Monday, June 29, 2009

Kona Half Marathon

One word: Magical.

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.



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:
5. Results
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.
3. Pacing
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.

44 comments:

DaveP said...

And she kicked my butt on the ride too!

Molly said...

Congratulations on a great race!!! Awesome pictures too :)

aron said...

omgosh you are amazing :) congrats on a great race!!! love the report and love the pics!

Road Warrior said...

Wow, Shirley, congrats! Is that your first age-bracket winner?

Jenny Davidson said...

Wonderful! That is some nice fast racing...

(I am not as fast as you are now, but I am not super-slow, and I do not in retrospect understand why I was always the slowest runner in gym class!!! Was it as simple as that I just didn't care, and preferred to spend my time lying on my bed reading a book?!? It is slightly one of the mysteries of life!)

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Great job! And thanks for posting all the pictures; they're fantastic!

BreeWee said...

Oh it is soooooo good to have you in Kona, you totally belong here. Not everyone can "live" on an island, but when you are here you do it so well! Nice race, you were so strong and happy out there. When I saw you before the start Jimmy and I were trying to make it like a training day and walking the other way, you were headed to the start line with a HUGE smile and we were in shock that someone about to race a half marathon made it look like they were going for a beach run barefoot! Well done chica!

jen said...

WHA?! Wow Shirley!! You blew away your goal and with a smile on your face as always. You are seriously my hero. Congratulations!!!

Missy said...

I want to be you when I grow up...please! Hell, I want to be you now! Those are some rockin splits girlfriend. You have to be happy with 'dat.

Tammy said...

OH my goodness way to go Shirley, your one of those folks you wave to on the 1/2 way on the course LOL... I finally did it.. my first 1/2 Marathon this Sunday..

Spokane Al said...

Wow - a super race and as always, you thoroughly look like you are enjoying life.

Congratulations!

Oz Runner said...

wow, nice run...you are f.a.s.t.....i love that you are smiling while running in those pics, you look very happy...fantastic job!

Stef said...

Smashing Shirley simply smashing! Your reports are a joy to read and this one is no exception!

Congratulations!!!!

Runner Leana said...

Shirley you are such an inspiration! What an amazing race!!!!! Congratulations and very well done. Looks like all of your hard work is paying off.

Mel-2nd Chances said...

WOW! Incredible pics, and congrats on an amazing race, you're an inspiration for sure! Great that you got to meet Frank Shorter too :) I bet it felt great to see how far you've come since your first race there!!

KodaFit said...

You and Chrissie Wellington seem to share the same trait... Being able to kick butt and smile while you're doing it!!

Nice job on the race, and awesome pictures (Thanks to Dave for those!)

Regina said...

Wow! Congratulations!! You look "cool as a cucumber" in those photos. You are such an inspiration (especially for my run tonight!). Thanks for your comments on my race and for coming back to my blog, it means A LOT.

Girl on Top said...

Great job! You are awesome.

My husband and I are considering moving to Hawaii. How is it out there? I hear that it's super expensive??? :(

lindsay said...

wow great race! a 1:40 in some killer heat and 5th overall!! very impressive. love the pics.

MaineSport said...

Great effort, and super improvement over 2002!

Kevin said...

Way to go. Great job winning your AG. The pictures are amazing

X-Country2 said...

Dang girl! How do you look so smilely while kicking butt like that? Congrats all around.

Rainmaker said...

Congrats, and it looks like a complete blast! I think that you guys have waaaaaayyyy to much fun in your races. I'm jelous!

Formulaic said...

It's so great to read your post. So full of life and fun.

It's nearly midnight and I am tired but now I get to go to be bed with a smile on my face and dream of running (and living) in Kona!

Thanks!

Smithposts said...

Love it, you are getting better with age! You are such an inspiration for all of us. Congrats on beating your goal!!

Susan said...

Oh Shirley - this might be the best race report YET! The photos rock. I am envious of the scenery. And Frank Shorter - WOW WOW WOW!

You've got my vote!!!!! (for what, I don't know)

Petraruns said...

What a great report! you just look so happy! And no wonder it is just so beautiful out there. Girl you are FAST!

Black Knight said...

Great job congratulations. Thanks for the awesome pictures and the beautiful report. I am sure that you signed an autograph to Frank Shorter. I remember the legendary names of Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers when I decided to start my running life after read the James Fixx book.

PLANET3RRY said...

Just looking at those two comparisons is the main reason why we say to New Runners... "Your main goal is to cross the finish line, enjoy the experience"

2002: Will I have a heart attack (No, it just feels like it now... and if you think that is bad, just wait a day for your legs)

2009: How many women are ahead of me
(In situ race strategy... LOVE IT! It is being in the right frame of mind to make decision during the entire race, but something you develop with experience)

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

You are smoking it girl. If you were able to talk and meet so many people along the way it proves that you were no where near you max.

Love the report and pics. Lucky girl to be able to return after so many years and beat your time.

sharon said...

YEAH Shirley; great job lady. Congratulations

peter said...

1:40, cool! And first. When I was a student at CU in the early 70s, I was hitchhiking from Stapleton Airport in Denver to Boulder when Frank Shorter picked me up and gave me a ride. I recognized him from him having been on a cover of SI recently for some meet in Europe where he beat a bunch of folks. Those were the days, when world famous people picked up hitchhikers.

COTY said...

You only get better :O)
Great post. You always inspire

lizzie lee said...

How nice, dear Shirley. And always, of course, with your beautiful and amazing smile....

Thanks for giving so much... more than you can imagine...

RoadBunner said...

Congratulations!!! Awesome job. I love how your hubby didn't even have to leave home to get those first shots of you. And yes, it was a RED visor :)

I heard a podcast about an indoor marathon. Between your write-up of the one you did and that I am seriously thinking of doing one sometime.

Enjoy your time in Hawaii!

Vickie said...

Great race report and race! You were flying! And great pics too. Thanks Dave!

TRI TO BE FUNNY said...

Way to kick some Kona bootie!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fe-lady said...

Congrats on your AG win and a great race!
So cool that you got to talk to Bree and Frank!

Love the photos too!

Brent Buckner said...

What a wonderful race.
Congratulations on your dominance!

Jade Lady said...

wow...you ran so fast! congrats - i still remember that wonderful race.... wish i was there to root u on!

Marathon Maritza said...

Congratulations Speedy McSpeedypants! Excellent pace and 5th? AWESOME!

I looove Kona! It's the only place in Hawaii I've ever been and I had such a fabulous time there...I recognize so much of the waterfront in these pictures! I'm glad you had such a great experience and that you remembered your first race and why you love it there!

Also, could you please blog about the secret to gams like yours? THANKS! ♥

jeanne said...

WOW you are FAST!!!! congratulations, WINNER!!! Great photos! I don't know how you manage to go so fast and talk too! WELL DONE!

Dori said...

Congratulations on your first place AG! You are an amazing athlete. I loved those 7 year comparisons. And how great to be up close and personal with Frank Shorter!

zbsports said...

Nice marathon report. I like the pictures, seeing runners smile in their face is a sign that they are having fun the run.