Archive for the photos Category

Modifying Goals

Posted in photos, races, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , on November 24, 2014 by afuntanilla

50 miles. I entered a 50 mile trail race. I’ve been training for a 50 mile trail race. Well, as I completed these last 2 weeks/weekends of training, I’ve come to the gut-checking decision that I’m going to transfer my registration to the 50K distance instead. There has been a ping pong match going on inside my head about this for about the last month. As each week increased, the speed of the the little white ball as it crossed the net in my brain became faster and faster and I’m sure I have suffered some kind of delirium in the process.

50 miles. The distance I want to run and finish. The distance that has eluded me. The distance I don’t just want to finish, but finish “strong”, upright, smiling, exhausted, thrilled and spent. I’ve come to the reality-check conclusion that if I try to do the 50 miles on Dec 6th, I will not have this kind of experience. I believe I will suffer greatly in the last 15-20 miles, spend most of it shuffling along, exhausted, unable to lift my legs to run any sort of uphill, and generally, NOT have any fun. Let me say that I certainly don’t seek these races out to have fun….FUN, is sort of what incidentally happens…but it doesn’t happen when the goal is too far out of reach and suffering takes over the entire picture. I’ve been in that place before.

In addition to accumulating a lot of weekly mileage, my longest runs back to back have been:

NOV 1-2
15 miles
10 miles
Total elevation gain/loss = 9,498

NOV 8-9
9.15 miles
17.2 miles
Total elevation gain/loss = 9,231

And then last Saturday:

NOV 15
18.2 miles
Total elevation gain/loss = 7,420

I think I can finish the 50 miles, but the experience will not be one I am after. If you would have asked me in July if I would take that experience of finishing, shuffling along, walking a lot in the later miles, I probably would have said “YES”, but my mind has shifted; my goal, I guess, has shifted. And, a lot of this has to do with being out on that course. I feel like I can offer these kind of pre-race assessments because I have spent hours out there on the stunning and heartbreaking trails. I know what they are asking of me. And now, I believe I know what I can try to answer.

Prior to 2 weeks ago, I kept thinking I don’t want to transfer to the 50k because I have already done that distance. And that’s still true. But, what I realized after these past 2 challenging weekends of training is that this 50k is a heck of a lot harder than the one I competed back in 2008! Hey, that was 6 years ago…that means I am 6 years older and I’m going for it again! How’s that for a rationalization plug!! Haha!

Seriously, here are the stats to support the difference on the level of difficulty. The Stumpjump 50k in Chattanooga has total elevation of 4,442. Well, as you can see, I have been already doing more than that in training. And believe me, my body is feeling it! The North Face 50k will have around 7,ooo elevation.

I have been encompassed by this race for about 4 months…each month getting more and more in the thick of it; learning more, putting my body thru more demands and then dealing with what happens as a result. Right now, I am trying to take care of some kind of left hamstring issue. It’s bizarre. I think I feel the pain mostly after switching from going long uphill to them sharp descents, especially on technical terrain. That’s when it bothers/hurts me the most…and then I’m just super aware of it the rest of the time. It is painful and I’m caring for it by the R.I.C.E. Method + massage. I’m aware of it, noticing some pain, even when not running so….
I probably need to have it checked out. I can’t quite figure exactly which muscle is the culprit: semitendinosous, popliteal, ??
It doesn’t really hurt throughout the run, just when I make the transitions and then it subsides. Overall, obviously, not good and I’m sure I need to truly REST but I feel confident about taking care of this after Race day.

Anyway, as I’ve been knee deep in all this preparation, I’ve been learning a lot :

1) how much it takes to prepare for this distance and do it well. I thought I was preparing correctly, but in reality, I haven’t. I should have been doing longer miles in the week and longer on weekends. (It’s tough to say this because I have trained more for this race than any other race!!) but, that’s part of the reality check.

2) still learning and getting much better at how to fuel; what to eat, when, etc…this is a  HUGE piece that I think probably doesn’t get enough attention for ultra running. You can be physically & mentally fit, but if you don’t have the nutrition thing down, there will be problems. All the willpower and determination won’t make you go faster if you are nutritionally depleted!

