Archive for road trip

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.

02:02:08

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

Road Trip

Posted in photos, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2010 by afuntanilla

One of the reasons I love to travel is because my senses come alive. It’s as if they have been dormant, piled under papers, dust, daily routines and the unfortunate monotony that can happen in life at any time. Its easy to think about Monotony as a “bad” thing…but I will refrain from judgement — it just is.
New places, streets, architecture, shops, city and town landcapes…all those things awaken the senses. Monday morning, I drove from the hotel about 5 miles into more “downtown” Lexington. I parked in a little neighborhood with some fantastic old homes. To me, these homes were a cross between New Orleans, Charleston and Georgetown…tall, somewhat narrow, brick, half porches, some w/ columns. Visually stunning to look at. So different from what I pass on my usual jaunt to the office or just riding around Atlanta.
While running, I noticed some of what I thought were homes were actually businesses: a yoga studio, a lawyers office, etc…

Down the block from where I parked was a little Wine + Market. White coffee cups & baskets of long, slender flour dusted baguettes enticing me through the window. I walked in & smiled at the european styled decor..the painted floor, the array of cheeses, a separate, darker room called the Wine Salon. Two large wooden farm-like tables were in both the wine salon and main room…more enticement to sit & stay awhile. And I did, but I was drawn to sit outside in the morning sun.

Since I was feeling all decadent, I opted for a fresh Chocolate Croissant & Cappuccino. Ahh….heavenly.

The whole experience unscripted, unplanned, spontaneous..spontaneously coming across places that awakened my senses!

Next was the 1.5 hour drive to Cincinnati. This route along HWY 75 from Lexington into Cincinnati has got to be one of the most beautiful stretches of land. Trees and trees for as far as the eye can see. Gorgeous ranges!

Flash forward to my evening and the main event: The SF Giants vs. Cincinnati at The Great American Ballpark.

A bit early…it did fill up a bit. I was still surprised there were not more people in attendance since Reds are doing well this year!

So, I drove from Atlanta to Cincinnati for a ballgame? Why, yes I did. I sure did. If you know me, you will now this is COMPLETELY IN CHARACTER for me. I enjoy taking road trips…it had just been awhile. It was a beautiful, clear, not too warm of an evening. I had a great seat in left field. Watched my favorite team beat a team that has been better all year than Giants have been….so worth it!! A great game and Giants won 6-5.

I had a long 8-9 hour drive back home on Tuesday, but i didn’t mind. As much time as i spend alone, THIS was different. Being in your car all by yourself for hours is really alone. Not much to distract you. It’s easy to get re-focused on what’s important, what you need, etc….and it was wonderful to remember that I don’t need much. Shorts, shoes, t-shirt, money for gas & some food and all is well. Oh, and maybe some extra dough to catch a ballgame.

Don’t miss out on anything. Do what you want to do. This is life, baby!!