Posts Tagged ‘Waialae Country Club’

How to Get Married In Hawaii

December 1, 2008

With the festivities to my own wedding here and gone, I’d like to think that I’ve got a pretty decent grasp on what it takes to get married here in our beautiful islands of Hawaii (Oahu in particular). From quality vendors to use to helpful tips to help make your (or someone you know) special day one to remember, here’s a brain dump of what I’ve learned in the long and arduous process.

Location, Location, Location

As in real estate, the most important element of your special day is location. Be sure to pick your blessed spot AT LEAST a year in advance, as everything else (booking vendors, guest’s travel arrangements, etc.) revolves around when and where it will all be going down (no pun intended).

Depending on the location’s availability, you may have to be a little flexible as to when you will want your wedding. Last year’s 07/07/07 is a prime example. I’m sure everyone and their grandmama wanted to get married on that day, so most venues were probably already spoken for years in advance. If you really want a certain location on a specific date, it is imperative that you plan WAY in advance.

Also, as in real estate, it’s often difficult to get a feel for a place without physically visiting it. Like my muscles, you won’t believe it unless you see it with your own eyes. 😉 If you have the luxury of time, do what we did and visit the places that interest you. Wanting to make sure we didn’t leave a single stone left unturned, we did site visits to Koolau Ballrooms, the Honolulu Country Club, Lanikuhonua, Paradise Cove Luau, Moana Surfrider, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort, Ihilani Resort, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Sheraton Waikiki, and the Waialae Country Club (must be hosted by a member). Notable ones missing were Halekulani and Hale Koa. Nothing wrong with them, we just personally felt that there were too many weddings held there and wanted to be different.

What we did – We went with the Sheraton Waikiki based on the view of their Niihau room (see below) and in anticipation of the renovation of their ballroom.

Recommendations – Though our experiences with the Sheraton on the day-of, and every other staff member throughout was absolutely amazing, we had numerous issues with our one, single contact there. I was raised to not say anything at all if you have nothing good to say, so I won’t get into it, but it’s difficult to give a recommendation as long as this person is there. Otherwise, I would highly recommend them. Their food is excellent, the Niihau Room view is amazing, and the newly renovated bridal suites and ballrooms are just gorgeous, etc.).

View from the Niihau Room (our ceremony location)
View from the Niihau Room (our ceremony location)

Next on your hitlist should be the Photographer and Videographer.

Just Shoot Me

Like the location, these guys get snatched up pretty quickly. If you know who you want, you should call ’em and book ’em right away Danno. A year or more is also the recommendation here.

Choosing the right one, aside from their portfolio or slide show reel, is all about feel. You’ve gotta genuinely like and be comfortable with their personality. They really are the ones who will get the emotion out of you. If they irritate you or can’t make you feel good/happy, it’ll show in the pictures. If you think about it, you will be spending most of your day with them. Be sure you choose the one that you don’t mind spending that time with.

When negotiating with your chosen vendor, inquire if you can get the originals as part of the package (RAW or JPGs for Photographers and unedited footage for Videographers). Something neat to also get these days is having your footage shot in HD (High Definition). Ask if there is an extra fee for this.

What we did – We went with Love Story Weddings for Photography and Advanced Visual Arts for our Videography/Slideshow.

Recommendations – If you can, request Vince Shin from Love Story Weddings. He’s a fun/funny guy that can get your bridal party going. A shout out to Sharmil Elliott as well. She knows her stuff and did an amazing job at the reception! Greg Ventura from Advanced Visual Arts gave us an affordable/reasonable option for Videography/Slideshow services (sold in packages). He also offered to shoot it in HD as part of the package. His video style is pretty basic and straight-forward… Nothing fancy, as some of today’s contemporary/artsy/cinematic videography companies are, but you get the “day-of” coverage you are looking for… Though he did miss our key dance entrance scene! D’oh! Initially, we were a little worried about his response time, but it was probably because he was busy with other weddings. When it came to crunch time, he came through like a champ and turned out a wonderful product. We got our fully edited DVD (of the entire day) just two weeks following our wedding. Amazing!

The next group would probably be the Florists, Hair and Makeup Artists, Emcee, DJ/Entertainment, Officiant, and Day-Of Coordinator (if you need a Wedding Planner from Day 1, this priority should go before finding the location above.)

Flower Power

Florists are also very important and book up very quickly. They handle everything from the ceremony (bouquets, altar, flower petals on the ground) and reception room decoration (centerpieces, cake, head table, trim) to the leis worn by the groom, special guests and beyond.

