Archive for golden gate park

big ring, little ring and a lot of space

Posted in bike, gym, photos, road, running, trail with tags , , , , on July 17, 2014 by afuntanilla

My body feels tired. I just got up from an hour long nap. These types of naps are not uncommon…a few days a week, I take the pleasure of these wonderful opportunities to rest my body. I’m thankful I have the time to do so. I wake early for work and when I get home mid-late afternoon, if I can sneak in a 30-60 minute nap , I indulge. Even so, my body, right this minute, feels tired. Or, more accurately, sore. My legs feel stiff, heavy. My hips and lower back are tight and need stretching. My right upper leg/hip are are especially tight and generally feel out of whack….I know this is because of my cycling and more specifically from the session I did last week on an indoor bike at the gym. As I am new to consistent cycling, I now┬árealize, that riding on the gym bike was a bad rookie move. And, I am still paying the price 6 days later. For the last 6 weeks, I have been consistently riding my own bike and getting familiar with it…learning it’s ways, getting to know the feel of it under my body. The gym bike was, of course, a general bike for anyone. As soon as I took my seat and began pedaling, I physically felt all sorts of wrong. Especially in my seat area and I could not adjust it to feel better. So, being me, I just do what I do; hammer away and through the planned workout of 40 minutes cycling. This was after a fast 20 minute run on treadmill. (Why did I do this inside? Because for a shorter ride like this, it’s not really safe or easy to ride on the roads in town after work. I thought it would be easier to do this short back-to-back workout at the gym)

Anyways…I rode and when I tried to peddle a bit faster, I could feel a strain on my right side because I was just not seated correctly. When I finished the workout, I felt fine. I even thought maybe I should have gone longer or pushed harder….
Well, the next day, I was in a world of hurt. The tightness and soreness in my legs/hips were nothing I have experienced in quite some time. It was this unfamiliar soreness within a myriad of muscle groups that have not seen much action. I know what soreness from running is and what it feels like. I have been getting to know the soreness from MY bike….but, THIS…..this was the unknown and the wicked, wicked witch of the west! I was hobbling along during the day…walking in all sorts of crooked manners to try to deal with it. I needed help so got a last minute massage that definitely helped. Hips, hamstrings, gluteus, and back got all the attention!
So, it IS fair to say I won’t be riding at the gym again. Probably ever!
I took 2 days off from any exercise and then had a slow, a bit awkward, 50 minute run in Golden Gate park on Saturday. Awkward because the area in my upper hamstring/right hip area continues to feel off.

As the week went on, I realized how tight all these aforementioned muscle groups are and so have been trying to spend time daily to loosen them up with different stretches. Lots of hip flexor stretching! I’ve know all along for years this area was tight, but it’s a whole new level of tightness now! Anyway, was glad to get the Saturday run in and then on Sunday, I went for a bike ride with a friend. He is a pretty experienced cyclist who rides for a local team and races. This was the first time going out together. We spoke a few weeks ago and I said I could go with him when he needed a slow/recovery ride. He had ridden 85 miles on Saturday in the Sierras, so a recovery ride on Sunday was in order for him. I was excited and a bit intimidated, of course. I just wanted to not slow him down too much.

Let me preface this next part by saying I’ve had my bike for 10 years and it’s a nice bike with good components, however, I don’t know much about the “mechanics” or when to use what and why…a rookie, you know!
And for the past 6 weeks, I have been riding in the county with some slight hills, nothing major, but some rides have more rolling hills and such, so it is a challenge.

So, we leave from my house and after the first familiar stretch, instead of turning left, we decide to go on his loop so I can do something different, which is straight ahead. Up a nice long steady steep stretch…which was also a very bumpy and rough road. I’m riding along in my easier gear and going as well as I can and staying close. We finally get to the downhill and let it go and it is FUN!!! But also scary (for me) because I was going so fast over this bumpy ass road and my eyes were watering from the cool temps and I had trouble seeing a few seconds here and there through my glasses. I was holding on to my handlebars….holding on for dear life it felt like. I definitely felt out of control at some points because I couldn’t see the bumps in the road all that well and was freaked out I was gonna fly off the bike! Whew! A thrill! Crazy and scary and an opportunity for me to figure out my own comfort levels of speed on a road like such!
As we rode along, he was checking me out and how I fit on my bike, etc…he was asking me about my gears and telling me to switch to my smaller chainring. I’m like “what??”. He goes on to explain the whole OTHER set of gears I have on the left hand side of the bars. (Remember, I am a rookie) He proceeds to tell me what those are for…the small chainring is for me to use when I am climbing steep hills…like the one we did earlier. He could not believe I did that hill in my Big chainring because it makes it THAT MUCH HARDER! When I used it on some remaining hills, I was shocked and amazed at how much easier it was! DUH!!!!!!
We both got quite a laugh out of this!

