Archive for December, 2009

2009 – By Quarters

Posted in photos, races, random, travel with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2009 by afuntanilla

As usual, it feels a little bit difficult to recall the beginning of a year, in this case, 2009. A lot of what I recall has to do with work. Working in the financial world brought plenty to worry about and remember, but none of that I will share here. You no doubt have heard enough of all the collapses, near collapses, bailouts, etc….Persoanlly, the first quarter of the year, Jan-March was very stressful, confusing and scary. Again, all job related. Needless to say, for my own sanity, I found ways to deal with it and then I felt I was able to help clients. It didn’t matter who you were or what you did. If you were breathing, i think the state of the country and our economy had you worried.

In the running area of my life, I completed only 1 race in the first quarter; The Mercedes-Benz Birmingham Half-Marathon.I’ve run that race 3 times now and I will make it a 4th come this February. I love the flat/hilly mixed course and even though it’s winrter, i still find the course beautiful. Also, there is usually pretty good race swag! Put in on your “races to check out” list if you are anywhere near.

During the 2nd quarter, my team of 2 at work grew to a team of 3. This ended up being a really good thing and we all saw the stock market begin to make a pretty dramatic recovery from the March bottom. I was heavily consumed with work all year. I worked a lot of hours during the week and came in at least a few hours every weekend. I am investing in my career right now and for me, it’s the right thing to do. I thoroughly enjoy my job, even the tough and difficult parts. I think the industry is fascinating and ever-changing. Of course, like all things, there are parts I don’t like. I try to change what I can and let go of the rest. I won’t spend time on negative thinking. It’s wasteful and extremely energy draining. So yes, I spend a lot of time at work, but it is time well spent. I know I will not always want to work so much, but for now, I do, so I’m trying to make the most of it.

In late May and then into the 3rd quarter, I took a couple of trips. One work trip to Denver and one fun trip to Los Angeles. I had not spent any time in LA before so I was there a few days and had a blast! Also spent time in Santa Monica, which was lovely. I can understand why people live there; sunny, 70’s, flat, beautiful, water. Yep. Pretty easy to understand. What a place that must be for training! That’s incentive enough to move!

I also started training for my 6th marathon around late spring/early summer. Of course this was the time of year where it gets super hot and humid in Atlanta. After months of this and feeling so worn out and beat up by the heat, I realziied that I have trained in the late spring/summer just about every year for the past 9. I have done this because the big races I have chosen to do have been in early fall. Well, I think 2010 will see that come to an end. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the heat/humidity. But to have to train in it EVERY DAY with no relief is brutal. it has worn me out. So, right here, right now, I am saying that I will not schedule any big races for September or October. Of course, I will exercise in the summer, but it will be because I want to, not because I am on some training plan. (we’ll see if i actually carry this out!) If anything, I am hoping to be on my bike a lot this summer.

This last quarter of the year brought my 6th marathon. I ran the SF Nike Marathon in San Francisco. Also spent a few days visiting old and dear friends. That trip was fantastic; from the race to all my visits, to just my time alone there…it was awesome. The race was one of my best which I wrote about in an earlier post.

2009 brought me onto Twitter and Facebook and I have enjoyed both of these “social networking” sites much more than I ever would have thought. It’s so fun to post pictures on Facebook and see what other people are up to…And Twitter…well, I am addicted. Enough said.

The best and biggest thing that happened for me in 2009 isn’t something I can show you or even tell you about with much clarity. This is simply because it has to do with inner changes. For me, 2009, has been one of my most happy and peaceful years. When I reflect on why, I know its’ because of what and who i allowed into my life; who and what I saw was there; who and what i saw made sense to spend energy on and put energy into. Some of it was new and some of it had to do with people and things that were there before but I just hadn’t seen it. And I don’t mean to sound trite, but so much of what I am talking about just boils down to LOVE. There were more times than I can remember when I felt like i was in love. 100%. But, it was never about anyone else. There is no person involved. it’s life. Just LIFE.

So, HERE’S TO LIFE! Here’s to 2009 – appreciating all it brought and taught. And Here’s to 2010 – and all the many treasures that lie ahead. Let’s not waste any time!

I leave you with this photo of me from the SF Nike Women’s Marathon – near the finish line. LIVESTRONG, BABY!

Why Cleveland?

Posted in browns, photos, quotes, random with tags , , , , , , , on December 26, 2009 by afuntanilla

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious. -Vince Lombardi

Some of you have only known me thru this virtual/online world so I feel I OWE it to you to explain why I root for the Cleveland Browns. At first glance, you might not understand why I took a spontaneous trip up here this weekend from Atlanta to sit in a cold ass stadium and root for a team that is currently 3-11.

Here’s part of the why.

