Archive for los angeles


Posted in 40 mile run, photos, road, shoes, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2010 by afuntanilla

Thursday – arrived into LA & drove straight to lunch at Urth Cafe. On to Peets on Sunset Blvd & then to hotel in Studio City/NBC Universal.  After check in process, etc…got my bearings, slipped on shorts, &  shoes and headed out the door. A short 3-3.5 miles from hotel through the neighborhood. Finished at a small park with towering Eucalyptus trees & some people practicing some kind of martial art on the greens. At approx 4pm, it was a very comfortable & refreshing 70 degrees.  It was not easy to go from about 7 hours of total travel time to hitting the ground running, but I had to get started. On route back to hotel, I ran up the incredibly steep hill that lead to front of hotel.

Friday – awake by 7am and in the hotel lobby for a very expensive $3.00 mediocre coffee! Drank half of it along w/ my Clif Bar. Went back up to room, changed & hit the pavement for another 6 miles, culminating with that damn hill leading to hotel. (I mapped the hill portion; .37 of a mile)  I would have loved to have run somewhere else..perhaps one of the many places that Josh mentions in his blog, but I just did not have time. Most of the short route was run along Ventura  Blvd, where I luckily located a Peets Coffee to hit post-run. After dragging my 2 friends/ travel partners to Peets in Studio City, I was on Hwy 101 for my jaunt up to Santa Barbara. The drive was a swift 1.5 hours north to the local airport where I picked up my best friend who had just flown in from San Francisco. A massive infusion of a bunch a good stuff in seeing her; humor, spiritual -realness connection, friendship of 18 years connection. I was so glad to see and to spend a little time together among the beauty of the Santa Barbara shoreline. Our hotel was literally across the street from the beach. Woke up Saturday & Sunday mornings and sipped coffee while looking out at the Pacific Ocean. The cool air refreshed my body, my spirit.  Saturday night, we had a delicious Lobster tail dinner.  We dined outside as the sun was setting, slight breeze off the water, and the intermittent faint sounds of the docked boats in the harbor. ahhh…i could definitely put that evening on repeat, repeat….

View from hotel

Back track to Saturday morning. I only was able to get in another 4 mile run. Afterwards, I had to head back to LA for an event.

Sunday morning was my long run, almost exclusively along the Santa Barabara Shoreline and then the tail end of it into downtown. Running parallel to the water on a quiet Sunday morning. Ahhhh….HEAVEN!!!!! What more can i say. I needed to see the water. I am not one who likes beaches for the purpose of going and laying out in the sun. For me, the water  is essential for grounding, for quieting, for healing. And for Hope. I always find some measure of Hope in just being near and watching the water.  Hope for what? Nothing in particular, and everything in general. ..hope for practicing non-attachment and hope for a better  existence for all those who suffer. Hope for my ability to be a good friend, a solid listener & hope for better education and greater compassion from us all.  As I ran alongside the shoreline these were some of the thoughts as i took my breath in the unbelieveable 60 degree temperatures. With the running, I felt rejuvented physically & mentally . It’s amazing how much of a MENTAL drain running in the stifling heat can be…It’s easy to notice the physical drain, but the mental drain is much more evident when going from one climate to another. Anyways. I ran a very solid 12 miles and felt like I had more in me, but had to stop and get on with the day.




Me & Best Friend, Holly

Sunday Morning – ahhh–

We went for a wonderful breakfast at a cafe. Incredible sunflower wheat toast with 2 poached eggs. Yummy. I never get poached eggs! Then, off to drop friend off at airport and i made my way down to Santa Monica and LA. I specifically went to Santa Monica simply to visit the K-Swiss store and pick up a new pair of shoes. I got another pair of the K-Onas. This is my 4th shoe of this same type. Enough said. The only bummer was that I had to get a color I already had as the other 2 options were sold out in my size!

While in the store, I spoke at length to Michael, who was helping me. He is training for Malibu Tri and we got to talking about training & nutrition etc…I just love that…swapping stories.  Also, while I was there, another K-Swiss employee showed up, Joe. He had actually  helped me when i visited the store back in March for LA Marathon. He remembered me and asked me how the race went…how cool is that? The three of us talked for a bit; i shared with them my 40 mile run plan and they gave me a 15% discount on my purchase. I was thrilled!!  To be able to share about your passion with like-minded others is priceless. Thank you Joe and Michael and K-Swiss!

( i will most likely be purchasing the other color i wanted via online…i will need it with all these miles)

Earlier in the day, I had initial hopes of getting in a second run even if it was just 3 miles, but I just could not fit it in…however, all in all, I am really happy with the running I did get in on this trip.