What we did – We went with Sue from Su-V Expressions.

Recommendations – Though really, REALLY busy, she came through in the clutch and did a superb job!

Setting up the ceremony site
Setting up the ceremony site

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful

This one is primarily for the ladies and they also book fast. They will not only be the ones who come early on the day of, but also can be hired for trial sessions and the engagement day photos.

What she did – The wife and her bridesmaids went with Naturally You and loved them.

Recommendations – Wifey had CJ Bae from Naturally You and highly recommends her/them.

MC HAM-mer

The Master of Ceremonies can make or break your wedding reception. If you are trying to cut costs and will be asking a favor of one of your loud friends, be sure he or she has some wedding emceeing or public speaking experience. Just because they are loud and funny in small group settings, it doesn’t necessarily translate to funny and entertaining through the course of several hours. The worst is when they tell inside jokes, or there are moments of silence as they try to figure out how to stretch in certain situations.

We were fortunate enough to have a friend who is also a professional. I highly recommend a pro who knows how to keep things flowing. There aren’t too many good ones around town, so book these guys early as well.

What we did – We went with a longtime friend and former roommate, Bryan Min. And, oh, by the way, he’s Bruddah Bryan, DJ on KCCN FM100 94.7 KUMU and has done many-a-wedding as a side gig.

Recommendations – I’ve had numerous compliments from my guests about Bruddah Bryan for his off-the-cuff humor. It probably helped that he knew many of us and may’ve been more comfortable letting loose, but he’s very responsible and on-time, and even cleaned up pretty nicely for our event. Much love Bruddah B! Email Bruddah Bryan Min here.

Bruddah Bryan, Wedding Emcee
Bruddah Bryan, Wedding Emcee

Entertainment Tonight

Emphasis put on entertainment really depends on the couple. Some are ok with a friend simply controlling things through a CD or iPod. Others want the full-fledged lighting and sound action. And still others want live music on top of that. There’s nothing wrong with any of them, but like any of the other “live person” hirings above, you should book in advance, as there is only one of them.

What we did – We had the luxury and honor of having friends in the professional DJ (Brian) and professional musical artist arenas (Justin and Jon), so they did it out of the kindness of their hearts.

Recommendations – For DJ services, we fo sho recommend you contact Brian Ebisui from Signature Audio Hawaii. We also highly recommend Justin Young and Jon Yamasato, though booking them may prove challenging. Justin lives in California and is regularly touring with Colbie Caillat (go Justin!), and Jon is a full-time real estate agent and just does music as a hobby for now.

Your boy singing with his boys Jon Yamasato and Justin Young (why are they laughing?)
Your boy singing with his boys Jon Yamasato and Justin Young (why are they laughing?)

Will You Marry Me?

For those who don’t attend church or are generally non-denominational, it could be difficult to think of an officiant that you will feel comfortable with, taking care of one of the most important moments of your life. Not only should you book the one you want far in advance, you should probably start researching or inquiring around even sooner.

What we did – We really wanted Gaius Thede, a long time mentor and friend to reside over our wedding, but he, unfortunately passed away (R.I.P.). Fortunately, we fell upon Rev. Mel Morishige and were delightfully thrilled with him.

Recommendations – Not too sure if he does this as a full-time gig, but if he does, we highly recommend him: Phone: (808) 225-5540, Email: revmel2@kirael.com.

What, me worry?

Initially, we didn’t think we needed a day-of Coordinator, but looking back, it was probably one of the wisest investments we’ve ever made. You definitely want a professional who’s been doing it for many years. They know what to look for, and more importantly, what to look out for. Hiring a friend may be ok, but it can’t be their first time. It requires big time multi-tasking and being on top of your game non-stop. The key is that this person needs to take care of all the problems of the day (they will inevitably come up) so that you don’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying yourself and the moment.

What we did – We left this until the last minute as we thought we would just have a friend help us with day-of coordination. Boy, are we glad we decided against it. We were lucky to hire Dianna Shitanishi of Hawaii Weddings and Events last minute (her original event on the same day got cancelled) and she was a savoir.

Recommendations – Her resume is exactly what you want to see in a coordinator. She is totally on top of her game and her email response time is astonishing. She helped to ease our mind with all of the issues we had with our contact at the Sheraton. In a sense, she saved the day. Absolutely, unequivocally recommend her 100%. Book her early!

The next group would probably be taking care of the invitations, wedding cake, centerpieces, favors, the wedding gown, bridesmaids dresses, and tuxedos.

