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Nike Women’s Marathon Race Report: Going way beyond comfort levels….

Posted in photos, quotes, races, road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by afuntanilla

Well. What a race. The marathon deserves and demands much respect. if you do not train properly (i.e. enough), it will be a painful experience. Gonna be painful anyway, but not training enough will put your further into the hurt box. Such was my experience today at the Nike Women’s Marathon; my 3rd go at this particular race and my 9th marathon overall.

The start area is tremendous. 30,000 women packed into San Francisco’s Union Square to begin the journey at 6:30am. The thunderous crowd of females (and a few males) lined the narrow streets and waited for the countdown; 10, 9, 8…

A few strides in and I knew. I knew it was going to be a tough day for me. My legs just felt heavy. Tired. My quads. Not a good sign.

The start is a bit staggered but even so, it is very congested and for the first 3 miles, it is very packed. Runners moving tightly together, trying to find some space..It felt a bit surreal for me those first 1-3 miles. Felt like I was floating…couldn’t really get a good grasp of my feet. Strange. After we weaved our way through the financial district, we hit the Embarcadero and it was still quite dark out. Great running weather; about 50 degrees and foggy. The first 6 miles are almost all flat — just 2 very very short hills. Can you believe I had forgotten my earbuds so i was without my own music. very disappointed about this…could have really used it in the later miles…

Between running this race 2 times in the past, the SF marathon 2x and the SF 1/2 marathon 2 times, and all the training I’ve done, I knew this course well. I knew where the hilly parts were and what to expect, etc…but, today, it didn’t matter. Miles 6-11 are the most hilly…some steep climbs up through the Presidio area, Sea Cliff and then a long steep downhill past the Cliff House and into Golden Gate Park. The first 13 miles are “tougher” than the 2nd 13 from a standpoint of course difficulty, but of course the back half of the race is tougher because well….it’s 13 more miles!! Unfortunately, I started to feel physically bad around mile 9. Even after the long downhill around mile 10 didn’t help. In fact, my quads were feeling it there…very tender. So, basically from that point on until around mile 17, I found myself having a raging battle in my head!!! (THAT is a long time to have a battle in your head let me tell you!!)

Here is some of what it was like in my head: maybe you should not finish. maybe you need to stop. maybe you just need to call this a training run and let it go. then i have to explain to friends what happened. i don’t want to do that. i don’t want to disappoint them. disappoint myself. but, what do you have to prove? you have already run 8 marathons! you are already in pain…think of how much more pain you will be if you keep going? you have a long way to go still, Angie. this is driving me crazy. this is not fun. there is no way I will reach my goal of 4:20ish. my time will be bad. who cares? check your ego! let go!! i guess this is what happens when you don’t put in as many training miles as you should. ugh. crap. i don’t know what to do. i have to decide soon. just focus on one mile at a time.

So several times, i thought i would pull myself from the course and thereby receive a DNF…Did Not Finish for this race. There were several opportunities to do so at very attractive points on the course; Mile 13 and between miles 16-17 for example. Once I was past mile 17, I knew if I did in fact pull myself, I would have a long and unpleasant walk back to the finish line and where the shuttle was located to take us back to the start. For a few miles probably between 9-12, my mind was fixated on “should i stop”. There was a lot of badgering going on inside my head…the pros, the cons, the very realistic reasons why it would be ok. I suppose during those miles I was trying to come to peace with that possible decision. I guess I never found that peace. I stopped somewhere along the great highway between miles 17-18. I looked around and then started running again. A few minutes later, I stopped again. This time, I looked back and glanced at the runners behind me and who were now passing me in these few seconds. All I could think was; “how can I possibly NOT finish?”

And, so..i kept moving.

With full knowledge, I not only embraced the pain, I literally DOVE right in it and said, ‘Ok…I get it…it’s your time to take over…but, know this…you will not break me.’

