Archive for March, 2010

LA Story

Posted in motivation, photos, road, shoes, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2010 by afuntanilla

Race morning began with a 5am wake up call. Ready to wake up, i rose and immediately went into the hotel lobby for the complimentary coffee. It was no Peets, but I was happy to have it. I returned to my room and changed into my running clothes and made sure i had everything esle I needed; garmin, iPOD, gels, bandana. Yep, that’s about it. Then, it was off to the drive from Beverly Hills into Santa Monica.

I parked in Santa Monica because that’s where the finish line was and there were shuttle buses there to take us to the starting line at Dodger Stadium. Personally, i thought this part was a pain, but oh well. So, we are on the bus at 6am and trying to get to the race start. Traffic to the stadium was a nightmare. Traffic all over. Everyone trying to get to Dodger Stadium. It was now 7am and i had serious thoughts that we’d be running from the bus to starting line because race start was suppossed to be 7:20am. That didn’t happen, thank goodness.

I got off the bus and had to go to bathroom. Of course, there were LOOOONG lines at port-a-potties so i improvised. I saw a row of trash dumpsters and me and a bunch of other women just took matters into our own hands and went behind the dumpters. Hey, it’s RACE DAY and anything goes!!!

Made my way into the starting area and was getting excited. Lots of folks all around, huddling together for this adventure. Lots of people of all ethnicities, sizes, shapes…loved seeing the diversity.

I guess the race organizers were behind schedule because we didn’t end up starting until almost 7:50am, not 7:20am. I was ancy. I wanted to get started.

Finally, the race begins!

The first mile was weird in that it was basically a full lap around Dodger Stadium. Then another 1/2 lap and we were out on the roads. There were some small hills throughout the course…a pretty good sized one about mile 5. Yikes. Where did that come from? The course went along different neighborhoods and not being from LA, i did not know these different spots. First section I recognized was Downtown, then Hollywood. I was struck by the good amount of spirited spectators along the course. Even though I had my iPOD on, I heard them, saw their signs and even gave a bunch of high 5’s along the way. I love seeing spectators in races. It makes it more fun and it helps stay motivated. So, thank you, dear LA spectators!! I was also struck by the MASSIVE amount of volunteers! There were water and Powerade stops at every mile and there were a ton of volunteers. Really appreciate them!!

I can usually sense from the get go how my body feels and even though I was ancy to start, ONCE i did, my body was telling me something different. My legs were just not feeling it. They felt tight, heavy, tired. At mile 6, i thought, “well, I’ve got 20 more to go…damn”. I knew i was in for a long day. Aerobically, I felt great. My legs were the issue.

Still…i kept on and was thinking about all those that did my “adopt-a-mile.” With each mile, I had a different person from my life in mind and it helped me stay focused and keep truckin’. It was fun to think of the different people as the miles passed because everyone means something different to me…i have a connection with each person and it’s all pretty damn cool.

By mile 13, i was at about 2:07 and though I was physically not feeling great, i was pleased with my time and figured if i can just keep it up, i can maybe have a personal record. If I finished under 4:20, i would have a marathon best. Since the 2nd half was more flat and downhill, i really thought i had a shot. Well…it wasn’t soon after that where I started to deteriorate.

Ouch. Legs were hurting. Quads. I knew I was in trouble when we had a short steep downhill section in West Hollywood and I COULD NOT go fast. Legs were like OUCH as i tried to zoom down the hill. They would have none of it. I think that was the point where I started to get disappointed. Obviously, that’s not how I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel strong and fast. But, I kept on. I never thought I wouldn’t finish. I just knew it was gonna continue to sting.

We ran our way through rest of W. Hollywood, Bevery Hills and into Westwood. Again, lots of spectators and it seemed like they were growing in size. very cool!

I knew there was one last hill somewhere between mile 20-21 and then it was downhill to the finish. Well, lemme tell you….I never FELT the downhill. It all seemed just flat. The MAP shows the downhill, people KEPT SAYING,” IT’S ALLL DOWNHILL FROM HERE.” Not to me and my aching legs.

On the plus side, my nutrition was good. I felt fine. I was taking some gels and clif bloks and drinking plelnty of water. Also, the weather was good. It was maybe 60 at the start and never got too warm. it was overecast and actually pretty cool as we headed into Santa Monica and the beach! The last 3 miles seemed to take forever. I was looking at my watch and seeing the time get further away from what I had hoped.

2 friends who live in Santa Monica were gonna try and see me at about mile 24. I looked for them but didn’t see them, unfortunately. On the last mile, I tried to kick it up a notch and go strong. I crossed the finish line of my 7th marathon in 4:32. I was more relived than happy.

