Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Couples that run together have Fun together

Rudy & Noemi Arzaga

Couples that run together have fun together!

A perfect example of this can be found by taking the example of Rudy and Noemi Arzaga.

The couple has known each other for 19 years, been married for nine years and has three children. 

“We didn’t always run together,” Noemi said.  “I was the first one that started and Rudy would actually say that I was crazy.”

Noemi, who is a registered nurse at Hilo Medical Center, was encouraged to start running by coworker Dave Adachi.

“Dave is such a great coach as he encourages me and stayed with me the first time we ran together,” Noemi said.  “I ran very slowly, in fact it wasn’t even running as I barely jogged.”

Between the slow jogging there was lots of walking as Noemi needed to get herself into shape, but it didn’t take long before she was able to jog her first 8 miles with a Sunday running group.

“The first time I tried I could barely do a lap around Liliuokalani Gardens without stopping,” she said.  “But by having someone to help guide me I learned to pace myself and eventually built up my endurance.”

Once Noemi got her confidence level up she then began asking Rudy to try running with her.  “Rudy seemed to have no interest in running at all from the very start,” she said.  “In fact when I would ask him to join our group on the Sunday morning runs Rudy would say ‘you’re crazy’.”

In 2008 Noemi successful completed her first official race when she ran from Pepeekeo to Hilo, a distance of 10.8 miles in pouring rain.

“There was lightning and thunder and the rain never stopped,” Noemi said, “and I heard the never ending ‘you’re crazy’ from Rudy.”

As time went by Rudy began to gain weight and developed high blood pressure problems. 

“Rudy started having eye twitching and he couldn’t bend down much to install heavy cabinets and floor installations,” Noemi said.

Rudy is the owner of JNR Works, LLC where he fabricates custom made cabinets and does floor and tile installation and being physically fit is an important component of his daily duties.

With the start of some health related issues Noemi was able to convince her husband to join her Sunday running group which was headed by Hilo Internist Doctor Aaron Morita.

Their Sunday group is comprised of a number of health care professionals which include Dr.’s David Nakamura, Melanie Arakaki and Eric Helms along with a number of RN’s from the Hilo Medical Center.

It didn’t take long before Rudy discovered his love for running and now he is the one that encourages Noemi to get out and get going.

The couple has developed a love for long distance running with both running in numerous marathons (26.2 miles) over the course of the last several years.

Just this past year Rudy ran and finished five marathons and a half marathon while Noemi completed four half marathons and one full marathon.

“Rudy is more health conscious than me and that is highly visible just by looking at us,” Noemi said.  “I love to eat and I reward myself with food after running.  In fact, food is highly up there as one of my reasons why I run.”

Noemi credits Rudy with her love for food by saying, “he is such a great cook and if I didn’t run or exercise I would probably be double and a half my size by now.”

Rudy is into eating large salads and according to Noemi he has better control than she in eating.

The couple were both born in the Philippines and moved to Hawaii when they were 14 years of age, with Rudy attending Pahoa and Noemi at Hilo High.

“A friend introduced us while we were in high school,” Noemi said.  “Rudy was on the varsity basketball team and I gave cross country an unsuccessful try.”

The couple credits the enormous encouragement they receive from their Sunday running group as the reason for their success and they also give kudos to family members who will care for their children when they go out for a run.

“We have great support from family and friends which make all of this possible,” Rudy said.  “Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of our exercise related goals.  We are very blessed to have them in our lives.”

“We take pride with what we both have and God has blessed us with three wonderful children and with having a strong relationship,” Noemi said.

The couple that runs together have fun together which was the lead in this story is very applicable to the Arzaga’s as they share a common bond beyond that of a typical couple.

“We have a unique relationship in which Rudy is my first and only love and I was his first and only as well,” Noemi said.  “We hope to remain that way as we feel the love is strongly growing.”

Rudy and Noemi just completed the Big Island International Marathon on Sunday and are looking to do many more running adventures together.

Big Dog believes that the more fun couples have together the greater their value of self and each other.  The more fun they share with others, the more fun they have and the cycle continues.

And someday should you happen to see a fun loving, healthy, retired teacher jogging around your neighborhood remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

March 21, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hilo Medical Professionals Headed to do the Honolulu Marathon

Doc Morita to notch yet another marathon finish

More than 250 Big Island residents will be lacing up their shoes on Sunday, Dec. 12, for the Annual running of the Honolulu Marathon.

With an estimated field of 25,000 the Honolulu Marathon ranks as one of the top ten largest marathons in the world.  The economic value to the state exceeds $100 million and ranks this marathon as the largest financial sporting event in the State of Hawaii far exceeding the revenue brought in by the Pro Bowl or by the Professional Golf Association.

