Archive for February, 2010

reflections, stats, & the Olympic Rings

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by afuntanilla

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”–unknown

For the 2nd race in a row, I was surprised with my finish time. As I mentioned in last post, the Birmingham Half-Marathon finish time of 2:01:55 was my 2nd best ever. Only time I was faster was by 12 seconds in 1999, in my first 1st Half-Marathon. Why was I surprised by my result. Well, my longest run since my last marathon in October was only 9 miles. I took it easy after the SF Marathon; resting in November and slowly getting miles in during December. I cranked it up in January & into February. Still, having my longest run only be 9 miles gave me room to manage expectations. Honestly, if I had finished anywhere under 2:05, I was gonna be happy. So, the question begs to be asked; why? what do i attribute it to?

For one, I think I am a smarter runner. I think I know my body well enough to tune in and pay attention to how it feels and then go with it. I think I am better at knowing how much I can push and for how long. Secondly, i believe my overall fitness is better. I’ve been doing a good amount of strength training and I do feel stronger, more fit. I guess I’ve been running races steadily for just over 10 years and I guess that’s a good amount of time to get to know your body and especially know it during a race environment. There are some days when you have it and definitely days when you don’t and I have been on both sides and no doubt, i will be on them time and time again.

Racing is fun. Not that I’m actually racing against anyone except myself and the clock. But, it’s the test. For weeks, for months, you train. You get out the door when you don’t want to. You run in the freezing cold when you’d rather sleep in. You get on the treadmill when you are dog-ass tired. Race day is when I feel free. I feel self-inflicted pressure, but I also feel free. Not sure if that makes sense, but it does to me. It’s like play. Race day is play day. I sure am looking forward to my next play day; March 21st. LA Marathon. I will be challenged, for sure.

The only stat I really have from my half-marathon is this:

Finished #60 out of 289 women aged 35-39. I’m happy with this. It’s better than last year. Moving up. yay.

My 1st run this morning was 10.5 miles. I ran from my house, zig-zag through Ansley, Midtown & Downtown and underneath the Olympic Rings near the Atlanta Braves baseball stadium. If you recall, the Olympics were in Atlanta in 1996. I was not a resident then, but I did make my first trip here 2 months before the games began. The city was buzzing. It was very exciting to see and feel the energy of the people. As I ran under the rings I remembered that when I was a little girl, I dreamt of going to the Olympics as a sprinter. It was really fun to have that dream.

I will never stand on an Olympic podium. And, that is ok. When I run, and when I race, and when i cross that finish line that sometimes seems to take forever, a little bit of an Olympian lives in me. And it lives in you too. Believe in yourself and all that you want to do, in all that you want to accomplish. Stay dedicated. Stay determined. Be your own hero. Make it happen.

Cheers!

Feb 21: 1st run=10.5 miles – outside, 2nd run = 2.5 miles treadmill

Feb 20: 3.0 miles outside

Feb 18: 3.5 miles treadmill

Feb 17: 3.67 miles outside

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Roll Tide, Baby

Posted in quotes, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by afuntanilla

Such a pleasure driving my new wheels to Birmingham! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

“Everyone in life is looking for a certain rush. Racing is where I get mine” -John Trautman

Oh, uh..ok..this is a RACE REPORT!! Here I go…

I made the 2 hour-ish drive to b’ham Saturday afternoon. Had zero trouble on the roads after the serious snow we had in atlanta on Friday. The remnants made the drive all the more pretty. Upon arrival, went straight to the expo and got my race stuff; BIB# 2432, race tag/chip thing, a free race cap and picked up a couple more gels. I drove around a bit afterwards and checked out some of the course…was same course as last year. Checked into my hotel and then went to the local Starbucks for some writing/reading time. Had a very strange evening trying to find dinner but won’t even go into that story.

