Archive for reflections

Muir Woods

Posted in motivation, photos, running, travel with tags , , , , , , , on June 10, 2016 by afuntanilla

Where I can just be, where I can dream. Where I notice and I relish.

Where I find challenge.

Where I embrace delight, joy, play.

Where the familiar astonishes…every. single.time.

Where I go to lose myself and then do a 360 to once again, find myself; more whole. Holy. On hallowed ground.

Where my senses are resuscitated and my spirit rejuvenated.

Where the aromas intoxicate and my heart reverberates.

Where I am mesmerized, and laser-focused.

Where my lungs gasp for air and my quads reach and reach over the creek and through the woods dashing and dancing over rocks and roots that beg mightily for my crisp attention.

My haven. My Heaven. My gentle, constant companion.

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post-race musings

Posted in motivation, photos, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2014 by afuntanilla

Time to write about what worked, what didn’t, at the North Face 50k, and more importantly, why.

Training; part of this went well and part didn’t.

The positives: 90% of my training was on the exact course. This was a huge help in getting my body and mind prepared. There were no surprises (except the mud)
I got in some long days and long back-to-back days.

What could have been better:
I believe I would have benefited from running more with others on the course. This would have pushed me to increase my pace & probably increase my distance. (Not to mention the companionship on the trail)
Overall, I prefer to run alone, but 1x a week or something like that would have been beneficial.

Signing up for race EARLY! – as mentioned in earlier posts, I went to sign up for the race late and it was already sold out. So, I was all out of sorts for 2 weeks trying to see if I could get in. Then, I got in. Then, 3 weeks before race day, I decided to transfer from 50m to 50k. Although that ended up being a very good decision, the whole mess around not entering early, being undecided on distance…all of that was mentally challenging and stuff I could have done without.

Race day itself: I don’t think I could have done anything differently that would have resulted in a better finish (time wise). I felt pretty darn good for the first 15 miles and then I didn’t feel so good, incrementally. Maybe a salt tab would have helped with what I perceived as legs cramps, but I have never taken one before and I didn’t want to experiment right then and there. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could stick something in our mouth, like a thermometer, to tell us exactly what is wrong; like a red color means need salt, a yellow color means need protein, etc…I mean we have other instantaneous tests for pregnancy and for fevers, why can’t there be something like this? Hmmmm….)

I believe my injury to my left leg caused me limitations as the race progressed and then a different issue emerged on my right leg that I am still trying to figure out what it is…

But, all in all, my result is in line with how I trained. Perhaps could have been about 30 minutes faster if the mysterious new right leg issue didn’t occur.

GEAR; wore my Salomon pack. In hindsight, I could have done without this. Could have gotten by with a hand held and another something around my waist to carry some gels. There were plenty of aid stations to refill water, etc.

Shorts; north face, black. Love these shorts. Should buy more pairs.
Shoes; HOKA Stinson- good shoes for this muddy, wet, day. Heavier than the Huaka’s, but these have better traction.
Shirt; North Face Mountain technical shirt.

Nutrition: 2 hammer gels every hour, 1 package of tailwind, chips, orange slices at a few aid stations, water.

I carried water in my Salomon pack and then also a handheld in the pocket. I used the bottle for Tailwind (later miles)

Last but not least, what worked was COMRADERIE!

As mentioned in previous post, I have never done a race before where I experienced this level of COMRADERIE. It started pre-race. I randomly met someone who I follow and who follows me on Twitter. she recognized me from pictures and we had a fun brief exchange!
Next, while on the 1st climb up Bobcat, I look to my left and say “hey, I know you, I follow you on Twitter.” How freaking random is this??
More fun exchanges.
On the climb up Coastal, chatted with a fella from SoCal who would later see me at the finish & thank me for our chat and how much it helped him push through. Very cool especially cause I have no idea what I might have said that could have helped!
In line waiting for shuttle and then on shuttle, chatted with a local fella & totally swapped race stories and other life chatter. FUN!

What also worked? I had fun & smiled!!