It does beg the questions though of; what did I think those gears were for and why didn’t I ever think to look into it? I know I have 2 chainrings and know I had not been using the smaller one, so why didn’t I question this? All long, I was using my easiest gear on my BIG ring, but I could have made my experiences that much easier and more comfortable had I known about the other…

This lesson…it is not lost on me…the making things hard no when they could be so much easier.
I can’t help but ask; “how is that like my life?”

I’m laughing!!

It was really fun to ride with my friend who is quite experienced. Can’t wait to do it again! Oh, and he gave me quite a few compliments on my riding ability/strength so I definitely take that as a positive! ­čÖé

Later that day, early evening, I just felt like getting on the trails. I went up to Helen Putnam and ran/hiked for another 50 minutes. Loved and appreciated the beauty, quiet, and space of both activities right in my backyard!

Wednesday: 20 minute run, 40 minute bike

Saturday: 50 minute run, Golden Gate Park

Sunday: 25.5 mile bike ride (morning); 50 minutes trail run/hike (evening)





listening and letting go

Posted in motivation, photos, road, running with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2013 by afuntanilla

The training week — a lot less mileage┬áthan I “should’ve” run…my body needed it.

Monday: 2.5 mile walk

Tuesday: 3 miles Treadmill – 9:05 pace

Friday: 3 mile run outside w/ hills – 9:41 pace; 1.47 mile walk

Saturday: 14 mile run outside – 10:10 pace; 1.47 mile walk

Sunday: 4 miles Treadmill – 9:31 pace

Partly deliberate and partly due to work schedule, I didn’t run as much as i “should’ve”. I put this in quotations because as many training programs as I have followed in the past, I’ve learned that you REALLY DO┬áhave to listen to your body. My legs were feeling pretty beat so I ran lower miles during the week and took 2 days off in a row. I think being a runner for so long now, I have (hopefully) learned a ┬ábit more of when to PUSH and when to REST. By no means, do i have this figured out…but, I am learning. ­čÖé

I would like to say that the strategy during the week made the long run on Saturday that much better, but it didn’t. And that’s ok. I decided to switch things up and run long on Saturday and “play it by ear” on Sunday. I also wanted to go back into SF and run part of the marathon course. So, I rose early on Saturday and after a quick cup of Peets Coffee, I drove into the city and watched the sunrise as i zoomed down HWY 101 on quiet morning. I parked in Golden Gate Park and off I went. I think i started around the 14 mile mark for the marathon. I didn’t follow the course exactly, but pretty close. As I ran along, I thought perhaps this could help me mentally as I will know and learn this part of the course, the back half of the course, and come race day, perhaps I will be able to push a bit more! That’s the goal. I ran about 4 – 5 miles through the park and then hit the Great Highway stretch. To be honest, around mile 3-4, my thoughts were these:

man, why i am not feeling “fresher?” why are my legs still feeling tired? maybe i should just stop. just stop all together. i mean not run the marathon. just take a break. maybe my body needs it. maybe. maybe just focus on the next mile.┬á

So, there you have it. Honesty. Before I knew it, I was at mile 10 and thoroughly in a zone and feeling free. These thoughts do creep up for me. And, I think, like anything else, when they happen, I just have to let them be…give them space…and NOTHING ELSE. And because I was able to do that at this particular time, I just kept on and soon forgot about it all. I guess that’s “letting go”. The cool thing is that i didn’t spend a whole lot of mental energy here…i didn’t have to tell myself to “keep pushing” or anything like that….after I said to myself to just focus on the next mile, i think i really just let go…

And, to be honest, i think it DID help to be running a different route. Right when I was kinda going thru this, I had turned onto the Great Highway with the Pacific Ocean right there and the healing, restorative power of the water. I ran along and then up and over to Lake Merced. Ran around the full lake, which will be different on race day. This year, they have us run half the lake and then back the same way. Anyways, pretty soon, I was done. 14 miles strong in the bank. I walked about 1.5 miles back to my car and immediately drove back to the beach. I went in, waist deep, and had my own personal “ice bath”. IT. WAS. AWESOME. Of course, there were a few moments of shock from the cold, but then, it felt great. I just stood there basically for 10 minutes and watched the waves come and go…gently crashing into me and my quads. As opposed to last weekend, the sun was out a bit and temps were again pleasant and no wind. Awesome.

