Posts Tagged ‘honolulu marathon’

blogiversaryWhen I signed up for my first 8km race a little over six years ago, I never dreamed I would end up calling myself a runner. And when I hit ‘Publish’ on my first blog post – exactly one year ago today – I had no idea how much ‘Bradley on the Run’ would become a part of my life.

March 1, 2015 – Many of you have been with me throughout this journey, while others have just joined the party. Please allow me the (slightly narcissistic) indulgence of reflecting back over the past 12 months. I also have to thank a bunch of people, too!

#42for42

I decided that 2014 would be my marathon year, and set my sights on Honolulu in December, just about a week after my 42nd birthday (42km marathon at 42 years old = #42for42). I figured this was as good a motivation as any to check the full marathon off of my bucket list. With a bit of encouragement, I ended up running the BMO Vancouver Marathon as my first (and best), with Honolulu my second. The question lingers whether or not another marathon is in the cards for me…

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Injuries and Excuses

During and after the BMO, I had some issues which I described at the time as ‘groin’-related. I took some time off, did some physio and – most significantly – started going to Pilates. Well, lo and behold, I was healed! Turns out that my problem was not, uh, where I thought it was. My problem was a weak core! Huge shout out to Christie at the YMCA who has helped to make a world of different in strengthening my flabby underdeveloped mid-section.

A Few PBs

I want to brag, just a little bit. In the past year, I achieved personal best (PB) results in 5 distances!

  • Full Marathon (42.2km) – the BMO Vancouver Marathon was the winner here. Much as I enjoyed Honolulu, it was not comparable time-wise to the BMO
  • Half Marathon (21.1km) – just a few weeks ago, I had a ‘perfect storm’-type race in the First Half Half Marathon – and loved every minute of it!
  • 10km – it was a cold and snowy day, but the 2014 West Van Run was a PB in this distance…that is, until today…(stay tuned for an upcoming race report on West Van Run 2015!)
  • 8km – the Modo 8K was a fun and unexpected success
  • 1 mile – this was a distance I had never tackled = automatic PB! We’ll see what this year’s Ambleside Mile has in store!

Huge Thanks!

Although I enjoy writing this blog – it’s one of the things that keeps me motivated in my running – it’s the people who have supported me that make the true impact. An enormous THANK YOU to:

  • Coach Carey and the amazing people of Forerunners – from Day One, I have been inspired and encouraged by this team of athletes.
  • My Twitter followers – for every ‘Like’ and every retweet, those I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and those I hope to meet someday!
  • All the folks on Facebook, including the many non-runners who visit my blog just because – it means a lot to me!
  • Everyone who follows me on Instagram, Pinterest (still figuring that one out) – and this blog!
  • Kristy (Runaway Bridal Planner) and the amazing new blog-mates I have met through the February Blog Hop, which pushed me to analyze and develop my social media skills over the past month!

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  • Last but not least – my friends and family, who come out to cheer me on, who put up with my endless running stories, and who wait for me to finish long training runs. You are truly amazing!

#YearoftheHalf

I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store. I’ve designated 2015 the ‘Year of the Half’, when I will focus primarily on the half marathon distance (or shorter). I look forward to sharing more race reports, hosting a few giveaways (look for one coming soon!), networking with a whole lot more bloggers, and making many new connections.

Thank you for celebrating YEAR 1 with me!

– Bradley

What do you enjoy about my blog? Is there anything I could do to improve it? I welcome feedback and suggestions!

Disclaimer: While I generally like to write my race reports immediately following, this race was the start of a 3-week vacation, including both Hawai’i and Japan. I’ve had no access to a computer until now, but that means the time has finally come!

It started on a whim – the thought that I should challenge myself to my first marathon (i.e. 42 kilometres) the year I turned 42. The Honolulu Marathon was to be held just a week after my 42nd birthday, and in January 2014 I got an earlybird notice and was able to sign up for just $50! How could I say no? I ended up completing the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May – a ‘practice’ run – but Honolulu was the true goal. #42for42

We arrived in Honolulu on a direct flight from Vancouver on Friday night. Saturday morning’s errand was race package pickup at the Convention Centre, just a block from our hotel. The expo was extremely organized and efficient – bib pickup in under 5 minutes, and multiple vendors with everything from crafts to pain relief to running gear. I kept my shopping to a minimum but enjoyed myself nonetheless. See for yourself!

