Archive for the shoes Category

The Quadruple Dipsea: Part B

Posted in motivation, photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2016 by afuntanilla

So, as I mentioned in the last post, I was dejected after not finishing the Quad. It was the right decision for my body on that day, but i still felt really disappointed.

During the week that followed, as I would relay to others what happened, I followed my comments up by saying, “i’m going to go out again…i will do this and finish.” I wasn’t sure if it was going to be 1 week later or 1 month later. But, I knew I was going to go back.

5 days after not finishing the race, I had decided my body was good to go for it again the following weekend. I let myself rest during the week, stretched, ate well and felt good. I had the added benefit of further inspiration as that Saturday (Dec 3) was The North Face Endurance Challenge here on some of the same trails. I didn’t go watch in person, but followed via social media and was super pysched to follow some of my favorite runners do their thing, especially Zach Miller, who was the 50 mile winner.

So as Saturday went along and then into the evening, I noticed that mentally I was where I wanted to be and where I should have been on pre-race weekend. It was a noticeable difference. So, i felt both physically and mentally ready and now i just needed sleep and to get up and go.

I had my nutrition figured out and took extra shoes in case i wanted to change half way. I packed a PBJ Sandwich cut in 1/4’s, orange slices, Hammer Nutrition gels and Tailwind. I was ready to go.

I began at 8:30am and believed it would take roughly 8 hours. Anything more was gonna push me into post sundown. That would not be good.

I was up the Dipsea steps and onto the course and on my way. I knew early on that I was ok and felt much better than last week. Many parts of the trail were still a bit muddy from recent rain so my Nike Kiger Trail shoes were perfect for the gripping nature needed. They don’t have much cushion but they do grip well and are light! I was just basically humming along and enjoying myself and knowing I had many hours ahead of me so i just tried to settle in, but still stay cognizant of time. I made it to the Stinson turn around and headed back to Mill Valley. Once I got to Mill Valley, i knew I had 2 things to do; 1) grab some food from car, change shoes 2) turn around and get back up the stairs. I didn’t allow for any thoughts to enter my mind around how hard it was gonna be or anything like that…i just kept saying to myself, “get up the stairs, get up the stairs..” And I did. Once I was on the stairs, I felt like THAT was a WIN. I smiled. And kept moving.

A woman actually stopped me prior to me heading up stairs and asked if i was doing a double. I said “No, a Quad.” Her eyes widened and she said; “well, good for you. i know you will do it.”  I so appreciated those kind words.

I figured the 3rd leg, which i was now on, would be the hardest and it was tough. By approximately miles 19-20, I was really starting to feel it..my back started to hurt a bit and i was getting some ache in my legs. But, I just had to keep moving. I made it to Stinson for the 2nd time and as soon as I turned around to head back for the final leg, I smiled and texted my friend, Tim, to let him know where I was…that i was going to finish. I mean, really, at that point, my options were limited anyways…what am i going to do? Walk the rest of the way back. Hitch a ride back to Mill Valley? I better get moving as fast as I can cause the sun in starting to go down.

Let me tell you now. The 3rd leg is NOT the hardest. The 4th leg is. Even though this was the “homestretch”, there was No adrenaline rush. I was moving slow. Very slow. Different body parts were starting to really hurt, as I had anticipated, but it IS still always tough when the hurt sets in and you have to begin the battle. However, what most non-runners don’t understand is, THIS IS THE PART that makes it all so worthwhile..the HARD PART. Experiencing myself as I work through and navigate the rough patches. This is the part where I truly have to show up, stand up, rise up and above and get it done. I’m one of those people who gets absorbed in moments like these BECAUSE they are such great teaching moments…the moment that fully consumes me and I am engrossed in the nature of this particular battle…with the course, the elements, my body and my own will. I’m fascinated by how I respond. And not just how I respond; this is one of the things I’ve truly been captivated by in sports for my entire life…watching athletes of various levels and different sports compete in the most challenging moments. Deeply engrossing!

As I slogged up Dipsea near the Coastal view, I passed some fellas hiking for the 3rd time.  By now, they were wondering what I was doing and after learning, offered me words of encouragement. Thankful for that!!

