Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hike & Pearl Harbor

We walked through the rain forest at Lyon Arboretum to see Aihualama Falls.  

And we visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial, too - well worth the hours spent there.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hawaii Day 4

I've had almost zero trouble getting up from a seated position since running the Kona marathon on Sunday, something that sometimes bothers me after a marathon. After the race, I sat in the cool ocean water, snacked soon after and stretched a little, too. Perhaps the hilly course is easier on a body than a flat course. Maybe all of the walking I've been doing has helped, too.

We drove along the Oahu coast, stopping for a picture of Halona Beach (top photo) and then stopping to swim at Kailua Beach (next photo). The water was chilly at first, but I got used to it. We watched the parasails float in the sky. We picked up sandwiches at a convenience store where they sold Gu gel - they should sell that everywhere!

Today I ate pineapple twice and ice cream twice, too. The Hula Pie at Duke's restaurant (live music, on the Waikiki beach) was delicious and large enough for two - macadamia nut ice cream pie with a brownie crust and hot fudge sauce.

I saw three hula performances because they're everywhere - beside the Aston hotel pool where we're staying, on Waikiki beach, the outside mall. 

I took 105 pictures today and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. (I do that every night lately!)

From the Volcano to Waikiki

After the Kona Marathon, I was ready for some more fun. I felt great - my legs were a little sore, but I was able to walk up and down the stairs - slowly!

I wore my finisher's shirt and the shell necklace they gave us after crossing the finish line so some people stopped to talk to me about the race. The necklace is a special finishing award, but every time I see one just like it for sale at the stores for 59 cents, I laugh. ; )

At the Hawaii Volcano Park, we walked through a lava tube (a cave) and saw the red glow from the volcano.

At Punaluu black sand beach, we saw 2-3 foot long sea turtles and coconut trees.

Monday morning we left Kona airport for Oahu and drove to our Waikiki hotel. My husband and I finished the day watching surfers and boats while we shared a shave ice on the Waikiki beach.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kona Marathon Race Recap Part 2


Official finishing time: 4:20:44
Average pace: 9:57/mile
Placed 8th out of 44 in 40-49 age group. (I'm 45.)
No chip used at this race. I started near the start line. I didn't know when to press start. I didn't see the start line, but my husband did.

According to my Garmin: 4:20:42 (Really close to official time.)
Average pace: 9:52/mile
Distance: 26.41 miles (probably my own fault it was long, it's hard to know where the edge of the course is if you don't have a curb bordering the route)

Mile 25 felt like the longest mile!  I stopped to walk - I was tired. I had a cramp in my right foot and when I ran, I stomped my foot down which helped a little - maybe because I flexed the front of my foot when I stomped down. 

My face had salt on it when I finished. The salt, terrible leg and foot cramps after the finish - that happens on my hot training runs. Maybe taking salt tabs would have helped, but I dropped them on the course. I heard them fall out of my pocket when I grabbed a gel, but I kept running, thinking I'd be okay.

Since we were at or near the beach, it was windy. Sometimes, it was nice, but I had to remind myself to push hard into it so that it didn't slow me down. It did, though.

Since we were near the beach, I had great beach views! I could also see a mountain and part of the course went through a lava rock field. I saw flowers as big as my head. I saw pretty little bright yellow birds I've never seen before, too.

When I finished the race, my husband asked me about the heat. I said it didn't feel too bad, but only about five minutes later I felt sick, probably from the heat. I didn't even want my post-run chocolate milk.

My husband made a few trips over to the post-race food for me because all I wanted to do was stand still with my head down. Finally, after some oranges, watermelon and cold water (no Gatorade around - that sounded good) and my husband fanning me, I felt a little better. I sat in the ocean water and then we sat on a bench and cheered for the runners finishing and soon I felt normal again.

I slathered myself in sunscreen and Body-glide beforehand, but I got slightly sunburnt on my face (that might be from driving with the jeep top down later, though). I'm happily surprised that I was hardly sunburnt. I am chafed on my back from my waistband - I think I forgot to Body-glide there. 