Race morning. Finally. I felt like my body really needed to run. I was so glad the day was finally here and I could go face the challenge. Temps were about 35 degrees, which is same as atlanta has been. I had on pants and a fleece top so i thought i might get warm, but i never did. My warm-up was hurrying to starting line. I made it with about 3 minutes to spare so i did a little stretching and we were off. I was in such a rush to leave hotel room that i forgot my iPod. Oh well. Might be nice to not have it, I thought. So, no iPOD and no water bottle; man, i felt NAKED. and FREE.

The race starts in downtown birmingham and the first 6 miles takes you on a course thru those streets. By mile 2 I could feel my body settle in and I had a feeling i might have a good day. I kept checking my Garmin watch for my mile splits and at mile 6, i was at 54:00 = 9:00/min/mile pace. I was psyched and I knew If i could keep it up i could have a good finish time. All I really wanted to do was be better than my results here in the past, which were 2:04, and 2:03. First 6 miles are nearly all completely flat. The next 7.1 have hills, so i wasn’t sure. I had to be careful not to run too fast and conk out, but also not be too conservative. I just kept focusing on one mile at a time and watching my splits. By mile 10, I was at 1:32 and I knew I was gonna finish well. only 3.1 more miles to go. I had one more hill and then it was flat home free. I was pushing, for sure. My right groin was starting to hurt & the left IT band area too. But, I just had to focus. I was so close. I’m not sure if it was because I had no music in my ears or what, but I was super focused. Felt awesome. I took my last swig of water at the last water stop/mile 12 and headed home. They called out my name as I came in and I crossed the finish line. THRILLED.

2:01:55

Best finish in a half-marathon distance since my very FIRST one in 1999. Who says you don’t get better with age? I missed a PR by 12 seconds. Crazy. So thrilled. On my way to breaking the 2 hour beast!

This has been one of my favorite races to do. 4 times now I have run. For the first time, however, the race t-shirt is not very good. oh well. a small concession, huh?! Another cool medal and another BIB # to add to the pile. What is a girl to do with all these BIB #’s? NOT THROWING THEM AWAY!

It’s always worth repeating; so thankful for my body. so appreciative. feeling strong and capable!

Thank you to the readers who give me so much support. Truly appreciate it.

What’s next?

you gotta be startin’ somethin’…

Posted in motivation, random, road with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2010 by afuntanilla

A couple of weeks ago, my work/office decided to do a version of The Biggest Loser. While I don’t need to lose weight, I decided I would participate anyway…just for fun and also for a way to be supportive to others in the office. I was happy to see this kind of “event” take place in our office because, as you know, I am an advocate of fitness and health.

I have worked in my office for 6 years and during that time, i have tried to get others to run local road races with me. Sometimes successful, sometimes not. By successful, I mean that 1 or 2 other folks would join in. I was happy about that but always wished for more participation. sigh….  Obviously, over the years, many people have come to know me as a runner. They may not know anything else about me on a personal level, but they know I run. Often times, while in the breakroom or elevator, someone will ask me, “so, when is your next race?” That always feels good, ya know.

Well, the time has come and we might just be on to something here…Once the Biggest Loser contest was announced 2 weeks ago, I decided I would organize/lead a running group after work one day a week. I had no idea if anyone would be interested but I wanted to put the offer out there nonetheless. I decided I would run alone on those days if no one came. I got word out to the office about the run, mentioning that it would be a run/walk 3-4 miles on Tuesdays at 5:15pm. I put run/walk to encourage people even if they didn’t or couldn’t run the entire way.

Our first run was last week and it turned out to be myself and one guy. I was shocked when he said he was running with me. The main reason was because I have not had any real rapport with him or anything in the past. I thought if anyone were to come along, it would be people who I have talked to a lot of are pals with in the office. Me and this guy have barely exchanged 3 sentences over the past 4-5 years. I was shocked, but pleasantly so.

So, he and I headed out and we went slow. He admitted he is out of shape and trying to lose weight for his upcoming wedding. We chatted a little but not much. He needed to stop at 2 different points to walk a bit and I stopped with him. I truly felt so happy to be out there with him. I could tell he was struggling, but wanting to push through…and when it was too much, he had to stop. There was something about it that was vulnerable and humbling. Does that make sense?

