It’s done. I am a marathoner.
I ran 26.2 miles through the hills of Kalaheo on the hottest day of the summer and I’m still standing. In fact, I feel exceptionally better than expected. One day post-race and I was already thinking about doing it again.
Remember how I gave you a super rough estimate of my expected finish time? What I didn’t articulate was that deep down inside I felt I could totally finish this race UNDER six hours. My plan was to go super easy for the first 13 miles and save my energy for the back half of the race, where all the giant hills reside. For the most part, things went as planned and I was feeling great for the majority of the race. I went slow and easy, walked when I needed a break and tried to enjoy the course despite the crazy heat and humidity (which I later found out was our hottest day of the summer).
It was so nice to have the support of the volunteers and Kauai locals throughout the race, offering drinks, orange slices and sprays of water from their hoses. My sweet friend Franny and her grandchildren cheered us on at mile 15 with the best hugs and words of encouragement. Little Hiiaka and her brother KJ made up a cheer and sang it for me and it was truly the sweetest thing.
Only at mile 24 did I start to really feel the fatigue set in. Even though it was downhill, I found myself stopping to walk and wondering how I would muster the energy to go another 2.2 miles.
Having the home-court advantage gave me the extra push I needed to finally get to the finish. I’ve run up and down that road hundreds of times over the years and I feel like I know every crack in the sidewalk, every bump in the road, every tree, bush and cactus along that final stretch. The familiarity was somehow comforting and I managed to cross the finish with a high-five from my friend Erin (after running the half marathon she waited around for like FOUR HOURS to jump up and down and cheer me to the finish) and a big smile on my face.
Only later, when we were having lunch, did I realize that 1) I never got a photo with my medal at the finish line and 2) I missed my goal by two minutes.
The second realization is 50 shades of CRAZY, of which I am fully aware. I mean, I could have flown to Japan faster than it took me to run this marathon. TWO MINUTES? What is two minutes when you’re running for six hours? If I were a rational person, I would be so proud of myself for preparing for and finishing one of the hardest marathon courses on the hottest day of the Kauai summer instead of obsessing over two minutes.
But I’m a runner. So this means I’ll be signing up and doing it all again next year.