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The Half

Posted in races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by afuntanilla

The Half-Marathon. 13.1 miles. A splendid distance to run. My very first Half-Marathon was back in 1999; the San Francisco Home Depot Half-Marathon. I recall the race so perfectly; it was in late January, cold, wet & some rain. It’s SF, what do you figure! I wore Adidas nylon pants, Adidas pullover jacket & Adidas cap.(no, Adidas did NOT sponsor me!)  The course basically went all through Golden Gate park and along the Great Highway. 2 friends had driven over an hour to see me run. I passed them twice along the course. That was it. That is some kind of friendship.

The wind along the great highway was spectacular on the return portion of the course; crazy wind blowing me backwards while the waves crashed in the Pacific Ocean to my left. Felt like I was moving in slooooow motion. The final turn led you back into a section of GG park and onto the finish line. I was so so Happy. My 1st Half-Marathon. Done.

I’ve run a Half about once a year ever since 1999. It might just be my favorite distance. It’s long enough to get your body and mind into that calm state of keen awareness and not so long that you are just experiencing pain & fatigue. I don’t know how calm i will feel running along the Las Vegas strip on Sunday, but I’m sure looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the race expo and seeing what cool stuff they have & possibly meeting Scott Jurek, Ultrarunner god. (also vegan, want to ask him questions about this..)

Time goal for race? I don’t really have anything concrete right now, but i know i will by the time the starting gun (or Bellagio fountains) go off. Seriously, my longest run since the 40 miler is just 10 miles. I only ran about 75 miles in November. My expectations are very loose. I want to run, have fun, enjoy every step and see what happens. (i have my secret time goal, don’t we all…will let ya know if i make it or not)

Two pals will be with me and as long as they don’t keep me up til the wee hours playing craps and blackjack, I will be there at the starting line in front of Mandalay Bay on Sunday at 7:00am.

Flight leaves in a few hours. Gotta go pack! Cheers!

Carpe Diem Memento Mori

Posted in photos, random with tags , , , , on November 13, 2010 by afuntanilla

I recently met a new friend. We met via twitter and thru crazy and fun peeps following Venice Web Series. She was someone who had caught wind of my 40 mile run gig and supported me through her cheering tweets and through buying a “Hanging with my Peeps” shirt for the charity, “My Stuff Bags Foundation”. I only chatted with her a little via twitter but I knew she was someone I would just click with…you know how you just know that, right?

We got a chance to meet last weekend when I went to Dallas. Kera & I met up with some other peeps for dinner; Emery & I saw one another & gave each other a BIG HUG. A good hugger she is…which is massively important in my world! We both wore our “Hanging with my Peeps shirt”.

The next day, Kera, Emery & I went to the Dallas Arboretum. At one point we found ourselves at the rear of the huge place. We were on a grassy hilly area with White Rock Lake in the background. No clouds in the blue, blue, sky, 70 degrees…it was so perfect. As we are standing there, Emery says, “let’s run down the hill and back.” Without hesitation, “I’m in”. It was such a brilliant, spontaneous offer, how could i not say YES. We ran down the (very) steep hill

turned around and ran back up.

Kera was taking pictures of our moment. As we were running uphill, I was trying to open my arms as wide as I could and it was a little challenging cuz gravity wanted its way too.

As we came closer and closer to Kera at the top, we grabbed hands and held them up high in victory, in friendship, in seizing the freakin’ moment!!

E.L: you are a sweet, tender, special soul. It’s my pleasure to have met you and look forward to living in more moments with ya!

CARPE DIEM MEMENTO MORI : seize the day, remember you are mortal!

Dallas X 2

Posted in photos, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by afuntanilla

As my life would have it, I have spent the past 2 weekends in Dallas, Texas. This was only the second time I have ever actually stayed in Dallas or surrounding area. The last time was way back in 2002 as I drove from SF to Atlanta and stayed in Plano, not far from Dallas. That was a visit that was strictly due to traveling across the country, but these last 2 trips were squarely on purpose and with GOOD purpose.

