Archive for May, 2011

NOH8

Posted in photos, random with tags , , , , on May 31, 2011 by afuntanilla

Last weekend I had the good fortune of being around friends who wanted to take our own NOH8 photos. This was something we had wanted to do with the “official” NOH8 folks when they came to Atlanta a few months ago, but it just didn’t work out at that time.

For those who may not know, the NOH8 campaign is a “photographic silent protest” due to the passage of Prop 8 in California in 2008. The passage banned same-sex marriage.

After a long and  fun evening celebrating K’s birthday, we came back to my place to take our photos, by the birthday girl, our official photographer. One of my friends brought a white sheet to use for background and it worked out perfectly.

There was something magical and special that happened. I noticed our groups energy had changed from the giggling, teasing, laughing to something more subdued and quiet. Maybe we were just getting tired, but I tend to believe it was something else…i think whether we were aware of it or not, we were all kinda taking in our “project”. L. had brought the NOH8 stickers and the duct tape. As she put the sticker on my cheek and as I put the tape on my mouth, I felt such a strong purpose and intention.

I think the photos speak for themselves.

 

 

 

I hope a day will come where the United States of America, the home of the free and the land of the brave, will be a place where men can marry men and women can marry women. I hope there will be a day when ALL PEOPLE are truly EQUAL. I hope I live to see that day.

Onward.


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I’m a runner…

Posted in photos, random with tags , , , on May 20, 2011 by afuntanilla

I’m a runner and a dreamer. I dream of grand things. I dream of breaking the tape and celebrating my own victory …of squashing my past results by 5 seconds or 5 minutes. I dream of slaying the ‘I Can’t’ dragon that roams beneath my consciousness.

I dream of running faster – fast enough for personal satisfaction, for inner victory and outward jubilation.

My heart is determined one. It screams and then applauds as I test the limits of its pre-conceived beliefs. It breaks a bit, when I falter, when I fall short of my goals – and yet, being a part my endurance runners body , it too endures, rebuilds, to give it another chance, to go for it. Once again.

I dream of the moment I will pump my fist and yell in glorious exhuberance of personal achievement.

I dream.

Chicago:2

Posted in motivation, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by afuntanilla

After picking up race # from Loop Guy’s condo, I walked the mile back to hotel and enjoyed the rest of my Saturday in Chicago; went to Intelligentsia Coffee (some of THE best coffee around), went into an awesome Photo Gallery on N. Michigan Avenue. Cesar Russ Photo. His photography was gripping, mesmerizing & inspiring. His website does not do his work justice, but it is http://www.cesarrussphot.com. The CROWN FOUNTAIN SERIES was awesome to see in person.

My initial thoughts before flying in were to go to the Cubs vs Giants game. Having never been to Wrigley Field before and with my favorite team in town, I wanted to go. However, with the weather looking more awful by the minute, the last thing i wanted to do was go sit in a cold, windy stadium for 3 or more hours. So, I watched the game from the comfort of the bar area at restaurant across from my hotel. I had a nice dinner, felt cozy and cheered my team on from the comfort of my bar stool. Went to sleep early and woke up at 5am feeling ready to race. Feeling refreshed and limber is a great thing on race day. I feel like those feelings/conditions have eluded me the last few races.

Appropriately dressed for rain/cold, I walked out of the Raffaello Hotel and headed west for the mile walk to race start. Windy, heavy drizzle slapped against me as I made my way towards the Lakeshore. I was so glad to finally see some runners and took comfort that we are all a bunch of crazy and awesome people.

Soon enough, the race began. The course was entirely along the Lakeshore paved path. Out and back. The narrow path proved to be a bit congested in many areas, but it’s not like I was trying to run 7 min miles or something…I kept a good pace for the first 6.5 miles out with the wind at my back at times and other times, it was coming from the west side. It was truly like being pelted with sheets of ice. No protection whatsoever. Left side of my face was frozen. Head too. Ouch, man. That hurt. Then, the wind would whip up and shove me forward.

