Hilo’s Amy Masuyama comes from a long line of distance runners
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat,” Theodore Roosevelt wrote.
Roosevelt, of course, was referring to sports participation and his belief that Americans should all experience the highs and lows that come with the challenges of playing team sports.
“It was never a question of whether or not I’d be playing sports in high school,” Amy Masuyama said. “The question was which sports I will be playing.”
Hilo’s Amy Masuyama played AYSO soccer while growing up and went onto participate in soccer and track while at Hilo High School.
“I wasn’t a superstar by any means, but sports gave me a solid foundation for the active lifestyle I live today,” she said.
Masuyama’s father, Mark, played an important role in her sports development and served as a good role model.
“My dad is my idol,” Masuyama said. “He is still running marathons at 68, fast ones too!”
Masuyama’s dad encouraged her from an early age to participate in team sports and through that experience Amy learned many positive traits.
“I am grateful for my dad pushing me into sports at an early age as I’ve learned so much from being on a team,” she said. “Sports participation has taught me things that I can apply to my life like how to work as a team member, how to set a goal and train for it, how to win and of course how to get up after being knocked down.”
Masuyama was coached at Hilo by Bill McMahon and what he shared with her provided a foundation for who she has become.
“Sports gave me a solid foundation for the active lifestyle I live today,” she said. “Coach McMahon taught me about running form and technique and he’d be happy to know that I kept it up.”
Masuyama makes it a priority to stay active on a daily basis.
“Being active gives me physical strength, but also emotional and spiritual strength,” she said.
“I run my dogs 4 miles every morning, rain or shine, as running keeps them balanced and happy and it does the same for me as well.”
During the afternoons Masuyama will shift gears and do a full body circuit workout session.
“At first, running everyday was a challenge, but now I don’t think twice about doing it,” Masuyama said. “Double workouts were tough too, and some days they are still tough, but I always feel better when I’m done.”
Masuyama believes that we should set goals that are tough and continue to work towards achieving them until we finally get there.
Each year the Masuyama family participates in the Big Island International Marathon and this year there were 10 of them in three different races.
“The Big Island Marathon is a real special race for me,” Masuyama said. “It is a beautiful course, the runners are awesome and the support crew is amazing! My family participates every year and we all set different goals.”
After completing the Big Island International Half Marathon (13.1 miles), in which she finished tenth overall and as the fastest local female, Masuyama has changed her workout routine.
“Now that I’m not training for the half marathon I have more time for weight training on the weekends,” she said.
To properly balance her daily regimen of exercise Masuyama will also take a special approach to nutrition as a way of life.
“I try to eat food in its most natural state, with no processed foods,” she said. “I eat real clean and I grow my own vegetables, but I will never pass up a juicy steak, a homemade baked good or a pint of stout beer. Everything in moderation and you gotta have fun!”
And why does this 30 something year old continue to run?
“After my Freshman 15 (more like 30), I got back into running to get back into shape,” she said.
“For me, running is the best activity because it is affordable, very effective and I can do it anywhere.”
Masuyama trained for her first marathon (26.2 miles) in 2002, but has since found her niche in doing the half marathon.
“I love the challenge of cardio strength and endurance strength that the half marathon race provides,” she said.
Masuyama has also had her distracters as some have advised her to move away from running.
“I have had many people tell me that I should not be running,” she said. “I’ve been told that I have the wrong body type or that my legs are too heavy. But I was determined to be a runner so I just kept showing up and running and now I have a good strong run every day. If I can be a runner than anyone can be.”
“Every time I work out I am thanking my body for being so healthy and strong and doing what I tell it to do,” Masuyama said.
Last year Masuyama met a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force who lost his leg and was using a prosthetic.
“The sergeant and I would always talk and he told me that he missed running so much. He’d try, but his prosthetic would get slippery and cause him to fall,” Masuyama said.
“Meeting him changed me. I no longer say I have to go for a run, instead I say that I get to go for a run,” she said. “I will run until I am unable to.”
And someday should you happen to see a happy jogger come trotting down the streets of East Hawai’i remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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