Archive for life

The Kepler Mountain Challenge

Posted in motivation, photos, races, running, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2013 by afuntanilla

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Race morning began with my iPhone alarm buzzing at 4am. Splashing cold water on my face, waking up, and smiling….the day is finally here! I made some instant hotel coffee that is not half bad and eat my customary chocolate chip ClifBar and banana. I sat in bed, eating, drinking, quietly waking up to the day and feeling positive. I dress in shorts and my long sleeved “RUNATL” shirt. I put all my “required gear in my Salomon race pack; 1 long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, rain jacket, long wool pants, & rain jacket. These are all “compulsory gear” and we would have to undergo a gear check along the route to ensure compliance. The gear is required due to the nature of the changing conditions of the course, especially as we get to the top of the mountain. With the water in my pack, the clothing and all my GU Energy gels and Hammer Nutrition gels, my pack was beyond full.
I drove to the start of the race, about 3 miles from hotel. The streets were quiet and dark and the day was clear. No rain, but some last night and more expected later today.
Arriving at the start, I make one last bathroom stop and head to start line. As with other trail races, the number of runners are much less and the start line a lot more relaxed and low key. After a 10 second countdown, me and 449 others were off on our adventure of the Kepler Challenge; some with goals of winning, some with goals of beating a previous time, some running for their 10th time, some running the 1st time, some just wanting to finish.
That was me; I just want to finish. Have fun and finish. Enjoy the journey.

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The first 3 miles are the soft trail, surrounded by green on both sides, more trees than I can even say. Off to my right past the trees, I could heart the edge of lake Te’Anu softly bumping up against the shore. Those first few miles were very crowded, but still able to have a nice easy stride. The soft steps of all us runners in close proximity to one another is such a nice sound.
We approached out first aide station and shortly after, the long, long ascent began. I think we climbed for about 10 miles and it was unbelievable. It was difficult and with an alarming amount of jaw dropping beauty all around. The first climbing miles were still in the thick green “forest”, switchbacks, stairs, bridges, etc…as we approached higher elevation, green gave way to open expanse. No one around me was running, everyone walking, climbing, etc. I would like to know if the front runners were running this part of the course….
Soon, we arrive at what I think may be the top of the climbing…the views are just ridiculously beautiful. I don’t have the words to describe it. Mountains, and mountain, and some lakes in between….all around. It was like out of a movie….
We arrive at checkpoint/aide station #2 and this is where we have a gear check. The volunteers make sure you have what’s required and we are off again. I grab 1/2 banana, refill my water and am off. I had met and chatted with a nice woman from Australia and we were changing places here and there. She was mostly ahead of me, but at times we were together and chatting. I noticed how fast she was climbing and was like, “how???”
We continue on….climbing…we turn a corner and I think, oh, there’s the top….um….no, wrong again. Keep climbing. At some point through all this, it is getting cold. We area up at 4500-5000 feet and it is also a bit windy. I put on my jacket, gloves and cap. I’m eating my gels, but i am not keeping track of how often and that was not a smart idea. I should have been keeping track. I knew I had a lot, but didn’t know exactly how many, so I didn’t know if I was eating too many of too few for the length of the race. Why didn’t I plan this better??
My mood is good, I am thoroughly enjoying the views and the experience and I am climbing more and more. Finally, we arrive at the top and their is a photographer there who takes our picture and says, “welcome to the top”. I smile, happy! I’m also thinking how did this guy get up here? He was literally stationed on a super small area, all bundled up, taking our photos. Maybe the helicopter dropped him off.