For the 1st half of race (about 6.5 miles) I was running about 9:18 pace per mile, which was ok and I felt encouraged until I made the turn to head back the other direction. WOW. How to explain running into 25-30mph winds? Nothing to compare it to. Holy Cow. That’s about all I can say. I’ve run in wind before, but I have not run in WIND OFF OF LAKE MICHIGAN. Because I wear glasses, I had to wear a hat which was blown off of my head several times. I could not raise my head much, so I just kept my eyes downward and kept on going. With each step, it felt like I was being defeated. I felt like I had to make soo much effort to even go 5 feet forward. Not Kidding.

Did I ever think about stopping and bailing out? No. What I thought was…”Wow. I cannot believe I am voluntarily doing this.”  Honestly, I couldn’t think about much other than getting to the next mile and the next one until I was done. I looked out at the powerful ocean and the white-capped waves a few times. I gained strength from the runners in front of me, beside me, behind me. We were all in our own worlds and yet so connected by our passion, our goal. I believe, in our hearts, we were all aiming to be our own hero, someone we could be proud of…

And, I was. Proud. It took maybe a full 24 hours for me to truly feel proud and get over the disappointment of my finish time of 2:14:34. I know it was the conditions, etc…but I can’t help it. (In case you are just tuning in…i’ve been trying for a new PR at the Half-Marathon Distance.)

I grabbed my finisher medal, which is really nice by the way, and walked back to hotel. A bit later, I get an email from Loop Guy, who lives in a condo overlooking the race course:

Did ya get ur ass kicked by my windy city 😉

ME: kicked my ass and then some! Brutal conditions. The harshest i’ve ever run in during all my years of racing. or even training. But, it does make the finish line more sweet.
thanks again, Dom! I will make the donation and let you know when finalized.
did you watch from the cozy comforts of your condo?

Yep … got that right … was good timing to be on the injured reserve list hehehe
I was sittin in my watch tower … hot cup of coff … toasted french bagel … cream cheese … fresh fruit … anddddd gazing over the diehards … hehehe …. being pummeled with sheets of icy lake sweat …

Just thinking … somewhere in that mass of red runny noses, blured eyes, chattering teeth, … stands Angie … taking one for the team … hehehe … you go girl! … 

Thank you to Loop Guy and to all of you who support and cheer me on in my quests…your kind words, your encouragement, your positive energy mean more to me than I could ever properly or adequately express.

Cheers.

Onward.

How I Got to Chicago…

Posted in photos, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2011 by afuntanilla

After my last race on 4/16, I started looking for one more to run before the weather began getting way too hot. I found the Chicago Half-Marathon on 5/15. Flat, fast course right alongside Lake Michigan. Score.

I also took a peek at the SF Giants schedule to see where they were playing that weekend; in CHICAGO. SCORE Again!

I love Chicago. Ran my first 2 marathons there in 2000 and 2001. Pretty much a no-brainer decision to book the trip and enter the race, right?

Well…even with those good signs, for some reason, I still waffled.

I found yet another race in South Carolina. This would be my 3rd in a row in that state. The race was to be in a small town called Laurens, SC approximately 3 hours away from Atlanta by car. I can do that, i thought. So, I signed up for the race and was geared to go. I started checking the website on Thursday, the day before I was to drive over to the town. All of a sudden, I could not see any info about the race. WTH?

I saw they had a facebook link so i went there. I see the comment: “Due to low registration, we are cancelling the race.”

What?

So bummed. Also, a little irked they put the notice on facebook and not on the event website which was tied to the local YMCA. Or even send out an email to race participants. In my opinion, those things should be done simultaneously. Anyways, race cancelled and I was bummed. My first thought was, well, i guess i will just go try to “race” the 13.1 miles on my own at Silver Comet Trail. 

As i thought this, I was far from excited. It’s a bit tough to gear yourself up for trying to accomplish a personal best without the race atmosphere.

A little later on Thursday, i started thinking again about Chicago. “I could still make that race if I can get a decent fare for the flight.” When I had looked 3-4 weeks ago, prices were approx $250. Well., guess what….the prices were the SAME!! Unbelievable. Truly. Here I am about to take off in 2 days and price is the same as it was 3-4 ago. SCORE!!

Next: check race website for registration;

“Online registration has closed. No race day registration.”

Ok….what to do now?? How can i get a number? I emailed the race people early Friday morning, giving them my true sob story of other race being cancelled, etc…and could I PLEASE get an entry. They replied late Thursday that the race was sold out and they could not give me an entry.

