Archive for October, 2009

for today

Posted in quotes with tags , , , on October 29, 2009 by afuntanilla

You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be. ~ Lou Holtz

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let’s break it down

Posted in races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2009 by afuntanilla

Alright, lemme break it down for you. First, let me mention that I trained the least for this marathon compared to all other 5 run before. What that basically means is that I logged less miles over the specific training cycle. Normally, I get in at least one 18 miler and one 20 miler before tapering. This time, my long run was 16.25 and I felt that this alone could really hurt my race outcome.

Heading into the final 2 weeks of the race I was run down, traveling, and basically feeling like I wasn’t even sure I would finish the darn race. So, I really did not know what to expect from my body. Mentally, I was feeling so much better than a month or so ago so i was super thrilled with that part, but physically I wasn’t sure what to expect.

As  you might have read though in the earlier post, when I woke up on race day, I KNEW I was ready and I knew I would have a good day. Here are the mile breakdowns:

Mile 1: 8:45

Mile 2: 9:43

Mile 3: 9:41

Mile 4: 10:03

Mile 5: 9:31

Mile 6: 10:23

Mile 7: 11:00

Mile 8: 9:23

Mile 9: 10:29

Mile 10: 10:26

Mile 11: 9:47

Mile 12: 10:04

Mile 13: 11:17

Mile 14: 9:46

Mile 15: 9:58

Mile 16: 10:00

Mile 17: 9:40

Mile 18: 10:32

Mile 19: 10:21

Mile 20: 10:05

Mile 21: 10:13

Mile 22: 9:54

Mile 23: 10:22

Mile 24: 10:10

Mile 25: 10:17

Mile 26 + .2 = 12:44

OK. Here is where it gets tricky on my “official” time. I was wearing my Garmin, which is where I got my mile splits from, however, i noticed my mile markers on Garmin did not match up with race mile markers. Usually not a big deal because often it is pretty close. But, it was not close this time. When I completed the race, my watch read: 26.61 miles, 4:28:01. So that is .4 more than official race of 26.2. When i looked at my watch for 26.2, I was at 4:24. My RACE CHIP time was 4:28:10. Hmmm…what to do? Well, considering my Garmin has been off before, but never by that far of distance, i’m gonna split the difference and say I finished in 4:26. How does that sound? Fair?

In my age group Female 35-39, there were 742 runners. I was #171 out of 742. Not bad.

I’m cool with it! Like I said, a few days before the race i wasn’t even sure i would be able to finish. Comparing this time of 4:26 to my best of 4:19 is interesting. I trained less and didn’t fare too much worse. I wonder what i could have done had I got more miles in….lots of info to consider going forward. I did notice that for rest of day and next day, I felt the best I had ever felt after a marathon. I wasn’t nearly as sore or as fatigued. And I almost want to whisper this, but it kinda “felt easy”. Maybe it’s because I was “home” and feeling so awesome and loved. Maybe it was because it wasn’t in the damn heat and humidity of the south. Maybe it was all the Peets coffee. Maybe it was the Pacific Ocean breeze. Maybe it was “Rocky” on the iPod. Or maybe…it was just one of those days.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for cheering. Thanks for the support. Means more than I can say!!

Cheers!

Race Reflections – Part III

Posted in photos, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2009 by afuntanilla

I was lined up right in front of the St Francis Hotel on Powell Street. Looking up at the windows, i saw a few folks peeking outside their windows to us crazy folk down below. Boy, if you stayed there and DIDN’T know a marathon was gonna start right in front of your hotel, you were in for a shock!

At 7:10am, I was finally beginning my 6th marathon. Damn, it felt like this training period has gone on forever and I cannot express how relieved I was to FINALLY GET ON WITH IT!