On October 23rd, as I sat in my house watching game 6 of the NLCS between San Francisco & Philadelphia, I knew there was a chance I would have to decide if I wanted to take a stab at acquiring World Series tix to one of the games on Texas. Going to San Francisco was out of the question as plane tickets were sky high. No pun intended. As I watched the Giants celebrate their NL Pennant win, I anxiously and nervously sat at the computer searching sites to find tickets to Game 1 in TX on Oct 30th. I looked & looked and finally found some that looked within my financial means. My heart was racing with excitement and then thinking, “Oh my god…should I do it, should I do it??” I texted 2 friends and their immediate answers were “YES.” I already knew the answer myself, but it was one of those times you just had to get affirmation from someone else, you know? I mean, c’mon…a chance to see the San Francisco Giants in the World Series? How could I pass it up?
With a click of a few buttons and a lot of jumping and screaming around my house, I had purchased the game & plane tickets.
Fast Forward to game day >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Kera & I made our way to the game at the beautiful Rangers Ballpark at Arlington.

We were both bursting with excitement although I was more like in awe and Kera was like a little kid. So awesome. The energy in the ballpark was beyond words. And that was BEFORE the game began. It was a serious SEA of RED and NAVY BLUE…mostly red…it seemed like everywhere I turned, people were wearing a Rangers Red Jersey or Red T-shirt.

Sprinkled in between the massive red/blue fan base were specks of Orange and Black. Actually, many more SF Gaints fan than I would have thought. When I say any of them, we exchanged hi-fives and I even got a picture with some serious fans.

Before the game began, I thought, “it doesn’t matter who wins this game, i’m just happy to be here.” And that was true…for the moment. I was happy for the fans of Dallas who have waited a loooong time for their team to come around. I was happy for the Rangers who were a spectacular team all season long and most deserving of being AL East Champs.
Well, my thought of “it doesn’t matter..” quickly vanished as soon as the Rangers took a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. When you are sitting in the oppositions house and are behind and all kinds of fans are madly screaming and waving their damn rally towels, you sure as hell want YOUR team to start winning.

My competitiveness took over and I was seriously hoping for a strong comeback from the Orange/Black. Kera was all in Ranger Red and rooting for her home team. We were both in a little quandry, i think, because we both wanted each others team to win….


When the Rangers went up 3-0, the ballpark was nothing short of THUNDEROUS. The noise level was unbelievable and even though SFG was losing, how could I still not be happy for those fans??
I don’t think I have ever been anywhere as loud. On the flip side, when the giants scored their second run to close the gap at 4-2 in the 8th inning, I don’t think i have ever heard a place so packed full of people get so eerily quiet within seconds. That run would be SF’s last gasp for THAT evening. Thank goodness we were still up 2 games to 1.

As we exited the ballpark via the circular ramp, fans were going nuts…hootin’ and hollerin’ the way good texas fans can. And you know what, i was truly happy for them. Kera and I were part of history. First World Series win, EVER, in Ranger Stadium. Pretty damn cool.

My second trip to Dallas took place this past weekend. This trip had already been on the books to go see Kera & friends. I stayed at the Hotel Palomar in Dallas and it was more than a perfect place to stay. Wonderful service, spacious rooms & L’Occitane products in the bathroom. What more does one need? (they are part of Kimpton Hotels)

We met up some other Dallas peeps on Friday night and that was a blast. Fun, laughter and good times. Good peeps! Saturday, we had no agenda, but we knew we wanted to hang more with Emery. She suggested the Dallas Arboretum. It was a prefect suggestion because I NEVER GO TO PLACES LIKE THIS. WHY? I HAVE NO IDEA. They were having some kind of Pumpkin Festival and I felt like I was in some kind of movie like the Wizard of Oz or something but Pumpkin Land. It was awesome and beautiful!

