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Turkey Trotting

Posted in browns, motivation, photos, races, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2012 by afuntanilla

I’ve run or raced on Thanksgiving many times. In fact, I can’t recall when the last time it was I didn’t run/race on the holiday. While living in Atlanta, I raced the Atlanta Half Marathon on turkey day many times and other times, I just went for a quiet run on my own. THIS year was a bit different. Now that I live in Petaluma, I found out there was a race on Thanksgiving…a local “turkey trot”. Only, this was not a “formal” race with paid registration and t-shirts, etc…This was simply a run organized by a wonderful local woman and this was year #6. To give you an idea of the “feel” of the event, here is some of the description from the website:

The basic idea is simple – a group fun run. No registration, no fee, no volunteer support, no T-shirts. Just running or walking with community and feeling darn good about the calorie burn before the big feast.

In lieu of a registration fee, we were to bring food items for the local food bank.

So…Sharon did the run last year and coerced me into joining her this year. 🙂 There was a 4 mile and 6 mile option. We both had said we would just do the 4 miler. The run started at a park about 1/2 mile from my house and it was fun to arrive early and see everyone milling about and bringing food, etc. We ran into another friend, who upon hearing I was running the 4 miler said, “can i challenge you to do the 6?” What? OK. I’m in. I have not been running too much and certainly not been running any hills so i figured it would be a good challenge. Pretty soon we were on our way. The first 2 miles are basically a gradual, steep, and steeper uphill into the heart of Helen Putnam Park. The next 2 were on narrow hard packed dirt trails in and around the park. A few times, we came to open areas that looked like this:

Tough place to run, huh?!! GORGEOUS! I have run in this park before but had not been here since last Jan/Feb when I was training for a trail race in Muir Woods. It was good to be back and be off the pavement. At the onset, I was relaxed and felt really low key  — but then once I started running and especially when I made my way into the park, my competitive juices took over. I kept noticing these 2 women in front of me and I just could not seem to catch them. Ever have that feeling??? I was passing some people, but still could not catch them. The 2 miles we did in the park were all up and down hills and on the downhills, I just tried to fly down them and I did! I LOVE that feeling of being in the open so free and when my stride opens up. AHHHHH! As I was coming onto the start of the final 2 mile portion of the race, the race organizer, snapped this photo of me:

Once I crested over this area, it was basically 2 miles all downhill to the finish. The 2 women were still in my sights and I started to push hard and harder and I guess they did too! My legs were burning and aching, my breathing was heavy and my arms were flailing about and yet…i still could not catch them. I probably got to within 200-300 feet and I just let it go. We were less than 1/4 mile to the finish but I just had nothing left. AND WHAT A GREAT FEELING THAT WAS!!! I found the 2 speedy women afterwards and congratulated them on a great run and we chatted for a bit. Soon afterwards, I greeted Sharon and I know we both felt great and accomplished. Awesome way to the start of what was a wonderful Holiday. Me at the end:

NEW TOPIC:

So, did you see it? Did you catch it? Of course, I am talking about the 3rd win of the season for the Underdog, Cleveland Browns!! They battled against their interstate rival, Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday in Cleveland, on the banks of Lake Erie. Let me assure you, this is an intense sports rivalry and there is no love loss between the teams and fans. Pittsburgh was in the unfortunate position of having to start their 3rd string QB, since #1 and #2 were unavailable. Boo hoo. No sympathy here.

The Steelers played awful. They had 8 turnovers. Pretty much no team will win when they turn the ball over that much. Most of the turnovers were fumbles by the running backs, which I was surprised about, but hey, I will take it. Thank you. The Browns did what they should have done; they took advantage of these opportunities and played good enough to win 20-14, at home in front of their home crowd who cheer them on RELENTLESSLY! I’m telling you there is NO FAN BASE like that of the BROWNS! I followed the game online and was so happy they won, in case you couldn’t tell!

Next up, they have a fantastic opportunity to secure their 4th win of the season against the truly awful Oakland Raiders. Since the Raiders are here locally, I watch some of the games on tv…and they are not easy to watch. They are one of the worst teams in the league….and I say this knowing my Browns are NOT that much better, but I believe Cleveland is a better team. And should win. Mark it down. I said it. Browns will win. Hope I’m not the turkey…

Here’s a pic of one of the best players on the team, if not The Best, Running Back Trent Richardson. He’s having an awesome season. Go BROWNS!!

Miles, ice cream and a semi-stalker

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by afuntanilla

The highlight run of the past week was the Sunday run(s). For some reason, I FELT like running on the treadmill for the longer run. I think I actually just wanted to switch it up…switch up the route and because Petaluma is not very big, I have already run all over the place here. Anyways, I ran on the treadmill. Luckily, Sunday Football was on and I watched the 49er game. I thought I would go 10, but ended up running 12. Happily. For my nutrition needs, I had 1 PowerBar Gel, a few CLIF BLOKS, water and some diluted Gatorade. All was good. Since I’ve been experimenting with the Gatorade, at least I now know I can drink some during race and not have any stomach issues. Huge lesson here is not to try anything DURING a race you have not already done in training.

