All posts by Paul S

Louisiana native and Hawaii transplant after a few years living in San Francisco getting my MBA. Involved in endurance sports ranging from mountaineering to 100 mile runs.

Ko’olau Summit Trail 2012

This was a replacement trek after a recent change of jobs, and was supposed to be relatively easy when compared to my planned John Muir Trail trek. Only three days along the Oahu Ko’olau mountain range starting at Pupukea trailhead. The adventure is an annual trek led by Gordon Lau, a local experienced trail guide, endurance athlete, hunter and more who is also slightly older than both of the other two hikers: I’m 40 and Jim Masterson is mid-40’s. I want let out Gordon’s age for absolute fear of unleashing the beast. Jim is just off the plane from Korea where he is stationed with the Army. He is also an endurance athlete in excellent, crazy conditioning.
On Memorial Day weekend starting at 8am on Saturday May 26th, 2012 three trekkers set out on to attempt a 3-day trek along the Ko’olau Summit Trail (KST here out) ending at Kamehameha Highway only a few long, never-ending miles away. The terrain was tropical rain forest with a gradual paved road to start. The weather was overcast and slightly misting with a few showers and mid-60’s. Not too bad overall and a good conversation along the road. Then we stop and I realize my first misgiving – both Jim and Gordon put on knee-length gaiters, protective glasses, protective gloves and brandish their machetes. I had some small gaiters covering my low-profile trail running shoes. And that was the last view of the road until Kamehameha Highway. The trail continues uphill since this is a summit trail. We ascend up the thumb gradually making our way to the spine or hogs-back to about 2,200 feet. The winds begin to pick up as does the mud that is overflowing my gaiters. The brush is thick and getting thicker along the way. Gordon leads the way with amazing pig-hunter navigational skills that were obviously absent from a recent soloist who got lost for five days before rescue. Thankfully, we had a Gordon!
The trail opens up at times, then disappears just as quickly with only surveyor ribbon (yellow, blue, orange, etc.) to search for making this a game of follow the leader, dodge the plants that pulls at every piece of clothing and skin, duck from the objects darting towards your eyes from the wind, stay back from the person in front so not to find yourself the recipient of a recoil, keep upright in the every increases mud pit and of course stay hydrated and eat. I almost forgot to not grab anything to keep your balance since I had no gloves. OK, I think I have everything planned for the next 72 hours of fun.
The raw uninterrupted beauty of the natural setting of the Ko’olaus is truly spectacular. Yes, there are invasive species and many groups are working to remove these plants and control the animals that encroach on the beauty of the island. Until you walk in these harsh places, never assume that they are just hanging our picking weeds. They are truly amazing people working in some of the world’s most extreme places.
As we trekked slowly towards our first destination, Koloa Cabin, I began to realize that I needed to stay at least 10 feet from Jim who was in the middle to avoid getting smacked in the face from all the brush, but somehow keep an eye on him in the misty air and undulating ground where the trail twists and turns with the nature contours of the terrain. Each step is a risky proposition with rocks that move, mud that swallows your leg, brush that grabs at you with passion and just relentless concentration. Then at times, I found myself crawling behind Jim under fallen trees as if we were taking enemy fire from above. On the KST we moved onward to the Kahuku trailhead arriving around 9:30a then over to the Malaekahana trail by 12:25p. Stops for rest were very few as each of us are very familiar with eating on the move, and making steady progress from our years doing ultra endurance runs. And those years came together on this effort. Gradually, the Laie trail came closer around 1:05p with a short section until we took a longer break to get water at the Kawailao area by 1:37p. Time always crawls by in the head, then hours are gone without any realization of how far you’ve gone and what your body is capable of enduring. We filtered our water, Gordon and I with hand pumps and Jim with his cute UV pen and bottle filter. The Go-Lite packs were tossed back over our shoulders, and we finally reach the Koloa cabin by 2:56p on Day One. The rain was ever-present and a cabin setup by the Army was very nice reprieve to the wet and cold day.