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Reached the top, now for the descent….
Oh my….ouch, ouch on the quads….wow. A bit more technical at first, with lots of small rocks to navigate. My shoes were continuously filled with small pebbles, an annoyance, and had to stop a few times to empty them when a bigger rock got inside.
I had a few bathroom pee breaks on the trail. 1 at a checkpoint, and 2 in the woods. I didn’t want to stop but…
The descent was very long and more painful than the ascending. The ascending is just plain difficult; this amount of descending all in succession was difficult AND painful. The trails in Marin that I had been running on were good training ground, I just didn’t do them enough for longer periods of time per training session.
More descending and at a point where it was switchbacks on steroids. For those who might not know, switchbacks on trails are like a zig zag over and over again. And again. Some amazing trees along the way. I was literally in a forest. Took this photo which didn’t quite show it, but the trees were almost like a Spanish moss. Lots of ferns and beech trees and who knows what else! I was about 6 hours in and I was feeling it. I was tired. Hungry. I felt like I needed some salt. Whatever electrolyte levels were in my Energy gels wasn’t cutting it. I was finally on flat ground and running. Walking. Repeat. They had a few other things to eat at aide stations but I didn’t want to eat anything I had not been familiar with and potential suffer stomach issues. I continued on for more spectacular miles. Looking right, left, and above and just seeing beauty like never before. True paradise! Wow! I actually fell a couple of times; once while turning on a switchback. I just slipped and scrapped the left side of my lower leg. No problems, just scrapping and a little blood. It was actually kinda fun. Later, I slipped on a some wet rocks. Slid completely onto my backside and

Mmy right palm was all that got a small pang. I was lucky. There were many tricky and dangerous places on the track….slippery areas and lots of rocks and rooted areas where you could easily slip and fall. I had to constantly look down to avoid a fall. It was a long day of meditative running. I had my earbuds with me in case I wanted to listen to music, but I never did. I just wanted to be be out there and soak it all in. The last 5 miles before I got to the next checkpoint, Montara Hut, were painfully slow. Walking a lot and running, um…shuffling a little. Ugh. It sucked. But, I just was running out of strength and energy. After 7 hours, my Suunto Ambit2 watch had lost all of its battery life and from that point on, I didn’t know how far I was. I had my phone so I knew the time, but not mileage. I was thinking what should I do when I get to Montara Hut? Should I pull myself or keep going? Well, I didn’t take too long to decide. By the time I arrived at the station, I checked in and then said to the 2 ladies there, “I don’t think I can go on, I think this is it for me.” They looked at with such care and sweetly said, “well, that’s ok. You’ve come so far already. But, if you want, just sit, eat and think about what you want to do.”
I sat down, had some water and one of the ladies came over and brought me some food to choose from, saying, “can I get you anything else?” She was so nice!!
One of the women volunteers who was keeping track of the runners at this stage came over and asked if this was the end for me and I said yes. That was it. My Kepler Race was over. I went to the bathroom, put my long rain pants on and then sat and waited for the boat to take me and another fella across to the start line. I sat in the sun and felt ok with my decision. If I continued on, I would have had to walk the remaining 9 miles and there was ZERO desire in me to do that in the condition I was already in.
As I write this, I feel a bit teary, but I knew not finishing was a possibility due to my level if training and fitness and the proximity this race had been to my October marathon. I knew it was a push. I knew it was a gamble. So, I am without surprise, and yet still with disappointment of not crossing the finish line. I wanted that for me. No fanfare, no one here traveling with me, I don’t even think you get a medal….but I wanted to cross, just as I do every race. But, on this day, I didn’t want to walk those last 9 miles and finish that way. I did not strain over my decision as I feel I also made a smart decision for my body.
Today, of course, I am sore; legs, especially my quads, feet and back are all feeling it. I earned every bit of soreness and remain proud of my efforts. I looked at it as an adventure, and it was. With all it’s astounding, made for gasping beauty, it really was quite and adventure.

Total time: note sure as my watched had stopped, but approx 8 hours, so min
Distance: 27.6 miles
Ascent: 5,252 feet **most ever so far
Descent: 4,377 feet **most ever so far

This was the most challenging and difficult race I have attempted. It surpasses the 40 miler, the 50k trail run Tennessee and the 34.4 miles I ran as part of the JFK 50.

I want to give a MASSIVE shout out to all the Kepler volunteers. They were amazing and so giving!!
Thank you to my friends and loved ones who have cheered me on!! I felt you with me in spirit!!

If you are a runner, put this race on your bucket list. If you are alive and breathing, put this place on your list to walk, hike, etc…

More pics some from the top and then thru forest.

A footnote on that last pic of me at my finish: I was trying to give a sad face for not finishing and it doesn’t look like I just ran what I did, doesn’t look as though I ran 26 hard ass miles. I assure you I did! ūüôā
I could also not be to bummed in the moment as the ladies who helped me were so amazing and sweet!

