Archive for marathons

running updates

Posted in photos, races, road, running, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2013 by afuntanilla

Well, I have been running. Yes, I have. Been on the trusty treadmill at the club, the track at the local high school, the many busy and rural streets of Petaluma, the streets of San Francisco, the trails of Helen Putnam Park in Petaluma, and lastly, the mighty trails of Tennessee Valley in Marin County. Whew!

I’ve taken some waist deep ice baths in the Pacific Ocean after some long runs of the actual Nike Women’s Race course. I’ve basically ran the 2nd half of the marathon at least 3 times now so i’m getting pretty familiar with the moderate grades, the flats, etc…not that I really need to do this since I have run the course before. However, i’ve been running down in SF just to simply change scenery from outside my door and the streets here that become kinda boring to run on after awhile. Plus, going into the city allows me to take those mini ice-baths that have been a godsend after a couple of hours pounding pavement.

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The cold water has felt so good (after the initial shock) And it’s just been amazingly pleasant out there. I’ve done this now 3x and each time, there has been no wind and very fair air temperatures. Lots of people out playing, surfing, walking, running on the beach. I just sort of pace back and forth in the water and let my mind chill and enjoy the awesome scenery.

During this training period, as usual, i’ve had my questions arise of “why am i doing this, why am i running another marathon, why don’t i take a break…” Obviously, there are days when it is just hard. Miles after miles. I get up around 5am during the week for work and at 6am basically every weekend to run. And, there are days when I think, man, i just want to sleep in. Chill. For a few weeks, I had some very minor aches and pains that were just weird. First, I had this right upper arm pain. The pain was in the area of my upper bicep, right where your arm meets shoulder. Serious pain. I knew it had been from me not using correct technique while doing some “cross fit” like exercises. I had a lot of massage work done on it and abandoned most cross training exercises.  But, the pain sucked, no kidding!

Then, for a couple of weeks (still slightly there, but going away) I’ve had this horrible pain in my left hip area…basically all the muscles conjoining there have been super tight and a mess. Mostly, I think it has originated in the glutes. Amazing how tight those muscles get. And, more massage to get them loose. Pretty damn painful, but necessary and it’s been working.

Thankfully, as these minor issues have gone, the running has been more enjoyable and as race day approaches, I am both excited and of course, a little nervous about how I’ll fare. I wish that i could say my time will be much faster at this marathon distance, but it won’t be. I expect to finish somewhere between 4:15-4:25. I think overall my body is tired and i do think i need a break from running, training for races at some point. I ‘m not sure I made the best choices this summer by signing up for this October marathon, but i did. I got caught up in excitement and here we are. Of course, I could have decided weeks ago not to do it, could have just rested some and then geared up for the December race in New Zealand, (more to come on this later) but…I didn’t. Just like I could have stopped running when i was around miles 3-4 of some of my long runs. I just didn’t. I think part of the thing is that right now, I am just training to truly “endure”, not for time….and that makes me continually feel like I am slow. But, I train this way because of the distances I will be racing. I think afterwards I will need a break and then maybe truly dedicate myself to speed and shorter distances to mix it up. Or maybe just take a break and then who knows….I’m just “writing out loud”.

Last weekend, I ran the longest distance I will run pre-marathon. It was only 17 miles. I’m ok with that as I have the experience of this race and the distance and frankly, just didn’t feel like doing any longer road training miles longer than that.

Today, I decided I would go for a group trail run. This is my second time with the group that gathers on Saturday mornings at San Francisco Running Company in Mill Valley. The group runs have gone on for a while now and honestly, one of the reasons I had not gone before was due to being intimidated. The guys who operate the shop are ultra runners, who have done multiple 100 mile races and fared very well. Anyways, I went for my first time at end of August to just sort of check it out. My fears were realized as I lost the group after the 1st mile. The trails are not ones I ever run on and they are tough if you are not familiar with the ascents/descents. So, that day, i basically ran alone for about 7.5 miles. The group did 13, i think. Gorgeous views all around. I left feeling proud that I actually went, because I need/want to do more group things (even if i was by myself after the start) and it was a learning experience…getting familiar with the trails and the level of fitness of the group. Ego checked. A great thing.