It’s an interesting thing…to knowingly dive into something you know will be challenging and very painful….especially when you know you have the choice. No one was forcing me to keep running. I could have stopped at any time. I’ve already run the marathon 8 times. What did it matter on this day that I finish? I hadn’t trained enough and I was clearly paying the price for not giving the marathon the absolute full respect it demands and deserves. Hands down. Really, what did it matter….I had nothing to prove to anyone. Did I? I guess the answer just came down to the fact that I truly owed it to the race, to the event itself, to finish. And, I owed it to me…for the amount of training i HAD put in. And I felt I owed it to the many other women out there…who were struggling in their own right…who were on the own journey…i owed it to them, my comrades on this day, to finish.

I felt more mentally and physically challenged than I have experienced in a while. And because of this, to finish, felt like a win. I had to dig deeper and stay focused more than I have ever had to before (or that I can remember) Miles 21-26 were super tough. I started to have some GI issues around miles 21-23….i was so sick of eating Hammer Gels and GU’s…i had also taken in 1/2 banana, 1 orange slice, 3 individual Clif Shot Blocks and a few sips of NUUN Electrolyte Mix. All of this was making my stomach not feel too good. Also, I did something I almost never do in a race; i stopped to urinate in a port-a-potty, not once, but twice! Arrrgghh! I truly hate having to stop for things while running. Usually, just a few short stops thru some of the water areas and I am good to go. But, today, was a whole different story and I just had to accept the circumstances and keep moving forward.

As I finish writing this 2 days post race, I feel this race experience perhaps taught me more than any other. It really feels quite profound. This was my overall 2nd worst finish time. And yet, It could very well be the marathon I am most proud of. Isn’t that something??!!

I definitely wouldn’t say I had fun out there…well, maybe I do enjoy the pain in some weird way…But, if you asked me after any marathon if i had fun, i would probably say no. It’s not a FUN event. I relish the experience. I enjoy the challenge. I bask in trying to find out just what I am capable of on any given day with the set of circumstances laid before me. That’s the “juice” for me. That’s what its always been about for me. Running…has been and is such an amazing teacher and the marathon is the event where there is a mirror all around you and you learn. You learn your strengths, weaknesses, etc…you see where you want to quit. And where you won’t. Where as ok as it could be, the fact of the matter is, you just must keep going. Some days, that is the only choice.

I thought I might cry a bit when I crossed the finish line, but I didn’t. That happened hours later when i came home and laid on my bed. I cried. For what it took. For what it gave. For me. going full circle.

Finish Time: 4 hours, 40 minutes, 27 seconds. — 2nd worst finish time. well….

What I ate: 6 gels, (Hammer Gel and GU Energy); 1/2 banana, 1 orange wedge, sips of Nuun Electrolyte.

Shoes worn: Nike Flynit (my orange pair) 🙂

Shorts: North Face (flight series) love these!

Shirt: Nike Dri-Fit Short Sleeve

Socks: Injinji toe socks…the best! no blisters ever.

Hat: San Francisco Running Co (orange hat)

Oh…yeah…this is the marathon that does NOT give you a medal….instead you get a little Tiffany Blue Box with a necklace after you cross the finish line. Each year it is different. In honor of the races 10th Anniversary, this was the necklace this year:



On the back, it has inscribed: Nike Women’s 2013 Marathon San Francisco.

Some stats I pulled from the Race Results:

most women ran the HALF – MARATHON; 26,402

Full marathon runners: 4,364

That stat alone makes me feel a little more bad ass.  🙂

In my age group W 40-44, I came in 168 out of  433.

Thanks for reading and to those of you who know me and cheer me on in my crazy endeavors…Thank you.


running small and tall

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road with tags , , , , , on April 5, 2011 by afuntanilla

So, I went on a very short (2 hours) road trip on Friday with my buddy, Sharon. We went to Clemson, SC for the half-marathon race on Saturday. Still in search of my PR for the distance, but going into this race, i knew this was not going to be the day. Not yet.
Sharon and I checked out some of the course before dinner and saw that it was not flat at all. The course was in and around the Clemson University campus. Beautiful. Lots of green. There was no expo. This was a super small race. Fine by me. It’s nice to mix up the races between big, heavily sponsored races and low key races. We stayed at the new Courtyard Marriott hotel. If you happen to ever be in the area, we highly recommend. Super nice rooms, main lobby, etc…and a reasonable rate!

