Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Sandy Vos wins 2-mile run with an adopt me dog from Rainbow Friends

Vos with rescue dog

Sometimes it’s unusual circumstances that bring people together and with part time Volcano resident Sandy Vos nothing could be truer.

I recently met Vos at the Howling Holidays run/walk in Paradise Park as she was walking to the starting line with a dog that had a bandana wrapped around it that said, “Adopt me.”

Vos, who was offered to walk with a dog by Rainbow Friends, had just met her animal moments before stepping up to the starting line.

“Rainbow Friends gave me a lovely young female that had been found badly injured on the side of the road near Volcano,” Vos said.

Vos believes the dog was a hunting animal that was mangled by a wild pig and then left to die.

Rainbow Friends had nursed the dog back to health and Vos was about to take her on a one mile walk before changing her mind.

“I didn’t plan to run her in the two mile race, but she had so much energy and I knew she wanted to go,” Vos said.  “I’ve never ran with a dog before but always wanted to do that. It was so much fun for the both of us.”

The decision by Vos to enter the two mile competitive race proved to pay big dividends.  They found themselves leading the race from start to finish and eventually winning in a time of 18 minutes and 50 seconds.

“She didn’t want to stop running and seemed to know exactly what to do,” Vos said.  “as she had an easy time keeping up as we went up and down the gravel road.” 

The dog was named Sheila, after the lady that found her, according to Vos. 

Sandy Vos

“I saw Sheila a few hours after the race and she couldn’t keep her eyes open, she was so tired,” Vos said.

As it turned out Vos comes to Hilo on a regular bases to take a break from her job as a pipeline engineer in Houston.

“I work long hours, often sitting at a desk, and after work I love to run to relieve the stress and stiffness from not moving much all day,” Vos said.

During the summer heat in Houston Vos will run on a treadmill.

“It gets so hot there that I have to join a gym to run in the summer,” she said.  “I just come to Hawaii for holidays, where it’s easy to run all year round.”

In high school her sport of choice was golf as she considers herself too short for team sports.

A typical workout week for Vos is to run 20 to 30 minutes four or five times during the week, unless she is training for a marathon which requires more time on the road.

“The year I trained for my first marathon and I ran over 800 miles during my 10 month training period,” she said.  “I know, because I kept a log of all my runs.”

Vos’ first marathon was in 2006 when she ran the prestigious New York City Marathon.

Her training mileage paid off as she ran an impressive 3 hours 56 minutes.

“The NYC Marathon was definitely my favorite race, being the first Big One I had done,” she said.  “The people were fantastic all along the route and it was so easy to stay motivated even though it was the most difficult run I’ve ever done.”

Vos caught the marathon running bug and went onto to do the granddaddy of all marathons, Boston, a few months later.

“The weather in Boston was cold and wet and there was a strong wind in my face coming off the Atlantic most of the route,” Vos said.  “It was not much fun at all as I didn’t even break four hours.”

Since the Boston experience Vos has decided to hang up her marathon shoes and run for fitness.

“I want to keep fit, healthy and not gain weight,” she said.

To insure that she stays in great shape Vos will watch what she eats.

“I never eat fast food or junk food and rarely eat out,” she said.  “My favorite meal is a BBQ’d steak (rare) baked potato, green salad and a glass or 2 or good red wine.”

Vos will try to eat simple meals and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“My weakness is French food,” Vos said.  “The French are very healthy people, they say it’s because of all the good food and red wine they eat and drink.”

At times this hardworking young woman will have to dig deep to do her workouts.

“It’s sometimes hard to get motivated to go every second day, but I know how good I’ll feel when the run is over,” she said.  “Also I like to run with music, something with a good beat.”

Vos is also an advocate for what  Rainbow Friends do for their animals.

“Rainbow Friends is a wonderful sanctuary,” she said.  “Their dogs and cats are well socialized and waiting to be adopted to good homes.  They also have a foster program if people are not able to adopt permanently.  I foster a sweet 3 legged cat that lives with me when I’m on the island.”

People interest in adopting an animal or participating in the Rainbow Friends foster program should call Mary Rose or one of her hard working volunteers at 982-5110.

Vos is a believer in living a healthy lifestyle and exercise is an important aspect of her well being.

“There is something about running,” she said.  “It gives me such a wonderful, mellow feeling when I’m finished.”

And someday should you happen to see an animal lover jogging the back roads of Hawaiian Paradise Park remember to smile, say “woof” and “Never shy away from Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

January 23, 2012 Posted by | Profiles | , , , | Leave a comment