Archive for October, 2011

Life-Line

Posted in random with tags , , , on October 31, 2011 by afuntanilla

So… even though I have not written about running lately, I have been. Running, that is.

Of course, I am always changing my mind when it comes to training and the level of training. Before my last race and while I was in the midst of feeling so much physical difficulty, I said I would back off after my birthday run and really give my body a chance to rest. HA.

As you recall, if you have been a reader of this blog, I had a disappointing (understatement) marathon training segment this past summer. Several factors played into what happened to me physically and mentally, but at the end of the day, it was just flat out disappointing. I felt slow, exhausted, never good enough, and wasn’t really having any fun. I was also on a vegetarian nutrition plan and went quite a while with no alcohol or sweets. I felt consumed with training and yet, I was not getting the results I wanted and again, I really wasn’t having any fun. I now also realize I was completely discounting how much some other things in my life were affecting my training. Work had been extremely stressful and some personal stuff was also difficult this summer. So… i had a perfect cocktail recipe for a tough time with no balance and we know that a life out of balance is a perfect recipe for disaster. Physically, i felt like a disaster and of course, I hated that feeling. I like to feel fit, healthy and “ready to go”. I’m only now realizing all the things that played into the “disaster” and how it all got created.
Making that decision back in September to drop from Marathon to Half Marathon felt excruciatingly difficult…as if my life depended on it…Of course, it didn’t, and some people may even wonder what the big deal is. Like anything else, when something is important to you, perhaps only you truly understand your decision making process and the feelings associated with it. Of course, it was not the end of the world. Life went on and I went on to run a respectable half-marathon.

Since that race, I have definitely cut back on the amount of training. I am only running 2-4 days a week and I have not focused much at all on the number of miles. I have mostly focused on speed and I have felt better than I have in a LOOOONG time. I have been having some of my best runs in terms of TIME/PACE and most importantly, I have been thoroughly enjoying myself. I have been pushing my pace and been loving it. It’s been so awesome to feel my legs turning over faster, my arms pumping faster and my breathing deeper. My lungs have been burning and my quads have been aching from my faster paces. I have been running hilly routes and not losing my stride. I have been pushing through and then zooming on the downhill sections. SO FREAKING FUN. Fun like I am cycling down a fast, fast hill and I am flying down it. I feel free.

And today’s run was kinda a snapshot of the ones I have experienced lately.
I went out thinking I would go 5 or 6 with only a few very moderate incline/declines along the way.
I had run a “fast” 3 miles last night at 5pm, and today’s run would be done less than 24 hours after that so i wasn’t sure how my legs would respond.
I parked in Virginia-Highlands, slipped on my iPod, and off I went on a crisp late morning in Atlanta.
The instrumental version to “Empire State of Mind” by Katy Perry was the 1st song that played and I was in my moment. AAHHHHHHH —
I ran on and found my stride. By 2nd mile, i could feel my legs getting a little tired. I took some water and trucked on up the hill and was super focused. I ran through Inman Park and into The Old 4th Ward. Mile 3 passed. Flat stretch and a little downhill now. Just hoping to hit the green lights and I did. Faster, faster. 4 miles done. Realized I was only gonna run 5. Dug in and stepped it up. Found a deeper gear. Mile 5 done.
5 miles at 8:56 pace per mile. Faster than I have run in a few years, at least. Felt fucking awesome!
I’m so looking forward to my 10k race next Saturday.

It’s worth noting that during this time of faster results in training and feeling more joy in the process, I have not been nearly as “focused” or as much of a stickler on my nutrition…i.e.. i am eating red meat once a week to help with iron levels, i am taking a multivitamin, i am drinking when I feel like it and i am enjoying my cookie cravings.

When I completed my run, I had to walk about half mile up the hill to where my car was parked. Alicia Keys’ version of “Empire State of Mind” came on the pod and I was singing loudly as I walked up the street. Then, I kept throwing my little water bottle up in the air and catching it and then throwing it and running to catch it…a la football. It was pure joy, I tell you. PURE. I wish I could have seen my face or taken a video clip of this true, simple, and joyful moment. I was so full.

Running… one of my life-lines.

Zoom Zoom.

