Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii Kai’

Hawaii Ramen Quest – Part III

December 1, 2011
Part I | Part II |  Part III  | Part IV | Part V

With winter in full swing and Hawaii’s “chilly” weather freezing everyone to the core πŸ˜› , there’s no better comfort food than a nice, hot, steamy bowl of ramen. And while eating at some of my go-to ramen picks (i.e. Yotteko-Ya, Tenkaippin, etc.) would be ideal, sometimes, patronizing your friendly, neighborhood ramen spots is the way to go to help warm the soul.

This next batch of spots in our Hawaii Ramen Quest consists of some of the more non-traditional, localized interpretations of ramen. Stemming from what appears to be of local Chinese influence (with the use of cabbage, bean sprouts, corn, mapo tofu, etc.), these ramen joints often have multiple locations in very convenient areas around town, and I would venture to guess that they are conceivably some of the most popular amongst the locals. Although I don’t associate any of these with the “straight from tha muthaland” flavor and style of ramen I’m accustomed to, there’s no doubt that I still frequent many of these for my noodle fix on the regular.

First up is Daiichi Ramen & Curry in Aiea.

I don’t usually venture out around lower Aiea too often except when I take a wrong turn from Aiea Bowl or Ice Garden, so when I actually did one day, I noticed a sign with big red letters calling me. It said Daiichi Ramen & Curry and I immediately thought to myself, “Oh, thaaaaat’s where it is!” Now you gotta understand, with a name like that (which means “#1” in Japanese), I will place very high expectations on the ramen coming out of the pots there. But then again, with a name like that (gotta love the confidence BTW!) it has to be good right? I’ve heard a lot about this place before but it wasn’t until a recent check-in by @abaggy earlier this month that my curiosity got the best of me. I dragged co-workers and friends Maribel and Trina to come along for the ride.

Maribel & Trina pose outside Daiichi Ramen & Curry in Aiea Shopping Plaza
Maribel & Trina pose outside Daiichi Ramen & Curry in Aiea Shopping Plaza

The first thing you notice is that it is very clean (perhaps even remodeled). Surprising, as they been around for quite some time. The next thing you notice is the two giant posters hanging on the wall advertising their “new” Tonkotsu and Tan Tan Ramens. Smart choice as those have been the popular styles of ramen here in Hawaii as of late.

Trina and I got one of each, while Maribel got the “Special Combo” with Mini Ramen & Curry choices.

Tan Tan Ramen - Healthy soup cooked for over 12 hours with chicken bones, pork rib bones and fresh ground sesame seeds, made fresh daily. - $7.75
Tan Tan Ramen – Healthy soup cooked for over 12 hours with chicken bones, pork rib bones and fresh ground sesame seeds, made fresh daily. – $7.75

Tonkotsu Ramen - Healthy soup cooked for over 12 hours with soft rib bones made fresh daily. - $7.75
Tonkotsu Ramen – Healthy soup cooked for over 12 hours with soft rib bones made fresh daily. – $7.75

Ramen from the Special Combo, Two choice - $8.75
Ramen from the Special Combo, Two choice – $8.75

Mini Curry Rice from the Special Combo, 2 Choice - $8.75
Mini Curry Rice from the Special Combo, 2 Choice – $8.75

Maribel and Trina posing with our ramens
Maribel and Trina posing with our ramens

The flavor wasn’t quite there for the Tonkotsu ramen, but the Ton Ton definitely had a lot of kick. It made all of us cry just a bit. LOL!

Daiichi Ramen & Curry
Aiea Shopping Plaza
99-080 Kauhale Road, Bldg A
Aiea, HI 96701 (Street View)
(808) 486-7432
Daily: 10:30am-9:30pm

Note: A new location also just opened up at 1029 Makolu Street in Pearl City (808-455-9898), which is the strip mall with Starbucks, Kozo Sushi and Panda Express FYI.

 

Next up is Sumo Ramen & Curry. They’ve got 6 or so locations sprinkled across Oahu now, but the one we visited for this review was the tiny one in the Moanalua 99 food court area.

Sumo Ramen & Curry at Moanalua 99
Sumo Ramen & Curry at Moanalua 99

We had the little one with us so everything had to be ordered in “to go” packaging (… You know, just in case. LOL!), but everything was pretty tasty nonetheless. They have quite an extensive menu with offerings in the curry, fried noodle, udon, fried rice, cold soba and ramen categories, in addition to various appetizers you don’t usually see at a place like this.

Spicy Chicken Wings Appetizer - $3.75
Spicy Chicken Wings Appetizer – $3.75

Wifey ordered the Mochiko Chicken Curry Combo, while I got, what else?, the Tonkotsu Ramen. At least I’m consistent right? πŸ™‚

Tonkotsu Ramen - $7.50
Tonkotsu Ramen – $7.50

Here’s a shot of our entire meal.

Spicy Chicken Wings appetizer ($3.75), Tonkotsu Ramen ($7.50), and wifey's Mochiko Chicken Curry Combo ($9.50)
Spicy Chicken Wings appetizer ($3.75), Tonkotsu Ramen ($7.50), and wifey’s Mochiko Chicken Curry Combo ($9.50)

Sumo Ramen & Curry
Moanalua 99 Food Court
1151 Mapunapuna Street, Suite W-9
Honolulu, HI 96819 (Street View)
(808) 833-3139

 

IchiBen in Pearl City’s Times Square Shopping Center is a somewhat newer addition to the ramen scene, but has quickly gained popularity amongst the locals in the area. They specialize in fried rice, curries Korean style BBQ, and their ramens. The attention to detail with their ramen broth is evident by the meticulous description on their menu:

Our special cooked-from-scratch broth is low-simmered for 8-10 hours, resulting in a clear stock with layers of intense flavor. The ingredients include pork shank bones, chicken, shiitake mushrooms, kombu, dried shrimps and scallops, onions, garlic, ginger and leek. You can choose from Shoyu or Miso flavor. The third choice, Paitan, is kanchi for white soup. This signature pork and chicken soup is slow-boiled for 10 or more hours until the stock turns a milky white color. It is rich in collagen and flavor, also known as tonkotsu, and it’s a regional style from Southern Japan. Ours is delightfully light and smooth, without the greasy taste because of our constant skimming all day. We do not use MSG in our cooking, including the soup stock.

Here’s a shot of the Seafood Ramen with Paitan style broth.

Seafood Ramen with Paitan broth - $8.45
Seafood Ramen with Paitan broth – $8.45

Wifey seemed to be happy with her order of the Shoyu version.

Seafood Ramen with Shoyu broth - $7.95
Seafood Ramen with Shoyu broth – $7.95

On a return visit, I wasn’t really in the mood for ramen (it was hot out), so I read the menu’s description of their “Flaming Grill” options and was sold. I swear, the guy who wrote these should win some kind of award for always making me so hungry! πŸ˜›

Our BBQ chicken and Kalbi are marinated in Korean-style sauce with shoyu, sugar, ginger, garlic, black pepper and sesame oil for at least 12 hours to bring out the full flavor. Grilled to perfection and served with steamed rice, macaroni salad and tsukemono.

IchiGrill - 1 fillet of chicken and 2 slices of kalbi short ribs - $9.95
IchiGrill – 1 fillet of chicken and 2 slices of kalbi short ribs – $9.95

I actually liked the Korean BBQ items more than the ramen here. Very flavorful and tasty!

IchiBen
Times Square Shopping Center
98-1254 Kaahumanu Street, Suite B-06
Pearl City, HI 96782 (Street View)
(808) 488-4200
Sun-Thu: 11am-9pm
Fri-Sat: 11am-10pm

 

Mililani natives would know all about our next stop: Genki Ramen, which has a location on each side of the H2 (Mililani Mauka and Mililani town). Working out here in the often chilly-willy Central Oahu locale, it’s easy to make a quick lunch run to either location. Here are co-workers and friends Wendy and Maribel during a recent visit to the Mauka location.

Wendy and Maribel pose with our spread from Genki Ramen
Wendy and Maribel pose with our spread from Genki Ramen

Wendy ordered the Pork Vegetable Fried Noodles, which, ironically (at a ramen shop), is one of my favorite dishes here.

