Archive for January, 2012

On The Road

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2012 by afuntanilla

I thought I would be supremely inspired to write now that I am on the road, but truth be told, I have not been inspired in the least! But, perhaps…that is where to begin. 

I left Atlanta this past Monday, Jan 23rd.  The “yellow brick road” was a very wet one. Rained for the first 2 hours until I hit Birmingham, AL. Afterwards, smooth sailing into my first destination, Oxford, MS. Notes about Oxford: a quaint, clean town. Home to University of Mississippi or more commonly known as OLE MISS. Lots of red brick buildings (typical of the south) and a cute “historic”downtown square. For you readers out there, William Faulkner made Oxford his home as did John Grisham for many years. Surprisingly, I did not find the locals there to be all that friendly. Strange, I thought. I did find a good bookstore and a place for breakfast. The breakfast place is called Bottletree Bakery! Wonderful granola! I did go for a run there, but will share about the running in my weekly recap. 

Next stop: Little Rock, AR

I departed Oxford and headed west, then northwest to Little Rock, AR, bypassing Memphis. I chose this more northerly route because all the other times (3) I have been across country, I have traveled thru Texas and wanted to see some other states this time. Unfortunately, there was not a lot to see on this drive to Arkansas. I pulled into Little Rock late in the day and actually just ate dinner at my hotel. I wish I had something more exciting to tell you, but I don’t. I’ve been staying at Holiday Inn Express Hotels and so far, all have been pretty good places to stay. You know I am a coffee snob, so I have not had too much of the hotel coffee and the next morning, I went in search of a coffee shop in little rock. I actually wanted to serif I could find alternate places to Starbucks. I tried. I found a place and ordered a regular coffee. I hate to say it, but I left and had to chuck the coffee…yikes. Ok…where is nearest Starbucks…

..I found it! Ok…onward to Oklahoma City! 

More rain greeted me on this third day of my journey. Rained a good bit, but pulled in OKC with blue skies and sunshine.  I easily found the main downtown area and more specifically, the basketball arena. I had considered going to the NBA game that night, but then decided against it when I could not find a hotel room anywhere nearby! Bummerstay had to stay on the outskirts of town and saw a Mexican place within walking distance. I thought maybe this place would have good food and margaritas, but no…damn! Well, at least the meal was cheap…I am without a job, you know! 

I ran the next morning and then took off for East New Mexico. I mean no offense to anyone who lives in either OKC or Little Rock, but as I spent just a little bit of time there, I found both places to be rather dreary and depressing. Perhaps, it is because of winter. All I can say is that being there made me appreciate where I have lived (Atlanta) and where I am headed to next (SF)

From OKC, I headed west and then Southwest and stayed in a very small town called Santa Rosa, NM. I could have gone longer, but I am trying not to drive more than 6-7 hours a day. Beyond that, it just isn’t too much fun! I got a recommendation for dinner and margaritas from the hotel front desk clerk. Both the food and margaritas were better than my previous 2, but still far from what I am accustomed to….I guess I am becoming a margarita snob in additon to a coffee snob. OK. I can probably live with that….

I love the SouthWest. When you drive across it, it’s hard not to just continuously drop your jaw in disbelief over the beauty of the landscape. And the quiet….ahhh, it’s so amazingly quiet. One of the things I have noticed since I have been traveling is how my mind has just been quieter and quiter….the inner noise is virtually non-existent. It’s as if the driving has been my traveling meditation. Wonderfully peaceful. 2 weeks ago, my head was filled with so much stress, noise, worry….and it has all but simply fallen away….no doubt some of it will come back, because actually a certain amount of stress is good, but it’s nice to have the quiet for now, both internally and externally. 

I left early the next morning and headed towards Flagstaff, with a brief stop in Albuquerque. I thought I might stop and stay in Santa Fe or Taos, but as I got closer and closer, I was just now drawn to do so….I think I just want to get “home”. I stopped for a cappuccino and a couple of grocery items in Albuquerque and then kept truckin’ on to Flagstaff, AZ. And that is where I currently am, Flagstaff. Cool little town in Northern Arizona! Decided to stay 2 nights. Ran this morning and will catch up on the running posts tomorrow. Hope to get another run in tomorrow morning before heading to Las Vegas! 

 

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Week 3 Run Recap

Posted in road, travel with tags , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by afuntanilla

Week 3 was another super short mileage week. Just didn’t have time to run more with everything going on with my relocating back to SF BAY AREA. Ran 3 days and longest as 5.2 miles.
I am now on the road in route to the bay area. Currently in Oxford, MS. I hope to get a run in tomorrow morning and then a good breakfast at a place called Bottletree Bakery that is suppossed to be pretty good. Then, I will be able to say I have run in Mississippi 🙂

I feel like I need to find a race to do soon. Even maybe just a 5 or 10k! Maybe I can find one wherever my travels take me to this weekend. I’m hoping to run quite a bit along this road trip.