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The “why New Zealand”…

Posted in races, running, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , , on December 3, 2013 by afuntanilla

(Written earlier on the plane from SFO to NZ. Currently at destination and IN heaven!)

New Zealand had never been on my radar, my bucket list or anything of the sort. Back in the early 1990’s, a friend a mine went by herself, to explore and vacation and I remember thinking, “wow, that is so awesome…here she is going all that way by herself.” I admired her for taking it upon herself to just go. She returned and told me of her adventures and the beauty of the country and that was the last I had heard of the country for a long while. Over the years, I have only met a few people who had been there and they, too, had good things to say.

So, I have this book titled, ‘Extreme Running’. I bought it a few years ago after I became interested in participating in ultramarathons. The book is basically filled with pictures, information, and inspiration to go run in some amazing places…all distances over the marathon. Back in the early part of this year, I was thinking I wanted to give a go again at the 50 mile distance. My one attempt back in 2007 at the JFK 50 miler ended in somewhat disappointing fashion as I had to exit the course at mile 34.4 because I had missed a time cut off. It was bittersweet as that (34.4 miles) was the farthest I had ever run, but definitely disappointed I was not able to finish the race due to the race rules regarding time.

As my desire reared its head to again try that distance, I was flipping through the book, and came across the Kepler Challenge 60k in New Zealand. After reading the incredible description of the race, surrounded by amazing beauty, and looking at my calendar, I decided I would attempt to get into the race and hope for the best. 60k is obviously not 50 miles, (60k is 37.2 miles) but I thought, “well….it IS New Zealand and it would be a chance to travel someplace super cool and you have been wanting to take a big trip for a while, so why not…..?” Also, I could not find a 50 miler that was enticing enough in a) location b) enough time to train, etc…

So, all I had to do next was wait for the online entry to open in July.

July came and oddly enough, I was waiting for something else at that time; to find out if I got chosen in the lottery system for the Nike Women’s Marathon in SF in October. So, as I am waiting for that result, I am online at the appropriate time to register for Kepler. Aware that the chance of me getting a slot is not great because the number of runners allowed is small, around 450, and the race is very popular. So, it was a total chance. In my mind I’m thinking I could get into BOTH these races; the marathon in October and then a 60k trail race about 7 weeks later. YIKES. But then again, I might not get into either! DAMN…..

After hitting the submit button for Kepler, I got an email saying that all entries had been filled and I would be put on the wait list. Damn. Ok…..
A day later, I received another email saying I was allowed in because I would be coming as an international runner! YAY…..YIPPEEE….I WAS GOING TO NEW ZEALAND. I was going on an adventure!!!

And with that, I proceeded to look into the necessary planning. It had been about 20 years since I last traveled outside the United States, (except for Montreal, Canada in 2004).

Within a week, I received notification I had gotten into the Nike marathon. Oh shit. I got into BOTH. I mean, yippee, right?!!!??!!!
(Me thinking to myself….angie, what are you getting yourself into???)

How do I prepare for a road marathon and then a longer trail race with over 4000ft of elevation gain, while traveling clear across the world? How do I do that?
Well, my plan was to train for the marathon as I have in the past and mix in a weekly trail run. Then, after the marathon, get some serious trail runs done, and hopefully the mix and the timing will all work out.

About half way through the marathon training, I questioned my plans…doing 2 big races so closely together on the calendar. Was it smart? Was it a bad idea? Was it too much? Was I over zealous? What were my options; don’t do the marathon. Just focus on Kepler. Ok. Maybe…..no, I want to do both, I want to try to do both. Well, over zealous or not, I stuck with it. The marathon didn’t go as I would have liked… and that is due to a variety of things. I rested for 2 weeks and then started getting some trail runs under my feet on the weekends. Running almost exclusively in Marin on the Dipsea Trail and the Tennessee Valley Trails, I worked hard, had fun, and thoroughly enjoyed all the amazing views, colors, smells, etc….I literally huffed and puffed up the many steep climbs and felt like a free little kid as I flew down the descents! That feeling right there, of going so fast on the downhill sections, that sensation of wild abandonment, that sense of play, that sense of joy…..that is my WHY. I hadn’t realized how much I needed to get off the pavement.

