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I don't even know where to begin with this race report. It's so hard to believe that the Honolulu Marathon has come and gone and it's already been over a week since race day! Sorry to keep you all waiting so long. After the race we spent the week in Honolulu being tourists and relaxing with our friends. More on that in another post. If you have read my blog for a while, you all know that I always start with the medal, so here we go! 

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Honolulu Marathon thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

The Medal

PictureHonolulu Marathon Medal 2014
The picture on the left is the front of the Honolulu Marathon Medal and the picture on the right is the back. I think this is the first medal that I have that is two-sided! 
When we crossed the finish line we were handed a shell necklace right away. Then we walked further into the finisher area and picked up our cotton finisher t-shirt and medal. It was a pretty smooth process. 
The medal is about the size of my palm so it's not the biggest medal I have, but not the smallest one either. I love how it perfectly represents Hawaii and even though the sponsor (JAL = Japanese Airlines) is on the medal, it's not the main focus of the medal. I hate when races do that! 

The Start/Finish Line

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon Facebook Page
The start of the Honolulu Marathon is like no other start I've been a part of! The race starts at 5:00 AM so it is still dark for a couple of hours at the beginning of the race and instead of using a starting pistol THEY USE FIREWORKS to kick off the race!!! How awesome is that?! 

The starting corrals are different in the fact that they do not assign corrals. You just line up using the honor system and the signs they have posted showing about where you should stand if you plan on finishing in the 4 hour range, the 5 hour range, and so on. We lined up towards the back of the 5 hour range. 

The finish area was in Kapiolani Park. There were vendors selling more race gear, food tents, the finisher shirt tent, the medal tent, and even a GIANT Jumbo Tron which was on a time delay so you could watch yourself finish the race! 

We saw so many people running in costume during the race. We saw a bride  and groom, Japanese Anime characters, Hula girls, and even a man and woman who did the Tango the whole race!! (Yes she had a red dress on and walked backwards!)

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This was taken after the first water stop at mile 2.5ish!

The Course/Weather

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon Facebook Page
I couldn't have asked for a better course and weather for this race! We were slightly nervous going into this race because of the heat but it turned out just fine. The course was mostly flat with the slight hill around mile 8 or 9. I wouldn't really call it a big hill. Just a gradual incline as you are running near Diamond Head. You hit it on the way back as well, but we almost didn't notice it at all. This is definitely a flat course with plenty of scenery to keep you occupied! We even saw a rainbow on the course! Seeing that rainbow during the marathon made my whole day! Well, that and the Malasada! 

The weather was definitely in our favor for this race. I know you all already know, I'm not a hot weather runner. But who could pass up the chance to run a race in Hawaii with NO time limit?! Not this Ginger. As we walked out of our hotel we immediately noticed the light rain. I remember thinking to myself that I never even considered checking the weather because, you know, it's Hawaii! So I was pleasantly surprised to have the light rain. It rained off and on for about 75-80% of the race. Thank Goodness! Around mile 19-20 the sun came out and that's when I started to really slow down.  It would  have been a super long day if the sun was out the entire time! 
I can't remember what mile we were at but we did have some strong winds but they didn't last long. 

The Swag

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Every runner in the finish area was welcomed with the smell of warm and fresh Malasadas! They were really good and it was all I could think about for the last few miles. It is sort of like a  funnel cake ball covered in sugar. 

All finishers got a cotton t-shirt, a medal, a malasada, a shell necklace, and our bib.

I kinda wish the bibs were a little more fancy being as they are pretty plain, but with over 31,000 runners and the fact that they  even let people sign up for the race at the expo, I understand why they  would want to keep them simple to keep costs down. 

The Expo

PictureFredrik and I at the Honolulu Marathon Expo!
We landed in Honolulu on Friday afternoon before the race. Hawaii is 4 hours behind Oklahoma so when we landed at 3:00, it really felt like 7:00 PM and we had been traveling since 4:00 AM. Long day! So we waited to hit up the expo until Saturday. When we got there it was like we stepped into a different world! It was so crazy and awesome to see that everything was in English and Japanese! This race has a very strong presence from Japan so it makes a lot of sense to have all the signs in both languages. I've never ran a race that has been so diverse and it was really cool to experience that in Hawaii.

During the expo I had a goal of meeting a couple people. One of them was Fredrik who works with the marathon marketing team and does social media. I asked a few volunteers if they knew who he was or where I could find him and no one seemed to really know. Finally I just sent him a message through Twitter and 10 minutes later we were chilling in the expo! 
It was great to finally put a face with a name being as we had been tweeting back and forth for several months leading up to the race! I was totally expecting him to look like a Native Hawaiian but turns out he's not. He's a tall, thin, white guy with an Aussie (I think) accent! 

The expo was definitely big enough for all the runners and vendors and really easy to navigate. It was also easy to get to from our hotel so that was nice. 

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My other goal was to meet Sam with FlipBelt. I just recently got my very own belt and fell in love with it immediately! You can read my review here. 
She's a totally cool chick who is super relaxed and fun to talk to. I wish we could have stayed and talked more about running and everything but her booth was very busy selling out of belts so I let her get back to business! If you ever see her at an Expo be sure to stop by and say hi! 

My Experience

PictureTypical Corral Selfie!
Due to the warmer weather in Hawaii and being as we ran a marathon just 3 weeks prior to this race, we planned to take this one easy. We planned to use an interval method so I could avoid getting too hot and because we knew there was no time limit to worry about. We ended up running the first 3 miles non-stop and then picked up our intervals of running 3 minutes and a brisk walk for 1 minute. I also decided that since we were taking it easy, I would give live tweeting during the race a try! It was a ton of fun and I got a lot of encouragement from all my Twitter buddies! If you ever run a race for fun, you should try it once just to do it. I had so much fun going through all my tweets/notifications after the race! 