3) learning that I probably could have benefited from training with others sometimes. Just haven’t put in the effort to make is happen.
4) I should have had a better base going in to this training. Could have done a lot more strength work to help me more on the uphills.

So. There you have it. It sort of sounds like this is already a post-race report. Of course it’s not, I’m just in taper mode now and I can reflect and assess what has happened so far. I won’t get any faster in the next 2+ weeks. I certainly cannot go back in time and add in more weeks to add more miles. I’ve done what I could do so far and I believe the 50k is the distance I am best prepared for…I know how hard the 17 miler was, how hard the 18 miler was. 30 is going to push me. It’s gonna hurt. It will pull everything out of me and I will give it everything I can.

Time to take care of my nagging hamstring, get some massage, do easy running, and be as prepared as possible.

Oh yeah, regarding shoes; I’ve picked up The Hoka Stinson ATR shoes. These are a lot more specific to trail running than the other Hoka’s I’ve been using; the Huaka’s. The Stinson have better grip, but are also heavier. 9.3 oz compared to 7.8 oz on Huaka. I can really feel the difference in the weight and don’t necessarily like it, but…they are doing the job on the trails. The Huaka’s were getting pretty beat up (i need to see how many mile i have on those) and I really noticed the bottoms losing tread and i was sliding a lot on some of the trails that are simply loose rock. I like both these shoes, but man, they are not cheap! The picture below is of the Stinson…now much more appropriately dirty!  🙂

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The trails of Marin will humble you…that’s for damn sure. But, that’s what they are supposed to do. I sure as hell didn’t sign up for easy!

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Moving up?

Posted in photos, running, trail with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by afuntanilla

Well….what’s that saying…? ‘Be careful what you wish for’
Yeah…that…
Well, I DID GET IN TO THE NORTH FACE 5O MILER.

50 Miles. All trail. Somewhere between 9-10k feet of total elevation. All up, down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Until you get to mile 50!

So. I finally got the word about 2 weeks ago and of course, am relieved & delighted to have a spot. And scared. And excited. And scared.

I completed another solid month of training in October.
Final numbers are:

Miles: approx 117
Elevation: 35,409

Most miles I have run in a single month all year and most elevation ever in a single month. (on top of what i have done the months prior) And you know what, it might not be enough. Of course, I’m still not done training. In terms of long runs, I have this weekend and then not sure if I will do my last push Nov 8-9th or Nov 15-16th.

I will see how it all goes and assess if it would be better to change to the 50k.
I hate to even write that, but that’s where I am. I’ve been preparing to the best of my ability and I am feeling like it’s still not enough. I become frustrated over how my body recovers of lack thereof from the long, demanding runs. I’m not careless with things….eating well and getting proper nutrients into my body. So much of it just seems to be strictly leg recovery. After my 15 miles today, aerobically, I felt like I could keep going, but my legs were pretty beat. A bit frustrating.

What does it mean when I say “it may not be enough”….i guess it means a few things.
-may not be enough to finish the 50 miler
-may not be enough to finish the 50 miler in a way I want…I.e. Not completely dead at the end.

I see that I am assessing where I am, where I want to be, where I think I will be and what experience do I want and will be ready for?
As I was running today along the Tennessee Valley Trails; Rodeo Valley, Bobcat, Alta, Miwok, Old Springs & Marincello, I thought to myself: “I wish there was a 40 mile distance. 50 does seem a bit far, and 30 (~50k) seems too short….

Why I don’t want to run the 50k;
-because I already did this distance. In Chattanooga, Tennessee at the Rock Creek Stump Jump. 2007
-because the 50 Miler is a distance I have yet to conquer. Pretty simple.

Even with 2-3 more weeks of adding miles, I can honestly say this; I did not prepare this much for the New Zealand race last year. (DNF at mile ~27 of a 37.2 (60k) race because I was totally spent)

I did not train this much for the 1st 50 miler I attempted; The JFK 50 Miler. (Missed the time cut-off at mile 34.4)

So….this will be an interesting next few weeks to truly assess what I think I am capable of…..

