Getting away….

Posted in motivation, photos, random, running, shoes, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , , on October 9, 2015 by afuntanilla

My desire to go to Boulder was born out of hearing numerous times over the years how cool of a city it is. Recently, it became more desirable as i follow some people on social media who live there and their photos of the mountains have been utterly ridiculous and i became hooked! Bought a ticket, packed a bag & went to see for myself! I needed a break from everyday life as I know it, and I yearned to be in some open spaces, but not remote.

What did I want to do while I was there? Hike, scramble on some mountains, run, find cool spots for coffee, food. That’s about it. Mostly, I wanted to be active and explore and I’m happy to say, mission accomplished!

The weather was cool the entire trip and mostly overcast with the most random drizzle falling. But mostly, just gray skies. The sun shone itself only 1 day during the trip. If there was any bummer, this was it.

For my 1st day after arriving and making the drive from Denver to Boulder, I found an easy trail to hike/walk/run. It was the South Mesa Trail on the south side of town. I saw only a few other folks out there and enjoyed the quiet. From the start, just lots of dry grass and shrubbery, and as I climbed in elevation, lots and lots of medium sized pine trees. The trail went from wide, loose gravel to narrow and very, very rocky. Lots of offshoot trails from the main one, but I stuck to just the one as I didn’t want to get lost on my 1st day. I took my time and walked/hiked the way out and pretty much ran the route back to the trailhead. On the way, I noticed this beautiful field of dry grass that was a very cool grapefruit color. The lovely quiet and the softest breeze swept thru the grapefruit leaves…


Was about 1,000ft elevation change total. 5 miles.

Next day, I found the path to what the call is Golden Arch. This is in Chautauqua Park (also home to the Flatirons). It was a Friday and the trailhead was super busy and i could see lots of people on the trail. Came to learn it was parent’s weekend at Univ of Colorado so lots of people out and about.

With gray skies surrounding me, I headed up to find the Golden Arch. As I climbed higher and higher, I did notice the effects of the altitude, but nothing that felt limiting. Trail begins with a significant view of the mountains ahead and after the 1st mile, trail narrows and becomes more tree hidden and less populated. And more rocky. And then very rocky. Did I say rocky? It’s a full on climb up; maneuvering the changing trail conditions, making sure you’re on the right trail and watching your steps very carefully. FUN. & INVIGORATING. As much as I was breathing hard, I was smiling a bunch, too. With the overcast and grayness, it didn’t make for very “picturesque” photos, but the scenery still looked magnificent thru my eyes.

IMG_0593 IMG_0605 (1)

Finally reached the Golden Arch peak at just under 7000ft elevation (from sea level). All in all, the hike was only 3.6 miles but with 1,679ft elevation change! Worth every step.

Getting up to the arch

IMG_0596 IMG_0603

After arrival, I sat atop of the boulders and marveled at the beauty & stillness surrounding me. My breathing slowed and it was as though a hush fell upon the few of us there at the time…a collective knowing of sacredness and appreciation when you see it. We were essentially bowing down to nature, were we not?



I took a break from hiking the next day and just tripped around Boulder and surrounding areas. I actually did not stay in Boulder, but in a smaller town just south, called Louisville (the S is pronounced!) A combo town of suburbia and quaint, artsy, cozy downtown area. Of course, I found the perfect place for coffee! Super small place in Louisville that’s only been open 6 months called Precision Pours. Cozy, simplistic, minimalistic…just what i like! Oh, and good coffee and a super cool owner, Brice!

A pourover of Brazil. Yummy


Did a short 3 mile run later in the day and could feel the effects of both altitude & the previous 2 days of hiking.

Next day was the one and only day i saw the sun. Wanted to hit the Flatirons so that’s exactly what I did. The trail beginning is the same as it is to get to the Golden Arch. After the 1st mile, the Flatiron trails are in a different direction. A lot of the same type of terrain as it was to get to golden arch…it felt longer, but was actually shorter distance. Still, a decent amount of climbing for the distance. 1,394 ft over 2.7 miles. Got into a nice rhythm of following this one fella and letting him lead the way cuz some points are so full of rocks that you cannot gauge what is actually the trail. The best part was literally climbing/scrambling up some big boulders to get up and over particular areas. I noticed as I moving higher and higher that I was smiling outside and inside…how happy i was, how invigorated i felt and how i just kept wanting to keep going up and up. A fun, cool feeling!

