I am of the opinion that anyone contemplating attempting a full marathon might want to try a half marathon first. On Sunday I attempted and completed a half marathon, the first annual Hibiscus half marathon, but not without a lot of thinking and decision making. Am I glad I did it? Yes. Will I do it again? Probably. Am I going to attempt the Honolulu Marathon? Hell no!
I like joining in the fight for a worthy cause. This one was for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Hawaii. I am very proud of them for taking on this challenge!
As some people checked for their finish times, I continued to berate myself for letting this opportunity pass without giving it a little more effort in the way of preparation. A lot of the things that led to this decision were my own fault. I didn’t prepare myself enough, I didn’t know a few small details about foot care, and there were too many other issues in my life at the time that made focusing on the run difficult. You need to be focused, you need to prepare, and you need to know what can happen to your poor tootsies if you’re not careful!
I called Runners HI after the race was over and asked them some things and I will share the answers here because I thought they were good ones. The conversation went something like this:
“Why did my left leg give out on me?” This happened at about the midpoint of the race.
“There are many things that could have caused that. Did you prepare and train for the half marathon?”
“Not really, my fault.” (NOTE: His point was that doing the minimum amount of preparation, or less, to complete an 8-mile course doesn’t help at all when headed for one that’s 13 miles.) Then I asked, “Why do you get blisters between your toes? I’ve never had that happen to me before.”
“You need to keep your feet dry. When you approach the water stations don’t go to the first person with the water. Aim for further down the line or towards the end of the line where it is drier and avoid the puddles. Don’t pour water over your head to cool yourself off because it goes right down to your feet.”
“You mean like I did?” I said with a sigh.
He laughed and congratulated me for finishing. I said thank you, but I was very disappointed in my own performance and I’m still picking on myself about it. But, I was happy to share with him that I did not loose any toe nails this time, thanks to the shoes they sold me the last time I was there. We’ll talk about the Runners HI and the brand of shoes in a later post, I promise.
Now, while keeping in mind that I have been extremely spoiled by the Great Aloha Run, I have to say that everything to follow will have to be compared to that and I really don’t think many events will come close. But, I think it’s useful for the race organizers to hear feedback — good and bad. The biggest problem with these things is that they are designed to raise money for a worthy charity so money is always a problem since they are trying to make money, not spend it.
Where do I feel things didn’t work?
- No shuttle to transport people from the parking area to the starting point of the race, or to return them to their car at the end of the race. They needed one or the other. Preferably from parking to starting line. Or, have the run start and end at the same place.
- No posters in the hotels. As I passed the Ilikai Hotel, one employee asked another what the run was for and the other shrugged his shoulders and said, “I dunno.” All the hotels we passed should have had flyers in their lobby.
- Poorly marked at the last stretch of the run — no cones and no signs; you were just supposed to know I guess. At that point you should not have to worry if you’re going the right way. To have the person who was giving instructions at the beginning of the race say things like, “the Honolulu Marathon ending” does not leave a good taste in your mouth when you don’t know what the heck he’s talking about. In a crowd that size you’re too far away from him to say anything in response. Someone giving instructions needs to be a little more specific than that and not just assume everyone knows what you’re talking about. So, that was a double bad thing at the start and the finish. Fortunately I have participated in other charity events that ended here before.
- There was not nearly enough food left at the end of the run — only Fritos Corn Chips. If you were one of the, say last 100 or so runners, there would have been nothing left. Besides, while pastry is nice, bananas would have been more appropriate than concentrated sugar. Besides, bananas and Fritos go well together. The fluids offered were in cups rather than bottled water. Surely some water company would have liked to support this worthy charity? Most of the liquid, aside from having everyone breathing on it,was not even cold. Another runner commented to me, after gasping when I told her about it, “What?!? You NEED something at the end of a race like that!” I was fine, but others were left with just warm water and (*choke*) warm Gatorade. They knew how many participants they had so that excuse won’t fly. It’s like a slap in the face for your supporters who aren’t as fast as the others.
What was good?
- The finish line! What a welcome sight! I was tired, I’ll admit it, I took on more than I was prepared for. My bad!
- Officers of the Honolulu Police Department were all along the route promising safety from moving traffic and a sense of security if you should decide to collapse on the side of the road somewhere.
- The weather was beautiful and starting that early in the morning certainly helped to ease the heat fatigue.
- The surfers were out this early and the ocean was nice to admire as we ran or walked by.
- This neat metal dragonfly on the right (I think that’s what it is) that was hovering over one of the pools at Kapiolani Park was an interesting thing. I guess after your body has exhausted itself and your mind has suffered self-inflicted chastisement, you seek out things that appear serene, cool and relaxing. This little guy helped me get to the car with a smile on my face.
The finish line was at Kapiolani Park — at the same place where a lot of the runs end these days, and now I know this includes the Honolulu Marathon. Kapiolani Park is a nice place to have tents set up with drinks and food for participants crossing the finish line, as long as you don’t run out.
I’m sure I’ll attempt this again and I hope that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will forgive my critique! I actually hope it helps a little. Will I still support them? Of course I will! In fact, I will now urge readers to follow the link and contact them to make a donation! Cancer of anything is worth fighting against and I myself am rather fond of healthy blood!
All of this just goes to show that, for both the organizers and the participants, Half Marathons are definitely NOT half the work!