Archive for the random Category

these days

Posted in random, road, running, trail with tags , , , on November 17, 2015 by afuntanilla

Sometimes, I’m on the trail. I’m surrounded by rocks, dirt, branches, fallen leaves, dusty trails. Ferns, Eucalyptus, Redwoods. My breathing labors as I climb the steepness, as I ascend over the fallen tree trunk, up the built in staircases. My eyes widen with joy and awe as I come to an opening and can see the Blue of the Pacific. She is mighty & fierce and calm and I need all of her attributes as I continue on these trails that push my limits and make me question my capabilities. They humble me. They challenge me. Their crookedness reminding me of my own and how the imperfect is so beautifully perfect…how it need not be straightened. They remind me of how small and insignificant I am….and then show me how big and valuable I am. I am not either or. I am both.

Sometimes, I am on the road. The steady, flat, straightforward path allows for a different kind of focus; a bit more lazily as one foot is placed in front of another. The energy of a quiet Sunday fills my lungs as does the cool November air. That late fall breeze gives a welcoming chill as it crosses my face, my chest. My eyes water, just a bit, from the force of nature, from the utter exuberance of the moment. I want to feel it all, embrace it all.

Drink up!

Getting away….

Posted in motivation, photos, random, running, shoes, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , , on October 9, 2015 by afuntanilla

My desire to go to Boulder was born out of hearing numerous times over the years how cool of a city it is. Recently, it became more desirable as i follow some people on social media who live there and their photos of the mountains have been utterly ridiculous and i became hooked! Bought a ticket, packed a bag & went to see for myself! I needed a break from everyday life as I know it, and I yearned to be in some open spaces, but not remote.

What did I want to do while I was there? Hike, scramble on some mountains, run, find cool spots for coffee, food. That’s about it. Mostly, I wanted to be active and explore and I’m happy to say, mission accomplished!

The weather was cool the entire trip and mostly overcast with the most random drizzle falling. But mostly, just gray skies. The sun shone itself only 1 day during the trip. If there was any bummer, this was it.

For my 1st day after arriving and making the drive from Denver to Boulder, I found an easy trail to hike/walk/run. It was the South Mesa Trail on the south side of town. I saw only a few other folks out there and enjoyed the quiet. From the start, just lots of dry grass and shrubbery, and as I climbed in elevation, lots and lots of medium sized pine trees. The trail went from wide, loose gravel to narrow and very, very rocky. Lots of offshoot trails from the main one, but I stuck to just the one as I didn’t want to get lost on my 1st day. I took my time and walked/hiked the way out and pretty much ran the route back to the trailhead. On the way, I noticed this beautiful field of dry grass that was a very cool grapefruit color. The lovely quiet and the softest breeze swept thru the grapefruit leaves…

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Was about 1,000ft elevation change total. 5 miles.

Next day, I found the path to what the call is Golden Arch. This is in Chautauqua Park (also home to the Flatirons). It was a Friday and the trailhead was super busy and i could see lots of people on the trail. Came to learn it was parent’s weekend at Univ of Colorado so lots of people out and about.

With gray skies surrounding me, I headed up to find the Golden Arch. As I climbed higher and higher, I did notice the effects of the altitude, but nothing that felt limiting. Trail begins with a significant view of the mountains ahead and after the 1st mile, trail narrows and becomes more tree hidden and less populated. And more rocky. And then very rocky. Did I say rocky? It’s a full on climb up; maneuvering the changing trail conditions, making sure you’re on the right trail and watching your steps very carefully. FUN. & INVIGORATING. As much as I was breathing hard, I was smiling a bunch, too. With the overcast and grayness, it didn’t make for very “picturesque” photos, but the scenery still looked magnificent thru my eyes.

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Finally reached the Golden Arch peak at just under 7000ft elevation (from sea level). All in all, the hike was only 3.6 miles but with 1,679ft elevation change! Worth every step.

Getting up to the arch

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After arrival, I sat atop of the boulders and marveled at the beauty & stillness surrounding me. My breathing slowed and it was as though a hush fell upon the few of us there at the time…a collective knowing of sacredness and appreciation when you see it. We were essentially bowing down to nature, were we not?

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I took a break from hiking the next day and just tripped around Boulder and surrounding areas. I actually did not stay in Boulder, but in a smaller town just south, called Louisville (the S is pronounced!) A combo town of suburbia and quaint, artsy, cozy downtown area. Of course, I found the perfect place for coffee! Super small place in Louisville that’s only been open 6 months called Precision Pours. Cozy, simplistic, minimalistic…just what i like! Oh, and good coffee and a super cool owner, Brice!

A pourover of Brazil. Yummy

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Did a short 3 mile run later in the day and could feel the effects of both altitude & the previous 2 days of hiking.

