Archive for racing

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!

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!

TRAIN HARD. TRAIN SMART. BE BRAVE!

reflections, stats, & the Olympic Rings

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by afuntanilla

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”–unknown

For the 2nd race in a row, I was surprised with my finish time. As I mentioned in last post, the Birmingham Half-Marathon finish time of 2:01:55 was my 2nd best ever. Only time I was faster was by 12 seconds in 1999, in my first 1st Half-Marathon. Why was I surprised by my result. Well, my longest run since my last marathon in October was only 9 miles. I took it easy after the SF Marathon; resting in November and slowly getting miles in during December. I cranked it up in January & into February. Still, having my longest run only be 9 miles gave me room to manage expectations. Honestly, if I had finished anywhere under 2:05, I was gonna be happy. So, the question begs to be asked; why? what do i attribute it to?

For one, I think I am a smarter runner. I think I know my body well enough to tune in and pay attention to how it feels and then go with it. I think I am better at knowing how much I can push and for how long. Secondly, i believe my overall fitness is better. I’ve been doing a good amount of strength training and I do feel stronger, more fit. I guess I’ve been running races steadily for just over 10 years and I guess that’s a good amount of time to get to know your body and especially know it during a race environment. There are some days when you have it and definitely days when you don’t and I have been on both sides and no doubt, i will be on them time and time again.

Racing is fun. Not that I’m actually racing against anyone except myself and the clock. But, it’s the test. For weeks, for months, you train. You get out the door when you don’t want to. You run in the freezing cold when you’d rather sleep in. You get on the treadmill when you are dog-ass tired. Race day is when I feel free. I feel self-inflicted pressure, but I also feel free. Not sure if that makes sense, but it does to me. It’s like play. Race day is play day. I sure am looking forward to my next play day; March 21st. LA Marathon. I will be challenged, for sure.

The only stat I really have from my half-marathon is this:

Finished #60 out of 289 women aged 35-39. I’m happy with this. It’s better than last year. Moving up. yay.

My 1st run this morning was 10.5 miles. I ran from my house, zig-zag through Ansley, Midtown & Downtown and underneath the Olympic Rings near the Atlanta Braves baseball stadium. If you recall, the Olympics were in Atlanta in 1996. I was not a resident then, but I did make my first trip here 2 months before the games began. The city was buzzing. It was very exciting to see and feel the energy of the people. As I ran under the rings I remembered that when I was a little girl, I dreamt of going to the Olympics as a sprinter. It was really fun to have that dream.

I will never stand on an Olympic podium. And, that is ok. When I run, and when I race, and when i cross that finish line that sometimes seems to take forever, a little bit of an Olympian lives in me. And it lives in you too. Believe in yourself and all that you want to do, in all that you want to accomplish. Stay dedicated. Stay determined. Be your own hero. Make it happen.

Cheers!

Feb 21: 1st run=10.5 miles – outside, 2nd run = 2.5 miles treadmill

Feb 20: 3.0 miles outside

Feb 18: 3.5 miles treadmill

Feb 17: 3.67 miles outside

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.

2:01:55

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?

Friday

Posted in quotes with tags , , , , on July 31, 2009 by afuntanilla

Damn. Wish I could have met this man. This is a quote from his book, Personal Best. Might as well be my bible, and he, my minister.

The long distance race is a struggle that results in self-discovery. It is an adventure into the limits of self, representing for runners what has been called the moral equivalent of war – a theater for heroism, where the runner can do deeds of daring and greatness – George Sheehan