Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Former student, Ben Mead, making this retired teacher very proud!

Ben Mead

One of the most gratifying things for me, as a retired teacher, is bumping into my former students and getting caught up on their lives now as adults.

Rarely does a week go by without hearing the words, “hi Mr. Joseph, do you remember me?”

Appearances have changed and I can never recall who they are just on sight.

It is flattering for me when they can remember the things in my class that they found interesting and fun.

One of the most important things about teaching young people is to make the subject matter fun.  In fact everything in life is far more enjoyable if it is fun.

Recently I received a marathon application from Benjamin Mead.  It was a name that rang familiar from many, many years ago.  My curiosity got the best of me and I contacted Ben to see if he was a former student.

“Yes Mr. Joseph, I had you at Keaau Middle School in the 7th grade and you were one of my favorite teachers,” Mead said.

During our phone conversation Ben started telling me about all the things in class that he enjoyed and still remembered fondly, till today.

I didn’t realize it right away, but I was speaking to Dr. Benjamin Mead, a dentist who is working for the Bay Clinic in Keaau.

“Bay Clinic is a public health clinic that serves a broad range of patients on both ends of the economic spectrum,” Mead said.  “I was raised in Keaau and being able to return and help in the community has been very rewarding for me.”

A former student that is a professional, wanting to live and contribute to their home town community, nothing could be more satisfying to a teacher.

Mead first got interested in sports when his parents brought him and his brother, Luke, to swim classes when they were five years old.

“I distinctly remember sprinting with everything I had and coming to the realization that if I was going to swim faster I was going to need to improve my technique,” he said.  “The quest to improve and adapt myself has been a source of entertainment and fulfillment ever since.”

Mead was on the swim team at Waiakea High School and was a judoka at Hilo Hongwanji Judo Club.  He even played on a water polo team.

“My favorite sports are surfing and diving as I’m most at home in the water,” Mead said.

Being a dentist Mead puts in 11 hour days, from 7 am to 6 pm four days a week and finds it difficult to muster the energy to work out during that portion of the week.

“My job can be stressful at times, but a positive outlook and an outlet for my energy allows me to stay relaxed,” Mead said.  “Coming back to the Big Island was a good choice for me as it’s the only place that puts me at ease and it has the best waves.”

Despite his busy schedule Dr. Mead has put his sights on running his first marathon (26.2 miles) in March 2012.

“I haven’t done very many runs so far and I still need to learn how to train for the marathon distance,” he said.  “I have done a few shorter events from a 5K to the try-go-athon in Keaukaha and both were really fun.”

Doc Mead has decided to challenge himself by setting a high exercise related goal of completing his first marathon. He knows to be successful he will have to find the time to put in the distance mileage to manage a marathon without too much difficulty.

“I still find it difficult to get exercise into my daily routine,” he said.  “Short runs I can wing it without much training, so I decided to go for the really big one, the Hilo Marathon in March.”

Mead recently asked me for marathon training advice, which I am always eager to share. 

To be successful at anything you have to practice, practice, practice, and in Doc Mead’s case that means getting out and putting in the mileage on his days off.

“I figured that if I chose to run a marathon I’d have to train regularly and that may start me on the path to running for personal fitness,” he said.

The most difficult part of any exercise program is finding the time and then actually sticking to that work out cycle.

Doc Mead is on the right track of setting his goal high and committing himself to a regular fitness regime.

His willingness to want to improve his overall fitness level places him on the right track to success, now he needs to find the time and work it into his busy schedule.

One thing for sure is that we have a community minded dentist working in his home town of Keaau and having the desire to improve the oral care of his patients.

Having former students like Ben Mead cross paths makes being a public school teacher for 32 years all that much more rewarding.

And someday should you happen to see a happy, healthy retiree with clean teeth running through the back roads of Keaau, remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”



December 12, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Former Cross-Country Runner Featured at WHS Library

International Model, Jaclynn Joseph

   A former Waiakea High School cross-country runner has been inducted into this year’s Na Mea Kupaianaha O Waiakea – “All that is extraordinary and wonderful about Waiakea High School.”

    Under the guidance of WHS librarian and project coordinator, Gloria Kobayashi, my daughter, Jaclynn Joseph, www.jaclynnjoseph.com,  along with 26 other outstanding alumni were inducted into this year’s honored class.

MMA Mike Aina

Mixed Martial Artist, Michael Aina, was also inducted into this year’s alumni class.

    Kobayashi’s foundations goal is to raise a million dollars to be used to continue the high academic standards of the school and to support various projects.

   Contributions to the Foundation are welcomed at anytime and checks may be made out to the Waiakea High School Foundation, 155 W. Kawili Street, Hilo, HI 96720.

   You can also contact Kobayashi at Gloria_Kobayashi@notes.k12.hi.us should you have any questions concerning the project.

   The public is encouraged to stop by the library during school hours to view the exhibit, which now features 136 Waiakea High alumni and their careers.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Events, Mixed Martial Arts | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Warrior 3-mile Run/Walk on Saturday

more than 150 runners and walkers are expected on Saturday

more than 150 runners and walkers are expected on Saturday

     Coming up on Saturday, August 22, is the 13th Annual Warrior 3-miler starting at 8 a.m. on the campus of Waiakea High School.

