Run to the Stars

I just got back from a great run.  Yes, just got back.  Don’t need to check your clock settings, it really is 10:45PM.  I didn’t go to my group workout tonight because it was at Diamond Head and I didn’t have any other reason to be anywhere near that today — so I figured I’d just run near home instead.

Well…I didn’t want to run while it was still hot out, and a variety of things including phone calls with Maureen and my Mom as well as cooking a delicious, vegetarian, low-fat, pizza (Yes, from scratch) kept me home and off the roads until well after 8:30PM.  But I was determined that not only did I want to get in a run, but I wanted to get in a few miles – not just my frequent short neighborhood runs of 2-3 miles.

So I laced up my shoes, put on my Garmin and set off to run my short bike course, which is just shy of 8 miles.

The first couple of miles are pretty basic.  Down Keoneula Blvd and a right turn on Kapolei Parkway.  Thru neighborhoods both existing and under construction, wide streets and a wide asphalt sidewalk that is perfect for joggers and bikes.  At this time of night it was quiet – often not another soul in sight.  Reaching Iroquois Point Road I made a right, past the shopping center and across Fort Weaver Road.  Now began the part of the run that I’d been looking forward to.

As I passed the last little housing development I crossed over into an amazing darkness.  Iroquois Point Road out there has no houses, no buildings, no street lights…just flat and empty for long stretches in every direction.  In fact, at night it’s so dark and isolated that you can barely see your own feet.  It’s fantastic.  Because out there in all that quiet darkness the sky stretches above you in spectacular fashion.  A billion stars – an astronomers dream.  Cassiopeia, Ursa Major, Orion’s Belt…all stretched out above me just as bright as can be. 

For the next hour I ran easily through the darkness, it was hard not to run staring up at the sky!  In the distance the island ridges were pleasantly dotted with twinkling amber lights.  To my right I could see the aircraft making their final approaches to Honolulu International Airport.  They were close enough to see, but too far to hear, each just a little cluster of lights gliding gracefully and silently through the sky. 

I thought about the people on those planes; returning Kama’aina glad to be home (I’ve been there many, many times myself), young lovers arriving for the start of a magical trip, families beginning the Hawaii vacation they’ve been saving for all year.  I fly a lot these days and whatever your story I think Honolulu International is one of the most welcome airports on the planet.  Unless you’re coming from a neighbor-island you’ve been on that plane for at least 5 hours and you’re probably either coming home or starting a much-anticipated vacation.  "Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve begun our initial descent into Honolulu International Airport" is like music to my ears.

I’ve recently begun re-listening to Dan Millman’s "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" which I got as an audiobook a year and a half ago and as I ran I pondered some of the messages from that book.  For a couple of miles I was scarcely aware of my body, lost in my own thoughts, watching the dark shadows of the trees go by and listening to the soft thud of my footsteps on the road.  Occasionally a car would zoom past, an unwelcome intruder in my meditative run.

At one point I ran past the spot where I gashed my leg open a year or so ago on a similar run.  I couldn’t resist giving a slight nod in the darkness to my long-departed bit of flesh.  I have to confess to a bit of relief to exit that area unscathed this time.

Making the right turn onto North Road I suddenly became aware of the road itself – for some reason though the miles before had been smooth and easy a long stretch of North Road is rough and potholed.  I was still running through the darkness, but now I found myself a little uncomfortable as every few steps a foot would find a pothole or other irregularity.

Finally down near the Mormon stake center I re-entered civilization, emerging from the darkness into a neighborhood of homes with regular street lights illuminating the quiet streets.  I felt really strong and had this amazing sense that maybe I could carry that same strength into other areas of my life – to meet the various challenges I’m dealing with on a daily basis.  Suddenly nothing seemed insurmountable.

Just a mile or so from home now I exchanged friendly greetings with the occasional kama’aina returning home from shopping or dinner; or walking their dog.  I ran past the high school, up Fort Weaver Road and past the Burger King and McDonald’s.  One of the late night drive-thru girls, apparently pretty bored, waved at me as I went past – a little surprised to see this late night runner chugging past no doubt.

A left turn on Kaimalie Street and then a quick right onto Kaipu and I could almost see my driveway just a few hundred yards ahead.  I felt great.  My neighbors have probably gotten used to seeing me run or bike down the driveway towards the garage but rarely this late at night.  Tonight they might have wondered why I had a goofy grin on my face as I finished.  Mostly it was because I had just enjoyed a terrific run.  (Partly it was because in my head I was finishing Ironman 70.3 Kona when I reached the garage.  But don’t tell anybody.)

O.K., time for a shower and then bed.  I have a very early morning tomorrow as I have to make an appearance on one of the morning TV shows to talk about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.  Not sure that topic is going to wake many people up.


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