Kera's Pic

Weather in Dallas this weekend was spectacular. Clear, blue skies. No clouds in sight. Low 70’s. Ran on both Saturday and Sunday from Hotel and around the SMU area. Gorgeous neighborhood/homes. Peaceful and calm and FLAT. Yee-Haw! While running on Sunday, I came across women and a few men walking their 3rd day of the 3-Day breast cancer walk. AWESOME. I was inspired. I cheered them on and gave some hi-five’s to some of the lady. Saw a couple of funny signs: SAVE THE JUGS and TEXAS HOOTERS & HONEYS.

Back to back great weekends in Big D.

Oh, and in case you have not heard. What happened after SF lost the game to Texas? They went on to win 2 more games and became….CHAMPIONS

Wow. What a year! Congratulations, Giants!

I haven’t even told you about the birthday party yet…

Posted in 40 mile run, photos with tags , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by afuntanilla

So, I DID celebrate my 40th birthday after the 40 mile run. First thing I did when i was done with the run was grab a beer from one of my friends! Simultaneously, an ice cream truck went buy and we started yelling and waving for the truck to stop. I have no idea why, but a popsicle sounded so damn good. So, that’s what I did. I drank a beer and had a popsicle immediately following the run. (also some energy replenishment mix) A few of us sat by the pool(and got in) and relaxed in the late afternoon sunshine. It was very peaceful. I was in a daze. So relaxed. Then, I was starving and knew I wasn’t going to last til dinner time without eating so I ordered a pizza to be delivered. Pizza, beer, sunshine, the pool, friends….perfect!

I showered and then hobbled over the birthday party in a facility near our hotel. I knew I had some kind of surprise coming, but had no idea what it was….

I knew more friends were coming and i was so excited to see them!! Some friends I had not seen in more than 25 years! Kera and I walked in and there were a bunch of tables set up for dinner and then a table in the corner with the Banner and some birthday gifts. Everyone signed the banner!! I loved reading their messages. This whole time, I was just smiling from ear to ear. I swear i don’t think i stopped smiling for days, really..The friends who were already at the hotel were already there at party, then the rest of the guests arrived pretty quickly….Nancy, Diane, Marcie, Kristine, Miki, Kim, Delaney, Karen and husband, Mike, Christine, Kelly…i was overjoyed!! I ordered one cosmopolitan and it seemed like my glass never got empty. HA. But, I was as sober as a judge and taking it all in. Old friends, new friends, twitter friends, school friends, etc…all under one roof. I could not have been happier!!

 

Scott, Jason, Delaney, Denise, Nancy & Me

 

 

Marcie & me

 

 

Some of the group

 

So, as the evening was rolling along, I am asked to go sit in front of the crowd and Neva was talking about the day, etc…and then she was saying something about indie artist/musician, JEN FOSTER..like how she wished me happy birthday and then Neva gave me a an autographed pic of Jen. Then, before I knew it, JEN FOSTER, walked in the room. WHAT THE HELL??

So, yep..that was my big surprise!! I could not believe it. How was this happening? What was happening? What were she and her partner, Leslie, doing here?? I was thrilled and confused. They (Neva, Kera, Sandra, Sharon, Lynn) all concocted a plan to get Jen to do a house party show. Are you freaking kidding me? We all know Jen’s music because of VenicetheSeries. One of Jen’s songs, VENICE BEACH, is a main song of the series and so we have followed her and her music and become big fans. (if you have not heard her music, go to http://www.jenfoster.com and listen!!)

Jen and Leslie greeted me so warmly..gave me big hugs and took pictures. It was awesome! We all settled down a bit to order food and eat. I was trying to make my way around to visit with different friends…feeling like I wanted to spend time with everyone of course! Everyone was visiting, eating, drinking, laughing, smiling. I looked around a few times and just watched everyone…and I will say this…the amount of LOVE in that room was UNBELIEVABLE and IMMEASUREABLE!

