Archive for endurance

Funtanilla Forty: Part 3

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos, road, trail with tags , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by afuntanilla

A few ways down the road, I made a left hand turn just across from the San Leandro BART Station. On my left was the church I attended, faithfully, as a child; St. Leanders Church. The sky was still covered in the morning darkness and the streets still sleepy on this Saturday morning. I looked over at the church and saw all 3 main front doors were open and light emerging from inside. Spontaneously, I ran up the few steps and walked inside and stood at the main entrance between the formal church area and the foyer. I stood tall and took a few deep breaths. The smell of the inside is so distinct..i have no description to tell you. Maybe kinda musty. Earthy. Church-y.

I looked at the pews and remembered the times I sat in them, my small body and tiny legs never touching the floor; i remembered the times i stood in line for communion and how i so loved the CEREMONY of that…still do. Flashes of more memories of times my grandma and me would go in when it was empty, light some candles and pray silently & together for those we had lost. And then, flashes of her (grandma) own funeral. She laid in her casket so still; stately, almost. In just that minute at the church, I felt peace, love & determination. I marched onward. Or ran, rather.

The next few miles was spent in my old neighborhood, zig-zagging through the streets I walked along..the streets where I had my paper route. Memories flashed of certain houses where I would go and collect the newspaper fee and cross my fingers for a .50 or $1.00 tip so I could go play video games later at the 7-Eleven. Man, I loved that!!

Kera, Scott & Sharon were in support car following me. I grabbed a little water from them and kept going. Unfortunately, they kinda lost me after that and I didn’t see them for another 4-5 miles and I was dying for water. I’m not a runner who can go without water for long and I was also starting to stress about not being able to see them. We had map issues that they had been trying to get figured out…god bless ’em. It was not easy.

At approx Mile 5, I made the very small climb up to my old high school, Bishop O’Dowd. It is situated on the top of a hill and as I made my way to the top, I had the most spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay. It was such a clear morning I could see clear across to San Francisco. The sunlight at that moment was just perfect..as if everything was glowing. I wish I could have taken a photo of that moment. Oh well…it is now etched in my brain memory bank.

I doubled back a bit and somewhere between mile 6-7, I see someone waiting for me; STACEY!! WOW. How amazing to see her. We had not seen each other in about 24 years! We had re-connected on facebook and it was questionable whether she would be able to meet me or not. She worked her schedule to come run about 3-4 miles with and I was so thrilled!! We ran by our junior high school, Bancroft, which was so fitting because we only went to school together for 7th-9th grades. Thank you, Stacey, for making time and being a part of this special run!! You ROCK!

Stacey & I

Stacey’s jaunt with me ended in Bay-o-Vista, where her mom lives and she was gonna get a ride back to her vehicle. Kera and Sharon drove her up the steep ass hill to mom’s house and Scott was now running with me. He picked the perfect time as now it was all hard for the next 11 or so miles. We walked up a small steep hill and then a LOOOOONG steep hill. A little downhill and into Lake Chabot. Before we went onto trails, we had to wait for support car which had more map problems. (they didn’t know they had a harder job than I did. LOL) They arrived about 20 minutes later and we refueled and went to tackle the varied terrain of approx 9 miles around the Lake.

early into trail run. gorgeous

me & stud runner, Scott

the latter miles

As you can tell from the pictures, the trail was varied. Beginning and end are paved. In between, we ran on wide, loose dirt trail, then later, narrow single track. It was all up/down with some sections very steep on both sides. What we noticed was the drop in temperature whenever we were on the single track, shady sections. It felt about 10 degrees cooler. Otherwise, we were basically at the mercy of the sun. Not a lot of shade. We saw some mountain bikers, runners, walkers, hikers, but all in all, not too many people. A gorgeous place surrounded by a pretty lake.

Exiting the trail, we ran into the parking lot and I see someone waving madly at us..KIM! I was Kim’s roommate in SF about 8 years ago and we have remained close ever since!!Thanks for making time for me, Kimmy!! She had found support crew and they all waited for us at the park.

Kim & I

Kim, me, Scott & Kera

We stopped, visited & refueled. It was awesome to see them after those hard miles on trail. I changed my shoes and we headed back up a steep hill to get back into town. Here’s where some major energy came from my twitter peeps!

Happy to see the Peeps!

2 twitter friends flew out from atlanta, 2 of them drove up from los angeles and 1 lives in bay area.