Stay tuned.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear and no fear unmingled with hope” – Baruch Spinoza

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overdue

Posted in photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2014 by afuntanilla

Hello – i’m due for a catch-up. A big thing happened on Sept 1st. which is that I moved into a house. Same town, but a house, not an apartment, a whole house. All to myself. Big News in my world. This is the nicest and largest space I’ve ever lived in alone. So, happy. Very happy about this.

Also, I turned 44 years old. Wow. How did THAT happen. I like this number. I like the double 4’s. It looks good when I write it. It sounds good when I say it. You know how there are some numbers that might not sound good, like 42 or 39…i don’t like those. But, 44….i’m good with that and I’m hoping for a kick-ass kind of year.

Been steadily running. I’m actually training for a race where I’m not 100% sure I am a confirmed runner. It’s The North Face 50 Miler in December. When I went to sign up weeks ago, it was already full with a wait list. I reached out to a client of mine who works for North Face (corp) and through their internal lottery system, he let me know I was in and that i should be receiving word from the race team. Upon getting his email, I was ecstatic….this has been a race i have had on my list for a long time. It’s local and i have the course to train on….so…. I have not received any follow up from the race team and I’m just figuring I will at some point.  (I hope!!!) If I don’t hear anything in the next 2 weeks, I will contact my source again and see what’s up. Right now, i’m totally under the assumption I will have a spot on Dec 6th. Cross your fingers for me.

I’ve been training almost 100% on trails and nothing flat…I’ve been training many miles on the course itself. I have the opportunity to get familiar with it, so there is no excuse. I’m preparing, preparing, preparing and i’m really enjoying the miles, the terrain. As I have shifted to trails these past 2 months, I feel a kind of renaissance with my enjoyment level of running. So much of it has to do with the terrain…i’m on some gorgeous trails and i feel incredibly fortunate. The joy and challenge, the difficulty, the beauty, the relentlessness of the climbs…up and down, repeat….its all pulling me in. i find myself eager to get back out there after 1 day off…i want to immerse myself back in the exquisite surroundings. I want to find my limits.

Just a few numbers:

Sept: total elevation: 19,169

Oct: elevation so far: 22,501

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

Here are a few shots from the miles this past month or so.

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For shoes, i’m using HOKA HUAKA and also a (still) good old pair of Asics Trail shoes. Both are working well & getting pretty damn dirty!  🙂

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Catching Up

Posted in bike, photos, road, running, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2014 by afuntanilla

These past few weeks: Another awesome bike ride with Jason. Went out on an mid week early morning. Weather was cool, foggy. I added arm warmers to my body but other than that, stayed with just shorts and bike jersey.

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(Jason in fog)

We did our same 25.5 mile loop and I felt good. The route was the same but the scenery changed due to the foggy conditions. A different kind of beautiful. So peaceful out there…I love it!! Awesome way to start my work day.

The next 2 weeks I traveled to Kansas City, MO & then Atlanta, GA. Obviously, both not easy places to run in during the summer months. I also have learned that for me to try to run the day after a long travel day is absolutely useless. I ran the day after I arrived in KC after long day of getting there. Run was painful. I also ran the day after I arrived back in CA after super long day of travel. That was doubly painful. I think I have learned my lesson. I can do the run of course, I just don’t find it enjoyable after such long travel days….but I feel like I just have to exercise because of all the sitting, etc…hello….conundrum! Anyways, in between those instances, I ran 3 days (4 miles each) steadily in Atlanta and was glad to get those morning runs in before work. Did a lot of driving while there, so moving my body beforehand was perfect! Humidity/heat was not as bad as expected for this time of year. Bonus! I ran on the same path each day….a flat path with a gazillion trees hovering around. Ahhhh….THIS I miss very much!! The plethora of soooo many trees! Beautiful, luscious, invigorating, and yes, thank you for the shade! The last day of running there was eventful in that I tripped and fell AND then narrowly avoided a snake. I’m sure the snake was harmless, but a snake is still a snake. Also, no scars or nothing from the fall. A tiny bruise, if that. Darn it.
Much of the path is laden with wood planks because the area is basically akin to a swamp. Every morning, it was deliciously quiet out there with just my footsteps and the soothing & familiar sounds of the cicadas.

