Archive for February, 2014

A friday tale

Posted in random with tags , , , on February 21, 2014 by afuntanilla

If you know me, then you KNOW how much I love coffee. Not just the drink, but the entire experience of it. It’s  never just coffee. A few months ago, I heard a phrase by one of the co-owners of Equator Coffee. She said, “Coffee is a connector”. And it’s true. It is.

Here’s one such story from today. For much of the past 2 years, I go to Peets Coffee every morning for a small cup on the way to work. During this course of time, I usually arrived there at about 630am. When I arrived around that time, I would see 2 women who were there together. I would either see them in line, at the “condiment” area fixing their coffee or sitting, talking, enjoying their morning sips. By their attire, I surmised they had come to Peets after their gym workout, since the gym is across the street. They look the same every day…in post workout clothes. I am guessing they are in their late 50’s and I was just sort of curious about them. One day, I struck up a brief conversation while we were in line. They told me they go to the gym every day together and going to Peets afterwards is their “treat.” They meet each other at the gym and the morning is theirs to hang out. I applauded them for getting up so early every day to go work out! I think they meet at 5-530 at the gym! 2 friends with a routine. I liked it. They asked about me….always on my way to work.

So, after that conversation, when we would see each, we would always wave or smile. We had connected. One day last fall, they were in line in front of me and as they approached the counter to order, I went with them and told the barista I would like to buy their coffee. They were happily shocked and thanked me. Warmth all around. I just wanted to. We connected more. A bit more conversation.

Well, since the beginning of January, I no longer arrive at Peets around 630am. I arrive earlier now, around 530am. So, I miss them. My 2 steady acquaintances…I no longer see them out and about doing their thing….I noticed that I missed them both literally and figuratively.

Well, this morning for the first time all year, I decided to sleep in an hour and thus, I arrived at Peets around 630am. And, there they were at the condiment area fixing their morning brew. I opened the door and smiles and waves all around. Nice.

I got in line to order. I was a few people back when I saw one of the ladies approach the front counter and have a quiet, brief conversation with the barista. Strange, I thought….i wonder what she is saying…maybe telling them they need more Half-n-Half….

So, I’m now at the counter ready to order my small coffee and oatmeal and the barista rings up the order and tell me the amount. Then, she corrects herself and says, “oh, wait…that’s not correct, those ladies are paying for your coffee..”

Coffee…the great connector.

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me & the rain

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running with tags , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by afuntanilla

Me & the rain…we got a special relationship. Much more love than hate. Much much more. In face, no hate at all! I cannot recall exactly when I first fell in love here but I can tell you this love affair has been long. When I first got seriously into running in the late 90’s, I didn’t belong to a gym and therefore didn’t even have the option to run on the treadmill on rainy days. I put on a cap and a rain jacket and off I went. I remember the very 1st HALF-MARATHON I ran in SF in 1999 was partially run in rain….I couldn’t have been more delighted. The freshness, the challenge, the beauty of it all still sticks with me today, 15 years later. I ran MANY times in rain while living in Atlanta. How could one not with all the random yet not so random Thunderstorms coming down all around you. Not little droplets, no “light” rain there….heavy duty, gigantic raindrops thru the often thunderous crackling of lightening across the southern skies. Delicious, formidable drops that i could not keep myself away from….so many spring & summer days…the wetness would fall on my body and just wash over me — the warm waters felt like a soft sponge on my bare skin. There is NOTHING like running in the rain in the southern heat & humidity! The vast lushness all around that becomes even more so after mother nature gives an impressive spill. I remember days of running along Ponce de Leon, a main corridor in Atlanta, and being able to see off in the distance the falling drops in the sky and the awesome backdrop of the deep green that lined the famous street. I remember steps along the Silver Comet Trail when the wetness would create more space than usual…the walkers, cyclists and others would stay away on rainy days. Just me and the path that became my trusted, stable friend. And our other friend, the rain. Many miles I have run through such magnificent conditions.

And then running in the cold rains! I recall possibly my toughest race ever in terms of weather conditions; the Half Marathon in Chicago in May 2011. Damn that was tough. Rain and serious wind on a course that was out and back along Lake Michigan. 25-30 mile winds! It was ridiculous. It wasn’t fun, it was really freakin’ cold and it was so mentally challenging, but I still relished the experience. I still wonder how I made it through that one… it was one of those experiences where you tell yourself, “if i can run though this, i can run through anything!”

Following my jaunt today, I just stayed outside of my house for a bit. I removed my cap and glasses and just hung out on the corner….marveling at the elements and blissed out after my run. I forgot myself and just started to spin and twirl around a few times, head back, letting whatever wanted to come, come. My smile was huge!

I think there is definitely a spiritual element I find through running and even more so, in the rain. I feel more connected to myself, my truth, and a spirit that goes far beyond little ole me and my world. The quiet, abandoned  streets beckon me to come on out…the life that i feel pulsing through me on such days like during today’s 6 miles in steady rain is incalculable in its reward and how it fills my soul.

Why do I run? Well, isn’t this enough of an answer?

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What? I’ve been running…

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running with tags , , , , on February 1, 2014 by afuntanilla

Hey, long time no write! What’s up?

Well. I am proud to say that I did indeed take some time off of running after the Kepler race like I said I would. I ended up taking about a month off of absolutely no running! I knew I could do it, as I could physically and mentally feel like I needed a break. During that time, I didn’t miss it. In place of specifically running, I did walked, hiked, biked, did some weight training and I’ve totally gotten into doing push-ups! I think I started when I was still in New Zealand. I have been practicing almost daily. I have been doing 2-3 sets of 10 regular push-ups and I totally feel my strength gain. It’s pretty darn cool, I’ll tell ya! My goal is to get up to 5 sets of 10. I’m not sure I really need to do more than that, do I? It’s fun, different, and like I said, I love that I can see/feel my results. Some days, I tack on tricep dips and I will always work in some core work. Honestly, that is my LEAST favorite exercise of all: core work, and of course, it’s the area I would like to see improvement, but am not 100% motivated here. So, I do some, slack off, do some, etc…
When I wasn’t running, for the first few weeks, I also didn’t look at/read anything running related. No blogs, no articles, no magazines….I just took a full break and it was all good.
Since, January 1, I got back on the horse and ran pretty steady all week. I’ve been studying some different training plans, etc to get ideas on how I can improve my speed. One of the things I know that has held me back with improving my speed is that I have not incorporated enough variation in my training. I run at the same speed too much and don’t incorporate enough hills, intervals, etc. This is not NEW news to me, but I am now making a concerted effort to tackle this. Why? Because I wanna be faster. Just for me. For my own self fulfullment.
I have not yet picked any races to do in 2014, I have just been kinda focusing on the variations, mixing it up, seeing what works for me, etc…
I had tried to get in to the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon in DC in the spring, but was not selected via lottery. Bummed. That would have been a fun trip!

It’s interesting with the varied workouts I have been doing….I found that I have gone from running every run too slow to now almost running them all too fast. I wear a heart rate monitor for all runs now so I can see this clearly in my heart rate, pace, etc. So, it’s a process.

One of the resources I am using is this book I’ve had for quite some time; run-faster

There’s A LOT of detailed information in this book and I’m sifting my way through it.

Total miles for January = Approx 68 miles
Mix of hill repeats, progression runs, easy runs, speed work

Looking forward to February and getting faster!

Cheers!