Next, Jen began playing and of course, she was phenomenal. Acoustic Jen Foster in a small space…AHHHH  Her voice, so clear and tender and powerful. Her words, the same. POWERFUL. We all just sat back and listened and watch something very special unfold. More than half the room  had never heard of Jen before and they become fast fans. Some of us had just seen Jen play at a small venue in Asheville, NC in late August and here we were, treated to her special talents again. My tired, worn body and happy soul sat back and basked in all the goodness surrounding me. I watched the crowd a lot..watched them taking it all in…smiles on their faces and quite a few tears when Jen sang some songs that tug at your heart. People were moved. I love that….

We ended up running out of time at the rented space and since so many of us wanted to stick around, we simply took the party outside to the parking lot. Hell, we had not even had the MINT ICE CREAM BIRTHDAY CAKE that MARCIE had brought. We settled in outside and Jen indulged us in playing one of her new songs that has yet to be released yet. I had heard her sing it in Asheville and asked her to play it. It’s always a fitting song, but even more so now in light of all the teen suicides lately related to bulling/sexuality/coming out, etc..

I truly felt we were all witness to something incredibly special as we all sat on the ground, together, and listened to Jen play “THIS IS ME”

Needless to say, this was the best birthday of my 40 years. I shall never forget. Thank you to so many of you who made it so amazing and memorable!!

THIS IS ME

Words & Music by Jen Foster

You and I have come this far

Guess it’s time I tell the truth

‘Cause I have known for a while, but I never wanted to bring shame on this family

‘Cause you asked me not to

But if this God to whom you pray

Is the same God I was raised to believe in

You’d better take it up with him

This is me, here we are

I know I may not be everything you wanted

But this is all I’ve got

This is me, talk to God

He’s the one you really ought to ask these questions

Cause I am all his fault

This is me

Why, you ask, would I ever put you and Dad through this

When it’s only just a phase

Well, who’s to say what’s to come

And who are you to judge my love?  Yes, I am different, but my heart works just the same

I could lie to your face

But you taught me that’s no way to live my life

So I’m taking your advice

This is me, here we are

I know I may not be everything you wanted

But this is all I’ve got

This is me, talk to God

He’s the one you really ought to ask these questions

Cause I am all his fault

This is me

This is me

Talk to God

You said he speaks to us when we listen

So listen

This is me

I’m nobody’s fault

Listen to your heart

Talk to God

This is me…


Jen
www.jenfoster.com
www.myspace.com/jenfoster

Funtanilla Forty: Part 4

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos, road, shoes with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2010 by afuntanilla

At approx Mile 22 mark, me and the fellow runners & 2 support cars, pulled into a gas station. I wanted to change my socks/shoes and refuel. A man in a large pickup truck pulled up to us and said, “Can I ask what this is all about.” I guess we were causing quite a scene. LOL

I got up and headed down the road. By this time, it was nearing mid-day and it was HOT. Temperatures were between 85-90 degrees and I was in the full sun. There is virtually no shade in San Leandro. Those temps were unusual, for sure, but you get what you get and move on. I needed a hat so I took off my Funtanilla Forty Orange bandana that Sharon made and put on an oversized cap from Sandra. (this was not my first choice, but i couldn’t be picky. left my own Brooks cap in the hotel)

 

Oversized Dodger Blue Cap (UGH!)

 

 

Scott, Neva, Kera & Me on walk break

 

 

Back to Work

 

I was also getting into high traffic areas and had to stop at a lot of traffic lights…that’s never fun but it was part of the course. After the marathon mark of 26 miles, it started to get tougher. I had not run past that distance in about 2 years and my legs were feeling it. And Feet! Scott was still running with me and offering lots of positive encouragement. “Angie, you are looking good. you’re looking strong”, he would say. I have no idea if he was telling me the truth, but it sounded good and I believed him. I can’t say enough about how thankful I am that Scott ran with me. (in total about 26 miles) He was solid! He was a great companion. We have only known each other thru the blogging world and met each other once before at a race. It was easy to run with him…no pressure to talk or anything…just be and run. He is a gem! Everyone loved him and his cute self.

