Archive for heroes

everyday people

Posted in random with tags , , , on June 18, 2014 by afuntanilla

Just have some thoughts wanted to put out there…thinking about Heroes/Heroic people or actions. The definition of a HERO  (via “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” 

Hmmm….just a few days ago, I dined for lunch with a colleague whom I do not know well. During our conversation, I mentioned that I lived alone. Her response: “wow! that’s brave.” Of course, I was shocked to hear her say “brave”. But to her, maybe it was just that…BRAVE. Perhaps she is afraid to be alone or live alone or whatever. No judgement. I just thought her choice of word, “brave” was interesting.

So often we hear the media refer to people as brave or heroic because of a particular action they took and often times (perhaps too much) athletes are assigned with this “hero” title.  Yet, if we look at the definition, “distinguished courage or ability” couldn’t that be applied to so many people? Don’t we all possess some distinguishing ability? I believe we do. We may not be admired for it because we are not of “celebrity” status….someone did not take a video of us in our “distinguished ability” and post it on YouTube for the world to see. We remain hidden heroes, so to speak, except to the people in our immediate lives who witness our abilities.

Perhaps the hero is the mother who has to hold down 2 minimum wage paying jobs because that’s the only way to make ends meet. Maybe it’s the father who is clinically depressed after his child has been killed in school….but gets up day after day to care for his other child and his wife, because that’s what he is supposed to do. Maybe he is a hero because he didn’t fall into the deep dark place of no return and become a zombie of a person after such tragedy. Maybe the hero is the hospice nurse whose daily job is to care for those individuals who are in the final days of life. He/She must be that person, by their side, day after day….witnessing them and facing death. That’s her job. Maybe the hero is the person with only 4 quarters in their pocket but is willing to give half of it away. Maybe the hero is not just the guy/gal who can perform multiple slam dunks, hit a 3 run-homer, score the winning goal, run the 2:05 marathon…

Maybe it’s the female attorney handling a arduous criminal case, testing her every capability, working 10-12 hour days and still makes time to make her family feel super special. Maybe it’s the spouse who always remembers the kind of chocolate you like: dark with almonds.

Maybe the hero is you.

The Half

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

I completed the Half Moon Bay Half Marathon last Sunday on my 41st Birthday. I wrote a full race report on  

but I also wanted to post a few things here.

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

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

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

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

And then a hero comes along…

Posted in random with tags , , on December 10, 2009 by afuntanilla

(been relaxing with the running…will update soon on goals for 2010…stay tuned)

Many years ago, a friend of mine called me one of their Heroes. What? What does that mean? She went on to explain that she was reading Joseph Campbell and if you know anything about his writings, he writes about the “heroes” we all have in our lives….at one time of another. Heroes. People who make a significant mark. People who are in our lives for a short stay, a long stay, whatever…however long it lasts…those people who touch our lives in significant ways.

This post is about one of mine.

First, I gotta say how it amuses me when people who aren’t on Facebook get a little freaked out about being on facebook. “I don’t know if i want people from my past contacting me…”  My thought is, I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me who “friends” me on facebook. If I don’t want to talk to you, I will just ignore you. Plain and simple. Anyways. Here is the tie in to my Hero. I found her on Facebook! One morning about 4-5 months ago i guess, I woke up and was just thinking about her and so I looked her up on facebook and there she was…YAY!  The last time I saw her was in 1984. Here’s how she came into my life.

As some of you readers might know, I was in an auto accident when I was a kid and spent a little over a month in the hospital. During that time, I met T.A., a woman who would become one of my “Heroes”. After spending a few days in ICU, I moved up to the 4th floor of Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Ca. Certain things and people I remember quite well. Other things, i am pretty fuzzy about. One thing I remember clearly is how happy I was whenever T.A. was my nurse for a particular shift. I remember her well; short, petite, crazy/wild black hair and amazingly tender and warm. I cannot remember how many times she was actually “my nurse”, I just remember seeing a lot of her and feeling so loved and taken care of. I could see, in her eyes sometimes,  that she wondered about me and what I must be going through…having just lost my mom.

Everything was such an amazing and crazy whirlwind. I was in a car one day and 2 days later, i was in a hospital. To this day,  I have no memory of that “in between’ time period. that’s weird. I guess I am not supposed to remember. One of the first things that happened when I regained consciousness was our church pastor was at my side in the intensive care unit. I asked for my mom and he told me she died. All i remember is looking away and saying “oh, no!” And that right there is all I can recall of expressing any kind of sadness or grief while in the hospital. I truly think I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the physical state I was in and also ENORMOUSLY overwhelmed by the amount of love and kindness I received from so many people, especially all those nurses and doctors who worked tirelessly to make sure I was healing.

I will say it here…on this blog…T.A. was my favorite. And I felt like I was a favorite of hers, too. We just kinda had a connection, ya know. Sometimes you just can’t explain it…but even then, I knew that she was someone vital. She moved fast, she was passionate about her work and she was fiery. She made me laugh. She was very giving and sincere and I felt like I had never  TRULY seen that kind of behavior before. I didn’t really understand a lot of what was happening to me at that time, but I was wise enough to let all her goodness in.

After about 5 weeks, I was released from the hospital but still remained in a full body cast. Ugh. THAT was an experience. Especially trying to go to the bathroom. LOL! One of the things I did while in my body cast was go visit T.A. and her daughter at their place in Berkeley. I was in a reclining wheelchair so the whole experience was crazy, but fun! I still have a photo of myself and her daughter sitting in bed, laughing. One of the best photos of my youth!

Soon after that, she moved away to NYC and I was crushed. Again, I don’t remember a lot of detail, I just remember that feeling of loss. Of pain.

OK. So. Fast forward. The facebook connection. I contacted T.A. and she wrote back. “Finding” each other on facebook has been very cool. And recently we have spoken by phone. It was strange to hear voice after what, 26 years! I almost said to her “you sound different”, but then I thought to myself how do you know what she sounds like??  She asked me some questions about some things that happened way back when and it was very strange to talk to someone about my life who was actually there at the time. Part of what kinda sucks now is that there isn’t anyone around who has the same history as I do so trying to recall some of the past can feel very lonely and frustrating, at times. Talking to T.A., someone who knew me when… was healing and validating, among other things. Her tenderness was the same… she has that same tenderness in her voice.

So. Here was this person whose path I crossed and who crossed mine. She gave from the heart and I got it. When she left the bay area, obviously I thought I’d probably never see her again. She has been someone I have never forgotten. That’s just how it is with some people. Ya know.  For whatever reason, our paths have crossed again. it might be for a month, a year, or however long. I’m just glad. Truly glad!

For T.A. and all the “heroes” past and present in my life. Thank you. You know who you are.