Archive for san francisco

A 13.1 Point of View

Posted in photos, races, shoes with tags , , , , on August 4, 2015 by afuntanilla


I ran another half-marathon. July 26th, 2015 in San Francisco. The were a few other races at the event. One could opt to run the Full Marathon, the 1st half-marathon, the 2nd half-marathon, a double marathon or a 5k. I ran the Full in 2005, the 1st half in 2012, and the 2nd half in 2013, where I finally set a PR at the distance, 1:58:42. About 6 weeks prior to race, I had visions of breaking that PR, but as the date inched closer and the speedwork waned….i had to accept that I wasn’t going for a PR. As the hours came close to start time, I figured I could do 2:05. So. Off I went.

The 2nd half starts in Golden Gate Park. It was a cool, 55 degrees kind of morning. A bit of fog still lingering from the nearby Pacific. The 1st five miles are in and around the park…felt like a nice stroll with a bunch of people. I was very aware of pace and making sure i didn’t go too fast too early. After leaving the park, course goes through Haight-Ashbury, lower Haight, crosses market street to the Mission district. I was feeling ok. Not great. I was aware that I was pushing the entire way and keeping on pace. My exertion level felt high and my quads were getting tighter and tighter. Otherwise, i felt ok. [my longest run during this training was only 8 miles, so maybe that had an effect. 🙂 ]

I just kept focused. period. I knew the course so i knew if there were any potential uncomfortable places coming up and there weren’t. This half is actually almost all flat. Super slight hills in the park and 1-2 more on course, but they are really nothing. The first half is much more hilly, FYI. So, I knew i would hit my goal time if i just stayed focused….After the mission, we zig zag through Potrero Hill, Dogwatch and then very close to the bay in the Mission Bay neighborhood. Run right by the SF Giants Ballpark (A T & T Park) and a straightaway along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building. As we approached A T & T Park, that’s when i felt i hit a wall. It was just past mile 12. Legs were shot. I stopped to walk a min. I couldn’t believe how i just couldn’t really lift my legs. Kinda funny now, actually. Anyway…i kept chugging along and finished 2:05:51.

I was fine with this as my expectations were inline. Some stats:

Overall: 1518 out of 3984

Women: 591 out of 2118

Females Age 40-49: 99 out of 381

So….I have to say that once again I’m very grateful to be healthy and able to run. I try not to take anything, especially my health, for granted. AND…as I crossed the finish line, I noticed that i was very kind of ho-hum…not really excited or anything. Happy to be done because it was a push for me at that pace right now, but otherwise…just not too excited. So, I just noticed this feeling and kinda explored what it is about…and you know what….it’s because it was such a short race!

What’s next? Stat tuned. I’m scheming….


P.S. Shoes: The New Balance 1400v3. Great shoes I bought in early July. It’s super lightweight, racing type shoe. Not much cushioning so i won’t wear it for longer distances, but was great today as it was for the Peachtree Race i did on 7/4/2015.



Part II: How I Dedicated My Race to a Stranger

Posted in motivation, photos, running, trail with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by afuntanilla

With intention, I carried him on my back. At 4:30am, I wrote his name down. Aware of significance and of sorrow; aware of my anger and my ambition, just hours away. This stranger who was broken, bleeding, left dead in the great city by the Bay. How does this happen? Why does this happen? I will never understand the motivation of others to intentionally hurt, damage, kill another human being. I will never understand the motivation to willingly take a life.

I set out on a journey of 50 kilometers through challenging, breathtaking terrain of west Marin county. It was an official race, but the greater race was within. Having battled my own doubts, demons and minor injuries of late, I began with a will to finish, a will made doubly stronger by the presence of Mr. Lam’s spirit. I did not want to let him, nor myself, down. I wanted to fight…fight for both of us. I wanted to fight for him, he who could not possibly lift his body as three men ambushed and attacked him on the golden streets of San Francisco.

Ascending was hard. And visually stunning. I spoke out loud to Mr. Lam;

“hey, Mr. Lam, have you ever been here before? Have you ever seen this place? Well, you have now! Amazing, right? Ok…we gotta keep pushing. “
And then again later when it became more difficult;

“Hey, Mr. Lam, how ya doing? I’m doing ok. I’m fightin’ for ya buddy. I got your back.”

