Archive for mill valley

Take a ride on the Dipsea….

Posted in motivation, photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , on August 6, 2012 by afuntanilla

So…the week post race was a fun one…ya know, I had that happier than usual feeling..fun to have the memory and experience of last weekend’s race.

As part of my reward and just simply because i have been waiting, patiently, for these shoes to come out, I went and got these new Nike Shoes.

They are the Nike Flyknit Trainer and I first saw them online about 6 months ago. Nike said they would not be released until the Olympics and if you have been watching, you might have seen some athletes running in these shoes.
They are pretty damn sweet! They fit like a glove…very snug..like a nice sock. The shoe feels like it hugs your foot. If you can wear a light shoe, with minimal cushion, you might like it. I am a neutral runner so I wear it just fine. Been running on it twice now and love ’em. I must warn you…they are not cheap! I don’t mind spending $$ on running shoes. I’d rather spend there than on most other things. 🙂

The day I bought them was a super long day for me filled with lots of sitting and driving and so when I finally got home, i just HAD to take ’em out for about a 2.5 mile spin. Nice!

Yesterday, I went for a get-a-way by myself in Muir Woods. I just wanted to be in nature and be lost for a little bit. Craved the time alone to be quiet, without technology/distractions, etc… I strapped on my Nathan pack and headed out for the Dipsea Trail starting in Mill Valley.

This is a shot from a section of 1 of the many stair sections.

I wasn’t in any hurry so i walked/hiked much of the steep climbs and ran the downhill sections. And basically, that’s what it is…up, down, up, down…and it’s gorgeous as I have mentioned before.

As I climbed, the sun that shined in downtown Mill Valley was now gone and we had this:

It was pretty awesome, actually. Felt like I could breathe better, hear better, see better. All my senses were on high alert. I felt calm, peaceful yet with a insatiable desire to suck it all in…everything. It was as if I was starved and dehydrated for days…

I came across a few people hiking/running in both directions, but there were ample alone moments as well. I went til about 3.5 miles out and then turned around. I had a severely steep downhill section here that was cool, but man…my legs are still feeling it big time. SOOOORE!

I ran back into Mill Valley completely content with my time in the woods. When can I go back???? A NECESSITY!
Was about 7 miles total.

Today, went to the gym and ran 4 on the treadmill followed by lots of core exercises. Aim is to keep getting fitter, stronger.

As I write this, I know my quads are in some hurt and I have no Advil. Damn. Can someone send me some. Stat. Thx.

Follow your dreams. Aim high. Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged by anyone or anything. You can make it happen. One step at a time!!

ONWARD!

Race Report; Muir Woods 7 Mile Trail Race

Posted in motivation, photos, races, running, trail with tags , , , , , , on April 18, 2012 by afuntanilla

What a thrill of a race! 7 miles up and down and thru the Muir Woods in Marin, Ca, about 20-30 minutes north of San Francisco!
My friend, Sharon, took on this terrific challenge with me. While I have run many races, both road and trail, this was only her 3rd race ever. EVER. Pretty damn impressive that she even considered this race, let alone, toed the line and finish! Massive kudos to her!

The race was to begin at Stinson Beach. The race didn’t start until 9am, which I appreciated a lot. I love sleeping in even just a little bit on Saturday since I am up at 6am every weekday for work. So, we got a little bit of breakfast, coffee and made our way on the very windy, beautiful road out to the race start. The race was put on by Envirosports which produces a lot of trail races in the Bay Area and the rest of California. I had done one of their races years ago in the Marin Headlands and remember the crowd and energy being so low key, fun, and just without a lot of the hoopla you find at the bigger, much more expensive road races. Don’t get me wrong, I like those too from time to time, but it is super nice and freshing to experience a race where it is very basic, but very fun! Dave, the race director, stood on a picnic table and shouted out the instructions for each distance; 7 miles, half marathon and marathon.
Dave: repeat after me; ” you are gonna go up. And up. And up some more.”
You get the picture right? Us 7 milers, then would take a right hand turn and go down, down, and down some more. OK.

