January 24, 2011

H.W.S. (Hawaiian Withdrawal Syndrome)

I guess I have to start by saying I love living in North Vancouver. We all have the choice in where we live and I very distinctly chose North Van because the balance of life I have here is beyond anything I've ever known before. Mountains and ocean, running and skiing, paddle sports and mountain sports, the ability to snowshoe, mountain bike, kayak, and golf all in the same day if you really wanted to. Trails out my back door, work just down the street and a major city center just twelve minutes away via a 'sea bus' (water taxi). Yes, I love it here...99.9% of the time. However after basically swimming on into work this morning I was left with a head space solidly stuck on a Hawaiian Island out in the Pacific Ocean. I'm officially suffering from HWS.

I posed this question via Twitter this morning,
"Does spending a week in Hawaii in January make it easier to withstand a Pacific Northwest winter or does it make it harder?"
The feedback was overwhelmingly 'harder', however I'm completely confident that not a single one of us would trade our incredible experiences in Hawaii for the rains we missed out on here at home. I think my biggest self inflicted torture I've forced upon myself in recent years is to leave the Hawaiian forecast loaded onto my iPhone.

"Oh it's hammering down rain here in NV today...I wonder what it's doing in Hawaii..." This is inevitably followed by quietly sobbing to myself in the corner as my dog licks the tears from my face. "Yum electrolytes!"

Anyways, there is no better feeling after a trip than to fully desire to return again as soon a humanly possible. At the very latest that will be in just under twelve months time for the 2012 version of HURT.

It's tough for me to say this given that I'm still recovering from my broken foot, but it was a slight blessing in disguise to have been unable to run this year. I had an absolute blast hanging out at the race for the full 36hr, and from the tears of laughter from about 10pm till 2am, to the surprising tears of pride while watching people squeeze in just under the 36hr cutoff, I had an exceptional and unexpectedly fulfilling experience at this years event. Obviously I was dying to run the hundred miles, but the memories of watching it all unfold from the sidelines will stick with me for a very long time. My hat goes off to every single runner who was brave enough to toe the line. If you've never watched the final few hours of a hundred miler before I'd suggest you do so in the very near future. I'd wager to bet that those runners, those stories, those tears of joy that every single one of those runners shed are in fact the real reason why Race Directors put so much love into their events and continue to come back to them year after year. It's like John Salmonson said to me at the awards banquet,

"People don't believe me when I tell them we put this event on for ourselves. On a personal level we get more out of this race than most people would ever understand or believe."

And that alone is what makes HURT so special. It is a family. Unmistakably so. I am suffering from HWS, but more than anything I just can't wait to get back to see my Hawaiian running family again. Whether I adopted them before they adopted me or not, they're simply not getting rid of me anytime soon. Pencil me in for the next ten years please.


                                                A PHOTOGRAPHIC RECAP


Cindy Goh said...

Hooked, line and sinker into the Aloha family. This is my 10th year as a runner, a crew and a volunteer and I cannot get enough of it. I am sure you feel the same and I will be looking forward to HURT2012 and seeing you toe off......maybe me too.


Damn, now I want to go to Hawaii !!! GREAT PICS ! and I'm glad you enjoyed being on the 'sidelines'.

Hone said...

I came home with the HWS as well and it is 80 degrees and sunny where I now live.

The running community is Hawaii is awesome. Hopefully (if I get in) we will both be lined up for that race next January. It will be a blast!

wiglebot said...

N. Van is a special place with the White water kayaking, mountain biking, running, and the huge old growth hidden about. Running to the monster cedar on the west side of Lynn creek or up Haynes Valley is an amazing thing.

And, Hawaii is a special place too. That is why I get HWS. Hawaii has beauty, hikes, runs, surfing, camping and so much life, but not to forget the suntan, bud light, and friends I have there.

Deanna Stoppler said...

You crack me up, guy!

Jason Eads said...

Tough to leave, but will appreciate it that much more now having experienced a little of HURT100. Good times, GR!