We were coming up to a Taco Bell so I used it as an opportunity to make a pit stop to the bathroom. When I came out and went outside, I saw more friends to greet me; Denise and Jason! On the eve of their 2nd wedding anniversary, they were out there to cheer me on! Denise even ran with me for a bit which was a wonderful surprise. She has some disc problems with her neck that prevents her from hard impact activities, so I was so delighted to see her out there and she felt good!! Me & my friend of about 21 years out running in the streets of San Leandro. Sweet!

 

Denise & I

 

We ran through the mini “downtown” area of San Leandro and made a stop across from the Long’s Drug Store. I sat on the curb and i think at this point someone (can’t remember who, sorry) massaged my calves. A huge help. Grandma and I used to go to that Long’s Drug store all the time and I always enjoyed it. I loved walking slowly along the aisles and just looking at all the stuff…the greeting cards, all the medicine stuff, random things like slippers or clock radios or little fans. I remember when we would walk in during the holidays and they had all their holiday decorations out…for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Grandma always seemed to buy a tin of those Butter Cookies, Andes Thin Mint Chocolates and Mon Cheri Chocolates. It’s a rarity that I eat any of those items anymore (mostly because I don’t wanna buy a WHOLE PACK or CONTAINER just for me) but they always make me think of grandma and the holidays. Ok. Get back to running.

There isn’t a whole to report on the next 10 or so miles. Some of it was back through some areas I had already been and other than that, not to noteworthy. Except to say, that it continued to be hot and Jason was a gem in getting me a bunch of ice cubes packed into a t-shirt for me to wear around my neck. That was a huge help. He also switched places with Denise and ran a bit with Scott and I. I really felt he was taking care of me and I appreciated it so much. THANK YOU, JASON!

These miles that were uneventful were mentally kinda taxing. They made me a little grumpy although I was also feeling the pain so those 2 feelings kinda mixed in with each other. We had to wait at a lot of lights/traffic and it just wasn’t nice scenery. But, again…i chose the route for particular reasons and I just had to keep on.

I got a great boost around mile 32. I am running along on this road full of nothing and I see these red car parked ahead all by itself and I see someone waving. I hear their voice. I cannot tell who it is yet…closer, closer, I see it is my old high school friend, Miki! WOW. CRAZY. UNBELIEVABLE. She gave me a big smile and hug and it was such an enormous boost. She had to get back in her car and would join us later that evening for the birthday party. How great was that, right!!!

 

MIKI!

 

Another big boost came about 2 miles later when Scott and I saw my best friend, Holly! She had swapped her car with someone and had her bicycle and was gonna be with us for a while. So happy to see her and have her join us. We were about 6 miles away from the Marina and the finish line. It wasn’t too long ago that Holly couldn’t even exercise at all. She had a serious back injury that was very painful and caused her to be extremely limited in her exercise. She couldn’t ride a bike, no tennis — nothing really except walking. She couldn’t even really sustain more than one hour car rides. Now, she is kayaking, riding her bike, etc..and I was so proud of her and happy she is able to be active again.

 

Denise, me & Holly

 

Once Holly joined me, Scott departed and went back with Kera in support car. He had run about miles with me and said his knee was starting to bother him. I would have thought he was a serious slacker, but 2-3 weeks prior, he had just run 93 miles across Idaho! So, i let him off the hook and told him it was ok to go rest. HAHAHA!

(read about his adventures at http://www.ikeeprunning.blogspot.com or click SCOTT on my links to the right of page) He is an awesome runner and a great fella!