Pork Vegetable Fried Noodle - $7.50
Pork Vegetable Fried Noodle – $7.50

I usually order the Seafood Fried Noodles sans the radioactive looking ginger or the Mabo Tofu Ramen, but since this is a Ramen Quest, I took one for the team and ordered the marquee item on the menu: The New Genki Ramen (Big Bowl)!

New Genki Ramen (Big Bowl) - $9.75
New Genki Ramen (Big Bowl) – $9.75

Although da buggah is HUGE, it’s rather deceiving because, like many of the other ramens on their menu, the noodles seem to always be lacking. To me, they overstuff the bowl with cabbage and bean sprouts and never have enough noodles at the bottom for me to slurp on.

Maribel got the Combo A Set which included a Mini Shoyu Ramen, Fried Rice and 4 pieces of Gyoza.

Combo A Set - Mini Shoyu Ramen, Fried Rice and 4 pieces of Gyoza - $7.75
Combo A Set – Mini Shoyu Ramen, Fried Rice and 4 pieces of Gyoza – $7.75

Genki Ramen II (Mililani Mauka)
95-1840 Meheula Parkway
Mililani, HI 96789 (Street View)
(808) 626-7829

 

Rumor has it that there was some kind of rift (ala Gomaichi and Goma Tei) that caused one owner to leave Genki Ramen to start this next ramen restaurant chain: Ramen Ya. Although there is one in Kahului (Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center on Maui), and one to open soon in Hawaii Kai, this review is for the somewhat new location in the Pearl Highlands area.

The menu is remarkably identical to Genki Ramen’s one so I went with what I knew best and ordered the Mapo Tofu Ramen. Yep, it’s spelled “Mapo” here.

Mapo Tofu Ramen - $7.25
Mapo Tofu Ramen – $7.25

Co-workers and friends Erin and Diane went curry and ordered the Deep Fried Gyoza Curry Rice and the Curry Ramen respectively.

Deep Fried Gyoza Curry Rice - $7.75
Deep Fried Gyoza Curry Rice – $7.75

Curry Ramen - $7.25
Curry Ramen – $7.25

Erin and Diane with our food at Ramen-Ya
Erin and Diane with our food at Ramen-Ya

If you like Genki Ramen, you’ll like it here as well (and vice versa).

Ramen-Ya
1170 Kuala Street, Suite 308
Pearl City, HI 96782 (Street View)
(808) 456-8868
Daily: 10:30am-9pm

 

I never even knew this next place existed until I did a site visit in the area for work. Since it was lunch time and we were mad hungry, Maribel (yes again) and I decided to scope things out at Ton Ton Ramen.

The menu is fairly extensive with noodle, udon & rice dishes, combos, side orders and a variety of special ramens including the Black Sesame Tan Tan Ramen, Ippin Ramen, Oxtail Ramen, and the one I got, which was the very popular Soft Rib Ramen.

Soft Rib Ramen - Ribs are slowly cooked over 8 hours until tender & juicy. Ramen is served in a garlic shoyu base with traditional half cooked egg. Original Japanese style. - $8
Soft Rib Ramen – Ribs are slowly cooked over 8 hours until tender & juicy. Ramen is served in a garlic shoyu base with traditional half cooked egg. Original Japanese style. – $8

The soft boiled egg was a nice touch, though it wasn’t quite as soft-boiled as I would’ve liked it. The nori was also a good attempt at being authentic. The soup needed more flavor but the soft rib was definitely soft and tasty.

Surprise surprise. Maribel got a combo yet again. LOL! This time around, she got the Mochiko Chicken Combo, which included the Mochiko Chicken, a mini ramen, and gyoza.

A happy looking Maribel with her Mochiko Chicken Combo - $9.45
A happy looking Maribel with her Mochiko Chicken Combo – $9.45

Ton Ton Ramen
94-050 Farrington Highway
Waipahu, HI 96797 (Street View)
(808) 677-5388

 

Back in the day, when we used to go clubbing (yes, THAT long ago), this next stop was one of our staples: Taiyo Ramen, thanks to its late night hours of operation. Located in between the now two defunct Blockbuster and I Love Country Café locations off Piikoi, this ramen joint has stood the test of time and endured the ups and downs of the market.

I don’t have any current prices or photos, but here are a few dishes from way back in 2006.

Gomoku Ramen
Gomoku Ramen

Seafood Udon
Seafood Udon

Soba from Taiyo Ramen
Soba from Taiyo Ramen

Makes me want to get drunk and go there again for old time’s sake. 8)

Taiyo Ramen
451 Piikoi Street, Suite 105
Honolulu, HI 96814 (Street View)
(808) 589-2123
Mon-Thu 10am-1am
Fri-Sat 10am-3am
Sun 10am-9pm

 

And speaking of late night eats, here’s a quickie shot of my Oxtail Ramen from none other than Sanoya’s. Ahhh, the memories…

Oxtail Ramen from Sanoya's
Oxtail Ramen from Sanoya’s

Not exactly gourmet eating, but good enough for those late night cravings.

Sanoya Rahmen
1785 S King Street, Suite 4
Honolulu, HI 96826 (Street View)
(808) 947-6065

 

And finally, here’s a “fast kine” location we recently hit up at the Manoa Marketplace: Nishi Mon Cho Ramen. As you’ll see in the photos, we again ordered everything in take out containers because we had baby with us. Our parents were pretty hungry, but wifey and I weren’t so we decided to share something small. I got the daily (Friday) special, the Curry Beef Rice & 4 pcs Gyoza combo, while wifey got a mini shoyu ramen.

Nishi Mon Cho Friday Special - Curry Beef Rice & 4 pcs Gyoza - $6.99 (with wifey's mini shoyu ramen on the side). Yes, I'm not a fan of cooked carrots. :P
Nishi Mon Cho Friday Special – Curry Beef Rice & 4 pcs Gyoza – $6.99 (with wifey’s mini shoyu ramen on the side). Yes, I’m not a fan of cooked carrots. πŸ˜›

Some of the other daily specials at Nishi Mon Cho Ramen
Some of the other daily specials at Nishi Mon Cho Ramen

The warm, fuzzy story behind this visit was that the worker (who appeared to be the owner) was very friendly and accommodating with us, noticing our obvious apprehension (whether to eat in or take out) due to our situation with the little one. She shared information about her own kids and made everyone feel very comfortable.

Nishi Mon Cho Ramen
Manoa Marketplace
2851 E Manoa Road #1-104
Honolulu, HI 96822 (Street View)
(808) 988-9928
Daily: 10:30am-9pm

 

And that’s it! Whew! That was a packed one! If I don’t see or talk to you guys soon, have a safe and happy holiday season. See y’all next month/year! πŸ™‚

Part I | Part II |  Part III  | Part IV | Part V
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Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike – Revisited

February 1, 2011
Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike |  Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike – Revisited 

Since we stay on one roll with the “revisited” kine action (see Tokkuri Tei – Revisited), let’s pay a return visit to a place we’ve been to once before. Back in August of ’06, your boy covered the popular hiking spot in Hawaii Kai called : the Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike. As a former resident of the area (or “God’s country” as we like to call it πŸ˜› ), I used to frequent the trail quite a bit and thought I knew it pretty well. Au contraire, mon frΓ¨re.

There is a whole ‘nother side to this puppy, as we’re about to find out.

So the “normal” trail is pretty duck soup. It’s a semi-curvy, paved path on a slight incline most of the way. It ain’t no Koko Head, das fo sho!

Paved path up Makapuu Trail
Paved path up Makapuu Trail

And then you have the side that gets all nuts, or “off-the-beaten path” as they say. A little more challenging on the ol’ quads, but a lot more rewarding if lighthouses ain’t your bag. On this side, you’ll be able to hike down to the tide pools, see a blowhole or two, and take a dip in the ocean near Pele’s Chair.

