Saturday

Posted in road, shoes, running with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by afuntanilla

Saturday: a cloudless blue sky, west side heat rising and I am out the door 2 hours later than I wanted. No doubt, the extra time with head on pillow did my full body some good.
I look out at the quiet streets…to the right, to the left, and then go in the direction that called me again, the route that beckoned me forth….to the right.
Wearing my newly purchased HOKA HUAKA shoes for the 3rd time, I am slowly becoming familiar with their feel on my feet, with my stride in these new kicks. All the while, hyper cognizant of what my hamstring is telling me….I sense it continuing to feel better, looser, and so I proceed ahead with a little less caution.
In full sun exposure, cap down, I head up and over the 1st hill that takes me to the other side….where the quiet dominates and the cows roam; where the golden grass on the hillsides lies so still in this mid summer elevated heat. The houses become fewer and fewer as I make my way up the steep slope that is SpringHill. My legs now slowing moving up this lumpy, broken, pot-hole filled country road. Passing my Eucalyptus tree marker from last week, I rise just a bit more to my new benchmark and turn around. I have a plan, a goal…

My legs welcome the descent and follow the route from last Saturday. Running past a lavender farm, & broken, empty sheds, the small rolling hills and I are becoming friends. Fast. I’ve seen you here before.

Greedily, I suck down and swallow my hammer nutrition gel and am thankful for it and the water to slosh it down. Water. Such a necessity.

Straight ahead and then to the right…Passing a home where once an unforeseen romance blossomed across coasts, cookies were made, and love shook the soul…

After the straightaway, I hang a right and am back among the busy-ness of a road that begs for attention. My meditation is over, my life is more at stake here on the busy bodega highway.

Down and away I run at a faster clip on this final downward sloping mile to the place I call home….

An easy 6 in the log book….

Cautiously moving ahead

Posted in motivation, road, running, trail with tags , , , , , on July 26, 2014 by afuntanilla

Ever since my that cycle session on the indoor bike, I have been having some hip & hamstring issues. I’ve stayed off of he bike now for almost 2 weeks and although the issues are still lingering on like a fly you just cannot get out if your space, they have improved. I’ve found an excellent massage therapist and got some needed attention in both affected areas. I have been implementing new stretches I have found to be helpful. I’ve done some runs and really just tried to pay attention and not do myself further harm.
Last weekend, I ran a solid, easy 6 with rolling hills. Part of the route is the beginning of the bike route I did 2 weeks ago with a friend. I just have in my mind that I will run that entire route….25.5 miles…..I just want to! It’s challenging and gorgeous. If my fall/winter running plans play out like I hope they will, then this would definitively be a good idea to have that route as a long training run.

Sunday, I drove down to Marin and headed out on the trails….Tennessee Valley. I had not done any running on those trails in about 8 months! I actually got a bit lost which was kinda fun. I ended up hooking up with a pack of local runners and one of them even recognized me from our work office building. Turns out he works in the same building as I and recognized me. Neat coincidence….he is the race director for the upcoming Headlands 50k race in August, run on those very trails. All in all. I did 9 miles with about 1400 ft elevation gain.

I’m not in any pain while running, I just notice the limitations which is mostly in the form of not being able to fully push off of my right leg. This is turn has caused me to go slower which is frustrating.

I want to get back on the bike to continue with the diversity, but am a little nervous…..

big ring, little ring and a lot of space

Posted in bike, gym, photos, road, running, trail with tags , , , , on July 17, 2014 by afuntanilla

My body feels tired. I just got up from an hour long nap. These types of naps are not uncommon…a few days a week, I take the pleasure of these wonderful opportunities to rest my body. I’m thankful I have the time to do so. I wake early for work and when I get home mid-late afternoon, if I can sneak in a 30-60 minute nap , I indulge. Even so, my body, right this minute, feels tired. Or, more accurately, sore. My legs feel stiff, heavy. My hips and lower back are tight and need stretching. My right upper leg/hip are are especially tight and generally feel out of whack….I know this is because of my cycling and more specifically from the session I did last week on an indoor bike at the gym. As I am new to consistent cycling, I now realize, that riding on the gym bike was a bad rookie move. And, I am still paying the price 6 days later. For the last 6 weeks, I have been consistently riding my own bike and getting familiar with it…learning it’s ways, getting to know the feel of it under my body. The gym bike was, of course, a general bike for anyone. As soon as I took my seat and began pedaling, I physically felt all sorts of wrong. Especially in my seat area and I could not adjust it to feel better. So, being me, I just do what I do; hammer away and through the planned workout of 40 minutes cycling. This was after a fast 20 minute run on treadmill. (Why did I do this inside? Because for a shorter ride like this, it’s not really safe or easy to ride on the roads in town after work. I thought it would be easier to do this short back-to-back workout at the gym)

