Blair’s Weekly Update 07-01-2012

Doc’s Report by Andrew Laurence:

Dr. Scaff talked about low back pain.  Low back pain is probably one of the commonest musculoskeletal ailments that afflict mankind.  We are the only truly upright animal.  To balance ourselves we developed a doubly curved spine, consisting of the cervical vertebrae (neck), thoracic vertebrae (torso), and the lumbar sacral vertebrae (low back).  Separating each of these vertebrae is a disk made of very fibrous material filled with a pulp, like Jello, only thicker.  With the wear and tear of age and other things the disks break down and press on nerves along the spine.  Common diseases of low back pain:  Cervical Discogenic disease, Lumbosacral Discogenic Disease, Sacroiliac disease, and Lumbago.

Anything that increases the lordotic angle of the spine makes disk disease worse.  A big stomach, pregnancy, a high body mass index, and lack of exercise all contribute to increases in the lordotic angle.  As the muscles get weaker they provide less support.   Rest and exercising the back muscles are effective for easing back pain about 80-90 percent of the time.  To build the abdominal muscles the Honolulu Marathon Clinic uses modified Williams’ Exercises, the best being tummy crunches.  Other helpful exercises:  Pulling your knees up to your chest, and abdominal scissor exercises.

There has never been a study showing that people who run have a higher incidence of back injuries than the sedentary population.  In fact, runners have less.  If you develop a back problem while running, it probably would have occurred earlier if you had not been exercising and running.  Exercise, running, and walking are good for low back pain.   Low back pain the commonest ailment that there is and most of us will have it in our lifetime.

For more information on low back pain and helpful exercises, read Chapter 20 “Low-Back Pain and Running” in Your First Marathon – The Last Word In Long Distance Running, by Jack H. Scaff Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.M., available for purchase at the Honolulu Marathon Clinic on Sundays and online at:

To read full, unabridged summaries of The Honolulu Marathon Clinic’s weekly Doc’s Talks:
1)  Go to the Honolulu Marathon Clinic web site (
2)  Look under the “Categories” listing.  3)  Click on “Doc’s Talk”


Table Duty:

Thank you to Boston Marathon finisher and staff leader Kozo Y. for the great table duty spread. Thanks also for your flexibility in the location of the table due to the spillage from the bathrooms. 


Group Reports:

Advanced Group by Les Young:

(Pace < 9 min. per mile)

The AG had nine runners today.  Eight runners ran in from the second beach park, heard Dr. Scaff’s talk, and ran back for a total of fourteen miles.  During our meeting at Paki we talk about the Kona Marathon and the hot conditions experienced.  Beth said the vog was the real problem for her.  Tomo was on pace to run a Sub3 marathon, but the heat and vog slowed him down to a 3:06 finish!!  I went over the need to train in the heat and experimenting with hydration intervals and carbohydrate/mineral replacement.  Find the right formula for you, practice and tweak it in training and use it during the marathon.  Remember “nothing new during the marathon”.  If it wasn’t tried and proven during training, don’t try it on marathon day.  I did a solid twelve miler at a 8:45-8:30 pace.  Gotta be patient coming back from an injury.


Grey Group by Ivie Kumura:

(Pace – 10:30 – 11:30 min. per mile) 

16 GREY runners this Sunday, as we bumped up to 12 miles! Staffers: Paris, Andy and myself accompanied with Warren, Donna, Aurene, Sam, Pam, Nikki, Rob, Dr. Rob, Theresa, Mike, Nobu, Lily and Kara. I was away on a trip to 2 colleges, thus missed the last 3 runs. It was nice coming back to see all of you. The restrooms were closed this past week, so Andy led us past the next restroom stop at Kaimuki Intermediate for mile 3. Wow, a relief!? Everyone held together, and we finished as a group! I fueled at mile 6 with Hammer Gel, Expresso. I like the caffeine and non-lactose based gels. Are you all experimenting with your fuel replacement, since we have increased mileage? Warren swears he had a full tank at mile 2, and didn’t need to fuel-up at mile 2. Stay ahead of the thirst and glycogen depletion, cramps, and hydrate at every stop. Have carbohydrate at least after 90 minutes of exercise. Yes, Warren’s tank was sure full, as we finished mile 11.8, he had extra in reserve, and could have sprinted!
Runners are moving between groups finding their best pace to train in. Our group is a group for a goal of sub-5 hours. It is a great comfortable pace, to train to finish the marathon, not to break records. We train to finish injury free, and to enjoy every minute of training and finishing (strong). If you have a fulltime job or a busy family or having a lot of interruption in your training (travel, vacation, duties, etc), this group is for you. This training pace, even allows for cramping or potty breaks during the marathon. If all goes well as planned, the perfect race marathon day, you may finish at 4:30, some have even finished sub-4 hours! This year, the sub-4 hours have moved up.