Side Note: Recently, there has been sad news of a father and daughter losing their lives on this side of the trail. Though, it’s still unclear how they died (at the time of this writing), most experts believe it was not from a fall from the trail. Regardless, please be aware of your surroundings and be very, VERY careful any time you trek any of Hawaii’s beautiful trails. Hike at your own risk. R.I.P. Charles and Stephanie Casados. 😦

OK, so I gotta admit. I did indeed know about the tide pools, but wasn’t quite sure how to get to them (and didn’t bother to research it). It wasn’t until a recent field trip with the hiking group `Imi Loa, that I was able to experience this other side of Makapu`u trail that had eluded me.

`Imi Loa Hiking Group logo
`Imi Loa Hiking Group logo

`Imi Loa is an informal circle of friends brought together by leader Howard Chi. Here’s his story of how it all began:

“It started as a small group of friends and we would just send out group emails to see what’s up and when or who could make what date… then as more and more people wanted to come the emailing became a mass back and forth mess of blah… so I took it upon myself to make a page and name us as ‘Imi loa… now the dates are preset and there are event evites with the 411… I think originally it started off with about 30 of us and now it has ballooned to 187 currently… but really it was just another reason for us to get together and hang out.”

According to the group’s Facebook profile, they are a “network of like minded individuals who share a common interest in exploring our island backyard.” Each month, they meet up to conquer a new hiking trail around the island and are now up to 190 peeps strong at the time of this writing. If you’d like to be a part of this exciting group, drop `Imi Loa a line via Facebook!

Anyway, where were we? Ahhh yes. The tide pools. To the tide pools! To get there, take the “normal” path up the Makapu`u trail until you get to the whale lookout point.

Whale lookout point
Whale lookout point

Whale lookout point
Whale lookout point

Whale lookout point
Whale lookout point

Whale lookout point
Whale lookout point

After gathering yourself, head out to the edge on the right and choose a path.

Todd showing us the way
Todd showing us the way

The path on the right was more direct, but steeper in nature. The path that veered to the left was roundabout but gradual, and seemed to be the easier one to take. Our group split in two on the way down and the group that went left got to the bottom quicker (probably due to the relatively flatter terrain). Either way, it goes without saying that it’s a good idea to take your time and watch your step as there is loose gravel along the way.

Looking back
Looking back

Looking down
Looking down

Looking to the side. Artsy yeah? :P
Looking to the side. Artsy yeah? πŸ˜›

Almost there!
Almost there!

Now compare that to the folks on the right side path!

Steep path
Steep path

Yikes! And here’s a look back on their trail. Nuts yeah?

Looking back
Looking back

We finally get to bottom, where a mini blowhole greets us.

Makapu`u Blowhole
Makapu`u Blowhole

Let’s wrap around to the other side to time some scenic shots!

Makapu`u Blowhole
Makapu`u Blowhole

Makapu`u Blowhole
Makapu`u Blowhole

Other taking photos of the blowhole
Other taking photos of the blowhole

Waiting for the others to make it down
Waiting for the others to make it down

Continue to the left (if you’re facing the ocean) to get to the tide pools.

At the top of the tide pool
At the top of the tide pool

Scenic shot
Scenic shot

Calm tide pool
Calm tide pool

It looks pretty relaxing and peaceful, but once in a while, the waves will come and bum rush you one quick one (see below). So heed da Ka`au Crater Boys’ advice (“Keep your eye on the wave, don’t ever turn your back”) and be careful.

Not so calm tide pool
Not so calm tide pool

At the midway point of our hike, it was a good a time as any to stop and take a group shot. Check it!

`Imi Loa group shot [Photo Credit: `Imi Loa]
`Imi Loa group shot [Photo Credit: `Imi Loa]

Then, it was time to make our way back up to the main trail.

Heading back up
Heading back up

Heading back up
Heading back up

Group leader Howard taking a little breather
Group leader Howard taking a little breather

Getting steeper!
Getting steeper!

Getting there...
Getting there…

Almost to the top!
Almost to the top!

Back to the whale lookout point.
Back to the whale lookout point.

Since we chose to go up the steep side to get back, many of us took this opportunity to catch our breath and take a break. When we were well rested, we headed back down the main trail to get to the path to Pele’s Chair.

It’s a little hard to explain, but the trail head for Pele’s Chair is to the right of the first major left of the paved path (on your way up). Basically, look for this view overlooking Alan Davis and you’re there.

Near the trailhead for Pele's Chair
Near the trailhead for Pele’s Chair

Note: You can also get to Pele’s Chair directly from the parking lot via a dirt path. It’s a straight shot so it’s a lot easier, but what fun is that right? πŸ˜‰

In order to get down to Pele’s Chair, another zig-zag trail awaits you.

Path towards Pele's Chair
Path towards Pele’s Chair

Path towards Pele's Chair
Path towards Pele’s Chair

Ed’s Tip: Be careful of objects along the path. My friend Todd pierced his leg with a hidden bush stump.

Cactus on path towards Pele's Chair
Cactus on path towards Pele’s Chair

Boulder on path towards Pele's Chair
Boulder on path towards Pele’s Chair

Before long, it opens up and flattens out, and you can see the water to the right and Pele’s Chair to the left.

Path towards Pele's Chair
Path towards Pele’s Chair

We’ll come back and hike a bit to the left to check out Pele’s Chair, but that water looks too refreshing to miss right about now!

Path near Pele's Chair
Path near Pele’s Chair

Path near Pele's Chair
Path near Pele’s Chair

Plank near Pele's Chair
Plank near Pele’s Chair

That man-made diving board/plank is made out of what appears to be an old telephone pole. Although make-shift, da buggah was supah fun to jump off of!

After soaking our bones in the water, we headed back to our cars in the parking lot… But not before taking a quick detour to Pele’s Chair, named after its chair-like shape.

Path towards Pele's Chair
Path towards Pele’s Chair

Pele's Chair
Pele’s Chair

Pele's Chair
Pele’s Chair

And there it is. Another “revisited” column with 40+ photos! Geez Louise! These be a lot of work son! Let’s hope and pray for an original piece next month. Ahahahaha! Nah, all worth it. Hope y’all enjoyed it! Shooooots!

Just as I did in my previous article on Makapu`u, I’d like to take just a moment to honor a friend who unfortunately lost his life off the beaten paths of this trail. You will always be remembered bruddah. R.I.P. Warren. R.I.P. also to Charles and Stephanie Casados who recently lost their near here…

In Memory of Warren Hiroshi Matsuda
(October 2, 1974 – September 27, 2002)

Warren Hiroshi Matsuda
Warren Hiroshi Matsuda

Tom & Warren Matsuda Scholarship Fund
Warren’s father Tom’s life was also tragically taken from us. In their honor, Roy’s Restaurant has – with the help of an annual endowment through the University of Hawaii – started a scholarship fund in Warren and Tom’s name, awarding the winner of their annual culinary competition with monies to further his/her education in the art. For more information about the Tom & Warren Matsuda Culinary Scholarship Fund, please contact Roy’s Restaurant’s Rainer Kumbroch at (808) 396-7697 or Robbyn Shim.

Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike |  Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike – Revisited 

What Chefs Eat Launch Party

April 7, 2010

A-ight, so Urban Mix Plate’s Melissa Chang’s got some mean typing skillz and beat me to the punch already. Her version of last night’s “What Chefs Eat Launch Party” is already live on her blog. Geez Louise.

And although she posted a pic of me in there that looks like I’m balding, I won’t hate, I’ll appreciate… I guess. Nah, she’s da woMAN! πŸ˜›

So last night, the “Party Like A Chef” event, put on by Share Your Table‘s Melanie Kosaka, and hosted by the good people at Roy’s Restaurant, was in full effect. Melanie, with the help of tech entrepreneur Eric Nakagawa (ICanHasCheezburger.com), developed an iPhone app based on an idea she and Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya thought up: create a place that focuses on where Hawaii’s chefs like to go and grind during their down times. You know, the “insider” mom and pop kine places. The event helped to formally introduce and launch the app to much of the state’s local media (traditional and social) and food industry’s titans.

The app, fittingly called “What Chefs Eat“, is currently the #1 “Hawaii” app on the iPhone app store and can be downloaded here.