Week 3: Approx total miles: 12

Stay strong, healthy and hungry for your dreams! ONWARD!

Week 2 Run Report

Posted in road, travel with tags , , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by afuntanilla

Only ran 3 days during the 2nd week of the year. Had a lot going on and plus Week 1 was a pretty good start in terms of volume. Best runs was on Sunday. Ran outside on one of my normal routes and didn’t have to much of a plan regarding pace, but I wanted to do 5-6 miles. I was feeling ok but really couldn’t judge my pace because my freaking GARMIN 110 has completely died and I am wearing my regular NIKE watch with doesn’t have GPS.
Let me take a moment to gripe about GARMIN for a minute. My first GARMIN watch was the 205 which I wore for quite sometime without much problem except that it did take a while to find the GPS signal much of the time. It died about a year ago and I felt like I got good “mileage” out of it. I bought my first 110 about 18 months ago and within a few months, it was giving me problems. Luckily, Garmin replaced it, without requiring a receipt. However, they replaced it with a different color. The gave me the one with a PINK stripe on it, as opposed to the all BLACK one which is the one I bought. PINK! ICK! But, oh well right…was glad I got it back and it worked fine for about a year. Then, the HR monitor stopped working. OK. I just let it go and moved on. Then, the whole damn thing just DIED. BLANK. Nothing there! Should have been fully charged. BLANK.
Suffice it to say, I am done with GARMIN. To pay their prices for a product that lasted a year is just not worth it. Until I get super anal about having my pace at my disposable every second of every run, I will be fine to just run with my sturdy NIKE watch…which I’ve had for about 6 years and no problems, by the way. I map the distance in my car afterwards or on mapmyrun.com — same thing i did before having a GPS watch. Ok. enough about that!

So, the Sunday run…I felt good first couple of miles which are the ones with the most hilly portions. I knew after about 2.5 miles that my pace had accelerated, but couldn’t tell how much. I was feeling good and happy and it was a gorgeous day and good running temperatures. As I approached the 40 minute mark, I knew from past runs approximately where I was in terms of mileage and I figured my pace was pretty good. I came to a short downhill section and sped up and then finished with a about another half-mile of a rolling section. That last section, I just turned it on a found a deeper gear. Lungs were stretching, thighs were burning, heart was pounding. End result = 5.2 miles @ 8:41 pace. BEST PACE IN A WHILE. HAPPY RUNNER!

2012 Week 2 – approx 13 miles

**Big things happening. Last day at my current employer/job is tomorrow, FRIDAY! Next Monday, I plan to leave Atlanta and make my way back home to San Francisco in my sporty BMW. Hope I don’t hit any snow. Everyone keep their phones handy for a 911 call from me! 🙂

Week 1 Run Report

Posted in motivation, photos, road, shoes with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2012 by afuntanilla

The first week of 2012 started off pretty good with the running. I mixed in treadmill with street running and felt ok. I did start to notice my longest run, my 6.4 miler, didn’t feel too great toward the second half. That could be for a variety of reasons: 1) my weekly mileage was higher than lately 2) overall fatigue 3) stress effects

As mentioned in previous posts, I have been running steadily, but low mileage. I’ve been enjoying it and for the most part, having more quality sessions. I want to keep up both, the quality and enjoyment.

I have not yet decided on any races for 2012, but I know I will NOT be running the Birmingham Half Marathon in February. I should be already moved to California by then, so that race is out. A bit of a bummer as I LOVE that race! (hmmmm, maybe I should try to find a race to run while I am driving cross country!)

My favorite runs this week were the 2 days of treadmill running on Jan 1st and 2nd. 5 miles each time at 9:14 pace, which is good for me right now. A good pace to start the year and only get better as i train to achieve my main near term goal of running a half marathon under 2 hours!

I’ve been running some of the same routes lately…especially one in particular…a route thru the Druid Hills neighborhood/Emory University. It’s beautiful, quiet with various small hills both up and down and it just plain fuels me!! I am soaking in all my moments. Taking it all in.

My last run of the week was just a short 3.5 miler on treadmill on Sunday.


Afterwards though, I did some weights/strength training and then saw another opportunity.
I love running stairs! When I run stairs, I usually run the ones in our stairwell post run outside. 6 good flights.
But, I saw these and figured, “why not?!”
So, I got some good repeats on these bad boys done as well.


Felt awesome. It’s one thing to push yourself, but can you push yourself when it seemingly doesn’t matter, when no one is around but you. Can you? Do it. Push yourself. Amaze yourself. Feel freaking awesome!

The Shoes I’ve been running in most lately are these:

THE KSWISS KWICKY BLADE-LIGHT. Awesome Shoe! An incredibly light shoe coming in a 8oz. I love the feel of it. It’s the lightest shoe I’ve ever run in. I thought the K-ONA’s were light at 9oz and this is even lighter and I can feel the difference. My foot feels snug and comfortable and I feel FAST. FASTER. 🙂
I wasn’t sure I would like the color when I looked at it on website, but when I put them on, I loved the color and the feel of shoe.