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The Honolulu Marathon starts exhaustingly early at 5am. Part of our hotel plan was to be close to the start line in Ala Moana, and we had some stunning views from our hotel balcony. This was the pre-race day sunset:

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I had set my alarm for 3:30am, but awoke even before that. First I checked the weather…um, rain? And then I looked out the window. People were already gathering, lining up for the toilets, and doing their warmups. I made my instant oatmeal, drank some peppermint tea, and pulled myself together before heading out into the dark morning.

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Oh, the crowds! A total of 21,815 people finished the race, so I can only assume that a few more than that started. I found my spot, watched the crowds, squinted into the rain, and soon it was time to begin – with fireworks! Most exciting race start ever!

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Because this event is self-seeding, there were no corral restrictions. As such, while I seeded myself in the 3- to 4-hour corral, it was clear from guntime that many runners were not aiming to complete the race in 4 hours or less. Many people were running at a significantly slower pace, or even walking within the first kilometre or two. As such, I expended a good amount of energy over the first 5k dodging people (and puddles) to try to get up to a reasonable pace – I struggled to get below 6 minutes/km until the 4k mark.

The first 10k took us on a loop through Downtown Honolulu – which was fantastic due to all of the Christmas lights dotted through town – and then on to Waikiki. The main strip was remarkably crowded with spectators, given that it was only about 5:30am. There were a few drunken revellers who likely hadn’t been to bed yet (I got a very sloppy high 5 from one of them), but overall the crowd was simply there to cheer us on.

We rounded Kapiolani Park (where we would eventually complete the race) and then started the tough slog up and around Diamond Head – the ancient volcanic cone visible from Waikiki Beach (see photo below). This was probably my favourite moment of the race, and I hope I can describe it well enough to do it justice:  Diamond Head Road curves up and around the crater. All along this stretch were volunteers, mostly high school students, holding a long yellow police tape – one person every couple of metres. EVERY ONE of them was smiling, cheering, encouraging, high fiving – and creating the most positive, enthusiastic race energy I’ve ever experienced.

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Diamond Head from Waikiki during the day.

I chose to put #42fo42 and my Twitter account (@bjcjapan) on a bib on my back. Somewhere around 14km, a guy came up to me and asked if it was my 42nd marathon! I explained my philosophy of 42for42, and chatted with him about his marathon experience (he was from Oregon, currently living in Hawai’i, thought he’d give the race a go). Unfortunately, I never got his bib number, so I wasn’t able to see how he did in the end!

After a few twists and turns through residential neighbourhoods, we found ourselves at the 20km mark on Highway 1 heading east. And that’s when the real weather began – the rain started coming down in sheets, and the wind (from the east!) buffeted us. It was a tough slog. At one point, I thought I felt something really heavy in my left pocket (my iPhone was in my right pocket…), but then I realized it was just my soaking wet shorts slapping against my leg. THAT’s how wet it was!

Even before reaching the halfway point, the lead runners came towards us, on their way back from the out-and-back loop around Hawai’i Kai, a good 15km ahead of me and those around me. Though dripping wet, they looked like they were flying – simply amazing. I love it when a race route allows you to see what the true professionals look like when they’re doing what they do best!

The Hawai’i Kai loop (kms 25-29) took us through some more residential neighbourhoods, where the locals were out in full force, and offering up pretzels, snacks, oranges, and the like. The community spirit was amazing – and while the weather continued to be very damp, I couldn’t help but smile (or grimace? Hard to be sure).

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Hawai’i Kai – and rainy mountains all around

And then we were back on the freeway – and now we were seeing all the runners and walkers coming from behind. Costumes, great enthusiasm – even a couple who ballroom danced the entire route (it took them 11 hours!) – followed by one of the best rainbows I’ve ever seen! Turning towards the ocean, we ran by some beautiful homes and estates – at this point, a woman approached me about #42for42 – again assuming that this was my 42nd marathon! I guess the Americans can be forgiven, though, as they would see the marathon as 26.2 (miles, of course)!

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A ray of hope!

