L.A. Marathon: T-16 days

Wednesday night I set off for my regular long training run.  The plan was to do between 16 and 17 miles – I’d start at Kapi’olani Park as usual, out over Diamond Head, on the Marathon course down 18th Avenue, to Kahala Ave, break off at Elepaio to Diamond Head Road, back past Triangle Park to Monsarrat.  Then down the back side of Diamond Head into Waikiki, out to Downtown along Ala Moana, loop around through downtown and come back through Restaurant Row and Waikiki back to the vehicle.

I felt like I had better energy than the week before, but wasn’t sure how it would go to add 2 miles to last week’s run. 

I had decided not to wear my MP3 player which may have been a mistake.  I’d been thinking too much that day already and leaving myself alone with my thoughts for 3 hours was perhaps not the best idea.  Still, I muddled through.

Menage a Three:  It was interesting how many trios of runners I saw on this jaunt.  Almost always a young, attractive, woman running with two men.

These Boots are Made for Walking

I was in new shoes for this run – I stopped at Running Room on the way in and picked up a new pair of Saucony Stabils.  Those of you who train with me know that I usually run in New Balance 817s, but they didn’t have any 817s in my size in stock, so I decided to try the Stabils again.  Up until the 2006 Honolulu Marathon the Stabil was my standard running shoe and I only changed to the New Balance because I felt that the Stabils were wearing down too fast.  That’s one of the big downsides to being a 215 pound marathoner.  I look wistfully at these other runners who say they get 400-500 miles out of a pair of shoes.  I’m lucky to get 250.  My shoes just take such a pounding carrying me around the course.

I’d forgotten how bouncy the Stabils are, they feel springier (is that a word?) than the 817s do.  I was especially aware of it coming down the swoop on 18th Avenue.

Some Times You Want to Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

It never ceases to amaze me how many people I know that I run into on these long runs.  Seems like every few miles I hear my name being called out.  This one was no different.

  • 100 feet into the run I saw Jay, one of the better local marathoners.  He’s so hardcore that the license places on his VW bus read "26.2".  We chatted for a few minutes then I was off on my merry way.
  • Near the foot of Diamond Head I heard "Hey Ben!" – it was Frank Smith, owner of Island Triathlon and Bike (my favorite bike store) getting ready to lead a group of cyclists on an early evening ride.
  • On Diamond Head I exchanged greetings with Yuni.  She was running with two guys I didn’t recognize. 
  • Coming down Diamond Head I heard "GO BEN GO!"….as Frank zoomed past with his cycling group in hot pursuit.
  • Near American Red Cross I saw a very familiar shy smile…Kim was out for an evening walk with a female friend.
  • I’d see Kim and Yuni again on the back side of my Kahala loop.
  • At one point a cyclist I didn’t recognize greeted me by name as he went by.  Wonder who that was…
  • Saw Kasia downtown – she offered me a hug even though I was definitely not very huggable 11 miles into my run.


  • To the guy from Joe’s Barber Shop on Monsarrat who came out of his shop to help an elderly woman get safely across the street.  Just a few minutes later I got to do essentially the same thing when a sweet little old lady started into the crosswalk a bit later than she probably should have.  I stopped and stood in front of the cars holding up traffic so that she could finish getting across the street safely.  "THANK YOU!" she sang flashing a huge smile as she hobbled by as fast as her little legs could take her.
  • To Katrina for filling my water bottle for me at the 10 mile mark.
  • To the tall, chiseled, Asian woman slamming volleyballs down on the heads of the stunned tough-guys on the other side of the net on the Waikiki beach volleyball court.  You go girl!  P.S. I don’t think they saw the satisfied smirk on your face as you turned to walk back to the service line.

Dope Slaps

  • To the lady who flicked her half-finished cigarette out the window of her BMW X5 onto the street.  Our island is not an ashtray!  Shame on you!  It’s because of people like you that most of our curbs are full of disgusting old cigarette butts.  Didn’t your pretty BMW come with an ashtray?!  If you want to pollute your lungs and die early that’s your problem, please show a little aloha aina and don’t litter!
  • To the bicyclist who whizzed past me SO CLOSE on the downslope of Diamond Head that I could actually feel the wind as he passed.  Dude, if my elbow had been just a couple inches further out you might have lost some teeth!  That road is 70 feet wide, scooch over just a bit will ya?
  • To another bicyclist riding on the sidewalk in downtown for silently coming up from behind and crowding past me on the left.  How about a "On your left" or "excuse me" next time to warn me you’re coming so I can move over for you?  50 yards further along that same cyclist came less than a foot away from running over a woman walking with a cane.  By the way…it’s illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk in that part of town.

Ooh, Sorry:  To the dude having ice cream at an outdoor table at Ben & Jerry’s Ward Center.  I went running past and he looked up at me with this guilty look on his face like "Oh, wow.  That guy is running while I sit here and shovel a hot fudge sundae into my face."

That Which Does Not Kill Me, Will Wish That It Had: A nice "tough it out" moment came around mile 6.  I had just finished my Kahala lap and come back down Monsarrat to Kapi’olani Park.  I had a very slight stitch in my side and recognized that I had another 10 miles ahead of me.  I also recognized that I was less than half a mile from the truck at that point and it would have been easy to make a left turn and an easy cruise back to the car to go home.  17 days to L.A. though, so I pressed on.

The run was good overall, but tough.  The last couple of miles especially – everything below my knees was hurting.  I don’t know if that was due to the shoes, or the fact that it was an evening run after a long workday, or that I didn’t have my nutrition perfect, or a little dehydrated or what.  But it was a bit of a slog towards the end.  Still, a valuable run and quality miles.

Tonight I’ll do an easy jaunt at Ala Moana with the gang, tomorrow morning looking to do 10-12 around my own neighborhood before heading over to the Health and Fitness Expo to staff Brian’s booth for a few hours.


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