I did my best to clean my clothes thinking the monster wind would blow them dry on the make-shift clothesline. But the mist and humidity along with the cold temperature made certain that was not to happen. In our metal cabin / container with a few bunks, we rested and slowly began to settle in with warm meals from the hot water provided by the two stoves that Jim and I had. My Jet Boil versus Jim’s MSR WhisperLite, no competition. The Jet Boil rocked. Jim began his hour long yoga poses that Gordon dubbed downward cricket (versus dog) and I just stretched out the body and watched the wind pass by the windows. Night came slowly as did the heavier rains letting us know Day Two was to be another adventure.
While we woke up early, we didn’t depart the comfort of the cabin until 8:15a. This was partly due to the weather and also due to a plan by Gordon to stop short at the Army cabin only a few miles away. Apparently, this was a very nice cabin and Gordon really wanted to stop there. By 10:35a, we reached Castle trail and despite the harsh wind and quicksand type mud, we were making good time. This meant that the Army cabin was reached very early at 11:24a and there was no logical way that we would stop here. Gordon cried and waved slowly bye-bye to the cabin. It was a very sad picture indeed, but onward. The steps ahead were the worst conditions on the entire trail, and challenging was an understatement. The only thing to do was to hope the mud pits didn’t eat your shoes and keep your mouth closed so not to splash any mud into your mouth. But with all the weather hazards, I continued to see beauty all around me. I might slip on a hidden log, and see the ohia flower looking at me. Or almost have my eye poked out, and see the strangest twisted tree that could only come from the mind of Tim Burton or the KST.
By 12:25p we made it to Peahinaia and pushed on to the Cline Memorial by 1:45p with markers of all trailheads and distance along the KST. We moved along the fence line erected to control the pig population and also caused one injury to the team. While moving carefully over a metal spike holding tension for the fence, Gordon landed on top of the spike impaling his right knee with serious damage. Some duct tape and a few curse words made the injury much better. That is one tough dude. He picked up his orange handled machete and pushed on. By 2:05p, we reached Poamoho cabin covered in deep mud, soaking wet and exhausted. And on the front porch of the cabin was a clean couple eating homemade sandwiches. I think we scared them since they departed rather quickly, allowing us to have the cabin to ourselves, Jim to do his yoga, Gordon to sleep and me – well I tried to get some weight off my clothes and body by taking a shower in the water catchment slightly warmed with the introduction of two-cups of boiling water from my stove. That was pure luxury. We rested, then ate and played with rubbing alcohol fires.
While the sound of rats racing along the back of the cabin woke me, I was still able to relax listening to the rain and crazy wind. By sunrise, the skies opened allowing some beautiful views all the way to the ocean. Day Three would prove to be a taxing day from the pure wind impact of the effort alone. And when I describe the wind, it is not like a gentle trade wind at 15 mph. These winds were truly epic and dangerous. If your jacket had any flap, it would slap painfully across your body. The force was strong enough and also amplified by the cliffs on Day Three to push over each of us. As we scrambled along the Schofield terminus by 8:47a, we were blasted with tough footing and heavy winds that sent each of us grasping for anything to hold on to. The cliffs are beautiful from below, just not something you want to visit on a freefall. We made it to the end of our section of the KST at Ka’aumakua and down Waikane trail at 9:12a holding fast to every piece of protection that trail could offer. Along this entire section, I rated every step with a 1-2-3 scale. One meant that a fall would be survivable with a self arrest. A two meant that I would get injured but likely not die. A three meant that a sudden stop would be a few hundred or thousand feet below, not good. And this rating was literally made with every step as the trail was razor thin, holes would form and the wind would knock your center of balance off line. At one point, I reached up in time to grad the pack of Jim as the wind pushed him unexpectedly close to the edge. We smiled, and continued. The decent down Kahana lowback and to the water tunnel was gradually getting easier and eventually turned into a hike. Once we made it down to Kamehameha Hwy, we found a certain Fishman waiting for us with a cooler, food, drinks and smiles.
This was an awesome trip with friends, and an amazing part of Oahu that is mostly undisturbed by people. The efforts by the researching, mountain clubs and universities are truly amazing and unseen. The conservation efforts in the most remote places are protecting the beauty of Oahu for everyone. Until you walk in these places, you can’t imagine how rugged Oahu is and how strong people are that attempt to hike the KST. Total distance, just over 22.6 miles.