At 39k the return ascent over Diamond Head started, and I truly thought I wasn’t going to make it. My reserves were very low, despite having stopped at every water and gel stop along the way. I had long since given up on the idea of improving on my Vancouver Marathon time, but suddenly it occurred to me that I might not make it to the finish line at all. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to bursting into tears during a race, and probably the longest 2 kilometres of my life. At this moment, I determined I would never again run another marathon.

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And then I was there. Finish line. Cool shower. Puka shells. Sweet treats. Finisher T-shirt. Medal. So happy. Wearing my Honolulu Marathon finisher shirt around town and having total strangers congratulate me – and likewise congratulating others wearing their shirts! This is what it’s all about – and why #42for42 was an unequivocal success!

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And will I run another marathon? We’ll just have to wait and see…

Final results

Chip time: 4:14:24
Average pace: 6:01 min/km
Place overall: 2188/21815
Age category place: 259/1302

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The Honolulu Marathon has been updating their Facebook page daily with the ongoing countdown: 2 weeks…10 days…and now just one week!! How did this happen? This showed up on my Twitter feed this morning:

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When I signed for for my #42for42 race back in January, I was wide-eyed and innocent in the ways of the full marathon. It was a spur of the moment decision, combined with an earlybird special that made it cheap enough to allow me to bail if things didn’t go my way. Plus, I’ve never been to Hawaii before!

I thought about doing a post today on lessons learned – but with only one marathon under my belt (and a previous post of a similar ilk), that didn’t seem very honest. Rather, I’ll just talk about my thoughts – and, most assuredly, my fears about this race!

The Climate
I’ve done most of my training in mild weather, with the occasional dabble in miserable and/or below zero. Due to my post-BMO injury, I did very little training during the warmer summer months. And even if I had – the warm, dry summers in Vancouver hardly compare. As such, I’m completely unprepared for a tropical run. Heat? Humidity? No idea how to deal with those, or how my body will respond.

The Time
5:00am start. That means I’ll need to be up and ready before 4:00am. What? Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a morning person. Never have been. My two saving graces are: we got a hotel just 15 minutes’ walk from the Start, so less anxiety about getting there; and due to the time difference (Vancouver is 2 hours ahead of Hawaii), it won’t feel as early. Right?

The Training
I kept to a pretty consistent training schedule before my first marathon in the spring. This time around, life has thrown a few wrenches into the works. In particular, work has been manic since Labour Day, limiting my ability to train at lunchtime like I did in the spring. I’ve been taking a college course as well, which forced me to prioritize study over sport a few times. And, due to an unexpected trip to Ontario for family matters, I might have peaked earlier than intended and started tapering before I ought to have. So while I’m pretty confident I can do the distance, how well I can do it is in question.

The Diet
I have the best intentions for cutting out certain things, for eating more of other things. But with the holiday season in full swing, and my chip addiction somewhat unabated, I fear I haven’t been adhering to the ideal marathon training diet. OK, I did have a kale salad last night, but then we went for dim sum this morning. I really lack the discipline of a true athlete. Thankfully, the race is at the beginning of our holidays, so if I can just hold off on the indulgences for another week…

The Expectations
This race has been on the calendar for nearly a year. A lot of people know I’m running. It’s a hashtag goal! So although I’m trying to be realistic in what I hope to achieve (given the factors above), I have set certain expectations for myself. I won’t reveal them until I either meet them or fail to do so, and tell you all about it in my race report. So stay tuned!

Am I overthinking things? Probably. I tend to do that. In fact, this pretty much sums up my general state of being:

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I’ve signed up for several half marathons in 2015. No matter what happens in Hawaii, I’m going to keep running, and blogging about it! Whether or not I do another full marathon depends somewhat on how this race goes, how my body responds, and how the new year plays out. Regardless, I hope that by this time next week I will have completed my second full marathon, and made #42for42 a reality!

See you in Hawaii!

Have you ever had one of those times when it’s the perfect storm of work, school, family all culminating in so much stuff going on that suddenly almost a month has gone by and you haven’t written a blog post?

Ya, that’s what happened.

2 weeks from today, I will run (or, by this time of day, have completed – I hope!) the Honolulu Marathon. And just to make sure I hadn’t forgotten, this arrived in the mail last week:

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But what’s been happening in the meantime?

