Archive for marathon

holding the line

Posted in motivation, quotes, road with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2010 by afuntanilla

“One morning in Boston, it was snowing so hard that I didn’t think anybody would be going training, but I went down to the track anyway. Billy Smith was there, though. He opened the door and said: ‘the road to Mexico is out there'”.  -David Hemery – who won the 400 meter hurdles at Mexico City in 1968

I’ve always loved this piece! Can’t you just visualize it? I sure can…

Today, Tuesday, was group run day at the office. If you saw my last post, you will notice that 8 people joined me last week. Major Success! Well, when I looked at the weather report a few days ago, I saw that Tuesday would be the worst day; cold w/ snow flurries. In Atlanta. More snow. WOW. And it’s gonna be high 60’s by the weekend. Naturally, I thought it was gonna be interesting to see if anyone showed up to run. Even myself. I had good runs over weekend, but the weather forecast surely wasn’t making it easy to stay motivated to go outside after a long work day. But, I held the line. Inside, I feel like I have a responsibility to ‘hold the line’ of the group; to not miss a day, to not have any excuse to not be there. Usually, every Friday and Monday, I send an email about the run (as a reminder). I did the same thing this week so they would know I would be there, regardless of weather. By noon today, it was apparent that no one was joining me. Of course when I realized I would be going solo, I had thoughts of letting myself off the hook for the day or even just go run on treadmill. It was 37 degrees and snow flurries still coming.

I had been in the office all day and went out for coffee around 2pm. The little jaunt to Starbucks was actually refreshing since I had felt so cooped up all day. Decision Made. The run outside is on. Holding the line. Whether anyone was there with me or not. It’s perfectly understandable that people would opt out…for weather reasons or for whatever they’ve got going on. No problem. I will be there. I will be there again, next Tuesday at 5:15pm.

‘Cause for me…the road to LA MARATHON (and beyond) is out there!


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

let’s break it down

Posted in races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2009 by afuntanilla

Alright, lemme break it down for you. First, let me mention that I trained the least for this marathon compared to all other 5 run before. What that basically means is that I logged less miles over the specific training cycle. Normally, I get in at least one 18 miler and one 20 miler before tapering. This time, my long run was 16.25 and I felt that this alone could really hurt my race outcome.

Heading into the final 2 weeks of the race I was run down, traveling, and basically feeling like I wasn’t even sure I would finish the darn race. So, I really did not know what to expect from my body. Mentally, I was feeling so much better than a month or so ago so i was super thrilled with that part, but physically I wasn’t sure what to expect.

As  you might have read though in the earlier post, when I woke up on race day, I KNEW I was ready and I knew I would have a good day. Here are the mile breakdowns:

Mile 1: 8:45

Mile 2: 9:43

Mile 3: 9:41

Mile 4: 10:03

Mile 5: 9:31

Mile 6: 10:23

Mile 7: 11:00

Mile 8: 9:23

Mile 9: 10:29

Mile 10: 10:26

Mile 11: 9:47

Mile 12: 10:04

Mile 13: 11:17

Mile 14: 9:46

Mile 15: 9:58

Mile 16: 10:00

Mile 17: 9:40

Mile 18: 10:32

Mile 19: 10:21

Mile 20: 10:05

Mile 21: 10:13

Mile 22: 9:54

Mile 23: 10:22

Mile 24: 10:10

Mile 25: 10:17

Mile 26 + .2 = 12:44

OK. Here is where it gets tricky on my “official” time. I was wearing my Garmin, which is where I got my mile splits from, however, i noticed my mile markers on Garmin did not match up with race mile markers. Usually not a big deal because often it is pretty close. But, it was not close this time. When I completed the race, my watch read: 26.61 miles, 4:28:01. So that is .4 more than official race of 26.2. When i looked at my watch for 26.2, I was at 4:24. My RACE CHIP time was 4:28:10. Hmmm…what to do? Well, considering my Garmin has been off before, but never by that far of distance, i’m gonna split the difference and say I finished in 4:26. How does that sound? Fair?

