Archive for March, 2014

March

Posted in motivation, photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by afuntanilla

As March 2014 comes to a close, just a few brief comments. Longest run was the Portland 15k race mid month. Continually working on my speed and absolutely love seeing the improvement. In addition, I have wanted and needed to get in some trail runs and I got 2 short runs done both last Sunday and yesterday on trails near home. Yesterday’s run was just one of those perfect running weather days….it had rained during the night and still drizzly as I had morning coffee & Clif Bar. By the time I got to the trail though, the rain had ceased and we were left with a gray sky.  The air was cool and everything was quiet, clean. I did not take my music with me so I could purposefully just listen to the surroundings….listen to the quiet! As I crested the first section, I looked around at the amazing beauty …all the hills in the distance glowing and glistening after the drops from the sky….all green, rolling hills beneath the gray skies. Was gorgeous.

This was only my 2nd time back on the trails since New Zealand last December. A most welcome change from the city pavement. Going serves 2 purposes; to get in some hill work and get off pavement. The trails were a bit soft from the rain and I had fun trotting thru various puddles. As I was coming around a bend on the opposite side of the park, I looked ahead and saw about 6 Cows in a line, RUNNING. The Cows, they were RUNNING. I have NEVER seen this before and I’ve seen a lot of cows! Honestly, I didn’t even know they could move that fast. It was quite beautiful. They were in a line moving south to north and they reminded me of horses as they trot along…it was startling, funny, and gorgeous. COWS.

The best part of the route I do at this park, Helen Putnam, is the last .85 miles. It’s down-slopping, weaving right and left and straight, etc… and I can really pick up my pace and unleash my stride. That’s the best feeling…a mixture of feeling most alive, most free, most abandoned in the moment. Truly awesome.

Happy Running!

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On Failure

Posted in motivation, quotes with tags , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by afuntanilla

Think about this next time you think about failure;

Fail boldly. The more you take on, the more you will fail. But, the more you fail, the more you will learn – and the more you will succeed.
You have to hate failing. If you don’t mind failing, you’re never going to succeed – there will be nothing there to make you want more.
Failing makes you see yourself as your truly are, and where you can take yourself.
It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”
– Dean Karnazes

I have failed. Big. Boldly.
I remain hungry. Unremittingly so.

Written 12/11/12

Posted in random with tags , , on March 24, 2014 by afuntanilla

What was the attraction,
I’ll never know
All I heard was
“He was a good man”

‘Good’ enough
To leave you with a baby,
Your 4th child
The last without a father

‘Good’ enough
To take his own life
Thru his
Careless, addicted ways

‘Good’ enough to haunt you
In the many years to follow
To make you drink your life away
Your spirit, sadly lingering on
While your body ballooned and deteriorated

A “good man”….

Hmph….I’ll never know….

Day 3 in Portland; The Main Event

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, travel with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2014 by afuntanilla

My 3rd and final day in Portland was the day of The Main Event; The Adidas Shamrock 15k Race.
My morning began at 5:30am. Made hotel coffee, and ate my customary Clif Bar and banana. I sat and looked outside my hotel window and the still darkened sky, the streets so delicate in their Sunday morning quiet….those same streets would soon be lit up and come upon by 35,000 runners participating in either 5k, 8k, or 15k mile distances. This gray, overcast morning would soon be adorned with bodies of all shapes, sizes, ages, and color wearing their traditional Green race shirts!
Time to get on with the party.

I walked the short 3/4 mile from hotel to starting line and it was a tad chilly. I wore nothing to keep me warm as I figured as soon as I began running, I would be fine. This was true, however the 30 minute wait until the starting line popped open was chilly. Thankfully, the gathering crowd of excited runners and the beauty of the morning along the Willamette River distracted me from being cold. These are the moments that are so fun and if you have ever done a road race or any race, you know what I mean….I love just taking it all in, absorbing the moment, and watching the congregating of a bunch of strangers on a street to go run their hearts out. Absolutely love it.
I looked across the river to the east side and smiled at the grayish-bluish sky emerging from the darkness. There is nothing quite like the beauty of a morning, is there?? I think that is why I am an early riser…I hate missing it!

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The combination of the walk to starting line and some time warming up along the rivers pathway, I felt loose and ready to go. I was actually gonna RACE, not just go for a run! My goal was to have a finish sometime between 1:26-1:28 which would be an average pace of 9:15-9:28 per mile. Obviously, I was hoping to be closer to the 1:26 finish. I thought my chance was good if all went well, so we were about to see!
The first mile is headed south and flat, going in the opposite direction of downtown where race began. After mile 1, you make a left turn and head back towards downtown and it’s basically straight & flat for the next 2-3 miles. The crowds were sparse in the beginning but there were some festive folks out…a few fellas playing the bagpipes and another band I think. On the north side of downtown, the small climb started as we ran next to Portland State University and then up more to pass Oregon Health & Science laboratory and Marquam Park. These were miles 3.5-6 approximately and they were a steady incline along wide windy roads. Beautiful and serene atop the higher areas. I was doing well on time. My first 2 miles were actually less than 9 minutes each and I made a conscious decision to slow down or else I might have nothing left in the later miles. The total ascent was only 550-600 feet, but I could feel it as I have run nothing but flat in preparation. I did some repeat hill sessions, but nothing major. Anyways, I was feeling good as I was watching my time and passing the mile markers. I was taking a gel every 2 miles and this was perfect. I was pushing throughout, but as the descent started to occur I really took off and pushed harder. I had lost some time on the climb and I wanted to make sure to beat my goal since I was now so close !!
Heart pounding, legs aching….absolute total focus. I was single-minded and out of my crazy mind and nothing else mattered except my strides, one after the other….keep going you are doing good, you are gonna make it, you are gonna make it…. (hey, nice legs 🙂 