Now, I’m about 3-4 miles from the end and what am i thinking? Well, I’m looking at my watch and seeing the hours keep adding up and thinking, “wow, i’ve been out here a long time.” You know, there comes a point where your thoughts are not really coherent and you are just functioning..just keep going…just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep pumping your arms…repeat.” oh, and keep drinking. what else do you need? another gel? keep going. I never thought, “i can’t finish”. Never even crossed my mind. Oh yeah, i few miles back, Kera had the Rocky Theme song playing on her Droid phone so gave it to me to listen to which was very cool. In case you don’t know, that IS my favorite song!

Finally, I’m on a straightaway into the Marina and I know I have about 2 miles left. I tell Holly, “I wanna do this part alone. I will meet you all at the finish line.” Off I went to run the final part which is into the Marina and onto the “fitness trail” portion which looks like a little island in itself. It’s a small loop on paved trail with dirt patches all around and the bay is right there with ya! I was running and looking across to San Francisco. I felt the soft breeze cool my face. I heard the sounds of the water gently lapping against the rocks. I heard children’s voices playing in the distance. I remembered all those times I came to this same spot as a teenager…coming there to find some quiet and some calm in my crazy life. I would run or walk around the loop and just think. I can’t remember what I thought, but I remember how I felt; i felt like i could breathe. Something about the openness of the area gave me perspective and some kind of hope that things would be ok. I think we all need that kind of place, no matter how old you are or where you are in your life. I hope you, dear reader, have that kind of place for you.

 

view of sf

 

 

my friends waiting for me!

 

I had been run/walking these last 10 miles and I had about 1 mile to go to the finish. I wanted to run all the way in…all the way in to my friends, my awesome supporters. As I exited the trail and ran along the main road, I could see some of them up ahead with cameras. I was smiling and digging in. I turned left into the hotel parking lot and saw some of them up ahead holding a banner for me…like a finish line banner. I ran until I touched the banner. I was smiling. BIG.

 

Happy. So Happy.

 

 

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 2

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos, shoes, travel with tags , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by afuntanilla

This will be a multi-part recap. So, grab your cup of coffee or whatever it is you enjoy drinking and get comfortable. I hope you enjoy reading as I recap my adventure of the Funtanilla Forty.

I feel compelled to begin by sharing about my feelings the week prior to the run. I was in last stages of tapering, which in itself is enough to drive me nuts. I go from lots and lots of running for months and recovery to hardly any at all.  It’s so important to do this to ensure fresher legs on the “race day”, but man, it truly is mentally challenging. Those thoughts creep in every day, “have I done enough? am i ready? do i need to get in another extra run?”

In addition to those crazy thoughts, i felt physically sick. or like i was gonna get sick. I realize I usually go through this same pattern before the big races. The last 7-10 days pre-event, I begin to feel extremely tired, kinda achy & super stressed. I realize, I bring most of it upon myself, but I believe there is something else happening too. I think with not only the physical tapering, but the “mental tapering” too that the body is thrown into shock.  It’s so focused and put through so many physical & mental demands for months and then there is a gradual decrease…but to me and my body, this is a shock to my system. So, i think how i feel in that final week is a culmination and combination of all of this and then the other life stresses that come into play.  Needless to say, I got myself on the plane and headed west.

I was super excited, anxious and overwhelmed. What began as an idea I wrote out on a piece of scratch paper became one of the biggest occassions of my life. What began as an idea of a very solo & quiet journey transformed into an epic adventure where so many people from all over were involved in one way or another.

The Plan

The first real planned event of the weekend was a dinner with about 10 friends at a restaurant near our hotel in San Leandro. We had to dine in Oakland simply because there are so few legitimate dining places in San Leandro. I’m not kidding.

On the way to dinner

So, a bunch of us met up at Francesco’s, about 5 miles away from our hotel, The San Leandro Marina Inn. The group included, 1 friend I met via the blogging world (SCOTT) , 5 friends I met through twitter world(JULIE, LYNN, KERA, SANDRA, SHARON & LYNN), 1 old high school friend(KRISTINE), and 2 old friends from my days living in SF(ALEC & HOLLY). What a great group! I felt so blessed to be there. I think I had a smile from ear to ear on my face the entire time. I tried to eat, but I just couldn’t. I probably ate 1/4, at most, of my pasta. I was so happy being with all my friends and I was in disbelief that they were all there to support me.