So, back to today. Today was my 2nd time going for the group run and again, i feared I would be pulling up the rear. Well, it happened again, even though I had a much better run. I was able to keep a couple of guys in sight for a few miles, then they were gone. I ran solo for about 10 miles…no harm…more amazing views!! Just stunning, really. The 1st picture below is taken from near the top of Tennessee Valley looking East towards the Marin, Sausalito, Tiburon. The 2nd photo is taken looking out at the Pacific Ocean. A gorgeous day, slight breeze, blue skies as you can see. Super freaking peaceful up there and all along the trails. I was equally humbled and inspired to be out there. I can only get better on the trails. And today, I put in 13 miles, about 2 hours, 50 min. with 2,205 ft of ascent and 2,228 descent. This is good training & experience for the December race. The other good thing is my legs don’t nearly feel as beat up as they do after long runs on the pavement.

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Thanks for reading! Cheers!

2012 Recap

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, shoes, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by afuntanilla

Time to look back on the year of 2o12. A year of much, much change. A move across the country, a new job, a new relationship. Major events in my life. Here’s how the running went down.

January – in the early part of the month, I prepared to make my cross country move from Atlanta back home to San Francisco. I had a new relationship and was brimming with excitement. I was also full of angst and upset over a job I voluntarily departed. Leaving Atlanta was a big decision as my years there were so rich and significant in so many ways. And yet, It was time to go. To move on. In more ways than one.

By January 23, I was on the road, headed west. Over the next 10 days, I drove some of my belongings across our great country and stopped in a few places to stretch my legs and breathe in the air. I was able to run some miles in Oxford, Mississippi; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Flagstaff, Arizona (2x); and Las Vegas, NV (treadmill). My favorite runs were in Flagstaff. The temperatures were cold and my breathing labored in the higher elevation town, but i still loved it. A great little town in Northern Arizona.

January Miles: 75

February – February 1, I touched down in the bay area. Specifically, Petaluma, CA, where I would make my new home. Surrounded by old friends and a new love, I was pretty darn happy. And, for the first time in many, many years, I was without employment. That lasted all of about 2 weeks until I landed a new one and a great one, at that!

My feet and legs went to explore the streets of my new town in ways that I had never done before. I ran all over Petaluma and found that it was mostly flat and to to get any kind of hills, I had to seek them out. This was in stark contrast to Atlanta where hills are everywhere and flatlands are hard to find. It was refreshing to run in a new place and find my way around and notice new things. I spent the last weekend of the month in Ashland, OR and was able to run there as well. A post-snow run day was pretty fun.

Februray Miles: 54

March – I had signed up for a trail race so i needed to get some proper training in for this upcoming event. The only place to run trails in Petaluma is Helen Putnam Park. A good park to run in with mostly single-track, but it is not that big of a space so to run long miles (+6), you will be going over some of the same trails more than once. I was getting settled in to my work environment and looking for a place to live.

March Miles: 71

April – in preparation mode for a 7 mile trail race in Muir Woods which was mid month. A fantastic race. Just love running in that area. After the race, I began using a training program NIKE had designed for me to help me break 2 hours in the half-marathon distance. I started incorporating intervals and very specific strength training exercises into my training. Also started fooling around with Tennis and found I really enjoy it. But, wow…patience, patience, patience is needed on the court.

April Miles: 35

May – A month of shorter, faster runs. Continually saw my pace in the 8:30-8:40 per mile mark and was happy with this. Traveled to NY for work for a week and was very tough to keep up the running due to very long work days. Not fun sitting all day and then being too wiped out to exercise, but I did a little. A bit more tennis and more interval training.

May Miles: 52

June – at the beginning of the month, I had flown back to Atlanta to visit clients and also gather the rest of my belongings. I had to drive a Penske Truck from Atlanta back to SF. My 2nd cross country trip in 6 months. Whew!!! It was definitely not as fun or as fast as driving my BMW!! I took a different route this go around and ran in Dallas, Texas; Amarillo, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada. I was so happy when I got home and had NO MORE DRIVING TO DO! I joined a great local gym and was feeling good about my fitness level.

June Miles: 54

July – Early in the month was the heart of my 1/2 marathon training. I was feeling good about my pace, but wasn’t sure i had gotten in enough in enough long mileage. Prior to race day, my longest run was only 10 miles. But, otherwise, i was feeling good going into race day and knew I would have to push hard and trust myself. Race day was on July 29th and what a day it was. My previous best had been 2:01 and change. I achieved my new PR on July 29th at the SF Half Marathon with a finish time of 1:58:42. I was over the moon delighted. Can’t tell you what this meant to me. And to be back running in my hometown, with my love at the finish line…nothing better. A magical day!

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July Miles: 65

August – bought these superfly new Nike shoes. Nike Flyknit. Super light, awesome and fun to run in. tn-3

Fresh off the high from the race, I wanted to run another one. The NIKE SF WOMENS MARATHON was coming up in a few months, but already sold out. Luckily for me, I entered into a raffle for an entry and won. Decision made. I was going. OMG. I had about 8 weeks to prepare and was definitely nervous about the quick back to back. (although I realize some people run marathons every weekend, this was a lot for me, especially since I pushed my body so hard for the Half.) I got myself in gear and kept my expectations in check and went took to the roads.