I put the word out on twitter.

A friend checked Craigslist and found 1 entry. I emailed the individual & waited to hear. At that point, I just let go. I knew it was no sense in worrying. I’d either get a number and be legitimately in the race or I wouldn’t.

I heard back from Craigslist guy a bit later. Relieved he still had the number, but a little concerned — you know, a guy offers something, says come pick it up at his condo…hmm…wasn’t there some Criagslist killer out there somewhere…anyways…friend says, “Do not meet him at his condo, meet in public”. Of course, I knew THAT but glad to see I wasn’t thinking crazy. (it’s sad we even have to be concerned at all, but the world is what it is)

Anyways, before hearing back from CL guy, “LOOP GUY” his email said, I hopped on plane and arrived in Chicago. Upon landing, I checked my email and saw this:

This is a very nice half marathon … its small, and well organized … its the only half that offers a complete hot breakfast at the finish … mmmm

The number is yours if you still want it … but I do need to know asap, there are six other people who are very interested …

 You can pick it up at my building’s security desk, 360 East Randolph, “Buckingham” (desk is open 24hrs)

 I will leave it in an envelope with your name on it … you can pick it up today or Sunday before the race … which starts at 7:am …

 As far as the fee … I believe I paid $65 … this amount of money is not going to change my life, and Im sure not yours … but it can make a big difference to a charity …

Make a donation (any amount) to Deborah’s House … its my most fav charities … they do an excellent job in supporting homeless and abused women … you can make the donation via their website …

Happy running, and enjoy my great city 

Ok…Loop Guy does not seem like someone I need to be worried about…

I stayed downtown, in the heart of the hustle and bustle that is Chicago. The energy; so electric, fun, and energizing.

I dropped my bags off at hotel and made a beeline for Loop Guy’s condo about a mile away.

I love seeing all the people on N. Michigan Avenue; walking, talking, shopping, eating, drinking. Walking amongst the crowd I am able to hear snippets of many different conversations, many in different languages.

It was windy and drizzly and cold as I walked to the condo. Strong winds became even stronger the closer I got to the lake which is race locale. Of course I couldn’t help thinking how would tomorrow morning be..

Arrived at the condo and picked up the race#

Next Up: Race Report.

life, oh life…

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, random with tags , on May 11, 2011 by afuntanilla

my share

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 8, 2011 by afuntanilla

Gosh, was it really that long ago? Nearly 28 years. Yes, somedays, it truly seems that long ago and other days, as if it were yesterday. My memories, sometimes, so close I have difficulty breathing thru the choking grief. Other times, you are very far away – sometimes as if you were never there. And yet, you were. So many of your traits, both physical and not, have I inherited; your seriousness, sentimentality and a hope for goodness in all humans. Yes, those things are with me. A love of music and singing out loud no matter how good or not your voice is – yep, i got that too.

On occasions such as now, i cannot help but wonder how our relationship would have evolved – what would it be like today? If you were still alive, you would soon turn 68 years old. I wonder if you would have gotten healthy or continued down a sad path of self-destruction. Maybe you would have gone to therapy, turned all new-agey and led spiritual retreats. Or maybe your self-destruction would have caused us to drift and separate and become an old mother-daughter very difficult relationship.

We’ll never know. We were robbed. Or saved. Perhaps.

There were many times it was not easy to be your kid; you could be aloof, mean, hysterical, and rough. But. You were my mom. The one I went to when I hurt myself. The one I went to when I came home excited from events at school. The one to whom I said, “I love you, mom.”

I miss seeing your face and your eyes get all teary when i gave you some mushy hallmark card.

I miss being hugged.

I miss seeing your face light up, knowing I made your proud.

I miss knowing that I had you, mom.

And. So.

I thank you. For Giving Me Life.

For Giving Me Love.

For teaching me that we are all equal no matter what color or sex or if we look goofy or not goofy. Thank you for teaching me not to lie. Thank you for teaching me to stand up for what is right. For Justice. For those who need a voice.

Thank you for believing in me and for teaching me that I Could Be Anything and I Could Do Anything.

Your words did not fall on deaf ears nor did they go in one ear and out the other.

I heard you, Mom and I thank you.

With all my heart, I love you and hope you are resting in deep peace.