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Breathe. Push. Keep going! I was aware of everything and nothing. Such a cool, amazing feeling.
Running the last mile, it was a straightaway and I could see the finish line. I never let up…push, push, push Ang…

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Finish time 1:25:46
Average pace per mile: 9:13

Very freaking happy with this. It shows my training has paid off. Everything came together on this particular morning. I was happy and delighted and proud of my efforts!

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Another cool thing in addition to the race shirts I received was this unique race “medal”…a bottle opener! i love it. IMG_0850

I happily walked back to hotel and spent the rest of my morning/afternoon back in the Pearl District. Enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Cafe Isabel and then roamed around with my travel pack before heading to the airport and home. IMG_0849

A fun and full weekend in this Pacific Northwest city I have been wanting to visit! Thank you, Portland!!

What’s next…….

Portland Day 2

Posted in photos, random, running, travel with tags , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2014 by afuntanilla

Day 2:
The morning was cool and overcast, but quickly burned off and later, sunshine and low 60 degree temps. I began my morning by walking back to the Pearl District

IMG_0820and over to a place called Yoga Pearl. It was a large yoga studio with a cafe; mostly vegan, organic, all healthy yummy good stuff. I ordered some oatmeal and the ingredients were; oats, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla, banana, cocoa nibs, & coconut flakes. It was delicious! I have made oatmeal before and added PB, but these other flavors were tasty additions that I will definitely add going forward.

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I took my time walking back towards hotel and went into a few more neat shops.
I noticed a salon that looked kinda cool so I spontaneously poked in and asked if anyone could fit me in. The gal said she could fit me in right then if I had time. SCORE! I needed a haircut badly and what fun to get it done in new city! Stylist gal was fun to chat with and had recently moved to Portland from Phoenix….just because she wanted to do something different and get away from the Arizona heat. LOVE IT! Love hearing people’s adventurous stories. Enjoyed good conversation and got a good haircut. Lucky me.
Hung out in hotel for a bit while watching some BNP Paribas Tennis and then headed out for a 1.5 mile run just to stretch my legs and run a bit of the course. Afterwards, I went into the nearby Niketown and not sure how I walked out not buying anything! Below is a picture from a display case at the store entrance. The shoe is an original Nike by Bill Bowerman (with the waffle iron bottom). I remember these shoes and wish i could get an original pair. I will never forget my first pair of Red Nikes which looked very similar to these!

IMG_0830Later in the day I went out for my afternoon cappuccino

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and then to dinner at a low key place called Grassa. It was very simple. Per their website, “GRASSA PUSHES THE CONCEPT OF ARTISAN COMFORT FOOD SLUNG IN A NO-FRILLS FASHION.” You walk in and place your order with the person who looks like they are the host/hostess. You then sit and food comes to you. It was limited menu of homemade pastas, salads, etc.. I grabbed a seat at the bar and watched the pasta makers as I waited for my meal. I had a tasty arugula, fennel, & goat cheese salad as appetizer.

IMG_0832As an entrees, I just ordered the very simple pasta I love; spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, breadcrumbs. So damn delicious, minimalistic and simple. Want to replicate this dish at home.

IMG_0833Zig zagged my way back to hotel through more downtown streets I had not yet been on. For the most part, my venturing out encompassed only about a 5/6 mile radius, but there was plenty to see in this area.
Once back at hotel, I got my race gear all together and set up for the morning. I realized I did not have any safety pins for my race bib #! Oops. Not sure how I missed this at the expo, but hopefully there would be some available at the starting area.
Another fun day and so glad to just wing it and not have any agenda. I never travel with an agenda. Just not my style.

As you can see, I have been eating and enjoying my stay in Portland! Day 3 and race report next!

