5 miles – once pushing a stroller and twice without. There was obviously poor planning and poor training on my part. Laura didn’t do much better with her training as the farthest she ran was 6 miles. We are quite the pair of running buddies 🙂
I obviously don’t recommend running a half marathon without properly training for it – my first half was like that and it was a horrendous experience. Laura and I both ran multiple half marathons last year and have been active with other exercise as well so we are both in pretty good shape. Still, we didn’t expect to do nearly as well as we did!
We live on the North Shore which is an hour drive from Honolulu with no traffic. We decided at the last minute to book a hotel room downtown so that we didn’t have to wake up crazy early to get to the race on time. We got a room for only $100 at the Ohana Waikiki West that was within walking distance to the start and finish of the race – score!
On Saturday we drove to the Hawaii Convention Center to sign in and get our race bags. It was a pitiful race expo with no free samples and very few vendors. After the expo, we went to Sports Authority to get Laura a hat for the race and I got one as well since the rest of our outfits matched. From there we went to Savers, a thrift store, to find some throwaway shirts. We each got a cheap sweatshirt to keep us warm in the morning until the race started. After that, we drove the race course so we would know what to expect. This was the first time I’ve ever done that for a race and it was very helpful, especially to see the hills that everyone was commenting about online.
The last place we went was to Whole Foods to get things for breakfast. We stocked up on water, whole grain bread, packets of nut butter, bananas, and cookies. The cookies were not on our shopping list but they were from the Whole Foods bakery and were flat, brown, crispy deliciousness that we couldn’t pass up 🙂
The Whole Foods is attached to a mall which has an Apple store. My iPhone stopped working properly the night before so it was the perfect opportunity to get it fixed. Turns out that getting it fixed was quite an ordeal and it ultimately needed replaced… this took hours but now I have a new phone that works!
It was after 9pm by the time we reached the hotel and we still hadn’t eaten dinner yet! The hotel has two extremely tiny parking garages that were, of course, full so Laura stayed with the car in a no parking zone while I checked in. We were given a map to park in a garage two blocks away but the map took us to the garage location, not to the garage entrance. We had to circle around three times before we went down all of the correct one-way streets to get us to the garage entrance. The hotel was not the greatest for multiple reasons (including the parking and their bad map) but it was cheap and only for one night.
Once we parked, we walked two blocks back to the hotel to put our bags in the room and then searched for a place to eat. We then found a bar/restaurant within walking distance that was still open and serving food but we had to pay a $5 cover charge because there was a DJ – a cover charge for a DJ in a practically empty bar? Seriously?! We couldn’t hear each other talk but we enjoyed some huli huli chicken with rice, and had our traditional night-before-the-race beer.
After dinner we went back to the hotel and chowed down on those crispy cookies from Whole Foods while getting our things ready for the morning. I always run races with sneakers, running skirt, tank top, undergarments, hat, sunglasses, GPS heart rate monitor, iPod Shuffle and headphones, two GU gels (for energy during the run), two pieces of mint gum (keeps my mouth moist), my race bib, my ID, and a $20 bill (just in case).
On the morning of the race, we were slow moving from having stayed up so late. We ate our whole grain bread (yay for a toaster in our room!) with bananas and nut butter… and also had a few cookies. The race started at 6AM. We walked out the door at 5:50 and got to the starting line just as the singing of the national anthem was finishing. There were no corrals for the runners so you could get in line wherever you wanted. We stayed on the sidewalk stretching while the other runners took off. When we saw the end of the line, we realized that we better jump in!
The first 8 miles were flat (except for a small bridge) so it was easy running. It was a cloudy morning which kept the temperature cool which also helped. It drizzled a few times and it rained hard a few times but it never lasted long and we were wearing hats which kept the rain off of our faces. There were drink stations every two miles with both water and gatorade so it wasn’t necessary to carry a water bottle.
At mile 9 there was a half-mile hill followed by a level break and then another hill. We walked some of the first hill but ran the second one. Mile 12 was the most memorable and perfect mile that I have ever run in my life! It was all downhill with the ocean to our left, Diamond Head to our right, a huge rainbow in front of us, and wind at our backs… it doesn’t get any better than that!
The finish line and post-race celebration was at Kapiolani Park. There were fresh hot malasadas, shave ice, bananas, moon pies, and cold water. The results of the race were printed out and taped up for all to see while we were there. We stayed for a while to bask in the post-race euphoria and then walked back to the hotel, showered, got coffee, and ate more cookies on the drive home. Despite the craziness, this turned out to be the best race we’ve run yet. I love our race adventures!