I was a latebloomer to exercise.  I was always one of the last to be picked for the school sports teams, and let’s just say that I’ve been kissed by more dodge balls in the face than a cute little girl should!  So for me, the safest form of exercise was walking.  I walked everywhere.  Up and down Waikiki on Kalakaua Avenue.  Up and down Kaimuki from Granny’s house to the library and theatre.  Up and down my hill from the bus stop to my house in Manoa.  I loved to walk!  The longer the distance, the better.

I did my first long charity walk when I was 12.  My dad and I didn’t train (at least I don’t remember training), but we walked the 23 miles of the Walk for Mankind, from downtown to Hawaii Kai.  I didn’t even realize it was that long and I don’t remember thinking it was a big deal. Ah, youth!  (I wonder how my dad felt, though???)

So when the Honolulu Marathons started 2 years after that, I always knew I was going to do one eventually.  I had to wait until I was 41 to make that happen.

I joined a marathon training group and trained diligently for six months.  I was never a runner, always a walker, but had a pretty good pace of 12 minutes per mile.  As the race grew closer, I felt strong and ready.  And then I got rear-ended while driving one week before the marathon. My car was totaled.  I should have gone to a doctor, but didn’t because I felt ok.  Silly me!

So I still did the marathon.  The first 6 miles was okay.  But by the time I was at the half, my back was in spasms.  Thankfully, my walking partner was a physical therapist, so we pulled onto the side and stretched for 15 minutes.  Yes, I lost time, but there was no way I could have gone on without that stretch and some Advil.  

I will persist until I succeed.

The rest of the race was tough.  I wanted to give up because my back was hurting.  

The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal.

My friend kept telling me, we’re almost there! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  We’ll make it!

Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road.

I saw people in pain or sick on the side of the road.  

Always will I take another step.  If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another.  

And then, we came to Diamond Head, only 1 mile out from the finish line.  There, we came across my walking coach who was bent over in pain from a pulled groin muscle.  I forgot my own pain and instead turned into the encourager for that last mile of the race.

In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult.

Come on, you can do it!  We’re almost there!  Just a few more feet!  Look, look!  The finish line is RIGHT THERE!!!  Let’s finish together!  WE DID IT!!!!