Since the gym is closed today, I thought I’d use this opportunity for another marathon story that was sent to me by one of our members, Gay Tanaka. Enjoy!
I hate running. Runners are tall with no body fat, like John or Josh.
I’m the total opposite, short and fat. I see only two reasons to run
for any length of time: 1) being chased by a naked clown with a shotgun;
2) knowing that Kimo or Elyse is waiting for me to get back from a 200,
400, 650, or God forbid, 800. But crossfit has a way of
changing people. After 10 months of crossfit, I set and conquered my
first goal of finishing the Great Aloha Run in February 2009 and was in
need of a new goal. Then I bumped into a friend at the gym. Although
one of his life goals was to run a marathon, he brushed off the idea of
doing the 2009 Honolulu Marathon. “Maybe next year,” he said. I
thought, surely if one started in April, the December marathon would be
within reach. Not wanting to be a slacker like him, I confessed my new
goal of finishing the 2009 Honolulu Marathon to Kimo and traced out a 12
mile route through Mililani.
Disembowelment by T.V. remote would have been less torturous and more
entertaining. I used a website to measure training routes, but the
printed maps had fewer street names than the website. More than once I
found myself running hither and thither, trying to read indistinct maps
at night, in the cold rain, totally lost at mile 4 with 12-15 miles to
go. The physical pain has been so bad that I had to walk and
arrive at my home until 11:30 p.m. Those times I found myself praying
for an abduction or drunk driver. Water fountains were far apart. As
were toilets. My long routes were 23 miles, not because I was
ambitious, but because that’s where the toilets were. Hey, there’s
a reason they’re called “accidents.” I’d be so crippled for so
long after a long run that a judge started calling me ”Gimpy.” But
through it all, I wore my Hardass Fitness T-shirt like a talisman during
every run . It served as that nagging reminder that I already knew
pain, and that pain was my friend.
By December, I’d run several 20-23 mile runs. My goal had gone from
10, to 9 to 8 hours. I had an iPod shuffle, new clothes from Lululemon
and knew which shoes caused the least pain. Water, food, office keys,
everything was laid out the night before. The plan was for my mom to
drop me off near the Start so that I wouldn’t have to drive from
Mililani to Kapiolani Park. When we got into town, I realized to my
horror that I had everything except my bib number and timing chip. I
had to turn around, drive back to Mililani, pick up the bib and chip and
start the drive back.
Eventually I got to Piikoi when the real marathoners came along and I
just joined the crowd. But when everyone turned left onto Ala Moana
Blvd. to go to Waikiki, I turned right to go to the Start line and got
there in time to watch crew take down the Start banner. I hear
there’s a rush when you’re among so many people in the same place,
all with the same goal. I wouldn’t know. There is no one so alone as
the idiot who
misses 20,000 people. Although the official start time was 5:00 a.m.,
my actual start time was 5:40 a.m. My gameplan went out the window when
I found myself totally and utterly alone-just RUN BABY, RUN! The only
people I caught up to were tourist taking pictures with their babies in
front of the Christmas lights.
Finally, I found my stride and settled into my run. Some streets I’d
never been on before. I stopped to take pictures of Waikiki beach at
sunrise and admire the beautiful homes I will never live in. I helped a
tourist who collapsed and marveled at the nuts in full polyester
costume. And you had to appreciate the hundreds of volunteers who
make this event happen, and homeowners who at least tolerate the
imprisoning them in their homes. But the most touching moments were the
physically or mentally challenged people on the road, as well as the men
who defend my freedom, walking the distance in fatigues with fully
loaded backpacks. They were the real heroes of the marathon.
My official time was 7 hours, 28 minutes, but if you consider I started
late, my actual time was closer to 7 hours. Much thanks to Kimo, a
shout out to Elyse, and love to everyone at Hardass Fitness. I
wouldn’t have even considered running the marathon without everyone
challenging me at every crossfit class.
Truthfully, not much has changed. I’m still short and fat. The great
injustice after nearly 8 months of training has been the minimal
weight-loss. And I still hate running. But I accomplished something I
never thought possible. My story proves that if I can finish a
marathon, absolutely ANYONE can. Once you have won the mental battle,
you will inevitably prove your mettle. All you need is the will to work
hard enough to change what you believe is possible.