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Race Eve

Posted in motivation, photos, races, running with tags , , , , on October 14, 2012 by afuntanilla

On this day prior to Race Day, I wanted to jot down a few thoughts.

For one, I can’t wait to run. I feel like I’ve been a little cooped up because of tapering an all. It’s been a long time since I’ve run a full marathon…last one was March 2010 in Los Angeles. As noted in this blog in recent weeks, I am not going for any sort of personal best. The time I had to train just didn’t suit this type of goal. I’m just gonna run and do my best. I want to soak it in and enjoy the experience as much as possible. And yes, in a sick sort of way, the pain is enjoyable. I hope to be able to tolerate the pain long enough to finish. The pain will be there, that will be no surprise! Every marathon is different and I expect to have a new experience this time around. I ran this race in 2009 and really enjoyed it. I’m excited to actually be in a race atmosphere again…a Marathon atmosphere…it’s different. If you have been there, you know what I’m talking about. Every person out there has their own goal, their own dreams, their own struggles with their body, nutrition, etc…and we keep going…we keep going because we give ourselves no other choice. We must keep moving to follow our dreams, our goals. We must get thru the huge discomfort and pain that will inevitably find it’s way into the body. We must be strong in our heads to slay the dragon that wants us slay us! Everyone has their own plan, their own strategy and their own “tricks of the trade” that will get them to the finish line. I will have my own plan but I will most definitely be guided by this sentence … the shirt I got from my very 1st Marathon in Chicago, 2000.

Run Strong, Runners and may you feel light on your feet.

The Good of Reflecting

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

Last night, I pulled out some of my old training journals. I’ve been keeping a log of my training for years now. Probably about 14 years. It’s pretty awesome to go back and look at where I was with my running; my distance, pace and how I felt at the time. I found the book that captured the training before I ran my 1st Half-Marathon back in January of 1999 (before the internet truly took off and long before BLOGS began or at least my blogging) Like my regular LIFE handwritten journals, I’m thrilled to have these journals. Even looking at them and seeing how my penmanship was is kinda neat. I have all sorts of books/logs. Some are ones I bought at running stores and are very specific with each day; GOAL. TIME. DISTANCE. AM PULSE. WEATHER. TEMP. TIME. TERRAIN. And others…I have simply used a good ‘ole yellow notepad.

So, reading the log from late 1998 into early 1999 was very cool. I was just beginning to run “long” as I trained for the SF Half Marathon. Here are a couple of entries from that time period.

Date: Jan 7th, 1999
Distance: 10.3 miles
“This was a hard one. Damn, I was tired after. I may have went out to quickly after eating lunch. I had bad pains at about 40 minutes. pain! But, I wouldn’t allow myself to stop. not an option. I even went over my time (goal) because I thought I was going slower and I was. My last 203 miles felt relatively strong. But, days (runs) like this one make me wonder how I can do 26 miles eventually. The only answer is will. My own will. Train, train, train. If I want to, I know I can do it. I can do anything. Thank God, I can run.”

Date: Jan 13, 1999
Distance: 13 miles
“Long, Long, run. My body has never felt so fatigued before. It felt like all I could do to finish. Gee, it was really tough. The last 40 minutes especially. I felt off balance, like I could fall. Disoriented. But, I met – BEAT my time goal. YEAH. This was the toughest run I have ever had. I’ve never felt so fatigued. Now, I know I can do it. I CAN!!”

AND HERE IS THE ENTRY FROM AFTER THE HALF-MARATHON I WAS TRAINING FOR:
Date: Jan 31, 1999
Distance: 13.1 miles
“Well, I did it. I really did it. A 1/2 marathon. I’ve completed something very big – quite an accomplishment and I’m going to let myself have it. I need more room to write than what is provided here in this training journal. It rained Saturday night so I thought it would rain in the race, but it didn’t. It was a little misty at the start. I almost can’t believe that I did it. It seemed like such a big feat and now it’s over. Kinda a bummer. I’m so proud of myself. Proud for many reasons – because I committed myself to something and stayed with it – because I never let myself quit – because I made a goal and smashed it. Because I stayed committed to a program and essentially, myself. The course was pretty and fast; a lot through Golden Gate Park and along the Great Highway. It was neat/refreshing to see the big waves as I ran. Some of the wind was incredibly fierce. It was just awesome though. I can’t believe how much the PowerGel helped. It wasn’t actually until mile 12 when I felt real tired – but now I know – I know I can run a full marathon and I will.”

