Archives for category: honolulu marathon

With enough time (9 weeks) between Chicago and Honolulu, I decided shortly before running Chicago that I would also race Honolulu.  A few weeks after coming back from Chicago I offered to pace my Sunday morning running friend, Richard, to a sub-3:00 marathon attempt.  Richard and I had been placing very comparable results in the Honolulu Marathon Readiness Series races, so it seemed to make a lot of sense.

The Training

After a couple recovery weeks, I got my weekly mileage back up to 65 to 75 miles, kept running the Sunday morning long runs with the guys, and threw in a few tempo and track workouts.  Definitely a little load to manage, as Chicago was the “A” race of the year.  So I took it easy, enjoy all of my runs, and kept things very light and casual.

Richard and I agreed on a positive split strategy, having us cross the half as early as 1:27:30 to make room for an expected fade through Kahala and back up Diamond Head.  We were going to run the flat miles slightly faster than goal pace (6:49/mile), slow down on the uphill, and pick up a bit on the downhill.


Darin, Yuki’s boyfriend, drove us down to the start the morning of the race, and we met up with Richard 30 minutes prior to 5:00AM start time.  30,000+ runners at the start (40th anniversary of the Honolulu Marathon so the highest attendance ever!), so it was very congested, and we only had time to snake up to the start, find a bush and take care of business, then the fire works were going off and we were officially on our way.  I was carrying a water bottle and 4 Peanut Butter GU gels for the ride.

Mile 1 -3 (6:49, 6:44, 6:41)

We were concerned the first couple of miles would be slow, but we elbowed are way up to the very front moments prior to the gun going off, so we actually did not have too bad of a time getting into a stride.  We’re focused on hitting our splits, and given that the first 8 miles or so are quite flat, we decide to run a little faster.  By mile 3 we’re on Kapiolani Blvd heading back towards the mall.

Mile 4 – 6 (6:38, 6:37, 6:30)

Some fast miles here because we want to save some time prior to getting to Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head.  Winds are picking up and it’s not nice heading out through Waikiki I remember.  Also quite upsetting how few water stations there are on the course so far.  Either way, Richard is breathing well, we’re both laser-focused at the task at hand, and trucking along very smoothly.

Mile 7 – 9 (6:44, 7:06, 6:44)

Heading back through the park and up Diamond Head (hence the slower mile 8) then back down and up through Kilauea Avenue.  I do notice the wind again and it’s concerning for sure.  Humidity is not bad as expected, but I’m quite the sweater and I’m sweating quite heavily already.  So I concentrate on taking in a lot of water, take my first gel somewhere in here.  Pace is still good, and we’re on track for a good first half split.

Mile 10 – 12 (6:41, 7:44, 6:37)

A good mile 10, then in mile 11 I need to make a pit stop so I tell Richard to keep going and I’ll catch up with him.  Mile 12 is faster in order to make up some of the time I lost.  Still haven’t caught up with Richard, which is a good thing, and I hope that he’s still feeling strong/confident.  Definitely difficult to pick up the pace much faster than 6:30ish given the strong head winds blowing around 35 mph!!

Mile 13 – 15 (6:41, 6:50, 7:05)

Pace starts to drop in this stretch as we’re running right into the wind.  I remember really feeling gas-ed at this point in the race and being concerned that I would not be able to catch up with Richard and bring him home under 3 hours.  I look around and several other runners are struggling to get through the wind.  We do our best drafting one another, sharing in the responsibility, but we’re all fairly off pace (one going too fast and another going too slow) so I end up running a lot of this by myself (cursing my luck throughout).  I crossed the half way mark right at 1:30:00 and think to myself there is no way I can do another one of these if things continue on the way they are currently going.

Mile 16 – 18 (6:58, 6:43, 6:47)

Going through Hawaii Kai at this point, and getting off of the highway and on Hawaii Kai Drive is a blessing, no more wind!  I usually hate this loop but this time it feels amazing, comfortable, and significantly easier than the head wind!  I’m also feeling much better and feel like I’ve gotten a second wind (no pun intended).  Splits show some recovery in pace.  Still no sign of Richard and I think wow he must be jamming. I’m really excited for him and the thought of trying to catch up to him.

