Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

HPA’s Mark Noetzel keeping healthy and fit

Mark Noetzel

We’ve all heard the proverb that “copying someone is flattering because it shows you want to be like that person,” and in most cases it can prove to be the best way to learn something new.

In the case of Mark Noetzel, copying, has paid enormous dividends and continues over into a lifetime of success.

When Noetzel was eight years old he followed his older sister to the pool one Saturday afternoon and joined their swim team, (Port Huron Recreational Department) without having any prior swimming lessons.

“I recall being asked to swim in the 25 yard butterfly race,” Noetzel said.  “Not knowing what the ‘Butterfly’ was, I watched some kids in the older division and imitated them.”

Noetzel’s imitation of those kids paid off as he won the Butterfly race which turned out to be the springboard to many successful swim accolades throughout his youth and adult life.

The youngest of eight children Noetzel learned much about sports and life from his older siblings growing up in Michigan.

“My two brothers, though much older, were very athletic with football, basketball, track and field and baseball,” Noetzel said.  “They led the charge down a path of athletics which I would willfully follow.”

Noetzel followed in his brothers path playing baseball, basketball, football and pick-up games of hockey, but his true calling came in the water when he competed in the Michigan AAU Program winning his first state championship at age 11.

By his senior year of high school Noetzel added water polo to his repertoire of sports and increased his swim training to 20,000 yards a day.

“I felt up to my neck in a pool of alligators,” he said.  “I struggled, though endured, until late January 1980.”

Noezel’s hard work paid off as the once hardly noticed swimmer went from just making state qualifying time, to being ranked as the number two swimmer in the State of Michigan in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events.

Noetzel went on to take second place at the state championships in his two individual events, and led his 400 freestyle relay to the state title.  For all his hard work Noetzel was named to the All-American team by NISCA.

Needless to say that Noezel’s stellar high school swimming performance was a springboard to a half scholarship his freshman year to swim for the University of Michigan and by his junior year he had earned a full scholarship.

“During my senior year at Michigan I was named team captain and swam to another Big Ten title on a relay and was third individually,” he said.

Today Noetzel is the principal at the Upper School at Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

“It’s a very demanding, yet rewarding position,” Noetzel said.  “I enjoy the challenge of meeting the needs of our diverse student population and feel blessed to have a faculty who are willing to embrace the needs of the 21st Century learner.”

Earlier this month Noetzel celebrated his 49th birthday by swimming 49 x 100’s in HPA’s 25 yard pool.

“Each week I try to balance my fitness activities between running and swimming,” he said.  “A standing goal is to run over 10 miles and to swim more than 10,000 yards during the week.”

Married to Liz for 17 years the couple has a daughter, Karly, who is 11 who is a student at Hawaii Prep.

“My wife Liz, graduated from HPA’s class of 1983,” Noetzel said.  “And Karly is in the class of 2018.”

Noetzel, of course, is also HPA’s swim coach and serves as a good role model for those under his tutelage.

“I feel I’m made for pool swimming,” Noetzel said.  “I like to enter ocean races because I’m not that good at them and I strive to improve, but I still have a top 10 time in the world for the 100 meter freestyle for one of the master’s age groups.”

And Noetzel continues to give back to the community in a number of ways as he serves as the race director for the Hapuna Rough Water Swim along with Ed Doherty, David Rietow and Greg McKenna.

Noetzel says that his favorite ocean race is the Kukio Blue Water, even though he is the past winner of the Richardson Rough Water Swim.

For diet Noetzel enjoys a protein shake in the morning and he will try to avoid wheat as much as possible.

“I try to make myself aware of my water intake each day and that helps keep me lively,” he said.

Noetzel is striving to run 10 miles and to swim a 10K each week and claims that David Reitow and Jim Budde are his role model heroes.

“David and Jim are much, much older than myself, but they show up each day, put in the work and they stay sharp,” Noetzel said.

And why does Noetzel work so hard at health and fitness?

“I like the peacefulness that post exercise provides.  I enjoy human performance, whether it’s with my age team (Academy Swim Club), my high school team, masters group or by myself,” he said.

