Hawaii Race Recap- My 50th State Marathon

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In this long awaited episode we recap the Revel Kulia Marathon on the Big Island of Hawaii, the final race in my quest to run a marathon in every state.

This happened to be my fastest marathon to date with a finish of 3:19:55 (20 minutes under my Boston Qualifying time)!

Plus in this episode you will also hear practical tips on how you can run a PR (personal record) this year.

Revel Kulia Marathon Race Recap

The 2nd annual Revel Kulia Marathon was held on January 18, 2020 in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Pre Race:

The race sent out frequent updates and they had a lot of information on the website. The expo was located on the Hilton Waikoloa Village property on Friday from 11am-7pm and was easy to navigate and mostly well organized.

There was a moment of panic when the volunteer couldn’t find my race bib. But upon closer inspection it was located and I was number 1234. They also put your name on the bib and offered athlete tracking.

Along with the short sleeve tech shirt they gave out an insulated beer/wine tumbler and some misc products in the swag bag. Race organizers also had a couple of props set up for taking pictures. We met up with Natalie (my MetPro Coach), listener Tamanna and her friend Suma from Cleveland, along with listeners Wayne and Sherrie from Alberta.

Race Morning:

The race bused participants from the Hilton Waikoloa Resort and the Queen’s Marketplace to the starting lines. The marathon buses left between 4-5am since it was nearly an hour drive to the start.

The wind made it feel rather chilly up the mountain although the temps were around mid-50’s. Fortunately the race gave out gloves and heat sheet blankets and that helped a lot with conserving body heat. I had a throw away jacket as well. There was the usual nervous chatter and people shuffling around to try and stay warm. At 6:30am they did a countdown and then we were off running downhill on the marathon course.


The marathon course started near the Kilohana Girl Scout Camp on the western slopes of Mauna Kea at around 5,400 feet of elevation.

I immediately noticed the huge amount of elevation loss. Right off the starting line the course went downhill and that combined with the dark made me a bit nervous that I would end up falling.

The first 7 miles continued at a -7% grade and loses 2,591 feet of elevation which is 48% of the total elevation loss for the whole course. It made running this section extremely challenging because you want to relax into the downhill but not let yourself get out of control. You also don’t want to do a lot of braking which is hard on the body and slows you down.

My mantra for the downhills was “flow” sort of like the relentless flow of lava. I tried to relax and keep the effort comfortably hard while enjoying the beautiful mountainous scenery around me. My pace for the first 6.55 miles was 6:46 for a time of 44:22.

By the time we got to mile 8 my legs were already feeling the toll of all that steep downhill but I tried to keep my mind positive and just run one mile at a time. The marathon described miles 8-13 as “slow down and hang on.”

At mile 11 and 12 the course really flattened out and then there are a few hills for a net elevation gain. It was a challenge to keep pushing at a decent pace and not get discouraged on the hills.

Although I was really starting to feel warm by the halfway point I was still holding a pace of 7:23 for a half time of 1:36:45. It really felt like the first half of the race went by quickly.

Near mile 13 we made another turn and from miles 14-20 the course lost another 1,600 feet of elevation which is a -4.5% grade. Compared to the first section this amount of downhill felt much more manageable.

By mile 16 I was feeling very hot as the sun was shining in a cloudless sky and we were running toward the ocean. It started to feel like the aid stations were too far apart as I was very thirsty by the time I arrived at one.

I was very thankful that I decided to go with the more minimal clothing option. There’s nothing like a little suffering to make you feel thankful for the little things- like the occasional breeze that I could feel.

For the final 10k the course has around a -2.4% grade and there were a couple small hills. I also started passing a few half marathoners and saw Ed, a long time listener from Honolulu, out on the course.

I really had to work hard at staying positive and focused during the final 10k because I was just so hot. I kept thinking, “I’m running my 50th state marathon, how amazing is that!” but part of me just wanted to be done. I noticed that I wasn’t even sweating that much which is unusual for me and I started dumping water on myself at each aid station.

Aid Stations:
Aid stations had water, sports drink, port-a-pots, and basic medical supplies and were located approximately every 2 miles starting at mile 3. The race also had a variety of witty signs posted along the way like “Uber pick-up location. Just kidding you have to run to the finish” and “It’s a hill. Get over it.”

For fueling I used a UCAN snack bar pre-race in my oatmeal and then had part of a bar at 5 mile intervals. I also used some chews with caffeine to give myself an extra boost of energy. My fueling felt on point, my energy was solid, and my stomach felt good. Use the code MTAHAWAII for 15% off!


At mile 25 we turned onto Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. This last mile plus was on exposed blacktop surrounded by lava fields and felt flat, exposed, and HOT. Plus there was a lot of traffic whizzing by.

I was trying to keep up a strong effort during the final two miles but being so hot I was somewhat worried. A couple of times I thought,

“I hope I don’t pass out . . . I’ve never passed out during a marathon before, that would be awful to come all the way to Hawaii and not finish the race.”

When I got to the last mile I realized that I needed to run a sub-8:00 mile to finish sub-3:20 so I decided to do a final push.

During the last section we turned back into the Hilton Waikoloa property to finish at the Queen’s Marketplace area. When I saw the 26 mile marker I felt a lot of relief and pushed across the finish line to finish strong. When I looked at the finish clock it said 3:19:59 and I felt so happy to meet my goal of running sub-3:20.