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(playing w/ the shadows)

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After a full travel day back home from ATL, I desperately wanted to move my body the next morning. I knew I would be sluggish, but I just HAD to move. You know that feeling, right?? Also, after the flat path in GA, I was hungering for the dusty trails of Marin. I opted for the Dipsea steps and trail. Ahhh….the steps I crossed with happy, gentle, tired feet…the steps that took my breath away….over to the windy trail with scores of scattered fallen Eucalyptus leaves under my stride. Down and then back up the steep, dusty, rocky, section….my legs happily aching…running over to a section I had yet never been…the sunrise trail that goes .7 mile out and then the same return. An easy runnable section with fantastic views (even with the cool foggy morning). Taking some deep breaths and smiling, happy to be home again…happy to move my legs, grateful for everything.
Back down the Dipsea steps after a slow 5 miles. Just what I needed.

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Part of the Dipsea Trail

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Part of Sunrise Trail

Sunday 8/3

Posted in photos, road, running, shoes, trail, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 16, 2014 by afuntanilla

Ran my “staple” route as of late…home/chileno valley/Helen Putnam park west side and back home via the east side of park. This time, I mixed in the steepest hill 2 times. I did it first upon arrival, then ran about another mile around park and looped back to the hill. Again, it is not lengthy, but steep. 2 times felt good and I kept rolling along other trails and then the backside towards home.
A solid 8 miles on top of the bike/run yesterday.
Feeling good and ready to start pushing the envelope a bit more after I return from about 10 days of travel.

Here’s what I call “baldy hill” at Helen Putnam Park;

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HOKA HUAKA: I’ve been using the shoe for about 2 weeks now and overall, like the shoe a lot. I’ve tried other HOKA shoes on before & did treadmill tests, but none of them ever felt right for me. Until these!
However, the big bummer I’ve come across is that the toe box seems to be tighter than I am accustomed to…this was evident by a huge blister the first day I did any trail running. It’s strange because the shoes do not feel tight at all….but for some reason, the right shoe toe box is causing me to get blisters. I’ve been wearing some Injinji socks and that has helped. Other than that 1st issue, which has not occurred again, my experience thus far has been quite good. I think there is something quite true about how the shoe “technology” is somehow lessening the impact of the pounding on pavement. I was very skeptical about this when I heard people talk about it, but I feel like I have experienced it too, so, I am now drinking the HOKA cool aid!

I do not wear the shoes on short, faster runs. I don’t think they are designed for that either. The HUAKA is not a specific trail shoe, but has been fine on the trails I have run, which so far have been non technical trails. Don’t know how this would do on heavy, rocky terrain. This is my new go to shoe for longer distance, road and trail.

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Sunday 7/27

Posted in motivation, photos, road, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by afuntanilla

Sunday morning rolled around and after a minor debate in my head about where to run (Marin trails of from home base), I opted the latter. I laced up the HOKA HUAKA (who-ah-ka) shoes for the 2nd day in a row and hit the streets. The morning was almost an exact replica of the day before…clear skies, sun already heating things up a bit at 930am…
Once again, I headed up and over Western and straight ahead. This time, I hung a left on Chileno Valley, the country, rolling road that lead me to the West entrance to Helen Putnam Park. Immediately, I opted for the steepest trail, so steep that I have yet to be able to run this part…I would love to know the degree of steepness. This part is wide, super dry and I’m alternating between hands on quads and not, my breathing is heavier, sweat pouring more frequently and I can hear only my own steps and my own life force….Damn! I love this! I push forward to the top, rewarded with beautiful sweeping views of west petaluma. Catching my breath, I start to run again and make my way down the backside of the park along a windy, downhill narrow trail. I’m back on pavement and already thinking of going cycling after….
2 more miles and I’m back home, changing into my cycling stuff, downing some First Endurance ULTRAGEN and getting my butt in the saddle. I know I am pushing it as I plan to ride the 25.5 mile loop I did 2 weeks ago….but, I just want to. I just wanted to keep being outside, keep moving my body, keep feeling my body working. So. I did.