Portland Day 1

Posted in photos, running, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2014 by afuntanilla

Arrived in a gray, wet Portland after starting my day at 4:00am. Only one hour earlier than my usual beginning, and soon enough, I was moving fast to get myself out the door and down to SFO. Small plane, short flight and 2 empty seats next to me made for a very pleasant morning travel experience. I only have a few essential belongings with me, snugly packed into my Marmot Kompressor Plus pack. I love the traveling lite, don’t need any unnecessary items weighing me down. I love that my life is in the pack. I strap it on and off I go. Simplicity. Gratitude.
Opted to not use the services of a car rental agency as I heard from multiple sources that Portland has a very good transportation system. So far, that advice has proved correct as I have been able to get wherever I need to by foot or by the local rail system. With only a half cup of coffee and a banana in me so far, I was energetic and ready to go explore. I rode the rail from airport into downtown and then transferred to a different line to head in the direction of a cafe that was recommended to me. Fortunately, I exited a few stops too soon and ended up walking through a cool neighborhood called The Pearl District. Lots of galleries, eateries, etc…Lovejoys Bakery was recommended and it did not disappoint. I opted for a breakfast sandwich; fried egg, blue cheese, tarragon, bacon, frisée on a ciabatta roll.

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Um…YUM! I had to resist the many other tasty items from the bakery, such as the scones, cookies, etc…my day was only just beginning and I wanted to keep exploring. Walking around, the streets were a bit quiet, still a little wet from some early rain, but the air smelled good and fresh and the sun was beginning to shine through the clouds. I was delighted to be spending my Friday morning tripping around a new city in my jeans, sneakers and feeling free. I love my job, get a great deal of satisfaction from it, (but, it’s always nice to take a break) and I truly appreciate that I am afforded the means and flexibility to take a short trip as this….

Sauntered into a gallery that showcased some abstract paintings in the window. Inside, it was actually a 3 part gallery; part paintings, blown glass, wall hangings, sculptures, and lots of other cool creative art. I become mesmerized when looking at abstract paintings….they are my favorite and one of my secret or now not so secret goals is to have some kind of space to see what I can create in this fashion. Need everything; space, paint, canvasses, etc…and I know, just like everything else, when I become committed enough, I can and will make this happen.

Making my way back towards the hotel, I also needed to go to the Apple store because once again, I forgot my outlet charger! Grrrr
Oh well- I also needed some new headphones cuz one of the earbuds had lost sound. So, found the store near my hotel and got what I needed. Talking to the guy who helped me, told him I was here to run the race on Sunday. He says, “I am too. Half the store is…it’s a big race, like 30,000 people.” Whoa! Had no idea there was gonna be THAT many! (Btw, once I dug around in my bag, I found my phone outlet charger…so now I have 3! )
Checked into my hotel and just chilled out for a bit. Great corner room on a top floor with a nice view.

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Later in the day, I took the train over to the convention center/expo to pick up my race bib #, t-shirt and peruse. I had also pre-ordered another race shirt they had for sale so I picked that up too. I love both my shirts! I can’t recall the last time I loved an actual race shirt….but I love this one and the one I purchased!

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Afterwards, I walked about 1 mile to a coffeeshop I had wanted to visit: Coava Coffee! It did not disappoint. They are located on the east side in a quieter area and the place is very industrial: huge tall ceilings, very open space, limited seating and a nice, chill vibe. The rear of the space was occupied by a guy who does woodworking and some pieces were on display for sale. The whole place oozed art and creative expression. And, my cappuccino was excellent.

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Later in the day, I was back on the west side and went into Powell’s Bookstore. Pretty overwhelming for the mood I was in, so I just picked up a few cards and left. Need to go back…
Next, dinner!
I got a recommendation to try Tasty & Alder, and once I looked inside I knew I’d like it. Dark wood colors, cool bar area, semi open kitchen. And BUSY by 6pm. I waited for 45 minutes just to sit and eat at the bar area. Well worth the wait. Service was very good, from the hostess to the wait staff. It was loud and bustling, but I didn’t mind as I loved feeling the energy all around. Directly in front of me were two of the cooks, moving fast and doing their art! The happenings of a kitchen….the rapid movements, the individual touches and signatures….love it.
I ordered my customary cosmopolitan, and to eat, 2 Alaskan Cod tacos with Fresno aioli and escabeche. Yum, yum, yum. Also, a side of grilled broccolini with grated Parmesan on top. More yum. A delicious and fulfilling meal.

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After dinner, I made a spontaneous decision to attend a play on the east side. I had seen a flyer for it earlier when I was tripping in and out of some stores. The play was called “Independent Women”. I hadn’t seen a community play in about 20 years so it was nice to be back in that kind of creative space and atmosphere. The cast was 7 women and it was part dialogue, part singing, part performance art. All very cool, interesting and poignant. All subject matter touched on what it means to be a woman and the types of messages we receive, how they have changed and not changed over the years. They did a very powerful segment on their bodies. Our bodies. Women’s bodies. I just want to say this to any woman who might read this; you are more than ok. Just as you are. You don’t need to be prettier, thinner, fatter, taller, lighter, happier, more serious, married, coupled, with child, not with child, straight, gay, whatever….you don’t need to be a stay at home mom and you don’t have to work 60 hours a week. You don’t need to be anything more than who you are at your core. And, you CAN do, be and create anything that YOU want.
If you want to be tattooed from head to toe and sell flowers on a corner, go for it. If you want to be a lead prosecuting attorney in New York, go for it. Just don’t settle. Ever.
Took a taxi over the xxx bridge, looking out into a beautiful Portland skyline and called it a night.

Day 1: most complete.