Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

My husband is my hero

my wife honors me as she wore this button to school all day

This is the ultimate honor.  My wife Randee wore this button to Keaau Middle School all day! When she showed it too me it brought me to tears She is a good person and a great caregiver.


November 29, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , | 1 Comment

Giving back in Life the secret to success – BIRR Big Dog 5K run/walk

Winston Churchill said “you make a living by what you get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Truer words can never be spoken as we reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving.

I’ve been blessed over the years with many friends and supporters and have never found myself short of money to buy food but there are those not so lucky.

That is why I‘ve been so honored to be the first ever recipient of the Big Island Road Runners Club Thanksgiving Day 5K run/walk.

The BIRR was looking at a way to give back to the community by combining a joint effort to raise money or food for those less fortunate through the Salvation Army. Over 300 runners and walkers participated on Thanksgiving Day and were asked to bring a can good or to make a monetary donation.

Over $641 was raised and 6 large bins of canned goods went to the Salvation Army during this most critical time of the year.

Despite having Stage 4 terminal brain cancer I am regarded as fully functional and that in itself is indeed a blessing.

As I reflect on the many things I am thankful for I have to say I appreciate all the many people that care about me.

You see to be functional means I have my wits about me. It means I look forward to waking up every morning at 5 am.  I am still able to do my five to seven mile walk each day. I can prepare for what the future has in store for me.  For some people the end comes instantly, like an accident or a heart attack. For me, I know my time here is limited and I have started to plan for my final days.

I look forward to each day and prepare better for it.  I have a deeper enjoyment toward life.

Each day gives me hope and brings me a deeper appreciation for those things that I normally take for granted, like my loving wife and now care giver, Randee.

So I’m honored that the BIRR would make me a part of their Thanksgiving run/walk as well as making it a benefit for the Salvation Army as a means to raise money and food for those that have so little during this holiday season.

During the 3.1 mile race it was Hilo High’s Stephan Hunter coming in first overall for the men in 17 minutes 11 seconds with Waiakea’s Ian McQuate 1 second behind.

“The entire race we were exchanging the lead,” Hunter said.  “I had to put on a late kick with 100 meters to go to win the race.”

When asked what he was thankful for on this day Hunter said, I am thankful that my family is doing well and that my brother is coming home for the holiday.”

McQuate echoed Hunter’s sentiment and is thankful for his own family and friends.

Following in third place overall was Joe Barcia in a time of 17:55.

“I am thankful for family and friends and especially that my daughter got up early to come down and be a part of the wonderful event,” Barcia said.

In fourth overall was Sven Loeschengruber (17:58), fifth was St Joseph’s Andrew Langtry (18:06) according to Rick Otani timer for the BIRR event.

Dano Banks who was on hand to do the 2 mile walk with his wife Marti said “I am thankful for my friends, family and good health.”

For the women it was a pair of Hilo High girls taking first and second place. They also happen to be the best of friends, Carmen Garson Shumway in a time of 20:38 and Mehana Sabado-Halpern 10 seconds behind.

In third for the women was Heather Rosario (21:38) fourth Lory Hunter (21:52) fifth Eqberiela Benito (22:05).

Garson-Shumway noted that she came out to do this run in support of the Big Dog and so did Sabado-Halpern and for raising donations for a great cause the Salvation Army.

So on this typical liquid sunshine day in our hometown of Hilo many folks came out to enjoy a fun filled community event. They all shared the same sentiment of wanting to give back in record numbers to those less fortunate.

And someday should you see a very thankful walker/jogger come climbing up Shower Drive in the early morning hours remember to say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

November 26, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Staying Healthy and Fit helps in times of Adversity – Brain Tumor Removal

Big Dog 2 days after brain surgery

Overcoming Adversity

There is a French proverb that goes, “Good fortune and bad are equally necessary to man, to fit him to meet the contingencies of this life.”

I’ve been a health advocate and runner/walker for most of my life.  I have always believed in taking good care of my body to avoid problems associated with high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

Until about two weeks ago I was logging 55 miles per week on the roads of East Hawaii doing my daily jogs coupled with long walks.

