For every detractor I seem to have, there is a little gallery of support. People who love me, like me, only know me on the surface, and barely know me at all, have somehow taken the time to sprinkle a little of that fancy positive-thinking dust on me. Mahalo from the soles of my beaten feet, from my jumbled brain, from my jelly-coated aging frame.

Twice yesterday colleagues came up to me to tell me they saw my husband and me on Kalanianaole Highway. They said I was running. They said I was looking pretty good. Here are my Garmin stats. We were returning from the Kahala Aloha Station, so I know this part of our (my) “run” (shuffle), was full of pain. I did not feel good. I felt awful. And at this point, I wasn’t even at a Honolulu Marathon half-way mark. Add to that my long-suffering husband, who patiently stuck by my side, painfully enduring my crawl by running a little bit ahead, running circles around me, stopping to tie his shoe or take a nap, catching up with me, and giving me attagirls to which I wanted to tell him to zip his trap. Yes, I am a royal pain in the ass when I am hot, tired, cranky, and probably suffering from dehydration and low blood sugar. Running. Another club to which I don’t quite fit.

When we got to Portlock, I stopped my Garmin and took John up on his offer to go get the car and get me. My legs were done. That feel-good juice people talk about? I have no idea. I pulled my old-lady bones out of the car, barely got through my shower, got on the bed with matching ice packs on my knees and took a nap. I was OK after that. My legs were sore, but I could get around alright.

The next day, Monday, the Veteran’s Day holiday, I did what I love and that’s ride my bicycle. John asked me if my knee would be alright, and it didn’t matter. I had to ride. Here are those Garmin stats. Much better. I was mostly alone and only passed one guy. I got to Diamond Head Lookout, checked in and took some photos with my iPhone. As I got ready to leave, a squall blew through, so I hung out by the police car at the pullout, shot a double rainbow, and drank some more water. “The worst day riding is better than the best day running,” I thought to myself. Your mileage may vary.

I was getting back from my ride and I passed John on his run by the bay. He gave me a shout. I’m sure he was happy to be on his own without me. Frankly, my solo bike ride was just peachy. Even in the puddles all the way home.

When he got home from his run, he came to me with a proposal: skip the half, work out at the gym on the elliptical and treadmill, rest up and WALK the marathon. I was like STFU, DUDE. Walking means being out there hellas longer than shuffling or Gallowaying. WTPho? I kinda went all praying mantis on him and attempted to bite his head off.

“I’m done,” he said. But the fact is, he’s never done. LOL

After a bit of a grueling day yesterday at work, I got in the elevator to go home. It stops on the next floor and my friend Jason got in. He told me I came up in a conversation, that I was training for something, like the Marathon, or a triathlon, or something like that. I groaned a lot inside, but a little on the outside. I responded as cheerfully as I could that I am not much of an athlete. But Jason wouldn’t have it and freely sprinkled me with more attagirl dust and got off on the fifth floor.

There I was alone in the elevator and I thought to myself that I really do need to complete this last goal for 2012. That there really are people out there who care enough to say a couple of words to pull me out of this physical and professional slump I’ve gotten sucked into. And I have to give my spouse credit because I feel I’ve fallen into a black hole of failure and negativity on just about every front.

Will completing the Honolulu Marathon make the rest of my life better? I think I might as well find out.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. Yes! There’s no time limit. Apply plenty of sunscreen and drink copious amounts at every aid station and keep your socks dry when you use the sponges and don’t eat the Vaseline popsicle. Breathe deep the Satohap fumes and gratefully acknowledge every ganbatte kudasai! Dance in the sprinklers on Keala’olu and take your time on Kahala Avenue and shuffle the longest half-mile and go across the line with your arms up like “Rocky.” Your finisher shirt won’t have an asterisk and your keychain/medal will be no dinkier than anyone else’s and you will be a marathoner.

  2. Do it for me! I won’t be able to go this year due to injury, but I’ll be thinking of you! My husband has to take me to Ko Olina or some other place that is not East Oahu to cheer me from my depression at having to see all of the amazing participants and not being one. You are an athlete! Believe it lady! I didn’t until I finished the marathon…but I know that I am…even if I am in a slump…I’ll be back in 2013! Lots of love to both of you and best of luck (not that you need it) at the 2012 Honolulu Marathon! XOXO

  3. go get ’em, paula! you are definitely an inspiration to me and many others! love your energy and of course, your words!

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