Bibrave Race Review: The Hapalua

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

Holy heat and humidity of Honolulu! I made it through a few days of Hawaii and lived to tell my tale of Hapalua 2018 (an honest win in my book). I flew out to Honolulu Friday morning. For some reason, a 545 AM flight after working until 7 pm the night before seemed like a good idea (it’s really not) and this was only leg one of the trip (leg two is to Amsterdam. Talk about different climates). I ended up getting in around 1 PM HST. My flight from Seattle ended up leaving an hour late because it was late coming in from wherever it came from. At least I know the places I can hide. My bags made it in one piece all the way to Honolulu and after getting my checked back from baggage claim, I picked up a taxi to the hotel. I checked in and cut lose for a run along the beach. Sitting for 6 hours on a plane tightens me up pretty good, so I ended up getting in a good 5 miles. It’s amazing what running in sun, tank tops and shorts can do after not being able to wear them outside for a good 6 months. Thanks Washington. I ended my run around the Convention Center so I could pick up my packet. I did the Honolulu Marathon in 2016, and the Expo was smaller, though I don’t think there were as many runners with Hapalua. Some local running stores, etc. It was easy in and out. You picked up your bib, followed by going to a second table for your shirt. They had a third area with clear bags if you planned on checking gear at the start area. I went back to my hotel, showered and found some dinner before walking around some on the beach and enjoying some Friday Night Fire Works.

Saturday, I started off with an open water swim. Because what’s a vacation if you can’t try something new, like swimming 1.25 ish miles (2000 meters/2K) in the ocean to try and get some triathlon training in. Find out how that went over here. Afterwards, I kept things easy and enjoyed Waikiki and the beach some. I also went wetsuit searching, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I ended up going to 5 pm mass and getting dinner at Hula Grill before calling it a night.

Sunday morning meant getting up at 430/5 AM for a 6 AM start time. Kind of nice still being somewhat on PST time since the start felt like 9 or so, but I was still a bit tired. My only regret was not staying closer to the start because it was a good 1.25 miles to the Duke Statue, where the race started. Part of what The Hapalua does is something called the Chase. It’s Hawaiian runners vs the Elites with the Elites trying to run down the Hawaiians (fun idea, I think).The Chase this year had a 24 minute handicap, so some runners started around 5:36 AM, with varying starts up until 5:54 or 5:56 this morning. The elites started at 6 AM with the rest of us. I missed watching the start of the Chase though, because of the time it took me to get to the start.

Weather. Oh weather. Be ready for heat and likely some humidity. It was in the 70s with about 70% humidity today. I’m glad the rain held off though.

One thing that needs worked on though is the start. It’s kind of a hot mess. There’s no division of runners and no corrals, which actually makes the first mile difficult. There were walkers at the front and people who were inappropriately placing themselves faster than they were, so faster runners were trying to not run over other people. If there could be some sort of corral system like for the Honolulu Marathon or other races in general, it would make life a lot easier.

The course is fairly flat for the first 9 miles or so. You start in front of the Duke Statue and head along Kalakaua Avenue to Ala Moana Blvd and the Nimitz Highway. You pass Ala Moana Beach Park, the Harbor and Aloha Tower before turning and coming back some on King Street. You make some turns and double back on Ala Moana and it’s kind of fun seeing runners come towards you. If you time it right, you can see some of the chase happening on the way out on Ala Moana Blvd. Over the next few miles, you end up back on Kalakaua Avenue and you get some crowd support there. You pass the Duke Statue and head towards Waikiki and Kapiolani Park. Here, you pass the 9 mile mark and start making the trek around Diamond Head. Be ready for some hills/incline because you don’t realize how much there is until it’s there. Or, like me, you forget what the hills were like during the Honolulu Marathon because you chose to forget that part of the race. You have some pretty decent incline from miles 9 to 10, some downhill before heading back up again at mile 11 for about half a mile. After that, it’s all downhill along Diamond Head. The last part of the race takes you along some neighborhoods and into Kapoilani Park, same finish as the Honolulu Marathon. You were greeted with medals and water misters (so needed). Afterwards, when I was walking back to the hotel, though, you could see more than a bunch of walkers still on course who had to move to the sidewalk as traffic opened back up.

Aid stations on course: It felt like every 2 ish miles or so, give or take. I felt like they needed more because it was so hot and humid on course. Hard to stay hydrated when the water stations are so spread out. They had water at all of them, gatorade at most of them and gels at 1-2 of them.

What happened with The Chase you ask? One of the Elites ended up winning and passed the final Team Hawaii runner in the last half mile. Close!!!

Post Race: plenty of entertainment, food, drinks and things to do. Or just relax. You were given your medal as you came through the finisher chute, you were given your medal. In typical fashion, you don’t know what the medal looks like until you finish (or if you check social media while you’re still on course). They also had water misters which was so needed. Food wise, there was shaved ice, malasadas (alllll the malasadas), moon pies, water and pineapple juice. I would have loved some chocolate milk though!!!

