Friday, January 28, 2011

Frist Hawaii Run: Ala Moana Beach Park 1/20

Hiroko and I arrived in Hawaii on the 19th at around 4pm Hawaiian time.  We did all the hotel / car rental stuff and then went to dinner and did some shopping at the Ala Moana Shopping Center right next to our Hotel.  The shopping center is right across from the the Ala Moana Beach Park, and it houses the restaurant where we had our wedding reception 5 years ago.  The Restaurant, Longhi's, overlooks the beach park.  Our reception had been at sunset and Hiroko could see people walking in the park as we dined.  She had even commented to her sister at the time about how wonderful it would be to walk in that park.  Five years ago neither of us could imagine that we would we be back their and not just walking in the park together, but running!  At the time, I had lost a good deal of weight living in Japan, but was still in bad shape overall.  I had no idea what it would take to maintain my weight loss once I returned to the US, and soon after our wedding and our relocation to NC, my weight ballooned and general fitness level went all to hell. 

However, over the last year, I have gotten into much better shape and discovered my passion for running.  I have been dealing with a series of injuries since around July, which have set me back, but have not caused me to give up hope or alter my goals.  I continued to workout and run despite the frustration of dealing with lingering injuries.  I have run in six 5k's, an 8k, and a 10k, all while fighting with plantar faciitis, which has finally just begun to subside just in time for me to sprain my ankle a week and a half before my trip and two weeks before my second 8k, which I planned to run while on this vacation.  Still, I just decided that I was going to deal with it the best I could and not let it hold me back.  As Hiro and I were driving to our hotel we passed the park and I could see tons of people out running near the beach, and I just couldn't wait to join them.

After our dinner and some shopping we headed back to our hotel and called it a night.  It was near 11pm Hawaiian time, which meant for our bodies it was 4am East coast time.  We were beat, but we still managed to get up just before sun rise and head to the Ala Moana beach park just after sunrise around 7:11am.  To say that it was stunning is a vast understatement.  I felt so at ease with the world and touched by beauty of this big blue world of ours.  After taking some time to just soak in the moment.  Hiroko and I went for a three mile run through the park which had nice paved running paths that went through the park and along the beach.  The paths also go through the mark itself, which is not that big, maybe on square mile, but what a beautiful mile it is!  It is filled with Palm trees, and other tropical plants.  There were many people out for walks, jogging, fishing, surfing, and swimming, but like most parks in America, this park is also home for many unfortunate people who are without homes or have obvious mental problems.  I can't explain the feelings that I felt seeing these people and contrasting their misfortune with my good fortune.  It was humbling because I know that there but for the grace of god go I.  It wold be easy for me to have just ignored this part of the experience or to have just overlooked it in the blog post, but I think that I would be doing the experience a disservice because it made a profound contribution to my experience and helped to make me more aware of my amazing good fortune to find myself to be there is such a wonderful doing something that I love with the person who means the most to me in this world. 

Hiro and I ran three miles in the park and than walked along the paths next the beach back to our hotel to start the first full day of our vacation, which had already gotten off to the best start imaginable.  We id the first mile in 9:24.66, the second in 9:19.44, the third in 9:20.80.  My sprained ankle held up well, but my legs felt really sluggish and heavy with poor circulation from the plane ride.  Still, I enjoyed this run deep down in my soul.

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