Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Frank Shorter, Kona Marathon Races and Party!

So many things happened at the Big Island Running Company over the last week that it's hard to know where to start - or to do it all justice. The exciting long weekend started last Thursday afternoon with a Frank Shorter autograph session at the Big Island Running Company. Frank (and yes, it is still a little shocking that we are on a first-name basis with Frank Shorter) was incredibly gracious and spent over three hours talking story with anyone who stopped by. He gathered quite a crowd.Eddie O from Lava 105.3 brought his sound system and music, and Jon Kunitake provided some musical entertainment as well with his violin. Many mahalos to each of them for making the event such a success!

On Saturday, Big Island Running Company set up a booth at the Kona Marathon expo.

Learning from our experience at the Big Island Marathon Expo, we didn't try to take any shoes and stuck with the basics - logo gear, nutritional products and, of course, Bodyglide! We also had the opportunity to keep the Kona store open while the expo was going on, since Jason stayed behind, while Michelle Whitford and I took over the expo. Mahalo to Bill and Kathy Harlan for helping us get set up in the morning; to Michelle Whitford for staffing the tent and to Sharron Faff for allowing us to take part in the event. Our spot was perfect and the weather was beautiful.

After a long day at the expo on Saturday, we were up early on Sunday morning for the race. Since we live less than a mile from the starting line, we were able to make it down there in plenty of time for the start of the marathon at 5:30 a.m. Our half marathon started at 6:00 a.m. with Frank Shorter sending us off. It was great to see all of our training group members out and ready to go.

As luck would have it, Sunday was a beautiful, clear day in Kona - no vog to speak of. Unfortunately, that also meant HOT! It wasn't too bad along Alii Drive, but the portions out past the Old Airport and Kona Commons were a little toasty (and, of course, the portions of the marathon on the highway). But from about half a mile before the turnaround and a mile after, the excitement was great. I was able to keep seeing all of our friends and running group participants.

That was also where I could see how Jason's race was going. When I ran past him, he was running neck and neck with Luis in third and fourth. Unfortunately I wasn't able to see the finish, which I hear was great entertainment. Apparently Luis had put a little distance on Jason, but Jason surged right at the end and managed to beat Luis by one second right at the tape. But they both had great times of 1:16:05 and 1:16:06.

The next of our group behind them was Ray Whitford with a time of 1:37:39. We had a contest for our running group to see who could come closest to their predicted time. Ray finished nearly four minutes ahead of his prediction! I came in next, a little slower than I was hoping for, at 1:49:55. Once Jason and I came in, we were able to get pictures of most of our group members finishing. Here are their photos and their finishing times:

Well, he wasn't in our running group, but here is Frank Shorter finishing the 5K, right behind Carrie Bartsch.

10K Finishers

Sandy Miller - 1:02:01 in the 10k.

Kristina Sawaya - 1:08:14 in the 10k.

Maggie Leite - 1:15:30 in the 10k.

Paul Incardona - 1:30:41 in the 10k (and age group winner!)

Jenni Rhodes - 1:37:59 in the 10K

Half Marathon Finishers

Eddie O - 1:55:09 (only 9 seconds off his predicted time!)

Megan Livingston - 1:55:49

Chitwin San Tun - 1:55:52

Gerd Weber - 1:56:31

Michael Traub - 1:56:43

Lisa Bryant - 1:58:35

Michelle Whitford - 1:59:33 (after working the expo and being injured for the month before the race!)

Nori Becker - 2:20:13

Peter Ballerini - 2:35:42

Mona Estrada and Rich Randazzo - 2:41:48

Marvis Hanano - 2:45:08 (21 minutes better than last year!)

Cherry Ward - 2:48:31

Laura Bollman - 2:49:11

Our apologies to Vicky Akana (2:25:56) Barbara Hughes (2:51:39), Jackie Moore-Andresen (3:10:44), Jill Weber (3:15:39), Danny Jesser (4:03:50 in the marathon), Jon Kunitake (4:08:33 in the marathon) and anyone else that we missed with the camera! Congratulations to all participants and thanks as always to all the volunteers!

After the race, we hung around for awards and I even got to pass some out! Then it was time for the celebratory party at the Old Airport. It was a great afternoon hanging out with satisfied friends and replacing all those calories we burned off!

And it was all capped off with a lovely Kona sunset!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Papa Pea's Birthday Biathlon and Salute to the 70s!