Anyways…I rode and when I tried to peddle a bit faster, I could feel a strain on my right side because I was just not seated correctly. When I finished the workout, I felt fine. I even thought maybe I should have gone longer or pushed harder….
Well, the next day, I was in a world of hurt. The tightness and soreness in my legs/hips were nothing I have experienced in quite some time. It was this unfamiliar soreness within a myriad of muscle groups that have not seen much action. I know what soreness from running is and what it feels like. I have been getting to know the soreness from MY bike….but, THIS…..this was the unknown and the wicked, wicked witch of the west! I was hobbling along during the day…walking in all sorts of crooked manners to try to deal with it. I needed help so got a last minute massage that definitely helped. Hips, hamstrings, gluteus, and back got all the attention!
So, it IS fair to say I won’t be riding at the gym again. Probably ever!
I took 2 days off from any exercise and then had a slow, a bit awkward, 50 minute run in Golden Gate park on Saturday. Awkward because the area in my upper hamstring/right hip area continues to feel off.

As the week went on, I realized how tight all these aforementioned muscle groups are and so have been trying to spend time daily to loosen them up with different stretches. Lots of hip flexor stretching! I’ve know all along for years this area was tight, but it’s a whole new level of tightness now! Anyway, was glad to get the Saturday run in and then on Sunday, I went for a bike ride with a friend. He is a pretty experienced cyclist who rides for a local team and races. This was the first time going out together. We spoke a few weeks ago and I said I could go with him when he needed a slow/recovery ride. He had ridden 85 miles on Saturday in the Sierras, so a recovery ride on Sunday was in order for him. I was excited and a bit intimidated, of course. I just wanted to not slow him down too much.

Let me preface this next part by saying I’ve had my bike for 10 years and it’s a nice bike with good components, however, I don’t know much about the “mechanics” or when to use what and why…a rookie, you know!
And for the past 6 weeks, I have been riding in the county with some slight hills, nothing major, but some rides have more rolling hills and such, so it is a challenge.

So, we leave from my house and after the first familiar stretch, instead of turning left, we decide to go on his loop so I can do something different, which is straight ahead. Up a nice long steady steep stretch…which was also a very bumpy and rough road. I’m riding along in my easier gear and going as well as I can and staying close. We finally get to the downhill and let it go and it is FUN!!! But also scary (for me) because I was going so fast over this bumpy ass road and my eyes were watering from the cool temps and I had trouble seeing a few seconds here and there through my glasses. I was holding on to my handlebars….holding on for dear life it felt like. I definitely felt out of control at some points because I couldn’t see the bumps in the road all that well and was freaked out I was gonna fly off the bike! Whew! A thrill! Crazy and scary and an opportunity for me to figure out my own comfort levels of speed on a road like such!
As we rode along, he was checking me out and how I fit on my bike, etc…he was asking me about my gears and telling me to switch to my smaller chainring. I’m like “what??”. He goes on to explain the whole OTHER set of gears I have on the left hand side of the bars. (Remember, I am a rookie) He proceeds to tell me what those are for…the small chainring is for me to use when I am climbing steep hills…like the one we did earlier. He could not believe I did that hill in my Big chainring because it makes it THAT MUCH HARDER! When I used it on some remaining hills, I was shocked and amazed at how much easier it was! DUH!!!!!!
We both got quite a laugh out of this!

It does beg the questions though of; what did I think those gears were for and why didn’t I ever think to look into it? I know I have 2 chainrings and know I had not been using the smaller one, so why didn’t I question this? All long, I was using my easiest gear on my BIG ring, but I could have made my experiences that much easier and more comfortable had I known about the other…

This lesson…it is not lost on me…the making things hard no when they could be so much easier.
I can’t help but ask; “how is that like my life?”

I’m laughing!!

It was really fun to ride with my friend who is quite experienced. Can’t wait to do it again! Oh, and he gave me quite a few compliments on my riding ability/strength so I definitely take that as a positive! :)

Later that day, early evening, I just felt like getting on the trails. I went up to Helen Putnam and ran/hiked for another 50 minutes. Loved and appreciated the beauty, quiet, and space of both activities right in my backyard!

Wednesday: 20 minute run, 40 minute bike

Saturday: 50 minute run, Golden Gate Park

Sunday: 25.5 mile bike ride (morning); 50 minutes trail run/hike (evening)

 

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update…

Posted in bike, motivation, photos, random, road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2014 by afuntanilla


Been running, cycling, kayaking (for the 2nd time ever), flew a kite (barely…for the 1st time) hanging at beach…all outside my door and/or within 1 hour drive. This is why I live in the Bay Area! 