Next day was the one and only day i saw the sun. Wanted to hit the Flatirons so that’s exactly what I did. The trail beginning is the same as it is to get to the Golden Arch. After the 1st mile, the Flatiron trails are in a different direction. A lot of the same type of terrain as it was to get to golden arch…it felt longer, but was actually shorter distance. Still, a decent amount of climbing for the distance. 1,394 ft over 2.7 miles. Got into a nice rhythm of following this one fella and letting him lead the way cuz some points are so full of rocks that you cannot gauge what is actually the trail. The best part was literally climbing/scrambling up some big boulders to get up and over particular areas. I noticed as I moving higher and higher that I was smiling outside and inside…how happy i was, how invigorated i felt and how i just kept wanting to keep going up and up. A fun, cool feeling!

From the Flatirons…

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It’s amazing how focused one has to be on trails like this where it is so thoroughly rocky. It’s true meditation…a total zone….beautiful. I was focused on getting to the top, but at the same time mindful of each step, the sound of my breathing, the amazing beauty surrounding me. The senses sharpened! Aware of my legs/quads….the muscles working in tandem with the rest of my body to propel me up, forward; aware of my heart rate climbing…climbing…sensing the sweat gathering on my brow and back. Life happening…there on the flatirons. Finally arriving at the top, empty water bottle in hand and plopping myself down on a rock and just looking out….noticing everything and hearing nothing…the quiet. Ahhhhh….

Last day: coffee and writing & Precision Pours, haircut by an awesome gal and went for a flat, fast 3miler thru downtown Louisville. Zoom to airport.

I try to make it a point to start my day with a gratitude list of about 5 things/people. Health is always #1 on my list. For me, it’s so important to be healthy….i want to nourish my body, treat it well…so i can continue to do things like this…I am aware of so many who have serious physical limitations and complications and i’m just so thankful to be in a position of good health. I don’t ever want to take it for granted.

I needed this trip. To get away from my usual surroundings, to be away from work and my office, while at the same time remaining thankful i have a job and a lot of flexibility with my work. I needed some different space, some elevation change, some different perspective. Appreciative of the opportunity and for meeting some neat people.

May your journey be filled with light, joy, fun, and challenge. Go get it!

P.S. I wore my Hoka Stinson ATR’s on the hikes. Perfect.

Why I dedicated my 50k race to Mr. Tai Lam: Part I

Posted in motivation, photos, races, random, running with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2014 by afuntanilla

I try not to pay attention to the world news too much except the economic, financial news (because I need to for my job) When I do happen to read the paper, I read the sports section and sometimes the comics and do the crossword. I never watch news on TV and I don’t listen to news radio stations. I get a sense of what is happening via my Twitter feed. That’s one of the best things about Twitter…YOU customize it. You decide what you want to see. Awesome.

Anyway, last Wednesday, I actually read some of the regular news in the SF Chronicle. The first story that caught my eye was a heartwarming story of a family in need of assistance that got it thru the papers’ “season of giving” program. Of course, I like reading these kind of stories.

The next story I read stopped me dead in my tracks and really hit me in my core. A homeless, crippled man who was trying to sleep in the downtown financial district in San Francisco, was beaten to death. I read on and then found a subsequent follow up story online. Age 67, about 100 pounds in weight. Asian. Crippled. Homeless. Sleeping in a little cove he found and not bothering a soul. Apparently, 3 males, wandered by, saw him, and kicked him to death. Repeated kicking and kicking. There is video footage. They would stop when a car drove by. Then, kick again.

The police have said it was one of the worst attacks they have ever seen.
This happened in San Francisco’s financial district. A place where there is a staggering amount of wealth, in a city that has a ridiculous amount of wealth.

What did this man, the victim, Tai Lam, do? Nothing. Well…wait, he was HOMELESS! He was part of a homeless community that the greater community, for the most part, would like to forget….and they do, except when someone perhaps asks for money. Then they cringe and walk away. Or stare blankly ahead. I am not immune. I have ignored “them” too….sometimes it can feel like a scam or maybe we just gave $20 bucks to someone last week….I get it.

But, there is a bigger issue here and part of what stirred me up. In the wake of people protesting in many cities across the nation on police brutality & use of excessive force, who is rallying for this little old man? Who is coming to his aid to DEMAND the criminals be brought to justice? Who is speaking and rallying on his behalf? Who would rise to give significance to this horrific death and his now absence?

No one. There are no rallies in SF for Tai Lam. Because he, like so many of the downtrodden are truly forgotten by us! Our community. ALL OF US. It’s disturbing that people are overbidding on real estate property by hundreds of thousands of dollars, in cash, and we have people like Mr. Lam, living on the street and subject to this kind of aberration. It’s disturbing that a city with an enormous amount of resources somehow can’t or won’t give more to those who are most in need. And yet, money is just part of the issue. It’s the attitude that many take toward the needy, the homeless, those who are without….the simple lack of caring. Maybe if we cared more about these folks, if we demanded more action from our governments, if WE took more individual action. Giving money is wonderful & needed, but more involvement is necessary.

Every single homeless person has a story. Most of them probably have some kind of mental illness or drug problem. Mr. Lam was in neither category. Even if he was, so what?

We turn our backs to the homeless because we don’t want to see….we don’t want to see the potential ugly side of life and what our life could be….but you know what, that is exactly the point. The homeless guy…it is you. The homeless woman, it is you. We are all 1 or 2 or 3 steps away from our lives changing drastically in a heartbeat. Who is going to be there for you? Count your blessings if you already thought of someone who would take you in, love you, care for you.