In my age group Female 35-39, there were 742 runners. I was #171 out of 742. Not bad.

I’m cool with it! Like I said, a few days before the race i wasn’t even sure i would be able to finish. Comparing this time of 4:26 to my best of 4:19 is interesting. I trained less and didn’t fare too much worse. I wonder what i could have done had I got more miles in….lots of info to consider going forward. I did notice that for rest of day and next day, I felt the best I had ever felt after a marathon. I wasn’t nearly as sore or as fatigued. And I almost want to whisper this, but it kinda “felt easy”. Maybe it’s because I was “home” and feeling so awesome and loved. Maybe it was because it wasn’t in the damn heat and humidity of the south. Maybe it was all the Peets coffee. Maybe it was the Pacific Ocean breeze. Maybe it was “Rocky” on the iPod. Or maybe…it was just one of those days.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for cheering. Thanks for the support. Means more than I can say!!


Race Reflections – Part II

Posted in photos, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2009 by afuntanilla


Can you find my name?

Can you find my name?

Race day wake-up call at 5:30am. I promptly changed out of PJs and into some other clothes and went into the downstairs hotel lobby for some coffee. Good Coffee. Came back up to my room, opened the curtains and looked out at the stunning clear morning in San Francisco. All was dark still except for the flickering lights out in the streets and those i could see from the Bay Bridge. It seemed so serene and so romantic at the same time. (in fact, i would definitely describe SF as a romantic city).

I sipped my coffee and chowed down on my Clif bar. My body was awake and I knew i was ready. It’s funny how that is…the KNOWING. More often than not, even before I take the first steps of a race, I just know if it’s going to be a good day for me. I don’t get this feeling at any other time. Just on race day. And on Sunday between 5:30-6:00am, I knew.

I looked online a bit, read the newspaper a bit and finally it was time to put the shorts and shoes on and get out the door. I had my iPod, 2 gels, and those Luna things i mentioned in previous post. I was a little worried about not having more gels because i knew there wouldn’t be more on the course. It still baffles me how they didn’t have any. Oh well, i figured i would grab whatever there was long as it wasn’t anything too different.

I made the quick walk over to Union Square and found the place to line up. Again, the place was ELECTRIC. TONS AND TONS OF WOMEN and a few men. Looking around, I saw smiling, excited, exuberant faces. I saw young, old, asian, white, black, latina, tall, short, thin, pudgy…women of all shapes, sizes, etc… AWESOME….all standing around just waiting for the clock to tick, for the opportunity to pass GO!

I stood there and while I ran, I kept thinking that everyone was out there for their own reason. While watching some of the fellow women near me, I saw their faces; some with pained expressions, others just simply focused and I felt so proud to be out there and in their company. I felt like i wanted to give everyone a HIGH-FIVE or a PAT ON THE BACK!

While participating in a race, especially a marathon, one is truly taking on something big. There’s not a whole lot of thought that goes into running a 5k, but when you sign up and commit yourself to the marathon training, you are definitely in for an amazing journey. That journey is long, grueling, demanding, and very solitary, no matter if you train with a group or not. At the end of the day, YOU have to put one foot in front of the other, YOU have to keep going when your legs start to cramp, YOU have to keep climbing that damn hill that seems like it has no end in sight. And so, yeah, I looked around and wondered about what some of those reasons were of those mighty women surrounding me and my own reason…

Do I Even Remember the Week?

Posted in motivation, random, road with tags , , , , , , , on October 5, 2009 by afuntanilla

Man, i need to take notes or something. I feel like by the time Sunday rolls around, I have a hard time remembering the last week. Anyone else feel that way?

Let’s see, I remember being sore the day after my 16+ miler. I also ran 2 days during the week. Other than that, it’s kinda blurry except for one notable thing that happened: i lost someone.