Locked into my pedals, I headed off on the SpringHill-Chileno Valley route. (man, I hope this doesn’t re-aggravate my hip, hamstrings . Felt good to be on the bike after 2 weeks. Felt good to propel my being forward with the help of this mechanical instrument. And, now that I am wiser and know I can use the small chainring, climbing the hills was a helluva lot easier. Still challenging, but not killing me. I could feel right away that this ride would be slower since I tagged the run on already…but I didn’t care. I kinda got into a meditative space….hard not to when it was just me, the land, the occasional passing vehicle, the sporadic herd of cows, and the open sky that let’s me dream and fantasize, that allows for being in the moment and appreciation, that offers the undaunted optimism I try to carry with me, in my core, in my soul.
I was a little more than half-way on the route, when another cyclist came up beside me….Jason! My buddy who rode this route with me last time! He was on his way home….would be riding a total of 80 miles today!! Fun to see him and ride the rest of the way together. It was just delightful & beautiful all the way around. The sun was beating down on us, with only an occasional splash of soft wind. With about a mile left, he left my side for his way home. Just over the hill, my wheels turned up on the sidewalk in front of my home. Sunday workout complete and feeling FULL!

Damn! I love to move and everyday I am grateful for my health! All parts feeling good!

Hope you are getting outside, stretching your heart, pushing your limitations. Why not?

big ring, little ring and a lot of space

Posted in bike, gym, photos, road, running, trail with tags , , , , on July 17, 2014 by afuntanilla

My body feels tired. I just got up from an hour long nap. These types of naps are not uncommon…a few days a week, I take the pleasure of these wonderful opportunities to rest my body. I’m thankful I have the time to do so. I wake early for work and when I get home mid-late afternoon, if I can sneak in a 30-60 minute nap , I indulge. Even so, my body, right this minute, feels tired. Or, more accurately, sore. My legs feel stiff, heavy. My hips and lower back are tight and need stretching. My right upper leg/hip are are especially tight and generally feel out of whack….I know this is because of my cycling and more specifically from the session I did last week on an indoor bike at the gym. As I am new to consistent cycling, I now realize, that riding on the gym bike was a bad rookie move. And, I am still paying the price 6 days later. For the last 6 weeks, I have been consistently riding my own bike and getting familiar with it…learning it’s ways, getting to know the feel of it under my body. The gym bike was, of course, a general bike for anyone. As soon as I took my seat and began pedaling, I physically felt all sorts of wrong. Especially in my seat area and I could not adjust it to feel better. So, being me, I just do what I do; hammer away and through the planned workout of 40 minutes cycling. This was after a fast 20 minute run on treadmill. (Why did I do this inside? Because for a shorter ride like this, it’s not really safe or easy to ride on the roads in town after work. I thought it would be easier to do this short back-to-back workout at the gym)

Anyways…I rode and when I tried to peddle a bit faster, I could feel a strain on my right side because I was just not seated correctly. When I finished the workout, I felt fine. I even thought maybe I should have gone longer or pushed harder….
Well, the next day, I was in a world of hurt. The tightness and soreness in my legs/hips were nothing I have experienced in quite some time. It was this unfamiliar soreness within a myriad of muscle groups that have not seen much action. I know what soreness from running is and what it feels like. I have been getting to know the soreness from MY bike….but, THIS…..this was the unknown and the wicked, wicked witch of the west! I was hobbling along during the day…walking in all sorts of crooked manners to try to deal with it. I needed help so got a last minute massage that definitely helped. Hips, hamstrings, gluteus, and back got all the attention!
So, it IS fair to say I won’t be riding at the gym again. Probably ever!
I took 2 days off from any exercise and then had a slow, a bit awkward, 50 minute run in Golden Gate park on Saturday. Awkward because the area in my upper hamstring/right hip area continues to feel off.