Post-run — just came home and ate, rested. Felt like I had it in me to go more miles later in the early evening, so i did. Just a short 3.25 in the neighborhood. At the end of the night, felt really good. Stretched & ate well. So, for the day a solid 15.25. Also, did some shorter runs during the week and a good 3 mile hilly hike at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland on Saturday with friends.

After hike, we went to Fenton’s and I had no problem finishing this long awaited Black & Tan Sundae! Toasted Almond & creamy vanilla ice cream, handmade caramel & chocolate fudge, toasted almonds, whipped cream & cherry! OMG! SO Freaking GOOD!

Race day is now less than 14 days away. I was looking back into my running journal from 2009 when I ran this race before. My longest run for that training block was only 16 miles (same as this block). My finish time that day was 4 hours, 21 minutes. If I can be in that ballpark on 10/14/12, I will be more than satisfied.

I know I’ve said before that for THIS RACE, I am not concerned with my finish time because I have not had enough time to train like I should/need to…BUT, it’s also the MARATHON and I know that deep down, I DO CARE. I can’t help it. It’s just my nature.

I bought a new pair of K-Swiss Shoes for my birthday present. They have not arrived yet. Fedex is trying to deliver, but need a signature. UGH. I got home today and JUST missed the driver…so i then got in my car to go see if i could see fedex truck somewhere in neighborhood. I drove about 1 mile and saw truck. No driver inside. I waited. Fedex guy walks towards truck. I then realize, my fedex sticker is for GROUND DELIVERY and his truck is EXPRESS. No luck. I drove back home, kept a watch for FEDEX GROUND. Came home. Deflated. Who knew I was such a stalker. What? You didn’t KNOW how much I love my running shoes???? Where have you been….

Run Strong and Stand Tall.

The Race Report: The little runner that could…

Posted in races, road, running with tags , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2012 by afuntanilla

So. Where to begin? Well, I guess I’ll start on RACE DAY EVE. Sharon and I drove into SF and went over to the RACE EXPO at SF Design Center. Lots of people buzzing with excitement and such. Love it. Great atmosphere. I picked up this awesome jacket. We picked up my race # and walked around a bit. The expo was overflowing with a variety of people…short, tall, overweight, underweight, different ethnicities, etc…RUNNING DOESN’T DISCRIMINATE!
I saw BART YASSO, running legend, who was setting up his table. I walked over and introduced myself and Sharon and I chatted with him a bit. What a cool guy! I was bummed to miss his “Shake-out” run he did earlier that morning with twitter peeps, etc..

Soon enough, we made our way back home and enjoyed a nice, mellow evening. And Ate pasta, of course.

Race Day: woke at 5:45 and started to get going. I elected to just drive down from Petaluma because a) the hotel we wanted was sold out 2) my start time was at 8:23am

I was a little anxious and nervous in the morning. I think it was just because I literally woke up, got dressed and got in the car. So different from my usual pre-race routine. But, seeing that we had about a 45 min drive, this is what I needed to do. We came to Golden Gate Bridge and saw the Full Marathon Runners and 1st Half Marathon Runners who had began at 5:30am. The fog was in full force and it was covering much of the bridge. A very cool morning. I was getting excited just seeing the other runners. We made our way to Golden Gate Park and the start location of the 2nd Half Marathon runners. I had about 45 minutes to wait around.


A few visits to the port-a-potty helped the time go by fast, but I was pretty anxious to get going. It had been September 2011 since I had run a ROAD RACE!! A very long time for me! Sharon took off to go meet me at about the 7 mile mark and I did a little warm up to get loose. Next up: The Start.

The start was near the back end of GG park and the route took us down one side and up the other side of the park along with a loop around Stow Lake. The weather was perfect. Very cool temperature in mid 50’s and some mist even greeted us as we ran among the beauty of the park. This area is a combination of flat roads and then some very small inclines. Flanked by towering Eucalyptus trees, I was in heaven!

We exited the park right at 6 miles and had a long straightaway on Haight Street. I was happy to see more spectators here and it finally started to feel more like a race. I love running in the park, but i was also glad to get more energy from the people of San Fran. I knew I was close to seeing some friends as I approached the 6.5 mile mark. There was a little downhill and I saw the three of them, Alec, Kimmy and Emily there on the corner of Haight/Broderick!! I ran over to them, smiling and feeling good. I gave them “High 5’s” and a kiss to Alec and kept rolling along. Such a great surge they gave me!! Thank you!!

I had a little more downhill as I rolled down to lower Haight and then would see Sharon around 7.5 miles. I turned the corner from Haight onto Buchanan and spotted her there with her camera. Another big surge of energy!! Yeah!!