No, not lost as in DIED, but lost as in someone moved away. Who? He was someone at work. He was kinda like my direct “boss”, but really he was more like a mentor to me. And just a really good guy! In my profession, it is so beneficial to have a mentor, to have a “coach”, someone who can kick your butt, challenge you, support you, and cheer for you. He did all of this for me and for many others in our office, but I think over the past 2 years he and i had developed a deeper bond. He gave me a really tough time. And I loved it. His motivational/coaching style was a perfect fit for me. He was NOT AT ALL a touchy-feely person (I am) and so that was an interesting dynamic in itself. Before he came to our office, I knew I could be successful, but he made me believe it even more. He challenged me every day and some days I would get pretty irritated with him, but inside, I was thankful. Thankful that he cared enough to keep pushing me.

Last Friday, we were all called in for a lunch meeting and the announcement was that he had received a promotion and would be leaving at the end of the day. Of course, i knew someone in his position would not be there forever and of course, I am happy for his own success, but selfishly, I was pretty sad. But, he definitely laid a lot of ground work for me and his eyes, his voice and his mannerisms will be with me every day. We had our good-bye moment near the end of they day and tears flooded my eyes. I thought maybe i saw i gleam in his too. Maybe…

I walked out the doors and let myself cry. Thanks, MH. I will miss you and yep, i am gonna keep pushing!

Oct 4: 8 miles – outside

Oct 1: 5.57 miles – outside

Sept 29: 3.2 miles – outside

A very lite week of running. Was feeling under the weather all weekend. Can’t believe I ran 8 today. I’m not worried about the race. I just want to go run. I miss being at a race. Last race i did was was a 5k back in May!

Hope everyone is getting some good workouts & races in!

clawing back

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

thanks for the “tough love” all! had a much better week, capped off with 16.25 mile run today. full details later. Will probably be the longest I do before the race on Oct 18th. Last 10 miles will be tough, but I have better confidence now. Thanks again!!


Posted in road with tags , , , , on September 20, 2009 by afuntanilla

i was supposed to run long today. what actually happened was i ran about 2.5 miles and stopped. then, i walked 2.5 miles back to my car. And I REALLY don’t like walking.

Why did I stop? The best answer I can give is that I just didn’t want to keep going. I think I might be burnt out. This comes at a pretty ridiculous time seeing that the race is exactly one month from today. My longest run during this training has only been 14 miles.

Not sure what all this means or what i am going to do.


Posted in photos, random, road with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2009 by afuntanilla

Heavily involved in watching all the US Open tennis this week. Some great matches, huh! Local Kid, MELANIE OUDIN! She was on a fantastic roll and certainly brought more excitement to US Womens Tennis. Congrats to you kid, and HEY, NICE SHOES!


Saturday night rolled around an stayed up late watching the Serena vs Kim Clijsters match. Was very impressed with Clijsters! She played solid and I was rooting for her. Even before the Serena incident, i was thinking; “wow, she seems really pissed off out there” – Slamming her racquet, constantly talking to herself…i had never seen her like that before. Only comments i have on her behavior that ended the match is this: completely unprofessional and very disappointing. Beyond that, it really robbed the fans both in the stands and on tv a chance to see the match end organically, especially those waiting in all the rain delays. And most of all, it robbed Clijsters of the moment. She was playing fantastic and deserved a better end to the match. As I write this, Womens final is on ESPN2 (which i think is LAME) and I am rooting for Kim.

Watched some of the Federer/Djokovic match. Was flipping channels between that and the SF/LA Dodgers game. Thankfully SF won! I did happen to catch some great points in the tennis match, especially this one:


Phenomenal in-between-the-legs winner! Love Roger!!

OK. Now about the running. An OK week. Not great, but still getting some miles in. Highlight was Saturday long run. I switched it up from Sunday just for a change and to see if i would notice any difference. I found myself a little more excited to go out there, but it was still painful and long. 14 miles. was more humid than we have had lately. Went to silver comet trail. jeff met me at 4.2 mile marker and we ran together from there. Was good to have him there again after 2 weeks of him being gone on weekends. Thanks, Jeffro. I am still not where i need or want to be in terms of long run mileage or weekly mileage in preparation for this marathon. Talked a little to jeff about it. it’s just tough to get the miles in ya know. tough time wise and energy wise. I really need to go longer in the weekday runs if i expect more on the weekend. We’ll see what this week brings. Hope it is all good.

here’s a pic after the 14 miler on Saturday.


