Hey there #ShokzSquad! I’m Mai, and I’m one of the ShokzStars. I’m taking over the AfterShokz blog today to tell you all about my experience running the Honolulu Marathon.
A few years ago, my friend ran the Honolulu marathon, and after hearing rave reviews, I knew that I had to run it. Between the fireworks at the start line, beautiful views along the course, and malasadas at the finish line- what more could I want?! Not to mention, I would get to visit Hawaii, a place I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit. My experience with the Honolulu marathon was an amazing one, and it’s difficult to put into words how wonderful it was to run it, but I’ll try my best!
The race began at 5 am, but despite the early start time, the energy level of everyone at the start line was sky high. Everyone was laughing, taking photos, and just genuinely excited to be there. Trust me, I know- I was one of those people!
The race began with a beautiful fireworks display accompanied by music. In my particular case, Katy Perry’s Fireworks was playing as I crossed the start line (Fitting, right?). With the release of the fireworks, we were off. As I made my way through downtown Honolulu, I was captivated by the holiday decorations. Since the sun hadn’t risen yet, I was able to see the neighborhood fully lit with Christmas lights, and it was mesmerizing. There were thousands of other runners, but I felt at peace during those first few miles.
Before I knew it, I was in Waikiki and spotted my first cheer squad! Typically, I don’t have people come out to see me race so when people do come out to cheer me on; it makes me giddy with excitement. Honestly, I probably looked like a crazed person because I couldn’t stop waving and smiling when I saw them. This boost of energy got me through the next part of the course near Diamond Head where there were some hills and unfortunate headwind. At one point, I honestly thought I’d fly away because it was so windy. Ha! Luckily, I survived and saw some of the most breathtaking views of the island.
Due to an out and back part of the course, I was fortunate enough to see some of the faster runners double back towards the finish line. For the next few miles, I saw other people that I knew, and with each wave and smile, I was getting closer to the finish line. At mile 15, I had received my first sponge dipped in ice water and you can bet I held onto it for some time. It was starting to get warm out, and I needed to keep cool. As I made my way back towards the finish line at mile 17, I could tell that my body was not happy with me. My knees were yelling at me to stop, but my brain refused.
At mile 19, I started run-walking as I had developed a blister on the bottom of my foot and my body was extremely fatigued. My cheer squad had told me they’d also be at mile 20 so I knew I had to be brave and carry on. I couldn’t let them see me exhausted! I was determined to be smiling and running when they saw me. Shortly after that and for an additional few miles, I continued to run walk (especially at mile 24 where there is a massive hill-AH). The sun was out in its full glory, and I began overheating. Fortunately, I was able to cool down and keep going. For the last mile and a half, I sprinted towards the finish line, and you know what I felt when I crossed that finish line? PURE BLISS.
Honolulu was my fourth marathon, but the feeling of accomplishment when running across the finish line will never change. The experience changes me for the better each and every time, and I’d recommend everyone try and run the distance if able to.
If you want to keep up with Mai's running journey, you can follow her here.