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

Hilo’s Three Amigos, Nakasone, Blinn and Pavao, are Maniacs

Nakasone, Blinn & Pavao

In preparing to write this story the first thought that came to mind was the great 1986 comedy film starring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short called “The Three Amigos.”

Right here in Hilo we have our own sort of Three Amigos and their friendship comes through with their love for running, more importantly marathon running.

DJ Blinn, Harvey Nakasone and Steve Pavao are characters in their own right, in the world of endurance running.

The trio have built a relationship through spending hours on the road and becoming what they proudly call themselves, “Maniacs,” “Marathon Maniacs” to be precise.

“We’ve been running together for over five years,” Pavao said.  “Harvey was the first Maniac on this island and he recruited us to become Maniacs.”

To be a Marathon Maniac is no simple task and for these Three Amigos that accomplishment came as a result of running two marathons (distances of 26.2 miles) within 15 days of each other.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with running or walking a marathon, try doing 44 laps around Liliuokalani Gardens in less than 7 hours and that will give you an idea.

“I became a Maniac in September 2007,” Nakasone said.  “I believe I was the first one to become a Maniac from this island and now we have quite a few.”

These Maniacal Amigos will reinstate their credentials on October 30 and November 6 when they run in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. and the following weekend with the New York City Marathon.

“Harvey was the one that came up with the idea,” Pavao said.  “He has run the Marine Corps Marathon once before and thought it would be great for all of us to do it along with the NYC Marathon the following Sunday.”

Both Blinn and Nakasone are former United States Marines and running in D.C. will be something special for them, according to Blinn.

“I’m a Vietnam Veteran and I have never been to D.C. to see the Vietnam Wall,” Blinn said.  “I want to pay tribute to my fallen comrades.”

Blinn served in Vietnam in 1967 and just thinking about visiting the Wall brought tears to his eyes.

“I know this will be an emotional experience and an opportunity of a lifetime,” Blinn said,

The trio have never done the NYC Marathon and they decided on that race precisely for the reason that it was the following weekend from the Marine Corp race.

“I’ve done the Marine Corps Marathon before and knew DJ would be interested in doing it since he is a former Marine,” Nakasone said.  “I plan on taking him to see the Vietnam Wall and I’m sure it will be an emotional experience for us all.”

In preparation for marathons the Hilo Maniacal Amigos will run together every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

“We enjoy the post run camaraderie,” Pavao said.  “We often travel together and bunk together to keep cost down.”

Last month the amigos ran on Kauai and they shared a room to keep expenses down, but more importantly to enjoy the bond they share together as runners.

“I have run about 25 marathons with them over the years,” Pavao said.  “And now we have started to run half marathons as well.”

Nakasone has complete 28 marathons and Blinn, the senior member of the group at age 62, has finished an incredible 104 marathons to date.

“I run for health reasons,” Nakasone said.  “I have Type II Diabetes and my mother and grandmother both died from diabetes.”

While running has kept Nakasone’s diabetes in check he also reaped the reward of losing 30 pounds from his dedication to the sport.

A new Marathon Maniac sister organization has been created called the Half Marathon Fanatics and Blinn, Pavao and Nakasone became the first from the Big Island to qualify as Half Fanatics when he completing two half marathons within the two week requirement.

“The half marathon has become the most popular running distance in America and I’m trying to get people from Hawaii to qualify in becoming a Half Fanatic,” Nakasone said.  “We now have five Half Fanatics from the Big Island and I’m sure we can get lots more by the end of this year.”

The qualifications for membership are the same, only the runners qualify by running half marathons (13.1 miles) instead of marathon, according to Pavao.

The Three Maniac Amigos will leave on their journey on Oct. 27 and have a couple of days in D.C. to acclimate before sharing in the Marine Corp Marathon together.

“We’ll take an Amtrak train to NYC from D.C. on Nov 2nd,” Pavao said.  “That will give us a few days in the Big Apple before the Big race.”

Pavao has his sights on breaking four hours for both marathons and will use the D.C. marathon as a training run for NYC.

“I am actually hoping I can run a faster time in NYC,” he said.

Whatever the Hilo Maniac Amigos do on the East Coast, one thing is for certain, they’ll be having fun doing it!

And someday should you happen to see a healthy, happy senior jogging laps up and down Shower Drive in 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.

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Big Islanders Enjoy Running the Big Apple, NYC Marathon

L to R, Perry, Ryan, Marrack and Victoria Daniel

                                               L to R in photo, Lyman Perry, Alan Ryan, Sally Marrack and Victoria Daniel

What sporting event attracts more than 2.5 million spectators and a television audience of over 315 million viewers?