As the week went on, I realized how tight all these aforementioned muscle groups are and so have been trying to spend time daily to loosen them up with different stretches. Lots of hip flexor stretching! I’ve know all along for years this area was tight, but it’s a whole new level of tightness now! Anyway, was glad to get the Saturday run in and then on Sunday, I went for a bike ride with a friend. He is a pretty experienced cyclist who rides for a local team and races. This was the first time going out together. We spoke a few weeks ago and I said I could go with him when he needed a slow/recovery ride. He had ridden 85 miles on Saturday in the Sierras, so a recovery ride on Sunday was in order for him. I was excited and a bit intimidated, of course. I just wanted to not slow him down too much.

Let me preface this next part by saying I’ve had my bike for 10 years and it’s a nice bike with good components, however, I don’t know much about the “mechanics” or when to use what and why…a rookie, you know!
And for the past 6 weeks, I have been riding in the county with some slight hills, nothing major, but some rides have more rolling hills and such, so it is a challenge.

So, we leave from my house and after the first familiar stretch, instead of turning left, we decide to go on his loop so I can do something different, which is straight ahead. Up a nice long steady steep stretch…which was also a very bumpy and rough road. I’m riding along in my easier gear and going as well as I can and staying close. We finally get to the downhill and let it go and it is FUN!!! But also scary (for me) because I was going so fast over this bumpy ass road and my eyes were watering from the cool temps and I had trouble seeing a few seconds here and there through my glasses. I was holding on to my handlebars….holding on for dear life it felt like. I definitely felt out of control at some points because I couldn’t see the bumps in the road all that well and was freaked out I was gonna fly off the bike! Whew! A thrill! Crazy and scary and an opportunity for me to figure out my own comfort levels of speed on a road like such!
As we rode along, he was checking me out and how I fit on my bike, etc…he was asking me about my gears and telling me to switch to my smaller chainring. I’m like “what??”. He goes on to explain the whole OTHER set of gears I have on the left hand side of the bars. (Remember, I am a rookie) He proceeds to tell me what those are for…the small chainring is for me to use when I am climbing steep hills…like the one we did earlier. He could not believe I did that hill in my Big chainring because it makes it THAT MUCH HARDER! When I used it on some remaining hills, I was shocked and amazed at how much easier it was! DUH!!!!!!
We both got quite a laugh out of this!

It does beg the questions though of; what did I think those gears were for and why didn’t I ever think to look into it? I know I have 2 chainrings and know I had not been using the smaller one, so why didn’t I question this? All long, I was using my easiest gear on my BIG ring, but I could have made my experiences that much easier and more comfortable had I known about the other…

This lesson…it is not lost on me…the making things hard no when they could be so much easier.
I can’t help but ask; “how is that like my life?”

I’m laughing!!

It was really fun to ride with my friend who is quite experienced. Can’t wait to do it again! Oh, and he gave me quite a few compliments on my riding ability/strength so I definitely take that as a positive! 🙂

Later that day, early evening, I just felt like getting on the trails. I went up to Helen Putnam and ran/hiked for another 50 minutes. Loved and appreciated the beauty, quiet, and space of both activities right in my backyard!

Wednesday: 20 minute run, 40 minute bike

Saturday: 50 minute run, Golden Gate Park

Sunday: 25.5 mile bike ride (morning); 50 minutes trail run/hike (evening)

 

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update…

Posted in bike, motivation, photos, random, road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2014 by afuntanilla


Been running, cycling, kayaking (for the 2nd time ever), flew a kite (barely…for the 1st time) hanging at beach…all outside my door and/or within 1 hour drive. This is why I live in the Bay Area! 

Got into riding my bike in June more than ever before. Probably will sign up for a short Duathlon in August. Have really been enjoying adding the cycling bit to my days. Even more, I like the what it feels like to Run after cycling. And, i’m finding my pace is even faster…which is really fascinating.