After helping Scott with a ride back to his hotel in nearby Hayward, I got back to my room, crawled into bed went to sleep. I knew I would wake up early and use that time to eat and get all my gear and food together for the long day ahead.

Saturday:

4:30am wake up call. Seriously? Yes. On my birthday, by choice, woke up at 4:30am to go run 40 miles. Seriously? Yes.

Actually, I had no trouble getting up. I quickly made the hotel room coffee which was not too bad. Far from Peets, but hey, you gotta take what you are offered, right?! (Also, there are NO PEETS coffee places in SAN LEANDRO)

So, me and a cup of Superior Brand coffee it was…along with my customary Clif Bar, water, and a banana.

I had some pre-race jitters, which was really cool because this wasn’t a race by any means. The excitment running through my veins was pretty damn neat. I was about to go to yet another “starting line.”

After getting dressed and getting all my stuff together for support car, I headed downstairs to the lobby. To my delightful surprise, there were 3 of my friends waiting for me to give me a hug and cheer me on; Neva, Holly, & Alec. And then there was the additional group of 3 who were to travel with me via support car; Kera, Scott and Sharon. All but Neva came to the starting line with me; the starting line being the old house I grew up in as a kid; 465 W. Broadmoor Blvd, San Leandro. That was the residence I lived in with my mom; a still very dumpy looking duplex at the edge of the San Leandro/Oakland border. One thing is different from 28 years ago, there were black bars on the windows. As I stood there in the darkness, surrounded by my friends, we spoke softly. I smiled as I looked around at what used to my driveway..the spot where my sister and I would lie on the cement after running through sprinklers or just getting wet with the hose on a hot afternoon. We would lie down in the driveway, on the cement and let the sun dry our little bodies. I can still feel the warmth of the sun on my cheek, my hair. When we finally lifted our heads, we would find our cheeks marked with the little ingrained gravel of the ground.

I turned around and looked into the street. I saw a memory of me, my 2 brothers and my uncle all out there in the middle of the street playing football. My uncle would be the QB and he would diagram plays on his palm for us. Nerf football or hard football, it didn’t matter. I could catch both and hang with the boys.

I took one last look around at my 5 friends who were all smiling at me. Each of them gave me a hug and then I turned and headed south into Mile 1. Aproximate start time was 6:15am, Pacific Standard Time.

I felt free and light at the beginning. No more heavy legs, no more tired legs.

I carried nothing with me except a little piece of paper with route/map abbreviations so I would know where to go. No water (had support car), no iPod (intentional). Temps were cool. Maybe 70 degrees. I started off wearng my long-sleeve technical tee shirt from LA Marathon, but I knew I would change tops as the day progressed. I wore my K-Swiss K-Ona shoes, aslo knowing that later i would change pairs. These shoes are good for about 20 miles and then my feet start to hurt and need more support, so I would later change into the K-Swiss Tubes.

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.

On Your Left

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos, road with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2010 by afuntanilla

Since I have invaded her shoe space, why not her running space and blog as well?

I came to Atlanta to rally with Angie in her 40 mile mission which we kicked of at the raffle party at Carpe Diem.

It was fantastic and she raised over $900 for the My Stuff Bags Foundation. I was awestruck by the amount of love and support surrounding Angie.  However, it wasn’t until today (her weekly big run day) that I realized what a feat this truly is.

By no means am I a runner.  I am very active, but I have no concept of what constitutes a mile.  I am the type to hop in the kayak, on my mountain bike, or skates and go until I feel like stopping or find something to explore.  I just go with no real goal in mind.  Not the case with Angie.