From the Flatirons…


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It’s amazing how focused one has to be on trails like this where it is so thoroughly rocky. It’s true meditation…a total zone….beautiful. I was focused on getting to the top, but at the same time mindful of each step, the sound of my breathing, the amazing beauty surrounding me. The senses sharpened! Aware of my legs/quads….the muscles working in tandem with the rest of my body to propel me up, forward; aware of my heart rate climbing…climbing…sensing the sweat gathering on my brow and back. Life happening…there on the flatirons. Finally arriving at the top, empty water bottle in hand and plopping myself down on a rock and just looking out….noticing everything and hearing nothing…the quiet. Ahhhhh….

Last day: coffee and writing & Precision Pours, haircut by an awesome gal and went for a flat, fast 3miler thru downtown Louisville. Zoom to airport.

I try to make it a point to start my day with a gratitude list of about 5 things/people. Health is always #1 on my list. For me, it’s so important to be healthy….i want to nourish my body, treat it well…so i can continue to do things like this…I am aware of so many who have serious physical limitations and complications and i’m just so thankful to be in a position of good health. I don’t ever want to take it for granted.

I needed this trip. To get away from my usual surroundings, to be away from work and my office, while at the same time remaining thankful i have a job and a lot of flexibility with my work. I needed some different space, some elevation change, some different perspective. Appreciative of the opportunity and for meeting some neat people.

May your journey be filled with light, joy, fun, and challenge. Go get it!

P.S. I wore my Hoka Stinson ATR’s on the hikes. Perfect.


Posted in motivation, photos, running, trail with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2015 by afuntanilla

It is thru repetition that we get better. However, the repetition must be accompanied by awareness, more deliberate effort, laser focus. This is how we improve, in anything.

Of course, this is also in addition to a desire and the belief that you can be better. At ANYTHING. At LIFE.

Why not?

At the halfway mark on Sunday’s concerted and fun effort! Happy to have hot some personal bests of sections of the trail today. Happy Runner.


for the joy

Posted in motivation, running, trail with tags , , , , on September 25, 2015 by afuntanilla

for the past few weeks, the running has been a time and place of pure joy. exhilaration. I lace up. I go roam with intention, with curiosity, with abandon, with determination, with freedom.

I enter into a place that is just for me, but makes me better for my life, for others.

I zone out, but zoom in.

Every sense feels on high alert. The smells on the trails permeate and refresh me after hours inside a boxy office. The beauty of all the enormous trees…so generous in their gift of shade, solace, inspiration…of respite from a world of pavement, buildings, stores, stuff…

my eyes awakened and renewed by seeing a blue bird whizzing by and the deer who startled me today. there she was just SITTING there at a switchback junction as if she was saying, “oh, hello.”

I, who has a habit of looking down, have to remind myself to look up…look up and what do i see…i see the Pacific Ocean out beyond…on this very warm late September day…i see the serene looking blue waters and want to keep running to her…i want to dive into her calmness, her consistency, her vastness.

My eyes so attune to this trail; my familiarity with it still growing, even after all these years, all these miles. My friend, my companion…

The roots, jagged rocks, smooth sections, dry, cracked hardened areas, the stairs…the never ending stairs and the ones that are slipped in here and there just to keep you honest, on balance. Talk about having to be and stay present. This is it. The place where attention is demanded, not just merely suggested. Stay present or you might miss the amazing beauty that falls upon you.

My ears activated by my own breathing, the rapid increase of expiration as I try to go faster up and up and up. Aroused by the simple stillness and quiet of a path with, at least for now, had no other runners.

As thankful as I am for a body that allows me to experience this movement, i am equally grateful to have all my senses in working order so that I may live and appreciate ALL OF THIS. Grateful for a heart that beats…



Posted in photos, quotes, road, running, trail with tags , , , , on September 4, 2015 by afuntanilla

Listening to one’s body. I don’t know if there is a more powerful thing we can do for ourselves. Everything lives in our bodies and it can tell us all we need to know about the state of our being. The thing is that we don’t often listen…we don’t often slow down enough to listen. We have so many gut, instinctual feelings; so many “sense of something” feelings and often times, we just let those “senses” just whiz on by. It takes practice to listen, to stop….to be willing to listen.