I have done 1 duathlon in the past….way back in 2005 after I first got my bike. That was when i lived in Atlanta. I’m looking forward to doing this one in the near future. I definitely have not been running as many miles, but the ones I am doing have all been quality, so i’m ok with that. I need to spend more time on bike to increase my abilities here. I may do another half-marathon in early SEPT. Still undecided….

June:

Cycling = 130.3 miles

Running = 53 miles

Included in this is 5 sessions of bike+run.

Am enjoying this variation of training, both how it feels physically and how I am sparked to learn more about how to improve my cycling, how to ride in various conditions, etc…it’s a whole new world…cycling. And, it’s pretty fun to go downhill!!

July is off to a strong start and i’m looking forward to seeing what I can do! The kayaking was ok…after an hour, I got kinda bored. LOL — I need more speed, I guess!!

Toeing the Line

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 27, 2014 by afuntanilla

I don’t race many 10k races….or at least I haven’t done so in the past 5 years. I ran many of them in the late 90’s. Yet, as I have now been sticking to longer distances, the 10k race has kinda fallen away from my radar. Since the beginning of the year, or at least since February, I’ve made more of an effort to work on speed. I’ve done some work here, but honestly nothing too intense or rigorous. Running the longer distances has a way of making me feel really slooooow. Granted, some of this is probably because I don’t vary the training enough. Anyways…i’ve tried to make an effort to increase speed to a level that is satisfactory. So far this year, I ran a 5 miler and a 15k, both with finishes I was pleased with. The 15k was run at 9:13 pace and the 5 miler at 8:46 pace.  I wanted to get in another short race so I signed up for a local 10k in Marin County.

I ran the course last weekend so that I would be familiar come race day. I had been in the general area before, but not too much. Running the course gave me the opportunity to see the gorgeous surroundings….basically the first 3-4 miles are all through Kentfield and Ross, which are 2 of the most beautiful (and expensive areas) in the Bay Area. Quiet, lovely streets with huge trees all around. (The trees would provide much needed shade on a warm race day morning.)

 

IMG_0927After this area, the course popped onto the College of Marin Campus and onto a paved path that travels the outskirts of the campus for a mile and then basically loops back through Larkspur and ends with a 3/4 lap around the college track. Very Cool Finish!

So, race morning came and I figured the crowd would be full of some very fast runners. Man, was I correct! This was actually a Championship Race for Pacific-Association USA Track and Field and there were some nice monetary awards for the best club teams as well as top individuals. So, it was no surprise when I showed up in the parking area and was feeling a bit intimidated by the array of people in their Club Tanks…Tamalpa Runners, West Marin Track Club, etc… This was NOT your typical local 10k. Everyone looked super fit. Anyhow…soon we were off and I was just trying to stay focused on my personal goal which was to finish between 56-57 minutes. My running in the last month (since the 5 mile race) has not been a lot. I did a lot of short runs and only ran 6 miles once, which was last weekend. I was running 3-5 mile stints at about 8:45-9:15 pace but i wasn’t sure what I could do on race day.

Off we went and the first 2 miles felt fast. I ran 1st at 8:40 and 2nd at 8:48 and HR felt pretty high. I knew I couldn’t sustain this pace and kept telling myself to slow down. But, I didn’t. Mile 3 was 8:48 also. Again, I told myself to slow down or else I might not have enough come mile 5 etc… So, I did. I also carried my own water, which was needed as there were only 2 water stops and honestly, I have NO idea how people ran this race at those fast paces with not much water. It was pretty warm.  I actually stopped for about 20 seconds after mile 3 just to get my HR down a bit. Keeping on, I was in a nice groove and around 4 other runners and we were all running together. A slight shift ahead for one of us and then the other. It was fun to be in this mini race within a race. The jockeying and surveying….3 women and 2 men. The 2nd half of the race, I slowed down. My pace was 9:25 but the 5 of us kept hanging together. Until the last 3/4 miles…I pulled ahead and thought i was in the clear to the finish. At about 1/4 mile to go, one of the other women passed me and I could not catch her. She ran well. I did rev it up for the last bit, I was just not able to stay with her. As I crossed the finish line and put my hands on my knees, hunched over, I thought: ” i could not have pushed any harder.” And that was my truth at that moment. As I write this now, hours later, recovered and all, I can’t help but wonder: “could I have? Could I have pushed harder and at what point could I have done so?”

