|Mr. and Mrs. Shoe|
In spite of our lack of training, I was still confident that I would be able to put down a solid race. We arrived in Hawaii the day before the race and went from the airport directly to packet pick-up. The race was early the next morning, so I made sure all of my race gear was ready to go that night. This turned out to be completely unnecessary since I ended up waking up hours early. Oh right, jet lag. I kind of forgot about the five hour time difference.
I ate my normal pre-race breakfast, a Clif bar, and then Mr. Shoe drove us to the race. The start and finish for the race was at a small park. By the time we got there, parking was at a premium. Once Mr. Shoe managed to find a parking spot, I started stretching and warming up. The weather was quite a bit warmer than November in Michigan, but it wasn't unbearably hot.
I lined up near the front of the pack. I knew I wasn't going to win the women's overall, but I was hoping that there was an age group award with my name on it. A very light rain started about the time the race started. It felt very refreshing.
The first mile went by quickly. Maybe even too quickly. That pace might have worked over the summer, but would I be able to hold it after a solid month of slacking off? The second mile started with a turn directly into the sun. We also left the paved course for about a half mile of trail; this was not something I was expecting, but I managed to do okay navigating the mud and puddles. After the half mile of dirt, the course hopped back on the road and turned back toward the start/finish line.
At what I imagined was the two mile mark I took a peak a my watch. Yep, I was definitely falling off my pace. The rain had stopped awhile ago and the humidity was making it difficult to breathe. Suddenly I was being passed by quite a few runners. I panicked for a second, and then decided that it was probably the 10k racers who started 30 minutes before the 5k. My pace hadn't fallen quite that much.
I picked a runner in front of me and just focused on matching her pace. After what felt like a million hill climbs, I rounded a corner and was able to see the finish line. I kicked as hard as I could, but, honestly, it probably wasn't that great of a kick. My official time was 24:23. I missed my dream goal of setting a new PR, but was happy with a sub 25 finish (my second tier goal).
I took a few minutes to stretch and to grab something to drink. Then I started looking for Mr. Shoe. He told me his goal was sub 30. But after months of virtually no training, I didn't think that was going to be obtainable. The 29 minute mark was quickly approaching and I still couldn't see him. Then finally he came around the corner. If he really pushed hard, he was going to make his goal. I ran out to meet him and was yelling at him to push and that he could do it. He apparently did not hear any of my motivational yelling as he had headphones in, but somehow he did it and crossed the line with just seconds to spare.
After cooling down and stretching, we headed back to the little park for the post race breakfast and awards ceremony. The breakfast was quite amazing: fresh pineapple and melon, some sort of tropical juice, and hot breakfast burritos (there was even a vegetarian burrito for me!). Luckily there was a big pavilion in the park because before the awards ceremony could get started, the rain really started coming down.
I ended up taking second place in the 20-29 age group. I missed out on first by a mere 5 seconds. This was a bit of a disappointing discovery, if only I had pushed a little harder! But I quickly let it go, I wasn't going to let a little thing like that put a damper on my honeymoon. It was very exciting to hear the race director call out "Heather Shoe" instead of my maiden name! I'm so glad I thought about that small detail back when I registered for the race.
After collecting my ribbon and congratulating the first place winner, we headed back to our hotel. I love that we were able to start our honeymoon doing something that I love. As it would turn out, our honeymoon was going to end with a run too, we just didn't know it yet. But that is a story for a different post!
Only 49 states to go!