December 2016

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A Nice Run Along The Beach In Newport
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A nice run along the beach in Newport

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Our VRBO in northern Maui near the Ritz

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Here's another view from the drone

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A running trail along the Maui coast

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Another view along the rugged lava rocks

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A view of the beach and pool with our VRBO at the bottom right

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A friendly turtle in the waters near our beach in Wailea

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Having the original ‘Trader Vic’s ’44 Mai Tia’ during sunset at the Royal Hawaiian

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Wishful thinking when attending the Marathon Expo in Honolulu

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Coming back from the missile room in the USS Blowfish submarine

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Ayano setting the guns on the USS Blowfish

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Ayano and a friend at the Honolulu Finish line

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There were some great volunteers helping out all along the course

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Teeing it off at the Mauna Lani golf course on Big Island

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Great fresh Sashimi at the local golf shop

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Blaine giving orders to the workers at the Hamakaua Macadamia Farm

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A beautiful sunset across from Puako Beach and the Fairmont

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Getting ready for supper at the Kamehameha’s Iolani Palace

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Ayano jumping for joy on a beautiful beach

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Enjoying the views of Hawaii Kai across from Hanauma Bay on Oahu

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Getting into the Christmas Spirit!

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Our music room over Christmas...

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With lot's of games and a great little Christmas Tree

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Hanging out with Scrooge a few days before Christmas

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Getting ready to see our traditional play ‘Scrooge’

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After seeing Scrooge we visited South Coast Plaza to see the decorations

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Christmas Eve - celebrating the evening with 12 traditional Ukrainian dishes

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The bar is officially open for Christmas Eve

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Celebrating Christmas morning with fried вареники

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Having Christmas supper at our friends' house - Bryan's the Bartender

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'Droning' on Boxing Day

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Bringing in the New Year at the JW Marriott in Palm Springs

A Nice Run Along The Beach In NewportOur VRBO In Northern Maui Near The RitzHere's Another View From The DroneA Running Trail Along The Maui CoastAnother View Along The Rugged Lava RocksA View Of The Beach And Pool With Our VRBO At The Bottom RightA Friendly Turtle In The Waters Near Our Beach In WaileaHaving The Original ‘Trader Vic’s ’44 Mai Tia’ During Sunset At The Royal HawaiianWishful Thinking When Attending The Marathon Expo In HonoluluComing Back From The Missile Room In The USS Blowfish SubmarineAyano Setting The Guns On The USS BlowfishAyano And A Friend At The Honolulu Finish LineThere Were Some Great Volunteers Helping Out All Along The CourseTeeing It Off At The Mauna Lani Golf Course On Big IslandGreat Fresh Sashimi At The Local Golf ShopBlaine Giving Orders To The Workers At The Hamakaua Macadamia FarmA Beautiful Sunset Across From Puako Beach And The FairmontGetting Ready For Supper At The Kamehameha’s Iolani PalaceAyano Jumping For Joy On A Beautiful BeachEnjoying The Views Of Hawaii Kai Across From Hanauma Bay On OahuGetting Into The Christmas Spirit!Our Music Room Over Christmas...With Lot's Of Games And A Great Little Christmas TreeHanging Out With Scrooge A Few Days Before ChristmasGetting Ready To See Our Traditional Play ‘Scrooge’After Seeing Scrooge We Visited South Coast Plaza To See The DecorationsChristmas Eve - Celebrating The Evening With 12 Traditional Ukrainian DishesThe Bar Is Officially Open For Christmas EveCelebrating Christmas Morning With Fried вареникиHaving Christmas Supper At Our Friends' House - Bryan's The Bartender'Droning' On Boxing DayBringing In The New Year At The JW Marriott In Palm Springs
Highlights
  • Vacationing in Kapalua Maui
  • Running along the Wailea Beach Park
  • Hanging out with honu (turtles)
  • The Honolulu Marathon
  • Having a Trader’s Vic Mai Tai at sunset
  • Touring Pearl Harbor
  • Making new friends
  • Home over Christmas

December was Marathon month, so life had mostly evolved around long hours of running and training. At the beginning of the month I was still doing my weekly runs at Newport Beach either on the board walk or along beach during low tide.

But all too soon, we headed off to Hawaii for the Honolulu Marathon *(Dec 11). We arrived a few weeks early to acclimatize and take advantage of the low airfare (er… airmiles) and hotel discounts before Christmas. We stayed at a few places with VRBO in Maui for one week, then headed over to Oahu in another VRBO in downtown Waikiki before the Marathon.

Wondering about the hotels? Well that was after the marathon. Anyway, read on…

On Maui we stayed at a condo in Kapalua. It had a beautiful view of the ocean from the second floor, was close to the Ritz Carlton, and had a nice rugged costal running trail right outside.

