Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stumbling at the Kona Marathon

By mile three I was gasping for air and knew I had sufficiently screwed myself over. Regardless I was happy to be running wild and enjoying the warm and fragrant early morning air. I was in the middle of working a week shift at the wilderness therapy program I work for. I was lucky and thankful to be granted the day off to run. This type of work shift has prevented me from being in great shape. My exercise while I am out there for the week consists of manic jump roping and moving loads of soil to build new beds to plant a variety of vegetables and flowers. My off weeks however are out of control consisting of ecstatic rain forest runs, backpacking trips, wild dancing, and lots of surfing. The night before I left work and drove to Kona where I managed a few hours of sleep in my roach infested car. I had no expectations going in, actually I expected to have FUN. My only goal was to do 5 jumping heel clicks.
When I found myself out of breath early on I took refuge in the majesty of the coastline. There was an amazing view of the ocean and the various surf breaks along Ali'i Drive. I imagined myself paddling out in the placid surf and before I knew it I was at mile 8 and feeling descent. rounding he turn to the highway I caught a glimpse of the sun rising over Mauna Kea and flipped out, hooting and wolf calling as loud as I could. Around this time I was joined by Aaron who would eventually be the second finisher. We ran beside each other and leap frogged for quite a while. The highway stretch of the run was awfully boring and very hot. I was pumped to finally reach the turnaround point and start heading back towards the finish. I love cheering for other runners that are still heading out, its inspiring for me to see everyone and pumps me up to run harder. A few times I lost control yelling and thought I was going to have to stop and catch my breath. It was a cake walk up until I reached the 17 mile marker . I was finally dropped by Aaron for good and reduced to a slow trot. The heat was creeping up and I knew I was depleted. I would get a burst of energy at each aid station as I gulped ice cold water. I got a good laugh as I poured what I thought was water over my head, but it turned out to be Coke. At that point I didn't care about anything but not running anymore. My legs were trembling from the heat, reminding me of the smoldering days running the boardwalk back in Virginia Beach on my breaks from life guarding. I got a huge boost around mile 20. In the middle of the road was a huge turkey feather! I stopped to grab it and fastened it under my bandanna. One day on a run along the slopes of Mauna Loa I followed a trail of feathers for miles, so finding one in the middle of a highway became a source of energy for me. Feather in my hair I began the stumble the final 6 miles towards the finish. By that point I was done and what I was doing could barley be called running. I am thankful for the bike pacer, he offered words of encouragement and provided me with a moving object to follow. left to my own devices I might have walked it in. I finally reach the one mile to go sigh and my vision is becoming slightly blurry due to the heat. There was a waterfall fountain set up which I pause under to let it flow over my body. I start gulping it and I nearly fell over and took the fountain down with me. I gave myself a quick get it together talk before I took off for the finish, having a killer song by Japandroids in my head helped me bring it in. "You can keep tomorrow, after tonight we're not gonna need it" reverberated in my head providing just the kick I needed. Relief and rejoice the finish is in site and I managed to finish third overall in 2:58. I don't care about the time, I accomplished my goal, doing well over 20 jumping heel clicks!!

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