Pre-race: Vanilla Crisp Powerbar and apple bananas (a fruit found in Hawaii, tastes like a sweet banana)
During race: 4 Powerbar gels (more sodium than Gu), 4 margarita Clif Shot Bloks (more sodium in that flavor) and lots of water. Oh, and one swallow of Ultima - volunteer mistakenly told me it was water and I didn't look beforehand. At least I didn't throw it on my head to cool off!

My goal going into this was a 10:00/mile pace if it was a warm day so I'm really happy with my finish time. It was a fun race - except for the tough parts! I'd do it again if I could! This was my 10th marathon and it was my favorite one.

Kona Marathon Race Recap Part 1

Kona Marathon Race Recap Part 1

I was out the door by 4:30am and at the starting area within only a few minutes waiting for the 5:30 start. The start was only 3 miles down the street from our hotel which was on the race course. If you reserve a room earlier than I did, you can stay at the host hotel at the start/finish area.

There were only 305 marathon participants - the smallest marathon I've ever run. I never had to swerve around people because there was plenty of room. We had one lane blocked off for runners or ran on a wide shoulder and that worked out fine. There were people at corners and the turn-around to direct us. There were many encouraging volunteers and spectators.

We drove the route beforehand and when I saw the energy plant in the far distance during the race, I knew that was where we would turn off the road we were running up and be almost to the half-way point. That was a big pick-me-up as I ran up the long hill before the turn.

I loved that they had ice at the water stops. From mile 14 on, I took cups of ice and stuffed my mouth and both hands with it. 

I liked the out and back course. I was able to see so many runners and we encouraged each other. At the halfway point, I told myself that all I had to do was run back to the start - it felt shorter that way. Also, I knew what was coming up after the halfway mark, even more so than from driving the course the day before.

At mile 22, my husband gave me a small throw away bottle of ice water. I heard a group of people who saw him run to give me the water let out a collective, "Aw", meaning "How sweet"!


There were a number of hills on the course, but most of them weren't very steep. I ran up all of them!  I had done hillwork on the treadmill and a short bridge back at home. In the last couple of miles, seeing the runners ahead of me climbing the hills without stopping was encouraging. 


I kept an eye on the temperature before the race. At 4:45AM, it was about 80° with 62% humidity and the heat index was 76° so I ran under the water misters set up on the course. In Houston, the humidity has been in the high 80's so I could barely feel the humidity at the start even though I heard other runners complaining about it. This made me glad (for the moment!) that I train in humid Houston.

To be continued at Kona Marathon Race Recap Part 2.
Here's my quick update posted just after finishing the Kona marathon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kona Marathon - Quick Update

I'll post all about the race later, but I had a great time! This may be my favorite marathon! My finishing time was 4:20:44 - I was hoping I could run a 10:00 average if it was warm. This is a 9:57/mi average pace. : )

Overall: 91 out of 354
Females: 24 out of 149
Age 40-49 division: 8 out of 44
No chip at this marathon.

This pic was taken just after crossing the finish line and before a dip in the water. Too fun!

Time for lunch now and a drive to the volcano!

Kona Marathon Race Recap Part 1

Kona Marathon Race Recap Part 2

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kona Marathon Expo and the Beach

We landed in Kona, Hawaii last night! After stopping at the farmer's market for apple-bananas (a sweet banana), we headed to Pololu Trail. The steep trail took us down to a black sand beach and took about 45 minutes to walk. The water made a sort of clicking sound as the waves went back into the ocean and fell over the rocks. We had the beach mostly to ourselves.

Later, I picked up my race packet at the Kona Marathon expo, a small expo, just like I expected. I think it took me ten minutes to see everything. That's good - I already did plenty of walking today.

For dinner, we went to the marathon pre-race dinner and I ate spaghetti and squash/zucchini covered in cheese and pasta sauce, a wheat roll and a small piece of chocolate cake, by choice! After the race, I can splurge!

A few runners, including Frank Shorter, spoke at the dinner. We saw him earlier today, too, leading a group of runners through Kona along the marathon route. He's in the gray shorts.

See you after marathon #10!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kona Marathon Coming Up!

My Ninth Marathon - Houston

I'll run my tenth marathon on June 26. I've never been to Hawaii before. I've never run a marathon and then gone to the beach and a volcano all on the same day, either.

My taper is going well. This morning I ran six miles at the park. I heard a runner tell another runner, "I will not let you stop!" We could all use a friend like that.

