In this month’s issue Jennifer Woodson reports on Sarah Lee’s virtual Honolulu Marathon and Amy Katz shares some delicious breakfast recipes using oats.

Sarah Lee’s Virtual Honolulu Marathon By Jennifer Woodson

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like no other. The COVID-19 rollercoaster is a ride we would all like to see come to an end soon. The various struggles have been felt across the nation, and our running community is no exception.  

In spring, race by race, we read the emails announcing postponements. Many runners were able to adjust training and stay on track for the new fall race date. 

We held on to hope. We thought of every scenario that would enable our race to happen. We were ready to weather this storm and crush our 2020 running goals, even if they were to be delayed.

Alanna, Sarah, and Jennifer

In late summer and early fall, the cancellation emails started to filter in and that really dampened the mood. With options to defer, receive a refund, or race virtually, we again started running the scenarios about what option made the most sense to choose, based on our individual circumstances.   

Virtual races, a concept that many runners used to scoff at, soon became the only option to create a race-like experience. A virtual race offers a goal and a reason to train with purpose.  

Running friends have created small, close-knit training groups to get the miles in and have opted to do virtual races, everything from 5Ks to the marathon distance. It’s a goal, and upon completion, an achievement not only for the body, but for the mind.  

Running the later miles of a marathon is a true test of grit and determination. This is especially true for those completing the distance as a solo virtual race, as there are no spectators, no fellow racers, and no aid stations. It’s just you and the road. 

On December 12th, Sarah Lee took on the challenge to complete her 24th marathon, virtually. She chose the Honolulu Marathon, and through training and some serious grit, Sarah finished in 3:44. This race was extra special because it was Sarah’s birthday! 

I interviewed Sarah to learn more about how she prepared for this race and her thoughts about the virtual race experience. 

Sign to congratulation Sarah
Congratulations on completing a virtual marathon! Why did you choose the Honolulu Marathon to be your virtual race? 

As 2020 was nearing an end, I realized I hadn’t run a marathon this year. Since 2012, I have run at least one marathon every year. In late October, I started thinking about running a virtual one before 2020 ended. Shortly after, I got an email that the Honolulu Marathon, which was supposed to be December 13, had gone virtual. You could pick any day (or days) in December to complete it. My birthday is December 12th, so it seemed perfect. I have run the actual race before in 2013. It stands as my personal worst marathon. 

The timing sounds like it lined up perfectly for you to complete a marathon in 2020! What did you do to prepare for the race? 

For the course, I thought Back Bay would be the best option because it’s a loop with bathrooms and water along the way. I didn’t want to do 2.5 loops around Back Bay though, and thought it would be nice to start and end in Corona Del Mar. When I did the “real” Honolulu Marathon, a favorite memory was soaking my feet in the ocean when I was done. I wanted to re-create this moment, but it was too cold and windy. In terms of training for the race, my number one goal was to finish. For many reasons in 2020, I didn’t have the time or the training that I had in years past. In the six weeks leading up to the race, I focused on the weekend long run. I was able to get in 2- 20s, and I didn’t taper. I had a “cut back” weekend two weeks before because of work, but I ran 16 the next weekend before the marathon. Also, I used to have a steady schedule of weekly speed and tempo runs which really didn’t happen in 2020. In the 6 weeks prior, I tried to get AT LEAST 2 (if not 3) mid-week runs and have at least one of them be a speed or tempo run.   

Good job on preparing for the distance! Now that you have completed the training and the race, is there anything you would have done differently? 

My nutritional preparation could have been better. I remembered to carb load somewhat, but I totally forgot about hydration the day before the race. 

How do you feel the virtual race experience compared to a live event? Is there anything about the experience that surprised you? 

I definitely prefer the live race and don’t see myself doing many more virtual races. Maybe because it was a cold day (or maybe because of the re-spike in Coronavirus cases), there were not a lot of people out. I ran by myself for most of the “race.” In many ways, it felt like a very LONG training run. But I was surprised that I had fun. I still got the butterflies after mile 20 because that’s when you get into the “untested” waters and start wondering if you might bonk. I still got that little glee when I ticked off another mile. I still had that bargaining with myself at the end just to get to the “finish.” I was so happy when I hit 26.2 because that was definitely something I could not have done a couple months ago.   

What would be your best piece of advice for someone planning to complete a virtual race? 

Have fun with it. In most cases, your “time” won’t really matter.   

What was your favorite moment of your virtual race and why was it so special? 

Seeing my friends who took the time to start with me and cheer me on at the end with signs and the requisite cowbell. 

I’m glad you liked the mini cheer squad! Do you see any more virtual marathons in your future, or was this a “2020 Special Edition”? 

No, I don’t plan on doing many more virtual races unless, God forbid, 2021 also sees a cancelling of most marathons. I want to keep my annual marathon streak alive. And I absolutely will count this virtual Honolulu as my 24th marathon. 

Jennifer, Sarah, and friends after her race

Congratulations on completing the virtual marathon, and thank you for sharing your story with us, Sarah! It’s truly inspiring to see what you, and many other members of our club, are accomplishing in these unprecedented times. I can’t wait to see what new adventures and goals you choose to tackle in 2021. 

Delicious (Not Boring!) Breakfast Recipes using Oats By Amy Katz

Healthy whole-grain oats are a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. According to Healthline, consuming oats can aid with weight loss, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

But there’s no reason to only prepare them as basic oatmeal. They can be used in a wide variety of delicious and satisfying breakfast recipes.

Oatmeal Waffles

Oatmeal Waffles are simple, super tasty, healthy and wholesome. The batter can be whipped up quickly and easily in your blender. Make fresh or keep a stash in the freezer for quick breakfasts throughout the week.

Oatmeal Waffles

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal is filled with pieces of warm baked apples and spices. It’s a recipe that’s quick and easy to make and great for breakfast meal prep.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Orange Cranberry Baked Oatmeal Cups

Sweet-tart baked oatmeal cups packed with dried cranberries and orange zest are a perfect grab-and-go breakfast. They only take seven ingredients and about half an hour to make.

Baked Oatmeal Cups

Coffee Granola

Coffee Granola is flavored with real coffee grounds. The perfect pick me up for breakfast!

Coffee Granola

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

If you love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups you’re going to love Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli is an easy, low-effort and versatile breakfast packed with fiber, nutrients and protein to keep you feeling satisfied all morning long. And there’s no cooking involved!

Bircher Muesli

What’s your favorite way to enjoy oats?

Treasurer’s Report By Victor Gambone

Total Cash Balance, Beginning  December 1, 20204,279.66
Cash Inflows: $310.00 membership, $20.00 merchandise330.00
Cash Outflows-First Thursday
Cash Outflows-RRCA Membership Dues & Insurance 935.47
Cash Outflows-Banquet
Cash Outflows-Uniforms + Caps/Visors
Cash Outflows-Social Gatherings
Cash Outflows-Other: $10.49 PayPal fees, $50 SCRR website fees60.49
Net Change in Cash   (665.96)
Total Cash Balance, Ending December 31, 20203,613.70

10% Discount at A Snail's Pace Running Shop

Do you have a story to share? Please e-mail your newsletter contributions to Amy Katz at amyk262@hotmail.com.