Leave a comment

Cancer Never Ends

This past month has seen some reality checks when it comes to the ongoing fight to endure the battle with cancer.  On Sept. 12, I lost my uncle that raised me when my father and mother had their own challenges.  Ironically, he was my father’s identical twin and just like twins, he died from the same cancer that took my father 5 years ago.

The funeral was both a reunion and one of the more difficult emotional times of my life.  But as a family, we made it through.

Once back in Hawaii and looking to return some normal routine of family life, training for endurance events and work, I was slapped with another reality check.  My radiation therapy to my face 5 years ago had caused some damage to the nerve in a tooth.  These things happen despite everyone best efforts.  I’m surprised it took so long to present.  So, I had a wonderful root canal performed to take care of the never ending side effects of the treatment.

I almost forgot the topical chemo for basal cell and many stitches from a little cyst on my back.  These didn’t slow me down although they did keep me from swimming for a while.  I didn’t want to be easy shark bait.

So, as I continue to look for the normalcy in life, I’m once again reminded of the never ending battle.  Last week, I awoke to a chubby upper lip.  I guess if I wanted to look like one of the reality TV stars with their big lips, I would have been pleased.  On the contrary, I knew there was something up.  Now, the swelling is into my cheeks, upper and lower lips and eye lids.  I look so cute.  It’s likely lymphedema due once again to the life long side effects from my treatment.  My system was damaged permanently, so this is what I must manage.  I’m working to isolate the trigger which is eluding us at the moment.  But, I do look rather interesting.

So, one would assume that these events would allow for a lull in my attitude.  Actually, just the opposite.  I feel better than ever and more motivated that ever.  Date nights with my wife, beach time with the boys, camping with my older son and training for long hours smelling the lilikoi, mountain apples and white ginger along the lovely Hawaiian trails that always brings a smile to my heart.  With life we can either succumb to the events that we are faced with, or continue to live the journey.  It may not always be pleasant, but that’s life.  Live while there is life to live, and save the complaining for when the living is done.  Because of these challenges, I go out of my way to help others, especially those that can actually help themselves.  Sounds strange, but in a circular logic, I am showing them that because of my challenges, I am still able to do more than you without complaining and with a smile.  What’s your excuse?  I can’t find one.

Leave a comment

Running for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

I’m heading back home to Louisiana amidst the flooding to run 50 miles for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center (MBP).  MBP has been around about as long as I have, and making a difference in the struggle people unfortunately has with cancer.  On May 20th starting at 6AM, I’ll push off with the initial strides and keep running around the beautiful Louisiana State University lakes until I complete 50 miles.

Oddly enough, it’s been 5 years since I completed my cancer treatment.  What a better celebration than to do something more than myself and give back.  I hope to raise a few donations with a page dedicated to MBP at http://www.CancerRunner.org.  The donations go directly to MBP and will make a difference in the lives of so many facing the battle that too many have already endured.

A few friends and likely a few strangers will join me for this event.  With technology today, I’ve been working with Denver Benton of Denver Benton Fitness Services from over 5,000 miles away.  We’ll finally meet in person at the event, and I look forward to a few miles of making a new friend.

During this opportunity, I will remember why I am running – this will be easy actually.  I’ll be covered from the sun, wearing strong sunblock as well as 50+ UPF rated clothing and head wraps.  And as I endure since my cancer, I’ll drink my nutrition more than any eating.  And this is a good thing to remember, since I’m out there stronger than ever!

