Hello from Kauai, the Garden Island of Hawaii. From our hotel room, a 10-second walk to the beach, we can hear the heavy waves crashing against the shore. Right now, I'm sitting in the open-air hotel lobby with a clear view of the ocean and the requisite swaying coconut palm trees. The weather has been alternately monsoon-like and sunny - sometimes all within 15 minutes.
But the beauty is mitigated by a gardener wielding a very loud powertool to trim the verdant greenery around us. I can barely hear myself think, so pardon if this post sounds disjointed.
By the way, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the least crowded and most affordable time to visit Hawaii. Just FYI. You don't have to spend a fortune. We certainly haven't.
Anyway, a bit more about the Honolulu Marathon, which, by the way, experienced some timing errors because of the heavy rains before and during the race and because some runners didn't fasten their timing strips correctly to their shoes. My split times were accurate except for my 10K time, which was reported as around 2 hours (!). Also, the timing mats for the 10K, 13.1 mile points, etc., were based on clock time, not our timing chips. How odd.
Ring, Ring!: I had tucked my cell phone in my back pocket just in case E. needed to reach me (he was meeting me at Mile 22). I also thought that just maybe I would call Jeanne. But she beat me to the punch, and called me after Mile 11.
By this time, I had been thoroughly drenched for about three hours (I left my hotel at 3:30 a.m. for the 5 a.m. start). My clothes stuck to me, my feet were getting blistered, and the race course was boring. Much of it was on a 6-lane highway, with heavy traffic on the other side of a small median. You'd think a race in Hawaii would be more scenic.
I answered the phone, which made some runners stare at me and one person actually yell. Whatever.
"I'm running the f****ing marathon right f******ing now," I said, running steadily. And grinned.
"Oh, my god," said Jeanne. "Okay, bye!"
But I insisted that it was OK, and we talked for a few minutes about her AWESOME experience in the Blue-Gray Half-Marathon in Fredericksburg, Va. I also talked to Susie for a few minutes. She, Jeanne, and David, her beau, PR'ed!
The brief conversation lifted my spirits. It was so nice to hear from friends when you're running a long, wet, and humid race. I also felt like I was running in a foreign country. Almost 2/3 of the runners were Japanese - and most of the race supporters seemed to be Japanese.
"Donburi!" they yelled and waved Japanese flags and banners as we ran by.
Huh? I thought that was a rice dish. Couldn't they just say, "Good Job!"?