Mark Noetzel reaped the rewards of success through his ability to imitate and took that learning experience to a whole new level.

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

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com

September 26, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Andy Busek fighting a life long battle aganst obesity

Andy Busek

The number one health problem facing Americans today is obesity which is a result of our inability to control our need to consume in excess.

We are blessed to live in a country of abundance and it is easy to fall victim to the quick, easy and relatively inexpensive trappings of fast foods.

Weight affects millions of people in this country where we are conscious of size and what society tells us is acceptable beauty.

Excuses for our inability to eat right, exercise and take better overall care of ourselves range from the “lack of time”, to the “you only live once” concept.

I agree that we “only live once,” but shouldn’t that one time be filled with making the right choices concerning our overall health and productivity?  Being overweight brings with it a series of health aliments such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

For Andy Busek his struggles with weight began as a youngster and manifested itself when he started working as a cook during and after college.

“The more I worked the less time I had to exercise,” Busek said.

As a youth Busek remained active playing Pop Warner football and joining the swim team by the time he was 10 years of age.  By age 12 he became a sixth place finisher in swimming in the state of Georgia as his family traveled around the country with his father being in the Air Force.

Already large as a teenager Busek began to balloon even more once he became a chef and with his extra pounds came a host of weight related ailments.

“I started working as a cook during college and began eating more and exercising less,” he said.  “I first started working at a French Restaurant where I sampled almost everything I cooked and soon found myself tipping the scales at 300 pounds.”

It wasn’t until Busek became diabetic and had his gall bladder removed that he started to make changes in his consumption of foods.

“I changed my diet by removing sugar and white starches and I increased the amount of vegetables in order to control my blood sugar,” Busek said.

The changes weren’t easy for Busek as he is constantly surrounded by food and today works as the pastry chef at Kilauea Lodge in Volcano Village.

“I love food, especially pastries and chocolates,” he said. 

Busek has, over the past few years, won a variety of cooking and pastry contest, placing second as professional in the Kona Chocolate Festival in 2008 and winning the 1997 Sam Choy poke contest for his mac nut poke creation.

“I’ve won certificates in sauces, stocks and pastries from Cordon Bleu, France and have won many local awards as I was a member of the American Culinary Federation,” Busek said.

Busek remained active in swimming for many years doing the Hapuna Rough Water swim throughout the 1980’s and in 1984 tackled the Volcano Wilderness Marathon a 26.2 mile trek around some of the roughest terrain in the world.

“When I did that marathon in ’84 I lost 15 pounds on that single day,” Busek said.

At age 55 Busek continues to struggle with his weight, but has made a consorted effort to exercise more and eat healthier.

“I’m trying to do triathlons and work on my swimming, biking and running throughout the week,” he said.

Since 2000 Busek has entered a number of triathlon events and realizes that with more consistency he continues to get better at what he does.

“I know that I cannot stop exercising or I’ll gain all the weight back,” Busek said.  “I also feel better when I exercise and I keep getting better and better at participating in various events the more that I do it.”

At age 55 Busek is still large, tipping the scales at 228, but he has made great strides in his fight against obesity.

“I continue to set fitness related goals for myself as I enter various community races to really compete against myself,” he said.  “These races help me stay motivated to continue working out in order to see how far I can push myself.”

Like most people struggling with weight related issues Busek sees his battle as a lifelong process.

“I am now off medications because of my improved diet and regular physical exercise,” Busek said. 

Busek has some simple advice to those that are struggling with their weight and that is to eat more vegetables and exercise regularly.

“Eating right and staying away from fatty foods is one of the keys,” Busek said. “I still struggle everyday with my weight, but at least now I am winning that battle.”

In his book The Affluent Society, John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, “More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.”

Andy Busek in doing his best in the fight against obesity through regular physical exercise and by making smart choices in the food that he consumes.

 And someday should you happen to see a health conscious jogger doing laps around Liliuokalani Gardens remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

February 28, 2011 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments