The weekend started with the carbo-load dinner on Friday evening at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. The entertainment for the evening was a hula halau from Hilo.
Her dance was dedicated to Yuka and DJ Blinn who were married the weekend before and ran the full marathon together.
|Photo by Yuka Blinn|
After the food and entertainment was over, it was on to the raffle prizes for the night. I was the first lucky number pulled and won some coffee and a handmade lei from the Queen. Other great prizes given out were Big Island Running Company shirts and hats, coconut water, restaurant gift certificates, and much more. I think Jason might have been the only one there not to win anything!
The next day was the Health and Fitness Expo and packet pickup. As usual, the first couple of hours were fast and furious at our Big Island Running Company tables as people stocked up on energy gels, logo shirts and hats (since we were all convinced it was going to rain the entire race). As the afternoon slowed down, we started to prepare for the race on Sunday. Jason was sick all weekend, so he won the role of photographer and taxi driver.
After a great pre-race dinner at Sombat's, we were off to bed early to get ready for the early start. Although it was still dark driving to the race, the pleasant surprise was that it wasn't raining. After all the dire, wet weather predictions, we actually had about as nice a day for a race as you can expect in Hawaii. Relatively cool (and downright cold once you stopped running!), overcast, not raining - it was perfect!
We snapped a quick "before"picture of me, Chitwin and Joe (who were both running the full marathon)
and then lined up for the start.
The first mile or so of this race is pretty much all downhill, so it's hard to keep it the pace slow. But at the same time, you want to take advantage of that downhill, so starting fast might not be a bad idea! I had been doing some hill training for the past couple of weeks, so my strategy was to hammer the hills in the first 8 miles pretty hard (both up and down) and then hold on for the slow descent into Hilo and the flat portion around Banyan Drive. As it usually goes, I was able to do well on the first couple of uphills and then really lost some steam. But the downhills were great!
I came out of the hilly portion right about where I was hoping, actually even a little faster. Don Kirby caught up to me around mile 8.5 and helped me keep the pace up for the next several miles into town. Of course, he was running the full marathon and kept about that same pace up for the next thirteen+ miles, so I am pretty impressed! Unfortunately, those last two miles of the half got really long for me and my pace slowed considerably. Right around that time, a couple of runners, Sally Marrack and Ray Ibarra, both passed me like they usually do and continued to run strong to great times.
Even though I was disappointed with the last couple of miles, I still managed to PR with a 1:42:33 and took first in my age group. And my legs were sore like crazy for the next several days!
Kona runners represented really well at the race, with several claiming age group awards:
|Diane Quitiquit and Maggie Murphy|
|Rob Van Geen|
Chitwin had a great run, too, finishing in 3:57:29 for a new PR, too!
Congratulations to all participants! Mahalo to all of the volunteers who handed out water, stopped traffic, directed runners, handed out finisher medals and all-around provided great support! And special thanks go out to the kids who were handing out the awards after the race. Those poor kids looked like they were freezing and also a little tired!
Up this weekend is the Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon on Sunday. It starts around 7:30 a.m. at Anaehoomalu Bay for the 1.5K swim, followed by a 40K bike and 10K run. Good luck to all participants!