Solano Stories

Big Island International Marathon (Hilo Marathon)

Written By: Troy - Mar• 21•16

Big Island International Marathon

March 20, 2016

One of my running goals is to do a marathon on every Hawaiian Island that has a marathon. Years came and went, but now I finally had a chance to do an outer island marathon. The Big Island International Marathon a.k.a. Hilo Marathon is the cheapest out of all the outer island marathons. In addition, my mother-in-law and her newly-wedded husband Charlie live in Pahoa which means I can visit and stay with them.

Week Before

The week before the marathon I did a long run on Sunday ~ 14 miles. I decided not to drink any alcohol during this time, a habit I have to kick. I flew out on Thursday and did some sight seeing adventures. I also ate two big meals on Friday and Saturday. Packet pick up was Saturday at the Moku’ola Ballroom located at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. I had a hard time finding the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. At first I thought pick-up was at the Hilo Bay Hotel. I double checked and found out I was wrong. The Hilo Hawaiian Hotel was next door to the Bay Hotel. There was no big sign indicating the hotel. Instead there was this banner that was put out in front of a banyan tree. The marathon expo was good surprisingly put on well. I expected an empty room with 2 volunteers, but it was run very well. They were selling gels which was important. Outside of the hotel is Hilo Bay, like literally right when you step outside.


Hilo Hawaiian Hotel


View outside of the hotel, literally

Marathon Day

My alarm was set at 4:15 am. But, I woke up at 3:45 am, just because that is what I do.  I got ready and started to leave the house. I put the door in the lock position and closed it. “Shit, I forgot my shoes”. I tried to look for a spare under a mat but came up empty. I had to go near the window to tell either mom or Charlie to open the door. Nene was barking loud so she woke them up. Charlie half asleep opened the door for me probably in a dreamlike state of mind. The drive to Hilo was about 30 minutes. Everything looks so confusing in the dark being that I made this drive at least twice. Everything looked unfamiliar. It was raining which is not a good sign. Seems to always rain in Hilo. Since I got to the Bayfront early, I got a good spot right at the start line. The announcer said the the Fire Marshall was late so they can’t start the race until he comes. Finally at 6:15 am they came and we started. Just then it started pouring, cats and dogs pouring. It rained for the first 2.5 hours of the run. My earphones went dead and it was just me and the rain.

One thing I notice and it was somewhat of a issue, was they didn’t cone off everything. Instead, they had signs that said, caution race in progress. We were running on the side of highway-19 next to cars going 50 mph. Another issue was the twist and turns, constantly making right and left turns to go in and out of streets. There were people to assist, which made it easier. Finally the hills. I shit you not, hills on top of hills, these hills were like Tantalus hills. My body was game, but I was spending too much energy attacking the hills and decided to take it easy which slowed my pace. We took a road that led us to Onamea Bay. It was beautiful!!! One of the most picturesque stretches I’ve ever ran through. The bay from the lookout was world class. The trees hanging over the road were beautiful. The waterfalls and streams rushing because of the rain were beautiful. It was a sight to behold.


Onamea Bay

The turnaround was at mile 8 and we had to go back. There were less hills, but it seemed more steep. My body was tired already and I had to walk up the hills. The bad thing is that when you start to walk, you lose major momentum. My 10:00 minute/mile pace was shot and I was going 10:30 minute/mile pace now. I was beat, and didn’t even get to Hilo Bay yet. I kept up a pace under 11:00 minute/mile but knew my 4:50:00 projected time was in big time jeopardy.

After I past the Bayfront, it got freakin’ hot. Scorching hot. It was really bad. I told my self to mentally suck it up. My earphones dried out and I was in a tiny grove. But that only lasted for a short time until the heat got to me. From the Bayfront, we would have to go 5 miles past the airport on a nice stretch of coast. What sucked was the probably one dozen twist and turns along the way. It was a lot of turning, people were there to assist. I was walking already, and tried to focus my attention on doing one mile at a time. I wasn’t chaffing and my body wasn’t sore yet. My clothes also dried out. The beaches on the coastline was a sight to behold.

The turnaround spot was at mile 21. I thought this would give me a boost, but it didn’t. It was the opposite, my body shut down and I was going about 14:30 minute/mile. At mile 24, I thought my legs were going to fall off. This is when you hit the wall and your legs don’t feel like moving anymore. If you ever ran a marathon, you’d know what this means. If you haven’t then it might be hard to fathom. This is where the experience helps. Right at this moment. You can choose to stop and rest or you can choose to keep going. The rule my friend Christian taught me was, “don’t stop, if you stop, its over”. He’s right, once you stop, your done and it will take like 30 minutes to walk a mile. My feet were so sore, but through self talk, I told myself, “you got this”. The people cheering were world class. Though small in numbers, the support was great.





Post Marathon Drink

Since I was by myself. I got huge cheers from the small crowd as I completing my 7th marathon at 5:20:37. They had beverages after, so I grabbed a beer and drank it. As I walked back to the Mustang, paramedics were loading a female runner into an ambulance. I always thought to myself, what if my body had a bad reaction from marathon stress, how would I handle that? I got into the Mustang and drove to one of the beaches I saw while running, I think it was a popular tourist beach (Onekahakaha Beach). I took a shower to get all the sweat off, changed my clothes and drove to Hiro’s Place. $6.95 for a big ass Chicken Katsu Plate. I ate half in the car and left for Pahoa to Mom and Uncle Charlie’s house to rest.

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