My right shin of all things started to give me some real trouble. Weird, i thought. I guess from all the stairs. It was super tight and hurting. Going up the final Dipsea stairs after crossing the bridge @ Steep Revine intersection was insane. My labored breathing, my slow movement of lifting one leg and then other to step up again and again. I stopped, looked around the forest…no one in sight..beautifully quiet…and I simply said THANK YOU, out loud to this place…this place that has become my 2nd home. And then, I kept moving.

Finally, atop, and on my way to pass Cardiac for the last time. Next 3 miles all downhill and no, not easy. Just a few hours ago, i was flying down this section and now I was slowed to gingerly running down. As I crossed over the roots and rocks, i was so glad i had changed my Nike Kigers for the additional cushioning of my Hoka Challengers. Again, still no adrenaline rush. Still had one little climb after I labored DOWN Dynamite and into the Muir Woods parking lot. Ok…here I go…lumbering up and knowing now that this is it and trying to push faster in any way i could as I was less than 2 miles from the finish. Finally , I get up to Panoramic and take a quick glance at the gorgeous scenery and i smile big…this is it…1 mile downhill to the finish. I went as fast as I could on the Dipsea Stairs down into the finish at old Mill Park, where I began, 8 hours and 5 minutes earlier.

I was done with my Quad Dipsea.

I’m good and me and the Dipsea are good.

Thankful for this Body, this Life

 

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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.

This past week

Posted in motivation, photos, road, running, shoes, trail with tags , , on August 24, 2015 by afuntanilla

A step back week and found myself on 2 short trail runs mid week. 1 was on a trail i may incorporate into the big run. not sure just yet. part of it was new to me and lovely. was there about 5-6pm and the light and shadows and weather were all perfect. smells so good out there. i can’t quite name the smell…a mix of fragrant trees…need to investigate this! the part that was familiar to me was the part i have run many times in the past. I used to live closer to this trail years ago when i was began my love of running and ran here frequently. So, the delicious smell is even more welcoming. Went about 5.5 miles.

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Next day, went to trails near home. Was super tired/sore but I just had to go – you know that feeling, right??! As my legs and arms moved in unison and i felt the crunch, crunch under my feet, my level of happiness increased. Wasn’t tired anymore. Was another gorgeous early evening with few other beings in sight. The views, the gently swaying of the super dry grass/weeds, the hanging branches causing even my short body to duck a bit…all lovely and comforting. The last .75 of this one trail i like to do at the end is my favorite. It is mostly downhill with some twisty turns. I just absolutely love this part…i’m sure i’ve mentioned it before…i just feel like i can fly…my stride opens and there’s an awesome flow and freedom and i just wanna laugh or yell the whole way….it feels so much like the most natural self i can be. i’m not quite sure i can put it into words. I love when i am present enough to feel such a thrill. It happens often, but not all the time. the feeling is absolutely unmistakable and there is no replacement. this is part of the why. AND, the feeling lingered long after i was off that trail….

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Saturday: elected to do the longer run since i was gonna be out late in the evening. Ran more of the possible course and was a tough go even though it was only 13. Legs just felt heavy. Not surprised. Need a few rest days and a massage. Noticed during this route and last weekend I had to stop a lot for traffic which is not ideal, but necessary if i want to do this mostly on road. Need to start earlier. May also look for some alternate routes.

There are days when I feel certain and days of doubt. This week had both.

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XLV

George Sheehan

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, road, running, shoes with tags , on August 10, 2015 by afuntanilla

In this pursuit of excellence we runners do something that upsets some observers: We reset goals. Runners are never satisfied; we are always in process.

We already possess all we need; It is effort that brings us to greatness and the fusion of what we are with what we can be.

-George Sheehan

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What’s possible?

XLV

A 13.1 Point of View

Posted in photos, races, shoes with tags , , , , on August 4, 2015 by afuntanilla

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I ran another half-marathon. July 26th, 2015 in San Francisco. The were a few other races at the event. One could opt to run the Full Marathon, the 1st half-marathon, the 2nd half-marathon, a double marathon or a 5k. I ran the Full in 2005, the 1st half in 2012, and the 2nd half in 2013, where I finally set a PR at the distance, 1:58:42. About 6 weeks prior to race, I had visions of breaking that PR, but as the date inched closer and the speedwork waned….i had to accept that I wasn’t going for a PR. As the hours came close to start time, I figured I could do 2:05. So. Off I went.