What Chefs Eat iPhone App
What Chefs Eat iPhone App

According to Kosaka, an Android version of the app is in the works. Yeah, I had to ask. πŸ˜‰

The quality of some of the pics are not the greatest as they were pulled from the pics from my live tweets (via my phone), but here’s a glimpse at some of the sights and ono grindz from last night.

World Wide Ed
Outside Roy’s Restaurant, Hawaii Kai

World Wide Ed
The Ahi Summer Roll

World Wide Ed
Misoyaki Butterfish (left) and Spicy Tuna Ahi Tomato and Salmon Puree rolls (right)

World Wide Ed
Hawaii Kai Style Crispy Crab Cake with Spicy Aioli Sauce

World Wide Ed
Chinatown Chicken Spring Roll with Maui Pineapple Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce

World Wide Ed
A Hank’s Haute Dog with Sweet Relish

On a side note, Kosaka is also busy working with Oceanic Time Warner Cable to develop a full-blown Share Your Table TV Channel. Scheduled to launch on June 1st, Share Your Table TV will literally share their table and air their massive library of culinary content to Oceanic’s customers via channel 320. For a sneak peek at Share Your Table TV, visit shareyourtable.tv or click on the screenshot below.

Share Your Table TV Sneak Preview
Share Your Table TV Sneak Preview

A big Mahalo to Melanie Kosaka, Eric Nakagawa, Roy Yamaguchi and the gang at Roy’s Restaurant, Starwood Hotels’ RumFire Bar Station, Hank’s Haute Dogs for the yummy dogs, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable. See below for some apropos linkage:

Koko Head Crater Trail Hike – Nature’s Stairmaster

November 1, 2009

A sudden increase in the amount of Koko Head trail “tweets” and “status updates” lately prompted me to rearrange the sched – just a tad – and dig up some old images to pen this article. Who knows? After I’m pau, maybe I can jump on the ol’ bandwagon and send out a sweet tweet myself.

Back in April, Mark and Noele (friends of wifey and I), wanted to do something outdoorsy. An easy hike perhaps. Growing up in Hawaii Kai, I suggested the Koko Head Crater trail hike (pu’u ma’i), figuring stairs and a straight path shouldn’t be too bad for the three out-of-towners. Right? πŸ˜›

At first glance, the beginning of the trail is a bit tricky to find. You have to make your way through a hidden, mini trail behind the left field fence of the Mustang/Pony league baseball field.

Path to the trail head starts behind the baseball fields
Path to the trail head starts behind the baseball fields

Walking up towards the Koko Head Crater trail head
Walking up towards the Koko Head Crater trail head

That eventually leads to a paved road, which is the end of Koko Head Park Road, I believe.

Noele and Mark, the happy couple, on the way to the Koko Head Crater trailhead
Noele and Mark, the happy couple, on the way to the Koko Head Crater trailhead

Follow that, and you’ll get to the grassy portion that leads to the trailhead…

Still with lots of energy
Still with lots of energy

… which leads to the beginning of the infamous Koko Head “steps”…

They have no idea what's ahead of them *grin*
They have no idea what’s ahead of them *grin*

Posers
Posers

Do you think they got their tickets for the gun show?
Do you think they got their tickets for the gun show?

Believe me, this energy will not last. There are approximately 1,100 “steps” on the trail so before long, the four of us will be sporting very different looks on our faces…

The “steps” are actually part of an abandoned railroad track that was once used by the military to transport supplies to a lookout shelter at the top.

"Steps" on Koko Head Trail hike
“Steps” on Koko Head Trail hike

Continuing a bit more, the energy will drain, but you’ll start to get a good view of your surroundings…

Noele drained, Mark still ok, and wifey somewhere in between.
Noele drained, Mark still ok, and wifey somewhere in between.

Looking southeast, the shooting range that caused the controversial closing of this trail comes into sight.

Koko Head Shooting Complex
Koko Head Shooting Complex

To the Northwest, you’ll see the beauty that is Hawaii Kai. πŸ™‚

View of Hawaii Kai
View of Hawaii Kai

Continuing on, yet more energy is expended, but you’ll find solace in knowing that you’re about halfway there.

Noele resting, Mark losing it, and a peace sign from yours truly
Noele resting, Mark losing it, and a peace sign from yours truly

The view looking back
The view looking back

How do we know we’re about halfway? The dreaded bridge. Dun-dun DUN!

Bridge-like portion of the Koko Head Trail Hike
Bridge-like portion of the Koko Head Trail Hike

Yup yup, that’s no illusion. The bottom drops out from under the “steps” and forms a bridge-like path in the middle of the trail.

Some sure-footed hikers choose to walk over it, while others (of the fraidy cat kind) opt to crawl.

Me making fun of wifey
Me making fun of wifey

Noele taking the safer route next to Mark
Noele taking the safer route next to Mark

Ed’s Tip: For those who’d like to avoid the bridge altogether, there is actually a makeshift path that goes around the bridge to the right (left on the way down).

Once you conquer the bridge (dun-dun DUN!), it’s much of the same, but steeper.

View from about 3/4 of the way up...
View from about 3/4 of the way up…

When you’re up this high, your views to the left and right change quite a bit.

The Koko Head Shooting complex is now just a mere speck.
The Koko Head Shooting complex is now just a mere speck.

Your view of Hawaii Kai is partially obstructed by shrubbery.
Your view of Hawaii Kai is partially obstructed by shrubbery.

One final look behind…

Looking down at about the 85% mark on Koko Head trail
Looking down at about the 85% mark on Koko Head trail

… and ahead…

I see the light!
I see the light!

… tell us that we’re almost there!

Time to make one final push to the summit! You can dooooo eeeet!

The gang gets reenergized after catching a glimpse of the summit.
The gang gets reenergized after catching a glimpse of the summit.

Alas, the graffiti art of Sergeant “Mok” greets us as we take our final step.

Artwork at the top of Koko Head trail - A welcome sight
Artwork at the top of Koko Head trail – A welcome sight

With several shaded areas here, this would be a good opportunity to get out of the sun and catch your breath, drink some fluids or hurl up your breakfast. I won’t name any names. *grin*

Good place to catch your breath in the shade
Good place to catch your breath in the shade

Ed’s Tip: don’t be fooled into thinking that that was “it”… Once you catch your breath, follow the somewhat hidden trail that wraps around to the right to discover an immaculate view of the other side of Koko Head. What a beautiful sight from about 1208 feet above sea level!

View from the top of Koko Head
View from the top of Koko Head

View from the top of Koko Head, overlooking part of Sandy Beach and the Hawaii Kai Golf Course.
View from the top of Koko Head, overlooking part of Sandy Beach and the Hawaii Kai Golf Course.

Ed’s Tip: As the winds are very strong up here, it’s a nice place to cool off, but watch your footing and be careful at the same time.

Here, you’ll also find an abandoned military shelter, which makes for a great place to rest…

Mark, Noele and wifey taking a snack break next to the shelter
Mark, Noele and wifey taking a snack break next to the shelter

… as well as take a group photo from on top of.

Group photo from atop the shelter. Yes, it's either REALLY bright or we all need a tan. We'll just say it's really bright! ;)
Group photo from atop the shelter. Yes, it’s either REALLY bright or we all need a tan. We’ll just say it’s really bright! πŸ˜‰

Going down is a breeze. Depending on the step and the length of your leg (and your knees and your athleticism πŸ˜› ), you could literally jog/run down the stairs.

Wifey, Noele and Mark playing it safe
Wifey, Noele and Mark playing it safe

Ed’s Tip: I would recommend leaning on the side of caution and taking a nice, leisure pace. Sure, you’re excited to be pau and want to get going sooner than later, but if you run down the stairs, your momentum will really take you and it becomes difficult to stop.

Before long, we’re already at the halfway point of the bridge (dun-dun-DUN!). The ladies decided to “cheat” and take the side path. 8)

The side path around the bridge
The side path around the bridge

Mark shows us how we manly men roll.

Mark coming down over the bridge on the Koko Head trail
Mark coming down over the bridge on the Koko Head trail

Several hundred, quick steps later…

Almost at the bottom!
Almost at the bottom!

… we approach the end.