Sunday: I wasn’t sure what the running plan for sunday would be. I woke up and was sore. Had a nice morning and just sort of went about my day. Around 2pm, I decided I would go for about 4 miles at the gym. So, I did. Felt much better than i anticipated and I 100% credit the “ice bath”. Dear Pacific, you will see me again, soon! ­čÖé

Dear reader friends: remember to be gentle with yourselves. Listen. Let go.




Sunday in the Park

Posted in photos, road, running with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by afuntanilla

Woke up this morning knowing I didn’t get enough sleep last night. Not a good thing considering i had planned about an 8-9 mile run this morning. Thankfully, when I saw the sun was already brightly shining at 8am, I became energized and committed to the run plan. I decided to drive down to SF and either run along the Marina green or in Golden Gate Park. With Peets in hand, I hit the road. Leaving Petaluma, skies were blue as can be with no clouds. As I got closer to the Golden Gate Bridge, i could see the morning fog was still pretty heavy. I opted for running in the park. I parked, got myself together and hit the path at the Stanyan/Fell entrance. It was about 9:30am and still a little quiet out. Temps were cool, maybe low 60’s and then the high fog above. I wasn’t sure how my body would feel. This was to be my 3rd run in 3 days and I have not done that in a while…so….just wanted to have my legs!! I pressed start on the watch and music and off I went. As I ran along, within the first mile, some part of a song came on…i can’t be more specific because I cannot remember, but the important part is the SURGE I get sometimes. Like then. A part of a song comes on and I just feel like I get a HUGE boost. I love that!

The miles keep adding up and before I know it, I am at the other end of the park, along the great highway, and looking out at the great and mighty Pacific Ocean. I can barely see it because of the fog, but i can still hear the waves and feel the energy. DAMN, I LOVE THIS PLACE. The smells of Eucalyptus all throughout the park and the cool temperatures washing over my skin. So refreshing. So needed. And then, I think of mom. My Mom. Who loved the city. This City. This City where I was born. San Francisco. This place she held so dearly. And in these moments when my feet are traveling, when my body is running through Golden Gate Park, I am giving her my love and my silent Thank you for being with me as long as you could…as long as the world and God and all the rest would have it. Thank you for bringing me into this world, caring for me and loving me. Mom. May your star continue to shine. Bright.

I keep running and make my way up the small incline of the next 2+ miles. Passing by Stow Lake, traffic of both cars and people have increased. I’m nearing 7 miles now and i see my car up ahead. Perfect time to stop as I am tired. My legs, my quads are tired….But, I can’t. Push on for 8. I run right pass my card and onto the GG Panhandle and make it one more mile, as planned. Not easy. But, I made it. Stuck to my commitment. I was a happy gal!!



Miles and a few Acre’s

Posted in motivation, photos, random, road, travel with tags , , , , on November 20, 2011 by afuntanilla

Last weekend, I was able to spend a long weekend in the SF Bay Area. If you have followed any of my recent posts, then you will understand when i say it was a much needed break and get-a-way. While on the trip, I was able to run 3 days in a row, which was awesome. No run was over 5 miles, but all were good quality and fun.

Saturday morning, I dragged Alec out. I stayed at his place in SF, and after morning coffee, we went and parked near Kezar Stadium/Golden Gate Park. I wanted to run in the park and end the run in the stadium. We got out of car and went on our separate ways. Alec said he would just walk since he had not run since the 10k in Half Moon Bay on 9/25. I went on my way through GG park. It was a beautiful morning and lots of runners were out taking advantage of such a gorgeous place. I miss running there…such a gorgeous oasis. After 3.25 miles, I was back at Kezar. Another one of my favorite places to run. An open stadium that always inspires and challenges me. Pushes me harder. I decided to run 10 minutes of all stairs. Ran one side of the stadium and then the other side. Then, back to the 1st side one more time. Legs were pushed! Heart was beating fast. Loved it! THAT is my juice. Absolutely.
Oh, before I started at the stadium, I saw Alec. He was running. Yep. Mr. “i’ll just walk” was running and he seemed to be having a good time. yep. Mr. “why do we have to go” was having fun! Alec snapped these pictures. A great start to our Saturday.