Being that Clemson is a pretty small town, our dinner choices were limited. We opted for Applebees and both got pasta. It was um…less than desirable. We may have fared better with all the snacks each of us brought, but alas.. we ate and moved on to the movies across the street. We went to see The Lincoln Lawyer. We were both looking forward to seeing it as we both dig these type of movies and I also had just finished the book. Great book, by the way. By Michael Connelly. I have read most of his books and recommend him for anyone who likes lawyer, crime, suspense type books. The Poet is probably my all time favorite and i wish they would make that into a movie! The Lincoln Lawyer was pretty good and followed the book pretty closely. Plus Matthew Mcconaughey and Marisa Tomei were pretty easy to watch for a couple hours! Next up: back to hotel and sleep.

Morning. Woke up at 6am and went down to lobby for coffee. Had my usual Clif Bar and chilled out while Sharon got ready to go. We found our way to the Botanical Gardens, the start location. I loved the small race atmosphere; limited amount of people, low-key. Just a bunch of runners on a gorgeous, crisp morning. 50 degrees. After a bathroom break and some stretching, I was ready to go.

I really had no expectations other than to do the best i could. In my head and aloud to Sharon I said, “if i finish under 2:05, i’ll be happy”. My body the week before had been a major stress ball. All work related and bothersome for me. It was a relief to be “in my element” again and to just GO!

While in the starting area, I heard fellow runners discussing how hilly the course was…i started to get more cautious in my thinking and strategy…don’t go out too fast…take each mile one at a time, etc…

Right out the gate, it was all rolling hills..small, but rolling. It was hard to feel or find a rhythm. I was surprised by my time when I passed Mile 2. I was doing better than I thought. We faced numerous turns around campus and more and more rolling hills. They threw a few steep ones in there also. For the record, I have not been doing much running on hills at all, so i was nervous. Yet, as I passed each mile marker, my time was still pretty good. Mentally, I felt very focused. Even as i passed some water stops, i drank on the run, which i rarely do. I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to break stride. Around half way, we ran over a grass lined dam with Lake Hartwell to our right. Gorgeous. I saw lots of crew teams out with their boats. That was always something I wanted to do; row/crew.

As we approached Mile 8, we climbed a moderate hill. Legs were getting tired. Otherwise I felt solid. I was focused and determined. Felt good to have this mindset. Sharon was there and taking pics. I was happy to see my friend there supporting me!

By Mile 10, I was at 1:31 which meant I had 29 minutes to run 3.1 miles and i would have a PR! I was excited, but knew i had to see how the terrain was gonna be on the last few miles. Mile 10-11, good. Mile 11-12, BAD! Man, probably the steepest hill of the day and there it is…mile 11. Yikes. Tore up my legs. Could not really push like I wanted to. The hill got me. It conquered me pretty good and I tip my hat to it. Mile 12-13 was a mix but  mostly slightly downhill. I was not able to make up the time I lost on the hill. I came around the bend to finish in a respectable 2 hours, 2 minutes, 8 seconds.


Still trying to break PR of 02:01:44  — damn, i didn’t realize how close I was! And on a hilly course! I pushed as hard as I could. That’s what it’s all about. Laying it out there. Gutting it out. For yourself.

Proud. Still hungry.

Gear Worn:

Shoes: KSwiss K-Ona

Shorts: KSwiss

Shirt: technical race shirt from Vegas Half-Marathon in December 2010

Arm Warmers: Nike

Blue Bandana

Watch: Origo Granite Peak

Getting to the Starting Line…

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by afuntanilla

After 2 weeks of not feeling good, physically, it was truly a last minute decision to make the 3.5 hour drive from Atlanta to Albany, GA. Physically, my body has felt like a mess; major fatigue, stress, anxiety, not sleeping, etc…I have not gotten a fever or anything like that…my body was just shutting down, i believe, from stress….hence the major fatigue. Lots of things going on outside of my running life. 🙂

So, there I was at my office Friday afternoon, trying to decide if i should drive to Albany. Basically, I just said, “screw it, i’m going. make the drive and see how i feel in the morning.”

3-4 hours later, I was in Albany and at the small expo at the Hilton Garden Inn. For those who don’t know, Albany is a pretty small city in south Georgia with a population of about 80k. While there, I learned that Ray Charles was a native and they have a very cool statue of him playing the piano in the area.