We-vite

If you’ve got the time and want to cut costs, you may opt to make your own invitations. If you aren’t a crafter by nature, however, be forewarned that the cost you save may quickly disappear with all the supplies you may need to purchase (e.g. paper, glue, printing, stamps, cutters, etc.). Time is the key here. You’ve got so many other things to worry about, that using up precious days to put your invitations together may not quite be worth it. If it is not, you should hire a professional or enlist the help of a crafty friend.

What we did – We bought the materials from Paper Source and customized (printing, embossing, etc.) to our liking.

Recommendations – Do only if you have time and are comfortable with crafty projects. It took longer than expected and took us away from other burning issues at the time.

One box of goodies from Paper Source
One box of goodies from Paper Source

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

The general rule of thumb is to book this 6 months in advance, but the wife says the earlier the better. Search for cake designs that you like in places like wedding magazines, Internet web sites, etc. This will help your hired cake designer get a feel for what you are looking for, if different from what they have in their portfolio. Wifey’s notes: Did you know that each layer of your cake can be a different flavor? Also, you can do a cake tasting before you make your final decision!

Warning: Check with your hotel FIRST to see if they have a cake-cutting fee (for 3rd party cakes). If they do, it is usually a per slice fee, which, depending on the amount of guests you have, may turn out to be as much or more than the cost of your cake.

What we did – Went with Cake Creations Hawaii.

Recommendations – The wife took care of all of this, but she was very happy with their product. Again, be sure to check with your hotel first on that cake cutting fee before placing any order with an outside vendor.

Here's our cherry blossom themed wedding cake
Here’s our cherry blossom themed wedding cake

Centerpiece On Earth

This section only applies to those who are not going to have flowers (through their florists) as their centerpiece. Start looking or thinking of possible centerpiece ideas that will help capture your dream or theme. Keep in mind that one lucky person on that table will be taking it home and keeping it (hopefully) forever! 😉

What we did – Consistent with our Japanese theme, we decided to go with Asian Lamps as our centerpiece. We went with Claire and Roger from Aloha Mana’o Imports.

Recommendations – They are a cute couple whom we met at one of the many craft expos. Their prices are cheaper than the other guys, but the quality is better. They are very responsible and even offered to assemble all of them for us. They also offer rental lamps for the day-of. Highly recommended.

Our Asian lantern centerpiece
Our Asian lantern centerpiece

Favor Faaaave!

Like the centerpiece, you should try to keep the favor consistent with your wedding’s theme. It has to be affordable enough so you don’t break the bank (one goes to every guest), but presentable enough that you are happy with the results. I’ve seen anything from chopsticks to cookies to chocolates to customized CDs. Be creative!

What we did – The ‘rents helped with this one. They were able to find an affordable, but good quality masu (sake box) online from a company in Japan called Kishimoto Kichiji Shouten. They even customized it with whatever we wanted. Later, you’ll see how the masu fit into our sake ceremony. In the masu, we ordered half-dipped heart-shaped cookies from the Honolulu Cookie Company, wrapped it nicely and placed it right in the masu. It fit perfectly!

Recommendations – Sake boxes were off the hook, but you’ll probably need to know and be able to read Japanese to read and order from this site/company. The cookies were delish and added a nice touch. Even opting to wrap the cookies in a nice presentation and having that as your favor would be good enough in my opinion.

Our customized masu (sake box) and cookie favor
Our customized masu (sake box) and cookie favor

Dress to Impress

Other than the tuxedos, I’m not too up to speed in this area. Apparently, wedding dresses are a big deal. And the earlier you know what you want, the better. Visit the local shops around town and, again, look through bridal magazines and web sites. Often times, if a magazine has it, the bridal shop can bring it in.

Bridesmaids dresses are in the same arena. Look for something you like. It may be a good idea to consult with your bridesmaids, as they may have certain preferences based on their comfort level. I hear that lately, the bridesmaids may choose to wear different styles of dresses with the color being the one constant. It’s up to you what you decide.

Tuxedos. Now there’s something I can talk about. Usually, the bigger tux shops are the way to go. I heard of one shop closing soon after the groom had his wedding. It worked out though as he and the groomsmen got to keep their suits, but imagine if it happened before?

Keep in mind that you have to decide on colors (suit, vest, tie, shoes, handkerchief, etc.), AND styles. The groom should be in one style (the main attraction), while the groomsmen and fathers (and ring bearer?) should have yet other styles and colors. Be sure to check with wifey on color approval (to match her bridesmaids).

Have your boys come in for a fitting months in advance to be sure that they are sized right. Several days before the big day, they will have to come in again for a final fitting and to pick up their tuxes. Don’t forget to assign a friend the task of returning your tux the following day when it’s due. You will be too busy to worry about returning it.

