Archive for gratitude

The Quadruple Dipsea: Part B

Posted in motivation, photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2016 by afuntanilla

So, as I mentioned in the last post, I was dejected after not finishing the Quad. It was the right decision for my body on that day, but i still felt really disappointed.

During the week that followed, as I would relay to others what happened, I followed my comments up by saying, “i’m going to go out again…i will do this and finish.” I wasn’t sure if it was going to be 1 week later or 1 month later. But, I knew I was going to go back.

5 days after not finishing the race, I had decided my body was good to go for it again the following weekend. I let myself rest during the week, stretched, ate well and felt good. I had the added benefit of further inspiration as that Saturday (Dec 3) was The North Face Endurance Challenge here on some of the same trails. I didn’t go watch in person, but followed via social media and was super pysched to follow some of my favorite runners do their thing, especially Zach Miller, who was the 50 mile winner.

So as Saturday went along and then into the evening, I noticed that mentally I was where I wanted to be and where I should have been on pre-race weekend. It was a noticeable difference. So, i felt both physically and mentally ready and now i just needed sleep and to get up and go.

I had my nutrition figured out and took extra shoes in case i wanted to change half way. I packed a PBJ Sandwich cut in 1/4’s, orange slices, Hammer Nutrition gels and Tailwind. I was ready to go.

I began at 8:30am and believed it would take roughly 8 hours. Anything more was gonna push me into post sundown. That would not be good.

I was up the Dipsea steps and onto the course and on my way. I knew early on that I was ok and felt much better than last week. Many parts of the trail were still a bit muddy from recent rain so my Nike Kiger Trail shoes were perfect for the gripping nature needed. They don’t have much cushion but they do grip well and are light! I was just basically humming along and enjoying myself and knowing I had many hours ahead of me so i just tried to settle in, but still stay cognizant of time. I made it to the Stinson turn around and headed back to Mill Valley. Once I got to Mill Valley, i knew I had 2 things to do; 1) grab some food from car, change shoes 2) turn around and get back up the stairs. I didn’t allow for any thoughts to enter my mind around how hard it was gonna be or anything like that…i just kept saying to myself, “get up the stairs, get up the stairs..” And I did. Once I was on the stairs, I felt like THAT was a WIN. I smiled. And kept moving.

A woman actually stopped me prior to me heading up stairs and asked if i was doing a double. I said “No, a Quad.” Her eyes widened and she said; “well, good for you. i know you will do it.”  I so appreciated those kind words.

I figured the 3rd leg, which i was now on, would be the hardest and it was tough. By approximately miles 19-20, I was really starting to feel it..my back started to hurt a bit and i was getting some ache in my legs. But, I just had to keep moving. I made it to Stinson for the 2nd time and as soon as I turned around to head back for the final leg, I smiled and texted my friend, Tim, to let him know where I was…that i was going to finish. I mean, really, at that point, my options were limited anyways…what am i going to do? Walk the rest of the way back. Hitch a ride back to Mill Valley? I better get moving as fast as I can cause the sun in starting to go down.

Let me tell you now. The 3rd leg is NOT the hardest. The 4th leg is. Even though this was the “homestretch”, there was No adrenaline rush. I was moving slow. Very slow. Different body parts were starting to really hurt, as I had anticipated, but it IS still always tough when the hurt sets in and you have to begin the battle. However, what most non-runners don’t understand is, THIS IS THE PART that makes it all so worthwhile..the HARD PART. Experiencing myself as I work through and navigate the rough patches. This is the part where I truly have to show up, stand up, rise up and above and get it done. I’m one of those people who gets absorbed in moments like these BECAUSE they are such great teaching moments…the moment that fully consumes me and I am engrossed in the nature of this particular battle…with the course, the elements, my body and my own will. I’m fascinated by how I respond. And not just how I respond; this is one of the things I’ve truly been captivated by in sports for my entire life…watching athletes of various levels and different sports compete in the most challenging moments. Deeply engrossing!

As I slogged up Dipsea near the Coastal view, I passed some fellas hiking for the 3rd time.  By now, they were wondering what I was doing and after learning, offered me words of encouragement. Thankful for that!!

My right shin of all things started to give me some real trouble. Weird, i thought. I guess from all the stairs. It was super tight and hurting. Going up the final Dipsea stairs after crossing the bridge @ Steep Revine intersection was insane. My labored breathing, my slow movement of lifting one leg and then other to step up again and again. I stopped, looked around the forest…no one in sight..beautifully quiet…and I simply said THANK YOU, out loud to this place…this place that has become my 2nd home. And then, I kept moving.

Finally, atop, and on my way to pass Cardiac for the last time. Next 3 miles all downhill and no, not easy. Just a few hours ago, i was flying down this section and now I was slowed to gingerly running down. As I crossed over the roots and rocks, i was so glad i had changed my Nike Kigers for the additional cushioning of my Hoka Challengers. Again, still no adrenaline rush. Still had one little climb after I labored DOWN Dynamite and into the Muir Woods parking lot. Ok…here I go…lumbering up and knowing now that this is it and trying to push faster in any way i could as I was less than 2 miles from the finish. Finally , I get up to Panoramic and take a quick glance at the gorgeous scenery and i smile big…this is it…1 mile downhill to the finish. I went as fast as I could on the Dipsea Stairs down into the finish at old Mill Park, where I began, 8 hours and 5 minutes earlier.

