Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Never too Late to Start Exercising – Just ask Hilo’s Claire Shigeoka

Claire Shigeoka

It’s never too late to start a health and fitness routine.  Many studies show the benefits to seniors that were sedentary most of their lives and how, at an advanced age, they managed to improve on many areas of productive fitness.

   Research suggests that exercise and physical activity can help maintain or partly restore strength, flexibility, balance and endurance.

   Getting older doesn’t mean that we have to lose our ability to do everyday tasks.  Exercise is proven to help older adults feel better and enjoy life more, even those who think that they are too old or too out of shape.

   Growing up in Hilo, 57-year old Claire Shigeoka, can recall being bored as a child and longing for some playmates and activities that would keep her occupied.

  “I wanted to do age group swimming so badly, but my family only had one car and there was no way to get to and from this activity,” Shigeoka said.  Even if I could find the transportation my family lacked the financial resources to afford them.”

  As Shigeoka approached her 40th birthday she began to see the need to get physically active and joined a local gym and began to take aerobic classes.

  “I decided to make up for lost time and began to find various physical exercise routines that would make me feel great,” she said.

   “By the time I was 50, what I was doing for the past 10 years wasn’t doing anything for me,” Shigeoka said.  “So I thought I would shock my body by starting to run.”

   Seven years ago Shigeoka took the first steps in a life changing experience that not only shocked her body but shaped it into something she is now proud of.

   “I started running on the treadmill on my 50th birthday and very slowly worked up some mileage,” she said.  “I didn’t go out on the road until about eight months later and it took me about a full year to be able to run my first 5K (3.1-mile) race.”

   Shigeoka’s slow transition to running not only transformed her body, but gave her the confidence to participate with others in various road races around the island.

   “I was inspired by everyday women whom I found out did marathons and other races,” Shigeoka said.  “Since running my first 5K I’ve completed two marathons (26.2-miles) and a few half-marathons (13.1-miles).

   Shigeoka currently works at the University of Hawaii at Hilo where she is the Associate Director of Human Resources.

   “I oversee the day-to-day operations of the HR office where I review and audit personnel and position transactions,” she said.  “I’ve done HR work for the last 24 years both in the private sector and for the University.”

   Learning from her early “boring” days as a youngster Shigeoka has made time to insure that her own two daughters reap the value of sports participation.

   “My older daughter (28 years old) did age group swimming, and then swam for Waiakea High,” Shigeoka said.  “My younger daughter is in her second year of college and she did gymnastics from the time she was in kindergarten and was competitive until she graduated from high school.”

   Shigeoka now considers her fitness routine as being almost an obsession as the late bloomer tries to make up for lost time.

   “Right now my typical week would be running 9 to 12 miles on Sunday, run two evenings a week after work for an hour,” she said. “I have two hour long Zumba classes at the YWCA and one early morning workout session with a trainer at the gym.”

   Time permitting Shigeoka will also squeeze in another gym session, on her own, sometime during the week.

   Shigeoka claims that today her weakness comes from her diet and knowing this she has made some adjustments.

   “For many years I thought I could just exercise and eat whatever I wanted, but it just doesn’t work for me,” Shigeoka said.  “What I’m doing is what I’ve heard over the years; eat chicken and fish and keep the red meats to a minimum.”

   Another obstacle for Shigeoka is her lack of interest in eating fresh fruits.

   “I eat lot of vegetables, which is something I like, but find it hard to include fruits in my diet,” she said.  “I’ve cut out fried foods and will limit my sweets to special occasions.”

   Since Christmas, by watching what she eats, Shigeoka has managed to lose 10 pounds without needing to go on a “diet.”

   “It’s the sweets that have sabotaged me the most in the past,” Shigeoka said.  “By limiting them to special occasions it has helped me maintain a more desirable weight.”

   And why does Shigeoka keep running?  “Exercise makes me feel great,” she said.  “Running makes me feel young and energetic.  Often times when I do long runs, it’s a real struggle but when I’m done there’s a feeling of elation, of accomplishment.”

   Despite getting started late on health and fitness Shigeoka has managed to improve her health and increase her self-confidence in everything she does.

   “My fitness goals are to keep doing what I’m doing and running well into my 90’s,” Shigeoka said.

   Sharon Olds summarized people that get a late start on something best when she said, “I was a late bloomer.  But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky.”


April 19, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running on the Big Island | , , , | 5 Comments

Sophomores Kobayashi, Huihui & Brostek shine in Kona

Keaau senior Daniel Brooks leads the boys 800

KEALAKEKUA – It was a banner day for three sophomores at the Julian Yates Field on the Konawaena track this past Saturday.

