Friday, January 28, 2011

Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon

Last weekend was one of several marathon/half marathon races being held in Maui in January/February. While Jason participated in the Run for the Whales last year, this year it was my turn to head over for a race. After hearing Jason's race report on the hilly Run for Whales, I opted for the Maui Oceanfront Half. Several years ago, Jason and I ran this 15K when it was the Maui Surf 'N' Sand race. That race was perfectly flat, and so was this year's race.

With several distances to choose from (marathon, half marathon, 15K and 5K), this race could have gotten really confusing, but everything seemed to go smoothly. The marathon started at 5:45 am in Wailea and ran up the west side of Maui to the finish line in Lahaina. The half marathon started an hour later in Lahaina and was an out-and-back course. The 15K and 5Ks started 15K and 5K south of Lahaina respectively and ran straight to the finish line. All of the courses ran along the scenic coast, right between the West Maui Mountains and the ocean. Although I didn't see any, I talked to people who actually saw whales breaching during the race!

It was great weather for a race, fairly cool at the start and warming up once the sun came up. Although I had trained fairly hard for the race, an unfortunate bug hit me on Wednesday before the race, so I knew I would not be running as fast as I had hoped. I started the race trying to hit an 8 minute pace. Things were going ok, but once I hit the 5k aid station I had a coughing fit and realized even an 8 minute pace was not going to happen that day. So, I hung out for a couple of minutes and met up with one of our running group members, Megan Livingston, who was also doing the race. She was hoping to beat her time from the Kona Half Marathon and I decided to run with her. Although we've trained together and done most of our long runs together, running a race with someone is totally different, because you're never exactly sure what their race strategy is going to be. While I usually am the one being passed at the end, Megan made it her goal to pass people the whole way back. So we ended up with a pretty big negative split for the race. With about 3/4 of a mile to go, I knew Megan was going to hit her goal, so I told her to go for it. She pulled away and finished in 1:53:10, about a 2-minute PR! I was a little bit back in 1:53:43. That was a great way to run the race and not feel like I was dying at the end (except for the whole coughing thing). Congrats to Megan!

Megan is all smiles after the race.

There were a couple of other local Kona runners over for the race. Bree Wee came in first overall for the women's half marathon with a time of 1:24:29. Jano Soto was close behind in 1:28:59. Sarah Boretz ran her first half marathon in 2:15:58, with the help of Chanda Zavodny who finished one second ahead of her. Jano's wife Paola Soto ran her first full marathon in a time of 4:32:05. It was a great showing for Kona! Full results from the races are here.

Sarah and Chanda finish the half marathon.

Another special runner in the races was my mom! Over the last month she's been motivated by some friends who are on the Biggest Loser (Courtney and Marci, if you happen to watch the show), so she signed up for the 5K at the last minute. Despite not having a ton of training, she finished the race with a great time of 41:34! Her next goal is to bring that time down in Kona in June. Congrats Mom - I'm very proud of you. That's her below, enjoying her celebratory beer.

Later that afternoon, we recovered by taking a whale watch. We saw some great activity early on with a mother whale trying to teach her baby how to breach. I don't think the baby was quite getting the hang of it yet, but it was fun to watch. I didn't get any pictures of the baby breaching, but I got some good pics of the fin slaps and a tail.

The next morning it was up again for another walk along the beach before heading back to the Big Island. It was a great trip, and I'd definitely recommend that race for next year!

Tomorrow is the next Peaman race - the Splish-Splash and Super Bowl Shuffle Biathlon. It's a 1/2 mile swim followed by a 3.1 mile run, starting at 8 a.m. at the pier. We hope to see everyone out there for some free fun!

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