I was done with my Quad Dipsea.

I’m good and me and the Dipsea are good.

Thankful for this Body, this Life

 

Turkey Trotting

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

Opted to run the local “Turkey Trot” run in town on Thanksgiving. I ran this for the 1st time 2 years ago. It’s totally informal; no registration fees, no t-shirts…just a bunch of people gathering at a local park and going for either a 4 or 6 mile walk or run. In lieu of fees, we were to bring food items for donation to a local food bank. It was great to see more people out versus 2 years ago and to see lots of food donated!!

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In addition to the holiday spirit, I wanted to do this run because it’s basically a loop I have been doing sporadically through my training. 1 mile of gradual uphill pavement into Helen Putnam Park, continue with 1 more mile of gradual-steep uphill thru the park, next 2 miles are varied up/down on wide then narrow trails; mile 4-5 is narrow flat, curvy trail and 6 is all downhill to the finish. I started with the first group (staggered start) and am happy to report there were probably only a few people in the 6 mile group that passed me. It was nice to see this as it reflects on my progress and its validating. I didn’t push hard as its too close to my race, so that’s also comforting to know. About 1500 ft total elevation.

Today, 2 days post-thanksgiving, I ran that same 6 mile loop. Slower, more deliberate, easy…it was a light drizzle at the start, not cold at all. As I my feet went further and further, the rain came down a little bit harder, but nothing dramatic. Lots of puddles along the trail and some splashes on my shoes. The early morning fog still lingered off in the distance. I wished I didn’t wear glasses on runs like this…would love to just feel the water all over my face….I love it all; the wetness, the cool Refreshing air, the eerily beautiful quiet. Ahhh….all the things I would miss if i couldn’t be OUTSIDE. Quite Thankful, indeed! So many things…my health, being able to be outside, to have all my senses working….may we not take anything for granted!

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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!!

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ONWARD!!

a potato story and a little more….

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos, road with tags , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2010 by afuntanilla

I used to feel very uncomforatble in taking up any space. I used to behave as though i didn’t “deserve” to take up any space or “have a voice at the table”.  I used to be extremely shy when people offered me things and of course, I never asked for anything.  A couple of examples for better illustration;

Back in early 1990’s, i lived in San Francisco with 2 great friends. Well, one already great friend, Alec, and another person who grew to be my best friend,  Holly. Holly had just moved in with us. While she and I shared many commonalities, we also shared many differences. One difference was in the whole cooking arena. Me and my little self didn’t know how to cook and rarely ate at home unless it was something very simple. So, one day, Holly & I were in the kitchen and I was about to eat a simple baked potato I had made for myself. She, on the other hand, was making a huge pot of Jambalya. (She is from a small town outside of Baton Rouge, LA, so the girl knows how to cook some Jambalya! ) Here’s what was said in kitchen.

Holly: If you wanna wait, this Jambalaya is gonna be ready in just a bit”

Me: (feeling all awkward & uncomfortable), “oh…um…no, I’m just gonna eat my potato”

She looked at me incredulously. Why the hell would someone chose to eat a baked potato vs homemade Jambalaya? Well, what she didn’t know then was how much I DID want the Jambalaya, but I was so queasy about accepting the offer that I simply could not do it.

Present Day – When I go to her house, I practically beg her to cook for me, we eat off each others plates and often crack up at the potato story.

Other examples of how i didn’t feel comfortable taking up space are simply those many times I have been with mutiple people at dinner tables or work functions or anything where people are gathered and sharing ideas. I would often remain quiet..very quiet because I always felt what I had to say was so trivial and stupid. And when I did speak up, i often felt like people just looked at me and when i was finished, simply moved on with their conversation. So…that did not help to give me confidence.  I felt invisible. I felt ridiculous for even being there…

Fast Forward to present day..this past Friday,  I was invited to lunch by some managers in my office. They wanted to take me to lunch and get my ideas on work stuff. So, here I am, at a table with 4 men, who wanted my input. Not only was I more than happy to give my input, but i felt totally comfortable and like i totally belonged right there at that table.

I bring these things up because as i was sitting yesterday morning  being quiet and reflecting, i had these realizations of how much I have grown over the years. And it feels freaking awesome. The whole feeling like i belong…..i didn’t even think about it at the lunch meeting. It was a non-issue. I only thought about it upon reflection. How great is that!

And now, here I am, totally putting myself out there to people, to companies, as I prepare for this epic birthday run. Asking for support…wanting to share a story so deeply personal…but wanting to share because I hope to have impact…to inspire….if i can inspire just 1 person, my life is valuable. period. If i can inspire 1 person to take a risk, to push themselves just a litte more, my life is valuable. period. If i can help to fill bags for children who have so little, my life is valuable. period.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. You make it worthwhile.

