I seriously never thought I would actually manage to finish a half marathon. I was the kid in high school who avoided cross country days and feigned illness and injury to get out of running. Or any sporting activity really. So I am so proud to be writing this race recap after finishing the Maui Oceanfront half marathon yesterday.
Right up until the day before, I was having to repeat various mantras to myself and channel my inner tough chick to try to silence the louder voice that was telling me I couldn’t do it. Fortunately, the other voice was still there and growing louder, excitedly whispering that this would be fun and we’d come all this way so let’s get on with it!
I jumped out of bed at 5.15, breakfasted on a Clif bar and got ready before heading the 2 blocks from our hotel to the start line. It was still dark out and the temperature was beautiful. Being a small event, it didn’t really have well organised wave starts – all very informal which was perfect. Soon enough, the starting gun went off and I joined in at the back.
The first 5km went by pretty quickly and I felt good. I found a few people who were running at steady paces similar to my own and sat in behind them which helped stop me going out too fast. Any time goal had gone out the window weeks before with my dodgy achilles – my only goals were to finish and enjoy the run. It was so hard not to enjoy this one – the sunrise coming up over the West Maui mountains was stunning and the waves were gently lapping to our right. I think my constant grin said it all.
I made it to the 10km point about 2 minutes slower than my 10km PB which I was happy with. Most importantly, my foot felt good and I felt like I still had enough energy in the tank for the rest of the run. I managed a smile and cheer for those manning the aid station at the turnaround point.
I hadn’t known how I’d go on an out and back course – I was worried it would feel long but the first part went really quickly and felt great. From the turnaround point to about the 13km mark was under shade which was helpful as, by now, the sun was well and truly up. Coming out of the shade was a bit of a shock to the system and, looking at my GPS tracking on Strava, that’s where I started alternating more between very slow running and walking. A lot of walking. It was also where bits started to hurt that I wasn’t used to hurting. I had expected pain from achilles or my calf or even my the backs of my feet (which I had stupidly worn blisters on the day before while wearing new shoes). However it was my knees and shins that were aching and I was having to draw on all of my mantras to keep going – Pain is temporary, pride is permanent…
At around 5km to go, I was just telling myself that I only had one parkrun to go when I saw something off to my left – a whale flicking its tail out of the water. It didn’t come up again but had me smiling again and reminded me how grateful I was to be where I was and what I was doing.
Just under 2km to go, I turned back onto Front street and knew the finish line wasn’t far away. This realisation, along with a cheer from a spectator, did get me a little teary (and then made me laugh, thanks to this comic by The Oatmeal popping into my head) – I was really going to finish this thing.
Running over the finish line was amazing and I had the hugest grin. I had achieved my goal – I finished the half marathon and had an absolute ball doing it. And I have a feeling, it won’t be my last 🙂
Summary – If you’re looking for a destination event with fabulous holiday potential, Maui has it all! Not sure I’ll be lucky enough to do this one again but definitely would if I had the chance.
+ The scenery is simply breathtaking. To be running along the ocean and see whales popping out of the water exceeded all expectations
+ The bling! The medal is gorgeous and is definitely my favourite so far. The t-shirt isn’t bad either.
+ The informality of it all. Being a local, smaller event, it had lots of warmth and heart which I really liked. It doesn’t have big crowds or a big expo (or, in fact, any expo) so if you value those things, this isn’t the run for you. An example are the hilarious race updates from the Run Director in the months leading up to the event – very funny.
+ Post-run stuff. Despite being at the back of the pack of finishers, I still had full access to aid stations and ample food/drink/massage tables available at the end and there was a really good atmosphere in the finish village. And all of this came after the fantastic showers set up for you to walk through after the finish – exactly what you need after running in Hawaii!
– It’s hot. And humid. The first 10km was fabulous, the rest was a lot harder.
– The course runs along the highway. This is a hard one as I know they really don’t have a choice – it would be impossible to close the road. And I didn’t actually feel unsafe at any point, although it was quite narrow at some points, particularly if you needed to pass someone. I think it’s just important to know it before you run it – for me, it was balanced out by the scenery but it might not be for everyone.