The 2nd half starts in Golden Gate Park. It was a cool, 55 degrees kind of morning. A bit of fog still lingering from the nearby Pacific. The 1st five miles are in and around the park…felt like a nice stroll with a bunch of people. I was very aware of pace and making sure i didn’t go too fast too early. After leaving the park, course goes through Haight-Ashbury, lower Haight, crosses market street to the Mission district. I was feeling ok. Not great. I was aware that I was pushing the entire way and keeping on pace. My exertion level felt high and my quads were getting tighter and tighter. Otherwise, i felt ok. [my longest run during this training was only 8 miles, so maybe that had an effect. 🙂 ]

I just kept focused. period. I knew the course so i knew if there were any potential uncomfortable places coming up and there weren’t. This half is actually almost all flat. Super slight hills in the park and 1-2 more on course, but they are really nothing. The first half is much more hilly, FYI. So, I knew i would hit my goal time if i just stayed focused….After the mission, we zig zag through Potrero Hill, Dogwatch and then very close to the bay in the Mission Bay neighborhood. Run right by the SF Giants Ballpark (A T & T Park) and a straightaway along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building. As we approached A T & T Park, that’s when i felt i hit a wall. It was just past mile 12. Legs were shot. I stopped to walk a min. I couldn’t believe how i just couldn’t really lift my legs. Kinda funny now, actually. Anyway…i kept chugging along and finished 2:05:51.

I was fine with this as my expectations were inline. Some stats:

Overall: 1518 out of 3984

Women: 591 out of 2118

Females Age 40-49: 99 out of 381

So….I have to say that once again I’m very grateful to be healthy and able to run. I try not to take anything, especially my health, for granted. AND…as I crossed the finish line, I noticed that i was very kind of ho-hum…not really excited or anything. Happy to be done because it was a push for me at that pace right now, but otherwise…just not too excited. So, I just noticed this feeling and kinda explored what it is about…and you know what….it’s because it was such a short race!

What’s next? Stat tuned. I’m scheming….

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P.S. Shoes: The New Balance 1400v3. Great shoes I bought in early July. It’s super lightweight, racing type shoe. Not much cushioning so i won’t wear it for longer distances, but was great today as it was for the Peachtree Race i did on 7/4/2015.

Onward!

Peachtree. Again. 

Posted in photos, races, road, running, shoes, travel with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2015 by afuntanilla

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We gathered on the 4th day of July.  the day so historically significant, marking the United States independence. Freedom. Freedom. Freedom. I think of the many people who live in places where they are not so free….

We lined up. Some for the 37th time. Some for the 1st time. Or like myself, the 8th time. My 8th go at The Peachtree Road Race. The crowd so full, lively, ridiculously energetic on this early morning holiday. The famed start there at the corner of Peachtree and Lenox Ave…on your mark….

I felt happily light as I had no water bottle, no earphones, nothing with me or in my hands. The sky above was gray & a typical Atlanta thunderstorm was threatening. Bring on the rain, I said. If you know me, than you know I love running in the rain…especially a southern rain. Nothing. Like. It.

My goal was to run solid, have fun, soak it all in and push! All week my legs had been feeling heavy, but this morning, all was good. I had a feeling I would have a good day. Sometimes, I can just feel it as soon as I wake up whether I will run well or not….and this morning as I readied myself in the hotel room, I had a good feeling.

Off we went and the miles were passing by. I was keeping 9 minute mile pace, conscious to not go to fast as I didn’t want to lose steam later in the race as I have done so many times in the past. This course, this damn course…often times, it just gets me miles 4-5.5! I was determined not to let that happen. Well. The 3rd mile was even faster at 8:43. I didn’t want to go that fast, but that’s what happened…

As we started the initial climb up the major hill (Cardiac Hill), I was feeling strong and kept my pace strong throughout…up and over…and onto a flat stretch to mile 4 which starts the long, gradual ascent til about 5.8 miles. It doesn’t ever look difficult but often times in the past I have just really slowed down during this stretch….