We ran from our office building and back. When finished, he thanked me and i congratulated him. I then went on to run 1 more mile at a faster pace.

I really got a lot out of it and I feel like he did too. For me, it was nice to run with someone else and go directly from work. And then the big plus was feeling like I helped someone else just by being there. He seemed very appreciative afterwards and I was happy for him because I know he wants to lose weight and be healthier. Win, Win!

When people in the office heard about our run the next day, we got a few more people interested. Well, Tuesday rolled around and it was about 40 degrees (colder w/ wind chill) and drizzly. I figured those that had been interested would cop out. Well, I was wrong. 2 gals joined us so us 4 ran the same route as the week prior. 3.67 miles. All together. This time, the fella who ran with me the first time did not stop. Not once. Happy for him. Kudos to them all for being willing to go. It would have been sooo easy to let it slip away and take refuge inside on a treadmill or not exercise at all.

Today, people were asking about our run and more seem interested to join in next Tuesday. I could not be more thrilled.

Like I said…we just might be on to something here….

watching the men and other things

Posted in motivation, photos, road with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by afuntanilla

Thursday, I ran in and around Piedmont Park. I bought some new trail shoes around xmas time and had not taken them out running yet and there is a place in the park where I can run on crushed rock/dirt. It was so nice to be outside after the previous weekend of rainy, icky weather. As i was running along at my 9min-ish/mile pace, I was passed by 2 guys at different times. When they ran by, it appeared as though they were sprinting; their legs moving so fast, so fluid, so even and graceful. It was beautiful. I love watching men run fast. I find them more beautiful to watch versus fast women. Not sure why. Just do.

Just for a tiny bit of “speed work”, friday night i jumped onto the treadmill and ran 2 fast miles. Whew. That hurt. But, good hurt, ya know??!!

Solid running this weekend. Saturday, I wimped out of running outside as it was another rainy, cold, nasty day. I hopped onto thrillmill treadmill and ran 6.28 miles. I was actually gonna go for 6.5, but treadmill stopped at 60 minutes. Of course, I could’ve restarted it, but I took it as a sign.

Today’s run was outside. Clear skies, about 40 degrees. So nice to have the sun again on weekend. I popped into REI to grab some gels. One of the ones I grabbed was CLIF BLOCKS. I had some last weekend for first time and liked it a lot. If you have not tried, I would recommend. I feel a little burnt out on the true gels.

The first couple of miles were tough. This was my 3rd day in a row of running back to back to back with less than 24 hrs rest between runs. The downside is it takes me a bit to get going; the upside is my legs get used to running through fatigue. I finally felt good after about 4 miles. Ran all along Peachtree St -Brookhaven and Buckhead. Nearly 100% in the sun so that felt nice on my body.

Nutrition: so, i basically went a whole month with a vegetarian diet. I definitely discovered some interesting stuff, both “positive” & “negative”.

POSITIVES

-ate a lot more at home >> forced me to get creative & cook for self

-cheaper to eat in, obviously

-because I ate in a lot, saved $$ on alcohol cause I rarely drink at home

NEGATIVES

-had some issues w/ not getting enough iron >> felt groggy & really fatigued at different points

-sometimes challenging to find good veggie meals at restaurants

So, net-net, it was a good thing for me to do. I feel like I will be better at getting my veggies into my diet on a more consistent basis. I’m not gonna put any “restrictions” on my diet now. I wanted to see how this would go for a while and know I now. I will say this: I am looking forward to having some steak tacos again. One of my favorite things to eat! If anyone has non-meat ideas on IRON (besides veggies), please let me know.

Here’s the last week of miles:

Jan 31: 9 miles – outside

Jan 30: 6.28 miles – treadmill

Jan 29: 2 miles – treadmill, fast

Jan 28: 4.4 miles – outside

Jan 26: 3.5 miles – treadmill

For the month of JANUARY 2010, I ran 97 miles. A decent start to 2010.

Next race is in 2 weeks. Looking forward to it.

I will end with a picture of a true class act. Congratulations on Grand Slam #16!