Sunday morning, we were in Petaluma. I snuck out early for a run with a friend over at Shollenberger Park. It’s an awesome 2 mile flat loop around a marsh. Such a quiet, beautiful morning. I was a little hesitant to meet there…thinking maybe I wanted to just run through the quiet, quaint streets of Petaluma, but it ended up being perfect. We ran mostly together for the first loop. I hadn’t run with anyone in a long time and it was fun. Fun to talk and then just be quiet and only hear our feet as they made crunchy sounds on the path below us and our steady breathing as runners doing our thing. Awesome. I went for a second loop alone and enjoyed that as well. We sat for a few minutes afterwards and just watched the nature around us. I needed to just sit for a few. To be reminded of the simple. the steady. the things in nature that JUST ARE. There is no judgement, no stress. Just existence. Simply beautiful. We even saw a hawk.
I was able to go for one more run Monday afternoon. I ran from Holly’s place and took a round about way into downtown Petaluma. I do love running there. Streets are so quiet, pretty, not much traffic. Had a little bit of downhill to start and so i knew i’d have some uphill on way back. By the time this run came around, my body was tired. Had gotten little sleep on trip and had drank some. Not much, but back to back nights of drinking + no sleep = tired body. I thought of ending the run at the BOTTOM of the .5 mile hill back up to Holly’s house. Then, I thought of how absolutely wimpy that would be, so I put my head down and pumped the legs and my arms. The first 3/4 of the hill is a good gradual uphill that keep increasing in steepness. Then, there’s a turn and the last 1/4 of the hill is just brutal. Nothing but a lung bursting, quad busting, heart burning kind of hill. An awesome way to finish.

In between great visits with friends, I took a stroll along one of my old favorite neighborhoods in Santa Rosa. I wanted to see if the Gingko leaves had fallen yet. Most of the trees were still full. I was slightly bummed.

Not nearly enough leaves for me to shuffle through…..

I also had some coffee while I was away. And, I hate to admit it, but I cheated on Peet’s more than once. I did have Peet’s in SF, but when we went to Petaluma, I ventured out. I have a few reasons for this; the Peet’s in Petaluma is probably one of the ONLY locations I do not like. The place does not have good energy and it is not comfortable to sit there. A big bummer! Also, i had heard about a new coffee place right in downtown called Acre. So, of course, i had to go and see what the hoopla was about and see if it met my particular standards. HA.

So. What was the verdict of Acre? Loved it. It has light wood colors inside and feels soft. The music playing all 3 times I was there was on the quieter side. They have ample seating, even one long “family style” table. Each individual table has a little lamp. Get this? There is a typewriter. Yes, an honest to god old typewriter that anyone can use. Pretty cool. I even used it. So, I give it an A on the Atmosphere.
The coffee? My first taste was a purchased for me small cappuccino. It was the perfect size and very good. Not too much milk, which is as it should be. My second taste was regular coffee. It was good, not as strong as I usually prefer, but still a good cup of java.
I went back on another day for another cappuccino because I wanted it in a “for here” mug. For some reason, it was not as good as the day before, so that was kinda disappointing. Maybe it was me and my taste buds or maybe some inconsistency. Guess I will just have to keep going back.

Today, I ran for 1st time in 6 days. Hadn’t run since last Monday due to the traveling back to ATL, catching up, and then feeling sick since Friday morning. Ran 4 miles today even though still a lil sick. But, what is it that they say?
Oh yeah, “in sickness and in health”

Keep Movin’

Race Reflections – Part III

Posted in photos, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2009 by afuntanilla

I was lined up right in front of the St Francis Hotel on Powell Street. Looking up at the windows, i saw a few folks peeking outside their windows to us crazy folk down below. Boy, if you stayed there and DIDN’T know a marathon was gonna start right in front of your hotel, you were in for a shock!

At 7:10am, I was finally beginning my 6th marathon. Damn, it felt like this training period has gone on forever and I cannot express how relieved I was to FINALLY GET ON WITH IT!

Even though I was wearing my iPod, I didn’t turn it on for about 3 miles. I wanted to hear all the natural sounds around me; the fellow runners chatting, laughing, the footsteps beside me…

The course started in Union Square and did a zag zag pattern onto Montgomery St. (my old work place street) and over to the Embarcadero. This street(for those who don’t know) is just beside that Bay, so running along it you have great Bay views and Bay Bridge views. A cool, clear, SF morning. Nothing better! All flat so far.