I kept looking at my watch for my mile splits. I knew I had to have an average pace of 9:09/per mile if I wanted to meet my 2 hour goal. So far so good. I was running pretty evenly but I also noticed it started to get a little harder around mile 8-9. I had already taken 2 GU ENERGY Gels and had 1 more left on my person. Miles 8-9 carried us thru the Mission District with its variety of culture and color which was also a boost of energy. Weather remained the same, except no mist, just very cool and overcast. Perfect. We had a rude hill right before crossing over into Potrero Hill area. I just kept plugging along. By mile 10 my legs, quads were starting to really tighten up and i was feeling the effects of keeping up my pace. I started to get concerned I would not be able to carry the pace til the finish. I just told myself, “give everything and if you miss it, you miss it…then at least try for a PR..under 2:01:43.” My mindset and mental focus was very strong. I was completely focused and as such, i would say that my enjoyment level while running was not very high. I was starting to feel quite a bit of pain…but i also knew that’s what it would take for me to reach my goal. It would not be easy or PAIN-FREE. It was gonna hurt and IT WAS HURTING.
Stay focused. Stay focused.
At mile 11, we were at Mission Bay, which is about 1 mile south of AT&T park. I could see the bay and smell the finish line 2 miles away. I looked at my watch and saw i was still on a good pace and making good time, but I COULD NOT let up. I had to keep pushing. (I did, however, stop at every water stop to take a few sips and when I sucked down my gels with water) I was not allowing myself to celebrate prematurely. I had to cross the finish line BEFORE 2 hour mark. Mile 12 – right at McCovey Cove and AT&T Park. We ran along the back side with the park on our left and bay on the right. Then, onto Embarcadero and a straight, flat road to the finish line up ahead. Legs were tightening, but I had to ignore everything and keep pumping my arms. I tried to pick up my pace even a little bit. I crossed the finish line, my feet stepped on the electronic timing mat.

1:58:42

I DID IT. I almost started crying. I saw Sharon immediately on the left hand side and we just were smiling at each other and I kept saying “I did it. I did it. I can’t believe it”
She was thrilled for me. I was so happy to see her there and share the experience together. She knew how important it was to me and she had 100% faith in me I would do it. Today. She probably had more confidence in me than I did. THANK YOU, SHARON.


As I just kinda stood there for a few moments afterwards, I think I was in a little fog. A happy fog. So deeply proud from the inside of me…the little runner that could.

I learned that sometimes you have to wait a long time to beat a goal. And I learned a lot in the process while I made training errors and pushed my body last year to more than it could handle. I learned that it’s not just about training harder, but truly TRAINING SMARTER. I think that made all the difference. I got faster because I did what I needed to do: incorporated intervals, tempo runs and specific strength training into my workouts. This was a huge help. I want to thank NIKE for setting me up on a program that I definitely benefited from following. I didn’t follow it to a T, but I followed it a lot and had to modify it some to fit more of my current physical capabilities.

It was perfect that this race happened while the Olympics are underway. So much inspiration out there. If you have read my blog, you might have read I had dreams as a child of being an Olympic Runner. Today, I was my own hero, my own Gold Medalist. (In fact, the person who put the finisher medal around my neck was a serviceman from the Coast Guard. Pretty cool.)
I ran for me. For the me I am and the me I want to be. The better me. The more complete me. Every part of the journey is important. The defeats and the victories. I was glad for the latter today and to finally get the 2 hour monkey off my back.

Thank you to all my friends who support me in my running. Thank you for all of you who read and comment, verbally or in person or never. Thank you.

May you be your own hero and rise to meet and beat your own goals, dreams and wishes, whatever they may be.

ONWARD

Week 9 Run Report

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, shoes, travel with tags , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by afuntanilla

Finally a week free from any kind of sickness, sluggishness or anything related to not feeling physically well. THANKFUL!

Since I had gotten my job, but had not heard on my start date yet, I decided to take some time to do more traveling. Made a spontaneous trip up to Ashland, OR for just 2 days. I left a sunny, warm Petaluma for a cold, snowy Southern Oregon. Who does that, right? Well…I needed it and it was much welcome as you can read in my previous post. 

I ran Wednesday morning in light snowy conditions. Wasn’t very cold; about 35 -37 degrees. I ran from my little place at Ashland Inn into downtown and down to Southern Oregon University, turned around and went up into some neighborhoods and zig-zagged my way though town. Cute homes in Ashland. Love the narrow, short streets with moderate hills. I could see far off into the distance to the neighboring white mountains. Beautiful. Don’t know how far I ran, but watch was 52 minutes. Was going a little slower than usual as I had a hard time loosening up. Sometimes that happens in the cooler temperatures. 

I thought of running the following morning before leaving, but it had snowed even more the night before and was coming down heavy as I woke up and enjoyed some coffee. I figured I would just enjoy it from a spectators point of view and go get some breakfast at a place that had been recommended; MORNING GLORY.