Mark celebrates with his Heisman pose
Mark celebrates with his Heisman pose

Back on solid ground, we find a shady area to catch our breath again.

Noele, myself and wifey catching our breath (and blowing our noses) at the bottom of Koko Head trail
Noele, myself and wifey catching our breath (and blowing our noses) at the bottom of Koko Head trail

Some deal with it better than others…

Mark and Noele wondering what the heck just happened
Mark and Noele wondering what the heck just happened

Once recovered, we did what any other akamai local does after a workout to refresh: Shave Ice! Good thing Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks (the one that Barack Obama made famous) is at nearby Koko Marina Shopping Center.

Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks sign
Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks sign

Best buds Noele and wifey are all smiles in anticipation of their shave ice.
Best buds Noele and wifey are all smiles in anticipation of their shave ice.

Mark and Noele literally attacking their shave ice
Mark and Noele literally attacking their shave ice

My work of art before it got destroyed
My work of art before it got destroyed

“What a refreshing way to end our day of stairwell hell!”

If you didn’t notice, that right there, was a sweet tweet. 8)

Tinman Tips – A First Timer’s Guide to Tinman Success

August 1, 2009

Late last month, your boy manned up and checked yet another item off the ol’ “bucket list”: Compete in the Hawaii Tinman. On Sunday, July 26th, the 2009 Tinman Triathlon was in full effect and, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was there yo. Having a couple of marathons already under my belt, I was going into the Tinman thinking it would be another cakewalk. Boy was I mistaken!

The “just have fun” mentality will quickly eat you alive in the Tinman competition if you aren’t properly prepared. Below are the lessons I’ve learned as a first timer that I’d like to pass along to all y’all. Enjoy!

* Take it serious! – unlike the marathon, there are a lot less “just for fun” participants, as made obvious by my finishing rank! LOL! Being fairly athletic and in reasonably good shape does not equal Tinman success. Not training seriously will not only be dangerous to your health, but frustrate the bejesus outta you (when your muscles don’t agree with what your mind is telling them).

* Train! – I would recommend training each activity/concentration successively, in addition to individually. In other words, it’s good to swim until the cows come home, but you should follow it up with a bike and then a swim. Yes, on the same day. My cheater friend Bari (who also did the Tinman with me) wisely took it a little more serious than I and participated in running and biking groups that met up on the weekends. The Heavy Breathers group in the Hawaii Bicycling League has a biking group that goes out on Saturday mornings and the Honolulu Marathon Clinic has a running group that goes out on Sunday mornings. He fully recommends joining them.

* Give yourself time to train – not only is the entrance fee more expensive the later you apply, you need sufficient time to prepare for what your body will go through. We decided to START TRAINING just two months before the race. With busy schedules and other life activities already planned (like that trip to Alaska), my once a week training schedule (at best), definitely did not cut it.

* Get ready to invest – if you’re “newbs” like us and going into it from scratch, be prepared to shell out some pretty pennies in order to get the party started. The bicycle (no, a mountain bike doesn’t count!), helmet, tri-shorts (specially padded swim trunks that are waaaay too tight), no-blister socks, goggles, water bottle, water bottle holder, miscellaneous bike tools/kits/bags, etc., are just some of the things to think about. And that doesn’t include the $80-100 entrance fee. And BTW, don’t laugh at the mountain bike comment. I actually briefly considered doing that (using the mountain bike I already owned) to save me some money. That, and using my snowboarding helmet as a bike helmet. LOL!

* Run the course – don’t use the day of the race to practice running the actual course. Go to Queens and swim the 750 meter (wall to wall to wall) ocean course. Bike the 24+ miles (40K) to and from Hawaii Kai. Jog the 6+ mile (10K) Diamond Head circle. All BEFORE the race! Extra special bonus points if you do all of them back to back as if it were race day. Click here for the specifics on the course paths. Since Bari and I were a little behind schedule, we ended up driving the course by car the day before. Don’t be us. 8)

* Get a good night’s rest – never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep the night before the race. If you’re a night owl, you might want to consider sleeping early several nights in a row to help your body get used to sleeping at an early hour.

* Fuel up – eat enough food to last you until the late morning/early afternoon hour, as that will probably be your next meal. As they say, eat bananas to help with cramping and carbo-load a couple days before race day.

* Arrive early (Check in starts at 4AM) – if you arrive too late (especially if this is your first time), you will be scrambling around, trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to be. You will probably also have a hard time finding a place to rack your bike once everyone else has settled in and found their spots.

Your view of the check in area pre-race
Your view of the check in area pre-race

* Be prepared – unfortunately, the folks at the Tinman only make your packet available about a week before the race (I could not find a PDF version of it on their site). There is a lot of valuable information in there that you’ll want to read before race day. Your various race numbers (for your bike itself, for your back for the bike portion, for your front for the run portion, sticker for your helmet, etc.) are also in there. Familiarize yourself with what they are and where they go. It also says to mark your left arm and left leg with your number (for the swim portion) before you arrive, but there are volunteers there, the morning of, with markers to help with that. Concerned for our health, Bari and I went to Longs and picked up a non-toxic marker and did it ourselves. The choice is yours. 8)

* Make sure you can handle rough surf – Before the race, Bari’s dad told us that the waves were expected to be 3-5 that morning at Queens. Not sure if it actually got that big, but there was definitely a bit of washing machine action going on. Rough water swimming in the ocean is A LOT harder and different than in your local pool, or even flat water swimming in the ocean for that matter. Since the water was probably the only possible place I could die (if I rested), I concentrated on training my swimming the most. Probably 98% to my 1% bike and 1% run. Although I HIGHLY recommend training the swimming fo sho, I would also say that you need to devote more than 1 and 1 on your bike and run. :

Bari and I struggling at Manoa pool early on
Bari and I struggling at Manoa pool early on

* Stay away from the wall (during the start) – for some reason, the officials for Bari’s group made them go all the way back against the wall. The combination of the crowd and the rough waves and the reef did not bode well for Bari’s foot as he opened up a gash on the bottom prior to starting.

* Enter the water later – if you’re a weak swimmer or don’t have much water endurance, what in the heck are you doing competing in the Tinman!? Hehe. But seriously, if you’re a weak swimmer or don’t have much water endurance, don’t hurry to get to the starting line within your group (you start in groups based on experience, age and gender). You may end up burning up your energy trying to stay afloat for up to 5 minutes until your start time. Plus, if you stay towards the rear of your group, there’s a better chance of the water being less rough and crowded. Well, at least until the group behind you catches up! LOL!

* Buy a good bike! – thanks to my great friend who shall remain nameless, Bari thought it would be a good idea to buy a bike for me from a Craigslist ad. 8) Later, we discovered that we’ve been duped and that the puppy was actually one from Walmart. So even when I was flying it at full blast on the highest gear, everyone continued to whiz right by me. WTH!? Don’t take any chances. Get a good, Tinman quality bike from the beginning, especially if you plan on competing more than once. If you’re not sure, some of the local bike shops may rent bikes out. Here’s the rental information from The Bike Shop.

* Hydrate, especially during the bike portion! – there are NO aid stations during the 24+ mile bike portion of the race. Be sure you have a water bottle or two filled with your favorite fluid (other than hard liquor πŸ˜› ). I had one bottle of Gatorade and that wasn’t enough, just FYI. If you’re in the same situation, be sure to partition out half for going to Hawaii Kai and the other half for coming back.

Heartbreak Hill in Hawaii Kai - generally speaking, the midway point for the bike ride [Photo Credit: wifey]
Heartbreak Hill in Hawaii Kai – generally speaking, the midway point for the bike ride [Photo Credit: wifey]

* Have a great support system – having your friends’ and family’s support before, during and after the race is priceless.