I really needed a least 2 more weeks of running on trails, getting in 1-2 more long runs in on the terrain. But, the calendar moves along and we have to move with, right!

I have no idea what will happen on race day, Dec 7th. I have no idea how the travel will affect me. I will have 3.5 days after I land to adjust to the time, etc…
I would have liked at least 2 more weeks of trail training, I would have liked to feel physically stronger and less fatigue in my legs, etc….but I am where I am and all I can say is, I will show up and do my best and give everything I have. I don’t so much look at this as a race, but as an adventure. For those who don’t know, trail running/racing is a completely different experience than road racing. I mean, there were 30,000 women running the half and full marathon in SF! There will be 450 for KEPLER! It’s more laid back, less fanfare, and more communal. I hope to meet some cool peeps and enjoy the ride. I expect to be out there for a long time.

My goal: to have fun and to finish.

Oh, and then…..I will travel around and have myself a vacation!!!

Cheers!

Running around…

Posted in motivation, quotes, races, road, running, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , on November 28, 2013 by afuntanilla

My feet, my legs, my entire body has run in many places. I’ve gone running just for fun or training in many cities across America and have also raced in numerous locations.
My feet have touched the ground in Seattle, Washington and toured their downtown areas, found a local Peets and ran by the beautiful campus of University of Washington. My legs have propelled me along the shores of Lake Michigan and through the amazing, diverse streets of Chicago as I caught the marathon fever and ran my first and second marathon in that there city. I can still remember now, very clearly, those last 6 miles of my 1st marathon in 2000. My feet ached like hell, my body overly spent and somehow I found the strength to continue. There were literally thousands of runners all around me. We ran past the Chicago White Sox ballpark and I gathered as much energy as I could as we ran parallel to the Lake. I have never forgotten the scene of that last mile as the streets, and then stands, were jam packed of spectators/cheerleaders; those crazy, supportive people who come out in droves to cheers us runners on to the finish line. It was thunderous, colorful; a scene and a feeling I hope I never forget.
As I traversed the United States by car several times, I have had the pleasure of running in the 7000 feet elevation city of Flagstaff, Arizona (one of my favorite small cities), the absolute and utterly flat lands of Lubbock, Texas, through an old, quaint mining town of Bisbee, Arizona, along the fringes of the beaches in both Myrtle and Virginia Beach (South Carolina/Virginia); I’ve run though the downtown areas of Cleveland, OH before heading to the wild and booming Browns stadium filled with thousands of my best friends for four hours. I’ve run a few marathons in my birthplace of San Francisco, California and did an epic 40 mile run on my 40th birthday in the city where I was raised, San Leandro, California.
And HEAT, yes, I’ve been in the heat. For about 13 years, I trained and raced in and around Atlanta, Georgia. I ran mile after training mile on the gorgeous, peaceful, paved Silver Comet Trail, the hilly, windy trails of Sweetwater Park, circles of paths in and around Stone Mountain Park, and through more neighborhoods than I can list. The stifling heat and humidity of the south will always remain a heavy KNOWN in my body, a sixth sense perhaps, but I will also never forget running through the snow storm that blanketed and shut down Atlanta for a few days a few years ago. THAT was fun.
Birmingham, Alabama grabbed me more than once as it puts on a terrific half marathon every February. The sleepy, slow city with nothing else to do comes alive in the dead of winter and has an awesome race in typically chilly temperatures.
And I have done what perhaps many of you have as your number 1 bucket list item; I have run the “Rocky Steps” in Philadelphia. As I finished a short run though the city, I ended it by going up those few steps and of course, raised my arms in victory as I got to the top. Myself and many others were all so proud of ourselves. I think every person should do this at least once in their life. I’m not sure you have TRULY lived until you have run the “Rocky Steps.”
More heat and humidity dragged me down in the cities of Orlando and Panama City Beach, Florida. Not much else to say there.
I sucked some wind in Denver, Colorado but luckily found a Peets Coffee along the way. I’ve gotten my fill of education as I ran through the campuses of University of Texas (Austin, TX), Clemson (Clemson, SC) Harvard (Boston, MA), University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE), Vanderbilt (Nashville, TN) and the mighty orange of The University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN) I’ve suffered through boring routes comprised of office parks in New Jersey and Connecticut and come alive on tortuous runs and races in Marin County, California. I paid tribute to history as I ran past the many memorials in DC and then gasped at the beauty of the George Washington River. I have raced on The Las Vegas strip and took refuge in its farther removed Red Rock Trails. I’ve found breathtaking beauty on the Appalachian Trails of Maryland before being pulled from the JFK 50 mile race because of a time cut-off.
And many more roads and trails in between and all over.

