Archive for tennessee valley

Moving up?

Posted in photos, running, trail with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by afuntanilla

Well….what’s that saying…? ‘Be careful what you wish for’
Yeah…that…
Well, I DID GET IN TO THE NORTH FACE 5O MILER.

50 Miles. All trail. Somewhere between 9-10k feet of total elevation. All up, down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Until you get to mile 50!

So. I finally got the word about 2 weeks ago and of course, am relieved & delighted to have a spot. And scared. And excited. And scared.

I completed another solid month of training in October.
Final numbers are:

Miles: approx 117
Elevation: 35,409

Most miles I have run in a single month all year and most elevation ever in a single month. (on top of what i have done the months prior) And you know what, it might not be enough. Of course, I’m still not done training. In terms of long runs, I have this weekend and then not sure if I will do my last push Nov 8-9th or Nov 15-16th.

I will see how it all goes and assess if it would be better to change to the 50k.
I hate to even write that, but that’s where I am. I’ve been preparing to the best of my ability and I am feeling like it’s still not enough. I become frustrated over how my body recovers of lack thereof from the long, demanding runs. I’m not careless with things….eating well and getting proper nutrients into my body. So much of it just seems to be strictly leg recovery. After my 15 miles today, aerobically, I felt like I could keep going, but my legs were pretty beat. A bit frustrating.

What does it mean when I say “it may not be enough”….i guess it means a few things.
-may not be enough to finish the 50 miler
-may not be enough to finish the 50 miler in a way I want…I.e. Not completely dead at the end.

I see that I am assessing where I am, where I want to be, where I think I will be and what experience do I want and will be ready for?
As I was running today along the Tennessee Valley Trails; Rodeo Valley, Bobcat, Alta, Miwok, Old Springs & Marincello, I thought to myself: “I wish there was a 40 mile distance. 50 does seem a bit far, and 30 (~50k) seems too short….

Why I don’t want to run the 50k;
-because I already did this distance. In Chattanooga, Tennessee at the Rock Creek Stump Jump. 2007
-because the 50 Miler is a distance I have yet to conquer. Pretty simple.

Even with 2-3 more weeks of adding miles, I can honestly say this; I did not prepare this much for the New Zealand race last year. (DNF at mile ~27 of a 37.2 (60k) race because I was totally spent)

I did not train this much for the 1st 50 miler I attempted; The JFK 50 Miler. (Missed the time cut-off at mile 34.4)

So….this will be an interesting next few weeks to truly assess what I think I am capable of…..

Stay tuned.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear and no fear unmingled with hope” – Baruch Spinoza

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Cautiously moving ahead

Posted in motivation, road, running, trail with tags , , , , , on July 26, 2014 by afuntanilla

Ever since my that cycle session on the indoor bike, I have been having some hip & hamstring issues. I’ve stayed off of he bike now for almost 2 weeks and although the issues are still lingering on like a fly you just cannot get out if your space, they have improved. I’ve found an excellent massage therapist and got some needed attention in both affected areas. I have been implementing new stretches I have found to be helpful. I’ve done some runs and really just tried to pay attention and not do myself further harm.
Last weekend, I ran a solid, easy 6 with rolling hills. Part of the route is the beginning of the bike route I did 2 weeks ago with a friend. I just have in my mind that I will run that entire route….25.5 miles…..I just want to! It’s challenging and gorgeous. If my fall/winter running plans play out like I hope they will, then this would definitively be a good idea to have that route as a long training run.

Sunday, I drove down to Marin and headed out on the trails….Tennessee Valley. I had not done any running on those trails in about 8 months! I actually got a bit lost which was kinda fun. I ended up hooking up with a pack of local runners and one of them even recognized me from our work office building. Turns out he works in the same building as I and recognized me. Neat coincidence….he is the race director for the upcoming Headlands 50k race in August, run on those very trails. All in all. I did 9 miles with about 1400 ft elevation gain.

I’m not in any pain while running, I just notice the limitations which is mostly in the form of not being able to fully push off of my right leg. This is turn has caused me to go slower which is frustrating.

I want to get back on the bike to continue with the diversity, but am a little nervous…..

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!