Not today;  legs in great stride, pushing, feeling my breathing, my heartbeat beating….so happy to be alive and running as a harder rain fell on us all. Ahhhh….that was the moment, my moment…LOVE IT!

I turned the corner at Peachtree and 10th and headed fast on the last downhill stretch into the finish next to Piedmont Park.

Done, done, done. Another Peachtree in the books. One of the best races I’ve had here and happy with my finish of 56:08.

 

The shoes in the picture where new…bought just the day before and had no problems whatsoever. I was able to walk around in them a bit day before race, so all was good. They are NEW BALANCE 1400v3, a racing shoe. Good stability and enough cushioning for this day. Super light and fun to run in. Got ’em at The Big Peach Running (of course!) store in Decatur. Best running store ever! (multiple locations…i love the decatur store best)

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Happy to be healthy and out enjoying life on the roads….

What’s Next??

post-race musings

Posted in motivation, photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2014 by afuntanilla

Time to write about what worked, what didn’t, at the North Face 50k, and more importantly, why.

Training; part of this went well and part didn’t.

The positives: 90% of my training was on the exact course. This was a huge help in getting my body and mind prepared. There were no surprises (except the mud)
I got in some long days and long back-to-back days.

What could have been better:
I believe I would have benefited from running more with others on the course. This would have pushed me to increase my pace & probably increase my distance. (Not to mention the companionship on the trail)
Overall, I prefer to run alone, but 1x a week or something like that would have been beneficial.

Signing up for race EARLY! – as mentioned in earlier posts, I went to sign up for the race late and it was already sold out. So, I was all out of sorts for 2 weeks trying to see if I could get in. Then, I got in. Then, 3 weeks before race day, I decided to transfer from 50m to 50k. Although that ended up being a very good decision, the whole mess around not entering early, being undecided on distance…all of that was mentally challenging and stuff I could have done without.

Race day itself: I don’t think I could have done anything differently that would have resulted in a better finish (time wise). I felt pretty darn good for the first 15 miles and then I didn’t feel so good, incrementally. Maybe a salt tab would have helped with what I perceived as legs cramps, but I have never taken one before and I didn’t want to experiment right then and there. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could stick something in our mouth, like a thermometer, to tell us exactly what is wrong; like a red color means need salt, a yellow color means need protein, etc…I mean we have other instantaneous tests for pregnancy and for fevers, why can’t there be something like this? Hmmmm….)

I believe my injury to my left leg caused me limitations as the race progressed and then a different issue emerged on my right leg that I am still trying to figure out what it is…

But, all in all, my result is in line with how I trained. Perhaps could have been about 30 minutes faster if the mysterious new right leg issue didn’t occur.

GEAR; wore my Salomon pack. In hindsight, I could have done without this. Could have gotten by with a hand held and another something around my waist to carry some gels. There were plenty of aid stations to refill water, etc.

Shorts; north face, black. Love these shorts. Should buy more pairs.
Shoes; HOKA Stinson- good shoes for this muddy, wet, day. Heavier than the Huaka’s, but these have better traction.
Shirt; North Face Mountain technical shirt.

Nutrition: 2 hammer gels every hour, 1 package of tailwind, chips, orange slices at a few aid stations, water.

I carried water in my Salomon pack and then also a handheld in the pocket. I used the bottle for Tailwind (later miles)

Last but not least, what worked was COMRADERIE!

As mentioned in previous post, I have never done a race before where I experienced this level of COMRADERIE. It started pre-race. I randomly met someone who I follow and who follows me on Twitter. she recognized me from pictures and we had a fun brief exchange!
Next, while on the 1st climb up Bobcat, I look to my left and say “hey, I know you, I follow you on Twitter.” How freaking random is this??
More fun exchanges.
On the climb up Coastal, chatted with a fella from SoCal who would later see me at the finish & thank me for our chat and how much it helped him push through. Very cool especially cause I have no idea what I might have said that could have helped!
In line waiting for shuttle and then on shuttle, chatted with a local fella & totally swapped race stories and other life chatter. FUN!

What also worked? I had fun & smiled!!

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