The Long Run

I probably should have peaked last week, but I got my longest run in about 3 weeks ago. It also happened to be the longest solo run I’ve ever done. It started with an early jaunt to Forerunners, where I joined up with the clinic for the first part of their run. I then continued my loop around False Creek and on to Stanley Park, where I captured a bit of the local scenery.

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I’ll admit I also stopped along the way to vote in the municipal election!

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After circumnavigating Stanley Park, I finally reached Coal Harbour at 33km, where I stopped for a coffee. The barista said: “Lovely morning for a little jog.” I just smiled and nodded.

Running Barrie

I went back to Ontario for a week to help my dad out following a minor surgery. And for the first time, I took the opportunity to run the beautiful Barrie Waterfront – an out and back around Kempenfelt Bay.

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And had intended to get in a long run, but with some housework to manage, plus juggling working from home – I waited too long and woke up to this:

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Winter in Vancouver

I arrived back in BC just in time for…well, no snow yet, but a bit of below zero. Another False Creek/Stanley Park loop, and managed to reach a little more than a half marathon distance. I should have run further, but I ended up at Starbucks instead.

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But then yesterday, winter had truly arrived!

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I ended up taking a bit of a tumble en route, but thanks to the cold my glove took the brunt of my fall! I’ve got a bit of a sore hip, too, but no war wound to show off!

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So here’s what it looked like yesterday in all my key locales – including my upcoming vacation destinations!

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My #42for42 goal is fast approaching – the birthday (on Friday) arriving just over a week before the distance. We’ll then be off to Japan for 2 weeks, where (after some recovery) I hope to run some more!

Stay tuned!

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Early Days – April 2009

When I started running back in 2009, things got off to a pretty slow start. I didn’t have my Nike+ gear back then, so I can’t say for sure what the numbers were like. However, I’m pretty confident in saying that it took me at least a few months to reach my first 100km. Perhaps it took the whole year. Looking back over my Facebook posts, I can track the gradual progression of my races between April and August: the Sun Run (10k), the BMO 8k, the Scotiabank 5k, the Underwear Affair (10k) – but I suspect my training was scant at best. Those were the early days, the start from zero. It was the time when people commenting on my race updates still said things like: “I didn’t know you were a runner!”

February 2010:  I bought my Nike+ timing chip to connect to iPod (this was before my iPhone, before GPS). My runs averaged about 3.6km in length, and I would sometimes go for 2-3 weeks without running at all. Based on my historical stats, it took me nearly 4 months to hit 100km. But something about having that little timing chip really made all the difference in inspiring me to continue.

Fast-forward to 2014: My marathon-induced injury in May forced me to cut back on my running significantly. I managed to train enough to endure the Scotiabank Half on June 22, but that was followed by a full month without a single kilometre run. As a result, starting up again in July honestly felt like I was doing my first 100km all over again from scratch. What has added to the challenge this time is that I’ve been through it before, so although I know what I’m capable of (which is motivating), I’m also highly aware of the fact that I’m slower, and that it’s harder to achieve shorter distances (which is frustrating).

Today I clocked my ‘first’ 98km. It has taken just over a month to get to this point. With my target Honolulu Marathon fast approaching, I know I’ve got to step things up. However, I also don’t want to aggravate my injury or cause some other problem – so there has to be a balance. Push myself hard enough, but not too hard. And how easy is that to achieve?

I’ve been focusing my runs on Stanley Park, for a couple of reasons:
1) It gets me off the pavement, cushioning things a bit and arguably making recovery easier.
2) It gets me away from the maddening crowd. On days like today – a sunny Sunday – the Seawall is a zoo. Tourists and locals alike converge with kids, dogs, strollers, wheelchairs – and the odd wayward bike ridden by someone who either doesn’t care or doesn’t know where they’re going. Today, for example, I ran nearly 10km in the trails. Several times, I went for 1-2km without seeing another soul. A few scenes from Stanley Park:

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Within the next couple of days, I’ll have completed my first 100km. This excites me! It’s a fresh start, a new beginning, and a different perspective on being a ‘novice’ runner. Between now and December I have two scheduled races – the Eastside 10k and the inaugural Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. All part of my #42for42 master plan! Bring it on!

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Look how excited I am!