So…there you have it. Some insight into my early thoughts as a runner. One of the coolest things about going back and reading these entries is how it connects me back to gratitude and perspective. If you know me, then you know I push pretty hard at all I do and sometimes lose site of perspective. I think we all do, don’t we? But the relfection also has connected me back with joy and excitement of running and racing, which I can also lose site of sometimes.

As the days near to race day this Sunday, I am already quite excited. I’m lucky to be alive. I’m fortunate to have legs that work. I’m blessed to be able to run. AND, I am gonna try like hell for my #1 goal.
Finish time: 01:59:59 or better!

I urge and encourage you to TRY! TO GO FOR YOUR OWN GOAL! Whether that is running a 5k, swimming a mile, getting a college degree, playing the piano or walking across the street. JUST GO FOR IT!

ONWARD.

Softly Speaking

Posted in motivation, photos, random, travel with tags , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by afuntanilla

Sitting in the oversized chair in this quaint, cozy asian-style inspired decorated room…I look out one of the windows and my eyes are dancing at the sight….
The mountain just over yonder is caked with snow. The Ashland, Oregon area was blessed with snow last night. Not a lot, but enough to make the mountain beautiful, to soften the sounds and to add an element of reflection.

I need this. This time to just be. This moment. Who are we without reflection?
I need this wintry weather to help ground and still me. The me inside. To help dim the inner chatter and truly SEE and GET this significant time of my life. (but, isn’t it all significant?!)

I see that I have been brave and will continue to need to be to pursue my dreams. I see that I took big leaps of faith in myself. I GET that this time can also be a scary one. Scary > Exciting > Scary > Exciting > Two sides of the same coin.

I left a nest where I was challenged, but perhaps more protected than challenged. I allowed myself to be held back…and held back I was. Sometimes, we need protection in order to grow. We need a big warm coat to keep us warm before we get comfortable enough to shed the cloth, feel a bit of a chill, and keep moving forward.

With so many situations in our lives, there comes a point where the situation, the relationship, etc…NO LONGER SERVES YOU. These are the crucial moments in ones life, I think. To pay attention to those signals, those signs…that give you that gut feeling that the time has come. Time for you to “go”. Time to be bigger. Time for change. Sometimes, it might be radical change. Radical Change > Radical Growth. If you miss those opportunities and stay in situations that no longer serve you, I believe that is the most damage to ones SELF can occur. Ones soul and spirit might suffer dramatically if one stays beyond the time “limit.” And I think we know that inside, don’t we… When we stay too long? Inside, we know. Even then, it’s so important not to judge ourselves, but to approach ourselves with compassion, gentleness, love. We all have those moments.

I have been on some skinny branches and I think I might be venturing out onto some even skinner branches….YIKES! But, I am ready. It doesn’t mean I am not scared…because I AM SCARED. But, my drive and my desire is stronger than my fear.

And when I was being protected, I felt like I had to claw, scratch and scream sometimes to be heard. Even then, it was sometimes not enough. I don’t want that experience anymore. I don’t need to fight so hard to be heard. My independence will give me that…

We are all on our own road…with all the potholes, smoothness, wide and narrow stretches. We are all driving at different speeds, with different levels of comfort as we try to get to where we are going. Compassion.

And yet, some things are universal to us all. Life sometimes asks things of you. Your soul & spirit will ask, often DEMAND, things of you. And we have all these things inside us. We just need to step up.
When the time is needed, I hope we all can be
Brave, driven, dedicated, visionary, courageous, humble, gracious and determined.

Your strength lies within you. Believe it.

Onward.

Life-Line

Posted in random with tags , , , on October 31, 2011 by afuntanilla

So… even though I have not written about running lately, I have been. Running, that is.