And don’t ever forget there are thousands out there who are just not as damn lucky as we all are, in this moment.

The story of Mr. Lam’s beating shook me up and moved me to take the one immediate action I could think of: to dedicate my 50k North Face Endurance Race to this man.

And so I did. 920x920

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Life happens

Posted in random with tags , , , , on September 1, 2014 by afuntanilla

Wow. What’s that saying “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it?” Um….YEAH! If you refer to my previous post, you will understand; I just got what I put out there…
(The meaning of my previous post was related to a few different things, but a new dwelling spot was definitely one of them)
I wrote the post on Thursday. I perused Craigslist a few times during the week and nothing really struck me, except for a house in the same town I live in…only about 1 mile from current location. The pictures were ok, and the location was good; the price would be something to consider. I figured I would swing by and check it out after my run on Friday. Friday rolls around and I got a good 5 miler in around town. After breakfast at a nearby cafe, I drove by the rental. A fella was in the driveway doing some work and I asked him about it…he/wife live next door and they are renting it. Go and take a look, he said. I walked in and I knew. I knew it was right. From the 1st few steps…I guess you could say it was “love at first sight.” Airy, well-lit, cozy, all new appliances, floors, huge back yard, etc…2 bedroom house. I was super excited and felt like I had to contain some of my enthusiasm because I thought…”wow, this is too quick…it’s happening too fast…wait, wait…” (Ever been there??) Enjoyed talking with the fella, took an application & exited. I grabbed a friend and drove her over to get her opinion.

“It’s adorable. You have to take it.”

After some financial advising of my own self, I applied. And to make a short story even shorter, it’s mine. To find good, available, “affordable” rental property anywhere in Bay Area, let alone where I live, is always iffy. I am thrilled. Delighted. And, once again, struck with how life happens, how the universe works, how I can create what I want. How WE ALL can!

Sometimes, life isn’t very complicated and mysterious. Sometimes it’s just really easy and simple: get clear on what you want, put it out there, receive it. Easy.

I can’t help but think of my whole “small ring” bike story…..

Something different

Posted in random with tags , , on August 28, 2014 by afuntanilla

The in between. I feel like I am in the in between. Between here and there. In this moment, I am not anxious, worried, scared. I am calm, curious, open. I am allowing. I am not stressed. I am not aching over what’s been “lost”…or what’s just been….the past. I am not looking in the rear view mirror, over my shoulder. My view is ahead, up, forward. This place now seems temporary, transitional. A place that has held me as my innerds readied for something bigger, brighter. I am no longer looking for a place to cradle and protect the lost, hurt, abandoned parts. I am open to a place of air, light, & room to expand myself, my SELF; a place to unleash more of me and invite more of others In. I want to fill the corners with energy and goodness, and maintain my minimalistic nature. A place of comfort, of creativity; a place to elaborate on the senses and capture the in and out beauty. I am looking for a place. To softly land.

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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!!

everyday people

Posted in random with tags , , , on June 18, 2014 by afuntanilla

Just have some thoughts wanted to put out there…thinking about Heroes/Heroic people or actions. The definition of a HERO  (via dictionary.com): “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” 

Hmmm….just a few days ago, I dined for lunch with a colleague whom I do not know well. During our conversation, I mentioned that I lived alone. Her response: “wow! that’s brave.” Of course, I was shocked to hear her say “brave”. But to her, maybe it was just that…BRAVE. Perhaps she is afraid to be alone or live alone or whatever. No judgement. I just thought her choice of word, “brave” was interesting.

So often we hear the media refer to people as brave or heroic because of a particular action they took and often times (perhaps too much) athletes are assigned with this “hero” title.  Yet, if we look at the definition, “distinguished courage or ability” couldn’t that be applied to so many people? Don’t we all possess some distinguishing ability? I believe we do. We may not be admired for it because we are not of “celebrity” status….someone did not take a video of us in our “distinguished ability” and post it on YouTube for the world to see. We remain hidden heroes, so to speak, except to the people in our immediate lives who witness our abilities.

Perhaps the hero is the mother who has to hold down 2 minimum wage paying jobs because that’s the only way to make ends meet. Maybe it’s the father who is clinically depressed after his child has been killed in school….but gets up day after day to care for his other child and his wife, because that’s what he is supposed to do. Maybe he is a hero because he didn’t fall into the deep dark place of no return and become a zombie of a person after such tragedy. Maybe the hero is the hospice nurse whose daily job is to care for those individuals who are in the final days of life. He/She must be that person, by their side, day after day….witnessing them and facing death. That’s her job. Maybe the hero is the person with only 4 quarters in their pocket but is willing to give half of it away. Maybe the hero is not just the guy/gal who can perform multiple slam dunks, hit a 3 run-homer, score the winning goal, run the 2:05 marathon…

Maybe it’s the female attorney handling a arduous criminal case, testing her every capability, working 10-12 hour days and still makes time to make her family feel super special. Maybe it’s the spouse who always remembers the kind of chocolate you like: dark with almonds.

Maybe the hero is you.