“4, 3, 2, 1 and BOOM, a canon blast starts the race. Fireworks are going off. This is it. This is my final exam. Did I train enough? Will I make it? For some reason, I have Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 Finalerunning through my head. Must be a throwback from my music days in high school and college.
“It seems like forever before I am able to move. The race is already 2 minutes old before I am even able cross the starting line. With so many people surrounding me, I am unable to do anything but walk for the first few minutes. As the swarm of people starts to disburse, I am finally able to start a slow jog, and then a slow run. I try to keep my breathing even and my pace steady. I was about to experience something few people have only to ponder. I was about to experience both agony and the thrill of living. I was about to experience the fear of having to go to the bathroom!
“The first few miles go by with no problems. I stop at every aid station along the way. I don’t want to dehydrate. I make sure I know where all the bathrooms are. As I run up the hill along Diamond Head, past the Diamond Head Lighthouse and onto Kahala Avenue, the sun is starting to come up and the heat is building.
“You hear people talk about a “runner’s high” or being “in the zone.” That is all true. There comes a point when your running is effortless, your breathing is even, and you area covering miles that you don’t remember running. I ran along Kalanianaole Highway and around the area of Aina Haina smoothly and easily, But that all stops at around mile 20. Then your legs get heavy, your feet get sore, and it’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and hoping you can finish. From that point on, the cheering crowd urges you on and in Honolulu, there are crowds cheering you on all the way. “The last hill is about 3 miles from the finish. It’s not a steep hill but it is long and steady and not what you want to see after running 23 miles. But if you make it to the top, it’s just downhill and a flat run to the finish.
“The last stretch of the run along Kapiolani Park is almost a dream. The cheers of the crowd propelled me along and as the “Finish” banner appeared closer and closer, my legs seemed to go faster and faster until I was able to sprint to the finish line as the clocked recorded 3 hours 54 minutes. I had done it!!! Now I knew what the faces I had seen the year before were feeling. Pure euphoria. I had finished the marathon.”
Prrrrrrrr, “huh…did you say finish,” as I wipe the drool from my adorable milk colored face. Not hearing an immediate answer, I went into my “kitten-stretch pose made famous by my great-aunt in Cold Spring, Minn. “That was a great story, but is it time for my fish-n-dip snacks?
Join us next week when Ms. Mar tells me more of her adventures. Yawn!!!!
Mele Kalikimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.