I packed up my stuff and off I went. MORNING GLORY was a great place for some grub. The portions were very large so I was bummed to not have RUN BEFORE eating. Large and yummy portions. Be sure to check it out of you are ever in Ashland. Off I went for my 6 hour drive back to Petaluma.

I ran again on Friday. 3 faster miles followed by 4 x .25 intervals at even faster pace. I did this on the streets of Petaluma, not a track. Quiet, flat streets.

Highlight run of week was on Sunday. 6.65 miles through Petaluma. Mostly flat but with a strong, steep long hill at the end. I was (happily) surprised to see my pace at 9:11 as I didn’t feel I was moving that well out on the streets. 

Funny thing happened. I was about 3 miles into the run when I looked ahead and saw a woman standing on a corner, looking in my direction. As I approached, I smiled, realizing it was a friend I had not seen in about 15 years. She lives in a nearby town. She had been driving by and said she saw my shoes and said, “that has to be Angie”

We had already been connected on Facebook, which is how she recognized my shoes. How cool is that!! Shout out to K-SWISS, baby!!

 

Looking at making some decisions today on races for at least the first half of 2012. Excited! Stay tuned.

Week 9: Total Approx Miles: 15

Catapult

Posted in photos with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2012 by afuntanilla

CATAPULT; to thrust, move suddenly or quickly

I first came to Atlanta in 1999, July. Moved here from San Francisco, which always surprises people. WHY would you move from San Francisco to Atlanta? It’s not an easy thing to explain, but I will try….see if you can follow along. 🙂

I had been to Atlanta twice before moving and had spent time here and LOVED it. The landscape is unlike anything out west. A bounty of trees, so damn lush and gorgeous. Maybe like a drop dead gorgeous woman so that when you see her, you just stop and stare. Soak her in. That is the Atlanta landscape. (not so much in winter, but you get the picture)

Atlanta is enough Southern so that one does feel it, in a good way. The slower pace, the true Southern Ways. You know..people of all ages addressing one as “ma’am” and “sir”. I find it endearing. People are kind here…and yes, many Southern Charmers. And contrary to popular misconceptions, Atlanta is VERY metropolitan. Very. Even more so now than when i moved here in 1999.

So…that is a little of what DREW me to this Southern City. Looking back, I also believe I needed to leave the Bay Area, which is more accurate to say. I didn’t leave San Francisco. I left the Bay Area. I left the Bay Area that had had so many very difficult memories for me. Very difficult and very painful. If you know my story, you understand. One might say I was “running” away from them, but I don’t see it that way. I really view it as something I needed to do for me. I needed to leave the nest. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy to leave. I was excited for an entire new place, new opportunities and to see what I could do on my own. I am a firm and loud believer in wandering. I think more people should do it. You can discover a lot about yourself while wandering. I, was wandering…

Almost 13 years have now passed. Wow. In many ways, I feel like I really “grew up” here in Atlanta. Became an adult. Been very focused on my career and have enjoyed that process. My running has also truly accelerated here. I did my first BIG RACE in January 1999 (before moving) in San Francisco; The Home Depot Half-Marathon. My finish time was 2:01:43 — a record i am still trying to break! After that race, I was hooked and proceeded to run and run while living in Atlanta. Luckily for me, my living situation/income etc has allowed me to travel for many races. 13 years later. Still very much hooked on the running.

One of the biggest issues of my life has been a constant nagging feeling of feeling like i belong anywhere. I think maybe we all have one or two or three or…nagging issues, don’t we?? Well, this is mine. It’s been huge. It is constant and can be a real freakin’ downer. DOWNER!

Well…I realize that I have a part in perpetuating this feeling. Some of it is real and true and some of it is stuff I create. There are people who know me, who really know me. Who really love me. And I have chosen to be far away from them. Well, that will certainly help me feel like i don’t belong and not connected. Duh!

Throughout my years in Atlanta, I have been unhappy on a deeper, spiritual level. For whatever reason, I have not been able to create the kind of relationships or community that helps sustain me on the inside and I think we all need that as part of our life. I read back to journals from 3, 5 years ago and read where I question why i am still living in Atlanta. Obviously, living here for as long as I have, there have been reasons for me to stay. I have been fulfilled here it some ways, but ultimately, for me, it has been like a spiritual desert. Over these 13 years, I have traveled back to the Bay Area to visit friends and more and more, those visits have provided me with a shot of the best juice i could possibly give myself. And it hasn’t just been my friends…it’s been the place…the San Francisco Bay Area…the water, the culture, the diversity, the abundance of so many good things….I kept going back to visit to get INJECTIONS of all this good stuff. Each time I have been back, over the last 5 years especially, I appreciate the place more and more. There is truly no place like it. I’ve been around the country a few times, so i feel i can legitimacy say those words! Back in October/November, I was having one of the worst times of my life and where did I seek comfort and nourishment…back in the Bay Area with my friends, who are my family. This past year, 2011, I traveled to the Bay Area 4 times. I finally got the message.