Finish Line/Finisher’s Stats:

I learned that my official time was 3:19:55 for an average pace of 7:37 per mile which was a 9:23 PR for me. The Revel race also prints off this awesome finisher’s card which lists your time and stats and I learned that I finished as the 4th place female (out of 121), 19th overall (out of 253), and 1st in my AG (out of 17- although the first 3 ladies were also 40+). This was also a Boston Qualifying time of over 20 minutes.

They gave out very nice medals along with a fresh lei to all the race finishers. They also had cold water and cold wet towels which felt amazing. I had a chocolate milk but didn’t even get over to see what other food was offered because I met a listener Sherry at the finish line and talked to her for a bit as she waited for her husband Wayne to finish. Then I saw Trevor, Natalie, and Tamanna and went over to celebrate with them.

With Tamanna and Natalie (my MetPro coach)

The total number of half marathoners was 332. The male winner was Samuel Fradette with a time of 1:17:58 and the female winner was Krysten Smith with a time of 1:23:40.
The total number of marathoner finishers was 225. The male winner was Paul Terranova with a time of 2:49:10 and the female winner was Kamie Miller with a time of 3:08:37.

I got my checked bag and changed into my recovery sandals and then we walked to the car to get back to the hotel. By that point I was feeling very happy and relieved to have run strong. My legs were also feeling rather jelly-like, especially in my quads. That started several days of hobbling around walking like a drunken toddler (as Rachel who did the marathon so aptly put it).

This was the most sore that I’ve been post-marathon for a long time. By day four I was feeling like I normally do the day after a marathon and was finally able to go down stairs and sit down without much discomfort.

MTA Meet Up:

Later in the afternoon we had the MTA meet up at the Kona Brewing Company and had a great turnout of listeners. The Kona Brewing Company was generous enough to give us complimentary drinks and the manager personally welcomed us!

MTA Meet Up at Kona Brewing

Big thanks to Wayne and Sherry from Alberta, Scott and Sue from Atlanta, Sean, Tamanna, Sapra and Suma from Cleveland, Natalie from California, Rachel from Seattle, Tammi and Jenn from O’ahu, and Cathy from Waikoloa for coming to the MTA Meet UP!

The map is now totally filled in! Hover over each state to see which races I did.

Post Marathon on the Big Island

We then enjoyed several days of going to the beach, enjoying a luau, hiking in Volcano National Park, and eating lots of great food.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Generation Ucan -use the code MTAHAWAII to save 15% on your order. New customers can save 25%.

Athletic Greens -Go to athleticgreens.com/mta and claim your special offer today – 20 FREE travel packs valued at $79 with your first purchase.

MetPro.co, a concierge nutrition coaching company. Angie has lost 32 pounds working with a MetPro nutrition coach. To see if MetPro is the solution you’ve been looking for, take their Metabolic Assessment and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of their experts go to MetPro.co/mta

Kona Brewing Co. -Trevor’s personal favorite is the Long Board Lager.

The Revel Race Series -fast downhill marathons.

7 Responses to Hawaii Race Recap- My 50th State Marathon

  1. Diana February 2, 2020 at 9:45 pm #

    Huge congrats again on an amazing race! So proud of you. I’m wondering did you take any electrolyte drink on the marathon course too? Or just water and UCAN? And when you mix your UCAN bar with oatmeal, do you add any protein?

  2. Diana February 2, 2020 at 9:48 pm #

    Oops and how do you keep UCAN bars from melting? Please and thanks. I am a fuel nerd. 🙂

    • Angie Spencer February 3, 2020 at 9:06 am #

      Thank you! I use Hammer Endurolyte capsules for my electrolyte needs (I took one pre-race and one at the 2 hour mark). For the UCAN oatmeal I prepare two packets of plain oatmeal according to the directions and break up a UCAN bar in it (it melts nicely). I didn’t add any other protein but took a packet of Athletic Greens like I do every morning. The best way to keep the UCAN bars from melting as long as possible is to keep them in the freezer or fridge until just before you need them. I typically take mine out of the package and cut them into halves, put them in a resealable baggie, and then freeze. The chocolate covered ones will eventually start melting but I haven’t found that it’s a huge detriment to using them (other than having to lick chocolate off my fingers) 🙂

  3. Gary Qualter February 4, 2020 at 4:46 am #

    Fantastic, a brilliant performance, congratulations Angie!
    While listening to the podcast I noticed a bizarre coincidence. I set my current marathon PB in the Newport (Wales) Marathon. My target that day was also to break 3:20. When I crossed the line my Garmin it said I’d completed the course in 3:19:19. When my official time came through it was 3:19:55. All three numbers tied with Angie’s exactly!
    I love the podcast, thanks very much guys.
    My Newport Marathon on Strava; https://www.strava.com/activities/1538988024/overview

    • Angie Spencer February 4, 2020 at 11:14 am #

      Thanks Gary! We really appreciate you being a listener. Looks like we’re marathon twins with our PR’s 🙂 Congrats on that awesome time!!

  4. Gary Qualter February 4, 2020 at 4:47 am #

    Correction, my Garmin said I’d completed the course in 3:19:59*

    • Trevor Spencer February 4, 2020 at 2:01 pm #

      You better step it up Gary, she’s got you beat by 4 seconds. 😂

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