Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Torres Making a Come Back from Injury

One of the most difficult things to deal with in sports is that unexpected injury that can set training back several days, weeks or even months.

The variety of injuries that athletes endure may be from motion control issues and the results are disappointment and frustration.

A pain in the butt injury for me and a number of other running friends has been an off and on battle with the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica is not exclusively reserved to the muscle in the buttocks and can also stem from areas in the hip or spine.

For Hilo’s Dee Torres her sciatic discomfort comes from her pelvic area.

“About six months ago I developed sciatica in my left hip,” Torres said. 

Torres, an avid canoe paddler, believes that her injury may be a result of sitting in a one man canoe for too long.

“I believe my injury comes from the improper rigging on my one-man canoe for too long,” she said. “Hence, I’ve corrected the rigging and my condition is improving.”

Like most athletes Torres went through a variety of possible remedies before discovering what worked for her.

“I’ve tried Chiropractic care, physical therapy, and deep tissue massages, but nothing seemed to work,” Torres said.

Torres then went to see an acupuncturist and was pleased with the results.

“The best results came after I had several acupuncture treatments,” she said.  “I’m not really sure as it might have been a combination of things, but I seemed to have started to get better after those treatments.”

Torres, who grew up on Oahu, was active in a variety of sports from an early age.

“In grade school I played softball, basketball and ran track,” she said.  “At McKinley High School and Pacific Preparatory I played on the basketball, volleyball and track & field teams.”

Today, at age 53, Torres works for the County of Hawaii as a Council Services Assistant.

Dee Torres

“My job can be stressful at times,” Torres said.  “When current legislation is approved by the Council it becomes time sensitive and needs to be processed and published according to set deadlines in accordance with State and County laws.”

Often times sciatica can flare up with the tightness of muscles when athletes are under pressure and fail to take adequate time to relax and stretch those areas of the body that are under stress.

Torres had been a regular at the Honolulu Marathon and the Big Island International Half Marathon races, but her injury had set her back from doing those long, strenuous workouts in preparation for the challenging running events.

“I also like the shorter runs and have always tried to make the EMS 5K,” she said.  “I truly miss doing the Volcano Wilderness 10-mile runs (which were cancelled by the National Park two years ago).”

“I plan on training for the 2012 Hilo Half Marathon,” Torres said.  “My injury should be completely healed by then and I’ll be ready to take on that challenge.”

Despite her current injury Torres still manages to do each of the following activities twice per week: run, paddle with her six woman crew, paddle her one-person canoe, and do Zumba.

“I wish I was more of a morning person, as most runners train in the morning,” she said.  “I usually run in the early evening hours, so my training is too short sometimes when it gets dark too early.”

Torres also stays in great shape by taking care of her nutritional needs.

“I drink lots of water and will follow my daily regimen of vitamins and nutritional supplements,” she said.

She will also consume lots of green leafy vegetables and will have a fresh salad for dinner on regular bases.

“I believe in the old adage that an apple a day……” she said.   “Protein is also a must after a workout as I keep red meat and fried foods to a minimum.”

Despite Torres injury setbacks the healthy and fit woman hopes to one day be on center stage leading a Zumba class.

“I am a certified Zumba instructor and I love that form of exercise activity,” she said.  “I am currently doing Zumba and as my condition improves I hope to return to my preferred intensity level and eventually teach classes.”

So take the lead from Dee Torres and don’t let a nagging injury discourage you from reaching your fitness goals.

Seek proper treatment and look for alternate ways to stay in shape as not to aggravate your current condition.

Sciatica can be a pain in the butt and with proper treatment you can be on the road to recovery.  Or better still, reduce stress and stretch those areas properly.  I have been sciatic pain free for almost a year since following a regimen to stretch that area before going out for my daily morning run.

And someday should you happen to see an injury free jogger come passing through the streets of East Hawaii remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

July 25, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hilo’s Amy Masuyama comes from a long line of distance runners

Amy Masuyama

“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 waiakeabigdog@aol.com.


May 2, 2011 Posted by | Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , | Leave a comment