My legs, my feet, my body have given me more than I could ever ask for and I am enormously thankful I am able to do my thing. I do my best to treat it well; to feed it properly and adequately, to allow it to rest, to play and dance and move in non-running ways. I try to do my best to appreciate what my body CAN do instead of focusing on what it cannot yet do or may never do…but I often fail in my efforts of appreciation. I can be demanding. I can be greedy. I want more. From me. And so, I try to be mindful of appreciation, of realistic expectations, of balance….

I am now “on vacation” until Dec 16th. This is absolutely foreign to me as I have never taken this much time off of work. I have never taken any sort of trip anywhere that didn’t involve a race or some fun running. And I have ZERO regrets about this. I don’t think I am suited to go lay on a beach, beautiful as they may be. I am meant to roam, to explore, to go sniffing around while I’ve got my kicks on….

And now, I am taking myself on another adventure to do what I have long dreamed of; running an ultramarathon outside of the United States. I will travel to New Zealand to take part in the Kepler Challenge on DEC 7th. The race is 60k (37.2 miles) all on trails in the southern area of the South Island of NZ! I’m beyond thrilled to be going on this adventure.

More later on the why New Zealand and my hopes and expectations for the race and the trip itself.

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gift from the sea

Posted in photos, random, road, running with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2013 by afuntanilla

Last week’s training:

Tuesday: 5 Miles Treadmill – 9:23 pace

Wednesday: 2.25 mile evening walk

Thursday: 5 Miles Treadmill – 9:14 pace

Saturday: 4 miles outside – 9:31 pace

Sunday: 13 Miles -San Fran – 10:10 pace

Total Run Miles: 27

It was a tough week for me. Mostly due to personal things that were just very heavy for me and oddly enough, the running the felt extra hard. It grew frustrating that I could not often find the respite I needed while running. Hopefully, I have turned a corner. with this…

I found myself super tired on Monday and legs very tired so I decided to take it easier during this week. Works out well cause I have not had the time to exercise the past couple of days. Been focused on eating well and getting enough sleep. Super important!

The Sunday run in San Francisco was a nice change from Petaluma. Really needed some new scenery. I started in SOMA and ran from their over to Potrero Hill, Mission District and then over to the Dogpatch area which is an area south of A T & T park and is mixed Industrial/Residential. I really like this area because it is right by the Bay and had great views. While there is a TON of what looks to be commercial and some multi-family residential construction going on, this area is a lot more spread out than other parts of the city. I’m always trying to figure a way I could afford to live in this area. In a high rise. With a view…..Oh, and of course, it’s flat and on sunday mornings, it is pretty darn quiet! The final miles of the 13 were ran past A T & T park, the Ferry Building and further along the Embarcadero. I doubled back and ran thru the Financial District, and back into SOMA where I began.

After getting cleaned up, I grabbed a bite to eat and headed to Ocean Beach. It was actually a little warm & sunny while I ran, but once i got to the beach, it was overcast and no sun.  Fine by me cause I had been hot and I knew it would be hot at home. I walked along the beach, felt the sand crawl between my toes and enjoyed the softness on my feet. I walked along the waters edge of the mighty Pacific Ocean and was immensely grateful I brought myself there! I needed it. The water was like a shock when i first touched it and it made me giggle, actually. Then, I really laughed. Out loud. Simple Joy. I really needed that, too.

I walked then just sat. Watched people. Dogs. Life.

Onward.

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“The beach is not the place to work; to read; write or think….The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceness as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”

-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

how might

Posted in road with tags , , on August 14, 2013 by afuntanilla

How might life be if we were

less fearful, more daring

less practical, more spontaneous

less closed, more open

less judgmental, more curious

less distracted, more present

less self-focused, more giving

How might life be…

How might the world be…

It all starts at Home…..