It was the perfect location.

The only problem was that the weather on the north side of the island is very stormy and wet. To top it off, the washing machine in the rental was broken and we counted the days when we could leave and head south of the island where the weather is more sunny.

But our sprits weren’t dampened – even though our clothes were! On those days when the sun came out, it was truly paradise and I even got to fly my drone a little to take some videos and photos of the area. I was secretly hoping to see some whales so that I could fly out to meet them, but the only thing we got to see an a regular basis were cruise ships.

After a few days we headed south to Wailea and stayed just a few blocks from the Wailea boardwalk. This a beautiful walking trail that takes you along the beach past all the high-end hotels and shops. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to this area and always planned on going back. Of course all the locations I planned to stay at on Maui had to do with running routes so that I could get ready in the final weeks leading up to the marathon… a everything worked out well…

An early morning 5-8km jog along the trail to watch the sunrise, followed by breakfast, then a walk down to the ocean with snorkeling gear in hand. We would snorkel everyday, see lots of fish and turtles, then finish our day with a swim in the fresh water swimming pool, a BBQ with a fresh catch of seafood or fish followed by a walk along the beach in the evening. It was a few days of true paradise (#2) before heading back to Honolulu and the Marathon.

We stayed in a very small condo in downtown Waikiki near the start of the race. Since we planned on spending most of our time outside, it didn’t really matter. But, we did have good sunset views across from the harbor and spent one evening at the Hilton across the way to enjoy the Fireworks and evening activities. Another great place to watch sunsets was at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel where they make the original Trader Vic’s Mai Tai.

On a side note, the marathon is sponsored by Japan Airlines and a lot of people (and I mean a lot) came from Japan to participate. I felt like I was living in Japan again with almost every other conversation being Japanese!

Ayano and I attended the Health Expo but I missed my friend Rose from Japan – we made a pact last January to meet up at the Honolulu Marathon. We also had time to go to a VIP tour of Pearl Harbor the day after the 75th anniversary celebration. We visited the USS Missouri, the Blowfish submarine, and countless other locations on the base. Unfortunately, even though we started out a 6am, we didn’t have time to see everything and hope to go back in the future.

On the day of the marathon it was nice to be able to walk to the start line from the condo hotel. After attending a lot of running events, I no longer worry about being at the race before it starts since the corral I’m in usually starts 10-20 minutes later.

If was a fun marathon and if you’d like to know more about it, I posted a recap on my 101marathoners site.

The next day we took off to my favorite island in Hawaii – Big Island. We decided to take advantage of our loyalty program with Fairmont and it did not disappoint! As Gold Members we took advantage of the Fairmont Fit program where they supply us with new athletic gear each day during our stay. We could also get free golf club rentals when booking a teatime through concierge, but unfortunately we missed out on that one when we went golfing. But the fresh Sushi/Sashimi lunch combo at the golf club was amazing – who would of figured…!

We also took advantage of the free breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening Hors d’oeuvres in the executive lounge. It’s a great place to meet up and mingle with different people. We met the Ambassador to Tanzania and will be planning a trip with him to the Serengeti and Kilimanjaro in the near future. We also met some fun people from Vancouver BC and hope to meet up with them again, too.

We didn’t travel down to Volcano Nation park this time, not did we take the trip over to Hilo. Instead we stayed local, visited the Macadamia farm, and tried to visit the Mauna Kea summit (but a snow storm and high winds made that impossible). A few days at the Fairmont was a great choice to relax after the marathon and enjoy sunsets along the beaches or trails.

From Big Island we traveled back to Oahu before heading back to the mainland and took some time to visit a few other places. We stopped by the residence of King Kalakaua and Queen Lili`uokalani (the Iolani Palace) and took a drive over to the beautiful northern beaches around Lanikai and Kailua. At this point, we were paying resident prices because we truly looked and acted like locals after spending 3 weeks in the islands.

After returning from Hawaii, it was the week before Christmas. I must admit that even though it was nice to vacation in Hawaii, I enjoyed being back home, sleeping in my own bed, and getting back to work. The work part was only temporary as it was time to start getting into the Christmas spirit by decorating the house, attending our traditional Scrooge play, spending Christmas Eve at home, and visiting friends for Christmas Day. The year ended with a quick trip to Palm Springs where we were getting ready for 2017.

A lot happened in 2016 and some big changes happened both spiritually and emotionally with my mother passing away. But as time goes on, we heal. The marathon gave me a change to be focused on something else through out the toughest ties of the year, a Hawaiian vacation gave me a chance to rejuvenate, and the winter holidays gave me an even greater appreciation of life with family and friends.

I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!