Bibrave Race Review: Honolulu Marathon

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Honolulu Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

It’s sad that I was in the land of paradise, sun and relaxation (though running a marathon) a few days ago, only to be brought back to the coldness and winter of Washington State. I committed to the Honolulu Marathon months back with the idea of it being an end of the year trip, a way to celebrate finishing residency, moving to Washington, starting a new job and (thankfully) passing my Internal Medicine Certification Boards.

I spent the first few days hanging out with Erin (see here) and spent Saturday morning running the Merrie Mile. Thankfully, the weather decided to turn around and the sun came out, as it had been raining all day Thursday. That led to us going to the Expo earlier than expected and picking up our bibs. We actually went back to the expo on Friday and I signed up for the Santa Rosa Half Marathon (Peanuts themed and wine tasting!). I also picked up more Stinger waffles for the run. Overall, the expo was average. It had your typical running stuff (2XU, Asics, running clothes/races), but there were also vendors where I was having trouble making the running connection with; it seemed like those vendors were more geared to the Japanese runners and visitors, as there was a large delegation from Japan who came for the race. On our way out, we got pictures with our estimated/goal times. I had low expectations because training got messed up and half marathons were missed (thanks movers!).

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Because 5:59:00 sounds better than 6:00:00

Saturday night, after we did the Merrie Mile in the morning and dropped our bag off at the bag check, we went over and hung out with fellow Bibrave Pros Eric and Chris. We enjoyed some carbs while hydrating and there was hilarity that ensued. Afterwards, Erin and I walked back towards the hotel. I actually stopped at the Apple Store to pick up an iPod mini. I didn’t realize until I got to Seattle that I had left mine at home and it was either get another mini or run with a battery pack to charge my phone. We made it back to the hotel and came up with our play lists for the race. Not going to lie, mine was a hodge podge of songs, but it’s gotta be something I want to listen to. Wardrobes got put out, bibs placed and we were in bed early for a 345 AM wake up call, as the race started at 5 AM.

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Sunday Morning we were up and at it. Erin was up at 310, me by 345 with my 50 alarms that were set. We changed, did the bathroom ritual, had a lite bite to eat and started walking to the start. Another trip to the bathroom and we found our way to the start. The corrals were set up so flags along the side of the road indicating times (2-3 hrs, 3-4 hrs, etc). The race is huge (30,000 people) with runners and walkers. The trip from Japan is relatively close, so there are a lot of runners from Japan and SE Asia in general that we saw at the start. Fireworks went off at 5 AM and off we went. It took 10-15 minutes to get across the start. Erin and I were weaving around walkers and ultimately got into our own separate grooves. The first 8 miles or so, it was still dark out, which was appreciated because the sun stayed off us. It was still humid, especially coming from the Pacific Northwest where weather is currently cold, snowing and calling for single digit weather in the next few days. I also spent the first few miles trying to get around walkers. We went through downtown, around the Honolulu tower, by the former palace and made our way past our hotel 4 miles in. We went down Kalakaua Ave and headed up the roads around Diamond Head. Talk about energetic volunteers. Eric called it high 5 mile- look for plenty of high fives in a short span! Quarters were on the tight side because we only had one lane to work on (the other lane was for the the return trip). Around mile 8, there was a runner down with already plenty of help around her.

We made it to the top of Diamond Head and went through some of the residential streets and got on a straight stretch of flatness for quite a few miles. Around mile 11, I saw Eric, a fellow Pro, coming opposite me on his way back. I made it half way and was still feeling decent. I got to mile 15 and my legs started to feel it for sure. We had some miles around a lake which is a whole other reason to run this course. Even stopped to get my picture taken!

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Slowly I kept on trucking along and made it back to the straight away, were I’d be until mile 21-22. Initially, my goal was to keep a 12 mile pace, but by mile 16-18, the sun had come out in full force with humidity that made it really rough. Water stops were every 2 miles or so (but thankfully I had my handheld water) and they did have ice and sponges on course which helped. I slowed down and was walking more. My whole goal was under 6 hrs. Eric and Chris had long finished and I was keeping an eye on Erin as I was running. The course headed back down past Diamond Head and finally towards the finish on Kalakaula Ave. There were drummers at one point that really gave a second wind. It got to the point where I kept looking for people to pass and keep the motivation up (the old lady, the military guys with their bags, the little kid). The finish was right there, but so far away.

I crossed in 5:57 and was given a shell necklace shortly after. My first thought was if this is the medal, I’m going to cry. The next stop you could here the clanging of the medals and we got a good size medal placed around our neck. We went through the rest of the chute, grabbed a cup of water and into the post race area where runners and spectators were hanging out. I picked up my bag I had checked Saturday and found the finisher shirts and picked mine up (it’s one I’ll wear too!). Chris and Eric had already gone back to their hotel (and I was wishing ours were closer to the finish). I sat for awhile, listened to music playing, changed shirts and changed into my sandals and compression sleeves. Erin made it an hour and change after me, though she was having foot problems. After she got her medal, shirt and bag, we got food which included Polish donuts, freshly made (best thing ever, go find some if you’re in Hawaii)! I ordered a Lyft because there was no way either one of us wanted to walk a mile and change back to the hotel. Erin went and jumped in the pool, I went up to the room, chugged my chocolate milk and took the million dollar shower.

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Honolulu Marathon Bling

I got my stuff situated and napped a little bit. We chilled out in the room as best we could and went down to pay my portion of the room before heading to dinner with Eric and Chris. I had all of my stuff with me, as I had a red eye flight back to the mainland Sunday night. We had a good time catching up and comparing course notes. Overall, we had a really good time in Hawaii.

I thought the race was well run overall, but some things can be worked on. I feel like once we got passed Diamond Head, water stops every mile would have been good. It was hot and humid and not everyone trains in the heat/humidity of Hawaii (read, me who’s lived in the Midwest and Pacific NW). With so many people, especially a race that’s walker friendly (which isn’t a bad thing), the corrals need some work. The flags on the side of the road were a little hard to see because it was dark and the blended in with the dark. I feel like something needs to be on the bibs to indicate where you should be and there should be more separation of corrals. There needs to be something done, like a wave start every 2-3 minutes to separate runners because I was spending more energy getting around people than was needed.

Overall, though, a good race and definitely one worth doing! I’m bummed I’m back to the cold and work of the PNW, but will be back to visit at some point during my west coast travels!

 

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About drrunner
6 time marathoner, 40 ish time 1/2 marathoner with a bucket list item to hit all 50 states. New title of BibRave Pro member so watch for discounts and products! Do what you love and love what you do!

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