Sept 13: 5.1 miles – outside

Sept 12: 14 miles – outside, Silver Comet Trail

Sept 9: 5.0 miles – outside

Sept 8: 3.7 miles – outside

Week Total: 27.2

Have a great week everyone! Stay strong, Stay focused. Keep Dreaming!

the latest

Posted in road with tags , , , , on September 9, 2009 by afuntanilla

Sept 6: AM 11.35 miles; outside – PM 3.25 miles, treadmill

Sept 5: 7 miles, outside

Sept 3: 5 miles, outside

Sept 2: 3 miles, treadmill

Sept 1: 3.3 miles, outside

Total: 32.90 miles

Listen to your body. HA!

Posted in road with tags , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by afuntanilla

“listen to your body!” yeah, whatever! what the hell does that mean anyway? If i listened to my body, i would be sleeping more, training less and eating more. Careful and tricky listening skills are required when one must “listen to their body”. if you are not careful, your mind and your body will go round after round and beat each other to a bloody pulp. I feel like that is what had happened to me. For whatever reasons, my body just has not been “feelin it” lately. As I so eloquently whined and moaned about it in my last post, my body had been tired/fatigued and there are a combination of reasons why. AND, for some reason, i feel like the physical stuff has been bleeding over into my mental state and waring me down. Well, let me tell you, i got wore down!
I did 3 short runs during the week with plans to do more on weekend although I wasn’t sure how i would feel since I had to take an insurance class Thurs-Sun all day! Mid-week runs felt ok, not great. Saturday ran after class in some pretty good heat of 90 degrees + humidity. I felt ok. Pace was actually pretty good, but I knew I still had a long one waiting for me the next day. I decided to do the Sunday run after class again. Still hot, (but a bit less) + humidity. During the first mile, it felt good to be outside and moving…especially after 4 days of feeling pretty cooped up! That feeling quickly faded! 3 miles into it and i knew it just wasn’t gonna happen. Quads felt very heavy. Tight. Mentally, physically, I just felt worn out. I stopped at 4 miles and had about 4 miles left to get back to my car. I figured it was a good opportunity to just walk and maybe sort some things out in my head (as long as i would not beat myself up to much!) I REALLY DON’T LIKE WALKING! I managed to walk for 10 minutes and then i started running again at a faster pace. I basically ran and walked back the rest of the 4 miles, more running than walking. I just had to be ok with it all.
So, where is my head at? Well, while walking, i decided that i would take a whole 3 days off! (i don’t even know last time that happened) No running for 3 days. Give my legs some time to refresh and try to cut myself some slack. In the back of my mind, I feel worried about the marathon because my overall mileage is not where it should be….but I also know that I don’t want to keep running the way that I have been as of late. My body and my mind need some down time. I will still do some core work and a little weights, but that’s it. Oh, and take some dips in the pool too.
Even having said all the above, it’s not easy to take days off. Today, is ok because this is a normal “rest” day. But tomorrow, i know I will see others running and sweating along the roads with their iPods and I will be jealous. But, I am experienced enough to know that sometimes, you JUST CANNOT PUSH/CANNOT FORCE. Gotta leave it alone for a bit.

Here’s a quote that seems appropriate: ” during the hard training phase, never be afraid to take a day off. If your legs are feeling unduly stiff and sore, rest; if you are at all sluggish, rest; in fact, if in doubt, rest.” – bruce fordyce

Aug 16: 8 miles – (4 run, 4 run/walk) outside, hills
Aug 15: 4.6 miles outside, hills
Aug 13: 3.1 miles – treadmill,
Aug 12: 4 miles – outside, hills
Aug 11: 3.5 miles – treadmill