As the miles roll past and the day gets older, my mind will slowly move to the completion and know that my new baby boy in his mom’s arms will be there waiting for me.  I hope to run the last little part with my oldest son who is now out of kindergarten and was only 1 when I underwent my ordeal.  My family will be there providing support and thinking as always how crazy I am, but knowing inside how proud they are.

Anyone can donate through the above website, and follow along via Twitter @CancerRunner.  Keep running, keep moving and never, ever quit the fight.

1 Comment

Next Running Adventure

This May I’m heading over to New Orleans for a conference. So I decided to make the most out of this trip, and add a few miles to it. Since I graduated from LSU, I always wanted to do something that involved running around the LSU lakes. In May, I’ll run a few miles for a local cancer charity that helps children with their battles. There is one boy in particular that I raised money for in the past who continues to fight the uphill battle. I hope to combine running 50 miles around the LSU lakes and seeing him out there. Maybe we can walk a little distance together. For him, it will be like running a 100 miles. For me, it will be like I made a difference even if very small.

The date is set yet, but will be some time after May 15th. I’m working with some local friends to arrange logistics. But just give me a few hours and some water, and I’m good to go! Before then, I’m spending my training time focused in the triathlon season and some night trail runs. There’s nothing like running for a few hours on the dark trails during a rain storm to relax the mind.

So if you happen to be in the Baton Rouge area around mid-May, I welcome you to join me for a few miles of my 50 mile trot around the LSU lakes. I’ll post more frequently on my Twitter account under @CancerRunner.

Until then, look around the world and see how you can make a difference. It’s an amazing life out there, so live it to its fullest without regrets.

Paul

Leave a comment

Worst and Best Cancer Day

Now that I’m five years past my last treatment, I think back to the lowest days of the cancer ordeal while out on long training days. I do this to remind myself of the strength inside and remove any whining that may surface when I’m tired of running or not feeling 100%.
To find the worst day during my cancer fight, I could choose from the day I was diagnosed, the day long surgery holding my wife’s hand, the recurrence, the fear of the radiation strapped to a table, any of the endless days trying to eat/drink anything, my last day able to run or a multitude of other options. But no, none of those even tip the scale of the worst and subsequently the best day of my cancer ordeal.
No, the absolute worst day was the day I sat down, all 130 pounds of myself (started at 162), in a rocker on a raining evening in March 2006 holding my two year old son and reading him Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. If you have kids, you probably know this book as the rolling words and carefully rendered pages invite the child to gently fall asleep. I loved reading this book to my son before bedtime and holding him in my arms as he would fall asleep just before the last couple of pages. Well, my worst day was when partway through this children’s book, I was no longer able to talk. The treatment to my head and neck had damaged my throat and mouth so badly, that I was too far gone to shape my mouth. If it was only pain stopping me, I would have forced the body on to finish the book. No, I physically could no longer speak and hence I could no longer finish the bedtime story to this little freckled face, blue eyed boy who had no clue of what I was undergoing – nor should he.
At this moment, I could have just stopped and asked for help and let the cancer win another battle in this prolonged war. I could easily give up and hand my son to my wife and surrender to the invisible darkness eating me from inside. But that would not be me. This worst day of my treatment was also the best day, as I simply hummed the words softly. I found a way to continue the book and as a result I won this little battle for dignity given so much dignity that I had to give up. While there was a tear in my eye, I was happy to hum the bedtime story to my son and watch him fall asleep in his dad’s weak but stubbornly wrapped arms.
Moments like this are what I call upon when I am tired during a 12-hour night run after working all day. When work doesn’t seem like a place I want to be or any situation that allows for the opportunity to surrender and give up, this best day allows me the strong experience to smile at the obstacles that exist all around us every day and continue to lead a truly stress free life. Sure there are deadlines at work, endurance workouts that don’t go as planned and reasons to multi-task beyond the mere mortal limits of one person, but I still smile and put this entire wonderful life into perspective.
It’s not about how much money you make or don’t. It’s not about who you know or don’t. It’s not about winning a race or not. It is about getting to the starting line, taking your turn, accepting no excuses and finding a way to read to your son even if there are no words coming out.
After reading my little blog, I hope in your life you see the challenge and smile at it as an opportunity to continue living life – your life.