What we did – Bridal Gown from Bridal Emporium, Bridesmaids dresses from Masako Formals, and tuxedos from Celebrity Tuxedos.

Recommendations – Ladies, correct me if I’m wrong, but where you get the bridal gown really depends on who has the one you want and at the right price. Wifey went to several bridal shops and Bridal Emporium just so happen to have the one she wanted. My dad knows the owner of Masako Formals so that is the reason why we went there for the bridesmaids dresses. I signed up for a special deal at a wedding expo for tuxedos from Celebrity Tuxedos. It turned out to be a good thing as Elsie from Pearl City’s Celebrity Tuxedo was very good. All three locations’ computer systems (Ala Moana Shopping Center, Pearlridge Mall, and Windward Mall) are linked together so your boys can go to any location to get fitted, do pick-ups and do their returns. VERY convenient for those who live all over the island. Highly recommended.

Da Rest!

Cranes – If you are doing a tsuru (crane) display, be sure you have enough time to fold 1,001 (1,000 by bride, 1 by groom) and book the mounter in advance.

What we did – We went with the more traditional crane mounting that uses the actual crane as the design. In our opinion, Morris Atta from SuMoCa Arts is on top of the game.

Recommendations – He had us biting our nails down to the very last minute, but came through on the morning of, with an incredible work of art. For obvious reasons, he can only take on so many projects at one time, so book early.

Our tsuru (crane) display: her family's mon on the left and my name in kanji on the right
Our tsuru (crane) display: her family’s mon on the left and my name in kanji on the right

Engagement Photo – Schedule this with your photographer in enough time to take it, print it and mount/frame it.

Rings – Find your favorite jeweler or jewelry and purchase it in advance as you may need some time for resizing.

What we did – We went with Russell Oshita from the Diamond Specialists. Russell is da man!

Recommendations – Russell is a jeweler first and salesperson second, so you can be sure that he’s not going to rip you off. Before any big purchase, he takes you through a crash course, if you will, educating you on the ins and outs of diamonds. Highly recommended!

Rentals/Reservations – If you are renting a limo or need to make reservations for your photo shoot location, do this about this time. You should also start thinking of your rehearsal lunch/dinner location (where you’ll be taking your bridal party after the rehearsal) and whether or not you need to make reservations for this.

Banzai – Popular tradition says that you should do at least one banzai at your wedding. This brings good luck and long life.

What we did – We went with two of the most amusing and entertaining banzais I’ve ever seen, one from a friend and the other from his good friend (my brother-in-law).

Recommendations – I don’t think they are for hire, unless they too are YOUR friends. We recommend pitting two friends against each other like we did though. They will try to one up each other, which makes both more spirited than ever.

The banzai toasts: Dave vs. Lee
The banzai toasts: Dave vs. Lee

Bridal Party Gifts – Hawaii tradition says that the bride and groom pays for everything for the bridal party (tuxedo rentals, bridal dresses, jewelry, shoes, etc.). It also says that you should buy them a gift for being on your party. I’ve personally received, money clips, shades, a pen, etc. I’ve also heard of beer, watches, customized goods, etc. Be sure to buy these in advance so you can present it to your buds the night before.

What we did – Wifey bought her bridemaids necklaces from Maui Divers , treated them to a spa day, and more. I spoiled my boys with Reyn Spooner Aloha Shirts, customized NBA T-shirts, and brand new Spalding basketballs (which we also used in our photo shoot).

Recommendations – Think of things that you have in common. For me, it was basketball. All of us could also use the Aloha shirts for work or otherwise. I also felt that since it was once in a lifetime and they’ve been my best friends in life, why not spoil them right!? I guess they deserve it! 🙂

Me, Bari, Grant, Kelvin and Tommy in our customized NBA Tees.
Me, Bari, Grant, Kelvin and Tommy in our customized NBA Tees.

The flip side
The flip side

Hotel Rental and Plans for the Bridal Party for the Night Before – Don’t forget to book your hotel for the night before the wedding. This will ultimately be the last time you get to spend with your boys as a single man. Make the most of the opportunity!

What we did – I was fortunate enough to have an awesome connection at the UFC who hooked it up with a special meet and greet at the BJ Penn/Georges St-Pierre event that was going down at the Blaisdell Concert Hall! That was a !#$% killah experience and what perfect timing! Much love to (Big Wave) Dave Jackson and the rest of the staffers at the UFC! Best MMA company in the biz!

