Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Honolulu Marathon 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! All opinions are my own.
Aloha! I have returned from my mini racecation in Honolulu and I come bearing stories of my adventures with the Honolulu marathon. 🙂 Let’s get right into it, shall we? Apologies in advance for the long recap.
I arrived in Honolulu with my boyfriend on a Friday afternoon after a 6 hour flight and was ready to stretch my legs. Luckily for me, I had to walk about a mile to get to the Hawaii Convention Center from my AirBnB so those legs were well stretched. 🙂 We arrived at the Convention Center, grabbed our bibs, bought some last minute gels I forgot to bring, and headed out.
The expo itself is a bit different in that it caters to a LOT of Japanese people. If you weren’t aware, the Honolulu marathon is a destination race for many many Japanese tourists. They even have a specific registration link to use when signing up. There were signs in Japanese and lots of people at booths who spoke both Japanese and English. I’m also pretty sure I passed by a booth with only Japanese characters on them. 🙂
Now fast forward to Sunday – Race Day
We missed both of our first alarms, but thankfully I set a second one and we woke up to that one. I had never scrambled out of my house so quickly for a race before. We were out of our AirBnB in maybe 20 minutes or less and past me was smart enough to stay close to the start line so we made it to the race with 15 minutes to spare. Like Disney races, the Honolulu marathon releases the runners with an amazing fireworks display.
Fun fact: They accompanied the fireworks display with the song “Firework” by Katy Perry.
With the release of the fireworks, I was off. My boyfriend and I had planned to stay together until at least mile 8 where the first big hill hits, but within 0.6 miles, he knew we were at different paces and told me to go on without him and that he’d be meet me at the finish line. After some more encouragement from him, I left and was making my way through the 26.2 miles.
Fact: The Honolulu marathon does not stagger their corrals. When they start to release the corrals, it is one big wave of runners crossing the start line. They also are not very strict about people lining up in the correct corrals, which means if you’re faster, make sure to be as close to the front as possible.
I did weave a bit at the beginning to pass the slower runners, but I also did not want to expend unnecessary energy and bided my time until the course cleared up a bit.
Fun Fact: It did not clear up significantly until mile 4. LOL
For the first few miles, we ran through Downtown Honolulu and saw a lot of Christmas decor. At mile 4, we ended up looping back near the start line and made our way into Waikiki. At mile 5, I saw Team BibRave and Aftershokz cheering us on and that squad kickstarted all of the feelings. LOL
Interesting fact: I normally do not have people cheering me on with the exception of a few races so when I see people I know cheering me on, I get really excited and happy.
At mile 7, we start making our way around the base of Diamond Head and at mile 8, we make it up our first hill. From mile 7 to mile 10, we experienced crazy headwind. It made for a very unique and fun experience as I had never raced during such windy conditions and for a few brief moments, I really thought I’d fly away. LOL. At mile 12 or 13, I saw the first of many BibRave runners making their way back towards the finish line.
Fun Fact: From mile 11 to 15, you can see runners coming back as they make their way from mile 18 to 21.5. I was able to see the first place male and female runners this way.
With each BibRave runner I saw, the happier I got. 🙂 Everyone appeared so strong and happy on the course that it gave me boosts of energy to keep going. At mile 15, I encountered my first sponge dipped in ice water and was over the moon. LOL. There had been warnings of runners getting heat stroke and I was adamant about staying cool even if that meant walking through every aid station and getting water.
At mile 17, I heard someone yell “BIBRAVE” from behind me and I turned around to see a total stranger smiling at me. LOL. I had no idea who he was at the time, but he turned out to be affiliated with BibRave and was just happy to be chatting with someone. 🙂 Unfortunately, at that point, my energy was waning a bit and we parted when I stopped to take a few photos. I did pick up a bit of speed when I saw my boyfriend near mile 19 (He was near 14). 🙂
I don’t know when I developed a blister on the bottom of my foot, but I did realize it at mile 19 and knew that the last set of miles were going to be painful. I knew that my cheer squad would be at mile 20 so I walked for parts of mile 19 and made sure to look strong as I passed them at mile 20. Yes, there is power in a cheer squad. Never let them see you falter. LOL I kid.
For the next 5 miles, I hit the struggle bus. The sun had started to come out and mile 20-25 were a gradual incline that never seemed to end. There were even Taiko drummers there to keep us going. Luckily, the last mile and a half was primarily downhill and I ran through the pain and ran it as fast as I could to finish with a time of 4:35:38.
Crossing that finish line felt like winning a million bucks. Okay, maybe not a million, but maybe $1,000. Haha. I grabbed my checked bag with my Oofos sandals and sat down to massage my legs and switch out of my shoes. I then grabbed my finisher’s shirt and a Portuguese fried donut (Malasada) to munch on and waited for my boyfriend to finish.
Interesting Fact: Gear check is actually done the day before the marathon. This allows for less stress the morning of.
He finished in a little over 6 hours and we both headed out of the marathon quickly to avoid traffic and to nap ASAP. 🙂
How was my experience overall?
I had a wonderful time running the race and although, there were some dark moments (mile 20-25), there were also a lot of wonderful memories that I will always have now. 🙂 I highly recommend running this race if you ever get the chance. Now to patiently await for my results on Athlinks to show up so I can can claim them. 😛