Leave a comment

Running Down the Trail at HURT Trail 100

This year’s race was preplanned in coordination with my wife to be only a 100K, only! With our new five month old and other family priorities, we could not afford the required time for long runs. So, we did what we could while taking care of those around us who need us the most. But a 100K is not really a 100K at HURT.
To start, it’s actually 67.3 miles instead of 62.5 and those extra steps really make a painful difference. The race directorate and volunteers make this event one if not the best endurance event on earth. They truly make you feel like family/ohana. The course is not easy with every step a chance for a twisted knee, slip off a steep ridge, and slide over slick boulders over a cliff or simply trip over infinite roots ready to catch your tired toes. No, this course is brutal every inch of the way. Maybe this is why people come here – to test themselves unlike they will ever be tested elsewhere. Maybe they are looking inward for a place that brings thing calmness, or they are just truly sadistic. Whatever the reason, people love this race. For me, I just love the outdoors!
Starting at 6:00 AM on a humid Saturday morning, the race started with the same ritual as always of traditional Hawaiian blessing as the stream moved underfoot. I planned on a five hour first loop, and managed this closely with little effort. My main rule is to not get injured on the first loop. Nutrition can be recovered, but a broken ankle cannot. The return to the start/finish was slightly under five hours and injury free. However, the humidity was building the course into an oven with no breeze in sight.
The second loop, planned for six hours, required more experience as I doubled my electrolytes given the weather and my hydration as well. I was drinking over 36 ounces per hour, and careful to monitor my symptoms for heat stroke. At one time, I was sweating profusely but getting cold. Years of experience told me to adjust my plan quickly as cramps would soon be found. Once the cramps started, I was ready and my system rebounded quickly to stave off them with the added fluids and electrolytes. The miles between 33 and 40 were difficult due to the weather and my lack of training. I fully expected this, and reduced my effort to compensate keeping my heart rate in check. My trail management saw me back at the start/finish around six hours with another boost of energy after seeing my wife and two boys. Then my stomach gave way! This is actually good timing, and I took care of business and tossed all sugars from nutrition plan. From here on out, it would be a non-sugar plan to allow my system to reset. With a kiss to my family, I was off on the third loop to meet my pacer at mile 47.
The march over to mile 47 was long a painful from being tired. The week of the race, I averaged about 3 hours of sleep taking care of the boys at night. My wife and I both work, so just because I want to run 100K doesn’t mean she has to suffer as well. This lack of sleep would bring out the walking zombie for most of the remaining race. My feet were also experiencing hot spots from the moisture of the water on sections of the trail, and I was also working through some chaffing in very private places. So, I marched through the complications to mile 47 – slowly. With my experienced pacer in hand, and darkness upon us, we continued through the night pushing past exhaustion that was so thick I truly could not force my eyes to remain open. My lights became a mesmerizing dance over the rainforest floor sending me into a deep walking restful state weaving from one edge of the trail to the other. My pacer continued to instruct me along this blind dance keeping me as safe as possible. We arrived at mile 53 where miso soup and salted potatoes helped keep me fueled.
The zombie march continued as we ascended the ridge again and crawled our way over to the start/finish where I knew without a doubt I was done. The third loop took over eleven hours! I went to the first aid tent hoping that the feet were so badly damaged that I couldn’t continue. Slowly my shoes were removed and Injini socks to expose the very red and soft feet, with little to no damage – only a few blisters. I asked to have the blisters drained, taped and switched shoes and socks. I knew I was going back out to finish this experience. I only needed 7.3 painful miles of sleep walking!
My pacer and I went out, back up the series of climbs that would see me wobble here, sit down there and even sleep for five minutes by a trash can. There was no running available as my feet, chaffing and closed eyes wouldn’t allow this. My only hope was the sunrise!
We pushed on around the course, most of which is a blur now. Then the sun began to illuminate the sky, and I slowly returned to reality. Down into Paradise Park we went somehow getting to mile 67.3, my goal and promise to my wife – to not go for the 100 miles this year. I’m very glad I promised her that I would stop since this effort took me 25 hours and 31 minutes of absolute effort.
During the race, my face showed signs of edema from the radiation therapy but this has slowly resolved after about 24 hours. Sun exposure on this course is almost zero allowing me to run with comfort. The biggest challenge is still my saliva glands that just cannot produce enough to aid with certain dry foods like breads. But overall, I am very pleased with my performance given my focus on family after a full year of making it through a high risk pregnancy and seeing a healthy new addition to our family. Yes, 2010 was a difficult year making this year’s HURT even more special.