Things in my work environment have changed and it’s definitely time for me to leave a situation. It definitely has had good points, but I think when one becomes quiet enough, the message is there in the quiet, inner space. My message has been to leave a situation that no longer suits me. A relationship at work that is no longer serving me. Sometimes, we just have to move on and that’s what it is for me. Time to move on.

So. Yes. I am going home. Finally going home. I’m excited and a bit nervous, but mostly excited. I’ve been thinking about this for a loooong time and finally have gotten the courage to take the leap. As mentioned, 2011 was a tough year. However, it was a spontaneous meeting by the water with a friend with a red rooster in my hand that helped catapult this decision. At that moment, my year changed and ultimately, the direction of my life.

With a deep breath, I look forward to 2012 and all of its challenges and opportunities and adventures. I hope you’ll follow me along the way.

Onward…

p.s. so much more to say, but will save for a later time

The Half

Posted in motivation, photos, races, travel with tags , , , on October 3, 2011 by afuntanilla

I completed the Half Moon Bay Half Marathon last Sunday on my 41st Birthday. I wrote a full race report on http://halfmoonrunners.blogspot.com/  

but I also wanted to post a few things here.

My finish time was 2:11:51 and I was ok with this finish. The course was a simple, yet very scenic out and back flat course alongside the vast Pacific Ocean. The morning was a bit overcast, about 65 degrees. Perfect running temperatures! As I made my way to start line, I saw Scott Jurek standing off to the side. I had listened to his talk the day before. He spoke of his ultra running experience and talked a lot about the mental toughness needed for such races, and any race, really. I appreciated his down-to-earthness, humor, and humility. I went up to him pre-race and introduced myself and chatted a few minutes. Pretty neat pre-race motivation, inspiration, huh?!
And with that, I was off on my journey. As I began the race, I was filled with gratitude to be there with good friends, to be there with a very able body and to be in beautiful, peaceful & powerful surroundings. My view to my right was all the Pacific…her waves coming and crashing and settling…and repeat. I was settling in myself, with each step, each breath…just paying attention to my body and finding my pace. I kept taking deep breaths to take in and smell all around me and drink in all i could. A slight, slight wind wound fall upon me every now and again. Soon, I was about to reach the turn around point…the fancy Ritz-Carlton was there in the short distance…looking much like a castle on a cliff in Europe somewhere. My body was holding up ok. In general, my race felt like a decent training run. As I made my return route and I saw the Full Marathon runners making their way out AGAIN (they did double out and back) believe me, I was glad to not be among them today. It was a sound, smart decision to just go with the 13.1.
Every race is an adventure, an opportunity to learn. It’s a mirror to see who I am on that given day. I learned that it was good to chose the shorter race, i learned that i could still very much have a good experience while lowering my expectations. I learned its OK to lower my expectations and that mental toughness is not just about PUSHING HARDER.

If you have followed me and this blog for awhile then you know i often write about heroes and being your own hero. Well, on Sunday Sept 25th, 5 of my friends also ran their race that day. Some of them for the first time ever. They signed up, made a commitment, got to the starting line and finished. I tell you now. Those are my heroes.

Here’s a pic of me with 3 of those folks; Holly, Delaney and Alec

and of course, I had to do one of my “tasting life” poses!!

Training Update #2: Half of a Full is Half

Posted in races, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2011 by afuntanilla

So, at the end of my last post, I said a couple of things: One: that racing in Half Moon Bay this coming Sunday, would be questionable. Two: That I was going to see the doctor.

After my last “long” run that day, Sept 13th, I was feeling pretty horrible. Not just tired like I know “normal” tired to feel, but just absolutely flattened out. Legs felt like they were bricks and my entire body felt like it had to exert way too much energy just to keep barely moving. Yeah…not too good when this is suppossed to be a “taper run” as I head into the final weeks pre marathon. Clearly, my body was trying to tell me something.

So, yes…I think part of what’s been happening during this summer training session has been overtraining, as I wrote about in my previous post. It all makes perfect sense. The other part of what has been going on with me is something I just got confirmed by going to the doctor recently. I am anemic! I knew my iron levels were on the the lower side, but didn’t think Anemic. So, this actually explains a lot. It comes into play more because for about 1.5 years now, my nutrition has been all vegetarian. So, these 3 factors together, i believe, have all played a part in how (badly) I have been feeling.

overtraining + anemic + vegetarian.

***I am sure I can continue on with vegetarian nutrition to get my iron needs met, but i think i need to EAT MORE of the same food & incorporate more IRON RICH foods. I have been eating IRON rich foods simply by default of my overall meal “planning”, but obviously I have not been eating enough to satisfy my iron needs. I actually find the whole meal planning, nutrition aspect of my life to be quite challenging. Why? Well, here’s my reasons…or excuses or whatever…I live alone and we all know that cooking for one is challenging and to me, quite frankly, mostly sucks. Not to mention, I end up throwing a lot of food away and I feel guilty as hell.

