Archive for hoka

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

 

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This past week

Posted in motivation, photos, road, running, shoes, trail with tags , , on August 24, 2015 by afuntanilla

A step back week and found myself on 2 short trail runs mid week. 1 was on a trail i may incorporate into the big run. not sure just yet. part of it was new to me and lovely. was there about 5-6pm and the light and shadows and weather were all perfect. smells so good out there. i can’t quite name the smell…a mix of fragrant trees…need to investigate this! the part that was familiar to me was the part i have run many times in the past. I used to live closer to this trail years ago when i was began my love of running and ran here frequently. So, the delicious smell is even more welcoming. Went about 5.5 miles.

IMG_0381      Old, trusty ASIC Trail shoes!IMG_0386

Next day, went to trails near home. Was super tired/sore but I just had to go – you know that feeling, right??! As my legs and arms moved in unison and i felt the crunch, crunch under my feet, my level of happiness increased. Wasn’t tired anymore. Was another gorgeous early evening with few other beings in sight. The views, the gently swaying of the super dry grass/weeds, the hanging branches causing even my short body to duck a bit…all lovely and comforting. The last .75 of this one trail i like to do at the end is my favorite. It is mostly downhill with some twisty turns. I just absolutely love this part…i’m sure i’ve mentioned it before…i just feel like i can fly…my stride opens and there’s an awesome flow and freedom and i just wanna laugh or yell the whole way….it feels so much like the most natural self i can be. i’m not quite sure i can put it into words. I love when i am present enough to feel such a thrill. It happens often, but not all the time. the feeling is absolutely unmistakable and there is no replacement. this is part of the why. AND, the feeling lingered long after i was off that trail….

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Saturday: elected to do the longer run since i was gonna be out late in the evening. Ran more of the possible course and was a tough go even though it was only 13. Legs just felt heavy. Not surprised. Need a few rest days and a massage. Noticed during this route and last weekend I had to stop a lot for traffic which is not ideal, but necessary if i want to do this mostly on road. Need to start earlier. May also look for some alternate routes.

There are days when I feel certain and days of doubt. This week had both.

IMG_0403      New Hoka Stinson 3’sIMG_0398

XLV

post-race musings

Posted in motivation, photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2014 by afuntanilla

Time to write about what worked, what didn’t, at the North Face 50k, and more importantly, why.

Training; part of this went well and part didn’t.

The positives: 90% of my training was on the exact course. This was a huge help in getting my body and mind prepared. There were no surprises (except the mud)
I got in some long days and long back-to-back days.

What could have been better:
I believe I would have benefited from running more with others on the course. This would have pushed me to increase my pace & probably increase my distance. (Not to mention the companionship on the trail)
Overall, I prefer to run alone, but 1x a week or something like that would have been beneficial.

Signing up for race EARLY! – as mentioned in earlier posts, I went to sign up for the race late and it was already sold out. So, I was all out of sorts for 2 weeks trying to see if I could get in. Then, I got in. Then, 3 weeks before race day, I decided to transfer from 50m to 50k. Although that ended up being a very good decision, the whole mess around not entering early, being undecided on distance…all of that was mentally challenging and stuff I could have done without.

Race day itself: I don’t think I could have done anything differently that would have resulted in a better finish (time wise). I felt pretty darn good for the first 15 miles and then I didn’t feel so good, incrementally. Maybe a salt tab would have helped with what I perceived as legs cramps, but I have never taken one before and I didn’t want to experiment right then and there. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could stick something in our mouth, like a thermometer, to tell us exactly what is wrong; like a red color means need salt, a yellow color means need protein, etc…I mean we have other instantaneous tests for pregnancy and for fevers, why can’t there be something like this? Hmmmm….)

I believe my injury to my left leg caused me limitations as the race progressed and then a different issue emerged on my right leg that I am still trying to figure out what it is…

But, all in all, my result is in line with how I trained. Perhaps could have been about 30 minutes faster if the mysterious new right leg issue didn’t occur.

GEAR; wore my Salomon pack. In hindsight, I could have done without this. Could have gotten by with a hand held and another something around my waist to carry some gels. There were plenty of aid stations to refill water, etc.

Shorts; north face, black. Love these shorts. Should buy more pairs.
Shoes; HOKA Stinson- good shoes for this muddy, wet, day. Heavier than the Huaka’s, but these have better traction.
Shirt; North Face Mountain technical shirt.

Nutrition: 2 hammer gels every hour, 1 package of tailwind, chips, orange slices at a few aid stations, water.

I carried water in my Salomon pack and then also a handheld in the pocket. I used the bottle for Tailwind (later miles)

Last but not least, what worked was COMRADERIE!

As mentioned in previous post, I have never done a race before where I experienced this level of COMRADERIE. It started pre-race. I randomly met someone who I follow and who follows me on Twitter. she recognized me from pictures and we had a fun brief exchange!
Next, while on the 1st climb up Bobcat, I look to my left and say “hey, I know you, I follow you on Twitter.” How freaking random is this??
More fun exchanges.
On the climb up Coastal, chatted with a fella from SoCal who would later see me at the finish & thank me for our chat and how much it helped him push through. Very cool especially cause I have no idea what I might have said that could have helped!
In line waiting for shuttle and then on shuttle, chatted with a local fella & totally swapped race stories and other life chatter. FUN!