   Waiakea’s Kelsie Kobayashi, Keaau’s Jesse Huihui and Hawaii Preps Shane Brostek all had key wins during a regular season Big Island Interscholastic Federation all-schools meet to showcase their up and coming abilities.


Kobayashi started the day in the grueling 3000 meter race in a heat with some of the finest distance runners in the league.

  “I decided to run my own race today and not follow anyone,” Kobayashi said. 

   That’s exactly what the young Warrior did, as she jumped out to an early lead right from the start with the pack in hot pursuit.

   Honokaa’s Tialana Greenwell stayed on Kobayashi’s heels for six and a half laps before trying to surge ahead on the bell lap, but Kobayashi quickly recovered and put on a surge of her own to win the 3K by nearly four seconds over Greenwell in a time of 11 minutes 48.32 seconds.

   “Today’s time was a personal best for me,” Kobayashi said.  “When Tia passed me I said to myself that I can’t give up and dug deep.  I know I need to get faster and I really need to work on my kick at the end of the race.”

   Kobayashi returned to the track later in the day to run in the first heat of the girls 800 meter run, a race she had never done this year, winning her heat in 2:37.15.

   “The 800 was a practice race for me and a chance for me to work on my speed,” she said.  “But my focus this year will be on the 1500 and 3000.”

   While Kobayashi was impressive in the distance race, Keaau’s Jesse Huihui was winning the sprints.


Huihui began the day with a win in the 100 meter dash, clocking 11.29 seconds and later winning the 200 in 22.95.  In the interim Huihui anchored his 4×100 relay team to victory as the Cougar foursome clocked in at 44.97.

   “It feels good to win, but I still haven’t reached my goals in the 100 and 200,” Huihui said.  “I want to break 11 seconds for the 100 and I need to get my 200 time under 22.8.”

   Admittedly, Huihui is running a lot faster than his freshman year, but the young sprinter still wants to become more competitive.  

  “I want to keep up with the Oahu people,” he said.  “I’m working harder at practice and I’m pushing myself more than last year and the results are beginning to show.”

   Far off the track and across the road that divides the Kona campus was the shot put and discus ring, an area overshadowed by some of the largest people in the sport, the throwers.


Leading the BIIF contingent is HPA’s Shane Brostek who swept both events on Saturday with solid throws.

   Brostek is the defending BIIF shot put champion and continues to lead the league with his near 50 foot tosses.

   “I like the shot better than the discus,” Brostek said.  “My goal this year is to hit 54 or 55 feet for the shot and 150 feet for the discus.”

   Last year, as a freshman, Brostek placed in the shot at the state championships, and this year he ranks as one of the leaders in distance.

   “I need to work on my technique and keep my head up when I throw the shot,” he said.  “In the discus I need to stay lower in my spin.  If I can do those things and it all comes together I will reach my goals.”


Another fine middle distance runner is Keaau senior Daniel Brooks.  Brooks, who leads the league with the best time in the 800 this season decided to give the 3000 a try at the Kona meet.

   “I just wanted to get a time in for the 3000 so that by the end of the season if I need to run it to help my team score points in the championships, I will,” he said.

   Brooks was challenged during most of his race by Kealakehe’s Geoff Whitener as both boys exchanged the lead several times during the seven and a half lap race.  The Cougar pulled away in the late stages of the race to win by eight seconds, clocking in at 9:40.88.

  Later Brooks returned to run his specialty race, the 800, but admittedly went out too slow in his attempt to improve on his time.

   “I ran my first lap in 64 seconds and my second lap at 60 seconds,” Brooks said.  “I need to get out faster if I hope to break 2 minutes, but that just didn’t happen today.”


Perhaps the most astonishing performance of the day came from state hurdle champion, Kau’s Jacob Edwards, as the senior posted the best times in the state for the 110 (14.47 seconds) and the 300 (38.80 seconds).

   Jacobs had just run at an invitational meet on Oahu the day before and was coming off impressive victories at the Kamehameha-Kapalama campus, when he turned in an Olympic performance in Kona.

   “It’s been over a decade since someone has ever run under 39 seconds for the 300 hurdles in this state,” Kau Coach Bob Martin said.  “No one from the Big Island has ever run that fast!”

   Martin believes that Edwards’s performance now ranks him as one of the top three hurdlers in Hawaii state track history.

   “Jacob has been working hard since his freshman year and he comes from a small school that practices on a grass surface,” Martin said.  “His accomplishments have set himself apart from anyone in our schools history.”

   Martin believes that Edwards is talented enough to go under 38 seconds for the 300 and could go into the low 14’s for the 110.

  “What’s phenomenal is that we haven’t seen this sort of effort (in the hurdles) in years,” Martin said.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | High School Track & Field | , , , , , , | Leave a comment