If you guessed the 2010 running of the New York City Marathon, held this past Sunday you’d be correct.

Amongst the 44,000 finishers in this 26.2 mile race were 31 harriers from the State of Hawaii with nine of them being Big Island residents according to NYC marathon results released to the media.

Representing our island was Laupahoehoe’s Alan Ryan who finished the run in 2 hours 50 minutes and 38 seconds to rank him as the 375th runner to cross the finish line.

“I had a personal best race day, taking over a minute off my 2009 Boston Marathon time,” a pleased Ryan said over the telephone.

Ryan, who has been sponsored by South Pacific Steel over the past two years, is one of the Big Island’s top distance runners and his finish in New York ranked him in the top 1 percentile for overall finishers.

“I’m very pleased with today’s race and enjoyed running the course,” Ryan said.

Not far behind Ryan was Volcano resident, Lyman Perry, who clocked in at 2:56:20.

“It was a great and amazing experience,” Perry said.  “It was a little difficult getting lined up in the morning as we were all positioned in corrals according to our best previous marathon finishers time.”

Perry found himself waiting around with his grouping corral for quite some time before the start.

 “It was the wait coupled with the 39 degree temperature that made it difficult on me,” Perry said.  “I dressed warmly and wore gloves which helped.”

Once the race started Perry was in his own element and began to warm up as he weaved his way through the hordes of people in front of him.

“We started on the Verrazano Bridge and I ran slower in the start than I had expected because of the cool weather, but once it began to reach the mid 40’s I began to do a lot better,” he said.

The NYC marathon takes runners through all five of the cities boroughs and for Perry going through Brooklyn became his most memorable moments.

“It was really neat running through Brooklyn and to see the Hasidic Jews dressed all in black.  Most of them ignore the race and will just walk across the street during the race, but there were two young men with a camera phone who took a picture of us as we ran by and all the time I was thinking, I should be taking a photo of them,” Perry said.

Perry was also impressed with running over the many bridges that connect the different Burroughs with the city.

“When we got of the Queens Borough Bridge, at mile 16, and we get onto 1st Avenue the spectators are lined six rows deep and they are screaming encouragement to the runners,” Perry said.  “I had to be careful not to get all pumped up and go too fast during that section as it could have had a devastating effect on my overall performance.”

Perry’s parents had drove down from Boston to watch their son during the race and to everyone’s surprise parents and son were able to make visual contact along the route.

“It was a real thrill for me to see my parents standing and shouting for me as I saw them standing at 110th  and 5th Avenue,” he said.

Perry maintained his composure and had a very strong finish into Central Park in Manhattan to give him a solid overall performance.

Hilo’s Sally Marrack also had a good performance and was the top female from the State of Hawaii to cross the finish line.

“This was my first New York City marathon,” she said.  “I used a qualifying Kona Half Marathon time to make it into this race and it was all worth it.”

Marrack’s mother, sister and aunt, who live in the mid-west made the trip to NYC to watch her run.”

“My family kept encouraging me to sign up for this race so that they would have an excuse to come to New York,” she said.  “I managed to get a glimpse of them as I ran through Central Park on the way to the finish line.”

To do the race Marrack wore tights and a long sleeve shirt with gloves and a hat.

“I made the right choice on clothing as it was a beautiful day, but cold at the start,” she said.  “The race became a very emotional experience for me because during the start of the race they play the song New York, New York and you can see the Statue of Liberty.  I almost had tears in my eyes,” Marrack said.

Once finished Marrack along with the other 44,000 finishers were led on a nearly two mile walk to pick up all their goodies, from finisher medals to food.

“The crowds were absolutely amazing and the size of the race made it what it is, a fantastic experience,” Marrack said.

Ethiopia’s Gebre Gebremariam won the race in 2:08:14 and Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat was the first woman to cross the finish line in 2:29:20.

November 9, 2010 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Several Big Islanders Running NYC Marathon on Sunday

NYC marathon finish line

Alan Ryan

On Sunday, November 7, several Big Island residents will be running in the New York City Marathon.  The NYC race runs through all five of the cities Burroughs and attracts over 100,000 participants making it one of the world’s largest marathons.

Lyman Perry

Included in the all-star Big Island running cast is Laupahoehoe’s Alan Ryan, Volcano’s Lyman Perry, Hilo’s Sally Marrack and Waikoloa’s Carlos Fuentes.

