THE 13th HONOLULU MARATHON - December 8, 2002


Pygoya, Dec. 9, 2002


     The week prior to the marathon race and the day after were filled with energetic inspiration as visualized through the artistic work.  Filled in the pre-race series are integration of digital and traditional painting & sculpture according to the whimsy of the Webist.  Recorded are emotions of anxiety, apprehension, health concerns for his vulnerable knees and the building of physical and mental stamina to make it 26.2 miles, while being clocked. After the achievement of the Finishers Medal came another batch of Cyberbabies for the Web, these in a more relaxed, joyous and sensuous mood, works of an artist marathon fit.  Now a need to release the elation of personal victory, cyberworks emerge that mirror the more celebratory and exciting moments of life.  What follows is the artist's diary of inner experience of participating in the Honolulu Marathon.  These thoughts, perceptions and responses of the race directly affected the formation of the Post-Marathon Series created the day after the race.

     My alarm went off but I was already out of the shower. It was set at 3:15 to be ready for the taxi. I jumped up at 3 to do the shower, get uniformed, eat something, check email, then be on time out the door for the ride. Good thing I got everything ready during the course of the week, assembling the following to lug along for the run - Sony Walkman with earphones and new battery; 2 extra Duracells, 1 tube of Amino-Jog, headband, darkglasses, old Halloween candies and 2 aspirins; BenGay pads, 2 elastic knee supports, extra padded running shoes, pony tail band, coins, and the map of the course with race instructions. The cab honked too soon at 3:30, rushing me off the toilet seat. Experienced runners remember to use the restroom after forced breakfast feeding. Turns out he was early and my wife did say 4 am. We were off into the darkness on this chilly early morn for the starting line!

     I had to walk a couple of blocks to get to my starting position. The roads were blocked off all about. But I still gave the driver 50% tip as he seemed so earnest in interest, in my quest, to do this at my age. He asked (57).  Finding that out, he confessed he couldn't go the 10 miles himself (looks 40). I said, "Excuse me, it's 26. Twenty Six point 2 miles. And the .2 is among the hardest as this is when you're coming in and people are lining the streets, encouraging you to go faster when you shouldn't or can't."

     Without my prescription glasses I never could find the Estimated Time of Arrival signs. Runners are supposed to line up in the mob of 30,000 according to estimated time to complete the race. You don't want elite runners stumbling over slower runners. Imagine walls of contestants all running at different rates in a crowd packed like sardines to fit the too narrow streets. Well after bumping into some Germans, an Australian, some runners from San Francisco, I found my way into the "6 HOURS" group. 

     Bad move. Lots so much time in the first 5 miles trying to get around somebody. The most irritating were couples walking it together (now I know these exists in the 6 hour group, never been in such a slow group but it's been 11 years) - had to run around them, like running with the ball arond obstacles. Even after 5 miles out I was still bogged down by this oppressive mass of humanity.  Some looking good!

    The race started really for the elite front-runners. It wasn't until 17 minutes after the cannon starting boom that I contacted my computer chip signal to the underlying mat's wiring network of the Starting Line.  This started on the computer one's personal starting time.  When I stepped on similar mats at 10K, halfway, 30K and the finish line, data would be received and through the Internet people could track my progress in real time from as far away as Germany! This is a cool new development I never expected in my return to the demanding route. But the biggest surprise was Amino Nitrol products. I never heard of direct infusion of the right amino acids treatment that targeted strained muscle fibers and start repairs and energy revitalization. The company gave away free try-me products at the runners' identification number pickup. With this number posted on a shirt and a computer chip on my shoe, I was official.

     I followed directions - Swallowed one tube of amino goo the night before, then the second tube within 30 minutes of finishing the run. While in the run, every 2 miles take the opportunity to drink Amino-Nitrol in thecups instead of water. What happened to the Gatorade and decarbonated Coke of old?

     Our route was different from a decade ago. But it was nicer now passing by all the Christmas City Hall lights and lawn decorations, after running through rustic downtown. We then came back to Ala Moana Park but this time onward eastward through Waikiki's famous Kalakaua main street. Many tourists, probably mostly relatives of runners, the reason they are out this early on the streets, cheered on the passing runners. Running through Waikiki with a runner's cooling drizzle wish, the darkest of the beach would later complement that late morning, made for  a sunworshipper's postcard-memory experience.

     The timing was perfect. As I started my accent up Diamond Head Crater, the yawning red sun had lifted it's head half way over the distant horizon. The gray waters where taking on color now with the dawn. It was a cool welcoming 70 Fahrenheit degrees, with nice gentle trades and overcast clouds. Perfect running conditions. I placed on my darkglasses as the sun later  moved directly in front of me.

     But on the way back I knew it was time to walk. I entered this race with the specific strategy of limiting my goal to just finishing the distance and forgetting about time. With bum knees that act up I could only train on Sundays. The pain would disappear after Wednesdays. But only walking 2 miles out of 26 was a personal triumph. I figured 17-20 and I would have to walk it in. By personal standards 5:34 is slow but it surpassed by pre-race goal of 6 to 6:30 hours to finish.  I probably average over 13 life long marathons 4:30 with the fastest being 3:39 at age 33.

     Why was Amino-Nitrol the biggest surprise? I had good energy from the start to midway. Merely routine training at set pace, no extra breathing. I took the drink at every Aid Station, not only to try this new supplement I never had before on other runs, but also to avoid heat stroke. At 15 miles the clouds had lifted and the sun was high up.  I never had a cramp and after every drink there was an evident surge of new energy, good for at least another 3/4 of effortless running, more or less. Then building up fatigue would welcome the next approaching AID Station, a good excuse of all in my grouping to walk through it, then startup running again. Of course it made sense safety-wise because there was always squashed plastic cups and discarded sponges across the wet and slippery road surface of these volunteer pit stops.

     The last big surprise was an extra aid station right before the final 800 meters. Yes, Amino-Nitril but surprisingly no completing cups of water. And yes, I felt the surge again and was able generate the power to run faster, look good for the cheering crowd, and sprint across the Finish Line for hopefully something picture perfect. I have to think this product is definitely an aid to marathoning running. I will make the product a part of my exercise life hereon end.

    There's nothing like relatives and dear ones welcome you at the Finish Line. But this time my wife was with my son at a tennis match on another island, and relatives that came couldn't find me. Evidently I passed all their searching eyes in the final stretch. So on failing knees stiffening up, I stood where I was supposed to but they kept searching the incoming arrivals. They later that told me they thought something must have happened to me after searching for another hour, before finally finding me stiff on the grass.

     That night both knees screamed for hours with the most instense pain I had ever felt from them. I was thinking damage.  That night I couldn't lift myself back up off the toilet seat.

     Amazingly the next morning, worried about not having crutches, I sat up and the knees where already 75% back to normal. During the course of the day it kept getting better.  Tuesday, I returned from work almost walking naturally. Today, Wednesday, my knees, heck legs, are back to normal.  This is a faster rate of recovery than the weekly premarathon training runs.  Was it also the Amino Nitrol?  Judy 4 days after the marathon, I am mentally motivated to do it again!