July 1 – 11.8 miles
July 8  – 12 miles
July 15 – 12 miles
July 22 – 12 miles
July 29 – 12 miles including Kahala

Silver Group by Lynnae Lee:

(Pace – 11:00 – 12:00 min. per mile)

The Silver group had a strong showing of 24 runners.  We did our first 12-mile run to first beach park on Kalanianaole and back.  The group was led by Alberto, Tony, and LynnaeAlberto did a great job pacing with a gradual warm up for this new distance.  Weather conditions were pretty good – breezy with clouds in just the right spots, and a slight sprinkle on mile #8 made everyone smile.  Silvers in attendance were: Evelyn, Scott, Joe, Arnold, Tiantian, Hana, Kelly, Ess, Jonathan, and Sandy (who joined in on the return).  Chao Ling, recently back from Taiwan, celebrated her birthday with her first long run in weeks – Happy Birthday!  Summer was anxious to get in her last long run before going on her vacation to Australia.  And we had a newcomer to the group, Ashley, who shared about her various racing experiences.  The group did a good job keeping together, and took Farmers in easy stride.  As we stopped to greet the doggies, we also had the chance to thank the owner of the home who has the water fountain just across the park.  It is such a wonderful oasis for us all, and she was happy to share.  Cindy, who was sporting her new Asics Blur-33, was the first one back to home base.  The stats:  11.62 miles; 2:09 moving time; 11:10 moving pace; and the all important calorie count of 914 (adjust for weight).    Terrific job everyone!

HOMEWORK:  We’ll be doing 12-mile runs for all of July, so please continue your 2 homework runs of 60 minutes duration with a REST DAY in between.  We’re hitting the point where skipping homework can be painful.  There are no shortcuts for the endurance athlete.  If you’re doing Tantalus on Wednesday, so a shorter recovery run on Friday (45 min is sufficient).

SPECIAL OPTIONAL TRAINING [Independence Day – Wednesday]:  The Silverados will do a 10-mile run at Tantalus starting at 6 a.m. on July 4th.  All HMCers are welcome to join.  Come dressed in your best red/white/blue or stars/stripes to celebrate the USA.  We will meet at the park where Makiki Street, Makiki Heights Drive and Round Top Drive meet.  For those unfamiliar with the location, turn up (mauka) on Makiki Street from Nehoa, and the park is one block in at the fork in the road.  Parking is on either side of the park and is limited.  [The left side has more parking.]  There are no water fountains along the way, so please make sure to bring enough water, 12-20 oz is suggested, depending on your usual intake.  It is also important to note that there are no bathroom facilities (but plenty of bushes), so plan accordingly.  The run should take a little over 2 hours.  Please call or text Alberto [781-9221] if you have any questions.  Have fun and enjoy the views from the top!

Running Tip:  Listen to your body, especially for those coming back after an injury or getting back into running after a vacation.  Don’t feel that you have to keep up with the group.  Start slow (or short), get the muscles used to the routine again, and in no time you’ll be back strong with your group.  Ignoring your body’s signals can put you at risk for further injury or an unpleasant run.  Let’s keep running fun.


 White Group by Blair Hoashi:

(Pace – 12:00 – 13:00 min. per mile)

We started the new month with our first 12 miler which included Farmer’s Road.   The new turnaround point (6miles out) is the “first beach park”.  Bathrooms and water are right on the route – very convenient.  Twenty three members started off with us.   The weather was a bit hot, especially toward the end; the winds died down and the humidity kicked in.  Difficult running weather but it gives us an opportunity to train for a hot and humid marathon.   Please remember, most of us are going to be in the hot sun for at least 3 hours (if we have “normal” marathon day weather).  Staff leaders Guru Sam, Dwight, and I led members Debbie, Russell, Russ, Gary, Jo, Devon, Rose, Betsy, Quon, and a host of others (apologies, if I did not mention your name).   We maintained a running pace of 12:00 minutes per mile over the 12 mile route.   We sped up a little (11:30 – 11:40) toward the end to appease members who wanted to go at a slightly faster pace.  Please keep doing your homework runs; as we get longer on our Sunday runs, the “homework” will be crucial to keeping pace with the group.