The little expo was cool! Better than some of the much bigger expos I have been to…although maybe its just that I like smaller expos now. Less people. Less craziness. I really liked the small town feel of this one. I grabbed my race bag, some Snickers Marathon energy bars, a couple of GU’s and that was about all I needed. As I walked around, I became more and more excited; just being in the atmosphere was great! I was excited to run, body willing.

I decided to go to the pasta dinner right there at the hotel. While eating, I talked to my fellow table mates and got even more jazzed for the run. Then, runner/author/speaker, Scott Ludwig, gave a talk and that put me over the top. A serious runner who has run races such as Badwater Ultra, Western States 100, etc…He regaled his experiences from such races for us as we chowed down pre-race pasta. I was in runner heaven. For me, Badwater, is a true dream….(for those who don’t know what Badwater is, Goggle it!!!)

Thankfully, I got to bed fairly early and when I woke, I felt rested and ready to test the waters, so to speak. Going to the starting line, I felt better and better. Adrenaline was definitely my friend! Even as lousy as I had been feeling, I was still going to try to push it and go for a PR. This was to be a flat, fast course so why not give all I could and see what happens. Right out of the gate, I felt good. Miles were passing and I was doing ok. 9:00- 9:15 pace approx. By mile 6, I was 56 min and I just kept thinking, keep this pace and I will be ok. Aerobically, I felt fine but I could feel my legs start to get heavy. My mind was constantly going, checking my watch and trying to calculate my next mile, etc…I was so happy to be out there and to be doing as well as I was. The weather was perfect. A cool <60 degrees. The course was flat with quite a few turns through some quaint & pretty neighborhoods. The volunteers were abundant and amazing. I didn’t want to stop at all at the water stops, but I did to get the GUs down. Mile 7 felt ok, but now thinking there’s no way I can keep this pace up. Mile 8; right after the water stop, i “latched” on to a couple who were running faster than I. I wanted to keep up with them as much as I could — it lasted a little past mile 9. I could not keep it up, but I was thankful for that mile. After that, I knew I could not sustain the pace so I began to relax a little and I slowed down. Legs were getting tired. I stopped 2 times and walked about 1 min each time. I think somewhere around Mile 11, there was a great group of young, black, teenager girls who were volunteering and cheering loudly. They made me smile. Even so, I just slowed my pace and wanted to finish with a decent time.

Soon enough I was heading down the last stretch to the finish line right along the Flint River. Official result 2:06:27

Crossed the finish and was greeted with a smiling volunteer who put a medal around my neck. A good day.

Gear Worn:

Shoes: KSwiss K-Ona

Shorts: KSwiss

Shirt: RUNATL shirt from Big Peach

Blue Nike Bandana

Watch: Nike

Onward! Determined to get my body better and ready for a finish under 2 hours. I know what I need to do.

Run Smart. Run Strong. Enjoy every step.

LA Story

Posted in motivation, photos, road, shoes, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2010 by afuntanilla

Race morning began with a 5am wake up call. Ready to wake up, i rose and immediately went into the hotel lobby for the complimentary coffee. It was no Peets, but I was happy to have it. I returned to my room and changed into my running clothes and made sure i had everything esle I needed; garmin, iPOD, gels, bandana. Yep, that’s about it. Then, it was off to the drive from Beverly Hills into Santa Monica.

I parked in Santa Monica because that’s where the finish line was and there were shuttle buses there to take us to the starting line at Dodger Stadium. Personally, i thought this part was a pain, but oh well. So, we are on the bus at 6am and trying to get to the race start. Traffic to the stadium was a nightmare. Traffic all over. Everyone trying to get to Dodger Stadium. It was now 7am and i had serious thoughts that we’d be running from the bus to starting line because race start was suppossed to be 7:20am. That didn’t happen, thank goodness.

I got off the bus and had to go to bathroom. Of course, there were LOOOONG lines at port-a-potties so i improvised. I saw a row of trash dumpsters and me and a bunch of other women just took matters into our own hands and went behind the dumpters. Hey, it’s RACE DAY and anything goes!!!

Made my way into the starting area and was getting excited. Lots of folks all around, huddling together for this adventure. Lots of people of all ethnicities, sizes, shapes…loved seeing the diversity.