Each year Big Island residents will train for the event before making the pilgrimage to Oahu to run the 26.2 mile course along with some of the world’s fastest distance runners.

In Hilo a small contingent of medical professionals have been doing a long Sunday run together in preparation for Honolulu.

Led by veteran marathoner, Hilo Internist, Dr. Aaron Morita who will be doing his 11th consecutive Honolulu Marathon, the group is a mixture of experienced and first time distance runners.

“Those in our group that run with us regularly are doctor’s Melanie Arakaki, Sara Chiu, and David Nakamura with registered nurses Imelda Tamayo, Noemi Arzaga, Gina Durant and Jennifer Maninga, along with recovery room technician Dave Adachi and Ululani Pharmacy office manager Cindy Kuwana,  ” Doc Morita said.

Morita will also meet up with a number of family members and friends in Honolulu, most of whom are in the medical field as well, making their group one of the largest, or at the very least one of the most educated in the marathon.

“We are planning an after marathon dinner at the Big City Diner in Kaimuki together with our supporters, friends and relatives,” Morita said.

Morita’s group just finished doing a 20 mile run on Sunday, Nov. 28, and the plan now is for all of them to begin their taper, decrease in mileage, before heading to Oahu and the excitement of doing one of the world’s largest marathons.

Cindy Kuwana

Cindy Kuwana trained with the group last year, but never realized her dream of doing her first marathon as she needed to stop training due to an injury.

“I’ve been training this entire year, with 17 miles being my longest run thus far,” Kuwana said.  “Since being in a side-impact automobile accident this past June, trying to recover from those injuries and doing my marathon training has been tough, both mentally and physically.”

Kuwana needed to take off a month from her training to recover from the auto accident and she describes the layoff as being the most frustrating and a humbling experience.

“I’m just hoping to cross the finish line for my first marathon,” she said.  “Anytime would be a good time since it would be such an accomplishment in itself.  Hopefully I’ll finish around six hours or a little over, but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself.

Jennifer Maninga

Another new comer to the marathon is Jennifer Maninga who has finished the Kona, Kauai and Maui half marathons, but never a full 26.2 event.

“I chose Honolulu because of the team that I train with, they always run the Honolulu Marathon,” Maninga said.  “I was compelled to join the team.”

Last year Maninga met the Hilo medical group while in Honolulu and felt the excitement permeating in the air.

“I could feel the excitement, but I also saw the pain and told myself that it would never be me running that distance,” she said.  “Now I know, never to say never!”

When asked what time she’d be finishing in Maninga replied with a wide grin, “I think we have to be in by midnight right?”

“I have a time in mind, but if I speak it, I will feel the pressure to make that time,” she said.  “Just the thought of finishing is pressure enough.”

“Running a marathon is something that I haven’t accomplished in my life,” Maninga said.  “It’s something that I never thought I could do.”

Lenny Baybayan

Another first time marathoner lacing up his shoes in Honolulu will be Leonard Baybayan, Jr. who began his training for the event back in April.

“This past February my wife, two daughters and six year old son walked the Great Aloha run and I told them I wanted to try next year,” Baybayan said.  “So I started my training in April and as my runs got longer my confidence began to grow.”

Baybayan started with long runs of six miles and increased gradually to eight, then ten and went all the way to 22 miles.

When Baybayan asked his family what they thought of his idea to go to Honolulu and run his first marathon his wife said “go” his daughters said “are you crazy” and his son didn’t care.

Like all the other first time marathoners Baybayan hasn’t set a time to finish the 26.2 miles and is just hoping to be able to cross the finish line.

“My personal goal for my first marathon is to reach the finish line and running it from start to finish,” he said.  “I don’t have a set time to finish it in as I don’t want to get discouraged if I don’t achieve that goal and not run again.”

Last weekend Doc Morita and the rest of his group received by mail their Official Running Number Pick-up Cards from the Honolulu Marathon.

“Receiving our packet pick up information has raised our excitement levels in addition to knowing that the marathon is only a few days away,” Morita said.   “I was assigned race number 703 and my wife commented that I must be an old-timer for this marathon as my number has gotten a lot smaller although I don’t run any faster than before.” 

Pat Bigold, the Director of Media Relations for the Honolulu Marathon, provided the 254 names of Big Islanders preregistered to do the race. 

Good luck to all those taking part in the years Honolulu Marathon.

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/254-big-islanders-signed-up-to-do-2010-honolulu-marathon/

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Marathon Running, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments