Try Fitness Hawaii’s Annual Na Wahine Festival

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Girls just wanna have fun when they’re kicking their own butts. Yesterday, from the two sisters under 10 years old to the senior women in their 70s, nearly 300 women participated in the annual Na Wahine Festival, a combination of … Continue reading

Today’s Milestone

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Mahalo, whoever you are, you wonderful soul who checked my site as visitor number 50,000 today. Lavagal.net got lots of hits today. It might get to 100 before I sign off. I’m grateful, even if it might be mostly paranoid … Continue reading

My First Waikiki Roughwater Swim

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Labor Day weekend was full of pain for me, but it was also full of joy. The Ride: Joy. On Saturday I joined my TryFitness Hawaii Na Wahine Festival training group for our 2-3 hour workout. It was primarily a … Continue reading

Anxious vs Eager: Running.


@postaday 255; #postaday2011.

As a writer, a proofreader, and an editor I have built up a little arsenal of pet peeves when it comes to other people’s grammar. I say other people’s, because my husband John reads my daily blog entries and secretly emails me edits. And my editor Lisa Baxa, the publisher of Island Scene magazine, and the perfectionist who scans every word the HMSA Mothership intends to communicate, never misses an error in my copy. I am grateful to them, and others who assist. In other words, I’m not perfect.

So if you’re excited about doing something, you’re EAGER. If something you are about to do fills you with fear, you are ANXIOUS. And let’s not get into apostrophes and possessives today. My gawd. Did Pet’s Discount really mean only one pet gets the discount? Why would anyone think it’s ever OK to write “Do’s and Don’t’s,” when it’s “Dos and Don’ts?” And yes, punctuation marks belong within quote marks.

Biking is my thing. This is what I do best! I've added swimming, and now I'm thinking about a 5K. Photo by David Lum, husband of colleague Kari Lum. We ran into each other at Makapu'u Lookout.

OK, now that that’s out of my system: About my anxiety and eagerness in regard to running. One of the Twitter accounts I follow, @BradGansberg, has a website that helps people learn to run a 5K in 100 days. Brad says on his site that he had an epiphany when he was a big fat blob on the sofa. We all get to that point, don’t we? I saw a tweet of his yesterday, noted the hashtag #5Kin100days and decided to check it out. So, following instructions, I sent him an email and I’m now drumming my fingers waiting to hear if I am in. And I think I should be because he tweeted today about how he’s looking for more participants. So, BRAD? ALOHA and here I am under your nose and you’re blowing me off.

Either way, if I’m in or not, there are other build-up-to-a 5K running programs. My concern, as many of you know, is the Achilles tendon drama in my life. I was trying to start a running program back in February 2010 when the 45-year-old wound popped apart. The doctor who did my surgery, Dave Mathews, said it broke right on its old scar. I’ll be checking in with my personal doctor to get a green light for my new goal.

When I wear athletic shoes to work on Casual Fridays, my right leg hurts by the end of the day. I put inserts under the heel, but I still get pain. Sometimes I think I would be better off starting a running program in high heels, but then I’d look like a drag queen! LOL.

After a fine personal finish in the Na Wahine Festival: first in my age group in the Swim and Spin, third overall in that event, I thought about how I might do if I could do the 5K that’s part of its triathlon. A year out is a reasonable time to try and see if I could do it.

I follow a lot of bicyclists and triathletes on Twitter, and I am humbled by their accomplishments. Mine are so small compared to theirs. I’m not going to set myself up for huge disappointments by aspiring to be a senior champion, but I am very competitive so I’ll have to work hard at not disappointing myself.

I’ll be walking a lot before I break into a slow jog. At this point, I wonder if I’ll ever run. And if  you see me out there crawling, literally crawling on my hands and knees, or fallen, please help. Part of me thinks that it might pop again. I think that with every step I take. I thought that as I struggled to get out of the water last Sunday at the Na Wahine to get quickly to my bike across the beach and across the road and into Kapiolani Park. It’s not that I don’t trust the surgeon or the surgery. I just don’t trust my own body.

A few Na Wahine Pics and Others Taken by @AlohaJohn

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@postaday 252; #postaday2011. Many of you who know my husband John are aware that he’s been toting cameras around with him since he was a kid. He got to take all kinds of pictures back in the olden days when … Continue reading

My Michelin-Man Middle.


@postaday 251; #postaday2011.

Monday mornings are all about the review of our personal scores on the weekend-warrior fitness front.

What’s come over me? In the last few weeks I’ve completed a mile-long ocean swim, a duathlon, and I’m now looking at my third full century bicycle ride before the end of September. My husband is already looking ahead for me, generous guy that he is — strategizing ways I can work “running” into my routine. I’m not so sure that if I do run it will ever qualify as actual running. I’m hiding behind a scar, and I don’t want to injure myself again.