We ended up finishing in 6:24:00.

I really think we could have finished in under 6 hours even with our run/walk method but we had a few stops on the course and I'm pretty sure they  were 10+ minutes due to long lines at the bathrooms. 

This is a huge race! It had over 31,000 runners and even though there are 26 miles to spread out, you never really spread out. You have to be on your game the whole time to  make sure you don't bump into people. You've been warned! 

The first few miles of the race are in the dark and have you running around downtown Honolulu. We saw a lot of businesses decorated with large Christmas light displays which made the race feel fun and festive! 

The course takes you along the shore line not too far from Diamond Head and there are a few opportunities to see the ocean. It was so beautiful! What was even more beautiful, was seeing all the green mountains off in the distance with the low rain clouds hanging around. It gave the race a cool ambiance and backdrop that made everything feel all majestic and stuff! Don't even get me started on the fact that we saw a rainbow during the race. I almost died!! 

Around mile 19 or so I hit the wall. Our walk breaks got a little longer and our running was a little shorter. I was still having fun and the volunteers were still cheering loud and proud. So overall I was doing ok! I've just come to the conclusion that marathons are just hard! I have one more full marathon planned in 2015 and then I think I'll retire and stick with half marathons. We'll see!If full marathons aren't your thing, and you want to run a race in Hawaii, the same race organizers hold the Hapalua Half in April. 

I seriously can't recommend this race enough! If you are looking for a special race for a milestone or an anniversary you MUST. DO. THIS. RACE!
The course, the scenery, the fireworks, the rainbow, the ocean, the list goes on and on! 

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How you think I feel during a marathon...
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How I really feel during a marathon...

Question! Where is your next race or vacation or race-cation?

 


Comments

12/23/2014 4:55pm

Great recap, I'm super jealous! Sounds like a great experience, and I totally want a malasada now. Also, great bling and way to finish 2 marathons so close together. You are a rockstar!! :)

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/23/2014 9:53pm

Thanks Jeremy! Maybe we should move the BibRave meet up from Chicago to Honolulu next year! :)

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Amber Smith
12/23/2014 5:00pm

I've been waiting for this recap! I'm so, so, so happy you got to experience Hawaii.. And run a marathon there! Awesome race recap!

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/23/2014 9:56pm

Thanks friend!!! It was so much fun! Glad to have marked that one off the bucket list!

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12/23/2014 6:24pm

Wow, this was like waiting for Star Wars: Episode 1 except I wasn't somewhat dissapointed at the end. This was great! You have no idea how happy I am for you. After your last marathon it seemed you were a hit worried about this one but everything clicked. The weather cooperated, you took it easy and had a lot of fun. And... let's face it... you were in Hawaii! Vacation, sand, beach and Sun. Pretty cool way to spend the Holiday season if you ask me. Congratulations!

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/23/2014 9:59pm

LOL! Thanks Frank! Sorry to keep you waiting but I'm glad it was worth it! You are so right, I was worried but it turned out perfectly! I'll never forget this one, that is for sure!

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12/23/2014 6:27pm

YEA!! What a great race and destination run!! My plans for 2015...is to get in shape to run another half and to STAY IN SHAPE to maybe??? run a marathon. I am a roller coaster and an ALL or Nothing kind of gal when it comes to just about everything in life!! UGH!!

It really is getting the best of me and I NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE.

Hawaii....how awesome!!

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/23/2014 10:00pm

Haha! I understand the roller coaster thing! I'm that way too!

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Kristy
12/23/2014 8:26pm

Congrats on another marathon & a new state!!

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/23/2014 10:01pm

Thanks Kristy! When you do Hawaii, do this one! I swear it will be perfect for you with the temps and the flat course!

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Jeremy
12/23/2014 9:16pm

Awesome!! Great review and good job. I've been waiting/looking forward to this review since last weekend! I couldn't believe you were live tweeting DURING the race. I can only imagine how amazing the entire experience was. Great job!

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/23/2014 10:02pm

Thanks Jeremy! I'm glad you liked the review! Live tweeting was a ton of fun and I would totally do it again!!

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I loved reading your recap of this race. It sounds BEAUTIFUL, and something that would make for a great racecation. So fun!

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/24/2014 11:51am

Thanks Caroline! It was so beautiful the pictures I have on my camera don't do it any justice. I definitely suggest this race as the ultimate racecation!

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Great review. Loved seeing your tweets while you were there so loved to get to read the full picture. Looked like amazing time. Awesome location for a racecation. Only local races for me for a while, so living vicariously through this ;-)

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/24/2014 11:52am

Thanks John! I hear ya, we are going to stick closer to home for 2015 for our races. I'll have to live vicariously through some of your Disney race blogs! :)

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12/24/2014 8:27am

Great review! Love the rainbow and the early start is a big help. Would love to give this one a go.

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
12/24/2014 11:53am

Thanks Meredith! You should definitely do this one if you can swing it! I don't think you'll be disappointed! :)

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12/27/2014 8:13am

This sounds amazing!! My plan has been to do Hawaii as the last of my 50 states (kinda like a grand finale) and hadn't picked a specific race yet. After reading this, I'm thinking that this one might be the winner!

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RunGingerRun - Sarah
01/04/2015 8:16pm

That's awesome Tom! I don't think you will regret it at all! You can't beat fireworks to kick off your 50th state!

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Lovely blog share I like your blogs & wait your next blog.

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