Here’s a typical example of what i do: i get momentarily inspired to cook for myself. I got to farmers market or whole foods and get lots of veggies and other goodies and make dinner. It turns out ok. Just “ok” because I am not a very good cook, very recipe-following challenged and i do not enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating good, tasty, food, but i am not too good at preparing this type of food. So anyways….i make one dinner for myself. Next day, maybe I use some more of the food i just bought for breakfast or lunch or another dinner. And then, I get very bored with it and i still have lots of food left that I cannot use because I am tired of eating boring, bland meals. So, I go out. Make sense. See my problem!?! Anyways…i will have to keep working on this….nutrition! Please don’t give me advice to follow recipes….i have tried and tried. I suck at it. I really need to make more money or win the lottery to hire a personal chef.

Anyways, back to the training and running. So, after the last post on the 13th, I said I would not run all week. REST.

I made it to Thursday. Ran and felt ok. barely ok. Still struggling.

Ran on Saturday and felt very good. Only 4.2 miles, but really enjoyed the run and had fun. First time i felt like it was FUN in quite some time. Sunday ran another 5.25 miles and was ok.

So…after much thought and consideration, I have decided I will not race in the marathon, but I will run the half-marathon. It feels like such a big decision. And I guess in my world, it is. Why is it big? Because I have been training for this race since MAY. Because I have trained in the heat and humidity that is the summer in Atlanta. Because I have put many hours of sweat, heart and tears into this training. Because it was my goal since May.

And yet, making this decision to only run the half is a good, smart decision. Frankly, the way my body has been feeling, I think it will be more than enough of a challenge for me on Sunday.

So, i am changing races mostly because I’m choosing to listen to my body; because I realize that if i want to continue to run and have fun and enjoy it, i have to listen RIGHT NOW, not PUSH HARDER (which is what i usually do)

I’m changing races because I realize not running this marathon is not the end of the world and with the grace of God, i will run another one when the time it right.

I’m also changing races because this race day will be one not just for me, but for some friends who will be there participating in their FIRST EVER RUNNING EVENTS!! I want to be as present as I can be for them…not broken down and exhausted or injured or full of so much disappointment that i cannot enjoy them and be there for them and THEIR TRIUMPHS!

I’m thrilled beyond words that 4 friends will be there in Half Moon Bay and 1 more doing her own own race in Texas!! challenging themselves and their bodies…trying to see what they can do!! It brings me a great sense of joy and I can’t wait to see everyone.

I have so much to be grateful for…and gratitude for my body in it’s present state is a good place to start. I am where I am.

Thanks to all my friends who keep supporting me, who continue to cheer for me in my pursuits. Your support means so much to me.

Keep Movin’

-Ang

1H 2011

Posted in photos, races, random, road, travel with tags , , , on July 2, 2011 by afuntanilla

Sometimes, I think to myself, “man, my life is boring.” 

This morning, I’ve taken a little time to look back at some posts from beginning of 2011. 6 months. While doing so, I am reminded that my life is not boring. I’m really surprised to see how much I have done in 6 months, how much has happened and changed in 6 months. And, of course, there were many things that I have not written about that also come to mind.

So, here’s a recap and reflection of 6 months of running and other life stuff:

RUNNING: Raced 4 Half-Marathons between March-May. Looking back on it, I see that it was too much. I think I went a little crazy after racing so well in December at Las Vegas Half. I was motivated and inspired to break my PR of 2:01:44. That time was from my very 1st half-marathon in 1999. One might think i’d have surpassed that time by now, but i haven’t. Honestly, i hadn’t even focused on it too much until last 1-1/2 years. So, yeah, upon reflection, i see that 4 races in such a short time was too much on my body. I probably would have fared better if I would have chosen just 1 or 2 to focus on. But, like I said, i was a little crazy after Vegas and wanted to try and I kept thinking of the weather. I wanted to get it done BEFORE the heat and humidity kicked up and started to kick my ass (like it is now). Alas, I did not break my PR and it will have to wait for another day cuz now we are in summer in Atlanta and I don’t need to explain any further. I have no regrets though. I ran in 3 different/new places, (chicago was not new) saw new terrain and traveled with friends. It all adds up to neat experiences now in my memory bank and on the blog! 🙂

Travel/Leisure: I also took a good many trips first half of 2011. For races, I drove to Albany, GA, Clemson SC, and Columbia, SC. Flew to Chicago. I also took 2 trips back to California; San Francisco in March & Los Angeles in June.

I had a friend visit in May and I also changed where I work. That was the biggest thing of all and I am still finding my way at my new place. I’m still settling in and adjusting to the differences. The adjustment has been harder than I imagined…or maybe, unsettling is the word. I know I am being challenged in a new way. My way of thinking is challenged. Perhaps some old, worn out, long held beliefs of mine are being challenged also. I’m very much in the thick of it and like I said, trying to find my way.

