Pictures: An Assotrment of Happy Runners, Big Dog in His Element, Coconut Island - The Start, One Fast Wahine, The Real Award!, Tired, Hungry and Cute
From Pat & Karen Miller ……..

Humahumanukunukuapua’a doesn’t have much to do with running. Probably closer to something you would see during the swim leg of Ironman of the Kailua Pier. It’s the Hawaii state fish and I spent months learning the proper pronunciation before Karen and I flew into Kona in February for two weeks of relaxation and running in something other than fleece!

Obsessed runners that we are we scoured the web searching for a race during our stay. Gotta check Hawaii off the “states raced in” list ya’ know. The only thing we could find was a “Valentines Day 5K” a low-key fun race hosted by the Big Island Road Runners on Saturday the 18th. As with most races in Hawaii the start time was a rather early 7:30AM in an effort to avoid the heat and humidity that comes with being on an island close to the equator. Our flight arrived in Kona at 3:30 the previous afternoon and since the Big Island is roughly the size of Connecticut, a 2-plus hour drive separated us from the staring line on the opposite side of the island. With typical runner logic, we decided that 4:00AM in Hawaii was really like 6:00AM at home and the start was really at 9:30AM. So at 4:30AM we were on the strange dark road piloting “Leon the Neon” towards Hilo.

We found the start with no problem thanks to the directions provided by Wayne “Big Dog” Joseph, the club president and knower-of-all-things running on the east side of Hawaii. Low 70’s, overcast and calm made for a pleasant change from the 26 degrees we left (and that isn’t counting the freezing blizzard that occurred the day after!)

Karen and I gave each other our pre-race, good luck smooch and toe’d the line with 80 other runners..…”and they’re off!”

The flat, out and back course following the Pacific along the seawall road made for some pretty gorgeous running. I told Karen that I was ‘just going to take it easy and enjoy the experience’ but like most runner’s, I lie a bit and was soon pushing about as hard as I could. I managed to cross the line in 22:29 my fastest 5k in years. All those long, slow training miles tend to make me long and slow… I ran back to the car to get the camera so I could get a picture or two of Karen coming in. She was having such a good run she overshot the final turn and was heading toward the volcano when she decided to come back. 28:57 got her a big PR for 5k even with the sightseeing at the end and a trip to the bathroom mid-race. The women is in the process of becoming an age-group animal!!!…and the Hawaii running weather seemed to appeal to us both.

The fastest couple’s time was captured by a nice young duo from the town of Volcano. Did I mention they were young? Karen and I however were the fastest “Golden Masters Couple”. In his award presentation “Big Dog” seemed more impressed by our resolve to get up at 4 in the morning and drive to their side of the island than by our swift times and we were presented with a CD of Hawaiian music for our efforts. Even got our names in the Hilo newspaper on Monday in a weekly running and fit lifestyle column that Wayne writes.

And now it’s time to hunt up those Macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup that Kenn raves about.

Best $2.00 race I’ve ever run……….