We arrived at the trail head and she said, I will run 10 miles.  I said, Cool!  Sounds fun to me.  Off we went and within a matter of seconds I was over it!  Run?  Me? NO WAY.  I am not a runner.  I watched her as she raced on towards her goal.  A bright orange and red blur running with confidence.

I suddenly felt like I had to move.  Something in me was not about to stop.  Here was this woman who has overcome so many odds running like nothing mattered but the goal ahead of her.  So I ran, or I tried my best anyway.

Every excuse in the book came flooding into my head.  Here are a few because it was really pretty pitiful! 1. I forgot my ipod. 2. That kid just passed me.  3.  My knee will hurt. 4. Who says I have to run? 5. How far is a mile anyway?

With no music, I was tuned into my surroundings.  I kept hearing ON YOUR LEFT.  Of course that got me singing…To the left, to the left…

Just as I thought I was going to fall over and die, I saw it.  It was the sign that made all the difference.  It said 2.6 miles.

Wow, I had gone that far!  Only problem now was that I had to get back to the beginning.  I turned around with even more excitement at the thought of being able to say how far I had gone.  Suddenly, I had A GOAL!  5.2 miles!  My first running goal.  There it was.  Humbled, in pain, tired, and overwhelmed with joy I made it.

It didn’t matter that I was being passed by kids or that I had no music.  I made my own.  I found my goal.  Angie told me to find my rhythm and I had.  It went something like on your left, on your left.

ME: 5.2 miles

Angie: 10 miles

Coming to Atlanta to run with a goal: worth every mile.

i startled a deer who startled me..

Posted in 40 mile run, photos, road with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by afuntanilla

I arrived at the Arabian Mountain Trailhead promptly at 7:00am. A friend of mine was already there, waiting for me in her truck. She met me there so we could take a couple of pictures for my 40 mile run project and maybe a little video too.

The trailhead was very quiet and the small parking lot very sparse…I saw only 2 other parked cars besides our own. How different this trailhead is from Silver Comet Trail in Smyrna…by 7am, it is generally FULL.

My friend graciously waited for me while I put my feet to the pavement and ventured off into unknown territory. Like the Silver Comet Trail, this trail is also paved and surrounded by lots of trees and beauty. Although it is surrounded by houses, you cannot see them from the trail and therefore it feels pretty secluded and peaceful. Today, that felt very welcome after a very busy & crazy week, but I can see where running out there in the late evenings or rainy days might not feel so safe…

As horribly staggering as the humidity is at 7am, there is also something very quiet and still about it…there’s a stillness in the air that is unmatched by any other kind of weather condition. It’s really quite stunning and one of the reasons why even though i bemoan the heat & humidity while training, i do find it beautiful and romantic. I could HEAR the stillness…along with an occasional ruffling or rummaging of critters in the woods.

Somewhere between Mile 2-3, I saw a deer up ahead on the right hand side of the trail. The deer stopped chomping on the grass and looked up at me….now, i know most people aren’t afraid of deers, but I was a little unnerved to have one soooo close. I mean, it’s not like they are the kind of animal you can just go up to and pet or something. As i ran closer and closer to where the deer was, i fully expected the deer to run off. Nope. And there I was no more than 2 feet away from the deer. We looked at each other. I did have the thought; will the deer attack me?

I kept running. Deer kept doing it’s thing.

Um…the trail…was hard. Virtually no flat parts. All uphill/downhills with turns….

I planned to run 6 miles, but somehow on the return route, i managed to make an errant turn onto one of the trail offshoots and didn’t realize it until about 1.5 miles afterwards. I was worried about my friend waiting for me…thinking she might be worried about me since i was not going to be back when I said I would…i mean, maybe she was thinking, “Did Angie get attacked by a DEER?”

I did find my way back to where I started. The good part about the detour..instead of running 6 miles, it was 7.36 miles.

Gonna be big, long run day tomorrow! Wish me luck and thanks a million times over for all the support.

Post Run Pic