My wife, Randee, a physical education teacher at Keaau Middle School, is the perfect mate for me as she too also logs many miles at home on her treadmill.

I’ve been able to avoid the trapping of high fat foods and for the most part limited my sweet intake.

During a recent MRI visit, following the one year anniversary of my only episode of having seizures, it was discovered that I had a brain tumor.

Having an eternal caring and insistent wife, because I can be quite stubborn, I took the first available opening to go to Queens Hospital and have brain surgery to remove the growth.

Now here is the tie in to why it is important to stay healthy and fit:

What was to be a five hour surgery last only three and a half hours, record time they tell me for a man of 64.

What was to be five to seven days in the hospital ended up being just four days.

I was up and moving the day following surgery, taking baby steps at first around the hallways of the hospital.

The medical staff often remarked at how quickly I was recovering and the pain level was minimal and my attitude remained happy, cordial and at times even funny.

I credit all of these things to my overall health and fitness level that has served me well for many decades.

Exercise and diet are not the panacea for all that ails us, but both will contribute to a better attitude and a more resilient body.

Since being released from the hospital I am only walking about 30 miles per week as I need to take things slowly as there are still 14 staples on the right side of my head.

The brain seems to work fine as four days after surgery I voluntarily wrote a 1,000 word story on high school wrestling.   Of course, the Running with the Big Dog columns will continue as long as people out there are reading them and I do appreciate the community who takes the time to read over my stories.

The tumor was malignant and I am still waiting for the recommendations of a hematologist/oncologist.

Life is filled with adversity and challenges will crop up when we least expect, but our attitude, spiritual beliefs and a healthy body will stand up to those challenges.

I’ve already been blessed, escaping death twice in my life.  

When I was 9 years old I was fishing in a river bank with high walls when a flash flood roared through.  Fortunately my older brother was with me, grabbed me and threw me up the side of the bank, saving my life.

Another episode happened when I was 17 when the cargo plane that I was in lost both its engines during a lightning storm.  We were told to prepare for a crash landing as the plane nose dived, helplessly.   My prayers were answered just seconds before plunging to the surface as one of the engines sputtered back on.

Big Dog 10 days after surgery

Death is not something that we have control over and is a process of the life experience.

We can only do as much as we can to keep the quality of life at a maximum by controlling what we eat and making sure that we have an ample supply of exercise to keep it moving.

My wife had to endure the burden of my experience as it was difficult for her to see me is such disrepair.  I am blessed to have someone that loves me so much that she would hold my hand, every step of the way.

I was told at the hospital to find myself a friend, a rock, which I could lean on to relieve the stress that my wife was going through.  This was great advice!

That “rock” is former mayor Harry Kim, who I speak to in my most terrifying moments. 

Kim was another blessing as he went through a similar experience when his son Garrett was diagnosed with cancer.

I promised Harry that through this experience I would offer myself to be someone else’s ‘rock’ in their time of need.

If there is someone out there that feels alone, battling adversity, and needs someone just to talk with don’t hesitate to contact me.

You are not alone, there are many that are battling to fight this horrifying disease, called cancer.

Stay positive, enjoy each day, and if at all possible keep your body moving.   Movement will make you feel better which will then lead to a feeling of well being.   And above all, keep the faith.

Helen Keller said it best, “Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world.  So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.”

And someday should you happen to see a happy man with an incredible wife remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving, as Dolphins take on the Cowboys while turkey is in oven

 Happy Thanksgiving to all as I spend a busy morning in the kitchen preparing the bird before the big game between the Dolphins and the Cowboys.

I’m a big Dolphin fan and will predict Miami by 3, but my nephew, Ben Arkin, who took the photo in Cowboy stadium is a big Dallas fan (sorry Ben). 

Whatever happens, happens, as I give thanks to the many wonderful things in my life, including my loving wife, Randee, intelligent daughters, Jaclynn and Sylas, the entire Arkin family that I’ve been blessed with, and my many, many friends.