Results: Find them over here to find them. Also, go over to Athlinks and claim your results! Not on Athlinks, join for free and then claim them!

Afterwards, I hiked back to the hotel and took a much needed shower. It’s nice getting back to the hotel at 9 AM, as opposed to like noon. I was able to get a later check out and found a laundry mat to wash my clothes. I’m not spending time in Europe with running clothes I was peeling off because of sweat and humidity! Best money I spent all trip other than the money to get here!

Overall, a great race. I just wish the start and the aid stations would be looked at, because they could use some work. If you’re looking for a Hawaiian race, look up the Hapalua!

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Race Review: Honolulu Fin Swim Open Water Race

Hawaii and all of it’s warmness. I can’t even begin to explain how much I needed 80* temperatures, sun, being able to wear shorts and flip flops and walk around not needing to bundle up. Even going for runs in shorts and a tank top does numbers for me, since I’ve been bundling up all winter. I primarily came out for the Hapalua Half Marathon, but also started looking up some open water races a week and change ago. I’m in the mist of Ironman Training, and the only swims I’ve done ever (even going back to swim team as a kid), have been pool swims. I came across the Waikiki Swim Club page and by chance, they had a 2000 m (read 2K, 2187 yrd, 1.242 mile) open water swim today. Sold, sign me up! I figured it would give me a good chance to see how I do swimming in open water over a pool and to get a better feel of how I’d time and what I need to work on for the swim portion of future triathlons.

750The race started at 8 AM and was close enough to my hotel where I walked over around 630 this morning. I was kind of worried about being able to find it because check in was in one of the parks so I was glad when things were visible enough to see and figure out where to go. I had 10 different alarms set, but really needed none of them since I fell asleep fairly early and was up at 530 AM (it felt like 830 PST to me, so it’s a win win!). Check in was quick and easy, and after getting my shirt, I got my number drawn on my left arm and picked up my ankle time chip. Having that on kind of felt like someone being on parole or jail monitoring, but what can you do. I hung around the finish area and got somewhat situated. There was no official bag check, but most people had their stuff  out without much of an issue. At 750, we had pre race announcements before heading into the water for a water start. It was a fin race (you know, those flipper things you wear while snorkeling), but I didn’t go that route. I was more worried about trying to figure out the open water situation

The horn went off at 8 AM and I fell into the let everyone else go ahead of me so I don’t panic and freak out. The course was 1000 (1K) out and back along the Pacific Ocean in the Ala Moana Beach Park area. After I let most people get out of the start, I tried to find my groove. It was hard to get your bearings since you’re actively trying to swim and at the same time look at the course floating devices to make sure I was going in the correct location. My problem is I breath to the right and anything floating we had to care about was on our right shoulder. I definitely drifted on more than one occasion to the other side of the course on the way out and nearly ran into a few people, but it happens. I think I did about half freestyle/half breast stroke because I was trying to not freak out about anything (and I’m pretty sure the lifeguards on course may have been a little worried at first). When I hit the turn around, I was at about 29:30. On the way back, it was easier to deal with since I had calmed myself down and knew at least what was coming. I was figuring out ways to find something down course that was a course marker to look at too every few strokes so I could not go further than I needed to. I ended up finishing in 1:01:24, which I’ll take. Me being me, I somehow had that the half ironman swim time cut off was an hour and the full ironman cutoff was 2 hrs. How I got to this I have no idea, but I’ve had these stuck in my head for the past 4 months so I initially was a bit bummed because I figured if this were a legit Ironman/Half Ironman I’d be pulled off course. Shocker (to me), I really have an an hour 10 minutes for the Half and 2 hours 20 minutes for the full. At least I figured that out now and not race day.

Overall, I thought things went well. I didn’t drown, I finished, there wasn’t any waves or storms, no sharks to speak of and I didn’t finish last! Too bad I don’t live somewhere where I can do more open water swimming. It could be fun!

The Hapalua: The Chase is On!

Disclaimer: I received free entry into The Hapalua 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!

Race week is here! I’m so excited to be getting on a plane on Friday for Honolulu. The cold and dreary of winter in the Inland Northwest takes its toll on you and work has been on the crazy side.

Here’s some things to look for this weekend!

Packet Pick Up: At the Hawaii Convention Center

  • Friday, April 6 10 AM to 8 PM
  • Saturday, April 7 9 AM to 4 PM

Shake Out Run with Team Hawaii and the Elites

This year, Team Hawaii takes on the Chasers (Elite) to see who can win this thing. Saturday, April 7 at 8 AM, meet up with the Chasers and Team Hawaii for a shake out run in Kapioloni Park

What’s the Chase?

The best local runners take on the professionals (Elites). The Locals get a head start while the Chasers try to run them down. Team Hawaii gets a 20 (ish) minute head start before the rest of the field starts at 6 AM! Read up on the Elites and the Hawaiians here!