Mile 19 – 21 (6:47, 6:52, 6:53)

Probably the most comfortable and enjoyable stretch of the entire marathon.  Tail winds on us (no complaints) but also seeing all of the other runners cheering us on gives me a nice boost of much needed energy.  Still can’t see Richard, but I’m ok with that because I know he must be doing well.  I see several familiar faces, including my sister, and everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves out there.  Super awesome to be a part of it all.  One mile more and we’re off of the highway, heading back through Kahala for the final home stretch!  Legs are definitely feeling fatigued.  And my stomach is still wonky and all over the place (need to fix this – help!).  But I’m relaxed, enjoying the moment, and continuing to push.

Mile 22 – 24 (6:56, 6:42, 7:04)

I just trying to keep an average goal marathon pace at this point.  Always tough going back through Kahala on that last, long stretch.  My legs are pretty shot at this point, the sun is starting to creep out, and I’m starting to really not like this run anymore 🙂 Between mile 23 and 24, on the uphill climb I see Richard’s girlfriend and ask her how far ahead Richard is ahead of me. She has a puzzled look on her face and tells me she hasn’t seen Richard yet!  I’m so confused and don’t know what to do, so I sprint up the hill looking for Richard.  Don’t see him, so I drink some water, use the porter potty, and wait about 30 or so seconds for him.  Still not 100% confident that he’s behind me, I decide to keep going forward.

Mile 25 – 26.2 (8:24, 6:09)

I jam down Diamond Head, figure I might as well finish as hard as I can. I can’t do math at this point, so I’m still pushing to see if I can squeeze in just under 3 hours (hence the reason for 6:09 for mile 26!!).  At the last turn on the home stretch I realize there is no way, so I ease up significantly, relax and take it easy through the final 100m down the shoot.

Finish time – 3:01:40

  • 8th marathon complete
  • Boston Qualifying finish time
  • First (fairly unsuccessful) pacing job complete

Richard crossed the finish at 3:05:xx a couple minutes behind me.  What ended up happening was he jumped into a porter potty around mile 17 or 18 and I passed him without knowing it.  It was unfortunate but really unavoidable.  I felt terrible for leaving him out there, not to mention finish the race before him.  But thank goodness he had a good sense of humor about it.  We both enjoyed ourselves out there and had no regrets about any of it.

The Analysis

Another good marathon experience for me (my Garmin splits can be seen here.  Probably will be the last time I race Honolulu.  I’ll probably run it again, but never again for time or really pushing it.  It just isn’t a well-organized and support race for serious runners.  It’s unfortunate but it’s a reality with this one.

I ran with compression socks (never do) and I think they actually helped in the second half.  Not sure I’ll race with them again, but definitely interested.  The compression tights I wore actually really did help and I’ll probably pick that up for Boston.  The Peanut Butter GU gels, unfortunately (because I LOVE, LOVE the taste of them) I think are too thick and might be upsetting my stomach a bit.  I’m going back to the Hammer Gels for Boston training and will race Boston with them.  Definitely need to stabilize the stomach before Boston.  Think it’s the food intake, as well as timing of when I’m eating.  Need to practice on my runs, particularly the long runs.  Might need to take less water breaks during these runs and simulate actual race day conditions more, because my stomach seems to turn like clock work shortly after the 10k mark.  Even this time around I ate significantly less the morning of (half a bagel, apple juice, two cups of coffee) but still had to go.

I’m looking forward to getting ready for Boston shortly after the new year!  Until then, hoping to not put on too much weight, spend time with family and friends, and work on building a good base of miles.  Will check back in later!  Thanks always for your time and support!


This morning we ran the fifth and last Honolulu Marathon Readiness Series race, the Mizuno Val Nolasco Half Marathon, starting at Kapiolani Park and covering the exact second half of the marathon course.

First race for me since Chicago (6 weeks ago).  I’ve been slowly building back up my mileage each week and taking my time getting back into training.  As such, I definitely did not have high expectations for this race.  I did decide to race it, but largely to see where my fitness was at.  The result here would give me a good idea of what I could expect in the marathon three weeks from now.