As we were trudging/walking up the steep hill, here comes another support car and they were honking, playing music, getting out of car to take pictures and even run with me. CRAZY, AWESOME FRIENDS!

Crazy, awesome NEVA joining in the run!!

Scott on the downhill

Kera had gotten out the car to walk, then run with us on the hill. She surprised me as I didn’t think she would run at all…but she did! Even stubborn twitter peep Lynn got out of car and ran a bit. I was so incredibly delighted!!

Lynn on the Run!

Kera & I on the downhill

We had a very long downhill of the same hill we went up earlier and you might think we ran the entire way down, but we didn’t. It was pretty steep and the pounding that takes on your legs, your quads in particular is incredible….so it was walk/run/walk. All their energy definitely gave me a boost and I needed it as I was just past the half-way at about 21 miles. It was a little startling to know I still had so much more to go.

At approx Mile 22

More to follow. Stay tuned!

Funtanilla Forty: Part 1

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, road, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by afuntanilla

The Funtanilla Forty (40 mile run on 40th birthday) is done. I completed the run on 9/25/10 in a total time of 9 hours, 48 minutes. Here’s what the time included.

-waiting for support car to find me and Scott M at Lake Chabot for about 20 minutes

-waiting for all he stoplights throughout the city

-changing socks, shoes, shirt

-grabbing food, drinks from support car

-hilly 9 miles at Lake Chabot Trails

-mid-high 80 degree heat.

-bathroom stops

I mixed in walking, especially the last 10 miles, but I never took any rest breaks.

Very happy and proud. It was an amazing journey and  I can’t wait to share more of it with you all. Thanks for all the support and stay tuned for more of the story.

Why 40 miles?

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, road with tags , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by afuntanilla

T-19

Posted in 40 mile run, gym, motivation, photos, road, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by afuntanilla

There’s been so much going on and so much I have wanted to post, but the moment keeps getting away from me. And honestly, I have been spending so much time in front of computer at work, that I really don’t want to be in front of it at home…which is a little bit of a shame considering i have a sweet-ass iMAC!

So, since this has been a 3-day weekend, it’s a good time for me to post!

Last week was interesting. I was more stressed with work stuff than I have been in a while and then having some anxiety about the 40 mile plan. I also had some physical issues. major fatigue. fatigue like i’m standing up at work talking to a colleague and just feel like I will fall down right then and there. Thank goodness, I didn’t. Fall down.

Then, on Friday, i also had some kind of intestinal issue which was not fun. I left work early, went home and slept a lot for the next 36 hours.

Even though as fatigued as i was, i ran on Tuesday after work. Weather has turned about 10 degrees cooler with significantly less humidity. On Thursday, I ran in the morning and then again later that evening. I felt really good on that second run, but now i think it may have been my adrenaline-induced self speaking. Who knows…I ran 4.5 miles on Saturday on treadmill and was extremely dehydrated. Afterwards, I basically slept for the rest of the day off and on.

So, i tell you all that because it really did not make ANY sense what happened on Sunday. Sunday was to be my longest long run before taper for 40 miler. I had no idea what I would be able to do given what my body was going through Fri/Sat.

I woke on Sunday and felt ok. I definitely felt rested. Legs didn’t feel as fresh as I would have liked, but I was glad to feel rested and AWAKE. I figured since it was my longest run yet, i would just go ahead and run thru the city rather than go to the Silver Comet Trail. I wanted to be alone on the empty Sunday streets of Atlanta. I wanted to see the city in its calm state, to look at the different architecture of downtown buildings, and to zig zag my way through various neighborhoods.

I drove and parked my car along Peachtree Ave, put on my Nathan Pack and headed East. Starting temperature was 56 with low low humidity. HEAVEN!

I made a conscious decision to walk any hilly parts so I could save my legs and last for as long as I could. I felt a lot of peace. It was soooo quiet being a Sunday and a holiday weekend. I had the streets to myself. Love that! The first 12 miles took me through Midtown and downtown. Running along some of the outer streets of downtown is where I encountered some of the homeless folks. They are the only ones up at that time of day. A lot of them sleeping on the concrete. Man, can you imagine? Regardless of how they arrived at a place in their lives where they know sleep on the street, in vacant, dirty, trash-filled parking lots, every one of them deserves compassion. I wanted to go home and get them some blankets. Some part of me frequently feels that only a few pieces of different luck or different choices and I could have been there…could be there…you never know.

On a stretch over by Turner Field (home of the Atlanta Braves) a couple of fellas were sitting there smiling at me as i ran past. “Run it out, run it out”, they cheered! Thx, fellas!