What also worked? I had fun & smiled!!

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Modifying Goals

Posted in photos, races, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , on November 24, 2014 by afuntanilla

50 miles. I entered a 50 mile trail race. I’ve been training for a 50 mile trail race. Well, as I completed these last 2 weeks/weekends of training, I’ve come to the gut-checking decision that I’m going to transfer my registration to the 50K distance instead. There has been a ping pong match going on inside my head about this for about the last month. As each week increased, the speed of the the little white ball as it crossed the net in my brain became faster and faster and I’m sure I have suffered some kind of delirium in the process.

50 miles. The distance I want to run and finish. The distance that has eluded me. The distance I don’t just want to finish, but finish “strong”, upright, smiling, exhausted, thrilled and spent. I’ve come to the reality-check conclusion that if I try to do the 50 miles on Dec 6th, I will not have this kind of experience. I believe I will suffer greatly in the last 15-20 miles, spend most of it shuffling along, exhausted, unable to lift my legs to run any sort of uphill, and generally, NOT have any fun. Let me say that I certainly don’t seek these races out to have fun….FUN, is sort of what incidentally happens…but it doesn’t happen when the goal is too far out of reach and suffering takes over the entire picture. I’ve been in that place before.

In addition to accumulating a lot of weekly mileage, my longest runs back to back have been:

NOV 1-2
15 miles
10 miles
Total elevation gain/loss = 9,498

NOV 8-9
9.15 miles
17.2 miles
Total elevation gain/loss = 9,231

And then last Saturday:

NOV 15
18.2 miles
Total elevation gain/loss = 7,420

I think I can finish the 50 miles, but the experience will not be one I am after. If you would have asked me in July if I would take that experience of finishing, shuffling along, walking a lot in the later miles, I probably would have said “YES”, but my mind has shifted; my goal, I guess, has shifted. And, a lot of this has to do with being out on that course. I feel like I can offer these kind of pre-race assessments because I have spent hours out there on the stunning and heartbreaking trails. I know what they are asking of me. And now, I believe I know what I can try to answer.

Prior to 2 weeks ago, I kept thinking I don’t want to transfer to the 50k because I have already done that distance. And that’s still true. But, what I realized after these past 2 challenging weekends of training is that this 50k is a heck of a lot harder than the one I competed back in 2008! Hey, that was 6 years ago…that means I am 6 years older and I’m going for it again! How’s that for a rationalization plug!! Haha!

Seriously, here are the stats to support the difference on the level of difficulty. The Stumpjump 50k in Chattanooga has total elevation of 4,442. Well, as you can see, I have been already doing more than that in training. And believe me, my body is feeling it! The North Face 50k will have around 7,ooo elevation.

I have been encompassed by this race for about 4 months…each month getting more and more in the thick of it; learning more, putting my body thru more demands and then dealing with what happens as a result. Right now, I am trying to take care of some kind of left hamstring issue. It’s bizarre. I think I feel the pain mostly after switching from going long uphill to them sharp descents, especially on technical terrain. That’s when it bothers/hurts me the most…and then I’m just super aware of it the rest of the time. It is painful and I’m caring for it by the R.I.C.E. Method + massage. I’m aware of it, noticing some pain, even when not running so….
I probably need to have it checked out. I can’t quite figure exactly which muscle is the culprit: semitendinosous, popliteal, ??
It doesn’t really hurt throughout the run, just when I make the transitions and then it subsides. Overall, obviously, not good and I’m sure I need to truly REST but I feel confident about taking care of this after Race day.

Anyway, as I’ve been knee deep in all this preparation, I’ve been learning a lot :

1) how much it takes to prepare for this distance and do it well. I thought I was preparing correctly, but in reality, I haven’t. I should have been doing longer miles in the week and longer on weekends. (It’s tough to say this because I have trained more for this race than any other race!!) but, that’s part of the reality check.

2) still learning and getting much better at how to fuel; what to eat, when, etc…this is a  HUGE piece that I think probably doesn’t get enough attention for ultra running. You can be physically & mentally fit, but if you don’t have the nutrition thing down, there will be problems. All the willpower and determination won’t make you go faster if you are nutritionally depleted!

3) learning that I probably could have benefited from training with others sometimes. Just haven’t put in the effort to make is happen.
4) I should have had a better base going in to this training. Could have done a lot more strength work to help me more on the uphills.

So. There you have it. It sort of sounds like this is already a post-race report. Of course it’s not, I’m just in taper mode now and I can reflect and assess what has happened so far. I won’t get any faster in the next 2+ weeks. I certainly cannot go back in time and add in more weeks to add more miles. I’ve done what I could do so far and I believe the 50k is the distance I am best prepared for…I know how hard the 17 miler was, how hard the 18 miler was. 30 is going to push me. It’s gonna hurt. It will pull everything out of me and I will give it everything I can.