Quick note on what I ate for my last meal (2 hours prior to the race): I followed the advice I got from several runners who recommended I eat less to avoid stomach issues during the race (most recently at Chicago) and did exactly that.  2 cups of coffee, half a bagel and a small scoop of apple sauce was it for me.  And because of it, I definitely felt lighter and less bloater toeing the line.

Mile 1 – 3 (6:00, 6:16, 6:11):

Fast first mile, but many runners take this first mile fast because the first Diamond Head climb hits you at around mile 2.  Between mile 2 and 3 on the downhill I picked up the pace, going on even effort (slowing a bit on the uphill and going faster on the downhill).  There a lead group of five of us at this point and we’re taking turns heeding the head winds that are picking up.  Night running; sun does start to peak out until I believe mile 5 or 6.

Mile 4 – 6 (6:00, 6:06, 6:11):

This stretch you snake around Diamond Head,  cut through Kahala via Kileaua Avenue and hop on to the highway going east bound towards Hawaii Kai.  I remember getting comfortable in this stretch, breathing a little more relaxed (was struggling getting up that hill after you turn left on Triangle Park).  A veteran runner, Jonathan Lyau and I take turns drafting each other and keeping the pace honest.  We pass #2 runner during this stretch so we’re starting to fight it out for the second position here.

Mile 7 – 9 (6:16, 5:58, 6:05):

We turn around shortly after the mile 7 marker.  I always get a boost of energy seeing fellow runners cheering us on (probably speaks for the sub-6 mile here).  Jonathan and I are still going at it; my legs feel good – slight fatigue starting to kick in, but nothing unmanageable here.  Light rain drizzles us throughout the race, by the way – which I welcomed (anything to keep cool).  We take the turn off of the highway back through Kahala at mile 9.

Mile 10 – 13.1 (6:07, 6:31, 6:17, 6:02):

Shortly prior to getting off of the highway my chip band that I have around my ankle loosens and I need to quickly stop and strap it back on.  Jonathan opened up the lead, which was probably a good thing for me, because as soon as I stopped I felt my body starting to slow, get heavier (lactate build up!) and the stomach starts to turn a bit.  Mile 11 – stretch through Kahala is my slowest, as I try to get my stomach in check.  Legs suddenly are feeling heavy and slow; turn over speed is decreasing dramatically.  I can tell I’ve lost some fitness since Chicago, particularly since I haven’t been doing much speed work or tempo runs.

Anyway, at this point I’m just trying to finish this thing in 3rd place, which is something I definitely want.  The Diamond Head hill through mile 11 and 12 is cruel, especially if your stomach is hurting and your legs feel like they’re filled with lead!  Somehow I get over the hill and blast on the downhill to avoid getting picked off my the 4th and 5th place finishers (New Zealand runner/friend of mine, Richard Pender, finished in 5th and helped me with those last two 6:17 and 6:02 miles!).

Finish time (chip)1:20:40 (6:09 average pace)

Came in 3rd overall (amongst 1,100 or so runners) and a nice, sub-1:21 PR in the half marathon, which I’m very happy with.  My more experienced marathon friends have all told me that a sub-1:21 half marathon time is a pretty good indication that a sub-2:50 marathon is definitely possible.  Since that’s the goal for Boston, I feel like I gained a very positive experience, which will ultimately help prepare me for a fun day in Boston in April.

As far as the Honolulu Marathon, I think I’m still going to go out for a sub-3.  Hopefully that won’t be too difficult.  I like my chances now.

If interested, my Garmin log can be seen here.

First post since Chicago so a bit of catching up to do.  Week 0 coming back from Chicago was very relaxed – took four complete rest days (I needed it!) and only ran a total of 20 miles.  I decided then that I would try to race Honolulu, so I put a quick 9-week schedule together, which would allow two additional recovery weeks, 4 solid weeks of training, and a 2 week taper.