Kari, Miko and moms waiting patiently (and I stress patiently :P ) for my arrival. [Photo Credit: wifey]
Kari, Miko and moms waiting patiently (and I stress patiently πŸ˜› ) for my arrival. [Photo Credit: wifey]

Wifey snaggin' some action shots [Photo Credit: Kari Ohara]
Wifey snaggin’ some action shots [Photo Credit: Kari Ohara]

Still in good spirits (for some reason) on Heartbreak Hill [Photo Credit: Kari Ohara]
Still in good spirits (for some reason) on Heartbreak Hill [Photo Credit: Kari Ohara]

The cheering section! Ahaha! [Photo Credit: wifey]
The cheering section! Ahaha! [Photo Credit: wifey]

Making me crack up on the way back down Heartbreak Hill [Photo Credit: wifey]
Making me crack up on the way back down Heartbreak Hill [Photo Credit: wifey]

* Kiss your bum g’bye! – after sitting on a teeny seat for that long, your butt and “special areas” (if you’re a man) will undoubtedly get sore. I’m just sayin’.

* Wear gloves – I underestimated the value of a pair of gloves for that long of a bike ride. Though it was just tender and didn’t quite blister for me, I can see it being a problem for others.

* Be careful on the bike dismount – if you didn’t train properly (or even if you did!), when you dismount your bike, be aware that your legs will be J-e-l-l-o. This happened to me as well as my unnamed friend Bari, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were actually some who ate it coming off of the bike. Just be aware.

* Transitions, transitions, transitions! – Our transition times were just plain ridiculous. Streamline your in-between time to shave precious minutes off your overall time.

* Don’t take pictures – unless you’re a dedicated writer/blogger extraordinaire (like me) πŸ˜› , don’t stop to smell the roses. Taking mental notes and stopping to take photos during this race is not a good idea for your finishing time. Lesson learned. But then again, we wouldn’t have any wonderful shots like these now would we? *grin*

The start of the run on Kapahulu next to the Honolulu Zoo
The start of the run on Kapahulu next to the Honolulu Zoo

Looking back on Monsarrat Ave, on the way towards Diamond Head
Looking back on Monsarrat Ave, on the way towards Diamond Head

Leaving the first of 3 aid stations at Kapiolani Community College (the 2nd was at the beginning of Elepaio St and the 3rd was at Triangle Park)
Leaving the first of 3 aid stations at Kapiolani Community College (the 2nd was at the beginning of Elepaio St and the 3rd was at Triangle Park)

Much like the Honolulu Marathon, you'll head down 18th Ave towards Kilauea.
Much like the Honolulu Marathon, you’ll head down 18th Ave towards Kilauea.

At this point, my legs were shot. The reason why this photo is looking up towards Diamond Head is because I was walking backwards! Ya gotta do what ya gotta do right? πŸ˜‰

Fighting the heat on Kilauea before turning right on Elepaio St.
Fighting the heat on Kilauea before turning right on Elepaio St.

Again, much like the marathon, you go up Kahala Ave towards the finish.
Again, much like the marathon, you go up Kahala Ave towards the finish.

Tourists taking in the sights on Kahala Ave
Tourists taking in the sights on Kahala Ave

Aloha story: you see the fella in the blue jogging in the photo above? During the race, he came over and decided to keep a brutha company and jog along with me towards the finish. He was just exercising and wasn’t even in the race! What a nice gesture, especially being that since 5:55AM that morning, I was pretty much on my own. It was nice to have someone to finally talk to. After chatting a bit, we found out that we shared a mutual friend in fellow Honolulu Advertiser blogger Melissa Chang. I Tweeted @Melissa808 after the race to please thank her friend and found find out that his name was Russell. Mahaloz Russell for your company and encouragement!

The fountain off Kalakaua Ave near Kapiolani Park
The fountain off Kalakaua Ave near Kapiolani Park

Cones leading to the finish line
Cones leading to the finish line

Allllmost there! [Photo Credit: Kim Asano]
Allllmost there! [Photo Credit: Kim Asano]

Alas! The goal is in sight!
Alas! The goal is in sight!

Funny story: DJ Maleko, who was emceeing the finish line area, called out my name and said that I should’ve taken this picture after I finished, not before!

So thar ya have it! I hope this helped you future Tinman-ers at least a little. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment area below.

A special Mahalo to my blog commenter M, and all of the staffers at The Bike Shop and McCully Bike for the pre-race help/tips! Doumo Arigatou (Mr. Roboto) to Kari Ohara, Miko Ohara, Kim Asano, moms, pops, wifey and wifey’s family for the support before, during and after the race! Big ups to the Tinman peeps for putting on this glorious event and the 100s of volunteers (and race participants as well) who showed their support during the race! Props to Russell for being my last leg jogging partner! And a final grazie to the Carrolls for the hospitality before the race and a wonderful lunch after.

I (guess I) can’t forget to send some love to Bari Carroll for motivating me to train for this thang against my will. πŸ˜› You be a-ight I guess… Nah, thanks B!

Bari and I - 2009 Tinman Finishers!
Bari and I – 2009 Tinman Finishers!
2009 Tinman Hawaii Results:
  Bari Ed
Swim 21:40.3
Rank 489
19:19.6
Rank 402
Transition 1 11:15.9
Rank 539
9:27.6
Rank 536
Bike 1:28:56.0
Rank 375
1:52:16.0
Rank 527
Transition 2 2:35.3
Rank 463
1:52.8
Rank 346
Run 1:01:32.3
Rank 328
1:25:52.3
Rank 523
Total 3:05:59.8
Rank 415
3:48:48.3
Rank 536
Source: timelinehawaii.com

See ya guys in the water next year??? 8)

P.S. Wanna see our progress from newbs to average Joes? Check out Bari’s (slightly biased) editing magic in our Tinman journal/video documentary! Don’t watch if you’re squeamish about pale, topless men. Consider yourself warned! πŸ˜›

Honolulu Marathon Shmonolulu Shmarathon – If You Can Walk, You Can Roll

January 1, 2007

xxx

“Wow!”

“Impressive!”

“You’re crazy!”

Yep, these are just a few of the statements people yell at me on a daily basis. The first two statements: “Very Nihhce!”… The third one: “Not so mahch!”

This time, however, all three statements were being shrieked at me for an entirely different reason. The reason: I survived 26.2 miles that is the Honolulu Marathon.

Now before you start complimenting or cursing me – depending on your level of anger management – I’m here today to tell you that “running” (and I use that term loosely) a marathon is nothing really you yourself can’t accomplish.

Just send me 4 easy installments of $19.95 and follow my plan of attack, step-by-step, and you’ll be on your way to millions. Woops, wrong infomercial. Follow my blueprint for success below and you’ll be right on pace to compete in the December 9, 2007 Honolulu Marathon.

Before I set you on your 12 month regime, let’s give you a little background on my physical condition prior to the 2006 marathon to help you gauge where you’re at.

I am a *cough* 30 *cough* something year old male in fairly decent condition. Not too skinny, not too heavy. I’m your typical office employee at an 8+ hour a day sit-down job, being fed birthday cakes every once in a while. I play sports regularly, but keep in mind that this conditioning is a lot different from long distance running conditioning. If you don’t play team sports or move your body out of your recliner at least every once in a while, then I would definitely recommend getting out and being more active. There’s no need to become the next Olympic champion, but definitely jog or walk a few miles here and there. At the bare minimum, you’ll live a longer, healthier life. Now, on with the 12 months of madness!

January 2007

With the holiday season in the rear view mirror, it’s time to get off your lazy behinds and shed some of that holiday weight.

Start off slow. If this is your first exposure to moving your legs in a quick moving motion, you definitely want to get your heart and legs accustomed to the coming year of BonBon-less training. Walk for a mile or 10 minutes at your local gym or around your neighborhood. Set goals. Don’t be too hasty and attempt 10 miles on your first day. We’ve got 11 more months of this torture yo.

January or February-ish is also about the time they announce the early bird registration for us locals so keep your ears open for that. It usually requires a visit to the Niketown store in Waikiki and about $15. The great thing about this early bird registration, aside from the large break in the entry fee and free T-shirt, is that you’re officially committed to run. There’s no more excuses from that point on. Circle the Sunday, December 9th date on your calendar and cross off the days until then…

For more information about the early bird registration, contact:
Honolulu Marathon Office
3435 Waialae Ave., #208, Honolulu, HI 96816
TEL: 808-734-7200 / FAX: 808-732-7057
E-MAIL: info@honolulumarathon.org
URL: http://www.honolulumarathon.org/

February 2007

Continue your slow, but sure training. Work on getting your cardio up to par. We should still be in baby steps phase. One mile here, 2 miles there, 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. Nothing crazy just yet. If you’re starting from scratch, we should still be walking and not jogging full time yet.