I guess the race organizers were behind schedule because we didn’t end up starting until almost 7:50am, not 7:20am. I was ancy. I wanted to get started.

Finally, the race begins!

The first mile was weird in that it was basically a full lap around Dodger Stadium. Then another 1/2 lap and we were out on the roads. There were some small hills throughout the course…a pretty good sized one about mile 5. Yikes. Where did that come from? The course went along different neighborhoods and not being from LA, i did not know these different spots. First section I recognized was Downtown, then Hollywood. I was struck by the good amount of spirited spectators along the course. Even though I had my iPOD on, I heard them, saw their signs and even gave a bunch of high 5’s along the way. I love seeing spectators in races. It makes it more fun and it helps stay motivated. So, thank you, dear LA spectators!! I was also struck by the MASSIVE amount of volunteers! There were water and Powerade stops at every mile and there were a ton of volunteers. Really appreciate them!!

I can usually sense from the get go how my body feels and even though I was ancy to start, ONCE i did, my body was telling me something different. My legs were just not feeling it. They felt tight, heavy, tired. At mile 6, i thought, “well, I’ve got 20 more to go…damn”. I knew i was in for a long day. Aerobically, I felt great. My legs were the issue.

Still…i kept on and was thinking about all those that did my “adopt-a-mile.” With each mile, I had a different person from my life in mind and it helped me stay focused and keep truckin’. It was fun to think of the different people as the miles passed because everyone means something different to me…i have a connection with each person and it’s all pretty damn cool.

By mile 13, i was at about 2:07 and though I was physically not feeling great, i was pleased with my time and figured if i can just keep it up, i can maybe have a personal record. If I finished under 4:20, i would have a marathon best. Since the 2nd half was more flat and downhill, i really thought i had a shot. Well…it wasn’t soon after that where I started to deteriorate.

Ouch. Legs were hurting. Quads. I knew I was in trouble when we had a short steep downhill section in West Hollywood and I COULD NOT go fast. Legs were like OUCH as i tried to zoom down the hill. They would have none of it. I think that was the point where I started to get disappointed. Obviously, that’s not how I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel strong and fast. But, I kept on. I never thought I wouldn’t finish. I just knew it was gonna continue to sting.

We ran our way through rest of W. Hollywood, Bevery Hills and into Westwood. Again, lots of spectators and it seemed like they were growing in size. very cool!

I knew there was one last hill somewhere between mile 20-21 and then it was downhill to the finish. Well, lemme tell you….I never FELT the downhill. It all seemed just flat. The MAP shows the downhill, people KEPT SAYING,” IT’S ALLL DOWNHILL FROM HERE.” Not to me and my aching legs.

On the plus side, my nutrition was good. I felt fine. I was taking some gels and clif bloks and drinking plelnty of water. Also, the weather was good. It was maybe 60 at the start and never got too warm. it was overecast and actually pretty cool as we headed into Santa Monica and the beach! The last 3 miles seemed to take forever. I was looking at my watch and seeing the time get further away from what I had hoped.

2 friends who live in Santa Monica were gonna try and see me at about mile 24. I looked for them but didn’t see them, unfortunately. On the last mile, I tried to kick it up a notch and go strong. I crossed the finish line of my 7th marathon in 4:32. I was more relived than happy.

As soon as we cross the finish line, we are greeted by a volunteer who places a medal around our neck. That DOES feel gratifying. A medal for the battle just “won”. Four hours and 32 minutes of mental and physical battle. We all deserve the medal!

I looked around me and saw some people getting their finisher photo taken, others were on the ground, sitting with a glazed look over their face, drinking water or eating their bagel, banana. I really wanted to sit down but I feared not being able to get back up! Also, I had to   go to PLAN B to meet my 2 friends. We were to meet at the beach party tent area under F for my last name. The area was about another 1/2 mile walk from finish line.

Once we joined up, i fell down and for about 3 seconds i thought i was gonna lose it. But, i didn’t. I told them a little about the race. I was really happy to see them.

Soon enough we started walking down the beach to the parking lot where my rental car was located. It took a while to get there – maybe another 3/4-1 mile in total because we couldn’t find the car. I was so confused..could not remember where I had parked at 5:45am in the dark!