Train hard, train smart and as K-Swiss says, “Have an Awesome Day!”

LA marathon: first post-race thoughts

Posted in quotes, races, road with tags , , , , on March 22, 2010 by afuntanilla

There’s some quote out there that says something like: “you have to forget about your last marathon before you can run another one”


Well, my last marathon before today’s LA race was in October of last year, 2009. Honestly, I did NOT want to forget about it because it was a great race for me. What made it a great race? I felt pretty good the entire way and had a decent finish considering I had felt sick beforehand and was worried about the outcome. I also never did a longer run more than  16.25 miles. So, considering ALL that, I felt fine about my 4:24 finish.

Signing up for LA Marathon was somewhat of a risk, a gamble. I had taken it easy with the running in November/December of 2009 and started to ramp up for the Birmingham Half-Marathon on Feb 14th. That, too, was a great race for me. Had my 2nd best finish time ever for that distance and was thrilled with my effort. So, on the heels of that, I signed up for LA! I felt it was a course I wanted to run and I dig LA, so why not? I only need 13 more miles. Well….it was tough to get those long runs in…and bottom line is I didn’t get enough of them done. I had a feeling it might be a tough day for me. Past couple of weeks I just have not been feeling right…more mental than maybe anything else…but I do believe all our systems work together…mental, physical, spiritual, etc…

And even though I had taken the last 2 weeks pretty easy, my legs have felt heavy. Heavy legs = long, tough race day!

Given where my body has been, I should not have expected anything…but I did. Hard not to. Hard not to harbor your secret goals, ya know?

So, sure I am disappointed. And that happens. I’ve had great races. I’ve had tough races. That’s part of the picture. No doubt, there will be more of both in the future. But, I can learn from this experience and use the learning to my advantage.

I know it takes a lot to get out there. I am proud of the people who pin on their marathon bib # and cross the start and finish line. It takes guts, it takes courage, it takes a knowing willingness to endure pain, it takes dedication. It takes heart.

my heart goes out to all those finishers today.

is it spring yet?

Posted in road with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2010 by afuntanilla

So, I guess this past week was the 4th run with the now growing group from work. Week 1 = 2 people. Week 2 = 4 people. Week 3 = 3 people. Week 4 = 9 people. 9 people! THAT IS A BIG DEAL. I was thrilled. And it was a cold, windy day, no less. We have been running the same 3.67 mile loop from our office and back, but i think i am gonna change it up this week so we can avoid some of the heavy car traffic. A route change also means it might be more challenging due to the hills. But, hey, challenge is good, right!! I will keep you posted on the group’s reaction. It will also be interesting to see how many people show…as weather is supposed to be about 39/rainy…coldest day of the next week. Hmmm..

On the last run, we had 2 that struggled. I backtracked twice to run, run/walk with each person. I just wanted to make sure no one felt left out. After my first backtrack episode, i went ahead and was almost in a dead sprint for 1 mile to catch up with the leaders. Man, that was tough, but felt GREAT and INVIGORATING! I finished with the lead pack and then circled back to go the rest of the way with the remaining 2. Another good group session.

I had a good week of running. I’m purposely only running 4 days a week and not 5. Due to the “success” i felt on my last half-marathon & full-marathon, I’m more relaxed about “schedules”, etc.. I am learning what my body can do on what amount of training. I am learning, for me, it might not be about QUANTITY, but OVERALL QUALITY. I’ve read about so many running programs that show high mileage for training and for my body, I think I am finding something different that can work. Yesterday, I ran a hilly 12.5 miles through the streets of Atlanta. I had wanted to go out to Silver Comet Trail for just even a bit of nature, but it just didn’t work out. I look forward to getting to some trails though soon…i need some nature time, for sure. After a route with both uphills & downhills, the last 1-1/2 miles I deliberately incorporated the toughest hill i could find. I think that’s how you know you are dedicated…when you deliberately & purposely put tough things in your training path. These hills now will make the flatlands of Los Angeles all that much sweeter to run. right?

Went bowling later that night. Sucked, big time. Our group had major gutter balls!!

Decided NOT to layer up again for the cold/wind today and took it to treadmill instead. 5+ strong miles as I sweated out the cocktail toxins of the bowling evening. Felt pretty tired at first, but then just settled in and got stronger. As the time and mileage increased on the treadmill, so did my strength. I could feel my back strong, my arms strong, my legs finding another gear….a good weekend.

Whoever you are and whatever you are doing, whatever you are aiming for, I wish you all the best! GO TO IT!