Dave singled out a couple who had come from Vermont to celebrate their anniversary and run the marathon. They also led us in “America the Beautiful” before we got started on our adventure. As we sang, I looked around and just took some deep breaths and took in the moment. So incredibly beautiful: a gorgeous clear day, the voices of strangers singing together, each with his/her own thoughts and reasons for being there, the faint sounds of the Pacific Ocean wave and birds in the background….ah…..LIFE….LIFE.

The start was literally AT sea level, on the beach.

The marathon runners began first, half marathoners 10 minutes later, and finally us 7 milers, 10 more minutes later. Needless to say, I was ready to jump out of my skin by the time we finally got going at around 930am. When you are excited to race, you wanna go! LIFE

Sharon and I wished each other good luck and off we went. Physically, I thought I was feeling pretty good. Last weeks 5.25 mile run on this course was tough but I felt like my legs were recovered. I felt rested and ready to go. I wasn’t sure I was actually gonna “race”, but I thought I would take it as it goes and see what happens. Beginning a race on SAND is interesting and not exactly something I would continue to do. We got out of the sand and onto the parking lot pavement and within about 1/4 mile, we were onto the Dipsea Trail heading UP. Both Sharon and I were so glad we had tested out the course last week. HUGE BENEFIT. We knew exactly what to expect on the way up. Within just a few minutes, my heart rate was high, as expected. I ran as much as I could during these early 3.5 miles of mostly all uphill. The first section was a mixture of hard packed dirt, narrow single track trail, mixed in with some wider open areas that was tightly packed small rocks. As we climbed and got into the open area, the vast Pacific Ocean was to our right. The next section was where we switched from the Dipsea Trail onto Steep Ravine trail. Um….the name of the trail is NOT a MISPRINT or MISTAKE. Extremely fitting name. A very steep quick downhill and then all uphill. Steep uphill. Un-runnable uphill. Crazy steep steps uphill. Throw in a LADDER uphill.

Toss in some lush trees, narrow footpaths, lovely small waterfalls, a couple of short bridges, and ducking under a few fallen down tree trunks and there you have it: the path up. I am pleased to say that more than a few people stepped aside for me to pass them on their left. I was breathing heavy, but they were REALLY breathing heavy. Imagine lifting your legs as high as you can to climb a step…that’s what some of it was like. FUN!! CRAZY!!

My mind was so incredibly focused. My thought process was, “push. keep pushing. keep trying to pass people. get as far ahead as you can because you don’t want anyone to pass you on the downhill section. push. keep pushing.”

So, obviously, I WAS in race mode! 🙂
Felt awesome.

I finally go to the “top”, 3.5 mile point. There was an aid station, and bathroom but I didn’t need either because I had water with me. I sucked down the only gel i had and made me way onto the Dipsea Trail again and headed DOWN. YEAH!!!!

What a freakin’ thrill. I really picked up my pace and was simply going for it. I passed more than a few more people and was pushing. It was me against me. Me against the clock. I was flying. I was in heaven. This part of the trail was heavily rooted in some parts with rocks jutting out and causing me to be more careful; other parts were more more smooth…and then of course, throw in some more Dipsea Stairs going DOWN…steep stairs, slippery stairs, going down. Going down fast!!
I came to a section where I was alone for quite a bit and I got a second wind and I just felt like I was an animal, in our truest and most basic elements. I felt so free. Surrounded by beauty. I started screaming and yelling….

WHO-HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

In one of my last sections, I passed a young woman, probably 10-15 years younger than me) I passed on some stairs. Then, we came to one last very steep uphill section and she passed me. UGH! I wasn’t happy about this, but I had to let it go and keep moving as fast as I could. We were into the final stretch and moving downhill on some of the more open, wider trails. I got a 3rd wind and was moving fast, opening my stride and fucking going for it. Had to manuever around and pass small clusters of regular people hiking the trail…”keep pushing..keep pushing”
I was getting closer and closer to the young woman ahead…and bam, I caught her and flew past her and never looked back. I exited the trail and ran onto the pavement/road section that took me back to the beach. My legs were dying, but I had to keep going a few more yards, a few more yards. A few people were cheering me on as I came in and crossed the finish line!

I was thrilled. Such a fun race.

I feel darn good about my results.