Time to take care of my nagging hamstring, get some massage, do easy running, and be as prepared as possible.

Oh yeah, regarding shoes; I’ve picked up The Hoka Stinson ATR shoes. These are a lot more specific to trail running than the other Hoka’s I’ve been using; the Huaka’s. The Stinson have better grip, but are also heavier. 9.3 oz compared to 7.8 oz on Huaka. I can really feel the difference in the weight and don’t necessarily like it, but…they are doing the job on the trails. The Huaka’s were getting pretty beat up (i need to see how many mile i have on those) and I really noticed the bottoms losing tread and i was sliding a lot on some of the trails that are simply loose rock. I like both these shoes, but man, they are not cheap! The picture below is of the Stinson…now much more appropriately dirty!  🙂

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The trails of Marin will humble you…that’s for damn sure. But, that’s what they are supposed to do. I sure as hell didn’t sign up for easy!

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overdue

Posted in photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2014 by afuntanilla

Hello – i’m due for a catch-up. A big thing happened on Sept 1st. which is that I moved into a house. Same town, but a house, not an apartment, a whole house. All to myself. Big News in my world. This is the nicest and largest space I’ve ever lived in alone. So, happy. Very happy about this.

Also, I turned 44 years old. Wow. How did THAT happen. I like this number. I like the double 4’s. It looks good when I write it. It sounds good when I say it. You know how there are some numbers that might not sound good, like 42 or 39…i don’t like those. But, 44….i’m good with that and I’m hoping for a kick-ass kind of year.

Been steadily running. I’m actually training for a race where I’m not 100% sure I am a confirmed runner. It’s The North Face 50 Miler in December. When I went to sign up weeks ago, it was already full with a wait list. I reached out to a client of mine who works for North Face (corp) and through their internal lottery system, he let me know I was in and that i should be receiving word from the race team. Upon getting his email, I was ecstatic….this has been a race i have had on my list for a long time. It’s local and i have the course to train on….so…. I have not received any follow up from the race team and I’m just figuring I will at some point.  (I hope!!!) If I don’t hear anything in the next 2 weeks, I will contact my source again and see what’s up. Right now, i’m totally under the assumption I will have a spot on Dec 6th. Cross your fingers for me.

I’ve been training almost 100% on trails and nothing flat…I’ve been training many miles on the course itself. I have the opportunity to get familiar with it, so there is no excuse. I’m preparing, preparing, preparing and i’m really enjoying the miles, the terrain. As I have shifted to trails these past 2 months, I feel a kind of renaissance with my enjoyment level of running. So much of it has to do with the terrain…i’m on some gorgeous trails and i feel incredibly fortunate. The joy and challenge, the difficulty, the beauty, the relentlessness of the climbs…up and down, repeat….its all pulling me in. i find myself eager to get back out there after 1 day off…i want to immerse myself back in the exquisite surroundings. I want to find my limits.

Just a few numbers:

Sept: total elevation: 19,169

Oct: elevation so far: 22,501

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

Here are a few shots from the miles this past month or so.

IMG_1540 IMG_1542 IMG_1602 IMG_1533 IMG_1510

For shoes, i’m using HOKA HUAKA and also a (still) good old pair of Asics Trail shoes. Both are working well & getting pretty damn dirty!  🙂

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Saturday 7/26/14

Posted in road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by afuntanilla

Saturday: a cloudless blue sky, west side heat rising and I am out the door 2 hours later than I wanted. No doubt, the extra time with head on pillow did my full body some good.
I look out at the quiet streets…to the right, to the left, and then go in the direction that called me again, the route that beckoned me forth….to the right.
Wearing my newly purchased HOKA HUAKA shoes for the 3rd time, I am slowly becoming familiar with their feel on my feet, with my stride in these new kicks. All the while, hyper cognizant of what my hamstring is telling me….I sense it continuing to feel better, looser, and so I proceed ahead with a little less caution.
In full sun exposure, cap down, I head up and over the 1st hill that takes me to the other side….where the quiet dominates and the cows roam; where the golden grass on the hillsides lies so still in this mid summer elevated heat. The houses become fewer and fewer as I make my way up the steep slope that is SpringHill. My legs now slowing moving up this lumpy, broken, pot-hole filled country road. Passing my Eucalyptus tree marker from last week, I rise just a bit more to my new benchmark and turn around. I have a plan, a goal…

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My legs welcome the descent and follow the route from last Saturday. Running past a lavender farm, & broken, empty sheds, the small rolling hills and I are becoming friends. Fast. I’ve seen you here before.

Greedily, I suck down and swallow my hammer nutrition gel and am thankful for it and the water to slosh it down. Water. Such a necessity.

Straight ahead and then to the right…Passing a home where once an unforeseen romance blossomed across coasts, cookies were made, and love shook the soul…

After the straightaway, I hang a right and am back among the busy-ness of a road that begs for attention. My meditation is over, my life is more at stake here on the busy bodega highway.

Down and away I run at a faster clip on this final downward sloping mile to the place I call home….

An easy 6 in the log book….