Archive for beauty

for the joy

Posted in motivation, running, trail with tags , , , , on September 25, 2015 by afuntanilla

for the past few weeks, the running has been a time and place of pure joy. exhilaration. I lace up. I go roam with intention, with curiosity, with abandon, with determination, with freedom.

I enter into a place that is just for me, but makes me better for my life, for others.

I zone out, but zoom in.

Every sense feels on high alert. The smells on the trails permeate and refresh me after hours inside a boxy office. The beauty of all the enormous trees…so generous in their gift of shade, solace, inspiration…of respite from a world of pavement, buildings, stores, stuff…

my eyes awakened and renewed by seeing a blue bird whizzing by and the deer who startled me today. there she was just SITTING there at a switchback junction as if she was saying, “oh, hello.”

I, who has a habit of looking down, have to remind myself to look up…look up and what do i see…i see the Pacific Ocean out beyond…on this very warm late September day…i see the serene looking blue waters and want to keep running to her…i want to dive into her calmness, her consistency, her vastness.

My eyes so attune to this trail; my familiarity with it still growing, even after all these years, all these miles. My friend, my companion…

The roots, jagged rocks, smooth sections, dry, cracked hardened areas, the stairs…the never ending stairs and the ones that are slipped in here and there just to keep you honest, on balance. Talk about having to be and stay present. This is it. The place where attention is demanded, not just merely suggested. Stay present or you might miss the amazing beauty that falls upon you.

My ears activated by my own breathing, the rapid increase of expiration as I try to go faster up and up and up. Aroused by the simple stillness and quiet of a path with, at least for now, had no other runners.

As thankful as I am for a body that allows me to experience this movement, i am equally grateful to have all my senses in working order so that I may live and appreciate ALL OF THIS. Grateful for a heart that beats…

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Altitude & Attitude

Posted in photos, running, trail, travel with tags , , , , on November 29, 2014 by afuntanilla

Man, it’s not easy to run at altitude, but it sure is pretty looking and pretty damn awesome!

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I was up in South Lake Tahoe last weekend and went for a short 5 miler on Saturday. I was in heaven.

The steady light rain and cool air felt so needed & refreshing on my face. I could sense my innards smiling. The gray skies followed me along the High Meadow Trail and through the woods. Not another human was around. Just me & the mighty, lengthy pines, rocks of various shapes & sizes, and the occasional rushing sound of water flowing in the nearby Cold Creek. I heard nothing and everything. I was on high alert, but then also in a kind of trance. Nature does that to us, doesn’t it? Feeling so singularly focused & present in the moment, but also kinda in lala land….because we are…there is no judgement, no expectations, no deadlines, nothing but the pure and simple ecstatic beauty of just what is…

The trail I was on was going to connect with Tahoe Rim Trail, which I had wanted to see, but I didn’t quite get there….That will definitely be for another day. Today was the first time I have ever run on Tahoe Trails and I can say this; I will be back! Stunning! And I only saw 5 miles today.
The next day, I went for just a 2 mile hike on a completely different trail. It, too, was stunning. After about 1/4 mile of easy walking, trail gets difficult as you are climbing, climbing, and then that you don’t even know where it is because there are huge rocks, boulders everywhere….where is the path?? As you look up and to the east, you are gifted with amazing views of Emerald Bay and then Lake Tahoe a bit further. To the north & west are gorgeous views of the Sierras, some had a bit of snow, but not much just yet. (Phone battery died so no pics of this trail)

As I looked around, I was just in awe and again, so Thankful for my body, my health, and for living where I can see such beauty. I wanna keep finding more places. I wanna keep going….

GET OUTSIDE!

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

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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Week 8 Run Report

Posted in motivation, road with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by afuntanilla

I spoke a little too soon last week. I ended up being not entirely better. ugh. damn lingering sickness.

Week 8 started off with a tougher than expected 4.25 mile run in and around downtown Mill Valley. I wanted to get out of Petaluma for a bit and so I went down south about 40 minutes away. I love the scenery of Mill Valley; the towering redwood, eucalyptus tress lining the streets, shielding me from the sun. Love just running there and taking deep breaths, taking it all in. AHHHH….
Unfortunately, I did not stay long afterwards. I drove around in some of the neighborhoods for a few minutes, but then quickly left. I toyed around with the idea at getting lunch at the Bookstore Depot Cafe, but after standing in line for a bit, I just left. Why? Because as awesome and aesthetically pleasing is Mill Valley, visiting there just feels off. It’s such a little tucked away nest, a beautiful little oasis, and the PEOPLE there have an aura of supremacy and protectionism. They behave as though they KNOW you are a visitor and the energy is not friendly and welcoming. So, yes, it’s pretty snobby and of course, i cannot stand it. I feel like it has gotten much worse over the years. Even going into the Peets Coffee there feels like I am going into sacred territory that is only designed for the residents of M.V. Ugh. Not a good feeling. I know I am not alone in my feelings and descriptions as I have spoken to friends about their experiences as well and they have similar stories….Oh well….Moving on…
At least I got a good run in. 🙂