Physically, I was feeling better than I had expected and mentally, i felt stronger than in a while. I KNOW a lot of the mental strength came from simply better weather and not having to battle the flattening humidity. It’s truly amazing how much that had beaten me down over a good chunk of the summer. I ran into Decatur and found the track at Agnes Scott College open so i went on it. I was relieved to take off my pack and run without anything. No water, no iPOD. Free. The track there is awesome. Beautiful grass. Nice track. Serene setting. There were only 2 other people there; an older couple who were walk/running. They were adorable. I thought maybe that is how me & my loved one will be when we get old. (Whomever that loved one might be…) I ran a solid 4 miles on the track and then continued on for the final 8 miles back to my vehicle. 24 miles.

I was pretty psyched when I was finished. Why? Because I did it on tired legs. Because I had about the same pace I had at the LA Marathon back in March. Because like all the other times, I could have stopped at any point and I didn’t. Because I pushed myself and gained more confidence with each passing mile. Because even though I will still need to go another 16 miles to reach 40, I know i can do it. I know it in my blood. I needed that kind of a day, that kind of a run more than i could possibly explain.

Below are some recent pics a friend took during some different runs.

your sunday tour guide

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, road with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by afuntanilla

A left outside of the building and a long stretch on Monroe Dr. I pass by the Kroger, Publix, Starbucks and cool new restaurant, HobNob. Crossing Piedmont Ave and still on Monroe, I run by Grady High School, another Starbucks, Trader Joes, Midtown Cinema and continue on the slight uphill to next intersection at Ponce de Leon. Once I cross Ponce, Monroe changes to Boulevard and the next Mile could also be referred to as “crack alley” (someone recently referred to it in that manner). Lots of run down apartments and people on the streets at all times of day or night — not sure what they are doing…but no one ever bothers me and I don’t bother them. I just keep runnin’. Soon crossing over big intersection of Boulevard/Freedom Parkway and into Edgewood and the MLK Center. Finally, I make a turn, a right one onto Dekalb Ave and head West towards Downtown. I pass the MLK Marta Station and soon make another right hand turn onto Peachtree Corner. I’ve just passed Georgia State University and a bunch of downtown hotels. Now on another long straight stretch on Peachtree Rd…taking me past The Fox Theater, another Starbucks, & Margaret Mitchell House. Now into Midtown and on a stretch that includes many new high rises, a new LOEWS Hotel (wanna check it out!!) ANOTHER STARBUCKS, W Hotel, 14th Street Playhouse, Art Museum and nearby Piedmont Park. Finally another right turn onto a street that takes me into Ansley Neighborhood (gorgeous, wide streets, large, older homes) passing Ansley Golf Club and winding my way back onto Monroe and back home.

How many Starbucks was that??

AM run = 15.3 miles

PM run = 5.7 miles

Sunday total = 21

Week total = 34

trust

Posted in 40 mile run, road with tags , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by afuntanilla

the humidity is not only physically draining, but mentally, too. both days this weekend, i ran outside in 80 degrees/90% humidity. Start time on Saturday was 7am, Sunday was 6:30am. both days i had to take walk breaks. probably more walk breaks than i ever have in the past. this humidity is humbling, frustrating and messes with my confidence. it’s so easy to get down on myself and think, “what is your problem? why are you walking? you’re going to slow. you’re not gonna make it.” Those were some of the thoughts in my head this weekend. But, I knew i could not allow myself to give those thoughts much energy or else my time outside was just going to be worse. I HAD to change my thoughts…and i did. i was able to mentally make a list of the pros/cons of the run which got me into an objective state of mind. And then at one point, i just had to let go…because it just is what it is…and i have to accept it. I cannot run my normal pace in these humid conditions. I cannot run as far as i want to in these conditions. Accept it and move on.

I have to trust myself. I have to trust my body. I am still getting in the miles and doing what i need to do.

One of the best things about running is that it teaches you, it compels you do to be self-sufficient. there is no one else out there to lean on. there is no one else to “pass the ball to“.

I got in a 2nd run Sunday evening on treadmill for 4.5 miles, giving me just over 20 miles for the day.

Total for the week was 35.

