Hi Running Buddies!

Can you believe it's already  been a month since my last and also first RunGingerRun Buddy of the Month blog? This summer is flying by! Today I want to introduce y'all to my buddy George Okinaka. I first "met" George on Twitter but then in April 2014 we got to meet IRL (In Real Life) when the Hubbo and I went to Las Vegas to run the Mustang 50th Anniversary Half Marathon. George is actually the one who told me about it and we ended up running the last 10 miles of the race together. 
You all need to get to know George because he's so sweet and encouraging, always has something nice to say and I swear he's Twitter Famous! 

1. How did you get started into running?

Well, I actually ran track for a year way back in high school. I ran the mile, and I hated it. Haha. I also ran a few 5ks after high school, but I can't remember what those times were (so much faster than now). Anyway, fast forward many years until 2012. I had several things going on in my life back then (including turning 40.....#gasp) but I wanted to get off of my butt and start working out again. What really got me back into running was when I found out that the Tough Mudder was coming to the Las Vegas area. I had some friends who did it elsewhere, and I really wanted the challenge. So, I asked around to see if anyone else wanted to do it with me, and a colleague and good friend of mine, Jeb, said that he would. So, we trained by hiking/trail running out at Mt Charleston and went several times before doing the Tough Mudder. #ItsTimeToPutOnTheOrangeHeadband

Then after that I started to add a 5k or two here and there, some fun runs, and more and more races. Then in June 2013, I read the book Born to Run which completely changed my outlook on running and my running style. So, I actually wanted to go out to run just to run, and I switched from being a heel striker to landing on my forefoot/mid-foot.

However, what really supercharged my running is when I signed up on Twitter in July 2013. Joining Twitter was one of the best things for me.....it connected me to a wonderful & supportive running community that pushed me to run more and to run longer distances than I ever dreamed that I would be running so soon!

2. What's Your Favorite Distance?

As of right now, it's a tie between a half marathon and a relay race. Ok sure, I know that a relay race isn't an actual distance, but after doing a Ragnar Trail and a regular Ragnar (on the road), I've found that I haven't had more fun in any race as compared with the relay races. As for the half marathon distance, I love how I've been able to get my training up to the point where running in one isn't such a daunting task as I know that I can run one (I've run in six half marathons so far with several more planned this year). But with the half marathon, you don't have to devote quite as much time to your training as compared with a full marathon (by the way, I'm currently training for my first full right now) but you still get a strong feeling of accomplishment when you finish that half marathon!

3. What Races Do You Have Planned for the Rest of 2014?

Well let's see....so far I've run in 16 races this year including 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, relay races, a Spartan Super and a sprint duathlon. For the rest of 2014, I've got the following planned (at least):

- 8/10/14: E.T. Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon (near Area 51.....cool, huh?)
- 8/22-23/14: Hood to Coast Relay (w/ Nuun Hydration)
- 8/29/14: Disneyland Family Fun Run 5k (I'll be running this one with my son)
- 8/30/14: Disneyland 10k (Dumbo Double Dare)
- 8/31/14: Disneyland Half Marathon (Dumbo Double Dare where I might wear a costume)
- 9/7/14: Ventura Half Marathon (where I'll get to run with Sarah again!)
- 9/21/14: Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation 5k (I don't usually travel for 5ks, but this is for the Dodgers!)
- 10/5/14: Twin Cities Marathon (my first full marathon that I'll run with @corgimamarunner)
- 11/16/14: Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon (so many cool people are running in this race)
- 11/22/14: Trails of Glory (distance is TBD)

Yeah, I know that October is kind of light on races, and in December I don't have any races planned yet....but have no fear, I will be adding at least a few more races to my schedule!

4. How Do We Connect With You On Social Media?

You don't. Haha, just kidding! You can find me at:

- Twitter: @GeorgeOkinaka
- Facebook: George Okinaka
- Instagram: GeorgeOkinaka (I just rejoined, so pardon me for the lack of photos on there right now)

Yeah, lots of originality with my names on social media, huh? Oh, and don't don't invite me to any games on FB.....sorry guys, I don't play them. #YepNoCandyCrushSorry 

5. Do You Have Any Long Term Running Goals?

Well, one easy answer is to qualify for the Boston Marathon someday. I know that I'm not that fast right now, but eventually I think that I can qualify, if I put in some serous training for it. And no, I don't think that I'll have to wait until I'm 65 to be able to qualify. #HopeNot

My other long term goals are all about ultra marathons as I'd like to run a 12 hour race (maybe this year or next), a 24 hour race, and 50 and 100 mile races as well. There are no specific races in which I want to achieve these goals at.....except I know that I will never, ever want to run at Badwater. One of my races a few weeks ago was the Poker Run 10k which was at 6pm at a park here in Las Vegas. The temperature at that time was 104F! I don't know what I was thinking because I don't like to run in that kind of heat (or anything really close to it), and I'll be passing on that race next year because it's just too dang hot! So yeah, no thank you to running Badwater. Even though I was born in Las Vegas.....I still hate the heat. I just tolerate it. :) #BringOnTheAC

One last long term goal of mine is to run with as many of my friends on Twitter as I can! This makes traveling to races so much more fun when I can meet up with my friends from twitter, don't you think?

Everyone be sure to leave a comment and tell George hi! Also, what races are left on YOUR calendar for 2014? Running any of the ones George is running?



08/04/2014 6:44pm

Yay! George is the BEST! I wish I was doing the RNR Vegas Half...it sounds so cool, and running at night is my favorite!

RunGingerRun - Sarah
08/05/2014 10:36pm

I agree! He is the BEST! I wish I was doing RnR Vegas too! So jealous!

08/04/2014 8:32pm

Nice to meet you, George! Just kidding I already know you!! George is pretty awesome. I'm running E.T. and Ventura with him plus the full RnR Vegas. I've also got a triathlon (my first) in Oct.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
08/05/2014 10:38pm

Good luck on your first tri! Can't wait to see you at Ventura next month!

08/05/2014 10:04am

Hi George! So you are Twitter famous... well that settles it. I'm following.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
08/05/2014 10:37pm

Yay! This makes me happy! I think you and George will be good Twitter/Running buddies Frank!!

Mohammad Schultz
08/10/2014 9:00pm

Great write up on you George. I learn something new everyday. Hopefully, I can talk you into an Ultra but Ragnar is pretty cool too :)
Set yourself up for something like this and reverse engineer your training: http://www.tahoe200.com/ Looking forward to running with you in the near future.

08/13/2014 8:45pm

Hi George!

I didn't know you were running the TC Marathon! I heard it is a beautiful course!

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