Honolulu Marathon 2007 Honolulu Marathon December 9, 2007 This was the view from the lanai of my hotel room at the ResortQuest Waikiki Beach. The hotel is right at the entrance to Kapiolani Park, where the shuttles picked us up to take us to the Start Line, and also where the marathon finished. So it was very convenient! And a very nice hotel. I got up at about a quarter to 3 am (my alarm was set for 2:30, but I went back to sleep for a little while after I shut it off), got ready and headed for the shuttle buses at about 3:30. Oops! I’d forgotten to use the Afrin to keep my sinuses clear for the race. But I had plenty of time, so I went back to the hotel to spray my nose. Then back to catch the shuttle. I arrived at the starting line staging area at about 4 am. This was the view as the runners arrived. Look! It’s a UFO!Not really. It’s a revolving restaurant at the top of a high-rise building downtown. It’s lit up like a flying saucer at night.I then spent about 50 minutes in line for the restroom. Oh well, what else was I going to do while I waited? It was raining off and on all morning. Several deluges, and I was soaking wet by the time the marathon started. At about ten to 5 am, I lined up behind the other runners at the “6 hours and over” sign. The starting area is marked off in one-hour increments so that people can line up near the hour they expect to finish. That way, the slow runners are at the back and won’t get in the way of the faster runners. The marathon starts off with a bang! Fireworks right at the 5 am start. Of course, those of us way at the back didn’t actually cross the starting line until nearly a half-hour later. We wore timing chips on our shoes that registered our time crossing the starting line and various other places throughout the race, so our times were accurate no matter how long it took to cross the starting line. The first few miles were through downtown Waikiki, where many of the buildings and trees were decorated for Christmas. By the time we were back on Kalakaua, the tourist strip, dawn was beginning to break. We passed these fountains just above the beach. The building on the far corner is my hotel, which we passed just before we entered Kapiolani Park. Just inside the entrance to the park was the 6-mile mark. Many groups lined the sidewalk, cheering on the runners. A lot of Japanese people come on tours to run in the Honolulu Marathon, so shouts of “Gambatte!” were common along the way. Diamond Head loomed in the distance as we came out of the park. As we left the park, we began to see the front runners returning to the finish line. We were coming up on eight miles; this runner was about to finish the race with a time of around 2:30. The winner had already crossed the finish line. The rest of us still had a long day ahead of us! We were now circling around Diamond Head. The sky was still cloudy as the sun continued to rise over the ocean. Diamond Head was off to the left as we circled around at about mile 9. Then we turned right and headed down the hill. You can see the runners filling the highway off into the distance. Now we were heading west along the highway. The rain had ended, but many of the runners kept their ponchos, just in case. We headed up the on-ramp onto the freeway at Mile 11. Again, we met the faster runners coming back on the right. At this point, the oncoming runners were slowing down. At around Mile 15, we began the loop around to come back. Here’s where I lost about 15 minutes stopping to use the rest room. If I’d hung on a couple of miles longer, the next rest stop had no lines and would have only taken a few minutes. Oh well! I suppose the rest didn’t hurt. We crossed a bridge, went around a lake, and came back on the other side. Mile 16! Only 10.2 miles to go! The little girl on the right was running with her mother. She was ahead of me the whole way, and I’m sure beat my time. We crossed the bridge on the other side. The sun was finally starting to come out, which meant it was hot and still stiflingly humid. Coming up on one of the aid stations at around 18 miles. Volunteers hand out water, Gatorade, cold sponges, and ice. They’re there all day long, and we really appreciate it! This percussion band was set up beside the road to entertain us and keep us moving along! This lady is there every year, playing Christmas carols on her accordion. Now, finally, we were the ones heading back, and passing slower runners on the right! Twenty miles! People are stopping to rest at the side of the road. We’re getting pretty tired now. This sign says, “Your finisher’s shirt is waiting!” in English and Japanese. This runner’s shirt says,”If you can onry achieve 50% of your gorl, why don’t you set your goal higher than 100%.” No, I don’t know what it means, either. We must be passing through quite an affluent neighborhood. Many of the homes have gorgeous gates and entryways.And here, at about 22 miles, my camera batteries died. I’d brought extras, but left them at the hotel. Duh! So I have no photo of the Finish Line, but I did cross it! In fact, I sped up a bit for the last 1.2 miles, trying to beat my time in my last marathon. Which I did! My official finishing time was 7:40:56, about a minute and a half faster than my LA time of 7:42:31. Go me! I was going to have a finisher’s photo taken, but I decided to pick up my tee-shirt first. Bad idea! Kapiolani Park had been thoroughly soaked by all the rain, and by the time I found the tent where the tee-shirts were being given out, I’d soaked my feet and splattered mud up to my knees. I didn’t want to take a picture of myself looking like that, so I just went back to the hotel. But here’s a photo of my tee-shirt, shell lei with finisher’s medal, and my runner’s bib.It was a lot of fun, despite the rain. I never got very tired, and kept up a good pace the whole way. The worst part was that my socks and shoes were wet pretty much the whole way, which resulted in many many blisters on my feet. But blisters will heal, and I have my fifth marathon to remember!