Pressing onward…

the pros, the kids, and me

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos, random with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by afuntanilla

One of the athletes I admire and have been inspired by is Craig Alexander. For anyone who may not know, he is the 2 yr reining champion of Ironman Championships in Kona. I have followed his career for a while and have read and watched interviews. He has always seemed kinda soft spoken, humorous, and dedicated to his sport. his job. He has also appeared to be a pretty classy guy. confident, yet humble. So…i had seen where he along with 2 pro women triathletes, Heather Gollnick & Mirinda Carfrae, were going to be in Atlanta for a fundraiser for 2 local kids’ charities. Of course, i had to go. The event was held at Piedmont Park on a hot, sticky evening last Tuesday. The athletes showed up and everyone was just kinda mulling about at first. I went up to talk to Craig. I told him how inspired i was by him and then asked him some stuff about his training plans, etc.. So easy to talk to. Very unassuming, humble, and damn handsome. oh, and probably not one ounce of fat on his body. Amazingly lean! The large group split up in 3 groups for a short run. I was in the group with Craig and it was pretty neat to run right beside him — he was good natured with everyone. I didn’t have much interaction with the female athletes, but i saw that Heather was full of spunk and energy and Mirinda was on the quieter side.

All the proceeds from the event (entry fee, silent auction, & raffle) went to two local kids’ charities; East Atlanta Kids Club & Tri Kids Inc. Both organizations are involved in getting kids to be active and healthy and there were many kids at the event. I absolutely love seeing this kind of stuff and being a part of it.

Saturday, I ran a 5k race put on by Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation. I ran this local race 2 years ago and this year, it was substantially larger! There were approx 1000 runners for 5k and about 600 for 2k. $250k was raised for brain tumor research! Amazing. One of the things a speaker said at the end was that it was great so many people came out for event and all the money raised, but it would also be wonderful to not HAVE to host such an event. Amen to that!

This year, I participated as a way to show support for a client who had lost her husband to a tumor. I was honored that she asked me to be a part of her team. She did not run, but was a volunteer at event (and is also involved with SBTF) She was at the Wall of Heroes which was a place where families and friends could post photos and stories, etc…of loved ones lost to this disease. It was not a sad event. It was an event of celebration and determination to beat something that takes so many lives.

I pushed kinda hard in the run. Temperatures were 80 degrees with 85% humidity, so it was far from easy, even for a short distance. As I ran, I thought about my client and her husband of many years and got strength and focus from those thoughts. There were many kids out running, too, which i love to see!

i placed 2nd in my age group and got a very cool medal w/ a butterfly on it…the symbol of hope the foundation uses. While waiting for awards to be given out, I walked around and found a table where we could color in these pictures of butterflies. A lady asked me if i wanted to color, and i said yes. I got some crayons and colored in my butterfly. I was thrilled. This might not seem like a big deal, but to me, it was. I rarely do things like that — maybe because i don’t have kids and am rarely around them…whatever, it was neat. It cracks me up to look at the photos cause I look pretty serious. HAHA

Sunday’s long run began about 6:50am outside. I ran for  4 mile and thought, this (weather) is ridiculous. i’m going INSIDE to run on the freaking treadmill. And, so I did. I ran another 10.5 miles on treadmill for a total of 14.5 for morning run. Later that evening, I went back to treadmill for another 4 for 18.5 total on Sunday …i think treadmill and I are no longer dating; we are in a full blown relationship. i think those 10.5 miles might be the longest I have ever run on treadmill at one time. Why do i have a feeling that is a number that will be surpassed very soon…

The donations for the My Stuff Bags Foundation are coming in and I’m thrilled. Thank you to all who have contributed. Truly Appreciated!!

Overall, feeling ok. Did a couple of other shorter runs mid week. Body has been kinda out of sorts lately, but I cannot dwell on any one thing. I just gotta trust that some days are good days, some days not so good. I’m running on my 2 legs and 2 feet and a whole lot of heart. What else do i need?

Well…maybe some crayons…

numbers, et al.

Posted in photos, road with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by afuntanilla

I first heard about the Western States 100 UltraMarathon back on the eve of my first ever HALF-MARATHON in 1999. A friend was explaining the race to me and as i was about to embark on 13.1 miles the next day, hearing about this 100 MILE race was incomprehensible. I could barely wrap my head around 13.1 miles…100 miles…whew!!

It’s years later now and while I know 100 miles is a lot, it is no longer incomprehensible to me. I mention this because this classic, bad-ass annual race took place this past Saturday. The route starts in Squaw Valley, CA & ends in Auburn, CA covering some ridiculous elevation along with snow in the beginning and 90 degrees+ later in the day. I was following along via the web & twitter to get updates on some of the ultrarunners that inspire me. It is truly amazing what the top runners are able to do…what their bodies are able to do. AMAZING.