And then again, even later, when my legs were cramped and my movement slowed and slowed;

hey, mr. lam how ya doing! I’m struggling but I’m fightin’. I’m fightin’ for ya. I’m fighting for those bastards who attacked you to be caught. I’m fighting for you! I got your back. Let’s do this!”

After 8 hours and 1 minute, I crossed the finish line. My face smiling, on the verge of tears.

You are not forgotten, sir. You are not forgotten.
May your spirit be resting in a better place.


Why I dedicated my 50k race to Mr. Tai Lam: Part I

Posted in motivation, photos, races, random, running with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2014 by afuntanilla

I try not to pay attention to the world news too much except the economic, financial news (because I need to for my job) When I do happen to read the paper, I read the sports section and sometimes the comics and do the crossword. I never watch news on TV and I don’t listen to news radio stations. I get a sense of what is happening via my Twitter feed. That’s one of the best things about Twitter…YOU customize it. You decide what you want to see. Awesome.

Anyway, last Wednesday, I actually read some of the regular news in the SF Chronicle. The first story that caught my eye was a heartwarming story of a family in need of assistance that got it thru the papers’ “season of giving” program. Of course, I like reading these kind of stories.

The next story I read stopped me dead in my tracks and really hit me in my core. A homeless, crippled man who was trying to sleep in the downtown financial district in San Francisco, was beaten to death. I read on and then found a subsequent follow up story online. Age 67, about 100 pounds in weight. Asian. Crippled. Homeless. Sleeping in a little cove he found and not bothering a soul. Apparently, 3 males, wandered by, saw him, and kicked him to death. Repeated kicking and kicking. There is video footage. They would stop when a car drove by. Then, kick again.

The police have said it was one of the worst attacks they have ever seen.
This happened in San Francisco’s financial district. A place where there is a staggering amount of wealth, in a city that has a ridiculous amount of wealth.

What did this man, the victim, Tai Lam, do? Nothing. Well…wait, he was HOMELESS! He was part of a homeless community that the greater community, for the most part, would like to forget….and they do, except when someone perhaps asks for money. Then they cringe and walk away. Or stare blankly ahead. I am not immune. I have ignored “them” too….sometimes it can feel like a scam or maybe we just gave $20 bucks to someone last week….I get it.

But, there is a bigger issue here and part of what stirred me up. In the wake of people protesting in many cities across the nation on police brutality & use of excessive force, who is rallying for this little old man? Who is coming to his aid to DEMAND the criminals be brought to justice? Who is speaking and rallying on his behalf? Who would rise to give significance to this horrific death and his now absence?

No one. There are no rallies in SF for Tai Lam. Because he, like so many of the downtrodden are truly forgotten by us! Our community. ALL OF US. It’s disturbing that people are overbidding on real estate property by hundreds of thousands of dollars, in cash, and we have people like Mr. Lam, living on the street and subject to this kind of aberration. It’s disturbing that a city with an enormous amount of resources somehow can’t or won’t give more to those who are most in need. And yet, money is just part of the issue. It’s the attitude that many take toward the needy, the homeless, those who are without….the simple lack of caring. Maybe if we cared more about these folks, if we demanded more action from our governments, if WE took more individual action. Giving money is wonderful & needed, but more involvement is necessary.

Every single homeless person has a story. Most of them probably have some kind of mental illness or drug problem. Mr. Lam was in neither category. Even if he was, so what?

We turn our backs to the homeless because we don’t want to see….we don’t want to see the potential ugly side of life and what our life could be….but you know what, that is exactly the point. The homeless guy…it is you. The homeless woman, it is you. We are all 1 or 2 or 3 steps away from our lives changing drastically in a heartbeat. Who is going to be there for you? Count your blessings if you already thought of someone who would take you in, love you, care for you.

And don’t ever forget there are thousands out there who are just not as damn lucky as we all are, in this moment.

The story of Mr. Lam’s beating shook me up and moved me to take the one immediate action I could think of: to dedicate my 50k North Face Endurance Race to this man.

And so I did. 920x920


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.