Well, like so many things, it all goes back to my childhood. I grew up in the East Bay of the BAY AREA in a little po-dunk city called San Leandro. This city is right next to Oakland and across the Bay from San Francisco. Of course, logic would have you think I would be a Raider or a 49er fan. Nope. never have been. Ever. Though I currently have no real feeling for either of those teams now, there were many years where I very much disliked them, for various reasons. I’m getting to the Cleveland part…be patient. Thanks.

So, I guess I was about 10 years old. Total tomboy, of course. I grew up with 2 older brothers who were 13 & 15 when I was 10. We grew up in this place:

a pretty dumpy duplex right at the edge of the San Leandro/Oakland border. In those walls, on Sundays, football would be on and one of my brothers was a Raider fan, the other was a Minnesota Viking fan. (why? i don’t know!) I think what happened with me and the Browns was that I was watching a game one day (when i was 10) and just began rooting for them because everyone was against them and they were the true underdogs. Brian Sipe was the QB and some of the other players were Mike Pruitt, Greg Pruitt, Sam Rutigliano (coach) and the great TE, Ozzie Newsome. I liked their fighting spirit, liked their orange/brown colors and liked that they had no emblem on the helmet. Only NFL team to NOT have an emblem. (hope it stays that way)

So, that’s it! I know, it’s not a very GRIPPING story. I’m not from Cleveland. Have absolutely NO connection to this place. Except I do. Cause when I was 10, I latched on to something I could believe in. A team that seemingly was the underdog every week everywhere except in their own city. A team that just reached in and became a part of my life. A team that has one of the best football stories and arguably the best fans in all of sports. So for nearly, 30 years, I have been a fan. Loyal as DAWG! Have had my heart swell with pride and excitement and have had it crushed with unbelievably heart-wrenching losses. In 1993, while traveling in Thailand, I had gotten a hold of a USA Today newspaper and read the news that the organization let QB Bernie Kosar go…half-way around the world, i was in tears.

Kosar remains my all time favorite QB. I know he wasn’t great, but he was my favorite.

This is my 4th trip to Cleveland and my 3rd time watching a football game here. I can’t wait until tomorrow to get out there with the rest of the die hard crazy-ass fans. And I can’t wait to share more of this story with you.

back to the battlefield…(sort of)

Posted in photos, random, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2009 by afuntanilla

As you have seen from recent posts, I have not written about running. I’ve been taking a little break since the marathon in October. It’s been good, but I don’t have anything more in particular to say about it. Just been running a little. Like I’m sure many of you, I am thinking ahead to 2010 and what races I want to do battle with…so many to choose from. Isn’t THAT great. I’m also thinking of raising money for charity again. Last time I did it was in 2005 for the SF Marathon. I raised over $5000 so I was really pleased and enormously grateful to all who donated. The donations went to Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA. I have a special interest in that place. Nevertheless, having said that, I am wondering what charity, what cause, do I want to put my energy and legs into? Do I chose the same one? As opposed to how great it is that there are sooo many races to choose from, it’s quite daunting to try and decide what CAUSE  to get behind. There are so many in need; so many causes that are all more worthy than I can even begin to comprehend. I’m not even sure I WILL raise money again, but all of this is certainly on my radar.  I will definitely post about it so stay tuned.

So, back to the battlefield. Kennesaw Battlefield, that is. I texted Jeff on Friday asking if he wanted to meet. We’ve been trying to meet up and just haven’t connected lately. We actually hadn’t seen each other since about September. Hmmm.. I wonder if he was avoiding me cause he KNEW that HILL pain would be involved… hee hee. He texted me back asking when and where. “10am. Kennesaw. rain or shine.”

It had been pretty ugly and cold out so who knew what we were in for on the trails. Actually, it rained all day on Friday but the trails were not as wet/muddy as I thought they would be. I purposely DID NOT wear my new Adidas Trail shoes. I JUST couldn’t bear to get them all muddy just yet. So. I had my old ones on.

Found Jeff at 10am right on the nose. Isn’t it wonderful when you can count on people??!! Love that about Jeff! Since we both have not been running much, we decided to just go 5 miles. And let me tell you, 5 miles at Kennesaw is pretty damn good. All hilly! And, oh…the hills make you remember quickly. I hadn’t been out there for about a year…not since I had done my training for the Chattanooga 50k Trail race. I commented to Jeff that it looked so different out there at this time of year….the trails in their winter dress..barren, still and almost an eerie quiet. We didn’t talk much as we plotted one foot in front of the other, up and down and up and down. How comforting it was to be there with my friend, running side by side in the cold of the Battlefield…each of us with our own quiet thoughts and experience, but still, together.