Week 7 (from Honolulu) I double my miles up to 40m, which included  a 15 mile run on Saturday morning with my running friends (took one rest day as well).  Clearly the strategy for me here is to responsibly, and safely, build back up my mileage.  I think I’m always leaning on the conservative side when it comes to marathon training – particularly given the relatively high volume of running I’ve done the past 24 months.  The right achilles continues to nag and niggle as well, so I’m quite mindful of not flaring that up again and making it any worse.

Anyway, week 6 is again up to 55 mpw, including a Tuesday tempo (LT) run of 11 miles total with 3 @ 6:30/per mile pace.  Ouch – I remember this one being difficult.  I was suppose to do five of those 6:30s, but only managed three.  Topped off the week with my first long run since Chicago, 18 miles, with a nice pick up for the last six miles @ 6:45ish pace (thanks, Richard).

Week 5 (last week 10/29/12 – 11/4/12) I inch up the mileage to 61 mpw (included a rest day on Monday), a 9 mile tempo run with 5 @ 6:25 (yes, got redemption), and 19 mile long run on Sunday.  Everything else in the week is much slower (between 7:30 to 8:15/per mile pace) and I’m getting them in how ever which way I can (i.e. during my lunch breaks at work, early in the morning…some of those miles are with Uma, etc.).

Week 4 (this week) I’ve clocked 43 miles so far and have a 20 mile long run with the guys scheduled for early Sunday morning.  I did my first track workout yesterday – 6 x 800m – and it was tough.  There definitely difficult, but I think I need to stay diligent and respect the fact that these workouts really make me faster.

Game plan for Honolulu?  Currently the thought is I will go for a sub-3 hour time.  Ever since I started running marathons I’ve wanted to say I ran Honolulu in under three hours.   But I have to say my expectations are low, and I feel little to no pressure to really go after it.  Chicago was my goal race for the year.  And with Boston in four months or so, Honolulu does not take the highest of priorities.  I really like how it’s keeping me in shape – as opposed to falling off of the wagon – which is more typical of my behavior after a big marathon.  I just want to make sure that I stay healthy and hungry going into Boston marathon training.

Game plan for Boston I’ve decided will be a sub-2:50:00 attempt.  I’ll follow a modified Pfitz 12/80+ training schedule, and I’ll get at it in mid-January 2013.  I have to say I am really looking forward to this training cycle.  Not sure exactly how I feel about the race itself; obviously I’m excited, but I think some of the excitement and energy subsided after I qualified for Boston.  Think I’m still trying to understand and appreciate preparing, and ultimately running, Boston.

2013 is going to be a very busy year, but hopefully a productive and successful year!  Happy running, and will continue to check back in periodically.

since i was just coming back from racing cim the previous sunday (and it was a long standing promise i made) i agreed to pace my sister for the honolulu marathon, our home town race.  she was originally shooting for a 3:35 BQ time, but because of a series of injuries, she adjusted her goal to shoot for a PR, which would be anything under 4-hours.

unfortunately, two days prior to the marathon she found out that she had 2 stress fractures in her right foot.  she refused to hang them up at that point and decided she will try to race the marathon anyway. so, she kept her foot elevated above her head as much as she could for the next 2 days, popped some advil, and held her breath!

will & yuki at the expo

i hadn’t run one bit since cim, so i went out with shoko for a couple recovery miles on saturday.  perfect sunny, cool morning in manoa valley and my legs felt fine.  still a little tightness in my calves, but i knew i would hold up fine for the marathon, as i wouldn’t be going out at too aggressive of a pace.

i woke up at 230am the morning of the race and ate my typically pre-race meal: clif bar, apple juice, cup of coffee, and a bagel with honey.  i didn’t carbo-load for this race, simply because i was sick of carbs and really couldn’t find the time to eat consistently because my work was very busy the week leading into this race.

the original plan was i would drive over to my sister’s, pick her up, then we would drive down to kapiolani park (the finish area), park the car and hop on the bus, which would take us to the start line (ala moana beach park area). unfortunately my sister is notorious for being late wherever she goes (uh oh), and this morning was no different.  so her boyfriend had to drive us down to the start line in order to get there on time.