Advertisements

Life-Boat

Posted in random with tags , , on October 30, 2011 by afuntanilla

During my 20’s, while I lived in California, I did some workshops that were all geared toward learning about oneself and how to deepen the relationship with yourself and others. One of the workshops was a 3.5 day event from morning until evening. It was held in Mill Valley and was super intense from an emotional perspective. My experience that weekend is still very fresh in my mind and I feel I am still learning from the teachings and the subsequent teachings with that particular group.
One of the scenarios/exercises we did has come into my memory recently and I remember it with a bittersweet feeling. Here’s what happened…
The large group of about 75 people were led on a guided meditation with a story. We had to imagine we were all on a plane and our plane had crashed. There was a small raft that could fit 10 people and those were the people who would able to escape the crash and save themselves. Each one of us had to decide if we wanted to be one of the 10 voted onto the raft or if we would be willing to give up our seat for someone else in the group. After the meditation, each one of us had to stand up in front of the group and in 30 seconds explain your choice. If you wanted a seat on raft, you had to explain why you felt you were worthy of it. You had to state your case as to why you should be one of the 10 chosen. And conversely, if you did not want a seat, if you were willing to give it up for someone else, you had to explain your reasoning.
Well, I was about the 10th individual to go and state my case. Basically everyone before me had said they didn’t want a spot…that they had lived a full life and it was ok for them to be off the raft…or they said they didn’t feel they were any more worthy than next person, so they basically opted out. I sat in my seat absolutely stunned that these people were basically killing themselves, unwilling to fight for their lives. Even though I was terrified to stand up and speak in front of 75 people, I was also bursting at the seams to jump out of my seat and explain to the group that HELL YES, I wanted a seat on the raft. I wanted to live!
And, so I did just that. I had 30 seconds and I only used about 10. I think I said something about being young and passionate about life And YES, I WANT TO BE ON THE BOAT. My voice was loud, steady and my words were said with conviction. When I was done talking, I just stood there for the remainder of my 30 seconds and then sat down. The rest of the group proceeded and more people gave up their seat rather than fight for it, although there were others who made strong cases for being on the raft. I continued to be baffled though by the sheer number of people who were sheepish and who were giving up so easily.
Next came decision time. Each person had to vote on paper the 10 people they felt were worthy of the seat on raft. Who would the survivors be? Who would be voted on to go and live and be a good parent, a good citizen, etc…

The voting was finalized and the names were announced. As each person was announced, they were to go stand at front of the room.

I was not chosen. I was not voted on the raft.

I was truly shocked and a bit angry and upset. I mean, crap, I was actually one of the few people who said they wanted to live and I wasn’t voted on? What hell?

We were then given an opportunity to hear feedback from the group and the leaders of workshop if we wanted. You could ask for feedback on why or why you were not chosen.
I asked for feedback. The person whose comments continue to stand out for me were those of one of the workshop leaders.

“Angie…yeah, you know, I DID vote for you to be on the raft. In addition to being one of the only people who didn’t kill themselves, in liked your presence up there and I GOT that you truly wanted a seat, that you really wanted to live. I wanted you on the boat with me. I got it, but there’s a way that your peers did not GET it…and that is where your work is.”

There was and is no right answer to being on the raft. The exercise was used as a way to really see yourself. A mirror. A tool. Pretty damn powerful. Even still…

blood, bonds and costumes

Posted in random with tags on October 29, 2011 by afuntanilla

family. tribe. whether we want to or not, we are all members of a family, a tribe. we may be connected by blood, by common interests, by our work or other means. when a tribe comes together and stays together for any significant period of time, bonds are formed. through the good, bad and ugly, bonds are formed. we develop our routines, our patterns and we develop our expectations within the tribe. as the days pass and we come and go, we get ourselves in a groove and we become familiar with what is. we come to rely on those tribal mates for our everyday survival…whether that be to see their face everyday, hear their voice or joke around with them. throughout the every day mundane that is undoubtedly a part of any tribal community, we build bridges, we cross over rivers to meet each other, we cheer for each other, we care when things go wrong, we laugh together and we commiserate together. history gets built over the years and thru the mundane of the life lived together. it’s not always exciting or fun or even noteworthy, but the history gets made and all of sudden, you wake up and realize you know so much about your tribal mates and they you.

and then. there is a yank of separation. a tribe mate voluntarily departs; calmly, yet violently…for how else can one describe the yank of separation from everything that is known, everything that is familiar. it is a brutal, violent and painful jolt from all current reality. a torturous yank of separation from the tribe who is all you know. the willing individual walks away from those that have helped shape, nurture and love them. And yet, it doesn’t feel so willing. it feels as if a huge beast flew into the nest and tore our tribe apart..The Big Beast flies away, carrying the member as they scream viciously in silence. Unable to be heard, unable to fight off the wicked beast.