For the past 8 months or so, I’ve become better at listening to my body and those senses that come about in my quiet time. The slowing down has allowed me to have more clarity about many things in running, and life in general. It’s allowed me to really notice what feels good, what doesn’t, and so on…it may seem simplistic, but it’s not. I guess you could say, i’ve become more discerning in many areas of my life and i do consider this a good thing.

2 weeks ago I ran a short trail run and i wrote about it in my previous post. It was only 3-4 miles, but it was enormous in what it revealed. I recall feeling a little bit tired pre-run but as i wrote earlier, i truly felt this burning desire to simply be on the trail and in nature. I ended up having a fantastic time out there, experiencing my body free, unencumbered, loose and happy. I ran up, down and around the trails and sucked in the early evening, late summer air. I rounded a few higher bends and saw the golden hills below and off into the distance. They seem magical, inviting and pure. They are untouched innocence and they remind me of my small place in this world and they remind me of peace. They offer beauty and hope.

As I descend the final section which is less than 1 mile, i am at my most free…my stride lengthens, my smile widens and arms move swiftly. My chest expands as I run straight ahead, over hidden roots, dry dirt and crunchy leaves; around corners that make my body lean and feel childlike & giddy. I notice everything and nothing. I take it all in and let it go. What a lesson..i need it… let in and then let go. repeat. repeat.

When i finish the run, i am at a small hillside overlooking the town where i call home. A soft breeze blows and all seems quiet and peaceful out yonder on those small city streets. Everything seems ok. Right.

So….THAT is the kind of run that fills me up from head to toe and way beyond. As I was on a planned 20 mile training run this past Saturday (all on the road), my thoughts were very negative. “my legs are tired, heavy. i’m tired. i can’t even imagine running 10 right now, how am i going to do 20. Ok…just start, one foot in front of the other….” 2 miles later. “this sucks, i’m not having any fun. i don’t want to be running on all these streets right now. its so slooooow. ok, just walk for a bit and see how you feel…” .5 miles later, I started again and then stopped. I. was. done. I walked about 4 miles back to my car. I had lots of time to reflect in those 4 miles. As I reflected on my planned attempt at 45 miles, I realize I was not having any fun running on the road and the  run was supposed to be a celebration of my life…my 45 years of life…soon to come. My long runs lately all on the road have not been fun. they have been slow, irritating due to many traffic stops and uninspiring. That’s not the experience I want to have. I had originally planned the 45 to do on road because i thought it would be easier than trails and also i didn’t have enough time to train on trails. Also thought it would be easier for any potential help i would get in terms of crewing/support. So.

I’ve abandoned the idea of 45 on my 45th birthday. not because I don’t think i can do it, but because i don’t want to do it in the conditions i originally had planned. And, I am now not trained for trails so i can’t just switch the terrain with a few weeks left. I’m listening to my body and letting it go. I’m listening to me and letting it go. If this was 3 years ago, my mindset would have been…”no, you gotta do it…you gotta push through…” and i’m proud to say i don’t feel that way right now. I feel like I am doing myself a good service by listening and paying attention and being willing to see there is another way. I will plan another way to celebrate my life and of course, it doesn’t just have to be on my birthday….i truly believe we need to celebrate our lives on a daily basis as much as possible…in whatever way feels right and good for each one of us. We are all different and celebration looks different for everyone. The main thing for me, right now, is to act with intention and with what feels right.