At the Kona marathon water stops, they'll be passing out Coke and Ultima Replenisher, but since I haven't trained with those drinks, I'll use water and gels unless I mistakenly pick up something else like the Kona marathoner who picked up some Coke and threw it on his head instead of water.

In training for Kona, I've run two 18 milers, two 20 milers, a 21 miler and a 23 miler (longest training run ever) and I've run in the heat and humidity. I'm ready! Even if the heat slows me down, it's going to be fun - I'll be in Hawaii!

The photo is from the Houston Marathon and I'm the one waving and wearing sunglasses. Doesn't everyone wear them in the rain?! (Except for all those other runners in the photo!) I trained in nice, cool weather, but race day was humid - tough race!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Taper Time

Look at this running hat with pockets. I could use that!

Also at GoneForARun, I saw this ROO Hydration Bottle. When empty, it rolls up and fits in a pocket. Looks like it would be handy for vacations.

Today I ran 3 x 1000m (.62mi) with 400m recovery jogs. Times for those 1000m: 9:05, 8:52, 8:34/mile. My goal was to run comfortably fast.    

While running those 1000m, I saw a couple of funny things that were welcome distractions. First, two ladies, each with a little dog, were racing each other down the running path, laughing all the way. Then, two guys with a soccer ball were kicking it across the path just ahead of me. If it came right to me, I was going to kick it right back to one of them. I didn't get the chance to try that, though.

Today I just ran 7 miles. I say "just" because I'm in taper mode now and felt like I could have run a lot farther - a good feeling since the Kona Marathon is only 11 days away.

I read something helpful at Sweat Science: we can always do more than we think we can. I'm trying to get that into my head. I'll need it in 11 days.

Monday, June 13, 2011

15 Mile Run

I thought a lot about my running form today. I tried to run like the female triathlon winner I saw yesterday, my fingers relaxed and my hands close to my rib-cage, rather than letting them drop - it's a tired thing. I kept thinking about how strong she looked at the end of the race. I'm glad that my husband recorded the triathlon that was on tv for me yesterday.

After about a mile of running, I noticed that my Garmin wasn't recording my run. I hit start. It still wasn't working. Could I estimate 15 miles without my Garmin? I went into Runner's Survival Mode: yes! I've run this route a lot! But I did a soft reset and it started working. Phew! (For a soft reset on my Garmin 310XT, I hit mode & reset at the same time.)

I needed to add a mile every time I checked my distance, though. Every time I checked to see how far I had run, I added a mile -  kind of fun.

I picked up the pace after 3 miles and kept it up until I finished. Seeing that I was running faster than I expected on a hot day was great. I never even thought about stopping to walk. Maybe the cooler temperature helped - only 82° when I finished (felt like 87°). When I finished last week's long run, it was 94°.

Pre-run: Powerbar bar
During: 3 Powerbar gels, 2 ClifBloks (1 at a time, between gels)
Post-run: chocolate milk and lots of ice water
Average pace: 9:48/mile

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fuel Belt Run

The two things I've been avoiding, even though they're lifesavers in the summer heat, are my treadmill and my fuel belt. I'd rather be outside and I'd rather not have to carry my drinks.

Unfortunately, most of the water fountains at Memorial Park are putting out lukewarm water now so I filled my fuel belt bottles with mostly frozen blueberry pomegranate Gu Brew. It's high in sodium to keep away cramps. Sometimes I just held the cold bottle in my hand or on my face to cool myself off.

I know that some people don't like running with a fuel belt. Mine really doesn't bother me, even though I'd rather leave it at home. It's not uncomfortable and holds a lot of running gear, too.

Today I ran 10 miles at a 10:04 average pace. That's my fastest pace since last Saturday. Maybe the cold drink helped. I know it helped my brain to know I had it.

Yesterday, I ran up and down short hills in the sunshine. I hope it's good preparation for running in sunny Kona (the marathon is 6/26). I hear the marathon route isn't shaded. Running on short hills isn't boring - the time went by quickly.

Temperature during my run: 74-81° with 74-86° heat index

I blogged about Gu Brew here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

21 Mile Run

Fuel for the Run: Before & During

I ran 21 miles today. It was supposed to be a progression run. But it wasn't. My run looked like this: slow, faster, slowest. That's probably because the temperature looked like this: hot, hotter, hottest!