    The Warrior run/walk is an annual fundraiser for the boys and girls cross-country teams as proceeds from the event will go to help defray the cost of traveling to the State Cross-Country Championships to be held on Kauai on October 31.

   Late entry fee and day of race fee is $23 for adults and $20 for students 18 and under includes a Warrior 3-miler T-shirt, post race refreshments and awards to the top two in a variety of gender and age divisions.

   For more information or to obtain a race application contact the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com or call 969-7400.

participants range in age from 6 to 85

participants range in age from 6 to 85

August 20, 2009 Posted by | Events | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scholarship 5K run/walk on Sunday

Members of the Big Island Road Runners pose for a photo

Members of the Big Island Road Runners pose for a photo

SCHOLARSHIP 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, June 7

       The Big Island Road Runners will play host to the Fourth Annual Scholarship 5K run/walk on Sunday, June 7 in the parking area of Moku Ola, Coconut Island in Hilo.

     Starting time is 7 am; with a sign-up fee of $2 to non BIRR members and post race refreshments and scholarship award ceremony to follow the run/walk.

      BIRR is awarding a $1000 college scholarship to Keaau’s Amy Eriksson and Waiakea’s Bryce Harada.

      Both Eriksson and Harada are their schools valedictorians and will be on hand to receive their awards.

     For more information call 969-7400.

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Events, Health and Fitness, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garnett finds time to Exercise

Robert Garnett, Jr. staying healthy

Robert Garnett, Jr. staying healthy

    Not being able to fit exercise into the day is the number one excuse used by those that claim “they just don’t have the time.”

    Yet, people that really care about their health somehow find the time to go for a walk, jog, swim or cycle, even if it means working out at 4 in the morning or 8 in the evening.

   For Robert Garnett, Jr. it’s all about making time fit into his busy work and family schedule.  Garnett, a single parent of five and works at two jobs, exercising to maintain his weight has become a top priority. 

   Garnett first got interested in sports at a young age, and then went on to play football, baseball and track & field in high school to become a “tri-athlete” of sorts.

    Growing up in Norco, Southern California Garnett and his family moved to the Big Island eleven years ago where he now resides in Leilani Estates, Pahoa.

    “My families health issues brought us here,” he said.  “The air quality in Southern California was too dirty and caused my son and wife to get constant sinus infections.  We decided that Hawaii was the best place for my wife and my son to live because the air is clean.”

    Garnett’s wife also suffers from multiple sclerosis and after traveling around the U.S. decided that Hawaii made her feel the best physically.  

    Garnett is employed by Hawaii Community College and is an instructor at Waiakea High School where he teaches drafting, blueprint reading, and building construction one and two.

   “I work for the Construction Academy at Waiakea and I also work at the Home Depot, part time,” he said.  “I really enjoy my job because I can give back to the students by sharing my experiences with them.”

    “Exercise is important to me because it helps me stay balanced, focused on my goals, and it is relaxing,” he said.

    Twelve months ago Garnett, who stands 5’ 6.5” tipped the scales at 200 pounds and realized it was time to do something about it.

    “My average weight for the last 20 years had always been around 160 to 185,” he said.  “I have always done physical activity, but as I got older the weight started to pile on.”

    Part of Garnett’s motivation to lose weight came from his desire to participate in the Senior Olympics.   “I was eating too much high fat foods, like junk food and fast food,” he said.  “Over a period of time this just built up and I gained weight.”   

    After losing the weight Garnett went to Oahu this past November to compete in 100, 200 and 400 meter sprints, along with the shot put, long jump and pole vault events as part of the Senior Olympics.  “I qualified for the nationals in California in August, but I won’t be able to go due to my family situation,” he said.

  Garnett’s action to lose and maintain his current weight was to cut portion sizes and improve on the foods that he consumed.  “I now eat a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal everyday with one banana for breakfast.  For lunch I bring a sandwich from home and for dinner I either eat out or make dinner for the kids that always have lots of fruits and vegetables with the meals,” he said.

    Of course Garnett also compliments his well balanced diet with regular exercise.  Each day, during lunch hour, Garnett can be found walking laps around the Waiakea track.  “Before school I walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes and then walk again during my lunch period,” he said.

   “I also swim five days a week at Kawamoto swimming pool for 30 minutes each day, and I do a lot of stretching and isometrics with 15 pound barbells,” he said.

   As a result of Garnett’s exercise and improved diet he has lost 55 pounds in a six month period and is down to his high school weight of 145 pounds.

   Garnett doesn’t drink or smoke and at age 57 is well on his way to a healthier, more productive body that will continue to reap benefits as he ages.

   “As I get older I realize that it’s more and more important to keep my body in good condition,” he said.

    Garnett’s goals are to maintain his body weight, increase his flexibility, and to improve on his diet.  “I want to lead by example for my family,” he said.  “I also want to help people to lose weight and thus, feel better.”

   “It’s no big secret in losing weight,” Garnett said.  “Just limit your intake of food and use high quality foods and exercise daily, you’ll see the weight melt away and you’ll find that you will have more energy and feel so much better.”

    “If people are interested they can email me at rgarnett@hawaii.edu,” he said.  “I know how hard it is for people to get started and I’d be willing to help them take their first step.”

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Profiles | , , | Leave a comment