Got into riding my bike in June more than ever before. Probably will sign up for a short Duathlon in August. Have really been enjoying adding the cycling bit to my days. Even more, I like the what it feels like to Run after cycling. And, i’m finding my pace is even faster…which is really fascinating.

I have done 1 duathlon in the past….way back in 2005 after I first got my bike. That was when i lived in Atlanta. I’m looking forward to doing this one in the near future. I definitely have not been running as many miles, but the ones I am doing have all been quality, so i’m ok with that. I need to spend more time on bike to increase my abilities here. I may do another half-marathon in early SEPT. Still undecided….

June:

Cycling = 130.3 miles

Running = 53 miles

Included in this is 5 sessions of bike+run.

Am enjoying this variation of training, both how it feels physically and how I am sparked to learn more about how to improve my cycling, how to ride in various conditions, etc…it’s a whole new world…cycling. And, it’s pretty fun to go downhill!!

July is off to a strong start and i’m looking forward to seeing what I can do! The kayaking was ok…after an hour, I got kinda bored. LOL — I need more speed, I guess!!

everyday people

Posted in random with tags , , , on June 18, 2014 by afuntanilla

Just have some thoughts wanted to put out there…thinking about Heroes/Heroic people or actions. The definition of a HERO  (via dictionary.com): “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” 

Hmmm….just a few days ago, I dined for lunch with a colleague whom I do not know well. During our conversation, I mentioned that I lived alone. Her response: “wow! that’s brave.” Of course, I was shocked to hear her say “brave”. But to her, maybe it was just that…BRAVE. Perhaps she is afraid to be alone or live alone or whatever. No judgement. I just thought her choice of word, “brave” was interesting.

So often we hear the media refer to people as brave or heroic because of a particular action they took and often times (perhaps too much) athletes are assigned with this “hero” title.  Yet, if we look at the definition, “distinguished courage or ability” couldn’t that be applied to so many people? Don’t we all possess some distinguishing ability? I believe we do. We may not be admired for it because we are not of “celebrity” status….someone did not take a video of us in our “distinguished ability” and post it on YouTube for the world to see. We remain hidden heroes, so to speak, except to the people in our immediate lives who witness our abilities.

Perhaps the hero is the mother who has to hold down 2 minimum wage paying jobs because that’s the only way to make ends meet. Maybe it’s the father who is clinically depressed after his child has been killed in school….but gets up day after day to care for his other child and his wife, because that’s what he is supposed to do. Maybe he is a hero because he didn’t fall into the deep dark place of no return and become a zombie of a person after such tragedy. Maybe the hero is the hospice nurse whose daily job is to care for those individuals who are in the final days of life. He/She must be that person, by their side, day after day….witnessing them and facing death. That’s her job. Maybe the hero is the person with only 4 quarters in their pocket but is willing to give half of it away. Maybe the hero is not just the guy/gal who can perform multiple slam dunks, hit a 3 run-homer, score the winning goal, run the 2:05 marathon…

Maybe it’s the female attorney handling a arduous criminal case, testing her every capability, working 10-12 hour days and still makes time to make her family feel super special. Maybe it’s the spouse who always remembers the kind of chocolate you like: dark with almonds.

Maybe the hero is you.

Toeing the Line

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 27, 2014 by afuntanilla

I don’t race many 10k races….or at least I haven’t done so in the past 5 years. I ran many of them in the late 90’s. Yet, as I have now been sticking to longer distances, the 10k race has kinda fallen away from my radar. Since the beginning of the year, or at least since February, I’ve made more of an effort to work on speed. I’ve done some work here, but honestly nothing too intense or rigorous. Running the longer distances has a way of making me feel really slooooow. Granted, some of this is probably because I don’t vary the training enough. Anyways…i’ve tried to make an effort to increase speed to a level that is satisfactory. So far this year, I ran a 5 miler and a 15k, both with finishes I was pleased with. The 15k was run at 9:13 pace and the 5 miler at 8:46 pace.  I wanted to get in another short race so I signed up for a local 10k in Marin County.

I ran the course last weekend so that I would be familiar come race day. I had been in the general area before, but not too much. Running the course gave me the opportunity to see the gorgeous surroundings….basically the first 3-4 miles are all through Kentfield and Ross, which are 2 of the most beautiful (and expensive areas) in the Bay Area. Quiet, lovely streets with huge trees all around. (The trees would provide much needed shade on a warm race day morning.)