August Miles: 70

September – full on training for full marathon mode! And, I celebrated my 42nd birthday!! Again, was feeling good overall, but did not get in super long runs. Longest run pre race day was 16 miles. However, I felt steady and solid and mentally ready to keep pushing. It helped that i scaled down my expectations. All I wanted was to toe the line and be there and have a decent finish. A PR was out of the question.

September Miles: 111

October – Race month. The big day was Oct 14th, again in San Francisco. Another fantastic race experience. I actually was feeling pretty strong until around mile 20. I was also on good pace until then so I know my long run of just 16 miles was what had hurt me. Had I been able to get in an 18 or 20 miler in during training, i think I would have had a better finish time. However, I was still fine with the 4:24 finish. My 8th marathon was done and I was super happy!

_DSC0144Later in the month, spent some time up the north coast in Sea Ranch and Gualala. Small, quaint little communities. A great quiet get-a-way! And, I even went swimming for the first time in ages!

Last but not least, The SAN FRANCISCO GAINTS won the WORLD SERIES. I had been at Game 7 of the NLCS and that is a time I will never forget. Bottom of the ninth inning, the game was already won, cold & rainy at the park, everyone soaked and just screaming at the top of our lungs. What a freakin’ blast!

October Miles: 66

November – I tried to take it easy during the month and really rest, but that didn’t happen. I “should” have taken maybe 2-3 full weeks off, but I didn’t. I had some days where I wasn’t truly enjoying myself, but i still didn’t rest. On the positive side, I had an awesome Thanksgiving holiday. One of the best I have had in many, many years. Surrounded by love, new and old friends. A happy day.

November Miles: 52

December – last month of 2012. not a whole lot to say. Some running, but not a lot and some of the runs were uninspiring. A few were great and those were back on the trails at Helen Putnam Park. Rainy, cold days and it felt great! Unfortunately, late in the month, I noticed my chest was hurting. Weird, i thought. Well, a week or so later, I developed some kind of flu or something and am still recovering from this about 10 days later. I think I am at the end of it, but there’s no way I can run. I tried that and got set back even worse. I will wait for some good signs from my body and not push it. Its tough as I am becoming excited and anxious about getting back out there and trying to reach new goals. But, I cannot afford to get re-sick, so slow and easy is the plan for right now.

December Miles: 48

As I recapped this year, i am surprised to find i only participated in 3 races. It seems like I trained for more than that! Looking back, I found real value in the NIKE TRAINING PROGRAM. I believe it helped me increase my overall fitness and I enjoyed the program. For that race, I really needed to focus more on speed and I did and it helped me reach my goal! Highlight of the year in my running world. I’m continually learning about quantity versus quality. It’s so important and I know I have more to learn. I would like to spend more time cross training with cycling, swimming, tennis and maybe even yoga. I have more and more thoughts swirling in my head, but that will be for later. I’ll end this now, grateful for the year. Grateful to be alive and with an abundance of love and goodness. Need to be sure to continue to let it all in and believe i deserve it. That’s the challenge.

Thanks for following along and wishing you all the best in 2013. Go Get After IT.

Clubs, Cows and Kids

Posted in gym, motivation, quotes, random, road with tags , , , , , , on September 17, 2012 by afuntanilla

My week of running — spent 2 days at the gym and ran 4 miles each day on the treadmill. Followed the running up with strength exercises. I do believe these exercises have made me more fit, overall. I love going to the gym. It probably helps that it is such a NICE LOOKING club. It’s clean, BIG, lots and lots of equipment and lots of space. I remember going to some gyms in SF when i lived there and they were not nearly of the same caliber, but of course, cost pretty much the same. Anyways, I am thankful that Petaluma has such a place for me to enjoy my workouts/training. It makes a difference. If the gym you belong to is “dirty”, tiny and you feel packed in like a rat, difficult to get to, no parking, etc…all these things can deter an individual from taking advantage of their membership. So. Yes, I am thankful. There’s also a great pool, hot tub, spinning classes and many other classes! The pool area has a semi-resort feel to it. And both a wet and dry sauna in women’s locker room. Where is this? Club One in Petaluma.

I ran another 4 miles on the day sandwiched in between the club days. Ideally, would have liked to have gone longer on one of those days, but just didn’t happen. I have been taking Saturdays off from running. This is something I have not previously done in the past when training, but so far, i think this is a good choice. Legs feel just that much fresher on Sunday. All about quality!