I was not so fortunate the next few days. Monday evening, I started feeling achy and tired and basically didn’t do much for the next few days. I DID go into San Rafael and sign an offer letter for a new job, but that was the extent of my outings mid week. I’m excited about new job, but I’m still awaiting results of the background check before I am officially “in”. So, as of right now, Monday 10:45am, I am not yet official and I don’t have a start date. There should be no reason for me to NOT pass the background check, but I still must be patient and go thru the process.
Friday I took a stab at running again and just do a quick 30 min run. I could feel I was not 100%, but it also felt great to move my body.
Saturday, I went on a long walk with my friend, Holly. We walked about 1.5 hours from her house, into downtown, and back again. Approx 5 miles. Again, felt great to MOVE my body. Didn’t do much for rest of day. Took advantage of some alone time and did an lot of reading.
Saturday night I went to sleep with the full intention of going for a longer run in the morning. Waking up, I was thankful to be feeling much better. I went downtown to Peets and came back to the house and read, spent some morning quiet time. Ate 2 small/mini Clif Bars and was soon on my way. Wandered all around downtown Petaluma and beyond on a beautiful, quiet Sunday and ended up running 7.6 miles. Very, very satisfied with this run! Looked back at my running journal and realize I had not run over 7 miles since last (early) October. I think I am ready to RAMP IT UP!

After running & grabbing a snack, I went to play TENNIS!! First time in about 7 years and I’ve only played about 10 times total. Went with Sharon, who plays regularly, and we played for about 1.5 hours. Felt awesome, even though I am not a very good player. YET! Gonna work on it and have fun! 🙂

Week 8: Total approx miles: 15

blessings in disguise ?

Posted in road with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by afuntanilla

So, if you have been following, you know how I have been feeling. No kidding, i really felt like I was done with the race training that Sunday Sept 20th. I was fed up, bummed out, pissed off, and somewhat confused. I tried to just let it all go for the rest of the day (not so easy when there are not many distractions). I also tried not to get too down on myself and not try to figure out the answers. Reading your posts DID help, so THANK YOU, fellow readers.

I just kinda let go for last Monday and figured I would see how Tuesday went. Tuesday came and I felt like running. So, I did. And had a good time. A good 5 miles with no expectations. Wednesday came and it was a repeat; another good 5 miles. Just kinda enjoyed it. Thursday swung around and i just did a little 3.1 on treadmill. By this time, I knew I would try again for a longer run on weekend so I didn’t want to push too hard.

All week long, I was in much better spirits. There were a couple of weeks there where it seemed like all I was hearing about was DEATH or those NEAR DEATH. Nobody directly in my life, but it still has an effect on me. And it was a bunch of news all together. For me, I am not one of those people who need to hear about death to start living or to do all those things you don’t do or say until someone dies. I really do try to live like that all the time. The losses I experienced in my early years taught me that…So, hearing about death now doesn’t strike me in such ways. I feel most struck by it in just the finality of it all. The true loss of life. The loss of breath. The loss of smiles. It becomes so heavy, ya know. And so, all that heaviness was weighing on me and i think some of my “disaster” run that Sunday was in part due to that heaviness.

And, nothing like a good ‘ole birthday to bring some levity. I turned a whopping 39 years last Friday! Who-Hoo! And you know, I feel damn good about those years… they have been characterized by many things both extremely heavy and wonderfully light and I am just glad to still be here. Glad to still have my fingers and toes. Glad to still have my sight, my hearing, my vision. Glad to still have a strong, beating heart.

The weekend came and I ran a short 5 on Saturday. Nothing too noteworthy there. Sunday was the big day. I went to the comet and started at zero mile marker and headed west. The temperature was perfect. Low-mid 60’s with a small breeze. The remnants of some earlier rain had left the trail wet in some spots, peppered with a few fallen leaves. The smells were fresh and delicious. I had to stop by iPOD every now and again just to be with it all…to hear the organic sounds around me. I was very surprised at how i felt, physically. It’s almost as if i was expecting my body to quit or really hurt with each passing mile. But, it really didn’t. I was pretty focused and felt strong. Sometimes my back will feel tired or my quads will feel heavy, but not this time. It really wasn’t until mile 15 when my hip flexors started to hurt some. I actually think i could have pushed for more miles, but during the final mile, i got a terrible know in my stomach. I think it was all related to my intake of gels. Sometimes, i think it might be a too much sugar thing. i am not sure, but it goes away pretty quickly. Nonetheless, still finished 16.25 and felt great. So relieved. So much happier.

I am glad. I am thankful. To be here for another day. To have had a better run. To be able to open my mouth and taste life. TASTE LIFE peeps. TASTE LIFE.

September 27: 16.25 miles – Silver Comet

September 26: 5 miles – outside

September 24: 3.1 miles – treadmill

September 23: 5 miles – outside

September 22: 5 miles – outside