Toeing the line…again

Posted in photos, races, running with tags , , , , on October 19, 2013 by afuntanilla

Marathon #9 awaits me on Sunday. Can’t believe it. Really. Who would have thought…so long ago that this would be such a significant path of mine…

I still remember marathon #1 in Chicago 2000 like it was yesterday.


Nike Women’s Marathon. Sunday Oct 20th, 2013



Wow! More later…






The SF Half Marathon

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, shoes with tags , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2013 by afuntanilla


And, so…the day began. 5:30am start in San Francisco. Starting line just south of the Ferry building. A gorgeous morning as you can tell from the photo. I had run down to the starting line as my little warm up. The city streets filled with fellow runners….love it! As I ran along to the start, became more and more awake, enlivened…to do my thing. RUN.

It had been a long time in between races…the last one I did was very different; a super small trail race in Pacifica. The starting line was packed with those running the Full Marathon and those like me, running the Half. (This was the 1st half of the course, last year I did the race but ran the 2nd half of the course, which is actually easier in may opinion.)

My “starting wave” didn’t actually cross the starting line until about 5:50am, so I had plenty of to stretch, warm up and get comfortable. I felt relaxed and at ease with my “game plan”….which s simply run, enjoy and do my best. In contrast to last year when I had specifically trained for a personal best, I did not train much this time. I mean, I got many runs in, but I didn’t focus on speed work, I didn’t get the specific training in that I would have needed to keep pace with my 1:58:42 from last year. And, I was ok with that. I knew when I signed up this would be the case. So.

There was a Cable Car bell ringing to signify the start and off we went. The first 5-6 miles are almost entirely flat as we run all along the Embarcadero, past Fisherman’s Wharf and along the Marina Green and Chrissy Field. Felt easy and comfortable. I kept looking out into the bay….feeling loads of gratitude and appreciation for where I live.

And, then the climbs started. The steep climb up from the marina and onto the Golden Gate Bridge. Contrary to popular opinion, I did not enjoy this part. I knew I wouldn’t as I remembered this portion from when I ran this Full Marathon back in 2005. To me, running across the bridge is very loud and it FEELS like a constant steady slight uphill in both directions! I guess the path is like a slight arc, but honestly it doesn’t feel easy. I guess I also feel like it’s a bit chaotic because the bridge is not closed to traffic. So, lots of cars swooshing by and other runners headed in the opposite direction since it is an out and back portion. The remaining 4 miles were not easy.  Once off the bridge, we made a steady climb into the Presidio which is followed by a nice downhill section into the final Richmond District neighborhood and finally into Golden Gate Park. I was not comfortable on the climbs as any climbing has been almost non-existent in my training. Ahhh… A good kind of hurt, eh? But, even around mile 10, I remember thinking, “I am actually feeling ok…i would be curious to see how i would fare for the FULL course today.” And then, something happened in the last 2 miles where i just started to feel very tired…like seriously running out of gas!! I was surprised but probably shouldn’t have been since my longest run pre-race was only 10.5 miles. So, as we made the ran the final steady uphill mile into the park and into the finish line, I was Happy I was NOT running the FULL course. Today.

My finish time was right along what I expected in 2:09:42

My main goal while running races is always to see what I can do on a given day. How will I show up? How will my body perform? How am I mentally? As mentioned in previous posts, I had not felt the greatest mentally or physically before this race and I did in fact, have some fears that I would just crack and not finish. But, as I woke and got prepared in my hotel room….as I made my way to the starting line….as I stood there with thousands of my fellow mates,  I knew I was instantly stronger in every way. THAT’S why I do this. It was great to get out and be a part of the race and feel the enormous energy and camaraderie. I needed that.

I never really care how I finish overall, but I do care and like to see how I fare among my sex and age group: women 40-49.

Here were my numbers from this year :

Females 40-49    121/618

Which I think is good, especially on the tougher part of the course.

To contrast, here are my numbers from last year when I ran the 2nd portion of the course and had a PR

2012 Females 40-49    54/415

Which I also think is good.

Some comments about the race logistics, etc: Race Expo was ok, but it was VERY, VERY hot in the building so that made it uncomfortable to stay long. I was also super aware of how commercialized it all is….seems like every year, the feel of an expo appeals to me less and less.  I used to love going to these things and now I have more like a “get me in, get me out” attitude. But, that’s definitely the nature of big races and I have to expect that….if I want something low key, there are plenty of options for that!!