And now a few pics from the weekend runs;  bridge along Silver Comet Trail –

One of my favorite sections of trail…so dark because of all the lush green overhang…

Little Tunnel…

It was a bit humid…

A pretty good week capped off with Sunday double of 14 miles in a.m. and 4 in p.m. Drank some Coconut Water for first time. Not the greatest tasting drink, but it sure did help w/ replenishment. For those who don’t already know, coconut water is the purest form of electrolyte replacement. Go get yours!

Getting more and more excited about the birthday run. Have lots of ideas and will be sharing more info and details as I get some things up and running, so to speak.

Train hard. Train Smart. Push beyond what you think you are capable of…FIND OUT!!!

wow!

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos with tags , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by afuntanilla

I’ve been reaching out to a few companies and telling them about my run. I have not asked for any monetary donations for myself or the charity I am raising money for, but products to help with the training. I figured if anyone responded at all, I would be grateful & surprised. I’m blown away at the response of even a few…

Nathan Sports was gracious enough to allow me to pick a pack from their website. Here’s what I chose:

This is called their “Trail Mix” pack.  I love the mesh pocket on the front to hold my key(s) & GU Gels. As you can see, this belt has 2 flasks, perfect for runs of about 8-12 miles. If I have access to more H2O along the routes, I can replenish, but if not, I have to wear something else to carry more H2O.  If you want to check their website out to see more of their products, go to http://www.nathansports.com

The other company who has responded is GU ENERGY.  My contact there sent me an email saying he would send me a care package. Here’s what arrived:

In the care package was 2 big containers of their recovery drinks, a HUGE bag filled with a variety of flavors of GU GELS, and a box full of GU CHOMPS (bite sized energy gels). I almost fell over in shock when I opened the box. Seriously. I am excited to try their recovery drink as it is not one I have tried before. All of these products are going to help as I train for this 40 mile run. To see more of GU products, go to http://www.guenergy.com

It means so much to me that these companies have responded – especially since they are not HUGE companies with big budgets, etc..

Also, some donations are starting to flow in for the MY STUFF BAGS FOUNDATION. I’m delighted & thrilled to try to raise money for the foundation, the kids…please help if you have the means to do so. See CHARITY PAGE at right side of page for more info.

Thanks to all who read, support, & cheer me on. It means more to me than I can ever possibly express.

Follow your dreams. Make a difference.

On the other side…

Posted in 40 mile run, motivation, photos with tags , , , , , , , on May 30, 2010 by afuntanilla

‘Usually an insect will enter into a Cocoon so that they will be protected from a harsh or unfriendly environment.’

So…the accident happened in late Aug 1983. I was 12. I think I was in the hospital for about 6 weeks, including my 13th birthday. Here’s one of the only pictures I have from that day. As crazy and tragic as everything was, I have to tell you how happy I was during my hospital time…at least the parts I remember.

See, I went from car accident to hospital and I don’t recall anything of the actual event. My last memory on that quiet Sunday was stopping at a McDonalds approx 5-7 miles from the site. I gained consciousness 2 days later and awoke in ICU. I missed the funeral.(this would come back to haunt me, literally!)  I never saw anything or had to deal with anything. I was healing and friends & family came to visit all the time. I had an AMAZING group of nurses, doctors, and fellow patients who I became close to. Whenever I look back on that time in my life, all I remember is love. Feeling so loved. It was like I was in a little cocoon…being protected from what lie out there in the big, bad world.

The picture above was my birthday present from the nurses, (i think). It was my very first boom-box. A JVC Single Tape Deck AF/FM Boom-Box. Man, I loved that thing. The staff also rented the FLASHDANCE video, wheeled my bed into the “game room” and a bunch of us enjoyed movie afternoon. An awesome birthday.

Too bad the above picture doesn’t show my full body. Both legs were in traction from broken femurs and I also had broken left arm. By the time the photo was taken, the pin was removed from my arm and I was undergoing physical therapy . I had actually crushed my elbow so full extension was the main issue. Docs had removed chest tube from my collapsed lung and removed the staple stitches from abdomen area where they had removed my spleen. When I had gained consciousness in ICU and looked at my stomach area and saw the staple stitches, I was mortified. It looked like there were insects on my stomach in the formation of a sideways T. Creepy, ugly, mysterious. Maybe if I get brave enough, I will take a photo of the scar and post. Hey, you gotta show your war wounds, right?? I love scars!!

So, now you know a bit more of what happened and why i feel so freaking LUCKY!! and Blessed. Do what you gotta do. Live how you want to. Don’t let anyone ever stop you from doing what you want to do…most of all YOURSELF.

blessings in disguise ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 27: 16.25 miles – Silver Comet

September 26: 5 miles – outside

September 24: 3.1 miles – treadmill

September 23: 5 miles – outside

September 22: 5 miles – outside