For the second half of 2011, I am first and foremost focused on my next marathon. September 25th (my birthday) in Half Moon Bay, CA…about 20 minutes outside of San Francisco. As I was looking at the race calendar about a month ago, I saw that race and the Lake Tahoe Marathon both on 9/25. With the help of some friends, I decided on HMB. I’ve also wanted to run Lake Tahoe. It’s one of my favorite places and I know it would be a good challenge do to the elevation/altitude changes. But, that will have to wait for another day.

So, yep..i’m running again on my birthday. I’m thrilled. And mostly, I am thrilled because for the FIRST TIME EVER, friends will be running “with me”. Let me explain: in addition to the marathon, there will be a Half-Marathon and a 10k race. So, a few friends from the bay area decided to sign up for those races. For most of them, this will be their first event ever. First Ever Road Race!! I am thrilled beyond words. It brings me much joy to hear and read about the excitement. THEIR excitement is KEEPING me motivated. I keep saying, I am not going to train in the summer again, but here I am in full Atlanta heat and humidity. So, yes, any additional motivation is appreciated and welcome. No matter how long I’ve been running, it still takes a little something extra to get out there and know the suffering will be additional simply due to weather conditions. But, no whining! That’s what I signed up for!

I am so proud of my friends. Everyone’s got their own story, their own reasons, their own internal reasons why they are participating. I know they will learn a lot about themselves in the next few months.

I actually created a “community blog” over at http://www.halfmoonrunners.blogspot.com

Some of us are posting over there. Come check it out.

 

p.s. I still feel like my life is kinda boring…but that’s another story for another day. HaHa

running small and tall

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road with tags , , , , , on April 5, 2011 by afuntanilla

So, I went on a very short (2 hours) road trip on Friday with my buddy, Sharon. We went to Clemson, SC for the half-marathon race on Saturday. Still in search of my PR for the distance, but going into this race, i knew this was not going to be the day. Not yet.
Sharon and I checked out some of the course before dinner and saw that it was not flat at all. The course was in and around the Clemson University campus. Beautiful. Lots of green. There was no expo. This was a super small race. Fine by me. It’s nice to mix up the races between big, heavily sponsored races and low key races. We stayed at the new Courtyard Marriott hotel. If you happen to ever be in the area, we highly recommend. Super nice rooms, main lobby, etc…and a reasonable rate!

Being that Clemson is a pretty small town, our dinner choices were limited. We opted for Applebees and both got pasta. It was um…less than desirable. We may have fared better with all the snacks each of us brought, but alas.. we ate and moved on to the movies across the street. We went to see The Lincoln Lawyer. We were both looking forward to seeing it as we both dig these type of movies and I also had just finished the book. Great book, by the way. By Michael Connelly. I have read most of his books and recommend him for anyone who likes lawyer, crime, suspense type books. The Poet is probably my all time favorite and i wish they would make that into a movie! The Lincoln Lawyer was pretty good and followed the book pretty closely. Plus Matthew Mcconaughey and Marisa Tomei were pretty easy to watch for a couple hours! Next up: back to hotel and sleep.

Morning. Woke up at 6am and went down to lobby for coffee. Had my usual Clif Bar and chilled out while Sharon got ready to go. We found our way to the Botanical Gardens, the start location. I loved the small race atmosphere; limited amount of people, low-key. Just a bunch of runners on a gorgeous, crisp morning. 50 degrees. After a bathroom break and some stretching, I was ready to go.

I really had no expectations other than to do the best i could. In my head and aloud to Sharon I said, “if i finish under 2:05, i’ll be happy”. My body the week before had been a major stress ball. All work related and bothersome for me. It was a relief to be “in my element” again and to just GO!

While in the starting area, I heard fellow runners discussing how hilly the course was…i started to get more cautious in my thinking and strategy…don’t go out too fast…take each mile one at a time, etc…

Right out the gate, it was all rolling hills..small, but rolling. It was hard to feel or find a rhythm. I was surprised by my time when I passed Mile 2. I was doing better than I thought. We faced numerous turns around campus and more and more rolling hills. They threw a few steep ones in there also. For the record, I have not been doing much running on hills at all, so i was nervous. Yet, as I passed each mile marker, my time was still pretty good. Mentally, I felt very focused. Even as i passed some water stops, i drank on the run, which i rarely do. I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to break stride. Around half way, we ran over a grass lined dam with Lake Hartwell to our right. Gorgeous. I saw lots of crew teams out with their boats. That was always something I wanted to do; row/crew.

As we approached Mile 8, we climbed a moderate hill. Legs were getting tired. Otherwise I felt solid. I was focused and determined. Felt good to have this mindset. Sharon was there and taking pics. I was happy to see my friend there supporting me!