Soon enough, we were back at the start. I don’t know the mileage cause I was not wearing my Garmin, but time was 58:36…so I’m thinking 5.5-6 miles

I said to Jeff; “you know you’re a runner when you come and run tough miles and you’re not training for anything.”

Jeff: “oh, we’re training for something. we just don’t know what yet.”

Ahhh…so true!

Here we are post run. Thanks, buddy!

And then a hero comes along…

Posted in random with tags , , on December 10, 2009 by afuntanilla

(been relaxing with the running…will update soon on goals for 2010…stay tuned)

Many years ago, a friend of mine called me one of their Heroes. What? What does that mean? She went on to explain that she was reading Joseph Campbell and if you know anything about his writings, he writes about the “heroes” we all have in our lives….at one time of another. Heroes. People who make a significant mark. People who are in our lives for a short stay, a long stay, whatever…however long it lasts…those people who touch our lives in significant ways.

This post is about one of mine.

First, I gotta say how it amuses me when people who aren’t on Facebook get a little freaked out about being on facebook. “I don’t know if i want people from my past contacting me…”  My thought is, I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me who “friends” me on facebook. If I don’t want to talk to you, I will just ignore you. Plain and simple. Anyways. Here is the tie in to my Hero. I found her on Facebook! One morning about 4-5 months ago i guess, I woke up and was just thinking about her and so I looked her up on facebook and there she was…YAY!  The last time I saw her was in 1984. Here’s how she came into my life.

As some of you readers might know, I was in an auto accident when I was a kid and spent a little over a month in the hospital. During that time, I met T.A., a woman who would become one of my “Heroes”. After spending a few days in ICU, I moved up to the 4th floor of Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Ca. Certain things and people I remember quite well. Other things, i am pretty fuzzy about. One thing I remember clearly is how happy I was whenever T.A. was my nurse for a particular shift. I remember her well; short, petite, crazy/wild black hair and amazingly tender and warm. I cannot remember how many times she was actually “my nurse”, I just remember seeing a lot of her and feeling so loved and taken care of. I could see, in her eyes sometimes,  that she wondered about me and what I must be going through…having just lost my mom.

Everything was such an amazing and crazy whirlwind. I was in a car one day and 2 days later, i was in a hospital. To this day,  I have no memory of that “in between’ time period. that’s weird. I guess I am not supposed to remember. One of the first things that happened when I regained consciousness was our church pastor was at my side in the intensive care unit. I asked for my mom and he told me she died. All i remember is looking away and saying “oh, no!” And that right there is all I can recall of expressing any kind of sadness or grief while in the hospital. I truly think I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the physical state I was in and also ENORMOUSLY overwhelmed by the amount of love and kindness I received from so many people, especially all those nurses and doctors who worked tirelessly to make sure I was healing.

I will say it here…on this blog…T.A. was my favorite. And I felt like I was a favorite of hers, too. We just kinda had a connection, ya know. Sometimes you just can’t explain it…but even then, I knew that she was someone vital. She moved fast, she was passionate about her work and she was fiery. She made me laugh. She was very giving and sincere and I felt like I had never  TRULY seen that kind of behavior before. I didn’t really understand a lot of what was happening to me at that time, but I was wise enough to let all her goodness in.

After about 5 weeks, I was released from the hospital but still remained in a full body cast. Ugh. THAT was an experience. Especially trying to go to the bathroom. LOL! One of the things I did while in my body cast was go visit T.A. and her daughter at their place in Berkeley. I was in a reclining wheelchair so the whole experience was crazy, but fun! I still have a photo of myself and her daughter sitting in bed, laughing. One of the best photos of my youth!

Soon after that, she moved away to NYC and I was crushed. Again, I don’t remember a lot of detail, I just remember that feeling of loss. Of pain.

OK. So. Fast forward. The facebook connection. I contacted T.A. and she wrote back. “Finding” each other on facebook has been very cool. And recently we have spoken by phone. It was strange to hear voice after what, 26 years! I almost said to her “you sound different”, but then I thought to myself how do you know what she sounds like??  She asked me some questions about some things that happened way back when and it was very strange to talk to someone about my life who was actually there at the time. Part of what kinda sucks now is that there isn’t anyone around who has the same history as I do so trying to recall some of the past can feel very lonely and frustrating, at times. Talking to T.A., someone who knew me when… was healing and validating, among other things. Her tenderness was the same… she has that same tenderness in her voice.

So. Here was this person whose path I crossed and who crossed mine. She gave from the heart and I got it. When she left the bay area, obviously I thought I’d probably never see her again. She has been someone I have never forgotten. That’s just how it is with some people. Ya know.  For whatever reason, our paths have crossed again. it might be for a month, a year, or however long. I’m just glad. Truly glad!

For T.A. and all the “heroes” past and present in my life. Thank you. You know who you are.