Even though I was wearing my iPod, I didn’t turn it on for about 3 miles. I wanted to hear all the natural sounds around me; the fellow runners chatting, laughing, the footsteps beside me…

The course started in Union Square and did a zag zag pattern onto Montgomery St. (my old work place street) and over to the Embarcadero. This street(for those who don’t know) is just beside that Bay, so running along it you have great Bay views and Bay Bridge views. A cool, clear, SF morning. Nothing better! All flat so far.

Passed Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf and then the first “hill” (SMALL) as we went up and over to Fort Mason (bigger hill) and over to Chrissy Field. We were at about mile 6; lots of support there along the Marina Green! THX PEOPLE!!

Flat along Marina/Chrissy Field and then a nice steep hill up towards the Golden Gate Bridge. (did not go on bridge like regular SF marathon) This next part was probably my favorite. Basically these next 2-3 miles were small hills on the outskirts of The Presidio; wonderful Eucalyptus trees scented the now somewhat foggy area. Felt very refreshing. Pine trees and pine needles lines some of the damp roads. Very quiet and calm except for the often times heavy breathing of fellow runners. I gotta say that this course has a few hills, but NOTHING like I have trained on in Atlanta! These were EASY. (yes, I am thankful the course was not thru the MIDDLE of SF!!) Coming out of that area, we had a nice, steep descent that lead to the famous CLIFF HOUSE — gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean as we approached the GREAT HIGHWAY.

Oh, how was i feeling? Feeling very solid at this point. Drinking water and had a gel and all was good. Next, we made our way into Golden Gate Park and I was getting excited to see Kim at mile 13! Right before that marker, the Half-Marathoners split off and did their own route and we did ours. Boy, there were a LOT of people running the HALF. Crowd definitely changed. Rolling into 13 Miler marker, I saw Kim from a distance there on the left hand side of street, wearing her North Face gray fleece and sunglasses. She brought me some peeled oranges! YAY! Needed them. Delighted to see her on her Birthday, I was the one in for a treat as she then ran about 1/4 mile with me….then called it quits! THANKS KIMMY FOR COMING!

Still in the park and made the turn to head DOWN the park (East Side). Mile 14 and there is my buddy, ALEC!! YAY! He took this pic, we hugged and I continued. So happy he was there!!

Mile 14

Mile 14

I was still feeling pretty good and I felt very focused and happy! Seeing friends definitely gave me a jolt! By the time we excited the park, we were at Mile 16. Now we were in for a stretch back on the Great Hwy (beside PACIFIC OCEAN) before heading over for a loop around Lake Merced. By Mile 17, I could see some of the water. Truly wonderful to see and be near the water again. I don’t need a fancy beach. Just give me water and some sand and a place to keep looking further and further and I am a happy girl. (please don’t ask why i live in a place where i am land locked!!) There was a SMALL breeze. Thank goodness because I know the route well and there can be some grueling winds out there!

Between 18-19 miles, right when I was beginning to hurt, we had a nice little climb over to the Lake. Then it was like another gradual uphill for about 1 mile. HMMM…perfect timing! My feet were hurting on their bottoms and my legs were getting heavy, but i wasn’t in too much pain. Again, I was really focused and i really tried to take in everything; the sights, the sounds; the aches as they came and stayed and came and went. I think I might have had a mental benefit from knowing the course since I have lived in SF in the past and spent much time running in the same areas. I basically knew what was coming. The loop around Lake Merced was kinda uneventful. The main memory was that at about mile 22, they were handing out Ghirardelli Chocolates. WTF? Not bananas or oranges or GELS, but CHOCOLATE! Sorry, I just cannot do that while running. Would have been a perfect place for any of those other things. Oh well….keep truckin’

Made our way back to the Great Hwy for the final 2.2 miles back to the finish line. At this point, my mind started to turn to thoughts like, “wow, I’ve been out here a long time. wow, another marathon. I did it. I’m gonna do it. is it really almost over?”

As I looked to my right, i could see those runners just making their trek towards the Lake. I was on miles 24-25 and they were on miles 17-18. Watching them, I had so much respect. Who knows when they would finish. But, it didn’t matter. They were out there! They were doing it. If the marathon requires anything above all us, it is GUTS. And those people have it. Anyone who gets on that starting line has it.

