NEW YORK (AP) _ Anne Marie Lauck was vacationing in Hawaii on a sunny December day in 1996 when her running career nearly came to a crashing halt.

She and her husband Jim had hiked about four miles and were ``in the middle of a jungle paradise with beautiful waterfalls'' along the Napeli coastline trail on the island of Kauai when they heard rumblings.

``Suddenly, there was a rock avalanche at the waterfalls,'' Lauck said Tuesday. ``Rocks started falling all over the place, from about 400 feet. It was like a war zone.''

The Laucks clung to some boulders that already were on the ground. ``But there was really no place to hide,'' Lauck said.

Two rocks, ``the size of office tables,'' headed toward Lauck. ``The first one hit my left shoulder,'' she said.

While she was bleeding and in excruciating pain from a compound fracture of the shoulder, Lauck's husband, who had escaped unscathed, walked another two miles for help. Finally, a helicopter transported Lauck to a hospital.

Even after the shoulder was set, Lauck was unable to train properly because her arm was wrapped in a sling for six weeks and close to her body.

But she did train on a treadmill, and that eventually led to an imbalance in her running gait which resulted in a left hamstring injury and tendinitis.

``I had changed my biomechanics,'' she said. ``It was frustrating, because for so many years I had been injury-free.''

The injury also led to a split with her coach, Alberto Salazar, a three-time winner of the New York City +Marathon+.

Salazar lives in Eugene, Ore., and Lauck in Hampton, N.J., which created a communications problem.

``Alberto didn't know the severity of the hamstring,'' Lauck said, adding that Salazar expected her to do workouts that were beyond her physical capability. ``He wanted me to train like a miler.

``But the split was amicable.''

Since then, Lauck has coached herself, with the help of her husband, a chiropractor.

She has recuperated well enough to compete in Sunday's New York City +Marathon+, her first +marathon+ since finishing 10th at the 1996 Olympics. This will be her third New York City +marathon+, her first since placing third in 1994 in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 19 seconds, her career best. Lauck made her +marathon+ debut in New York in 1993, but dropped out after 22 miles.

In her other +marathons+, she dropped out of the 1997 Chicago +Marathon+, after eight miles, and finished third at the 1996 Olympic trials.

After the shoulder and hamstring injuries and a disappointing series of races, Lauck became so discouraged she thought about quitting competitive track.

As a possible career change, Lauck went to a massage therapy school in March and earned a license as a massage therapist.

Meanwhile, she realized she couldn't give up her running career.

In May, she finished third in the Bay to Breakers 12K race, ``and that gave me optimism,'' she said.

When Lauck ran her first +marathon+ five years ago, she figured she was capable of running in the mid-2:20 range. On Sunday, she will be satisfied with running about 2:27-2:28, which would be a career best.

``I'm trying to get down to some viable times,'' she said.

In this case, just finishing, after what happened to her in Hawaii would have to be satisfying to Lauck.