Yesterday morning saw several great events taking place in Kona - the State Cycling Championship, Bubba Gumps's Run Forrest Run Keiki Fun Runs, and Papa Pea's Birthday Biathlon and Salute to the 70s. Unfortunately the events overlapped, though. Since we aren't cycling on the Big Island yet and we're just slightly too old for the keiki runs, we headed out to the Peaman event. Jason was official photographer for the day, having already completed his 10 miler that morning.
Although we thought the turnout at the race would be small because of the other events going on, the turnout was great, with a lot of people that we didn't recognize. This month's event was a 3/4 mile swim and a 3.1 mile run. Typical Peaman swims are 1/2 miles, so this was a little bit longer. I've been swimming 3/4 miles fairly regularly, but "racing" it was an entirely different thing. I use the term "racing" loosely, since I am still SLOW and towards the back of the swim pack. But this time I was swimming with packs of people the whole way out to the turnaround, getting elbowed, getting run over, and running over people. Although it didn't cause me to panic this time around, it was still a little unsettling. It makes me rethink this "get faster at swimming" goal!

Speaking of people who are really fast at swimming, Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen (below) was the first swimmer out of the water (a little predictable, since she holds many masters swimming records).

Luis De La Torre was next, with the rest of the swimmers streaming in behind. I think I was only about 12 minutes behind Karlyn (which means she was finishing right about when I was turning around)! I told Jason to expect me out of the water sometime between 30-35 minutes, so I was pleasantly surprised when I came in under 28 minutes.

Then it was on to the run. Today definitely felt like a hot Kona summer day, even at 8:30 a.m. But one nice thing was the run course went right past the Bubba Gump's run. So I got to see a little bit of the keiki race and on the way back got a nice boost of encouragement from the Beckers and Currys! And since it was a Salute to the 70's, Doug Henbest and Jay Plasman got to show a little skin and roller skate the course. Below is a picture of them cheering on Rani Tanimoto to the finish.

Looks like some good competition!

Michael Woodbury
Gerd Weber

My run time came in just under 24 minutes, for a total time of 52:49. Definitely not setting any speed records, but I'm still seeing improvement. Full results for the races are here.

After the race was over, we celebrated Papa Pea's birthday and congratulated all the fathers on Father's Day. We also had a special guest appearance by Frank Shorter! He's in town already in preparation for the Kona Marathon races and came out to the race with Jon Kunitake.

Frank gave a nice speech about the importance of local community events like Peaman races. Afterwards, Jason and I were talking about how lucky we are to have come to a community with so many local, free events, something that's really hard to come by in Chicago! Those events really do help create a community - one that we are happy to be a part of. Thanks as always to those who make it possible!

Don't forget - Frank Shorter will also be at Big Island Running Company on Thursday, June 24 at 3 p.m. on to sign autographs, answer questions and talk running. We'll have some giveaways, free smoothie samples from Tropical Frozen Yogurt, a pretzel and Italian Ice special from Kiliki'i Italian Ice and more!

Then we hope to see everyone out participating, volunteering or cheering on participants in the Kona Marathon races on Sunday! Good luck to all the runners!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2010 Ironman Hawaii 70.3 (Honu)

Yesterday was a huge event for the triathletes of the Big Island - the Rohto Ironman Hawaii 70.3 (Honu). The island has been abuzz with talk and training about this event for weeks. For those who don't know, a good performance in Honu can qualify you to compete in the Ironman World Championship in October. In addition to the spots given out to age group winners, there are also additional spots set aside for the fastest Hawaii finishers and the fastest Big Island finishers. So plenty of people who live and train on the Big Island were going for their shot at Ironman.

People who know a lot more about triathlons than I do can do a recap more justice, so be sure to check out Dawn Henry's summary at Ironman.com, as well as the articles in today's West Hawaii Today. My plan for the day was to head to Hapuna Beach and watch the swim and the bike transition and then head to an aid station on the run course that I'd be helping out at for the day. I was able to get several good pictures of the swim, but the camera unfortunately stayed in the bag the rest of the day.
Jason's second favorite weatherman, Guy Hagi, was one of the swim announcers!
Guy hasn't surpassed Tom Skilling yet, the great weather he always gets to forecast doesn't hurt.

The swim start

John Flanagan killing everyone on the swim. That's him on the right behind the paddleboard and everyone else on the left by the orange buoy. Completely amazing to watch.

A pack of swimmers exit the water.

Bike transition area.

Korey Pulluaim

Rani Tanimoto

Carrie Harris
The aid station that I was working came at about mile 8 of the run. The runners then looped back around to catch the other side with 1.9 miles to go. I was hoping to be able to see several of our friends and customers on the course and I was definitely able to do that. Congratulations to Luis De La Torre (6th overall and first age-grouper to finish!), Bree Wee (2nd female overall!), Penn Henderson, Eric Neilsen, Sam Corace, Rani Tanimoto, Kevin Murar, Korey Pulluaim, John Simmerman, Gerd Weber, Jim Moore, Doug Henbest, Carrie Harris, Bobbi Reif-Acheson, Lesley Cens-McDowell, Sarah Higgins, Jessica Abner, Kris Kiser, Kym Kiser, and Ellie Sumic. I'm sorry if I missed anyone either here or on the course! I also haven't heard who received all the qualifying spots for Ironman, but congratulations to all those who qualified!