On the flip side, I ran the same trail route 2 days ago and it was kinda a mini-disaster. I’ve been so stressed due to work that I could not even find solace in the run. That was unfortunate and then totally ok. Stress takes a HUGE toll on our bodies…way more than I think any of us realize. I was tired, but went to run anyway as I thought the movement and air would do me good. Well, I was just a mess. I stopped several times to walk and felt like i was just gonna breakdown in tears a few times….because i was just holding so much in. all the worry and stress and other stuff was just about to blow and it needed an outlet. When I finished and came to my ending spot, I let go. i just sat on the bench and cried. For all the stress i’ve been holding, for all the parts of me i want to be better that i’m struggling with, for the people in my life who are struggling, for the joy that i can find in one single second that can transform everything….for so much, for my own humanity…and this was the GIFT of this “run”. The gift of giving myself some time and space to just be. To let it be and then let go.

running is an entry into another world, a pathway to experiences that cannot always be articulated. whether you call them peak experiences or mystical events, runners continue to seek them. – George Sheehan


This past week

Posted in motivation, photos, road, running, shoes, trail with tags , , on August 24, 2015 by afuntanilla

A step back week and found myself on 2 short trail runs mid week. 1 was on a trail i may incorporate into the big run. not sure just yet. part of it was new to me and lovely. was there about 5-6pm and the light and shadows and weather were all perfect. smells so good out there. i can’t quite name the smell…a mix of fragrant trees…need to investigate this! the part that was familiar to me was the part i have run many times in the past. I used to live closer to this trail years ago when i was began my love of running and ran here frequently. So, the delicious smell is even more welcoming. Went about 5.5 miles.

IMG_0381      Old, trusty ASIC Trail shoes!IMG_0386

Next day, went to trails near home. Was super tired/sore but I just had to go – you know that feeling, right??! As my legs and arms moved in unison and i felt the crunch, crunch under my feet, my level of happiness increased. Wasn’t tired anymore. Was another gorgeous early evening with few other beings in sight. The views, the gently swaying of the super dry grass/weeds, the hanging branches causing even my short body to duck a bit…all lovely and comforting. The last .75 of this one trail i like to do at the end is my favorite. It is mostly downhill with some twisty turns. I just absolutely love this part…i’m sure i’ve mentioned it before…i just feel like i can fly…my stride opens and there’s an awesome flow and freedom and i just wanna laugh or yell the whole way….it feels so much like the most natural self i can be. i’m not quite sure i can put it into words. I love when i am present enough to feel such a thrill. It happens often, but not all the time. the feeling is absolutely unmistakable and there is no replacement. this is part of the why. AND, the feeling lingered long after i was off that trail….


Saturday: elected to do the longer run since i was gonna be out late in the evening. Ran more of the possible course and was a tough go even though it was only 13. Legs just felt heavy. Not surprised. Need a few rest days and a massage. Noticed during this route and last weekend I had to stop a lot for traffic which is not ideal, but necessary if i want to do this mostly on road. Need to start earlier. May also look for some alternate routes.

There are days when I feel certain and days of doubt. This week had both.

IMG_0403      New Hoka Stinson 3’sIMG_0398



Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, road, running with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2015 by afuntanilla

Boldness is a positive characteristic of the spirit. Courage respects action; fortitude respects passion. We require resolution  not to yield to the first difficulties that offer.

{these are some definitions found in this awesome book i have borrowed from a friend. It’s from 1924 and titled: Lincoln Library of Essential Information. Filled with lots of fascinating info!!


16 miles today. Started at 8:30am which was still too late. It’s been very hot here this weekend. 95-100 degrees. Ran on part of the course i think i will eventually run. Was good to be on a different route, and yet old familiar streets and lots of memories from my 20’s…

Got this nasty blister around mile 6.5. I think due to swelling of my feet due to heat. Not fun or comfortable. Legs actually felt pretty good throughout and all else was ok. However, the heat did get me and i ran the 2nd half slower than 1st.

…figuring it all out….can it happen. can i do it. can i make it…..

Awesome to be out on the quiet Sunday streets. I really love this part of it. The Sunday Long Run through the streets. I can hear myself breathe, think, not think, notice so many things….and then, nothing…

Thankful for the part of the route that offered shade!


George Sheehan

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, road, running, shoes with tags , on August 10, 2015 by afuntanilla

In this pursuit of excellence we runners do something that upsets some observers: We reset goals. Runners are never satisfied; we are always in process.

We already possess all we need; It is effort that brings us to greatness and the fusion of what we are with what we can be.

-George Sheehan


What’s possible?



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