Friday, January 20, 2017

Race Report: Aloha Series, Day 2

Today was day two of the Aloha Series.  Our venue for today’s race was Kapa’a Beach Park.  We ran an out-and-back on a wide concrete sidewalk near the shoreline.  The out-and-back was 2.2 miles, so we needed to run it 12 times to complete a marathon.

I knew it would be slow going.  Like yesterday, it was hot and humid.  Unlike yesterday, I didn’t have fresh legs.  I started the race feeling like I ran a marathon yesterday.  I can’t imagine why.

Because my legs were stiff, I started at a slow pace.  My legs loosened up within a mile, but I continued at the same slow pace.

Because of the 4:30 start time, we were initially running in the dark.  I wore a headlamp for the first half of the race.  This course was fairly straight, so it was much easier to run it in the dark.

In my first lap, it seemed to take forever to get to the turnaround.  I knew it was 1.1 miles, but it seemed like it was twice that far.  Coming back, the distance seemed about right.  I think it seemed longer going out because I wasn’t familiar with the course, so I didn’t know where the turnaround was going to be.

In a few places, I could hear waves crashing on the beach.  At one end of the course it sounded like thunder.  It was weird to hear the waves, because I couldn’t see anything.

In my second lap, I noticed some signs that I didn’t see the first time.  Without the signs, I wouldn’t have realized we were running near a cliff at one end of the course.

In my second lap, I also started to notice some light drizzle.  The drizzle started and stopped a few times in the first half of the race.  I never felt like I was getting too wet, but I did notice that the sidewalk was getting slick in spots.  We also had a light breeze off the ocean.  Between the drizzle and the breeze, it felt much cooler than it did yesterday.

For a few of the early laps, I was talking to a friend from England.  Later, I did a lap with a local runner who only learned about this series 10 days ago.  Talking with other runners made the laps go by quicker.  I reached the halfway point without doing any walking.  I felt better today.  The breeze helped some.  I got a good night’s sleep last night, which also helped.

As I started by seventh lap, it was getting light enough to see, so I took off my headlamp.  While I was already going into my drop bag, I also put on two leis.  One was a shell lei I got when I checked into the hotel.  The other was a plastic flower lei I got at packet pickup.  Each race in the series has a theme.  Yesterday we wore shirts from running clubs.  Today was grass skirt today.  I didn’t wear a grass skirt, but the leis were something I could wear to add a Hawaiian flair.

During the first half of my seventh lap, I once again felt like it took a long time to get to the turnaround.  Earlier, it felt that way because I was running it for the first time.  This time, it felt that way because I was actually seeing it for the first time.  I finally saw those cliffs.

I also got to see where the waves were crashing against the rocks.

During that lap, the wind kept pushing the leis around my shoulders, so I took them off after one lap.

I continued finding other runners to run with.  At times that meant running at a pace that felt too fast, but overall it was helping me to keep running.

With three laps to go, I started to feel hot.  By now, I was determined to run the whole race without walking breaks.  I just had to tough it out for 6.6 miles.  This course doesn’t have much shade, but the sky was mostly cloudy.  That helped.

For the next lap, I was running by myself.  That gave me an opportunity to pay more attention to the views.

In the last few laps, I was leapfrogging with two other runners I knew.  I wasn’t sure if the three of us were leading the race, or if there was a faster runner who I didn’t notice.  It was hard to keep track of everyone, because we were sharing the path with half marathon runners and local runners who were out for their daily runs.

With one mile to go, I decided to pick up my pace on the outside chance that I could win the race.  There isn’t any prize for first place, but it would be cool to win a race in Hawaii.  I finished in 4:47:30.  Then I learned that there was another runner who finished in 4:19.  I finished second.  I’ll probably regret running the last mile so fast.

The design for today’s medal was a whale.  I added it to my chain of medals for the series.

I was two minutes slower than yesterday, but this time my pacing was more consistent.  For the second straight day, I was able to get back to the hotel in time to have a light breakfast.  I didn’t want to spoil my appetite for lunch, but I couldn’t resist having French toast with coconut syrup again.

Race statistics:
Distance:  26.2 miles
Time:  4:47:30
Average Pace:  10:58
Lifetime Marathons/Ultras:  325

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