So, here’s what I don’t understand about myself….how i forget sometimes to “stock up” on things I need for my Sunday run. Like energy gels. It’s like…HELLOOOOO. Last night, I go to look in the kitchen for my gels and notice I only have 1. Well, 1 just doesn’t cut if for a 16 mile run. It was late and here in Petaluma, while they have many great things, they don’t yet have a Target or a Dicks Sporting Goods that i could go to that late and pick up my gels. (p.s. both stores are expected to be here in 2013) But, the point is why do I NOT STOCK UP?? Even when I do go, I only buy what I need for the next run. So, it might be 2 or 4. Why don’t i just go buy a couple of cases. I ALWAYS USE THEM. Clearly, I need some assistance here…

Anyways, I woke up this morning and had to decide what to do about nutrition. I had 1 ClifBar and 1 Hammer Gel. Rather than eat the Clif Bar for breakfast as I usually do, I had 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and a banana. Not together. Separate. I sliced up the Clif Bar into 3 portions and took it with me along with the 1 gel. Out the door at 9am and on my way.

Today was the first time in a while when the sun was not already shining on us. It was a little cool and overcast. I opted to wear some longer pants and a long sleeved wicking shirt. I never got hot so it worked out perfectly. I ran much the same route as last weekend, but with a slight change. I went a bit further onto the East Side of Petaluma and on the outer areas, where it becomes much more rural. I turned left onto Frates Rd from Lakeville Hwy and there was just a beautiful stretch ahead of me as I ran East. To my left was a golf course and to my right were empty golden fields. Way ahead of me, up on the hillside, were vineyards. Beautiful slopping vineyards; some late morning fog still draping them a bit. Gorgeous.

I was basically running on a rural 2 lane road. For Sunday, it was a bit busy, which was kinda a bummer, but I just kept on. I turned left onto Adobe Rd and was on another long stretch headed North. I passed a small, towering grove of Eucalyptus Trees. Took some deep breaths…AHHHH….Ran by many farms; cows about 15 feet away and just grazing and paying no attention to the runner with the yellow bandana. Passed a small Elementary School with a vineyard smack right behind it! How lucky are those kids? Some kids go to elementary school where there are drugs, muggings, right across the street. Some kids go to school where they might not be any running, clean water. Luck of the draw. Purely, luck of the draw…And so I thought about this stuff for a while and how the kids are born into their environment and have no choice….and then become shaped by their environments. It’s all amazing really. Could go on and on about this.

I kept running along. Oh, so…I ate 2 of my Clif Bar slices along the route and had my gel. As I mentioned last week, I felt like I needed to do something differently with my nutrition DURING the run because I felt like I needed more fuel. I had $2 on me and as soon as I could, I stopped in at a Chevron Gas Station and purchased a Gatorade. Unfortunately, this was not until about mile 13. They didn’t have any Chevron’s or 7-Elevens back with the cows. I poured about 1/4 of the gatorade in with my water and used that the rest of the way. I think this did make a difference. I felt my energy pick up noticeably. So…note to self on the gatorade. AND BUY MORE THAN ONE BOTTLE!

I finished at my goal of 16 miles. Felt great to reach that distance as this is the farthest I have run since SEPT 2010, when I ran 40 miles on my 40th birthday! Holy cow…I didn’t realize that…but it makes sense because I had not raced any races over a half-marathon since that time! And the last marathon I ran was in Los Angeles in March 2010. So…here we go.

So, 16 miles today felt hard. I noticed how long I was moving my body, how long I was out there on the road of Petaluma. Some moments, i felt the pain, other moments I was just in a zone thinking about nothing or the kids who might live in crappy neighborhoods and don’t get to see such beauty. I thought about how I am doing my HEART and my heart some good.

Keep strong.

Onward….

1H 2011

Posted in photos, races, random, road, travel with tags , , , on July 2, 2011 by afuntanilla

Sometimes, I think to myself, “man, my life is boring.” 

This morning, I’ve taken a little time to look back at some posts from beginning of 2011. 6 months. While doing so, I am reminded that my life is not boring. I’m really surprised to see how much I have done in 6 months, how much has happened and changed in 6 months. And, of course, there were many things that I have not written about that also come to mind.