Love this poem

Posted in random with tags , , on July 26, 2013 by afuntanilla

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

Full Throttle

Posted in motivation with tags , , , , , , , on July 14, 2013 by afuntanilla

Growing bit by bit. You know that thing that kids do sometimes to track their ¬†height progress… Find a wall, stand there and mark your height…come back 6 months, a year later to track it again….and see the new height, the higher height.

Well, I feel like I have this invisible height track monitor at work and yesterday, I noticed I had grown. A lot.

I had a meeting that I had been anxious about earlier in the week. After much preparation and some encouraging words from a friend, my anxiety was almost zero. ¬†I prepared diligently and the meeting went great. And while it was happening, I saw myself, I heard myself and I couldn’t help but be proud of me…because I saw how far I had come in my career. And later in the afternoon, I started to reflect on the recent past.

It’s been 1 full fiscal year of transitioning and re-creating myself and career here in the Bay Area. It has been one full year of being a true solo practitioner instead of a junior partner or an assistant. It’s been about 18 months since I walked away from a work situation that no longer suited me, professionally or personally. I made the decision to jump out of a nest that felt like it was strangling me. I left a “house” that had definitely served a purpose for some time, but as I got “bigger”, all indications were that it was no longer the place for me. And it wasn’t just the external factors that were holding me back; part of it was me and my own reluctance to truly step out and up, to truly be at the helm of my own ship. Like anyone who has tried to step out on their own, there is a fair amount of fear and apprehension that must be addressed and dealt with… All part of the territory.

When I first had the guts to try to get into my career, I was an assistant and went thru the internal protocols to apply. I was then essentially turned away because I didn’t “pass” the required “personality” test. Confused, dejected and angry. I waited and tried again with new management. My 2nd time trying was met with some unusual circumstances that led to a very political and company rule book, “no.” ¬†Crushed. I was crushed.

I waited. I tried again and was hired by the skin of my teeth. It really shouldn’t have been THAT difficult, but it was. The main thing was I was IN! I was ecstatic. To finally put my skills to work and see what I could really do!!

I was doing what I wanted to do, but I was still in a “junior” role and while it served me well for a short time, it became increasingly difficult to not be the driver of the ship. I knew I could do it. If you have been in this situation before, you know how frustrating it can be to sit back, be quiet and watch someone else do all the navigating….when you have lots of other ideas about how it can be done. One of the important lessons I have learned that when you are in partnership with someone, whether personal or work related, if you are going at different speeds, their will be conflict. I wanted to operate at rapid speeds. There was conflict.

I came to a point in my partnership where something had to give and something did give.  There was major discomfort, upheaval and dissension. I was miserable and had to break free and I did. It was not without fear, but I did it. I took the leap of faith.

And, I am doing it. I moved back home to the Bay Area and restructured my career. I have been going full throttle this last year and it has paid off! With accountability, care, dedication and focus, I am making it happen. I am enjoying a wonderful level of fulfillment that I only expect will continue. Of course, this is a not a situation without difficulties or tough times; I expect that too! And yet, I am confident in my ability to steer this ship, whether the waters are smooth, choppy or whatever they may be. I have been given the opportunity and I am making the most of it.

I never gave up on this…never gave up on this that was so important to me. I suffered setbacks and had so many reasons to walk away and try something else, but I didn’t. There were times when others doubted me and I was crushed; times when I doubted myself and I was paralyzed; times when life just didn’t go the way I had hoped…..and every time, I had to re-group and re-assess how important it was for me to keep going forward. And, I think that is what it boils down to: how much do you want it? How big is your desire? Doesn’t matter what the IT is….job, relationship, any goal…any thing. How big is your desire and what are you willing to do? Those answers lie within you. Have the courage to look with honesty and compassion. And go forward.

Hungry. Determined. Passionate.

Onward.

P.S. Dear mom and grams, I hope you both can see me from the heavens above and I hope you are proud. When I toast my success, I am toasting with you.

being alive

Posted in running with tags , , , , on June 15, 2013 by afuntanilla

I am reminded that it’s Fathers Day tomorrow. A holiday that has been very much a non-event day in my life. In fact, it has usually been a day I don’t even remember or know about. But, being that marketing in our world has severally ramped up ALL holidays, I am very aware of “what to get dad for father’s day”.