Now I was onto my last mile. i tried to pick up the pace as much as i could….legs were heavy and my back was getting tired. As I neared the finish line, I shut off the iPod again and just listened. The crowd grew thicker and thicker as I approached..all those spectators cheering on THEIR person for THEIR reason. I saw the finish line banner, ran a little faster, pumped my fists, and crossed the finish line. Because I am able. Because I can. Because the desire burns. Because….

Final Stats to follow

Race Reflections – Part II

Posted in photos, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2009 by afuntanilla

CIMG0208

Can you find my name?

Can you find my name?

Race day wake-up call at 5:30am. I promptly changed out of PJs and into some other clothes and went into the downstairs hotel lobby for some coffee. Good Coffee. Came back up to my room, opened the curtains and looked out at the stunning clear morning in San Francisco. All was dark still except for the flickering lights out in the streets and those i could see from the Bay Bridge. It seemed so serene and so romantic at the same time. (in fact, i would definitely describe SF as a romantic city).

I sipped my coffee and chowed down on my Clif bar. My body was awake and I knew i was ready. It’s funny how that is…the KNOWING. More often than not, even before I take the first steps of a race, I just know if it’s going to be a good day for me. I don’t get this feeling at any other time. Just on race day. And on Sunday between 5:30-6:00am, I knew.

I looked online a bit, read the newspaper a bit and finally it was time to put the shorts and shoes on and get out the door. I had my iPod, 2 gels, and those Luna things i mentioned in previous post. I was a little worried about not having more gels because i knew there wouldn’t be more on the course. It still baffles me how they didn’t have any. Oh well, i figured i would grab whatever there was while..as long as it wasn’t anything too different.

I made the quick walk over to Union Square and found the place to line up. Again, the place was ELECTRIC. TONS AND TONS OF WOMEN and a few men. Looking around, I saw smiling, excited, exuberant faces. I saw young, old, asian, white, black, latina, tall, short, thin, pudgy…women of all shapes, sizes, etc… AWESOME….all standing around just waiting for the clock to tick, for the opportunity to pass GO!

I stood there and while I ran, I kept thinking that everyone was out there for their own reason. While watching some of the fellow women near me, I saw their faces; some with pained expressions, others just simply focused and I felt so proud to be out there and in their company. I felt like i wanted to give everyone a HIGH-FIVE or a PAT ON THE BACK!

While participating in a race, especially a marathon, one is truly taking on something big. There’s not a whole lot of thought that goes into running a 5k, but when you sign up and commit yourself to the marathon training, you are definitely in for an amazing journey. That journey is long, grueling, demanding, and very solitary, no matter if you train with a group or not. At the end of the day, YOU have to put one foot in front of the other, YOU have to keep going when your legs start to cramp, YOU have to keep climbing that damn hill that seems like it has no end in sight. And so, yeah, I looked around and wondered about what some of those reasons were of those mighty women surrounding me and my own reason…

pre-race thoughts

Posted in travel with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2009 by afuntanilla

This is just the first part of the race experience. Saturday morning I went over to the Nike SF Womens Marathon Expo which took place in Union Square. This was about a 5 minute walk from my hotel. Perfect! The streets were already abuzz with a ton of people going all over the place. On a morning like like this one, where there the masses where out and about, it was hard to feel like we still are in a recession. I felt the same way in NYC.

I went into actual expo tent and got my bag, bib# and other stuff they toss in there. Unfortunately, there was no real good race “Schwag” stuff. I was REALLY surprised they didn’t have any gels except for some Luna Gels of some kind. Kinda like Clif Shot Bloks. I would spend some of the afternoon looking for gels which are extremely hard to find in downtown SF. Before I left expo i found out that if you wanted to take a shuttle from the finish back to the start location, the price was $10. WTF? I have NEVER paid for race transportation before. I thought THAT SUCKED. Nevertheless, I reluctantly handed over my $10 and got a sticker on my bid that was “proof” to be allowed on the shuttle. Oh well.