I dropped them off at their house and i went on to my hotel.

So, what happened? Why was I not able to perform better? I have a couple of thoughts.

One: given that my last marathon was in october, perhaps it was too much for my body to do another one so soon. this was the first time I had done 2 marathons in such a short time period. but remember, I felt so great at SF Marathon that I wanted to run another one. I felt like I could physically do it. Maybe I was wrong.

Two: my other theory is that i simply did not get in ENOUGH LONG MILE runs. I did not run much in Nov/Dec and picked it up in January. But, perhaps…the miles I’ve done since January weren’t enough to get me to where i wanted to be. It’s one thing to finish a’s another to finish a marathon and still feel physically ok afterwards. I now know both sides.

Am I happy and proud to have finished? yes, of course i have those feelings. But, my disappointment is certainly the more dominant feeling. This is not marathon #1 for me and as such, I don’t have the same expectations and wishes for myself. i want to feel better. I want to perform better. That is part of what makes me who I am. That is part of the drive. I KNOW what a huge achievement it is to get out there and to finish. And I know in many ways it is not about the end result. Every race, every training teaches me something and therein lies some of the beauty. I know there are jewels to be found.

What I know to be true is that i did my best with what I had on race day. I could not have done any better.

There will be other days when  i can try to be better…to be a better me…As long as I have a body that works, i will keep trying. For me, that’s the juice.

Other TIDBITS and PICS from TRIP

Here’s my blog buddy, JOSH, wearing the cool-ass KSwiss Knit Cap. We met up at LA Expo on Friday. When he met me in line to get our BIB #’s, he gave me this KNIT cap cause he knew I loved it. WHAT A COOL GUY, HUH!!!

And here’s me with the same cap on next A.M. in my new LA Marathon Shirt at Peets Coffee in Santa Monica!

Here’s me again at Peets. yes, i’m in love. Yes, I am addicted.

Other highlights of LA TRIP:

Going to KSWISS Store in Santa Monica:

The guy helping me was SOOOO cool. I bought another shirt, shorts and yes, MORE SHOES. (just 1 pair) and He have me BART YASSO’S new book, My Life on the RUN.

Other great parts of the trip were eating at different restaurants. Have you ever noticed how you kinda get into a rut at home…eating the same things or at the same restaurants. I went to URTH CAFE on Melrose, which was fantastic, healthy and had outdoor seating. We don’t have enough healthy places as such here in Atlanta. Went dining at a great Italian place with 2 friends on Saturday night. Wonderful, simple, yet stylish restaurant called OSTERIA LA BUCA.

Obviously, had multiple trips to PEETS Coffee, but I also went to a new coffee joint: INTELLGENTISIA – a really neat little joint over in Venice. Watching the baristas make the coffee there was truly a pleasure and they delivered ART!

Met a friend for lunch in Beverly Hills. Man, i felt like such a star! HA!

My hotel was SOFIETEL on Beverly Dr. near Beverly Hills. A wonderful place to stay! Excellent service across the board! Highly Recommend this hotel! I also had a massage post-race which was exactly what I needed! The spa space was calm, empty, soothing, and peaceful. Very nice after the not-too-happy space I was in post-run.

Here’s the last photo share…taken the next day before leaving LA. It sure was not a pretty race, but it still counts. #7. Done.

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.

Roll Tide, Baby

Posted in quotes, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by afuntanilla

Such a pleasure driving my new wheels to Birmingham! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

“Everyone in life is looking for a certain rush. Racing is where I get mine” -John Trautman

Oh, uh..ok..this is a RACE REPORT!! Here I go…

I made the 2 hour-ish drive to b’ham Saturday afternoon. Had zero trouble on the roads after the serious snow we had in atlanta on Friday. The remnants made the drive all the more pretty. Upon arrival, went straight to the expo and got my race stuff; BIB# 2432, race tag/chip thing, a free race cap and picked up a couple more gels. I drove around a bit afterwards and checked out some of the course…was same course as last year. Checked into my hotel and then went to the local Starbucks for some writing/reading time. Had a very strange evening trying to find dinner but won’t even go into that story.