Leave a comment

Cancer Times Are Always There

Even though it’s been a few years since my treatments ended, I still see the physical and yes, emotional scars. At times, both seem to fade and then I am reminded of what will always be there. No, I am still cancer free so I don’t want to alert anyone with a scare. It’s just the nerves that were cut in my face during the surgery seem to talk to me, remind me that they were damaged and that there was something growing inside.

My cancer was a strange form of skin cancer, so naturally any type of pimple will raise those hairs on my neck. I’m careful to not worry my wife, so I keep all the false alarms to myself. And at night when I am relaxing in bed with the covers pulled tight, I might have the tight throat and slight difficulty breathing as my airway is constricted by mucus (yuck). That just sounds horrible to write, but once you are treated with radiation in the head/neck, the area is sensitive. And certain foods might introduce a slight mucus layer that creates a bubble blocking your airway. Now talk about freaking out when you are sleeping, and can’t breathe! But that’s the deck that I continue to shuffle and play. We all have issues with cancer, and better to share than to hide them since we are all experiencing similar effects.

The same throat problems persist when training for endurance events with careful planning required to watch what I eat and make sure I can swallow the food. I’ve learned to take extra fluids to allow for more nutrition from the liquids and less reliance on the solids.

I guess I could look at things as half hairy (instead of half full). That is a reference to my face that can only grow hair on the part that was not radiated – the upper part. If it was 1955, that might be cool. But as I plan for everything, I keep two electric razors charged and shave every morning. I even took an electric razor along the John Muir Trail so I wouldn’t emerge 222 miles later looking like some freak of nature with pork chop sideburns, mustache and a smooth throat area.

My writing here is only to share with those who experience cancer, that cancer is always with you physically and mentally – and that’s ok. Trying to block the experience only gives it more energy. Redirect that energy to living with the disease and never letting it win no matter what. As proof, I’ll keep running and living my life instead of sitting around waiting for cancer to live my life for me.

Leave a comment

Ultra Family Life

Life is amazing! If you never witnessed the birth of a child, it’s hard to convey the gift of living.  Money, status and what people think of you are out the window.  All that matters is the health of your new child.  For my lovely wife and I, this journey has taken over 12 years and was interrupted by cancer (the Big C).  Now we have two very cool boys that are almost exactly six years apart.

Oddly, I continue to workout keeping focused on some form for ultras while being a husband and father foremost.  So when do I run?  Well, work provides a time for running but that’s not enough time.  So, I try to time it just right between feeding our new son (usually late at night) and head out for the trails. 

So, with on average 2-4 hours of sleep per night, I hit the trails, alone, for some level of endurance training.  But the real focus is just time on my feet.  I’m so numb from sleep deprivation, I dream while running up the mountain ridges of a nice place to curl up in the mud and sleep.  But I push on running with my headlamp dancing in the darkness.  With over 20 years of racing under my belt, I draw upon many experiences to pick the right line up and down the ridges and along the cliffs.  And as a responsible dad, I carry full survivor gear for almost any situation.

For every step, I know that racing is not a focus just getting in a workout.  I cancelled all triathlons and races this year to take care of nearly three months of my wife’s bed rest, and make life normal for my older boy.  Life in itself is the hardest endurance race of all.  So I train for the next 100 miler with more sleep deprivation, night runs and playing with my boys every day.  And my training runs…some hurt like hell and others are so smooth.  It depends on getting a little sleep or not.