I never knew you. Don’t remember you. You were gone (for whatever reason) before I could walk. In my early years, I heard a few tidbits about you; you liked sports, maybe were a baseball player, your family was from Palo Alto. That’s about it.

Over the years, maybe you tried to find me. Maybe you didn’t. I made a few half-hearted attempts to find you. A bit challenged as all I know is your first and last name. Period.

I have 2 pictures of you and I when I was not even 1 years old. I come across them occasionally and give you a thought or two. “My dad” comes up in conversation now and again, and I will be reminded of you at those times also. But, other than that, you have been a passing thought, at most. I don’t say that meanly…at all. It’s just that when you have no experience with someone, what is there to miss or have many feelings about.

But, sometimes, a little sadness does creep in and I guess that is why I am writing. And, I realize, I give this, you, No attention whatsoever. I forget. I forget that it was indeed, 2 people, who created me. This was not an immaculate conception!

So…one of the cool things about knowing nothing about you is I get to make it up. I get to make you whatever I want. How cool is that!

Of course, how can I not be a bit like you, right??? Isn’t that what they say? I’m well aware of how I am like mom….so how am I like YOU?

Well….i am NOT tall, as you seemed to be in photos. But, I do consider myself, dark and “handsome” (for a woman) so i’ve got that going for me.

Of course, I am sporty…athletic as can be. Not great at any sport in particular, but can hold my own. So, I guess you do and are too. You are also thoughtful, caring, big-hearted and have a big love of baseball. You’re a dreamer. You’re a charmer. You can be with groups, but you prefer to journey solo and be independent. You are curious and wowed by many things. Life amazes you. Not many things truly piss you off, but seeing injustices in the world, is one of them. I am with you there, dad. Big time.

You are also things I am not but wish I was….light hearted, care-free, with an ability to let things go very easily. How do you DO that??! I’m trying…learning. You are also pretty thick skinned, so i guess i got my thin-skinned sensitive self from mom. crap. Can you give me some of that?!!

One of the greatest things about you is how when you are with someone, you are truly there and give them you full attention. You don’t know how rare that is. Don’t ever lose that quality about you, ok.

So…you…Ken, Dad…what else to say? Thank you for helping to create me. Thank you for giving me life. This precious life that I do hold so dear. This life that I do find at times, both wretched and glorious. My teary eyes pool as I finish this. I am not sad. I am alive.

Tomorrow, on Fathers Day, I’ll be running through the city where you gave birth to me. Look for me ok? And give me a big cheer!

Thank you!

insight

Posted in motivation, photos, races, running with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by afuntanilla

So, I’ve gained a bit of insight into my physical funk feeling. It HASN’T all just been due to some personal stuff happening —

I’ve been having some lingering problem with dental stuff. Yes, dental stuff. I had a crown put on about a month ago, along with 2 separate fillings. I was in some serious pain afterwards for about 3-4 days. UGH! Then, I was good for about 2 weeks. Then, some newer pain emerged in same tooth. I finally went back to dentist 2 weeks ago and she thought it was my bite…so she worked on that and the pain was alleviated for about a week. Then, last Saturday, I encountered more pain and knew I had to go back and see what the hell was happening (probably need a root canal, i think). Then, I noticed my right cheek was swollen. (tooth is on right side) So…no brainer, swollen cheek has to do with tooth problem. All this while, I was noticing my physical self not feeling 100% — feeling sluggish on runs, unfocused, etc…and never did I link the 2 together….until, a friend of mine says….”well, you probably have an infection and need antibiotics.” So, sure enough, went to dentist today and confirmed that same tooth I just had the crown put on about a 5 weeks ago now needs a root canal. She gave me prescription for antibiotics and I’m already feeling a little better. Root canal is scheduled for Monday, the day after SF Half Marathon Race.

As soon as I left dentist office today, I felt better because I had an answer as to what has been going on. It sucks to NOT KNOW.

I still have no idea what to expect of myself on Sunday, but I’m excited. Tomorrow I will head on down to the expo and I’m looking forward to that event. Hope they have some cool swag!

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For today…everyday

Posted in quotes with tags , , , on April 11, 2013 by afuntanilla

“There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm. Never. Never. Never. ”

-Ryan Adams