this is my 3rd time running honolulu and every year this race surprises me on how many crazy japanese people come in to run it.  i actually started getting a bit annoyed this time because it didn’t feel like a serious race but more like a disneyland spectacle that a bunch of untrained, unatheletic people came in to experience. it almost felt like the race was being tarnished to a certain extent by people who didn’t respect it.  loud speakers and megaphones were being used by travel agent-like tour operators to communicate where groups were meeting, and herds of japanese tourist more concerned about taking pictures with each other than stretching, using the restroom, etc. – came plowing in.

in the sea of chaos i’m in line for the porter potties (not well organized at all, fyi – always have to wait 15 minutes or so to use) and i started chatting with a couple mainland runners coming in from minnesota and california.  first time honolulu marathoners, i give them tips on the course, we comment on the ridiculous start, and we talk about how this marathon seriously needs to implement corral starts.  because it doesn’t, anyone running for time forces their way up as close to the start as possible so that they don’t have to zig zag people for the first couple of miles.  i wish them the best of luck then reconnect with my sister, who looks relaxed and is stretching.

i remind her of our race strategy – conservative first half (simply because of her injury) – i will pace her right on goal pace (9:07), we’ll speed up a touch before we get to the first diamond head uphill climb, then slow down on our way up it.  if/when we get to the half way mark, at that point we’ll assess where we are, how she’s feeling, and quickly decide on how we want to run 13.1 through 20.

mayor carlisle gets up on a ridiculous looking trapeze, says a few things, the national anthem starts to blare, then what is probably the nicest part about this marathon, a great burst of fireworks erupts and the race is underway.  massive congestion at the start, but the fireworks are so beautiful it keeps you entertained as you file in like sardines to cross the chip mat at the beginning.

quick note on the weather: overcast, low 70s at the beginning, which is IDEAL for honolulu.  the winds (which we’ll talk about a little later) are high tough – at/around 20 to 30 mph.  but the typical low 80s start is nowhere to be seen, there’s almost a cool (cold?) feeling to the air, which is very much welcomed by my sister and i.

i have a hand held water bottle i’m holding for my sister in one hand and her gels (3 GU espresso) in a flask in the other hand.  she’s wearing a lulu lemon tank top and compression tights, and i’m shirtless, wearing my running shorts.

mile 1 – 3:




like me my sister has always had difficulty going out nice and slowly, so she commented on how comfortable and slow the first couple of miles felt.  also helped that is was crazy busy with runners everywhere for the first 2 miles or so.  she was relaxed, breathing easy, and focused.  she started to sweat already, so i made it a point to give her water at least every 15 mins (for any heavy sweaters out there i would suggest carrying water during this marathon – at minimum for the first half since the water stations are chaos as well…and drinking every 10 mins or so).  we’re very quiet, not talking too much, just checking in here and there as we continue to push through ala moana blvd, and loop back from through downtown.

yuki and i early in the marathon

mile 4 – 6:




first gu gel consumed at/around the beginning of mile 4, and yuki continues to drink water from me every 15 mins or so.  still dark outside (given the 5am start, sunrise around 7am in the winter here) and this stretch we go through the kakaako area, back past ala moana beach park, and starting cutting right down kalakaua avenue in waikiki.  kind of neat to run through the main beach side avenue in waikiki, and this is definitely where the most spectator support is felt.

kalakaua avenue stretch running through waikiki under the moon light

a nice german female runners lines up next to me and asks me what my sister and i are shooting for. i tell her sub-4 and she compliments me on the steady pace that i’m keeping. i could tell that my sister was annoyed with the chit chatting, so i politely thank her and i separate us a bit by picking up the pace a little.

yuki is staying focused, still very quiet because she’s concentrating, and pushing along nicely.  i do notice that she’s really starting to sweat at this point, which is of course concerning because this means her body is overheating (already…at mile 4), so hydration and fuel is key now, and must consistently be consumed in order to fight the inevitable bonk and “wall” that awaits.

mile 7 – 9:




mile 7 precedes the uphill climb of diamond head, so we speed up a touch as we exit waikiki, cut through kapiolani park and start our uphill climb at mile 8.  i can see/tell my sister is struggling at this point (first time in the race), her body appears to be heavy and i notice that her foot fall is looking a little off and unnatural.  the pace, therefore, drops more than what i would’ve liked for mile 8 and 9.  mile 9 has another (albeit smaller) uphill after you fork left from triangle park and yuki is doing her best to keep pace with me at this point.  heavy sweats continues and her foot fall becomes a little louder at this point. 2nd gu gel swig happens in this stretch.

