Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Aloha Spirit....

The Aloha Spirit is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the Self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, Aloha, the following unuhi laulâ loa (free translation) may be used:
  • Akahai, meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;

  • Lôkahi, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;

  • `Olu`olu, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;

  • Ha`aha`a, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;

  • Ahonui, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.

written by Hawaii's treasured kupuna, Auntie Pilahi Paki.

These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii.

Jason and I had the amazing fortune of experiencing the Aloha spirit in numerous ways. It was by far the highlight of our trip to Hawaii. The people that we met, and the kindness that was extended to us was unbelievable. After I mentioned for the millionth time how amazing everyone was, someone called it the "Aloha Spirit". When I read the above description, I couldn't have agreed more. The Aloha Spirit for us was:

Chet "The Jet" Blanton let me borrow his bike, his cooler, his spitz, all without evening knowing my last name! I can't wait to see him again at the Florida Double!

David, a local Oahu resident and runner, volunteered to drive me around the island following Jason. He took over 8 hours out of his day to volunteer, then he even came back that night and the following day! He showed me the Dole pineapple fields, shrimp farms, north shore surfing, etc. He has run virtually every race on the island and I truly enjoyed listening to his race stories and getting to know him.

Wayne, another local Oahu resident basically adopted all the crew members. He brought extra kayaks to the swim start. He brought a cooler for Kellie, ice for the rest of us. When it got windy and chilly at night he went home and brought back sweatshirts and towels. He is the person responsible for getting the magical seagrams brand ginger ale (that Jason swears tastes different and fixed his stomach). Wayne even went so far as to going to the local bike shop and buying extra water bottles for us because Jason lost one on the bike!

Have I mentioned how awesome the volunteers were? It was hot and sunny. I had been awake for over 35 hours. The sun was too bright to get any sleep in the car. So they made me a fort!

Jen will forever be one of my favorite parts of this experience. She is the director for Team in Training , Hawaii and was an assistant RD for the race. She is incredibly encouraging, and very dedicated to helping others! It was my first real experience with TNT, and I have to say, I can't wait to do a race for them and fundraise. Her partner in crime, Rebecca was also an amazing asset. They supported all the athletes and crew with so much love!
Jason Lester went so far above the call of duty for an RD it's hard to explain. If you have never heard of him or his mission, I suggest you take a look at his website and book. He is the person behind the vision of Epicman and Epic 5 and is the definition of what it means to live life without limits and Never Stop.

Although this was a self-crewed, non-supported event, it was the most supported race I have ever been to! People might think that the whole ultra thing is a little crazy, but I think people are crazy for NOT doing these things. How else would we have ever met such wonderful people and experienced such incredible selflessness and kindness from total strangers? I might not make it back to Hawaii anytime soon, but the Aloha spirit is still in my heart!

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. ~Charles H. Spurgeon