Last summer, a milestone I set for myself was completing the Kona Half Marathon. The weekend prior to the Kona Half Marathon, JQ, Rogene and I biked the half marathon course at the crack of dawn. We started super early to have it coincide with the time of the race, and were blessed with cool breeze. The morning ride took us past the half marathon course to the Honokohau Marina and Small Boat Harbor. Seeing our surroundings on a bicycle gave me a totally different perspective. I was very scared of running 13.1 miles, as my longest race was only 8K. But, biking the course gave me confidence. Yes, I could do it! I had been running for a few months prior between 5 – 7 miles each day, with a longer run (10 – 12 miles) over the weekend. So I knew my body could do it, but mentally I needed reassurance.
On race day I was a nervous wreck. The starting time for the half marathon was 30 minutes after the marathon race. Seeing the marathon runners take off was exciting, but made me realize as I was lining up for my race that I was in turmoil of whether or not I could finish it. Kainoa who was in Washington D.C. sent me a text 15 minutes before my race with lots of words of encouragement. Since Rogene had to wait almost an hour for her 5K race, she was by my side giving me a pep talk and support. JQ was just excited to be there to cheer me on, that he was on his bike happily taking snapshots, not knowing that I felt like crapping my pants.
The whistle blew, and off I went. We were blessed that day with overcast skies. Anyone who has run in Kailua-Kona knows how hot and muggy it can get during the summer. I was so paranoid of dehydrating and passing out. But, the organizers must have known the conditions of the race. Every mile there was a water station with volunteers passing out cups of coca-cola, water or Gatorade. Throughout the race, I met some really nice people who also kept me pressing forward. I wanted to quit on the way back, as it was getting warmer, the sun was starting to shine through the clouds, and my legs were starting to feel tight. But, some random stranger saw my agony and stopped, turned around and told me I could do it. She constantly did this until I was kitty corner from the hotel where the race ended.
The feeling of crossing the finish line is indescribable. The cheering crowd waiting for you and the announcer calling out your name gives you another boost of energy to push it. I never knew I could sprint so fast especially after running for a few hours. After they placed the finisher medal over my head, I felt I could finally let go. I was in a daze. Luckily for me, Rogene came looking for me and helped me get food and liquids into my body. I didn’t get to see her start and finish her race, but JQ biked during our races to take footage of our every step.
We all celebrated with lunch at Kona Brewing Company. Boris joined us, too. After a great lunch, all I wanted to do was sleep. My body ached, too. The next few days I recovered by soaking in cold-water baths that were very unpleasant, but necessary. I did lots of yoga stretches and basically rested. I was supposed to do a recovery run after the race, but I was in so much pain.
Two weeks after the race, I was still in pain. I called the doctor to ask for an appointment. I thought I must have over done it. I was going to ask him to give me a muscle relaxer or something, as I was sore, and was not feeling well. My senses were heightened, and I was still nauseous. After some tests, the doctor turned to JQ and me and congratulated us! I was a bit perplexed. Huh?! Congratulations for what? For having completed the race? Nope, for our pregnancy! We were both pleasantly surprised.
When the doctor did our first ultra sound he had difficulty getting the baby’s heartbeat. I was scared when he said that. What do you mean you cannot read the heartbeat? Well, apparently all the running and training I was doing for the half marathon must have influenced baby’s behavior. We could see baby’s legs rapidly moving as if baby was running in my belly. After a few gentle pushes on my belly, baby settled down and the heartbeat was measured.
I guess when my baby gets older I can tell her that she ran a half-marathon, too.