As soon as we cross the finish line, we are greeted by a volunteer who places a medal around our neck. That DOES feel gratifying. A medal for the battle just “won”. Four hours and 32 minutes of mental and physical battle. We all deserve the medal!

I looked around me and saw some people getting their finisher photo taken, others were on the ground, sitting with a glazed look over their face, drinking water or eating their bagel, banana. I really wanted to sit down but I feared not being able to get back up! Also, I had to   go to PLAN B to meet my 2 friends. We were to meet at the beach party tent area under F for my last name. The area was about another 1/2 mile walk from finish line.

Once we joined up, i fell down and for about 3 seconds i thought i was gonna lose it. But, i didn’t. I told them a little about the race. I was really happy to see them.

Soon enough we started walking down the beach to the parking lot where my rental car was located. It took a while to get there – maybe another 3/4-1 mile in total because we couldn’t find the car. I was so confused..could not remember where I had parked at 5:45am in the dark!

I dropped them off at their house and i went on to my hotel.

So, what happened? Why was I not able to perform better? I have a couple of thoughts.

One: given that my last marathon was in october, perhaps it was too much for my body to do another one so soon. this was the first time I had done 2 marathons in such a short time period. but remember, I felt so great at SF Marathon that I wanted to run another one. I felt like I could physically do it. Maybe I was wrong.

Two: my other theory is that i simply did not get in ENOUGH LONG MILE runs. I did not run much in Nov/Dec and picked it up in January. But, perhaps…the miles I’ve done since January weren’t enough to get me to where i wanted to be. It’s one thing to finish a marathon..it’s another to finish a marathon and still feel physically ok afterwards. I now know both sides.

Am I happy and proud to have finished? yes, of course i have those feelings. But, my disappointment is certainly the more dominant feeling. This is not marathon #1 for me and as such, I don’t have the same expectations and wishes for myself. i want to feel better. I want to perform better. That is part of what makes me who I am. That is part of the drive. I KNOW what a huge achievement it is to get out there and to finish. And I know in many ways it is not about the end result. Every race, every training teaches me something and therein lies some of the beauty. I know there are jewels to be found.

What I know to be true is that i did my best with what I had on race day. I could not have done any better.

There will be other days when  i can try to be better…to be a better me…As long as I have a body that works, i will keep trying. For me, that’s the juice.

Other TIDBITS and PICS from TRIP

Here’s my blog buddy, JOSH, wearing the cool-ass KSwiss Knit Cap. We met up at LA Expo on Friday. When he met me in line to get our BIB #’s, he gave me this KNIT cap cause he knew I loved it. WHAT A COOL GUY, HUH!!!

And here’s me with the same cap on next A.M. in my new LA Marathon Shirt at Peets Coffee in Santa Monica!

Here’s me again at Peets. yes, i’m in love. Yes, I am addicted.

Other highlights of LA TRIP:

Going to KSWISS Store in Santa Monica:

The guy helping me was SOOOO cool. I bought another shirt, shorts and yes, MORE SHOES. (just 1 pair) and He have me BART YASSO’S new book, My Life on the RUN.

Other great parts of the trip were eating at different restaurants. Have you ever noticed how you kinda get into a rut at home…eating the same things or at the same restaurants. I went to URTH CAFE on Melrose, which was fantastic, healthy and had outdoor seating. We don’t have enough healthy places as such here in Atlanta. Went dining at a great Italian place with 2 friends on Saturday night. Wonderful, simple, yet stylish restaurant called OSTERIA LA BUCA.

Obviously, had multiple trips to PEETS Coffee, but I also went to a new coffee joint: INTELLGENTISIA – a really neat little joint over in Venice. Watching the baristas make the coffee there was truly a pleasure and they delivered ART!

Met a friend for lunch in Beverly Hills. Man, i felt like such a star! HA!

My hotel was SOFIETEL on Beverly Dr. near Beverly Hills. A wonderful place to stay! Excellent service across the board! Highly Recommend this hotel! I also had a massage post-race which was exactly what I needed! The spa space was calm, empty, soothing, and peaceful. Very nice after the not-too-happy space I was in post-run.

Here’s the last photo share…taken the next day before leaving LA. It sure was not a pretty race, but it still counts. #7. Done.

Advertisements

LA marathon: first post-race thoughts

Posted in quotes, races, road with tags , , , , on March 22, 2010 by afuntanilla

There’s some quote out there that says something like: “you have to forget about your last marathon before you can run another one”

Hmmm.

Well, my last marathon before today’s LA race was in October of last year, 2009. Honestly, I did NOT want to forget about it because it was a great race for me. What made it a great race? I felt pretty good the entire way and had a decent finish considering I had felt sick beforehand and was worried about the outcome. I also never did a longer run more than  16.25 miles. So, considering ALL that, I felt fine about my 4:24 finish.

