When In Rome

Recently, the family and I went on a ten day Hawaiian vacation.

I’m not going to try to sell you on Hawaii (hint: it sells itself). And I’m not going to bore you with what I did, where I went, how amazingly great it was…oops.

What I did want to talk about was serendipity, and it went a little like this:

  1. Rent a car
  2. Push the “Scan” button on the car radio
  3. Land on Lava FM, a classic rock station
  4. Listen to an ad for Big Island Running Company
  5. Hear them advertise an upcoming 5k


The Club Rehab ‘Ohana Fun Run 5k, in only it’s second year, was the exact thing I was looking for…okay, maybe not exact. A half marathon trail race through a steamy Hawaiian rainforest would have been the exact thing, but the 5k had a lot going for it. It was short, meaning I wouldn’t need any of the equipment that I had not brought on a vacation to Hawaii and I wouldn’t need to spend a fortune getting said equipment at the last minute. The race was also very close to where we were staying.

It was so close in fact, that I decided I would run to the start and then run back after the race for a total of nine miles of running. I cruised down to the start line, arriving with about 30 minutes to spare, plenty of time to get registered, pay my entry fee, pin on my bib, and make a final pit stop.

My plan was to run conservatively. It was hot, I’d already run three miles, and I would need enough left in the tank to run another three miles after the race. Slow and steady, right?

Yeah. Sure. Nice thought.

When a 5k begins and everyone charges away from the start line, you tend to get caught up in the magic of the moment, adrenalin kicks in, and away you go.

I did my best. I moved to the middle of the pack before the start and ran the first 1/2 mile very conservatively. The next stretch of road was downhill, so I kicked it up a notch, being careful not to blow myself up in the unfamiliar heat and humidity. At the turn around point I counted the runners going by and realized I was in 16th place. I counted two men who looked as though they were probably in my age group.

Oh boy.

Obviously at this point, being a competitive runner, and person in general, I hit the gas. Over the last mile and a half I was able to pass five runners, including one of the guys who looked about my age.

I hit the tape in 23:07. Not bad.

I sucked down some water, then a little more water, then a banana and little more water. When the results were posted, I saw that I was indeed 11th overall and 2nd in my age group. The top two finishers in each age group got an “award” and it was the first race I had done where there was an actual award ceremony. They called my name, I went forward, I got my award: a lovely etched mug.


This had turned out to be a wonderful experience that I had not expected during my vacation. I hadn’t run a 5k in probably ten years (other than mostly walking a few with my kids). It was fun, it was fast, and it was incredibly well organized. Kudos to the folks in charge!

After receiving my award, I got on the phone to my wife.

“Do you need a ride home?” she teased. “Too tired to run?”

“Nah,” I said. “I could run, but I won an award and I don’t want to break it!”

Run on, Sisters and Brothers!


#hawaii #5k #run #runner #funrun #ohana #aloha #big island #adventure


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