Good luck to all and have a fun 26.2 mile experience.

November 4, 2010 Posted by | Marathon Running | , , , , | Leave a comment

NYC Runner, Mel Deida, Has lots of Aloha

NYC Marathoner, Mel Deida

NEW YORK CITY – If you’re ever looking for big city adventure then NYC needs to be added to your list of travel.  For someone from the small town of Hilo, Manhattan can be somewhat overwhelming.

   Wherever I go on my travels the first thing I look for are safe places to run and walk and NYC has no shortage of either.  On one adventure my wife, Randee, and I took the subway to the Empire State Building, and then spent the rest of the day walking to our other destinations.

   Walking around the city on a beautiful summer day is a great way to get exercise and a fantastic way to see the sights.  We spent the day walking past Madison Square Garden, the Rockefeller Center, Greenwich Village, and of course Chinatown.

   For running areas I wanted to do all the high profile sections of the city that we read about in travel magazines or see on television.  To accomplish this task I recruited the help of Brooklyn native, Mel Deida who grew up in an area called Sunset Park.

   Deida has been a member of the New York Road Runners for the past 11 years and participates in many of the road races held throughout the five boroughs of NYC.

   “I started out being a swimmer and lifting weights in high school,” Deida said.  “I didn’t really start getting into running until my company put together a team to enter the Chase Bank Corporate Run.”

   Deida, who works in the Accounts Receivable Field, was asked to join his company’s team to participate in the Chase Run.  “We needed seven runners, a mixture of males and females, and we each ran three races of 3.3 miles and our times were calculated based on an average and prizes were awarded,” he said.

  From those summer races, held more than 11 years ago, Deida became hooked and hasn’t stopped running since.

  “I look for races with a cause and I dedicate my runs to my deceased brother who passed 25 years ago as he instilled upon me the true meaning of discipline in any sport,” Deida said.   “My brother was active in karate, reaching the Brown Belt level, and he was an active weight lifter.”

   The next race coming up for Deida is the Front Runners NY Lesbian/Gay Pride-Run.  “That race touches my heart dearly as I’ve lost exceptional friends to the AIDS disease,” he said.   “I will also do the UAE Healthy Kidney Run which brings awareness for additional funding for those receiving dialysis.”

Mel Deida

With Deida guiding me around the city for a few morning runs I was able to do some of the most breathtaking adventures that most running tourist only dream about.

   A must for me was spending an hour doing laps around Central Park in the heart of Manhattan.  I’ve seen and heard about some of the races that are held here, but now I’ve experienced firsthand the uniqueness of the area which was an experience in itself.

   On another day Deida took me for a run over the famed Brooklyn Bridge.  The Bridge connects Brooklyn to Manhattan which is an historical land mark and is used during the running of the NYC Marathon.  On this particular day there were other runners, some walkers and several bicyclist crossing over from one borough to another.

   Deida also took me for runs in his hometown area of Brooklyn as we ran along the Belt Parkway, Prospect Park, and Shore Road in Bay Ridge.  My personal favorite is running along the promenade that goes under the Verrazano Bridge.  On a clear morning you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

  I was fortunate enough to have a running tour guide in Mel Deida, but every place he took me to run was safe and had many other fitness buffs either running, walking or riding their bikes.

  Deida is 44 years of age and looks at least 10 years younger and he credits running and a healthy diet with the positive results.

   “The benefits that are attributed from running are in keeping with a healthy life style for me,” Deida said.  “It helps me to keep my cholesterol in balance and it slows down the aging process which is enough to keep me running.”

   As with most fitness buffs Deida still wants to improve his overall conditioning and hopes to add a weight training program and some speed and tempo training in preparation for an upcoming marathon.  “I’d also like to change my eating habits and introduce more proteins and fewer carbohydrates in my daily diet,” he said.

   “I’ll run four to nine miles on any given day,” Deida said.  “I usually eat foods low in sodium and consume lots of Soy milk with mild carbohydrates as possible.  Fruits are part of my daily breakfast.”

   It’s easy for fellow runners, who have never met before, to easily bond as they share their love for running together.  On our final run together, before I packed up to head for upstate New York, Deida presented me with his finisher T-shirt from the New York City Marathon.  “It’s brand new and I’ve never worn it,” he said of his NYC finisher shirt.  I wanted you to have something special to take back to Hawaii.” 

June 14, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Marathon Running, Profiles | , , , , , , | Leave a comment