With about 14 weeks and about 300 hours of training to go before my next ultra, it’s nice to know that I am completing an ultra nearly every day.  And I like to think I am in first place in this race!

To my uncle and good friend Vernon, you keep up the strong fight against cancer, and we will all be the stronger for your efforts.

Aloha – Paul

11 Comments

CancerRunner Rescues Seven Hikers

What does it mean to be a father and husband taking care of a full work load, a wife that is on full bed rest at 34 weeks pregnant and a 5-yr old son (plus Rotary President, Relay for Life Chair, Lyon Arboretum Board, etc.) plus trying to retain the athletic skills for a calm state of mind? Well, it means finding odd hours to workout. The last few weeks, I’ve been going for a workout on the trails after it rained all day long, at around 9:00 PM. Sure, seems late but very peaceful knowing that my wife is resting with her 76 pillows and my son is dreaming of Bakugan games after I read him Ferdinand the Bull. No, running at night after a nonstop 15 hours of work is relaxing, and running through soupy, muddy, ‘cakey’ trails is perfect!

This past Saturday night, I was out on a normal run with all my survival gear and expensive lights when I came upon a group of hikers. The sight of my lights seemed to startle them a bit, so I gave a popped off a friendly quiz: “Are you guys just starting out?” The question was meant to assess their state of mind as most lost people usually deny that they are in a ‘pickle’. Without a phone, light, food or water, I knew the answer but wanted to assess the situation first from my many years of experience and also back county medical training. They were also barefoot and very exhausted. We exchanged some words to which I surmised they were out all day, got lost, got injured and were basically stuck! But some how they managed to feel their way through the trails while slipping everywhere to which two were injured from falls. I quickly decided to give up a light to a guy in the middle, and I carried the lady most injured with my headlamp from the end of the train of seven hikers. We hiked through the mud talking story and staying upright with the eventually completion of their trail adventure to which I quickly departed returning to my regularly scheduled run – alone in my solitude once again.

And just a quick note of what solitude I find on my run.  I received an email from a friend who is raising money for a young boy fighting a touch cancer battle.  So I reached out to his website to offer kind words of support.  I received an email from his family that he is still fighting strong.  Just thinking of a young child that courageous truly inspires me to keep pushing on.

 

See ya on the trails! Paul

Leave a comment

Back in the Groove

Since the HURT 100, I’ve been transitioning into short course triathlon mode.  This transition was going well with excellent speed and power until a good friend, Mike Meunch, asked me to run around Oahu withhim.  With about 3 weeks notice, I stopped the triathlon training and focused on long runs.  Well, I got in one long run.  Our adventure was epic, even though I suffered an injury around mile 70.  Goes to show you how important training is.

After the Oahu run attempt, I moved back into triathlon mode managing the leg and ankle injury.  At the Honolulu Triathlon, Olympic distance, I donned my new sun protection ‘Smurf suit’ to provide maximum sun protection.  Since it’s all blue, I really stood out.  The suit was great, but my bike took some damage with the saddle stays cracking leaving me with a wobbling saddle for the 24 mile bike ride.  This really changed the game plan from a PR to a ‘just hold that bike together.’  My arms were shot after holding my arse off the seat while training to maintain some sense of aero position.

The run was fun with an easy sub 7 minute pace, but nothing exceptional as I was just cruising after the bike ride.  I still managed 13th in my age group but 6 minutes slowly with my two bike stops and no real aero benefit.

As I write this, I am excited to learn about the new friends that are part of Heather’s dream and welcome everyone to the family.  And as part of the family, I am returning for a trip to my home in Louisiana to tend to a close family member suffering from cancer that is at stage 4 and little success from the surgery.  Always make time to see those you love when they are alive – no point after!  I’ll take my son with me to see his uncle who is really like my father with my lovely pregnant wife baking inside our new little baby boy due in early September.

Aloha!

Paul

Leave a comment