Archive for November, 2012

Turkey Trotting

Posted in browns, motivation, photos, races, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2012 by afuntanilla

I’ve run or raced on Thanksgiving many times. In fact, I can’t recall when the last time it was I didn’t run/race on the holiday. While living in Atlanta, I raced the Atlanta Half Marathon on turkey day many times and other times, I just went for a quiet run on my own. THIS year was a bit different. Now that I live in Petaluma, I found out there was a race on Thanksgiving…a local “turkey trot”. Only, this was not a “formal” race with paid registration and t-shirts, etc…This was simply a run organized by a wonderful local woman and this was year #6. To give you an idea of the “feel” of the event, here is some of the description from the website:

The basic idea is simple – a group fun run. No registration, no fee, no volunteer support, no T-shirts. Just running or walking with community and feeling darn good about the calorie burn before the big feast.

In lieu of a registration fee, we were to bring food items for the local food bank.

So…Sharon did the run last year and coerced me into joining her this year. 🙂 There was a 4 mile and 6 mile option. We both had said we would just do the 4 miler. The run started at a park about 1/2 mile from my house and it was fun to arrive early and see everyone milling about and bringing food, etc. We ran into another friend, who upon hearing I was running the 4 miler said, “can i challenge you to do the 6?” What? OK. I’m in. I have not been running too much and certainly not been running any hills so i figured it would be a good challenge. Pretty soon we were on our way. The first 2 miles are basically a gradual, steep, and steeper uphill into the heart of Helen Putnam Park. The next 2 were on narrow hard packed dirt trails in and around the park. A few times, we came to open areas that looked like this:

Tough place to run, huh?!! GORGEOUS! I have run in this park before but had not been here since last Jan/Feb when I was training for a trail race in Muir Woods. It was good to be back and be off the pavement. At the onset, I was relaxed and felt really low key  — but then once I started running and especially when I made my way into the park, my competitive juices took over. I kept noticing these 2 women in front of me and I just could not seem to catch them. Ever have that feeling??? I was passing some people, but still could not catch them. The 2 miles we did in the park were all up and down hills and on the downhills, I just tried to fly down them and I did! I LOVE that feeling of being in the open so free and when my stride opens up. AHHHHH! As I was coming onto the start of the final 2 mile portion of the race, the race organizer, snapped this photo of me:

Once I crested over this area, it was basically 2 miles all downhill to the finish. The 2 women were still in my sights and I started to push hard and harder and I guess they did too! My legs were burning and aching, my breathing was heavy and my arms were flailing about and yet…i still could not catch them. I probably got to within 200-300 feet and I just let it go. We were less than 1/4 mile to the finish but I just had nothing left. AND WHAT A GREAT FEELING THAT WAS!!! I found the 2 speedy women afterwards and congratulated them on a great run and we chatted for a bit. Soon afterwards, I greeted Sharon and I know we both felt great and accomplished. Awesome way to the start of what was a wonderful Holiday. Me at the end:

NEW TOPIC:

So, did you see it? Did you catch it? Of course, I am talking about the 3rd win of the season for the Underdog, Cleveland Browns!! They battled against their interstate rival, Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday in Cleveland, on the banks of Lake Erie. Let me assure you, this is an intense sports rivalry and there is no love loss between the teams and fans. Pittsburgh was in the unfortunate position of having to start their 3rd string QB, since #1 and #2 were unavailable. Boo hoo. No sympathy here.

The Steelers played awful. They had 8 turnovers. Pretty much no team will win when they turn the ball over that much. Most of the turnovers were fumbles by the running backs, which I was surprised about, but hey, I will take it. Thank you. The Browns did what they should have done; they took advantage of these opportunities and played good enough to win 20-14, at home in front of their home crowd who cheer them on RELENTLESSLY! I’m telling you there is NO FAN BASE like that of the BROWNS! I followed the game online and was so happy they won, in case you couldn’t tell!

Next up, they have a fantastic opportunity to secure their 4th win of the season against the truly awful Oakland Raiders. Since the Raiders are here locally, I watch some of the games on tv…and they are not easy to watch. They are one of the worst teams in the league….and I say this knowing my Browns are NOT that much better, but I believe Cleveland is a better team. And should win. Mark it down. I said it. Browns will win. Hope I’m not the turkey…

Here’s a pic of one of the best players on the team, if not The Best, Running Back Trent Richardson. He’s having an awesome season. Go BROWNS!!