Signing up for LA Marathon was somewhat of a risk, a gamble. I had taken it easy with the running in November/December of 2009 and started to ramp up for the Birmingham Half-Marathon on Feb 14th. That, too, was a great race for me. Had my 2nd best finish time ever for that distance and was thrilled with my effort. So, on the heels of that, I signed up for LA! I felt it was a course I wanted to run and I dig LA, so why not? I only need 13 more miles. Well….it was tough to get those long runs in…and bottom line is I didn’t get enough of them done. I had a feeling it might be a tough day for me. Past couple of weeks I just have not been feeling right…more mental than maybe anything else…but I do believe all our systems work together…mental, physical, spiritual, etc…

And even though I had taken the last 2 weeks pretty easy, my legs have felt heavy. Heavy legs = long, tough race day!

Given where my body has been, I should not have expected anything…but I did. Hard not to. Hard not to harbor your secret goals, ya know?

So, sure I am disappointed. And that happens. I’ve had great races. I’ve had tough races. That’s part of the picture. No doubt, there will be more of both in the future. But, I can learn from this experience and use the learning to my advantage.

I know it takes a lot to get out there. I am proud of the people who pin on their marathon bib # and cross the start and finish line. It takes guts, it takes courage, it takes a knowing willingness to endure pain, it takes dedication. It takes heart.

my heart goes out to all those finishers today.

T-3

Posted in motivation, quotes with tags , , , on March 18, 2010 by afuntanilla

“Remember that if you don’t go to the starting line, you will never view the whole course with all its possibilities. And you will certainly never see the glories of the finish line.” – Amby Burfoot

“If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a board and knock me down, because that means I didn’t run hard enough.” – Steve Jones

“There is nothing quite so gentle, deep, and irrational as our running—and nothing quite so savage, and so wild.” – Bernd Heinrich

“I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret.” – Anonymous

“with hope in our hearts and wings on our heels…”

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, random, road with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2010 by afuntanilla

Once upon a time, there was this piece of vinyl called a 45. You know, one of those single songs. You could listen to it on something called a “record player”. Pretty wild, I know. A record player was a rather large contraption. It had something called a “needle” which was used to actually ‘play’ the record.

Well, anyway..i am telling you about this because a memory came to me back from 1981. It doesn’t actually seem that long ago when I look at the year, 1981. But it was, almost 30 years ago. Yikes!

1981 was the year Chariots of Fire came to the movie theaters. I went to see the movie and was awestruck. I was 11 years old, by the way. From one of the first scenes, I was captured. The men were running along the beach with the theme song playing. I felt like I fell in love. Drama. Running. Great music. I know i didn’t understand parts of the film, but I got the parts that mattered the most. In fact, it wasn’t even that i understood, it was more like it just seeped into my brain, my blood. The passion, the joy, the commitment. The fire that comes from striving to pull out everything you’ve got for that which you are committed. The enormous pleasure that can come from daunting pain. The conflict and the battle that comes from wrestling with self-doubt & then confidence & then self-doubt…and a ferocious desire to be the best.

To be the best you.

We had a record player in the house. After seeing the movie, I HAD TO HAVE THE RECORD…the theme song, Chariots of Fire! Sometime in the spring of 1982, I was to participate in a local track meet in the 100 yard dash. I was thrilled beyond words. The event was to be held a a local high school, at night, under the lights. Man, was i excited!

Prior to heading over to the event, we were listening to the record. Mom pumped up the volume and her and my siblings did our slow motion ‘Chariots of Fire’ run around our living room. I never knew if she thought I was silly to do that , but she indulged me and I was happy.

Later that evening, I ran my 100 yd dash event. I won. (that was probably the fastest i have ever been!!)

I cannot explain the thrill. The proud moment I had as a little kid.


March 14: 6 miles, outside

March 13: 6 miles, outside

March 10: 3.25 miles, treadmill

March 9: 3 miles, outside

7 Days

picture perfect

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, road with tags , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2010 by afuntanilla

I recall some rainy mornings when I didn’t want to get up at 5 A.M. and arrived at the track hoping perhaps that he had overslept. My eyes would search through the faint light until they fell on this solitary figure standing motionlessly in the rain with his hands behind his back, waiting patiently for his runners. It was an impressive sight; you just had to respect him.” – Jim Beatty, miling great, on his Hungarian coach, Mihaly Igloi

passed this “art” during my Saturday run.

One of my favorite delights; a cappuccino from Dancing Goat’s Coffee Shop in Decatur. So lovely. So yummy. Me & my tired body enjoyed it after the run.