Placed 29 out of 139 runners
Placed 6 in my age group. Women 40-45

It was a great event and I hope to do more EnviroSport Races. And Sharon…well, I think she is HOOKED on trail running! 🙂

Onward!

Week 8 Run Report

Posted in motivation, road with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by afuntanilla

I spoke a little too soon last week. I ended up being not entirely better. ugh. damn lingering sickness.

Week 8 started off with a tougher than expected 4.25 mile run in and around downtown Mill Valley. I wanted to get out of Petaluma for a bit and so I went down south about 40 minutes away. I love the scenery of Mill Valley; the towering redwood, eucalyptus tress lining the streets, shielding me from the sun. Love just running there and taking deep breaths, taking it all in. AHHHH….
Unfortunately, I did not stay long afterwards. I drove around in some of the neighborhoods for a few minutes, but then quickly left. I toyed around with the idea at getting lunch at the Bookstore Depot Cafe, but after standing in line for a bit, I just left. Why? Because as awesome and aesthetically pleasing is Mill Valley, visiting there just feels off. It’s such a little tucked away nest, a beautiful little oasis, and the PEOPLE there have an aura of supremacy and protectionism. They behave as though they KNOW you are a visitor and the energy is not friendly and welcoming. So, yes, it’s pretty snobby and of course, i cannot stand it. I feel like it has gotten much worse over the years. Even going into the Peets Coffee there feels like I am going into sacred territory that is only designed for the residents of M.V. Ugh. Not a good feeling. I know I am not alone in my feelings and descriptions as I have spoken to friends about their experiences as well and they have similar stories….Oh well….Moving on…
At least I got a good run in. 🙂

I was not so fortunate the next few days. Monday evening, I started feeling achy and tired and basically didn’t do much for the next few days. I DID go into San Rafael and sign an offer letter for a new job, but that was the extent of my outings mid week. I’m excited about new job, but I’m still awaiting results of the background check before I am officially “in”. So, as of right now, Monday 10:45am, I am not yet official and I don’t have a start date. There should be no reason for me to NOT pass the background check, but I still must be patient and go thru the process.
Friday I took a stab at running again and just do a quick 30 min run. I could feel I was not 100%, but it also felt great to move my body.
Saturday, I went on a long walk with my friend, Holly. We walked about 1.5 hours from her house, into downtown, and back again. Approx 5 miles. Again, felt great to MOVE my body. Didn’t do much for rest of day. Took advantage of some alone time and did an lot of reading.
Saturday night I went to sleep with the full intention of going for a longer run in the morning. Waking up, I was thankful to be feeling much better. I went downtown to Peets and came back to the house and read, spent some morning quiet time. Ate 2 small/mini Clif Bars and was soon on my way. Wandered all around downtown Petaluma and beyond on a beautiful, quiet Sunday and ended up running 7.6 miles. Very, very satisfied with this run! Looked back at my running journal and realize I had not run over 7 miles since last (early) October. I think I am ready to RAMP IT UP!

After running & grabbing a snack, I went to play TENNIS!! First time in about 7 years and I’ve only played about 10 times total. Went with Sharon, who plays regularly, and we played for about 1.5 hours. Felt awesome, even though I am not a very good player. YET! Gonna work on it and have fun! 🙂

