Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for December, 2015

Mistletoe & Miles Malaise

B-B Mistletoe Kiss

It doesn’t really feel like December until I find myself putting the final touches on a package to post or a perfectly worded clever email to someone special and realize it is well past midnight. That doesn’t bode well for the early morning run, but it is the nature of the season.

It is also that moment of clarity, realizing so much of what you are hurriedly preparing – with every attempt to make it appear unhurried – gifts, baking, notes where the bulk of the work and time could have been accomplished months ago.

The ambivalent grouch in me appears when I long for the seasonal interruptions in my schedule to just go away and simultaneously enjoy the decorating and all the miscellaneous preparations that suddenly occur.

What to do but find my way out the door and lose myself in a mid-distance run. Mid-distance because, well, marathons for the year are mostly a memory, the start of serious training for spring marathons is weeks away. Northeastern December weather in the United States still mostly in the 40’s and 50’s is also peculiar enough to make me feel out of sync.

Nothing to do but just run for the joy of running. Don’t run for pace, don’t run for a particular heart rate or distance, just run. For the joy of it.

Yesterday’s north-to-south road trip precluded a run of any distance without a headlamp or knuckle lights. With an early start, we drove under dark skies until around 7:45 a.m. With the late sunrise cloaked in gray skies, the coziness of December settled around us.

Whatever holiday you may be celebrating wherever that may be, may the coziness of the season settle in around you and those close to you.

B-B Mistletoe Kiss

A Tempered & Tropical Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving day on Oahu starts with a 10-mile prediction run, hosted by the Honolulu Marathon Clinic. With the Honolulu Marathon just weeks ahead, what was the purpose of a 10-mile prediction run?



Dawn breaking with cloudy skies, runners walked to the start with Diamond Head in the background

We were to run without any timing devices, relying on our bodies to determine the appropriate pace, a pace that would be comfortable running through the full marathon. The premise is that as we run the final six miles of a marathon, we pay dearly for any mistakes made in the first 10 miles.

Each runner wrote their anticipated time on a popsicle stick and carried it during the run. The sticks were turned in as we crossed the finish line. Those who had a finish time very close to their anticipated time (I spoke with a woman who was one second off her anticipated time, who does that?) were the award winners.

I drove to registration through tropical rain and fog. Approaching the parking lot in the dark, but seeing shadowy runner forms walking to the bandshell, I knew I was in the right place.

It was an early start, sometime around 7 a.m. Most of the rain cleared, and thankfully the clouds remained giving us some cover from the intense tropical sun.

We started with a loop around Kapiolani Park, then headed up Diamond Head Road, passing lovely cliffside homes looking down on Diamond Head Beach and early morning surfers. The course looped  through another neighborhood and a commercial section, then returned to the park via Diamond Head Road. The hill at Diamond Head wasn’t nearly as daunting as it was a number of years ago after 25 miles into the marathon. Fresher legs make a difference.


Diamond Head Beach


I fell into what I felt was my marathon pace without difficulty. What I didn’t feel was any sense of what mile I was running. My only gauge was placement of water stations, with three on the course and knowing I had covered roughly another 2.5 miles each time I approached a station.

I had added about five minutes to my expected time at 10 miles for my prediction because I was running in heat and humidity. As I finished, I was off by five minutes and change, predicting at 1:50 and finishing at 1:45 something. Although I won’t be on Oahu to participate in the Honolulu Marathon this year, I may use this type of run as part of my marathon training for races in the future.

One of the few bargains on Oahu, this prediction run had a $7 entry fee. For that, we had a bagpiper start the race, police directing traffic at intersections, and,

as our finisher prize – IMG_1918a deliciously warm, sugar covered malasata from Leonard’s Bakery, a Honolulu landmark.

Hoping your turkey trot was as successful and insightful.