I crossed the street and went over to NIKETOWN! WOW. Absolute madness! 4 floors, at least, of excited and crazed women checking out all the race clothing, gear, etc.. I was truly bummed that I didn’t like any of the clothing. Everything had the same logo and print on it whether it was a shirt/sweatshirt/hoodie/cap etc..and this included a logo/print w/ FLOWERS on it. Now I have nothing against flowers, but in case you haven’t already figured, I’m not really a floral print kind of girl! I was disappointed because I wanted an article of clothing beyond the Race official tee. Oh well. Moving on. Needless to say, the atmosphere was truly ELECTRIC! It was a beautiful clear day and everyone was smiling, taking photos, and getting ready for their big adventure.

Outside of Niketown, on one of the walls of the building, there was something like a wrap/mural. It was actually part of the wall and it had the names of all the race participants. How freaking cool is that? People were looking for their names and taking subsequent photos. I found mine and have a pic to post later. I cannot post any pics from my camera until i get home and upload them. I thought this wall “mural” was fabulous! Nike does it again! That made up for me not too enthralled with the clothing part! 🙂

Believe it or not, I was still not feeling to well. I kept taking the Emergen-C, took a nap and later met up with 2 wonderful friends for dinner. We ate at a one of our favorite neighborhood joints(in Potrero Hill) called Aperto. A wonderful evening filled with lots of laughter. Isn’t it wonderful when you can re-connect with friends you haven’t see in ages and it’s like no time has passed?!

Stay Tuned. Race details tomorrow!

status update

Posted in travel with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by afuntanilla

hey all. made it to SF yesterday after long week in NJ for work. Been feeling run down and worn out and on verge of sickness for about 2 weeks. EXACTLY how i want to feel before race day tomorrow. LOL

I’m just taking it all in stride. I’m actually in great spirits…being here in my hometown, seeing friends and just glad to finally get to the starting line! Feels like i’ve been writing about this training period FOREVER! I’m gonna drive some of the course today even though i know the route. Also gonna go to the expo and get all my stuff! Hope they have some good SCHWAG. What’s a race without it, right? Weather is gorgeous. Clear as can be today and yesterday!

I know I will have to push tomorrow. I’m ready to do it!

 

CHEERS!

central park & office park(s)

Posted in races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by afuntanilla

haven’t had too much time or energy to write. on some whirlwind days right now and will continue to be up until race day this coming sunday. i am trying to take as good of care of my body as i can.  work/travel stuff going on. good, but taxing, ya know.

had a good week last week. obviously, shorter runs as race day approaches. arrived in NYC on saturday, checked into hotel, and went for a 7.6 mile run through central park & back to hotel. was a gorgeous fall afternoon; a scattering of changing leaves sprinkled throughout the park, a slight breeze now and then whenever my direction headed south or southwest, an array of people from various ethnicities doing a variety of activities; running, walking, skating, cycling, some walking just for pleasure, others for the sole purpose of a workout, kids playing in their designated areas, soccer games in session….LIFE in NYC on a FALL saturday. what a pleasure it was to be able to run there. My first time.

Decided to sleep in on Sunday and ran in the early evening after i checked into hotel in new jersey. my hotel is situated in an area flush with office parks and streets w/ no sidewalks. I slipped my iPOD on and headed out for an easy 5.4 miles. Flat as can be. After being in the heightened frenzy of the city, it was actually really nice to be where i was and run on a very quiet sunday among a whole lotta nothing. Very good for clearing the head and being with the Self. I know you know what i’m talking about…

Today, Tuesday, ran another 4 in the office park area. My body is fighting off a bug. Taking Emergen-C and hoping to stay strong. Just get me to the starting line. Pretty excited about the race and running in the city by the bay, my hometown, San Francisco!

Stay Strong. Restore the Roar.