After taking a short flight from Oahu to the Big Island: I took a breath of the warm and heavy air. I had arrived in Kona for the 2013 Kona Marathon! The first day on the island was full of activities. My coach and I took a driving preview of the 26.2 mile running course; we stopped by the race expo and then started carbohydrate-loading at a local eatery.
The official race-time start was scheduled for 5:30am the next day. On race-day I was wide awake by 2am to go for a shake-out run and grab a light breakfast. My coach and I drove to the start line by 5am and I began doing my final warm-up stretches. My body felt rested and I couldn’t wait to finally to go out and race.
My coach wished me luck and the race started out with a bang. The lead males consisted of Allen Wagner, a 2:18 marathon Olympic Trials qualifier, and John Ricardi, a steeplechase Olympic Trials qualifier. From the beginning of the race I took charge and tried to stick with the 2nd group of the front pack of male runners.
After mile 4, there were only the two former Olympic trial male runners far in front of me and I had to stay concentrated to maintain my pace. The Kona town part of the course was beyond beautiful. I was passing a lively seaside and a cozy touristy town with lots of palm trees and small restaurants on both sides of the road. After mile 8, the course took me to a long and straight highway with some long climbs and drops. My legs still felt fresh and I tried not to miss an opportunity to cool off by spilling on myself icy-cold water from water stations.
A steep hill led me to the finish line where many people stood cheering for the runners. At the finish line, I felt satisfied and accomplished as I crossed. I was the first female, placed 3rd overall, and set a course record! It was a great day and I felt proud running the Kona Marathon on part of the famous Ironman course with rich air, challenging hills, and desolate landscape that provided moments of solitude.
I could not have performed so well without one of my main sponsors: Kokua Market. Fueling my daily training with organic food from Kokua Market has helped me to perform at a top level.
I look forward competing at the Maui Half-Marathon on September 23rd, 2013.