The Race organization itself was awesome. Even their communication per-race, with sending emails and letting us know security would be enhanced and to arrive earlier than usual. And yet, there was no waiting or anything at the starting line, everything was clearly marked for each different starting wave and just simply well-organized. There was enough of water, Gatorade, etc on the course and the volunteers were terrific, as usual. Massive thank you to all the volunteers. I realize some were probably starting their VOLUNTEER shift at 4am or earlier. THANK YOU! The finish line and snacks afterward were more than sufficient. I took a shuttle bus back to the starting line and that was easy as can be. So, overall the WIPRO SF HALF MARATHON was terrific.

I made my way back to my hotel, changed and met a friend for breakfast at the Dipsea Cafe in Mill Valley.  A great Sunday morning.

Thank you to my friends who cheer me on, near or far, in person or in spirit. Thank you!


Shoes: Brooks T-7 Racer. super light shoe, felt good but would not want to run in full marathon, but good for this distance. Would want more support for longer distance

Also wore: compression socks for the first time. loved them and will use again.

Next up: The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4th!!

“Running to him was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary behond comprehension. But it also made him free.” –John L. Parker Jr.

being alive

Posted in running with tags , , , , on June 15, 2013 by afuntanilla

I am reminded that it’s Fathers Day tomorrow. A holiday that has been very much a non-event day in my life. In fact, it has usually been a day I don’t even remember or know about. But, being that marketing in our world has severally ramped up ALL holidays, I am very aware of “what to get dad for father’s day”.

I never knew you. Don’t remember you. You were gone (for whatever reason) before I could walk. In my early years, I heard a few tidbits about you; you liked sports, maybe were a baseball player, your family was from Palo Alto. That’s about it.

Over the years, maybe you tried to find me. Maybe you didn’t. I made a few half-hearted attempts to find you. A bit challenged as all I know is your first and last name. Period.

I have 2 pictures of you and I when I was not even 1 years old. I come across them occasionally and give you a thought or two. “My dad” comes up in conversation now and again, and I will be reminded of you at those times also. But, other than that, you have been a passing thought, at most. I don’t say that meanly…at all. It’s just that when you have no experience with someone, what is there to miss or have many feelings about.

But, sometimes, a little sadness does creep in and I guess that is why I am writing. And, I realize, I give this, you, No attention whatsoever. I forget. I forget that it was indeed, 2 people, who created me. This was not an immaculate conception!

So…one of the cool things about knowing nothing about you is I get to make it up. I get to make you whatever I want. How cool is that!

Of course, how can I not be a bit like you, right??? Isn’t that what they say? I’m well aware of how I am like mom….so how am I like YOU?

Well….i am NOT tall, as you seemed to be in photos. But, I do consider myself, dark and “handsome” (for a woman) so i’ve got that going for me.

Of course, I am sporty…athletic as can be. Not great at any sport in particular, but can hold my own. So, I guess you do and are too. You are also thoughtful, caring, big-hearted and have a big love of baseball. You’re a dreamer. You’re a charmer. You can be with groups, but you prefer to journey solo and be independent. You are curious and wowed by many things. Life amazes you. Not many things truly piss you off, but seeing injustices in the world, is one of them. I am with you there, dad. Big time.

You are also things I am not but wish I was….light hearted, care-free, with an ability to let things go very easily. How do you DO that??! I’m trying…learning. You are also pretty thick skinned, so i guess i got my thin-skinned sensitive self from mom. crap. Can you give me some of that?!!

One of the greatest things about you is how when you are with someone, you are truly there and give them you full attention. You don’t know how rare that is. Don’t ever lose that quality about you, ok.

So…you…Ken, Dad…what else to say? Thank you for helping to create me. Thank you for giving me life. This precious life that I do hold so dear. This life that I do find at times, both wretched and glorious. My teary eyes pool as I finish this. I am not sad. I am alive.

Tomorrow, on Fathers Day, I’ll be running through the city where you gave birth to me. Look for me ok? And give me a big cheer!

Thank you!