This is where it all began for me 7 years ago. I toed the start line of my first-ever race and made a startling discovery: I was no longer one of the slowest girls in PE!
I'm going to let my pics do most of the talking about my 2009 Kona Half Marathon experience but here's the nitty gritty for those who are fond of numbers:
1:40:26 (7:40 avg pace)
1/57 F40-49, 5th Overall Female.
1/57 F40-49, 5th Overall Female.
What a coincidence! The day before the race at packet pickup, I saw Robyn and Art, fellow Floridians and 50 State Marathoners. Robyn used to work with me at Track Shack but recently moved. Miss you, Robyn!
Also met Olympian running legend Frank Shorter there and I told him it was all his fault. He handed me my first race medal back in 2002 and I haven't been able to stop racing since.
I got to the start line just 5 minutes before the race was to begin. No big deal, no nervousness, just another training run ... HA! By mile 4, I was well under my intended 8 min/mile pace for the first half. Good thing Dave was out on our lanai early to see me go by (and one of these days he going to take a pole saw and cut those ugly power lines).
He was actually expecting to see me with a white visor, though, not a red one. I told him RED. Whatever, there were only about 500 half marathoners and the field had spread out considerably by then.
Nearing the turnaround, I gave a big cheer for Bree Wee, my favorite tri pro and friend who was headed the other way already with a huge smile on her face. She was in second place overall and the lead female. So happy to see her having fun!
But who wouldn't have fun in paradise and with wonderful volunteers like this?
Before I knew it, I'd gabbed my way to the turnaround with Rob (just behind me), who was also a triathlete and from the S.F. Bay Area, where I'm originally from. If I could talk fairly easily, that means I wasn't going too fast, right? 6.45 miles in 49:54 (7:44 pace).
So unless I totally bonk, I'm going to make my sub-1:45 time goal easily. Why not shoot for a negative split anyway? This is the best part of the course, IMO, mile 7, heading back along Alii Drive and Kailua Bay. Just to the right is where the Kona Ironman swim starts.
But now it's well over 80 degrees and getting hot. Aid stations were only a mile apart but I prefer carrying my own fluids as I drink better from a bottle, plus the extra weight usually helps keep me from running the first half of a race too fast. Usually.
At mile 9, I chatted briefly with this guy from Colorado who told me he has no probs running in heat or at altitude but the humidity here was killing him. Dude, don't ever come to Florida in the summer.
Mile 13, nearly done. Caught 3 women in the second half. Enough to place? Who knows ...
Just make sure not to trip over the speed bump and do a face plant in front of everyone.
Hawaiian shave ice, a very welcome treat after a hot race!
Early on pacer Rob finished a couple minutes behind me. He'd not run for 3 weeks before the race because of the flu yet did well.
Yes, a new coffee mug award! The small black one in my hand, not the big one, silly.
Hanging out with greatness after the race (R to L after moi): Olympian Frank Shorter, pro triathlete Bree Wee (with son on her lap), race sponsor and founder, 70-year-old running phenom Jon Kunitake.
Total race time: 1:40:26 (7:40 pace). Last 6.65 miles run in 50:32 (7:36 pace) -- Woohoo!
Top 5 differences between 2002 and 2009:
2002: 1:43:59, 2nd F40-49. 2009: 1:40:26, 1st F40-49.
4. Hydration & nutrition
2002: 6 oz water. 2009: 22-24 oz Nuun plus 2 gels.
2002: No watch, no idea what pacing meant, really. 2009: Sports watch, a pretty good feel for what I'm capable of and a Coach to answer to.
2. The big question on my mind the last few miles
2002: Will I die of a heart attack? 2009: How many women are ahead of me?
1. Post-race recovery
2002: Food and a nap; quads hammered for days. 2009: Food, ice bath, nap and a 35 mi bike ride in the afternoon. Did I just run a half marathon?
Top 5 things that were the same:
5. Same beautiful course.
4. Frank Shorter was here.
3. Heat & humidity, but less than Florida.
2. I LOVE running and racing in Kona and still want to retire here.
1. Dave's still taking pictures of me. Thanks Dave!
Being the spouse of a runner is hard work.