No, I’m not planning on running a 100 mile race…at least not anytime soon. 🙂 I just mention this because, there I was, saturday morning, all inspired and amped up!! Damn 100 miles. That’s a long way!!

Here are some tidbits from some recent runs:

Wednesday; 5.25 miles, treadmill
Thursday; 4 miles, 95 degrees
Saturday; 5.16 miles, 85 degrees, 68% humidity
Sunday; a.m. 10 miles, 74 degrees, 85% humidity; p.m. 3o min walk/run/hill repeats. 90 degrees

Diet: all vegetarian.

here are some pics of some of the training ground:

Heading west on Silver Comet Trail (below)

Trying to cool off afterwards in the creek!

It was pretty damn peaceful sitting there after 10 good miles!

At least a couple of days a week, usually after running on treadmill, I will run up these steps. They are the beginning of the 6 flights up to my place. I love running these!!

I know I talk about the heat a lot, but damn…y’all…we’ve had some RIDICULOUS weather here lately. I cannot remember the last time it WAS NOT 95+ degrees outside. Everyday the heat and high humidity. This is not too customary for June in Atlanta. July and August but not June. I don’t even think we had a Spring. Walking across the street in the afternoons to grab coffee just about knocks me out. I feel like my face is on fire. Seriously. Well….what are you gonna do, right?

Like they say, ‘that which doesn’t kills us, makes us stronger’.

Go to it. Get Strong. Get Stronger.

…on my way to 40….that’s almost HALF of a 100… just sayin’

sunday

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, quotes, road with tags , , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by afuntanilla

“I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret.” – ANON

Great running yesterday. Woke up at 530am and started at 7am at Silver Comet Trail. Ran a solid 8 miles. Absolutely drenched afterwards. Rested. Ate. Went to office for a bit. Rested. Ate. Ran another 3.5 miles on treadmill in the evening.

Loving my Vegetarian, Semi-Vegan nutrition. Why SEMI-Vegan? Cause I just am not willing to forego half-n-half in the java.

Stay positive. Stay Strong. Stay active.

Oh yeah…i think i need a new pair of running shoes. K-Swiss, baby!

Let’s get it Started!

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, travel with tags , , , , , , , on May 27, 2010 by afuntanilla

As I thought about my upcoming 40th birthday, of course i thought of how to celebrate. First of all, 40 is and has been a significant number because when i think of 40, i think that’s how old my mom was when she died. So, here I am…just 4 months away from being that same age. To me, that is just crazy. Wild. Weird.

She died on a late Sunday morning while we were driving home from a fishing trip. A peaceful Sunday along Hwy 580 near Castro Valley turned deathly silent after the crash, boom, and bang of the multi-car pile-up.

I got pretty well banged up in the accident. After 6 weeks in the hospital & another month or so in a full body cast, I literally learned how to walk again. I’ll never forget those first moments of taking steps on my own. Man, what a THRILL!! There I was in grandma’s living room, wearing my blue & bright pink pajamas, gingerly putting one foot in front of the other. I was walking again and I felt free.

I’m a runner. I have to tell the story above because I continue to feel much gratitude that I can run. I listen to folks all the time of all sizes, shapes, & ages tell me how they wish they could run, but cannot because of knee problems, back problems, etc… So, it is never lost on me how lucky I am. Every day.

So…what the hell does all this have to do with turning 40 and a birthday…?  Well, after many thoughts and ideas about how, when, and where I would celebrate,  I made a decision. I have decided to go back to where it all kinda began for me; San Leandro, CA. Even though I was born in San Francisco, most of my childhood memories are from days spent in San Leandro. To commemorate my 40th year, I have decided to run 40 miles starting in San Leandro at the address of where I grew up and go from there. I recently mentioned my idea to a friend and her response was: “wouldn’t you want to do something more fun?” – I think my response was: “well, i want to do something meaningful and this is meaningful.” And I actually think it will be fun….fun because my hope is that many of my friends will come out and support me at some point during the day, fun because it will be like some big trip down memory lane — and although some of those memories are difficult, they contributed to who i am and for that, i give thanks.

This will be a run of celebration. A celebration and reflection of 40 years and pay tribute to those people and places who have been with me along the way.

There will be many people to thank that day, including mom, for without her, September 25, 1970, would not have been possible.

I hope you will follow me as I train and plan for the celebration. Cheers!!!