Week 8: Total approx miles: 15

Life-Boat

Posted in random with tags , , on October 30, 2011 by afuntanilla

During my 20’s, while I lived in California, I did some workshops that were all geared toward learning about oneself and how to deepen the relationship with yourself and others. One of the workshops was a 3.5 day event from morning until evening. It was held in Mill Valley and was super intense from an emotional perspective. My experience that weekend is still very fresh in my mind and I feel I am still learning from the teachings and the subsequent teachings with that particular group.
One of the scenarios/exercises we did has come into my memory recently and I remember it with a bittersweet feeling. Here’s what happened…
The large group of about 75 people were led on a guided meditation with a story. We had to imagine we were all on a plane and our plane had crashed. There was a small raft that could fit 10 people and those were the people who would able to escape the crash and save themselves. Each one of us had to decide if we wanted to be one of the 10 voted onto the raft or if we would be willing to give up our seat for someone else in the group. After the meditation, each one of us had to stand up in front of the group and in 30 seconds explain your choice. If you wanted a seat on raft, you had to explain why you felt you were worthy of it. You had to state your case as to why you should be one of the 10 chosen. And conversely, if you did not want a seat, if you were willing to give it up for someone else, you had to explain your reasoning.
Well, I was about the 10th individual to go and state my case. Basically everyone before me had said they didn’t want a spot…that they had lived a full life and it was ok for them to be off the raft…or they said they didn’t feel they were any more worthy than next person, so they basically opted out. I sat in my seat absolutely stunned that these people were basically killing themselves, unwilling to fight for their lives. Even though I was terrified to stand up and speak in front of 75 people, I was also bursting at the seams to jump out of my seat and explain to the group that HELL YES, I wanted a seat on the raft. I wanted to live!
And, so I did just that. I had 30 seconds and I only used about 10. I think I said something about being young and passionate about life And YES, I WANT TO BE ON THE BOAT. My voice was loud, steady and my words were said with conviction. When I was done talking, I just stood there for the remainder of my 30 seconds and then sat down. The rest of the group proceeded and more people gave up their seat rather than fight for it, although there were others who made strong cases for being on the raft. I continued to be baffled though by the sheer number of people who were sheepish and who were giving up so easily.
Next came decision time. Each person had to vote on paper the 10 people they felt were worthy of the seat on raft. Who would the survivors be? Who would be voted on to go and live and be a good parent, a good citizen, etc…

The voting was finalized and the names were announced. As each person was announced, they were to go stand at front of the room.

I was not chosen. I was not voted on the raft.

I was truly shocked and a bit angry and upset. I mean, crap, I was actually one of the few people who said they wanted to live and I wasn’t voted on? What hell?

We were then given an opportunity to hear feedback from the group and the leaders of workshop if we wanted. You could ask for feedback on why or why you were not chosen.
I asked for feedback. The person whose comments continue to stand out for me were those of one of the workshop leaders.

“Angie…yeah, you know, I DID vote for you to be on the raft. In addition to being one of the only people who didn’t kill themselves, in liked your presence up there and I GOT that you truly wanted a seat, that you really wanted to live. I wanted you on the boat with me. I got it, but there’s a way that your peers did not GET it…and that is where your work is.”

There was and is no right answer to being on the raft. The exercise was used as a way to really see yourself. A mirror. A tool. Pretty damn powerful. Even still…

Dipsea Dreams

Posted in photos, races, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2010 by afuntanilla

Got in another beautiful trail run yesterday at another park i had not yet run in…Red Top Mountain. The park is about 45 min drive from the homestead. I had not realized it was that close and as such, i will definitely be going back again and again.

Been getting out on the trails for a few reasons:

1) give the legs some relief from pavement
2) be out of city & in nature
3) because i applied to the ridiculously difficult to get into

http://www.dipsea.org/

Dipsea is one of my all-time favorite races! I have run the 7.6 mile trail race 3x in the past. They only allow 1500 total runners into the race and give preference for those who have run it the previous year. Anyway, my chance it slimmer than slim! If i don’t get in, I think I will just go ahead and do the:

http://www.doubledipsea.com/

Both races take place in June so I can start planning. Even though regular Dipsea is only 7.6 miles, you have no idea how hard it is til you have run it. But, it’s also a ton of fun and takes place in one of my all time favorite places, MILL VALLEY, CA. (about 10 minutes across the Golden Gate Bridge) One Dipsea is a challenge. Double Dipsea will be…um…an adventure. Either way, I am looking forward to it. Stay tuned for which one I will do.

This weekend and last weekend I ran trails on Saturday and did Bike/Run sessions on Sunday. Why the Bike/Run you might ask… Well, there is a duathlon in Mid May I am looking at doing. Run/Bike/Run; 3m/16m/3m
No entry filled out yet, but I am thinking about it.
The bike rides have been ok. I would rather be able to go to Silver Comet Trail to ride but now that I have my new BMW (instead of my Nissan Xterra) I cannot transport my bike….and I don’t know if i want to invest in a bike rack. That decision will need to come later. (believe me, i am NOT COMPLAINING about not being able to transport the bike…freaking love my car!)

Hope everyone is training hard, training smart, having fun and eating healthy!

Cheers!