I have been exclusively doing my road running in K-SWISS shoes for about 2 years now and I can’t see any reason to stop. They make some good shoes.

2012 Week 1 – approx 23 miles

Hope YOUR 2012 has started off well. Onward. Let’s go.

Catapult

Posted in photos with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2012 by afuntanilla

CATAPULT; to thrust, move suddenly or quickly

I first came to Atlanta in 1999, July. Moved here from San Francisco, which always surprises people. WHY would you move from San Francisco to Atlanta? It’s not an easy thing to explain, but I will try….see if you can follow along. 🙂

I had been to Atlanta twice before moving and had spent time here and LOVED it. The landscape is unlike anything out west. A bounty of trees, so damn lush and gorgeous. Maybe like a drop dead gorgeous woman so that when you see her, you just stop and stare. Soak her in. That is the Atlanta landscape. (not so much in winter, but you get the picture)

Atlanta is enough Southern so that one does feel it, in a good way. The slower pace, the true Southern Ways. You know..people of all ages addressing one as “ma’am” and “sir”. I find it endearing. People are kind here…and yes, many Southern Charmers. And contrary to popular misconceptions, Atlanta is VERY metropolitan. Very. Even more so now than when i moved here in 1999.

So…that is a little of what DREW me to this Southern City. Looking back, I also believe I needed to leave the Bay Area, which is more accurate to say. I didn’t leave San Francisco. I left the Bay Area. I left the Bay Area that had had so many very difficult memories for me. Very difficult and very painful. If you know my story, you understand. One might say I was “running” away from them, but I don’t see it that way. I really view it as something I needed to do for me. I needed to leave the nest. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy to leave. I was excited for an entire new place, new opportunities and to see what I could do on my own. I am a firm and loud believer in wandering. I think more people should do it. You can discover a lot about yourself while wandering. I, was wandering…

Almost 13 years have now passed. Wow. In many ways, I feel like I really “grew up” here in Atlanta. Became an adult. Been very focused on my career and have enjoyed that process. My running has also truly accelerated here. I did my first BIG RACE in January 1999 (before moving) in San Francisco; The Home Depot Half-Marathon. My finish time was 2:01:43 — a record i am still trying to break! After that race, I was hooked and proceeded to run and run while living in Atlanta. Luckily for me, my living situation/income etc has allowed me to travel for many races. 13 years later. Still very much hooked on the running.

One of the biggest issues of my life has been a constant nagging feeling of feeling like i belong anywhere. I think maybe we all have one or two or three or…nagging issues, don’t we?? Well, this is mine. It’s been huge. It is constant and can be a real freakin’ downer. DOWNER!

Well…I realize that I have a part in perpetuating this feeling. Some of it is real and true and some of it is stuff I create. There are people who know me, who really know me. Who really love me. And I have chosen to be far away from them. Well, that will certainly help me feel like i don’t belong and not connected. Duh!

Throughout my years in Atlanta, I have been unhappy on a deeper, spiritual level. For whatever reason, I have not been able to create the kind of relationships or community that helps sustain me on the inside and I think we all need that as part of our life. I read back to journals from 3, 5 years ago and read where I question why i am still living in Atlanta. Obviously, living here for as long as I have, there have been reasons for me to stay. I have been fulfilled here it some ways, but ultimately, for me, it has been like a spiritual desert. Over these 13 years, I have traveled back to the Bay Area to visit friends and more and more, those visits have provided me with a shot of the best juice i could possibly give myself. And it hasn’t just been my friends…it’s been the place…the San Francisco Bay Area…the water, the culture, the diversity, the abundance of so many good things….I kept going back to visit to get INJECTIONS of all this good stuff. Each time I have been back, over the last 5 years especially, I appreciate the place more and more. There is truly no place like it. I’ve been around the country a few times, so i feel i can legitimacy say those words! Back in October/November, I was having one of the worst times of my life and where did I seek comfort and nourishment…back in the Bay Area with my friends, who are my family. This past year, 2011, I traveled to the Bay Area 4 times. I finally got the message.

Things in my work environment have changed and it’s definitely time for me to leave a situation. It definitely has had good points, but I think when one becomes quiet enough, the message is there in the quiet, inner space. My message has been to leave a situation that no longer suits me. A relationship at work that is no longer serving me. Sometimes, we just have to move on and that’s what it is for me. Time to move on.

So. Yes. I am going home. Finally going home. I’m excited and a bit nervous, but mostly excited. I’ve been thinking about this for a loooong time and finally have gotten the courage to take the leap. As mentioned, 2011 was a tough year. However, it was a spontaneous meeting by the water with a friend with a red rooster in my hand that helped catapult this decision. At that moment, my year changed and ultimately, the direction of my life.

With a deep breath, I look forward to 2012 and all of its challenges and opportunities and adventures. I hope you’ll follow me along the way.

Onward…

p.s. so much more to say, but will save for a later time