And yet, don’t we all have to leave the tribe at some point in order to grow? Don’t we all have to peak our heads out and take a chance? or should always stay with that which is so comfortable, stable & familiar? How will we ever grow and be challenged if we stay with what is familiar and easy and comfortable?

Wearing a willing suit, I walked away. I was heavily disguised.

Six months later and the suit, the costume, has been torn, ripped to shreds.

Happy Halloween.

today

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2011 by afuntanilla

Can you see it? It’s there…just up ahead a bit. You know, that place…that place. No, that STEP. That step you want to get to is right there. You are on your way to reaching that step that will take you higher, that will invigorate your spirit once more, that will inject spiritual juice into your veins of life.

You’re a dreamer. I know. And to reach dreams, we must first reach steps. Each dream, every goal has steps that must be met and surpassed along the way. You are well on your way. Don’t look back. Forge ahead. There will be plenty of time to look back later. Keep shedding what is no longer needed and useful. Thank it with dignity and grace and then shed. Move on. Keep the load light and your heart open. Keep your arms loose and your eyes focused.

Feel your heart beating faster? It’s working hard for ya. Be good to it.

The crest is close…up around the bend. Rise up. Keep going.

Keep Soaring.

The Half

Posted in motivation, photos, races, travel with tags , , , on October 3, 2011 by afuntanilla

I completed the Half Moon Bay Half Marathon last Sunday on my 41st Birthday. I wrote a full race report on http://halfmoonrunners.blogspot.com/  

but I also wanted to post a few things here.

My finish time was 2:11:51 and I was ok with this finish. The course was a simple, yet very scenic out and back flat course alongside the vast Pacific Ocean. The morning was a bit overcast, about 65 degrees. Perfect running temperatures! As I made my way to start line, I saw Scott Jurek standing off to the side. I had listened to his talk the day before. He spoke of his ultra running experience and talked a lot about the mental toughness needed for such races, and any race, really. I appreciated his down-to-earthness, humor, and humility. I went up to him pre-race and introduced myself and chatted a few minutes. Pretty neat pre-race motivation, inspiration, huh?!
And with that, I was off on my journey. As I began the race, I was filled with gratitude to be there with good friends, to be there with a very able body and to be in beautiful, peaceful & powerful surroundings. My view to my right was all the Pacific…her waves coming and crashing and settling…and repeat. I was settling in myself, with each step, each breath…just paying attention to my body and finding my pace. I kept taking deep breaths to take in and smell all around me and drink in all i could. A slight, slight wind wound fall upon me every now and again. Soon, I was about to reach the turn around point…the fancy Ritz-Carlton was there in the short distance…looking much like a castle on a cliff in Europe somewhere. My body was holding up ok. In general, my race felt like a decent training run. As I made my return route and I saw the Full Marathon runners making their way out AGAIN (they did double out and back) believe me, I was glad to not be among them today. It was a sound, smart decision to just go with the 13.1.
Every race is an adventure, an opportunity to learn. It’s a mirror to see who I am on that given day. I learned that it was good to chose the shorter race, i learned that i could still very much have a good experience while lowering my expectations. I learned its OK to lower my expectations and that mental toughness is not just about PUSHING HARDER.

If you have followed me and this blog for awhile then you know i often write about heroes and being your own hero. Well, on Sunday Sept 25th, 5 of my friends also ran their race that day. Some of them for the first time ever. They signed up, made a commitment, got to the starting line and finished. I tell you now. Those are my heroes.

Here’s a pic of me with 3 of those folks; Holly, Delaney and Alec

and of course, I had to do one of my “tasting life” poses!!