I used to only run. My first race was the 2003 Run to the Sun (from Maui Mall at sea level to the top of Haleakala 10,023′ on the steepest paved road in the world with a 10 hour time limit).

I used to be a decent runner. My best half marathon was 1:57. My best Honolulu marathon was 4:27.

And then, I screwed myself by competing in triathlon. In sport, my biking soared; my run suffered and my swim, well that’s another discussion (LOL).

In over 10 years of triathlon, I’m convinced that runners have it. If you are a better runner, you’ll excel. I am sure of it. Every race for me is the same. I pass MANY on the bike and they ALL pass me on the run…

“Great bike out there…” 

So, back in August 2016, when I sat down with my Coach, KC of Try Fitness Hawaii, to discuss my 2017 goals, the only one I had in mind was getting back to my best half marathon time, sub 2 hours. And so the work began.

Brick runs. Hill runs. Track interval runs. Long Runs. Recovery runs. I’ve been running and running and running. And because I decided to screw  it up again, I registered for the June Hawaii Ironman 70.3 which has me biking and swimming just as much.

On April 9th, The Hapalua half marathon served as my first real benchmark for my bigger goal of sub 2. My Hapalua goal was 2:15 or less.

As I toed the start line, my heart secretly wished for sub 2. You know, that area of your brain where unicorns and rainbows live? And realistically, I knew sub 2 was still far away. I’d seen all of my endless run data leading up to this. I know what pace feels like what. Hapalua includes a 1 mile hill at marker 9…and still, maybe, just maybe, sub 2 could happen? Never say never?

I ate a gel 15 minutes before the start. I started my pace in the mid 10’s. I ate a second gel 40 minutes in and a third gel 40 minutes after that. I looked at my Garmin all the time. I watched my splits even more often that. I was on point for a negative split. I felt my heart rate go up and up and up.

All in all, it was 13.1 miles of a total mind F**K. Man, running is brutal. I worked my ass off. And at mile 10 my lala land dream of sub 2 was far far away. My heart sank. Negativity began to set in as I came down Kalakaua Avenue. And then it struck me.

As I ran passed several tall, blue, plastic porta-potties, I recalled spending most of my 2016 Hapalua race in each of them. It was my flare that ended all of my flares. And I got chicken skin.

On this day, I was not forced to use any of them. On this day, I was in total control of my body. On this day and each day after that, I no longer run with disease. My frown turned upside down. I felt happy. I ran happy.

Sub 2 seems far away with much more work to do. How will I give more to reach that? Will that happen at the Val Nolasco half marathon in November? My internal discussions can go on and on and on. So I remind myself, don’t worry about yesterday and don’t focus on tomorrow. I tell myself to have gratitude for my right now…

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have 

-Eckhart Tolle

Above pics show 2016 Hapalua race time (2:43) versus 2017 Hapalua (2:13)

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