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Travels With An Airhead

Honolulu Marathon, Pt. II

— by Notch Miyake

The New Year has started and I hope you have been working on your New Year resolutions. I have been doing well on mine: I resolved not to run a marathon in 2005 and so far, so good.

Last month, Margaret and I both finished the Honolulu Marathon. It took me 5 hours and 37 minutes. Margaret took 5 hours and 44 minutes. Neither of us qualified for the Boston Marathon, but, hey, we finished.

I came in 11,449th place and Margaret came in 12,187th place. I know it sounds pretty pathetic, but there were 22,388 finishers, so we were actually in the middle of the pack.

The race began at 5:00am with fireworks to entertain us as we inched forward. We got to the starting line 16 minutes later where we found the Japanese (65% of the runners were Japanese) taking pictures of each other on their camera phones while the announcer begged everyone to keep moving.

The course looped through downtown Honolulu, past Aloha Tower and the holiday light display at Honolulu Hale. There were so many walkers clogging the street that I felt more like an NFL running back than a runner.

Waikiki was brightly lit and, for the first time I have ever experienced, completely free of cars. A few days later, we drove less than a half-mile from our hotel to Waikiki. It took over a half-hour to cover the same distance we ran in six minutes.

The sun was rising as I crested Diamond Head. I was still feeling good enough to enjoy recalling the many nights I spent as a teenager, at the same spot, watching the submarine races with my girlfriends.

As I headed out the long leg toward Hawaii Kai, I saw the elite runners on their way back. The winner finished in 2 hours and 11 minutes. I wasn’t even at the halfway mark when he crossed the finish line.

I finally got past the walkers but started to hit the runners who went out too fast and were beginning their desperate stumble to the finish. The groups of Japanese in matching t-shirts were chatting less and started to take on a more determined look. There was more room so I was able to speed up.

I got to the halfway point in 2 hours and 54 minutes. It was a slow start. I ran the second half 30 minutes faster, at my planned pace, but didn't try to make up time. As a result, I felt pretty good at the finish, in considerably less pain than after my training runs. It was finally over.

Margaret and I want to thank everyone who supported us in this effort: the donors to the Arthritis Foundation and those who didn't laugh when we said we were going to run the marathon. As George said when he visited Canada: "I'd like to thank everyone who waved to me with all four fingers."

— Copyright © 2005 by Notch Miyake.

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