Happy Thansgiving and GO DOLPHINS!

November 24, 2011 Posted by | football | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Running while on vacation in Central Europe

Early morning jog in Prague

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC – One of the best things about getting older is that I finally have the time to travel and visit those places far from home.

Each year, my wife Randee, and I take a month off during the summer to visit places both foreign and familiar.

Of course, everywhere we go we need to find a safe place to run and or a quiet place to walk.  While exploring the streets of Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest we were able to get in 70 minutes in the morning and another 70 minutes of exercise in the evenings.

Normally we’d worry about putting on weight during vacations, but with our committed resolution to walk/jog twice a day we are able to burn off all those calories from the fantastic foods of Central Europe.

When in an unfamiliar place we have a pattern to keep each other feeling safe and that is I will run down the block and take a left at every intersection and she will go in the opposite direction and take a right at every intersection, that way we pass each other during our 70 minute workouts.

In the process we are able to see what many tourists miss as we traverse the busy streets in each of the five countries that we are exploring.

Our journey through Central Europe has led us to the beautiful city of Prague, in the Czech Republic.

In exploring the surroundings we have logged 6 to 10 miles of walking or as they say here 10 to 15km each day.

On one of these walks we ran into a local by the name of Jiri Svech who’s English is very good and he recommends that we take a tram to Stromovka Park for our next early morning adventure.

Svech, 74 years young, is a retired government worker living on a modest income who enjoys a brisk walk on a daily basis and what’s even more remarkable is how friendly he and many of the other locals are with American tourist.

Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, now called the Czech Republic, Svech can recall the difficult times when travel was restricted and the Iron Curtain curtailed individual freedoms.

“I get to travel to the neighboring countries with my wife often,” Svech said.  “But we have never traveled outside of Europe as it is too expensive for us.”

Svech has heard wonderful things about Hawaii and can remember watching on the news about Kilauea Volcanoes eruption.

“Isn’t it dangerous living so close to a volcano?” Svech asks. 

His advice to go to Stromovka Park is a good one as this land bound island near in the middle of the city is well forested with nice, paved running trails.

Strom is the Czech word for trees and once you’re in Stromovka Park it is easy to see how this magical place got its name.  Wooded areas surround the beauty of the park with fresh water ponds scattered throughout.

Not many locals take advantage of the jogging idea as we seem to be a novelty in our light weight shorts and Hawaii running tee shirts.  But novelty or not this is an ideal location for a quiet, worry free jog at 7 in the morning.

The brisk morning air, even during the summer, makes me wonder why I didn’t bring more layers of running cloths, but after a couple of miles, a few kilometers, we begin to warm up.

If traveling to central Europe during the summer months I’d suggest bringing a few long sleeved tee shirts as the mornings can be quite cool with temperatures in the mid to low 50’s.

While visiting the Czech Republic bring along a few Coronas as this country, along with Poland and Hungary, did not join in the Euro monetary system.  The country is one of the least expensive places on this journey so you can find a lot of great deals.

This is the final leg of our journey and we’ll soon be home bound.

I don’t travel well and sleeping on an airplane has always been a problem for me, but one of my doctors recommended that I try the herbal over the counter sleep aid melatonin. It worked well to relax me enough so that I could get a few hours of sleep flying to and from Europe.

Randee’s secret comes from wearing compression socks that helps with circulation and leaves her feeling comfortable and relaxed.

You might even consider doing the combination of socks and melatonin to get the ultimate benefit of long distance traveling.

But the key to maintaining a healthy weight while enjoying the sights and foods of different cultures is to exercise daily.  With twice a day walks of 70 minutes or more Randee and I were able to see and appreciate our surrounding while eating the various ethnic foods and trying their local beverages.

Paul Dudley wrote “A vigorous five mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”

And the Big Dog says, “We all have two doctors, they are called our left and right legs.”

And someday should you happen to see a weary jogger trying to get acclimated to the time zone difference remember to “smile” say woof and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , | 2 Comments