Recommendations – If meeting UFC fighters is not high on your priority list, then perhaps some other high testosterone activity might be fun for you and your boys. Shooting guns at a shooting range, taking some cuts at the batting cages, etc., may be other options.

The future(?) and current UFC Lightweight champs. BJ Penn... What a cool brutha!
The future(?) and current UFC Lightweight champs. BJ Penn… What a cool brutha!

Something Unique/Different – I’ve been to weddings where they had a traditional Chinese lion dance or a Japanese taiko drum performance. I recently heard about one wedding that included mochi pounding. Do something unique and different that will leave a lasting impression on you and your guests.

What we did – We did a traditional Japanese celebration called Kagami Biraki. It’s where you open the top of a sake barrel with a mallet for good luck.

Recommendations – Though you won’t be the first anymore 😛 , we highly recommend it. It was a hit, as evident by the long line of guests waiting to try a sip of the sake (using the masu that we gave as our favors)! My dad knew somebody at a local place  called the Cherry Company. Couldn’t find a web site for them, but I found their number via Google: 808-422-6555. Give ’em a call!

The family opening the top of the sake barrel
The family opening the top of the sake barrel

The guests enjoying the fruits of our labor
The guests enjoying the fruits of our labor

Music – We tried to go old school and nu skool with our picks for background music. I got a lot of suggestions from commenters on my blog too. I thought I’d share a small sampling of some of the songs we used to help get you started on your quest. Woah, givin’ away our secrets! You’re welcome! 😉

  • Bitty McLean – Forever Be Mine
  • Bread – If
  • Brian McKnight – Everything
  • Color Me Badd – Let’s Start With Forever
  • Heatwave – Always & Forever
  • Hi-Five – I Can’t Wait Another Minute
  • Imua – Swing
  • Jason Mraz feat. Colbie Caillat – Lucky
  • Jets – You Got It All
  • Joe Cocker – You Are So Beautiful
  • Johnny Gill – My, My, My
  • Jon Basebase – Suddenly
  • Journey – Open Arms
  • Kalapana – Nightbird
  • Keith Urban – Making Memories Of Us
  • Klymaxx – I’d Still Say Yes
  • Michael Bolton – Soul Provider
  • Na Leo Pilimehana – Saving Forever
  • New Edition – Earth Angel
  • New Kids On The Block – I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)
  • Opihi Pickers – Love You Forever
  • PC Quest – Can I Call You My Girl
  • Peter Moon Band – Flying
  • Stylistics – I’m Stone In Love With You
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic
  • Tony Terry – Everlasting Love
  • Trey Lorenz – Someone to Hold

Miscellaneous – There are often things that you may overlook for the day-of. Be sure not to forget the creation and printing of your program, table cards, sign-in sheets, etc.

Tips

If you’re a first-time wedding planner, the following tips helped us and will help you in your path to planning bliss.

– Visit the Wedding Café for their regular workshops. They invite vendors in the industry to come and do presentations to the public. You can then inquire about availability based on what you saw or set up a future meeting with them to discuss in greater detail.

Note from the wife: “These are the best ever! I highly recommend these workshops so that you can meet vendors in one casual meeting rather than booking 5 or 7 separate meetings with each individual vendor. Most are free workshops sponsored by the Wedding Café. We found our Videographer, Florist, Hair/Makeup w/ the help of the workshops!”

– Go to wedding expos & shows when they are available. There are at least 2-4 per year. You can find vendors or look for ideas to take away to your own wedding. Craft fairs also sometimes help.

– Read wedding magazines for inspiration and ideas for colors, dress styles, makeup/hairstyle ideas, what’s hot, what’s not, etc. You can bookmark the pages you like or just rip ’em out and bring them to your vendor to discuss your options.

– Visit web sites like theknot.com and bridesclub.com for community support. Read what others are doing or get reviews on vendors in your area.

– Enlist the help of your friends. We cannot stress this one enough. I had to practically force the wife to ask for help (she is the type to not want to bother anyone else). All of your projects go by so much “funner” and faster. Plus, they are all willing and wanting to help. Why not put ’em to work right? 😛 Seriously though, your friends are just as excited as you are and spending the time with them working on various projects leaves memories to last a lifetime. Cherish it.

WHEW! OK, I think that’s it. There are probably a few details I missed, but I’m sure you’ll do just fine. I hope this article will provide at least a bit of help for those who wish to get married in the most beautiful place in the world: Hawaii!

Newly Married!
Just Married!

Good luck with your wedding y’all!

Love,
Ed (and Mai)

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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!

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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! 🙂

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!