Things to Do In Honolulu

  1. Diamond Head: take a hike and enjoy some views!
  2. Pearl Harbor: A must. I went in 2016 when it happened to be the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor
  3. Try some Snorkeling, surfing or paddling
  4. Be crazy like me and do a 2000 meter open water swim (gotta get into Ironman shape some how!)
  5. Waikiki Beach: if you hit it right, you can get some good sunset pictures!
  6. Ioloni Palace: who knew Hawaii it’s own monarchy at one point?

Not registered yet?? Register at the Expo! Hope to see you there and look for the Bibrave Orange!

 

The Hoopla over the Hapalua

Disclaimer: I received free entry to The Hapalua 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!

Right now the Eastern Washington can’t make up it’s mind about weather. We’re in some cycle of 40 degrees, some rain thrown in and then hey let’s get cold enough for some snow. Couple that with being in Chicago over the weekend for the F^3 Half Marathon (another post for another day) and running in 30* weather, means I’m ready for some sun, Vitamin D and warmth. Come first weekend in April, I’ll be in Hawaii for the second time in less than 18 months for a racecation and I can’t wait!Boards. I met up with some fellow Bibrave Pros that race and had a blast!

The Hapalua takes place April 8, 2018. I’m guessing some warmer weather will be happening this time around. I’m even more excited that it starts on Waikiki Beach (boom!). I’m also looking forward to Malasadas at the end. We had them at the end of the Honolulu Marathon and they’re to die for!

The course itself starts in front of the Duke statue and goes out Ala Moana Beach towards Honolulu Harbor and Aloha tower before coming back along the beach. Afterwards, you get a chance to go up and around Diamond Head and back down to the start/finish area.  Word of warning. It’ll be flat and fast a majority of the race until you get to Diamond Head. Then you get some hills, so you’ve been warned!

This trip is going to be a shorter trip for me as I’ll leave late that night (I found really cheap tickets to Holland from Seattle, what can I say). However, I would like to hike Diamond Head this time around. In 2016, I was trying to not beat myself up to badly before the marathon (the marathon beat me bad regardless). If you have a chance, go visit Pearl Harbor. I had a chance to visit and go out to the Arizona during the 75th Anniversary events back in 2016, and it’s something to see.

Local to Hawaii? Register for the King’s 10K as a training run. This happens on March 4th, so chop chop to get signed up! Looking for a Hawaiian get away in April? Sign up for the Hapalua and save 10% with BIBRAVEHAPALUA. Price goes up at the end of February for the Hapaula, so there’s still time!

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!

 

Bibrave Race Review: Kalakaua Merrie Mile

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Kalakaua Merrie Mile 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!

The Merrie mile: the first race of the weekend for the Honolulu Marathon. Surprisingly, it was also my first mile race ever. How I’ve never done a mile race (one you’d pay for, not in high school), I’m not sure.

The expo: bibs had to be picked up either Thursday or Friday since there was no race day pick up for the mile. After showing ID, you got your bib and shirt before going into the expo. Anyone could run the mile, even if you’re running the marathon (because let’s face it, we’re crazy). Well run expo with everything in English and Japanese.

Friday night, I had my stuff all prepped. I split a room with Erin, a fellow Bibrave Pro. We had to figure out what time to get up and be out the door by, where to meet other pros who were also running (Eric who ran and Chris who played cheer squad) and all the fun stuff. Because of my job, I set obnoxious alarms, so Erin had no need to set her alarms (sorry!).

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We woke up around 530 and headed out around 6 AM towards the Honolulu Zoo. Read, we followed the bunches of runners heading out bright and early for a quick mile run. We got there and met up (briefly) with the race director and then found Chris and Eric. Eventually, we went to our corals: Eric was in the first wave due to his super speediness, I was in the second and Erin was behind me. Each wave went off every 3 minutes. The Star Spangled Banner played followed by the Japanese National anthem and the waves started going off. I was off at 703 with my wave of people. The course was out and back down Kalakaua Ave, so I was looking for Eric during the out portion. It was a flat, fun and quick course and felt like it was over just as fast as it started! The street was lined with people cheering or just coming out to see what was going on. After you finished, you received a medal and were led to refreshments. I caught up with the other pros and we hung out and waited for the pro race to start.

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The pro race started after everyone else had finished. 5 men, 5 women and over in 4 minutes, 30 seconds or less. It was set up where the women started first and 27 seconds later, the men went off to see if they could catch the women. It turned out, Edwin Kiptoo of Kenya caught the women and won with a mile time of under 4 minutes, the first time in the state of Hawaii. Women placed 2nd and 3rd which was pretty cool.

Overall, the race was really well run for an Inaugural Race. I think it goes in part to the fact that the Marathon’s been going on for 44 years. However, a few minor things to work on for next year: the end and food area was overly congested. The line was so long, some people gave up waiting. It would have worked out better if there were more stations set up for people to go to. Additionally, there was no corral separation at the start or clear indication for where corrals started. It would have helped to have something set up to match each colored corral just so things weren’t as confusing. Overall, a good race though! Maybe next year, Honolulu can think of a mile/marathon challenge, as there was a good amount of marathoners who did the mile as well! Head over to the results page to search your mile time

 

 

 

 

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