Fourth of July Event:

Guru Sam is having his usual Fourth of July “bash” at his Yacht Harbor Tower venue (which overlooks the fireworks at Ala Moana Beach Park) and inviting all White group members.  Other groups’ members are welcome as well.   The event takes place on July 4th,, Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m. to “whenevas”.   For further details call Sam at 521-4581.  It is only for “children” over 21 and parking is on your own.


Green Group – 15’s (Beginners) by Rosemary Kyte:

Congratulations to those who completed their first-ever ten mile run!  Cliff and Rosemary took all the short cuts out to the turn-around point on Kalanianaole Hwy (utility pole #40 / fire hydrant #1669), tapped the fire hydrant for good luck, and then headed back.    At Medal of Honor Park coming back, we looked to be finishing short at only 9.2 miles, so we added a finish line lap around the park, bringing the total distance up to 10.25 miles.  At the start it looked to be a hot day, but we were blessed with consistent cool breezes and periods of overcast throughout the morning.  We welcomed a couple of first-timers this week; remember it is never too late in the year to come out and join us.  We’ll find you a pace groups and distance to meet your needs.

  Golden 14’s by Dean Takeshige:

Dean, Sandra, Melanie and Jason led 16 energetic souls out for our first official 10 miler.  We started slow as Rosemary suggested and was greeted by nice cool breezes and a partial overcast sky.  This didn’t last long. The clouds disappeared and it was a hot summer day.

On the way out we took a short cut to include an extra bathroom stop. When we returned to the Kahala Service station we visited the beer cave to cool off.

I talked about thinking about the shoes and clothes you are going to wear on Marathon day and since the runs are getting longer it’s a good time to break them in to see if they are working for you.

We finished strong and everyone said we were running slower than last week but we were averaging well below 14 minutes per mile. This shows you are doing great with you midweek runs. Keep it up.

We were on the road a total of 3 hours and 17 minutes (including water stops) burned 1028 cal and ran 10.9 miles.(short 11).

Lucky 13’s by Chris Isham:

Chris and Fiona led the Lucky 13s on their first 10 miler.  Total mileage was 10.6 at a 12:42 pace.  Outstanding job by everyone!

We had several runners fall today.  Luckily no one was seriously injured.  The major cause of this mishap is uneven sidewalks.  Everyone please point out uneven sidewalks when you see them.  Today was hot, the summer promises to get hotter.  Please hydrate and start using more electrolytes


Da Comment Corner:

The U.S. Olympic athletes and Our Clinic Participants:

As I watch the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials on television and being a former track runner, I am truly inspired by the athletes who devote so much time and effort to represent the U.S. on its Olympic track team   Likewise, I’m also very inspired by our clinic members who diligently do their homework runs and show up each and every Sunday in their quest to get in better health or do the marathon.    Russ H., Russell U., Debbie, Gary, Dwight, Ivie, “Chicago transplant” –  Jonathan, Lynnae, Alberto ,Les, Sook Young, Pete, Guru Sam (whose late nights’ on Saturday evenings at “church functions” don’t deter him from showing up on Sunday mornings) and others too numerous to mention, I applaud you!  You are an inspiration to the other members of your group.

Also, Berrie, you are always in our thoughts.  Hope you and your wife are having a great time in Europe.


Tennis after Running (from last week):

In my haste to “gloat” about last week’s tennis match (possibly a preview of a Honolulu Marathon Clinic tennis tourney?), I forgot to mention the “young whippersnappers” involved in the match –they were Silver Group speedsters and tennis hotshots Jodee T. and Sayaka O.  Of course, I have to mention and thank tennis stud and Blue/White Group leader Andy H. for getting the match in gear.  Rematch?  Perhaps some marathon time handicaps on the line…

 “The best way to become a mentally tough runner is to believe that you’re a mentally tough runner.”
– Ryan Hall, U.S. Olympic marathon runner


Have a safe and festive week!

See you at the water stops,