Passed Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf and then the first “hill” (SMALL) as we went up and over to Fort Mason (bigger hill) and over to Chrissy Field. We were at about mile 6; lots of support there along the Marina Green! THX PEOPLE!!

Flat along Marina/Chrissy Field and then a nice steep hill up towards the Golden Gate Bridge. (did not go on bridge like regular SF marathon) This next part was probably my favorite. Basically these next 2-3 miles were small hills on the outskirts of The Presidio; wonderful Eucalyptus trees scented the now somewhat foggy area. Felt very refreshing. Pine trees and pine needles lines some of the damp roads. Very quiet and calm except for the often times heavy breathing of fellow runners. I gotta say that this course has a few hills, but NOTHING like I have trained on in Atlanta! These were EASY. (yes, I am thankful the course was not thru the MIDDLE of SF!!) Coming out of that area, we had a nice, steep descent that lead to the famous CLIFF HOUSE — gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean as we approached the GREAT HIGHWAY.

Oh, how was i feeling? Feeling very solid at this point. Drinking water and had a gel and all was good. Next, we made our way into Golden Gate Park and I was getting excited to see Kim at mile 13! Right before that marker, the Half-Marathoners split off and did their own route and we did ours. Boy, there were a LOT of people running the HALF. Crowd definitely changed. Rolling into 13 Miler marker, I saw Kim from a distance there on the left hand side of street, wearing her North Face gray fleece and sunglasses. She brought me some peeled oranges! YAY! Needed them. Delighted to see her on her Birthday, I was the one in for a treat as she then ran about 1/4 mile with me….then called it quits! THANKS KIMMY FOR COMING!

Still in the park and made the turn to head DOWN the park (East Side). Mile 14 and there is my buddy, ALEC!! YAY! He took this pic, we hugged and I continued. So happy he was there!!

Mile 14

Mile 14

I was still feeling pretty good and I felt very focused and happy! Seeing friends definitely gave me a jolt! By the time we excited the park, we were at Mile 16. Now we were in for a stretch back on the Great Hwy (beside PACIFIC OCEAN) before heading over for a loop around Lake Merced. By Mile 17, I could see some of the water. Truly wonderful to see and be near the water again. I don’t need a fancy beach. Just give me water and some sand and a place to keep looking further and further and I am a happy girl. (please don’t ask why i live in a place where i am land locked!!) There was a SMALL breeze. Thank goodness because I know the route well and there can be some grueling winds out there!

Between 18-19 miles, right when I was beginning to hurt, we had a nice little climb over to the Lake. Then it was like another gradual uphill for about 1 mile. HMMM…perfect timing! My feet were hurting on their bottoms and my legs were getting heavy, but i wasn’t in too much pain. Again, I was really focused and i really tried to take in everything; the sights, the sounds; the aches as they came and stayed and came and went. I think I might have had a mental benefit from knowing the course since I have lived in SF in the past and spent much time running in the same areas. I basically knew what was coming. The loop around Lake Merced was kinda uneventful. The main memory was that at about mile 22, they were handing out Ghirardelli Chocolates. WTF? Not bananas or oranges or GELS, but CHOCOLATE! Sorry, I just cannot do that while running. Would have been a perfect place for any of those other things. Oh well….keep truckin’

Made our way back to the Great Hwy for the final 2.2 miles back to the finish line. At this point, my mind started to turn to thoughts like, “wow, I’ve been out here a long time. wow, another marathon. I did it. I’m gonna do it. is it really almost over?”

As I looked to my right, i could see those runners just making their trek towards the Lake. I was on miles 24-25 and they were on miles 17-18. Watching them, I had so much respect. Who knows when they would finish. But, it didn’t matter. They were out there! They were doing it. If the marathon requires anything above all us, it is GUTS. And those people have it. Anyone who gets on that starting line has it.

Now I was onto my last mile. i tried to pick up the pace as much as i could….legs were heavy and my back was getting tired. As I neared the finish line, I shut off the iPod again and just listened. The crowd grew thicker and thicker as I approached..all those spectators cheering on THEIR person for THEIR reason. I saw the finish line banner, ran a little faster, pumped my fists, and crossed the finish line. Because I am able. Because I can. Because the desire burns. Because….

Final Stats to follow