Archive for July, 2011

Been in similar shoes

Posted in motivation, photos, random with tags , , , , , , , on July 14, 2011 by afuntanilla

Before I became a crazy runner, Soccer was my love. I was not very good, but I was an average player. I played in high school and club teams and then 2 years at Santa Rosa Community College in Northern California. My 2nd year was the more memorable of the two seasons.
We had a new and awesome coach. She had been a star player at the local university, Sonoma State, and we were excited to have her on board. I was a starting midfielder who also played some forward position. I worked my ass off to BE a starter because like I said, I was a mediocre player. But, I always believed I would make a difference and stand out to my coaches if I just kept working hard to improve. (I was a team player but I still wanted to work harder than anyone else.)

So, our season went well and at the end of the regular schedule, we found ourselves in a familiar position; we had to beat another team in our league in order to progress to the State Championship. We had already beaten the team 2x during regular season, but one more time was needed to move on to State, The Ultimate Goal.

The year was 1991, i think. The game took place on our home field in Santa Rosa. I remember sitting in my white Honda CRX listening to a song called “One Moment In Time” by Whitney Houston. It was initially played in the 1988 Olympics and I loved it. It always provided me with inspiration, motivation and determination. I finished listening to the song and went to join my teammates for our game.

After 90 minutes, we were tied. I cannot recall the score, but we went into 1 overtime and it was still tied. Next, it was 2nd overtime. Still tied.
90 minutes. Tied.
Two 15 minute overtimes. Tied.

We moved on to penalty kicks with our season and our dream on the line.
The sidelines were packed with lots of people cheering for both sides. You could feel the tension, the pressure, the excitement. Both teams were exhausted, but it was time to see which team had more left in them.

Each coach had to pick 5 players to begin the kicks. I was not one of the 5 picked and I was devastated inside. I knew I was not a great player, but I also had 100% confidence I could hit the net for us. Well, each team sent one player at a time and after 5 kicks each, we were still tied. I think both teams had missed one. Player 6 needed to be chosen by coach. I was not that player. More inner devastation. Said 6th player ended up missing the kick and after the other teams turn, we had another chance. Player 7 chosen. It was me.

I had some friends on the sidelines cheering me on. I had my teammates cheering me on. I felt the weight of so much intensity and pressure. It was one of those moments you never forget.

I walked up to the penalty kick line and placed the ball where it needed to go. Just me and the goalkeeper. I was so alone and yet so supported. This was my moment. My one moment in time. How was I going to do?

I looked at the goalkeeper, got the o.k. from the referee to proceed.

I kicked the ball into the upper left hand corner of the net, just beyond the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper. I made it. We won.

We were going to the State Championship Game. I was yelling and screaming as were my teammates as we all mobbed each other on the field.
It was one of the most unforgettable and special moments of my life.

I share this memory because it came to mind as I have been watching the US Women’s Soccer Team in the World Cup. Watching their game vs Brazil was one of the best games, best finishes I have ever seen. A phenomenal clutch performance, especially playing a man down for about 50 minutes, in tough temperatures. They gutted it out and never quit. When Abby Wambach scored the tying goal with seconds remaining, I had chills and got teary-eyed in the midst of my pure excitement. What a moment. What a thrill this game of Soccer can be. I hope you are tuning in.

The words to the song were so fitting for me on that day, in particular. Here are some of the words:

Each day I live, I want to be
A day to give the best of me
I’m only one, but not alone
My finest day, is yet unknown

I broke my heart for every gain
To taste the sweet, I faced the pain
I rise and fall, yet through it all
This much remains

I want one moment in time
When i’m more than I thought i could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me

1H 2011

Posted in photos, races, random, road, travel with tags , , , on July 2, 2011 by afuntanilla

Sometimes, I think to myself, “man, my life is boring.” 

This morning, I’ve taken a little time to look back at some posts from beginning of 2011. 6 months. While doing so, I am reminded that my life is not boring. I’m really surprised to see how much I have done in 6 months, how much has happened and changed in 6 months. And, of course, there were many things that I have not written about that also come to mind.

So, here’s a recap and reflection of 6 months of running and other life stuff:

RUNNING: Raced 4 Half-Marathons between March-May. Looking back on it, I see that it was too much. I think I went a little crazy after racing so well in December at Las Vegas Half. I was motivated and inspired to break my PR of 2:01:44. That time was from my very 1st half-marathon in 1999. One might think i’d have surpassed that time by now, but i haven’t. Honestly, i hadn’t even focused on it too much until last 1-1/2 years. So, yeah, upon reflection, i see that 4 races in such a short time was too much on my body. I probably would have fared better if I would have chosen just 1 or 2 to focus on. But, like I said, i was a little crazy after Vegas and wanted to try and I kept thinking of the weather. I wanted to get it done BEFORE the heat and humidity kicked up and started to kick my ass (like it is now). Alas, I did not break my PR and it will have to wait for another day cuz now we are in summer in Atlanta and I don’t need to explain any further. I have no regrets though. I ran in 3 different/new places, (chicago was not new) saw new terrain and traveled with friends. It all adds up to neat experiences now in my memory bank and on the blog! 🙂

Travel/Leisure: I also took a good many trips first half of 2011. For races, I drove to Albany, GA, Clemson SC, and Columbia, SC. Flew to Chicago. I also took 2 trips back to California; San Francisco in March & Los Angeles in June.

I had a friend visit in May and I also changed where I work. That was the biggest thing of all and I am still finding my way at my new place. I’m still settling in and adjusting to the differences. The adjustment has been harder than I imagined…or maybe, unsettling is the word. I know I am being challenged in a new way. My way of thinking is challenged. Perhaps some old, worn out, long held beliefs of mine are being challenged also. I’m very much in the thick of it and like I said, trying to find my way.

For the second half of 2011, I am first and foremost focused on my next marathon. September 25th (my birthday) in Half Moon Bay, CA…about 20 minutes outside of San Francisco. As I was looking at the race calendar about a month ago, I saw that race and the Lake Tahoe Marathon both on 9/25. With the help of some friends, I decided on HMB. I’ve also wanted to run Lake Tahoe. It’s one of my favorite places and I know it would be a good challenge do to the elevation/altitude changes. But, that will have to wait for another day.

So, yep..i’m running again on my birthday. I’m thrilled. And mostly, I am thrilled because for the FIRST TIME EVER, friends will be running “with me”. Let me explain: in addition to the marathon, there will be a Half-Marathon and a 10k race. So, a few friends from the bay area decided to sign up for those races. For most of them, this will be their first event ever. First Ever Road Race!! I am thrilled beyond words. It brings me much joy to hear and read about the excitement. THEIR excitement is KEEPING me motivated. I keep saying, I am not going to train in the summer again, but here I am in full Atlanta heat and humidity. So, yes, any additional motivation is appreciated and welcome. No matter how long I’ve been running, it still takes a little something extra to get out there and know the suffering will be additional simply due to weather conditions. But, no whining! That’s what I signed up for!

I am so proud of my friends. Everyone’s got their own story, their own reasons, their own internal reasons why they are participating. I know they will learn a lot about themselves in the next few months.

I actually created a “community blog” over at

Some of us are posting over there. Come check it out.


p.s. I still feel like my life is kinda boring…but that’s another story for another day. HaHa