Feb 28: 5.10 miles – treadmill

Feb 27: 12.5 miles – outside

Feb 24: 5.0 miles – treadmill

Feb 23: 4.4 miles – outside

west coast leaning…

Posted in road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2009 by afuntanilla

Went to my home state of California last Thursday-Sunday for a little bit of business and even more fun/vacation time. I spent time in Los Angeles & Santa Monica. I had really been looking forward to the trip. I had been needing a change of scenery and also, I wanted to see what the hell all the LA buzz was all about as I know of 3 different sets of people who have moved there within the last year. What gives? The only time I had ever spent in that area was very brief back in 1996,  so i was curious to see what I would find.

It definitely did not disappoint. My first night I stayed at a hotel in W. Hollywood called THE STANDARD. Overall, pretty cool. Cool room, lobby, pool….but it was also nothing very fancy. Great neighborhood for me to be in…Peets coffee less than 1/2 mile away. i was a HAPPY girl!! Met up with some clients and took them to dinner at The PALM. Great restaurant/great service. There is actually one of these restaurants in Atlanta, but I have never been.

Friday woke up, enjoyed some Peets while delighting in the cool temps and overcast skies to start the day. Soon, I was out the door and running a zig zag type route through W. Hollywood and into Beverly Hills and back. 5 good miles. Can i tell you how FREAKING EASIER IT WAS TO RUN in that kind of weather in the middle of summer! YAY!

After getting cleaned up, I asked the helpful valet guys for a breakfast recommendation in Los Feliz neighborhood. They gave me a name which i promptly forgot, but then found a place called FIGARO. And man, am i glad I went there. AWESOME. INCREDIBLE. One of the best breakfast meals I’ve ever had. French Toast on some small pieces of bread w/ wonderful flavors mixed on top w/ cinnamon & real whipped cream on the side. Strawberries. Scrambled eggs w/ some sort of spicy potatoes. And a double cappuccino in a BOWL. ALL TO DIE FOR. Adding to the food was the ambience; very french…all the decor was actually brought in from Paris(was told this by waiter). Wonderful, beautiful establishment and a place often frequented by Katherine Heigl (damnit! i missed her!)
I was in some true la la land by the time I finished! Afterwards, I made my second driving jaunt up on Mulholland Drive and Laurel Canyon. Awesome! Great views of the city. Reminded me a lot of the Oakland Hills with all the windy streets and cool homes. I got out of the car several times just to look around and take it all in.
Soon enough, I made my way to Santa Monica. Stayed at a fancy place called THE VICEROY about 1 block from the beach. I would highly recommend. Great service. Very nice accommodations. Early evening, some friends came by and we had happy hour and then went to dinner nearby. A wonderful evening topped off by dessert back at the hotel; cookies and ice milk. not sure what kind of cookies they were, but we only had 3…one each and i savored every last crumb of mine. WOW! It was great to see & visit with friends again and it would continue the next night.
Saturday woke up and found another Peets nearby. YAY! I could move there for PEETS alone! (maybe) Same drill; came back to hotel, changed and went running. Ran a solid 6 on Ocean Ave and then up into some neighborhoods and back to hotel. It was about 730-8am when i started and there were tons of people out already. Walking, rollerblading, running…i loved it! I noticed how much easier it was to run in this locale…flat, cool temperatures…ocean breeze….AHHHH.
After breakfast, I went down to the beach to check it out. I was wearing jeans & a t-shirt. All I had with me was some water and a newspaper. I sat down and just stayed there a while…very different for me! I was feeling really relaxed and wanted to recline and since all i had was my newspaper, that’s what i used to lay on. Hilarious! It did the trick! The warm sun felt healing, the breeze was refreshing, the sounds of children playing and of faint conversations was comforting. What a great way to spend a couple of hours!
Later I stopped by Peets for an early evening coffee and then headed to friends house for the evening. It was neat to see where they lived and be in their space instead of out at a restaurant. Lots of time to just chill and visit and hang. L made a very tasty dinner w/ fish tacos(grilled halibut) with yummy guacamole, mango salsa, & cabbage. Dessert was a refreshing homemade sundae. YUM!
Sunday – I settled for coffee from a cafe across the street from hotel. Went for another run. 6.25 miles from hotel and zig zag route over to Venice Beach and back. On the return, ran much closer to the water and loved looking out at it the entire way north.
Met up with same friends for breakfast and then a final stop at Peets before I made my reluctant drive to LAX!
I needed the change of scenery. Needed the time away. Needed the balance. I’m thankful for it all.
Long post! Thx for reading. Cheers!

me & my love

me & my love