Yesterday I competed in the swim-spin segment of the Na Wahine Festival. Honestly, what a fun event. All women, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Kahala, party at Kapiolani Park Bandstand, big waves, lots of aloha, lots of love, and lots of spouses, partners, little kids and grands milling about enjoying the atmosphere. What does it mean? Personally, there are women who want to push themselves as far as they can. But within a community, we want to recognize each other as athletes, warriors, mothers, career women, and young ladies who radiate the glow only the pursuit of health and fitness delivers.

John woke up with me at 4 a.m. to get me to the park early enough to find great parking and for me to straighten out my bib number problem. By the time I got my third number assignment, I was good to go. I set up my transition area with my bike and all my gear, and we headed over to the beach for the pep talk and Star Bangled Banner. It was 9/11/11 and we felt blessed to have that day for our festival. It made being alive that much more significant. I thought of those people who die too young, whether brought down by disease or an attack. Why wouldn’t I do my best with this body of mine to honor the gift of life?

The Michelin-Man Middle HAS GOT TO GO! Photo by Rodney Ogata, aka @Rodney_o.

The day is over and I’ve reviewed John’s photos. I have a long way to go. I sure wish I looked better. I’m tired of being a before, so I know what I want to do. I’m thinking Photoshop could get rid of my Michelin Man middle, but weight loss isn’t that easy.

I think that must be the way it is with people who achieve their goals. They keep looking for more. It’s an addiction to adrenalin and achievements, it’s an ambition to be an example to my daughters and my friends. It’s nice that I’ve got a husband who is on the same page. I know I’m lucky.

Hiking Koko Crater


Last night's sunrise over Maunalua Bay, as captured by Kid1 in the backseat of the van. It's right next to Koko Head.

@postaday 246; #postaday2011.

My colleagues are making plans to hike this Sunday. Initially, they had planned to hike the Ka‘au Crater in Palolo. But when my manager Stephen Jonas posted this news item about his son falling 50 feet, it seems there were a few people having second thoughts. I think Stephen should ground the young man, who says he knows how lucky he is to have survived. We’re all relieved!

So apparently, Ka‘au is quite the hike, and there are several who still want to go. However, Stephen is now redirecting the hike to Koko Crater, the volcano in my ‘hood. In fact, Koko Crater is just a couple of blocks away from my house. My backyard is Koko Crater. When I launch my weekend bicycle rides and take to the hills, I climb behind Koko Crater and head toward Makapu‘u. When we hear the helicopters, we know it’s a rescue. A few years ago a man stabbed a bunch of people he didn’t even know up there. Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Mike Gordon’s daughter was there and helped with reporting the crime and rescuing of some of the victims.

Koko Crater looks easy, but it’s 1,048 steps up to a bunker that’s trashed, covered with graffiti, and littered. There might still be a safe box up there for people to leave notes, but I doubt it. The path used to be skinny, but traffic is so heavy up and down, that it looks more like a dirt road. Old railway ties serve as the steps, and the metal has been yanked by looters to sell to recyclers. I’ve heard that people with dirt bikes and off-road bicycles go up and down the trail, too. For a while, the city considered closing it for fear a stray bullet from the rifle range below might hit someone. In the 71 years the range has been there, no one has been hit. One day each year a club takes to the rim. What day is that? Christmas. The only day the rifle range is closed.

Since my Achilles tendon burst of 2010, my hiking days are over. Frankly, that hike up Koko Crater makes me nuts. It’s hot, the trestle is oily and slippery, and there’s always a beehive in production beneath it, and those bees are always ready to defend their turf. Despite its reputation of being a sissy hike, there’s always someone who freaks out trying to cross the trestle and falls or gets the shakes and freezes in fear.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great little climb. And those hearty souls who climb it to capture the sunrise, or come down after the sun sets, are to be commended if they thought enough to pack flashlights!

While my colleagues are hiking in the heat on Sunday up Koko Crater (Not Koko Head, which juts into the sea with Hanauma Bay nestled beneath it), I’ll be doing my swim and spin in the Na Wahine Festival. My goal is to complete it in less than an hour. I hope I can! Next year, I might be able to do a triathlon with the event. I might be walking it, and hopefully, I won’t be DFL. When I get home Sunday, I hope there aren’t any helicopters hovering around Koko Crater.

They should check out the hike that goes in the crater. Enter by the stables. Big old plumeria trees and a xeriscape garden nestled inside. It’s really a great loop, very easy for just about anyone. We have been taking our girls in there for quite a few years now. No helicopter rescues required!