Again, either January or February is when they’ll announce the early bird registration so if they have not announced it yet, listen up for that in February.

March 2007

Alright troops, we’re three months into the new year and less than 9 months away from the 35th Annual Honolulu Marathon. Nervous? Don’t be. Still get choke time! The main thing is that we’re active and moving and not being lazy sloths. Going cold turkey with good physical conditioning is one thing, but going cold turkey with no work is an invitation for disaster.

April-May 2007

You should be up to at least 5-10 miles now… Running, walking, or otherwise and it should be non-stop. If you’re struggling with the distance, then make goals for time. Remember, you’ll be running/walking/crawling for about 5-12+ hours throughout the day on 9th of December, so you’ll want your body to be ready.

June 2007

Midway point check. You should be up past 13.1 miles now, as we’re half way there (half of 26.2 is 13.1 for those of you who missed math class in elementary school). Continue to work towards attaining your personal goals, while making sure that you’re on pace for your December debut.

July-August, 2007

This might be a good time to get outside and do a bit of your training in the sun. July & August is traditionally the hot/humid part of year so if you can handle a touch of these conditions, the weather in December should be a piece of cake.

September-October 2007

Hopefully you’ve already done this by now, but if not, be sure that your equipment is ready, set and good to go. Don’t make the mistake of buying a new pair of shoes late in the game and expecting to break them in in time for the big dance. Be sure that you’ve got the shoes and clothes that you’ll be running in, set and broken into. You might want to jog with your fancy threads a few times beforehand to make sure that there is no unnecessary chafing going on.

November 2007

Now let’s be honest. How many of you actually followed my schedule and trained for the last 10 months? I’m really hoping that you printed this article out in January and pinned it on your wall for inspiration (cue Eye of the Tiger music)… But if you’re anything like me, you probably waited until now to start training, or at least think about training. If you’re just rolling out of your recliner now, then I would recommend shooting for the 2008 (Sunday, December 14th) or 2009 (Sunday, December 13th) marathons. I personally know two guys who attempted the run cold turkey last year and could not make it. I don’t want to embarrass them so I won’t mention their names, but in Pig Latin, they were Randonbay and Ysontay. *grin*

All kidding aside, don’t be crazy. Twenty-six point two miles in hot, Hawaii weather is no joke and should not be taken lightly. If you are not in any kind of condition to at least run/walk 10 miles with ease, don’t push it.

I was probably right at the cusp of readiness. Though I was physically ok with the sports conditioning (with the exception of a bothersome ankle injury), I was coming off two weeks of travel where I did nothing but stuff my face. On top of that, I lacked true, long distance conditioning. I was lucky if I got 5 miles of non-stop jogging. Don’t make the mistake I did… TRAIN!

December 2007

It’s showtime! You’ve (supposedly) trained all year for this. You must be excited. A few housekeeping items to be sure to take care of:

Your race packets (including bib number and timing chip) will NOT be mailed to you. You will have to physically pick it up at the Hawaii Convention Center the week leading up to the marathon. Check your mail in late November for the details on the dates and times and be sure to bring in the confirmation card that comes in the mail.

While you’re picking up your packet, why not check out the Honolulu Marathon Expo that is running concurrently with the packet pickup? You can view and purchase various products and marathon related memorabilia as well as get information about the race itself. This past year, Hollywood actress Kelly Hu was in attendance signing autographs for her fans. She seemed really genuine and “real”, and is apparently an avid runner herself, as she completed the marathon with an incredible chip time of 4:56:19!

xxx
Kelly Hu

If being a part of the weeklong festivities is your bag, you can buy tickets to the concert/luau that they have the Friday before the race. Last year, it was held at the Waikiki Shell and included an All-You-Can-Eat Carbo loading party, with music from Gavin DeGraw and Jake Shimabukuro.

Checklist for Race Day (Sunday, December 9, 2007):

  • Pound Da Carbs: As they say, load up on carbohydrates. Pasta, rice, bread, etc. During the race, you won’t have any time to eat. Power bars and gels at best, so eating right the night before is key.
  • Be a Sleeping Beauty: I can’t stress how important a good night’s rest is the night before the race. The gun goes off at 5AM so you’ll be waking up at least 3:30AM to get ready. Sacrifice the Clubbing, Internet browsing and/or DVR watching for just one night… Your body will thank you for it.
  • Ring the Alarm: You’ve trained all year for this so you definitely don’t want to oversleep! Set your loudest alarm or two or three and make sure that it’s far away so you have to physically get up to turn it off.
  • Break Fast: Fill up a bit in the morning as well, but not too much as you don’t want to get side pain during the race.
  • O2 Clothing: As the day progresses, the sun will make its presence known so you want to be sure that you don’t overheat. Wear cool clothing that breathes.
  • Comfy Kicks: Wear comfortable shoes that are pre-broken into. Blisters are your worst enemy.
  • Lather Up: You’ll be out in the sun for a good 4+ hours. Be sure to cover your exposed areas with suntan lotion with a minimum of SPF 35.
  • Lube Up: Vaseline the areas that you think may chafe with your clothing.
  • Bum a Ride: Parking will be a nightmare near the starting and finishing lines. If you can get dropped off and picked up, that would be ideal. (! – Get dropped off as far south on Pensacola Street as possible. You’ll have to walk a bit towards the staring line near Borders and IBM and P.F. Chang’s near Ward Center on Queen Street, but you’ll be at the front of the line, right up there with the speedsters from Africa!)
  • Make Like a Limo and…: Stretch! You will undoubtedly cramp up at some point during your run, but with proper stretching, you’ll save yourself a bit of agony.
  • Know your role: As long as you go in with the mindset that you are not in it to win it, you’ll be ok. The second you start to compete with the children and senior citizens whizzing by you, you’re in trouble. Just take your time and don’t overwork yourself. If you’re tired, rest. If you’re exhausted rest some more. Know and recognize your limits and stay within those boundaries. There is no rush. The Honolulu Marathon is one of the few marathons that waits for every single participant to finish, no matter how long, so take your time.
  • The Mr. Burns Factor: Prepare yourself to morph into a geriatric overnight. Immediately following your finish, your legs will feel like jelly and your posture and walk will be very Burns-like. Don’t expect to take on activities for at least a week.

Things to pack with you while running:

  • Band-Aids: Pack more than a few of these fo’ sho. This will save you. I used 4 Band-Aids and had to pick up 2 more from the aid station (which are few and far between). Don’t let the blisters get the best of you.
  • External Analgesics: Cramps are a part of the fun. You should’ve stretched by now, but you will still cramp. Applying products like Satohap pads, or soothing lotions or sprays will help tremendously. (! – You may want to consider the sprays or lotions as the pads do not stick to your suntan lotion skin very well.)
  • Gels: Light, portable, convenient and easy. These are some of the advantages of carrying products like PowerBar’s Gel. The only chance you have to eat during the day is your light snack in the morning. Having these handy treats in your pocket or fanny pack will save you when you get hungry in the middle of the day.
  • Fluids: This is a matter of personal preference. I, personally would not carry my own bottle(s) as there are drinking stations every 2-3 miles. Do, however, make sure you take in enough fluids to replenish those you lose (blood, sweat & tears) during your run. I drank at least one cup of water or energy drink at every single liquid station. You should do the same.
  • Shades: The hot, Hawaiian sun will be blazin’ by early afternoon, so you would want a pair of your ultra-violet (preferably polarized) spectacles on to save your peepers.
  • Mental Toughness: I tell everyone that finishing the marathon is mostly mental. Once you get past the slight aches and pains of your physical being, mental toughness takes over and will help you cross that finish line.
  • Camera: I would not recommend this to most, but if you’re a picture nut like me and are running for the experience of the event as much as for running itself, then the digicam is a must-have. I opted not to carry a fanny pack because the up and down bouncing action on my bum became annoying in a practice run. So, like an imbecile, I carried my camera in my hand throughout the entire 26.2 miles… And not a single drop! πŸ™‚

Now that you’re all prepped and ready to go now, all that’s left is for the race to start. It’s a madhouse. The streets are lined with racers ready to go and you can just taste the anticipation in the air.

