I was fortunate to raise money this January for a wonderful organization called The Joyful Heart Foundation that works to support those who area abused. But they don’t stop there; they also help those who help the abused victims. A beautiful lady started the Foundation, her name is Mariska Hargitay. The work, the people and the dedication are just a few reasons why I wanted to help raise awareness for the cause and also a little money on my journey. On January 19-20, 2013, I started out on my 10th running of the HURT 100-Mile Endurance Run across some of the most beautiful and extreme terrain that Hawaii offers. The race is on the island of Oahu through the tropical forest and conditions that make the race one of the most difficult on earth. Sure, you climb and descend 24,500 ft over five arduous 20-mile loops almost entirely on trails. Sure, you run for 36 non-stop hours trying to remain calm and focused to the finish. But the effort of distance and time are not the goals. Most people don’t finish. Personally, I finished the 100 miles three times and enjoyed all races regardless of the distance covered. If not, I shouldn’t even toe the start line.
While most of the race is in the darkness due to the canopy and time of year, you are blessed with some many sights and friends. My effort this year was wonderful and smart. I raced to plan with 40 miles completed in 11 hours. The next 20 miles would enter the dark zone from 5pm to after midnight. The third loop began just fine, but the ‘zombie’ slowly began to overcome of ability to remain focused and I slowed a lot. Still, I was out of the fourth loop with plenty of time to spare and my pacer in tow. I actually felt really good, and was looking forward to seeing the sunrise. My stomach was slowly turning the other direction however and never recovered. I’ve had many complications with my digestive system since cancer, and know that I cannot push too far into rhabdomyolysis. This is casued when my kidneys can’t keep pace. Several times, I pushed beyond safe limits and woke up on the gurney happy to be safe. As my heart rate fluctuated and lungs slowly filled, I knew I needed to make a call with my pacer – a smart decision and not a stubborn one.
I’m only 41 (just turned also!) and have many years of racing and family time ahead. One race does not make a difference on the positive side, but can make a definite difference on the negative end of things. I worked my system for 9 hard hours until we made the decision to stop at mile 73. With only one marathon remaining, the distance was easy. But it was never about running 100 miles. The journey was larger with so many family, friends and strangers. My steps were simply small parts of the larger picture that everyone contributed to in their own way.
I’ve recovered quickly and back out there going 110% in every direction. I want to thank my wife and kids for the balance required to do these fun events, and everyone that gave me a hand over the several months leading up to the race and since. Mahalo Nui Loa for such a wonderful life!