In the 16th mile, I had an "I must stop running now" moment. I had just raced up a hill, feeling great and then it hit me - stop, now! And racing up the hill didn't seem so smart anymore.

I walked over to a tree and stretched, sorry that I'd quit and then sorry that I was so hard on myself for quitting when I heard someone ask, "Are you alright?"

I told her I was fine, that I just needed to rest. She told me that there was water up ahead. I was grateful that she stopped to check on me, not because I was about to faint (I wasn't), but because it was such a nice thing to do.

After that first stop, I took walk breaks and I stopped at the water fountains often, too. I thought, 10:00 is the new 9:30 pace - at least when it's hot. My new goal was to finish the planned miles at any pace and that's what I did.

I was hoping to start easy and pick up the pace in the Kona marathon (like I was hoping to do today), but when it's hot, that's hard. Maybe I'll plan on positive splits, keeping up a good pace until the heat slows me down. We'll see.

Temperature: 80-95°
Average pace: 10:12/mile
Salt tablets: 5 (every 3-6 miles)
Gels: 4 (I took these on a schedule like the Kona marathon water stops)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hike. BBQ. Run.

On a short trip to San Antonio on Friday, I went hiking with my family at Friedrich Wilderness Park. It was nearly 100°, but it was still fun to hike through the trees and up and down the rocky trails.

Back on the freeway, we saw a Krispy Kreme and had to stop - it was National Donut Day and they make the best glazed donuts.


We drove to Lockhart, known for BBQ restaurants, where we ordered a small amount of beef brisket at four restaurants (Friday dinner and Saturday lunch) - we were conducting a BBQ experiment. Our favorite brisket was at Chisholm Trail and Black's, but I liked seeing the old Kreutz and Smitty's Market buildings. Closer to home, we often eat at Rudy's BBQ in Spring, Texas, but Lockhart meat tastes like it's been cooked longer, with even more flavor.

When I got home Saturday, I went for an evening run. Since it was 94°, my basic plan was just to finish. I was a little worried about running in the heat, but after a mile I sped up and kept the pace until the last cool down mile. I couldn't believe it: the heat didn't feel that bad! I think the low humidity (27%) helped. And with that 8 mile run, I've run 50 miles this week.

Friday, June 3, 2011

North Face Running Top

Here's my new top that goes with my Eat My Dust running skirt. Not only did the skirt and top work well on the run, but I'll probably wear them at the beach, too.

My shoulders were cool when the wind blew over my sweaty back as I ran through the shade. I like running clothes with pockets and this top has two pockets in the front of the straps. They're small, just large enough to hold a key or lip balm. The front is just solid blue, but there's a print on the back which I think they should have put on the front, too.

Houston reached 100° yesterday - not while I was running my 7 miles, but it was hot. I read that the Kona Marathon (June 26) might have a place where you can run under a mist of water. That would be nice.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

North Face Running Skirt

North Face Running Skirt
I ran 18 miles in my very first running skirt this week. Why do I really, really like my North Face running skirt?

  • 3 pockets! I can fit 3 gels in each of the leg pockets on the boyshorts, if I want, and the back zippered pocket holds my phone.
  • Boyshorts - if it's windy, I'm covered.
  • No chafing. 
  • No riding up.
  • The skirt does not flare out at the bottom of the skirt, but is straight down my legs.
  • Lightweight fabric. It doesn't feel heavy when soaked.
  • A small hole for my Ipod shuffle wire.

I found the skirt at REI, but you can find it at a number of places online if you search for the Eat My Dust skirt.

I also tried an REI brand running skirt - the REI Fleet Skort, maybe. I didn't like the heavier fabric and the flaring skirt.

I ran some 800's today. I wasn't the only one sweating on this humid morning. Just seeing other runners out there helped me to finish my 10 mile run.

In travel news, not only am I going to Kona for the marathon on June 26, but I'm also flying to Oahu so I'm busy looking for fun things to do there online. It's a fun search.

Happy National Running Day!

Update: The skirt that is now being sold in 2013 has a shorter short inseam (3-3.5") - too short for me if I plan on using the pockets on the shorts.
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