By Mile 10, I was at 1:31 which meant I had 29 minutes to run 3.1 miles and i would have a PR! I was excited, but knew i had to see how the terrain was gonna be on the last few miles. Mile 10-11, good. Mile 11-12, BAD! Man, probably the steepest hill of the day and there it is…mile 11. Yikes. Tore up my legs. Could not really push like I wanted to. The hill got me. It conquered me pretty good and I tip my hat to it. Mile 12-13 was a mix but  mostly slightly downhill. I was not able to make up the time I lost on the hill. I came around the bend to finish in a respectable 2 hours, 2 minutes, 8 seconds.

02:02:08

Still trying to break PR of 02:01:44  — damn, i didn’t realize how close I was! And on a hilly course! I pushed as hard as I could. That’s what it’s all about. Laying it out there. Gutting it out. For yourself.

Proud. Still hungry.

Gear Worn:

Shoes: KSwiss K-Ona

Shorts: KSwiss

Shirt: technical race shirt from Vegas Half-Marathon in December 2010

Arm Warmers: Nike

Blue Bandana

Watch: Origo Granite Peak

I beat my secret goal…

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, shoes, travel with tags , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2010 by afuntanilla

Here’s how  it happened.

After arriving in Las Vegas friday mid afternoon, me & my buddy, Lynn, walked around everywhere. Went to expo. Gambled. Walked. Ate. Walked. Saturday was more of the same. Gambled. Walked. Ate. Repeat. All FUN! We had a blast. I was trying to not be to concerned about how much i was walking around pre-race. This was to be a fun race and not super serious. Even so, I went to bed at a decent hour both nites and only had 1 alcoholic beverage on Friday nite. It wasn’t even very good, but that is besides the point.

Woke up on Sunday and I knew I’d have a good day. I felt good. Only place to get coffee at 5:30am was in the casino/hotel bar. It was um…drinkable. LOL I ate a Clif Bar and got ready to go.

I decided to walk the 2 miles from our hotel to the start line at Mandalay Bay. I figured that could be my warm-up. I have to say it was pretty darn cool walking in the middle of the stip, Las Vegas Blvd, at the break of dawn and seeing only other runners walking or running to the start line. The strip was all ready for us. I passed in front of Bellagio and a song was being sung in Italian. I don’t know…there was something about that moment…the cool air, the sounds, the way the lights illuminated from Bellagio…it was perfect.

I’m  glad I used the walk as a warm-up because by the time I arrived at the start line, it was almost time to go. I had to make one pee pit-stop and sorry to say, I didn’t go in the port-a-potty. I was in a rush and basically went on the side of the road. It was pretty funny. i could care less. you gotta do what you gotta do on race day.

At 7:10am, I was off and running. I took the first couple of miles very easy and just kinda wanted to see how my legs were feeling. I decided I felt pretty good and so I decided to push it and then see….well, I never stopped pushing. Lynn was a trooper AND my roving reporter. She met me at approximately 3 mile mark near the Wynn Casino. She took this pic of me.

She asked me how I was doing; “great”, I said. I think I gave her a hi-five and kept on moving. One thing I noticed was that the pack of runners was pretty crowded the entire way. I frequently had to slow down just a bit to find some room to maneuver. it never really thinned out. I think there were close to 30k runners. I had some Gu Energy Gels with me and was taking them every 30 min or so. The water stops were perfectly situated and there were lots of spectators. Before I got super focused, i was watching the spectators…it’s funny to watch their expressions. Some are cheering us runners on while others are simply looking at us completely dumbfounded. Their looks suggest these thoughts: “what are those people doing? They are running? Why?” But, the best spectators are the little kids who excitedly extend their hand for us the runners to hi-five as we run by. I love that.

As the miles passed, I kept looking at my watch to see how I was faring…I knew that if I could keep the solid pace up, I might have a chance at beating my PR of 2:01:44. Mile 10 came along and I was really starting to feel some fatigue. Legs getting heavy. Mile 11 was the slowest. I was surprised by the severe drop-off. Last 2 miles are back on LV Blvd and all the lights, people gave me some energy. I was telling myself, “just pretend you have JETS on your feet. JETS. JETS.” Well, those last 2 miles seemed to take a looong time. My face was pretty contorted the last mile. I can’t wait to see pics from that mile (if there are any). I was hurtin’ but kept pushing as much as I could.

Finish was 2:03:07.

My secret goal was to go under 2:05. Mission accomplished. Now, it’s on to really go after the BIG GOAL of breaking 2 hours. I know I am close.

My longest training run for this race was only 10 miles. That was the longest I had run since my 40 miler on 9/25. (Sorry, if i am repeating myself.)

I found Lynn under the F sign. (F is for Funtanilla, ya know!) I was so happy she was there to greet me and share in the experience. She was an excellent roving reporter and it was great to have her support.

Roving Reporter

Gear worn:

Shoes: K-Swiss K-Ona

Shorts: K-Swiss

Shirt: Long sleeve RUNATL shirt from The Big Peach

Hat: Adidas

Watch: Garmin 110