Advertisements

The Underdog

Posted in browns, motivation, photos, random, running with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2012 by afuntanilla

Last night, I went to the gym for a run on the treadmill. I hopped on and turned the attached TV to ESPN. I saw there was a college basketball game on. I don’t have any real interest in college basketball, but I left it on because it was something sporty to watch. As I ran, I was in my own world, happy to be moving my body and listening to music on my iPOD. I was sort of watching the game and saw that it was unranked BUTLER vs #9 ranked North Carolina. Because I do follow sports in general, I know UNC is always a powerhouse basketball team and has a legacy of great teams. The game had only been on for a few minutes, but already Butler had a big lead..more than 10 points. And so, it caught my attention. How was this “little” team beating UNC? So, I started watching more closely and I clearly saw how Butler was in the lead; they were OUT HUSTLING UNC! Those Butler kids were getting to all the loose balls, getting the offensive and defensive rebounds and making many 3 point shots. They seemed quicker and hungrier. And this is exactly what I love about UNDERDOGS…whether it’s a team, an individual; whether its sports related of just LIFE in general….I love the EFFORT, the HUSTLE, the DETERMINATION. I love to see all those things put forth and watch it completely ignite a person or a team and be such a huge catalyst going forward. And, this is one of the reasons I love SPORT…because I don’t even have to care about the teams or know anything about them to gain something from watching. Sport teaches. Period. In a world where many negative news stories are out there about individuals and teams, etc…I prefer to pay attention and focus on the lessons, the inspiration, the motivation. And yes, I love the Underdog and will continually root for them.

Where did that come from?? Well, I grew up with 2 older brothers and one liked our local Oakland Raiders and the other one liked the Minnesota Vikings (have no idea why). We were watching football one day and The Cleveland Browns were playing. Brian Sipe was the QB and Ozzie Newsome was the TE. They had NO emblem on their Orange helmets and they were the underdog. Well, right then and there, when I was about 10 years old, i picked ’em to be my team. 32 years later, they are still my team. For those who don’t know, The Browns have been more bad then good. They are currently 2-8 this season and if they win 2 more games before season is over, that would be a victory in my mind. They have had losing seasons for MANY years now and yes, I still remain a fan. I don’t just mean sort of losing seasons, I mean real ugly losing seasons. It seems they have a new QB or a new coach every year. They had some of the best and most fun years to watch during the late 1980’s and some in the 1990’s.  I guess I really have 2 points to this part of my post; that I am loyal, loyal, loyal and even though I watch other football teams and am envious of the better teams, I am sure I will never switch my allegiance. I have even made about 4 different trips to Cleveland to watch the games. The fan loyalty is unreal and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I am proud to be a fan and even still, each week, I hope they will keep playing better and eek out some wins. Last Sunday, I watched the game vs Dallas and the browns surprisingly had a 13-0 lead at halftime. I was ecstatic, but I was not optimistic  it would last. But, I hoped. How had they gotten the lead vs Dallas in Dallas? Just like Butler, they were out playing their opponent. They were NOT the better team, but they were playing better. At least for half of the game. Dallas turned it around and tied the game and won in overtime. I guess this brings me to my 2nd point; you don’t ever quit before the game starts. It would be easy for someone or a team to think they are beaten BEFORE the game even begins…I mean just look at the records of the teams. But, the Browns don’t quit. They play hard and give all they have. As a fan, that is what you want to see. Sure, I want to see them win, but it will take more than the players…they need better coaches, better management and BETTER SCOUTS.

At the end of the day, I also view myself as an underdog. This characterization was much more applicable earlier in my life, but I still think of myself this way. I see nothing wrong with it. It has pushed me to be as successful as a person as I can be. It has kept my humble and to never take anything for granted. I am not someone who is the best at anything, but my mindset is the same today as it was 20 years ago: keep working hard. Stay positive. Don’t let anything keep you down or prevent you from succeeding.

-The Underdog