Honolulu Marathon 2002 Honolulu Marathon December 9, 2002 Left to right, top row: Shelly, Cari, Leigh, Cody Bottom row: Julie1, Jen, Julie2 Thanks to Jen for the T-shirts! The cold and sleepy Gretes gathered to await the 5 am start. It was still only around 3:30 am when we arrived, so we had plenty of time to pump ourselves up for the race! Over 33,000 people had registered for the marathon. Many were Japanese families who came on organized tours to combine a vacation with the race. True to our motto (“Grete Waitz for no one! except the bathroom”), we took our first bathroom break of the day in long lines at the Porta Potties, set up across from the Start Line in Ala Moana Park. Then we made our way across to Ala Moana Blvd to find ourselves a place in the crowd. We sat on the median, and our Hawaiian member Julie1 led us in a Hawaiian chant to inspire us and focus our energies for the effort. The Starting Gun went off promptly at 5 am, and we were off, to a grand show of fireworks! We’re off! Over 30,000 runners began what for many would be a long, long day! It took nearly fifteen minutes for us to reach the official start, behind so many other participants. Our official times were kept by means of electronic chips attached to our shoes, which recorded exactly when we crossed the start and finish lines, and several other locations along the way, so our official times were still accurate. The first four miles of the marathon wound through downtown Waikiki, decorated with Christmas lights that lit up the early morning. Eventually, we came past our hotels on Kapiolani Blvd, where this pretty boy in a hula skirt was there to cheer us on. My running partner, Leigh, posed with her husband Tony in front of the Hyatt. She’d called him on her cell phone to meet her with something she’d forgotten to bring along.She was nursing an injured IT band; I had a sore side from a recent car accident. We both planned on taking it slow and easy, with lots of walking, and no time goals, just hoping to be able to finish. Heading out of Waikiki, Through Kapiolani Park, Towards Diamond Head. Leigh and I walked the first three and a half miles or so, to get thoroughly warmed up and make sure we weren’t going to be in too much pain. We were doing pretty well, so we began to run with a 1:2 minute run/walk ratio. We were doing approximately 17–18 minute miles. The views of the ocean beyond the trees as we ran around Diamond Head were awesome. So was the sight of the front runners passing us going the other way towards the finish line—when we’d barely gone seven miles! There was Diamond Head above us, and a lighthouse silhouetted in the early morning light. Fortunately, the skies remained cloudy and the temperature stayed relatively low—probably in the low 80s—until the afternoon. I got lots of pictures of the back of Leigh as I’d slow down to snap a shot and she’d continue on ahead. After circling Diamond Head, we headed up 18th Avenue, still going strong. It had been raining a little, and rewarded us with a faint rainbow as we made our way towards mile nine. These Japanese girls were running dressed as bunnies, with ears and little fluffy tails. There were also runners dressed as ducks, fairies, tigers, Santa Clauses, even a Darth Vader. Then there was a long stretch down Kalanianaole Highway. After we’d passed the half-way point and were nearing mile fourteen, and were still feeling good, we decided to try a 2:2 run/walk ratio. Bad idea! My side immediately started hurting, and so did Leigh’s knee, so we went back to our tried-and-true 1:2 ratio. Sometime after mile fifteen, we reached this lovely lake. We were tired, but we knew we were nearly at the turnaround point. It always seems easier when you’re running back towards your starting point, rather than running away from it! Approaching mile sixteen, we stopped for a photo op, and were cheered on by some of our supporters, who had gathered in spots all along the course to encourage us. They were really a big help. This lady, dressed as Santa Claus, played Christmas songs on her accordian to entertain the runners as we passed by. Mile twenty-one was our trouble spot. With only 5.2 miles to go, Leigh had stopped to stretch and her knee, which had been troubling her ever since the ill-fated attempt at 2:2, suddenly got a whole lot worse. She was barely able to walk. We were afraid we were going to have to drop her off with the gang of AIDS Marathon staff and supporters at mile twenty-two, but after some experimenting she found a gait (which we called her Night of the Living Dead walk) she could use that didn’t hurt her knee, and she determined to keep on. We walked the rest of the way from here. So on we went down the highway. We passed some beautiful homes with gorgeous metal-worked gates. This one had goldfish designs on its gates. This lady and her dog were festively dressed in Santa hat and reindeer antlers, respectively, as they watched the runners go by from their front yard. Another beautiful gate, this one of flowers. Finally, we were once again in sight of Diamond Head, and the last few miles of the marathon. By now, we’d been on the course for about eight hours, and the water stations were littered with discarded cups from the thousands of runners who’d already passed. We stopped at a view point for photo ops. And we carried on up the hill, fortified by some chocolate Leigh had brought along for a little boost in the last few miles. Great idea, Leigh! This sign warns, “Do Not Go Beyond This Point.” We thought that was a pretty good idea. But we went on anyway. One of our program reps, Scott, cheered us on the last few miles. Back in Kapiolani Park, nearing mile twenty-six, we can finally see the Finish Line up ahead! Tired but happy, we broke into a (very slow) run to cross the finish line. After finishing, we headed for the AIDS Marathon tent to check in and rest with snacks and Gatorade. Leigh iced her knee and reflected on the run. Then we each posed outside the tent with our Finisher medals and tee-shirts. One of the Japanese groups had Christmas trees outside their tent. Tired runners and their friends enjoyed the park. A great way to relax and unwind after the race! We finished! Yay us! Our time ended up at around 8:40. Our time was slow but we still had a great time.