Of course, I am always changing my mind when it comes to training and the level of training. Before my last race and while I was in the midst of feeling so much physical difficulty, I said I would back off after my birthday run and really give my body a chance to rest. HA.

As you recall, if you have been a reader of this blog, I had a disappointing (understatement) marathon training segment this past summer. Several factors played into what happened to me physically and mentally, but at the end of the day, it was just flat out disappointing. I felt slow, exhausted, never good enough, and wasn’t really having any fun. I was also on a vegetarian nutrition plan and went quite a while with no alcohol or sweets. I felt consumed with training and yet, I was not getting the results I wanted and again, I really wasn’t having any fun. I now also realize I was completely discounting how much some other things in my life were affecting my training. Work had been extremely stressful and some personal stuff was also difficult this summer. So… i had a perfect cocktail recipe for a tough time with no balance and we know that a life out of balance is a perfect recipe for disaster. Physically, i felt like a disaster and of course, I hated that feeling. I like to feel fit, healthy and “ready to go”. I’m only now realizing all the things that played into the “disaster” and how it all got created.
Making that decision back in September to drop from Marathon to Half Marathon felt excruciatingly difficult…as if my life depended on it…Of course, it didn’t, and some people may even wonder what the big deal is. Like anything else, when something is important to you, perhaps only you truly understand your decision making process and the feelings associated with it. Of course, it was not the end of the world. Life went on and I went on to run a respectable half-marathon.

Since that race, I have definitely cut back on the amount of training. I am only running 2-4 days a week and I have not focused much at all on the number of miles. I have mostly focused on speed and I have felt better than I have in a LOOOONG time. I have been having some of my best runs in terms of TIME/PACE and most importantly, I have been thoroughly enjoying myself. I have been pushing my pace and been loving it. It’s been so awesome to feel my legs turning over faster, my arms pumping faster and my breathing deeper. My lungs have been burning and my quads have been aching from my faster paces. I have been running hilly routes and not losing my stride. I have been pushing through and then zooming on the downhill sections. SO FREAKING FUN. Fun like I am cycling down a fast, fast hill and I am flying down it. I feel free.

And today’s run was kinda a snapshot of the ones I have experienced lately.
I went out thinking I would go 5 or 6 with only a few very moderate incline/declines along the way.
I had run a “fast” 3 miles last night at 5pm, and today’s run would be done less than 24 hours after that so i wasn’t sure how my legs would respond.
I parked in Virginia-Highlands, slipped on my iPod, and off I went on a crisp late morning in Atlanta.
The instrumental version to “Empire State of Mind” by Katy Perry was the 1st song that played and I was in my moment. AAHHHHHHH —
I ran on and found my stride. By 2nd mile, i could feel my legs getting a little tired. I took some water and trucked on up the hill and was super focused. I ran through Inman Park and into The Old 4th Ward. Mile 3 passed. Flat stretch and a little downhill now. Just hoping to hit the green lights and I did. Faster, faster. 4 miles done. Realized I was only gonna run 5. Dug in and stepped it up. Found a deeper gear. Mile 5 done.
5 miles at 8:56 pace per mile. Faster than I have run in a few years, at least. Felt fucking awesome!
I’m so looking forward to my 10k race next Saturday.

It’s worth noting that during this time of faster results in training and feeling more joy in the process, I have not been nearly as “focused” or as much of a stickler on my nutrition…i.e.. i am eating red meat once a week to help with iron levels, i am taking a multivitamin, i am drinking when I feel like it and i am enjoying my cookie cravings.

When I completed my run, I had to walk about half mile up the hill to where my car was parked. Alicia Keys’ version of “Empire State of Mind” came on the pod and I was singing loudly as I walked up the street. Then, I kept throwing my little water bottle up in the air and catching it and then throwing it and running to catch it…a la football. It was pure joy, I tell you. PURE. I wish I could have seen my face or taken a video clip of this true, simple, and joyful moment. I was so full.

Running… one of my life-lines.

Zoom Zoom.

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