I was born in L.A. In my junior year of college, I moved down to San Diego with my family; then I finished my school at University of San Diego State. I ended up joining the Peace Corps, and I was fortunate to get to conduct my 3-month training in Hawai’i. Then, I went to northern Thailand [village near Chang Mai] to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL program) for 2 years. I lived in a village there, and taught 7th and 8th grade students in a gov’t school. It was a neat dynamic, because while I was the only foreigner (or ‘farang’) in my village, I could go to Chang Mai and eat American food (and blend in with the other foreigners).
I remember loving Hawai’i, and I had already begun to love teaching (more than I ever thought I would)… so I decided to put those two things together, and I went back to Hawai’i to go to University of Hawai’i [where I received my teaching credential and my first Master’s]. I ended up staying there for 40 years as public school teacher.
I wasn’t athletic as a kid (no organized sports). When I went to Hawai’I, I wanted to be more active [and picked up tennis; played on teams during that time]. My tennis buddies randomly said one January, ‘Let’s run a marathon.’ At this point, I’d never really run one mile in my life [for leisure].
I didn’t even buy a pair of running shoes during training, just started running using my tennis shoes. After one month, I realized that I could run 5 miles with stopping… at that point, I was hooked! So, I gradually stopped playing tennis [and kept running instead]. I ended up running that first Honolulu Marathon in 4hrs 15min in 1978 (11 months later), the 6th installment of that marathon… this year is the 50th Honolulu Marathon! For the ’78 one, there was just under 8,000 runners… since, that marathon has grown into 20-30,000 runners.
I ended up running 4x total Honolulu marathons in my 30’s, my best marathon being 3hrs 46min. So after my 30’s, I realized that while I couldn’t run faster, I could run longer. So I decided to do the ‘Run to the Sun,’ a 36.2–mile race on Maui… an ultra-marathon with an elevation of over 10,000ft! I ran for 20 miles uphill, and then met a friend… and she and I walked the rest of it together.
In my 40’s, I decided that I didn’t want to do any more marathons [too much training]. So I kept doing half marathon races. The year I turned 50, in honor of turning 50, I decided to run one annual marathon. That became my goal every year [for 5 consecutive years]… from age 50-54yrs old. I ran a total of 9x Honolulu Marathons. I ended up having a major injury, and that ended my running career.
My parents lived in El Cajon while I was a teacher in Hawai’I, so I would sometimes come out and run the AFC Marathon while visiting them in San Diego [maybe 3x total]. My best AFC was 1hr35min… I was really proud of that!
After my running career ended, I continued to walk. Some days I walk, the others I go to the gym. I moved back to San Diego in 2016. It was around 2017 that I joined Frontrunners. My favorite thing about FRWSD is that I feel like I’m part of a community of like-minded people that accept me as I am. And I love all the different spectrums of people, the different ages and both the walkers and the runners… and I feel like some of them have gone from acquaintances in the group to actual friends.
I have also enjoyed being one of the first people to get more walkers actively involved in our rotating Sunday morning meet-up’s. I started going [often] as the only walker; but I encouraged others to participate, and it’s grown. And I also enjoy the socializing and eating together that happens afterward.
My goal is to live long and healthy, and committing to exercising through walking. I walk four times a week. During the weekdays, I walk 1.5-2 hours [little shorter on weekend]. I go to gym on Mon, Wed & Fri [working on upper body / other areas].