So, here’s a recap and reflection of 6 months of running and other life stuff:

RUNNING: Raced 4 Half-Marathons between March-May. Looking back on it, I see that it was too much. I think I went a little crazy after racing so well in December at Las Vegas Half. I was motivated and inspired to break my PR of 2:01:44. That time was from my very 1st half-marathon in 1999. One might think i’d have surpassed that time by now, but i haven’t. Honestly, i hadn’t even focused on it too much until last 1-1/2 years. So, yeah, upon reflection, i see that 4 races in such a short time was too much on my body. I probably would have fared better if I would have chosen just 1 or 2 to focus on. But, like I said, i was a little crazy after Vegas and wanted to try and I kept thinking of the weather. I wanted to get it done BEFORE the heat and humidity kicked up and started to kick my ass (like it is now). Alas, I did not break my PR and it will have to wait for another day cuz now we are in summer in Atlanta and I don’t need to explain any further. I have no regrets though. I ran in 3 different/new places, (chicago was not new) saw new terrain and traveled with friends. It all adds up to neat experiences now in my memory bank and on the blog! 🙂

Travel/Leisure: I also took a good many trips first half of 2011. For races, I drove to Albany, GA, Clemson SC, and Columbia, SC. Flew to Chicago. I also took 2 trips back to California; San Francisco in March & Los Angeles in June.

I had a friend visit in May and I also changed where I work. That was the biggest thing of all and I am still finding my way at my new place. I’m still settling in and adjusting to the differences. The adjustment has been harder than I imagined…or maybe, unsettling is the word. I know I am being challenged in a new way. My way of thinking is challenged. Perhaps some old, worn out, long held beliefs of mine are being challenged also. I’m very much in the thick of it and like I said, trying to find my way.

For the second half of 2011, I am first and foremost focused on my next marathon. September 25th (my birthday) in Half Moon Bay, CA…about 20 minutes outside of San Francisco. As I was looking at the race calendar about a month ago, I saw that race and the Lake Tahoe Marathon both on 9/25. With the help of some friends, I decided on HMB. I’ve also wanted to run Lake Tahoe. It’s one of my favorite places and I know it would be a good challenge do to the elevation/altitude changes. But, that will have to wait for another day.

So, yep..i’m running again on my birthday. I’m thrilled. And mostly, I am thrilled because for the FIRST TIME EVER, friends will be running “with me”. Let me explain: in addition to the marathon, there will be a Half-Marathon and a 10k race. So, a few friends from the bay area decided to sign up for those races. For most of them, this will be their first event ever. First Ever Road Race!! I am thrilled beyond words. It brings me much joy to hear and read about the excitement. THEIR excitement is KEEPING me motivated. I keep saying, I am not going to train in the summer again, but here I am in full Atlanta heat and humidity. So, yes, any additional motivation is appreciated and welcome. No matter how long I’ve been running, it still takes a little something extra to get out there and know the suffering will be additional simply due to weather conditions. But, no whining! That’s what I signed up for!

I am so proud of my friends. Everyone’s got their own story, their own reasons, their own internal reasons why they are participating. I know they will learn a lot about themselves in the next few months.

I actually created a “community blog” over at http://www.halfmoonrunners.blogspot.com

Some of us are posting over there. Come check it out.

 

p.s. I still feel like my life is kinda boring…but that’s another story for another day. HaHa

twenty-eleven

Posted in random, road, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by afuntanilla

I’ve been thinking about what races, what adventures I will undergo in 2011. At this point, I have no firm decisions yet. What I AM super clear about is that I want to have more adventures! I want to go to experience new places, new terrain. It’s pretty fun just thinking about the endless possibilities. I’m also considering running 2 races i have previously run; the Mercedes Benz Half-Marathon in Feb. Why? This has got to be one of my favorite races. I love the cool/cold weather. I love the varied route and it’s not too many people. They also give out cool long-sleeve t-shirts and nice medals. The other race I am considering again is the LA Marathon in March. Why? To put it simply, because my one and only race there in 2010 SUCKED. I was not feeling good going into the race and I did not have fun at all. So, i kinda want to erase that memory. Or…I might just let it go and move on…we’ll see. I love going to LA and Santa Monica.

I’d also like to get out and do more races on trails…just craving more nature.

I’m considering a big race in June. I’ll keep you posted. Not sure on this yet. Just brainstorming. I want to run in states i’ve never been too before like Utah, Montana, etc…longing to see more open and beautiful space. I feel like there is so much I haven’t seen. The clock is ticking…

My next race will be the Las Vegas Half Marathon on Dec 5th. How’s that for some nature?? LOL

If you know me, you know I go to Vegas at least once a year and I have not been in about 2 years. I dig it. Love to gamble. Love the bigness and craziness of it. Looking forward to running on some flat land and hanging with friends.

Stay tuned for the rest. CHEERS!