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We’re close now, so let’s listen in to what Mayor Mufi Hanneman has to say to us runners right before the gun goes off.

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-5484422444500283998&hl=en
Mufi Hanneman

And we’re off!

It’ll probably be difficult, but try to remember to pace yourself. In both of my experiences, I bolted out of the gates like a mad man because of the adrenaline I had coursing through my veins. From the starting gun to the fireworks to just the whole experience of it all, it’s just plain exciting. By mile 3 though, I was spent, which, thankfully, provided a good time to break for a photo opp.

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Remember what the Carpenters preached…
Before the rising sun we fly,
So many roads to choose
We start our walking and learn to run.
And yes, we’ve just begun.

Mile 5 races through the streets of Waiks. Admiring the beauty of the Christmas lights and sounds of the ocean crashing the shore take your mind off of the race itself.

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By now, you’ve probably noticed, and appreciated those who are lined up along the streets to cheer you on. They probably had to get up just as early as you in order to root for you. As the sound of your heavy breathing takes over your eardrums, you hang onto every positive morsel they send your way.

“Go get ’em!”

“Way to go!”

“We’re proud of you!”

Before you know it, you’ve racked up miles 6, 7, and 8 and are passing mile 9 near Diamond Head.

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(! – A little note about miles 6-8-ish… Most of the Honolulu Marathon is flat, but at about this time is when you’ll hit one of the two uphill climbs of the entire course. On this occasion, you’re going up on Diamond Head Road – from Kapiolani Park towards the Kahala area – so save your energy for this one. Also along this path is where they start to narrow the running area with ropes. This is so that the finishers coming in the other direction have some room to run, but this also means less room for you. With thousands of people trying to cram into one lane of the road, things will slow down and get quite cramped. Be aware of this situation and don’t get frustrated. Claustrophobians – you’ve been warned.)

Once you pass the mile 9 marker, you’ll quickly approach the downhill slope of 18th Ave. If you brought your camera, this is the time to bust da buggah out because of the picturesque photo opps here.

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Depending on your timing, turning right onto Kilauea Ave may be a good shot too, as you could catch the morning sunrise.

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And before you know it, you’ll be passing mile 10. I passed this mark at 2:07:33, just a tad before the time when Ethiopia’s Ambesse Tolossa crossed the finish line. D’oh!

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Miles 10-11 is a brisk stroll through Kahala and as you turn onto Kalanianaole Highway, you’ll see the sign for mile 11. Kalanianaole Highway is, in my opinion, probably the most grueling on the course. It’s long and seemingly endless and you’ll constantly find yourself getting frustrated at seeing the runners (who actually trained for this stinkin’ marathon) making the return path home on the same highway. Try to refrain from cursing at them or cheating by jumping into their lane. Remain calm and maintain your own leisure pace and you’ll be just fine.

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If you’re built like me, this is about the time when the wheels start to fall off as far as running is concerned. We’re at about the midway point and everything is starting to cramp up. Take stretching breaks and fluid breaks (both in and out) and keep on a truckin’. Your cramps will eventually go away (at least in your mind) and your brisk walk will come back to form.

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Before you know it, you’ll be passing mile 15 and hitting Hawaii Kai with style. Eastsiiiide!

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From a mental standpoint, this is huge. You’re more than halfway done and you know that once you get through Hawaii Kai, you’ll be past the “turnaround point” and heading back on Kalanianaole Highway towards the goal! You’ll actually take the time to appreciate things, including the many characters you’ll find along the way.

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Between miles 16 & 17 is when I started to get hungry. I was seriously considering stopping by Safeway or Longs or Costco to grab a bite. I chose not to and decided instead, to take a breather at beautiful Maunalua Bay Beach Park near Roy’s Restaurant (on the corner of Keahole Street and Kalanianaole Highway past mile 17). This is also where they conveniently had another liquid station, so I grabbed a drink, leaned up against a breezy palm tree, pulled out a PowerBar gel from my pocket and rested my weary bones. In the distance, you could hear the band playing beautiful music on stage. Much love, Honolulu Marathon organizers… Much love!

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My view from the palm tree at Maunalua Bay Beach Park

Back on Kalanianaole Highway going west. Woo hoo! Try to refrain from mocking or doing a wop-yo-jaw at those slow-pokes going in the opposite direction. Them bums are doing their best. *evil grin*

Sure, miles 18 near Kuliouou and 19 near Halemaumau street are great accomplishments, but you really have your breakthrough when you hit the 20s in mile marker sightings. You’ll pass this blessed event right next to Aina Haina Shoppnig Center. Feel free to do a little dance, make a little love and get down tonight.

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Much of the torture continues through mile 21, but when you make that turn past Waialae Country Club onto Kealaolu Avenue and pass mile 22, you’re well on your way.

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Those sneaky buggahs from MarathoFoto will be along this road, so if you’re vain, you might want to fix your hair and come up with a pose before they capture you for eternity. Or, you can make like me and find someone you know to have a “prepared” shot taken. Here’s my ugly, exhausted mug at mile 23.

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Miles 23-24 continues on Kahala Ave as you head towards the treacherous Diamond Head Road hill. You’ll continue to get greeted by those cheering you on, spraying you with their lawn hoses, or, if you’re lucky enough, live slack key from the likes of Makana.

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-6080700019174488137&hl=en
Makana at the Honolulu Marathon

Miles 24-25 is sheer madness, but you’re so excited that you’re almost pau that you forget that it’s a crazy uphill climb. Once you’re in the 20s, you’re looking and praying for anything that resembles the next mile marker. No such luck here.

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Another character along the course was this dude on Diamond Head Road. He made me laugh, and, get inspired all at the same time. Not sure who he was with or what he was doing there, but he held a sign that said, “Mou sugu gooru da, Ganbare!”, which essentially means, the goal is pretty soon, keep it up! Thanks for the inspiration weird man!

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Once you start going downhill, you’ll hit the real 25 mile marker. Pay no attention to the time. I, uh, actually got this photo from a little girl who, uh, took this long to get to mile 25. Yeah, that’s it!

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This is when you really start getting excited. Passing Kapiolani Park down Kalakaua Ave is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen… that day. The crowd is roaring and your adrenaline is pumping. Your legs are mush, but you “make like” and start jogging like you’ve been doing it for the past 26 miles with ease.

But don’t get too ahead of yourself. There is still a 0.2 to go after the 26 mile marker. And lemme tell you, that 0.2 is not easy in your dilapidated condition.

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But then you see it. The goal you’ve been begging for since mile 1. What a sight to behold. I think I’m in love…

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Again, pay no attention to the time. Damn, that girl was slow…

My results for the day?
Finish: 7:19:31
Clock: 7:19:35
10K: 1:11:23
Half: 3:05:04
Hawaii Kai: 4:05:39
Diamond Head: 6:52:45
Place Overall: 20372
Place Men: 11292
Place Men 30 – 34: 1492

Just 20,371 places behind the winner… Don’t hate.

The results of the runners you are actually interested in?

Male Leaderboard:
Ambesse Tolossa 02:13:42
Jimmy Muindi 02:14:39
Eric Wainana 02:16:08
Araya Haregot 02:16:59
Eric Nzoiki 02:17:10

Female Leaderboard:
Lyubov Denisova 02:27:19
Alevtina Biktimirova 02:29:42
Eri Hayakawa 02:32:31
Olesya Nurgalieva 02:36:02
Albina Ivanova 02:39:44

So you see, running a marathon ain’t no thang but a chicken wang. With a clean bill of health and decent physical conditioning, combined with proper training, even YOU can prevent forest fires, er finish a marathon. And before long, your friends and family members will be calling you “impressive” and “crazy”…

“High Five!”

For all of my pics from the day, go to my gallery.

Mahalos to Chris and his boys for editing this video from the day’s events!
Too funny!