March 7: 6.5 miles – outside

March 6: 16.5 miles – outside

March 4: 3 miles – outside

March 3: 3 miles – treadmill

March 2: 3 miles – outside

13 days …

holding the line

Posted in motivation, quotes, road with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2010 by afuntanilla

“One morning in Boston, it was snowing so hard that I didn’t think anybody would be going training, but I went down to the track anyway. Billy Smith was there, though. He opened the door and said: ‘the road to Mexico is out there'”.  -David Hemery – who won the 400 meter hurdles at Mexico City in 1968

I’ve always loved this piece! Can’t you just visualize it? I sure can…

Today, Tuesday, was group run day at the office. If you saw my last post, you will notice that 8 people joined me last week. Major Success! Well, when I looked at the weather report a few days ago, I saw that Tuesday would be the worst day; cold w/ snow flurries. In Atlanta. More snow. WOW. And it’s gonna be high 60’s by the weekend. Naturally, I thought it was gonna be interesting to see if anyone showed up to run. Even myself. I had good runs over weekend, but the weather forecast surely wasn’t making it easy to stay motivated to go outside after a long work day. But, I held the line. Inside, I feel like I have a responsibility to ‘hold the line’ of the group; to not miss a day, to not have any excuse to not be there. Usually, every Friday and Monday, I send an email about the run (as a reminder). I did the same thing this week so they would know I would be there, regardless of weather. By noon today, it was apparent that no one was joining me. Of course when I realized I would be going solo, I had thoughts of letting myself off the hook for the day or even just go run on treadmill. It was 37 degrees and snow flurries still coming.

I had been in the office all day and went out for coffee around 2pm. The little jaunt to Starbucks was actually refreshing since I had felt so cooped up all day. Decision Made. The run outside is on. Holding the line. Whether anyone was there with me or not. It’s perfectly understandable that people would opt out…for weather reasons or for whatever they’ve got going on. No problem. I will be there. I will be there again, next Tuesday at 5:15pm.

‘Cause for me…the road to LA MARATHON (and beyond) is out there!

TRAIN HARD. TRAIN SMART. BE BRAVE!

is it spring yet?

Posted in road with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2010 by afuntanilla

So, I guess this past week was the 4th run with the now growing group from work. Week 1 = 2 people. Week 2 = 4 people. Week 3 = 3 people. Week 4 = 9 people. 9 people! THAT IS A BIG DEAL. I was thrilled. And it was a cold, windy day, no less. We have been running the same 3.67 mile loop from our office and back, but i think i am gonna change it up this week so we can avoid some of the heavy car traffic. A route change also means it might be more challenging due to the hills. But, hey, challenge is good, right!! I will keep you posted on the group’s reaction. It will also be interesting to see how many people show…as weather is supposed to be about 39/rainy…coldest day of the next week. Hmmm..

On the last run, we had 2 that struggled. I backtracked twice to run, run/walk with each person. I just wanted to make sure no one felt left out. After my first backtrack episode, i went ahead and was almost in a dead sprint for 1 mile to catch up with the leaders. Man, that was tough, but felt GREAT and INVIGORATING! I finished with the lead pack and then circled back to go the rest of the way with the remaining 2. Another good group session.

I had a good week of running. I’m purposely only running 4 days a week and not 5. Due to the “success” i felt on my last half-marathon & full-marathon, I’m more relaxed about “schedules”, etc.. I am learning what my body can do on what amount of training. I am learning, for me, it might not be about QUANTITY, but OVERALL QUALITY. I’ve read about so many running programs that show high mileage for training and for my body, I think I am finding something different that can work. Yesterday, I ran a hilly 12.5 miles through the streets of Atlanta. I had wanted to go out to Silver Comet Trail for just even a bit of nature, but it just didn’t work out. I look forward to getting to some trails though soon…i need some nature time, for sure. After a route with both uphills & downhills, the last 1-1/2 miles I deliberately incorporated the toughest hill i could find. I think that’s how you know you are dedicated…when you deliberately & purposely put tough things in your training path. These hills now will make the flatlands of Los Angeles all that much sweeter to run. right?

Went bowling later that night. Sucked, big time. Our group had major gutter balls!!

Decided NOT to layer up again for the cold/wind today and took it to treadmill instead. 5+ strong miles as I sweated out the cocktail toxins of the bowling evening. Felt pretty tired at first, but then just settled in and got stronger. As the time and mileage increased on the treadmill, so did my strength. I could feel my back strong, my arms strong, my legs finding another gear….a good weekend.

Whoever you are and whatever you are doing, whatever you are aiming for, I wish you all the best! GO TO IT!

CHEERS!!

Feb 28: 5.10 miles – treadmill

Feb 27: 12.5 miles – outside

Feb 24: 5.0 miles – treadmill

Feb 23: 4.4 miles – outside