mile 10 – 12:




our pace has dropped at this point, yuki is definitely struggling more to maintain a 9:30-ish pace, so i’m trying to keep her nice and relaxed, mentioning a few words of encouragement quietly as we push on.  this stretch is on kilaeau avenue in kahala and we’re making our way out to kalanianaole highway (mile 11) – where a long, relatively flat stretch for 11 miles or so persists.  slow rollers, which we tackle very conservatively and the mile 11 and 12 sequence gives me a touch of hope that yuki might be getting back into her groove and may be feeling a little better.  the pace picks up, almost pack to goal pace for mile 12, during which we’re well on our way down the highway, heading out toward aina haina (first), then hawaii kai.



yuki’s asking for water now every 5 mins or so, which i not a good sign.  she’s sweating very heavy, foot fall is getting louder, and i can tell she’s struggling.  i hijacked this salon pas cold spray from one of the volunteers at around mile 12 and i sprayed my sister around her shoulders, which she mentioned was getting tight.  then, rather suddenly, right after the mile 13 mark and literally right around the 13.1 half way mark, my sister turns to me and says, “yo, i got to stop for a second, my foot hurts too much, i don’t think i can keep running.”  so we veer off to the side of the highway and at that point my sister is hobbling over.  she’s obviously upset and dissapointed that she can’t continue on, but i tell her that i’m so proud of her effort and that she is so smart for calling it quits before injuring herself permanently.  i commend her on her strength and will – shows some real courage to get out there for a half marathon distance with 2 stress fractures in her foot. and i tell her to remember this feeling, because she will get brutal revenge on it after she heals and starts training for her next marathon.

i sympathize for her, because she’s had an injury-stricken year of running, and this marathon was suppose to be her one race that she was going to run injury-free.  it just wasn’t the case this year, and i told her that she will have plenty of opportunity to test this course again.  a raw deal, and a tough pill to swallow, but we find some humor in the small things we experience every year running honolulu (crazy japanese man who was yelling in jap-lish, “c’mon, fight, fight, fight” and demanding high fives from sleepy eyed volunteers around diamond head).  i keep the conversation light as we walk to the closest water station, where emergency tents are also set up and we wait to catch a ride back to the finish line.

there’s another runner sitting there when we arrive and i kindly ask him if he’s ok and he says his it band gave out around mile 12.  the wind at this point is going crazy – really felt it for the first time all morning, but at that point i realize this is definitely going to hurt other runner’s chances of pr-ing/bq-ing.  a bunch of my good running friends – including the small running group i trained with for cim/honolulu, team sunny doom – is out there and i think about them and hope they’re weathering the wind as best they can.  a new friend of mine, keaka hirose, comes running by as my sister and i reach the medical tent and i scream words of encouragement to him and i offer the salon pas spray to him so that he can cool himself off if needed.  he declines, drops a smile and a shaka at me, an he goes flying by – looking strong and confident (he ended up running another low 3-hr race).

i could tell my sister is dissapointed, and rightfully so, but she gave it her all and i remind her that she has no regrets and that’s the way it should be.

i then think about how lucky i have been thus far (knocking on woods as i write this) staying injury free and really having the break through running year i wanted (and needed).  i just hope that 2012 will be that break through running year for my sister.  and for myself, i hope to continue to gain on the improvements i made.

overall, it was a tough day of racing for the basso’s.  i walked away with a less than average feeling for this race – particularly after cim, where the conditions, organization, etc were far superior than my home town race.  but honolulu will always be my home town race where i started my pursuit of marathoning, so i will am significantly more forgiving here than in other situations.  it was one hell of a running year for me, tons of miles logged, many training runs all around the island of oahu, maui, big island, california, oregon, new york, and japan.  i’m blessed to have my health, the support of my family and friends, and the love for running.

here is my garmin read:

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