I think that’s what we do…that’s what runners do…we wonder and we question. We beg to know what we are capable of on any given day. Or at least, I am!

But, for today, Yes…I am satisfied with my effort & the result. I pushed my body hard and enjoyed the challenge, both externally and internally.

Watch Finish Time: 6.3 miles/56:47/8:59 pace

Official Chip Time: 6.2 miles/56:45/9:08 pace

I prefer the watch finish time, but oh well!

 

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So, what’s next???

 

 

 

Races, Data…

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by afuntanilla

I ran another short race this past Sunday. A very short 5 miler in the town where I live. I love traveling for races, but it was actually nice to have zero stress about anything related to logistics…nice to run something local for fun and the money all went to one of the local high school’s track programs.

It was an interesting choice for me in that I really didn’t like the course. It is almost entirely run on a narrow path around a marsh and then a park. The marsh part of the path is fine, with packed dirt, but the park part is all on loose gravel. This might just be my LEAST favorite type of surface to run on…I just don’t feel like I get an traction with each step. It’s a peaceful, beautiful path…and nice to walk, but for me, the running on it is just not idea.

However, I sucked it up and signed up…for fun and to test my “speed.”

It was a nice, cool morning. Good enough for shorts and my long sleeve Under Armour technical shirt. I was also pretty happy to be sportin my new ON-RUNNING kicks! These are super cool shoes, my 2nd pair by the company. I will write more on them later. A good gathering of the local peeps and at 8:30am, off we went on our Sunday Test.

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I thought I would do no better than 45 minutes, actually. 9:00 pace. I was excited and ready to see what was possible. I had no water, no music. nothing. felt so free. Except for the fact that I really needed some water and the 1st place to get it was not until 3 mile mark. I am just one of those people who need water at least 1x/mile, especially if I am pushing it, which I was. We went though parking lots, over to the marsh and then onto the loose rock path. 1st mile was 8:27 but it didn’t feel that fast so I wasn’t too worried about the pace, but i also didn’t want to have a severe drop off come mile 4. Mile 2 was a bit slower, about 8:45 pace. I would have liked to have had my heart rate info, but something is not working with it. I even bought a new battery and it still is not synching with my Suunto watch…so no HR info for now. Anyways, by now I was really looking for the water stops and it wasn’t until another mile. I grabbed some and walked a few steps. Mile 3 was about 9:15. Got more water around mile 4 so that slowed me a bit too, 9:12. I guess this last mile I just took off because the data show mile 5 at 8:10 pace. Wow. Didn’t really know that til looking at my watch stats. Pretty cool. I can tell you I was not smiling as I ran that last mile, especially the last 1/2 mile. I was pushing hard and even as I crossed the finish line, no smiles. Painful.

THEN, the smiles came! WOOT WOOT! Very happy with this result and even came in 4th place in my age group.

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So, I think it’s important to give some data on the race stats to give some perspective to the result. Of course, I’m happy. but i also realize the TOTAL number of runners at a race like this is NOT HUGE.  Then again, 4th is 4th. 🙂

Here’s the breakdown:

Age Group: F 40-44.  40 runners.  4th place

All Females: 259 total / me  27th place

All Runners: 394 total / me  101st place

I also want to share the stat breakdown from the Portland 15k race I did a month ago.

Age Group: F 40-44  681 runners. 163rd place

All Females: 4518 total; me  1126th

All Runners: 8826 total; me  3507th

 

Before I started running marathons in 2000, I was faster at the shorter distances. Of course, I was also younger. 🙂

Regardless, I know I have more gears I can tap into to get faster. So….what’s next???