 

IMG_0927After this area, the course popped onto the College of Marin Campus and onto a paved path that travels the outskirts of the campus for a mile and then basically loops back through Larkspur and ends with a 3/4 lap around the college track. Very Cool Finish!

So, race morning came and I figured the crowd would be full of some very fast runners. Man, was I correct! This was actually a Championship Race for Pacific-Association USA Track and Field and there were some nice monetary awards for the best club teams as well as top individuals. So, it was no surprise when I showed up in the parking area and was feeling a bit intimidated by the array of people in their Club Tanks…Tamalpa Runners, West Marin Track Club, etc… This was NOT your typical local 10k. Everyone looked super fit. Anyhow…soon we were off and I was just trying to stay focused on my personal goal which was to finish between 56-57 minutes. My running in the last month (since the 5 mile race) has not been a lot. I did a lot of short runs and only ran 6 miles once, which was last weekend. I was running 3-5 mile stints at about 8:45-9:15 pace but i wasn’t sure what I could do on race day.

Off we went and the first 2 miles felt fast. I ran 1st at 8:40 and 2nd at 8:48 and HR felt pretty high. I knew I couldn’t sustain this pace and kept telling myself to slow down. But, I didn’t. Mile 3 was 8:48 also. Again, I told myself to slow down or else I might not have enough come mile 5 etc… So, I did. I also carried my own water, which was needed as there were only 2 water stops and honestly, I have NO idea how people ran this race at those fast paces with not much water. It was pretty warm.  I actually stopped for about 20 seconds after mile 3 just to get my HR down a bit. Keeping on, I was in a nice groove and around 4 other runners and we were all running together. A slight shift ahead for one of us and then the other. It was fun to be in this mini race within a race. The jockeying and surveying….3 women and 2 men. The 2nd half of the race, I slowed down. My pace was 9:25 but the 5 of us kept hanging together. Until the last 3/4 miles…I pulled ahead and thought i was in the clear to the finish. At about 1/4 mile to go, one of the other women passed me and I could not catch her. She ran well. I did rev it up for the last bit, I was just not able to stay with her. As I crossed the finish line and put my hands on my knees, hunched over, I thought: ” i could not have pushed any harder.” And that was my truth at that moment. As I write this now, hours later, recovered and all, I can’t help but wonder: “could I have? Could I have pushed harder and at what point could I have done so?”

I think that’s what we do…that’s what runners do…we wonder and we question. We beg to know what we are capable of on any given day. Or at least, I am!

But, for today, Yes…I am satisfied with my effort & the result. I pushed my body hard and enjoyed the challenge, both externally and internally.

Watch Finish Time: 6.3 miles/56:47/8:59 pace

Official Chip Time: 6.2 miles/56:45/9:08 pace

I prefer the watch finish time, but oh well!

 

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So, what’s next???

 

 

 

accountability

Posted in motivation, random with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2014 by afuntanilla

Accountability. Where do we learn this? How do we stay focused on this? Naturally, it is a learned behavior, pretty early on in life and then practiced throughout one’s lifetime. Often times, we have someone or someones to be accountable to….our parents/guardians, teachers, friends, loves, spouses, bosses, clients, kids, etc…

I believe the person we have to be accountable to the most is our own Self. Yes, with a capital S. Why not? If you are not accountable, what are you? If you don’t hold yourself in high regard, what are you? If you are not able to be there for yourself and hold your own, what are you? We are all more capable than we can imagine. I look around the world and see people accept and live with such mediocrity, such complacency….and all I want to do is get as far away from these things as possible. My life has never and will never be about either of those things…of settling for the mediocrity of anything. And, I am the one truly accountable for this. No one else. Even if I had tons of family or kids…it would still be me. No one else lives in my shoes, thinks what I think, has to go thru my day to day things. We are all on our own. Essentially. People fill in and can be and are complimentary, but no one else is gonna do it for us. We must do it. You want something? Go get it. No one will just hand it to you. Work for it. Earn it. Enjoy the “hunt”. Of course there will be times when we all wish it was easier. I am not immune from this. But if it was easy, chances are you wouldn’t want it. These words are not for everyone. Some people are just not very internally motivated or ambitious or driven or whatever. No judgement. We are all different. But if you are someone who is aiming, who is reaching, who is going for IT….Keep Going…Keep doing your thing. Get up every day and make a little bit of progress. It’s not about hitting a grand slam every day….it’s single after single after single. You will have success, whatever that means to you, but it must be earned. Enjoy the challenge. Let it feed you. Let it lift you up. You want something? Make a stand. Show up. Be accountable. To YOU.

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