Automotive Supply Center’s Balingit is a pharmacist of sorts
In doing this column for nearly ten years I had never met someone who calls himself a pharmacist, until recently when I met a 40 year old by the name of Lyle Balingit.
I’ve known his parents for a number of years and his dad , Nick, was a top running and swimming competitor in his heyday.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and Lyle Balingit is a good example of a runner who has progressed over the years.
Balingit also has a great sense of humor like his father because he is a self described pharmacist of sorts.
“I’ve been working for Automotive Supply Center since 1995,” Balingit said. “We meet different people every day in the shop where everyone wants the best price and part for their motorized vehicle.”
Balingit will find the right part for the customer in the shop and they will leave with a smile knowing the quality and the correct part is in their hands, according to Balingit.
“Stress hits me when nothing fits and every part seems to be wrong for that application,” he said.
So, Balingit considers himself a Pharmacist for cars as he works in the Sales of Parts.
Having an athletic father Balingit started in sports at age six by playing T-Ball and baseball and he also stayed fit by riding his bike everywhere.
“I remember riding my bike to Waiakea Uka Gym to meet up with friends for basketball games,” he said.
One of the earliest graduates of the then new Waiakea High School Balingit made a slow progression into running as he didn’t discover his love for the sport until two years ago.
“I guess you can say that I take after my dad,” he said. “I’ve done a few half marathons (13.1 miles) and a handful of full marathons.”
Recently Balingit took on the challenge of running from Coconut Island in Hilo up to Cooper Center in Volcano Village, a distance of 31 miles.
“My longest race was the Hilo to Volcano Ultra Marathon,” he said. “I did it to just challenge myself to see if I could do something that far.”
Balingit has discovered, through running, the individuality that comes with loving the sport.
“I like the challenge, to see how far I can get, and how I can push myself,” Balingit said. “I also like meeting up with my elementary buddies, Nick Ayho and Allan Leite, for our weekend runs.”
Balingit realizes what running can do for his body and sense of well being.
“I want to keep active and healthy so that I can live a life, medication free,” he said. (And that coming from a pharmacist) “I plan on living a long, happy life and to watch my children Logan and Lainie, as well as my nephews and nieces grow up.”
Balingit is considered a health runner, as opposed to being a competitive one. His motivation for exercise comes from wanting to be healthy and not from wanting to win medals or recognition.
His training schedule for health allows him to run, on average, 10 to 18 miles during the work week, and when in training for a marathon he will add a long run of 18 miles on either Saturday or Sunday.
“My favorite race is the Big Island International Marathon because I live in Pepepeekeo and the course starts a few yards from my house,” Balingit said.
Having a marathon start right outside enables Balingit to run on the marathon route whenever he is able.
“I have to take advantage of running on that scenic course,” he said. “The race is so challenging that if I start too fast on the hills in the first eight miles it will make it harder for me to enjoy the second half of the race.”
The Big Island Marathon brings runners past Richardson Beach Park where Balingit finds time to meditate.
“That beach run, near mile twenty, allows me to get into a mental zone of some kind where I am able to find inner strength,” he said.
Balingit and his family also realizes the value of nutrition and they will eat a variety of healthy meals.
“We try to watch what we eat so we do a lot of fruits and vegetables along with pasta dishes and stir fries and fresh fish,” he said.
But with most things that are good for us, exercise at times does not come easily for Balingit.
“There are times that pain comes with running and times that my thigh feels like a man kicked the heck out of it,” Balingit said. “I just can’t walk as it is so painful.”
Balingit remembers a marathon where nearing the end of the race it became a difficult struggle to continue.
“One marathon, around mile twenty three, I swear, a golf ball size knot was behind my knee,” he said.
It was during that race that the tough Balingit went through an extreme negative scenario of thoughts before coming to a positive conclusion.
“I remember telling myself, what the heck do I do?.” He recalled. “Keep going, don’t quit? Yell!!”
Balingit ended up massaging the knot while running, and he finished the race, despite the excruciating pain.
Through running this automotive pharmacist has learned much about himself and his ability to push harder.
Running is a sport where people discover who they are and what they have inside of them. If you succeed in your goals or if you complete a marathon you have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it on your own.
Lyle Balingit has learned much about himself and will continue to learn with the many more years’ worth of challenges ahead of him.
And someday should you happen to see a lifelong learner come jogging through the streets of East Hawaii remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”