Race morning. Finally. I felt like my body really needed to run. I was so glad the day was finally here and I could go face the challenge. Temps were about 35 degrees, which is same as atlanta has been. I had on pants and a fleece top so i thought i might get warm, but i never did. My warm-up was hurrying to starting line. I made it with about 3 minutes to spare so i did a little stretching and we were off. I was in such a rush to leave hotel room that i forgot my iPod. Oh well. Might be nice to not have it, I thought. So, no iPOD and no water bottle; man, i felt NAKED. and FREE.

The race starts in downtown birmingham and the first 6 miles takes you on a course thru those streets. By mile 2 I could feel my body settle in and I had a feeling i might have a good day. I kept checking my Garmin watch for my mile splits and at mile 6, i was at 54:00 = 9:00/min/mile pace. I was psyched and I knew If i could keep it up i could have a good finish time. All I really wanted to do was be better than my results here in the past, which were 2:04, and 2:03. First 6 miles are nearly all completely flat. The next 7.1 have hills, so i wasn’t sure. I had to be careful not to run too fast and conk out, but also not be too conservative. I just kept focusing on one mile at a time and watching my splits. By mile 10, I was at 1:32 and I knew I was gonna finish well. only 3.1 more miles to go. I had one more hill and then it was flat home free. I was pushing, for sure. My right groin was starting to hurt & the left IT band area too. But, I just had to focus. I was so close. I’m not sure if it was because I had no music in my ears or what, but I was super focused. Felt awesome. I took my last swig of water at the last water stop/mile 12 and headed home. They called out my name as I came in and I crossed the finish line. THRILLED.


Best finish in a half-marathon distance since my very FIRST one in 1999. Who says you don’t get better with age? I missed a PR by 12 seconds. Crazy. So thrilled. On my way to breaking the 2 hour beast!

This has been one of my favorite races to do. 4 times now I have run. For the first time, however, the race t-shirt is not very good. oh well. a small concession, huh?! Another cool medal and another BIB # to add to the pile. What is a girl to do with all these BIB #’s? NOT THROWING THEM AWAY!

It’s always worth repeating; so thankful for my body. so appreciative. feeling strong and capable!

Thank you to the readers who give me so much support. Truly appreciate it.

What’s next?

more reflection from Nike SF Marathon

Posted in races, road with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2009 by afuntanilla

Just some numbers I’ve looked at recently – running miles by months

June 2009 = 79

July 2009 = 104

August 2009 = 128

September 2009 = 122

October 2009 = 77 (including marathon)

I was looking back at some numbers last time I ran a marathon which was in March 2007. I ran the ING Atlanta Marathon that day. That was my 5th marathon and I suffered. I had my worse finish time of 4:53. YIKES. I looked back at what my mileage was the 3 months prior to race and this is what i found:

December 2006 = 99

January 2007 = 117

February 2007 = 121

What surprises me when i compare the 2 training periods (a loose comparison) the 3 month total prior to Nike race was 354. The 3 month total prior to ING was 337. So, not much difference in the totals.

I’m not trying to figure out why there was such a vast difference in finish times as I pretty much already know the answer to that question, but it is all pretty interesting. Some of the big differences were the time of year for training. ING was in March, so i trained in winter into early spring. Maybe I spent too much time on treadmill. I can’t remember. For NIKE, I trained all through summer/heat/humidity and then some fall weather conditions. And then race day conditions were completely different. ING race day ended up being an incredibly hot day(unusual for march). There was not enough water on course and it was quite hilly. NIKE race day was some good ole’ San Francisco weather; high 50’s to start and probably never got above 65. Very few hills. Perfect. I think my performance was aided by something else; sheer enthusiasm for being back home. There is no way to calculate that, but it made a difference! I needed that race. I needed that race experience. I had to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the poor showing at ING. Ya know?! I needed it like sometimes you need to kiss someone so that last person you kissed isn’t the last person you kissed. Know what I mean? So, again, Thank you San Francisco, my city bay the bay.

Back in my office, people were interested to hear how it went. I am lucky to have good and enthusiastic support among my work folks. Just the other day one of my colleagues asked, “so, when’s your next race?”

Well. What’s next?