But my last 20 miler went really poorly. I couldn't figure out my nutrition. I had tunnel vision for the last couple of miles. And it was cold. In fact, most of my long miles have been logged in the cold. And Maui wasn't cold. Or at least not once the sun came up.
We started at 4:30am, a group of maybe 100 people ready for the early start, an hour before the rest of the marathoners. We were walkers, slower runners, and anybody who wanted to escape the heat and sun. Or who needed to get on a late afternoon flight home. Or who, like the friend I traveled with, wanted to watch the 49ers football game. I met several marathon maniacs and a bunch of 50-staters. And a couple of first timers too. It was nice to have some company.
|Safety first! In addition to the hat (reflective with a blinking rear light) and headlamp, I wore a flashing red light on the back of my shorts. There are Christmas trees with less lights on them.|
It was dark and quiet, and a little creepy, for about the first nine miles. We wound out of Wailea and into the town of Kihei, keeping to the bike lane/shoulder and sidewalk. The course wasn't closed, but in the dark the headlights of oncoming cars helped keep the road lit. The ocean was to my left, and I could hear (but not see) the waves crashing on the shore. The breeze died down a little, and stars twinkled overhead. It was beautiful.
About two hours in, just past the eight mile marker, the first later-start runners passed me. The sun had started to rise, but the clouds weren't clearing. The overcast morning stayed cool and breezy, and it made the sunrise lovely.
Somewhere around mile 12 I caught up to an older runner with headphones and a shuffling gait. We chatted for a few minutes, and he introduced himself as the mayor of Spokane, WA. He'd even had it printed on his t-shirt. We chatted for awhile about his town and his mayorship, and then he dropped back to make a call. His wife, he said, worried about him. He'd promised to call her at the halfway point.
Note: I almost always race on closed courses. Having all the cars whiz by was a little unnerving, but many of the drivers honked their horns, and a lot of their passengers were waving cow bells out their windows. The commuting crowd support was awesome.
I plowed onward, up, up, up.
|Miles 14-17 looked a lot like this.|
I came down the hill and the ocean views were amazing. Around mile 18, I saw a group stopped with their cameras and cell phones pointed to the beach. We'd seen a lot of whales, but they were too far off shore for good photos.
I hit the 15K-to-go mark and was getting really hot. I took some ice from a water station (they were puzzled, but by leaving the open bag of ice on the ground, I assumed an invitation to help myself) and dumped it under my hat and down my shirt. I think this saved my race, because I immediately felt better. I also put in my headphones and turned up the music, and spent the next several miles singing and dancing as I bounced along the course. This course was set with the mile markers counting down. The psychological benefits of this were amazing.
I hit the 20 mile mark feeling great. With just 10K left, I knew I could finish. I was slowing down, and my hips were starting to tighten up, but I still felt good, and I had the energy to chat with a bunch of people who were struggling. The course hit some tree cover, and a little shade felt good. I didn't have a lot of speed left, but I hit the last mile still on target to beat Al Roker by about 45 minutes.
As I came into the last quarter mile, my friend hobbled out of the bar where she'd been watching the 49ers game. She took my phone to take photos of my finish. I crossed the timing mat and the announcer shouted out that I had the best looking smile of the day. I was done! I was tired, but I still felt pretty great.