On Saturday night Don and I, at long last, signed up for the Honolulu Marathon! We figured that it was time to seal our fate and fully commit to the race. There is no turning back now- yikes!
Yesterday the group and I ran approximately 14 miles- a little more than a Half-Marathon! Mother Nature gave us a perfect day: overcast, light breeze, and rain-free, and I managed to finish in about 2.5 hours. Because my 12 mile run had been dishearteningly difficult and because my right hip has been a little sore lately, I went into yesterday’s run feeling anxious, but I needn’t have worried. The cooler weather definitely helped, and I was able to maintain a steady pace without any walking breaks (aside from stopping at our roving aid stations, and thank goodness for them!).
I felt great yesterday and the route we ran followed the coast from Waimanalo to Hawaii Kai, so I had plenty of good scenery to look at. The surf was pretty high and I saw a handful of surfers (and even one very brave paddle boarder) enjoying the waves, fishermen were out early trying to get the catch of the day, and we were joined by some cyclists participating in a local Tour de Cure. Along the way, I tried to focus on my form; when I get tired, I tend to collapse forward and slouch in a posture I think of as “shrinky-torso” or “the letter C.” This is a terrible posture for anything physically active and is a default position for me when I tire. I actually first became aware of it in college when my riding coaches christened it “the letter C,” and I had no idea it would continue to haunt me years later when running. I guess they say that old habits die hard, and that certainly seems to have some truth to it.
When I shrink into a slouch, it makes it harder to breathe, my stride becomes shorter and less powerful, and my shoulders get cramped from being rounded. None of this is effective for good running, so I tried to notice whenever I felt myself getting tired and shrinking yesterday, and stand up a little straighter and I think that also contributed to the success of my run.
It feels like things are starting to come together; Don and I have been experimenting with the various mid-run nutrition options available to us, and we have found things we like (or at the very least won’t make us gag)- more on those later- I’m getting faster, and we both are feeling more comfortable with the double digit mileage. After yesterday’s run, I was trying to decide if I felt good enough to run the same route again (hypothetically, of course) to gauge how I’d feel if I had to run the marathon RIGHT NOW instead of in two months (Oh dear god. TWO MONTHS?), and while I don’t think I’m fit enough that I’d have been able to run it again in the same amount of time, I do think I could have done it. This is a huge amount of progress; just yesterday my Dad reminded me it wasn’t that long ago when I was complaining about barely being able to run three miles on a treadmill without someone stopping to ask if I was experiencing a cardiac event, and now I’m usually at least five miles in before someone comments on the bright pink hue of my face. The beauty of running is that progress is easily quantifiable in so many ways. Now that I’m officially locked into the race, I feel an added sense of purpose to my workouts and I hope things stay on the upswing at least until I cross the finish line!