Running for Coffee and Fun

Posted in motivation, photos, random, road, running, shoes, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2013 by afuntanilla

Yesterday I made a spontaneous trip down to Santa Cruz. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from where I live. I just wanted to get out of town and go somewhere fun. I needed to get away but I didn’t know how much until I actually arrived. I arrived, checked into hotel, changed into my running clothes and hit the road for a quick 3 mile jaunt to explore and kinda get my bearings. It was a beautiful late afternoon, just a hint of cool temperatures. I ran through the cute, packed in downtown, saw the coffee shop i wanted to visit (VERVE COFFEE) and just made a loop back to hotel. Felt great to move my body. I’m SLOWLY getting back into running….and being ok with that…

I felt myself excited and awakened by the new sights all around me. My senses were awakened. On alert. I wanted to take it all in. I love how a new place has this effect. I had been to Santa Cruz many times in the past….but i’m talking about 25 years ago….

After run, made my way back downtown to visit Verve and find dinner. If you don’t know, I’m a big coffee fan and love finding new good coffee and coffee shops. Verve did not disappoint! I went to 1 of their 3 Santa Cruz locations. Its located downtown on the main street, Pacific. The shop was spacious, tall ceilings and a large area for the baristas to do their thing! A decent sized crowd were sitting and doing THEIR thing. I ordered a Cappuccino and passed on the yummy looking Chocolate Chip Cookie. While my drink was bring crafted, I nosed around in the shop…looking at their beans, mugs, apparel (yes!) and other logo items. I knew i would spend more than a few bucks in this place! I picked up my splendid cappuccino and took a seat at the bar area that allowed me to watch the baristas. Love that! The VIBE in this place was a huge plus. Young, cute,  friendly staff. All of them. Welcoming!  Image

I also ended up chatting w/ a gal who works there and she gave me a recommendation for dinner. I asked for “someplace casual with a TV to watch sports”. She directed me to SurfRider Cafe about 1/2 mile away. It was pretty packed but I got a seat at the bar immediately. Ordered a house-made Veggie burger w/ sweet potato fries and an ale called Dragon’s Breath. All very good! And again, loved the vibe in THIS place. Young, casual crowd. Very good and pleasant service. I think the VIBE i am speaking about is just very much Santa Cruz. Always been a very casual, independent, liberal place. Love that!

Saturday morning got up and went back to Verve for morning coffee. using my iPad, i found one of their other locations about 2 miles away and figured that would be a fun out and back route. So, off i went. There’s a river that runs thru town, The San Lorenzo River, and the route carried me on a path next to the river. Mostly flat, with just a little bit of incline. Gorgeous day outside. I could see the Boardwalk Rides off in the distance. And the Pacific Ocean. AHHHHH — Soon enough the short 3.6 mile run was over and again, i felt like i couldn’t run much more. for now!!

Got breakfast, walked around a bit, got cleaned up and headed to the Boardwalk. I went straight to the arcade and played my old favorite video games; Ms Pac Man & Centipede. Fun! I could’ve played longer, but had only a short time to get a few rides in and head back home. I chose 2 rides; Double Shot – which is just a straight ride up 125 ft. Super fast up and super fast down. a few times. I was facing the ocean and of course, great views. I was screaming and laughing the entire time. Other ride was the classic Giant Dipper roller coaster. More laughing the entire time. I love rides…i love the feeling of being locked in but totally out of control. SOOOO FUN. I really needed it.

This morning (Sunday) I drove just a short distance over to Mill Valley to hit some trails I had yet visited. These were right off of Tennessee Valley Road. I really had no idea where I was going, but i thought it would be easy to get back to the starting point, and it was. I ran, hiked up and came to some amazing views of the bay! Picture does not justice. Image

The trail up was mostly single track with hard packed dirt. I could’ve worn regular road shoes but I had my adidas trail shoes on. Came to some fire roads also. A hefty climb, especially given my current level of fitness..but i sure loved being out there!

So…I am making progress with getting back to being as fit as i want to be. Here’s a snapshot of what i’ve done lately.

Feb 10: 6 mile trail run; Elevation gain 1,179 (highest elevation gain since last August!)

Feb 9: 3.6 mile road run

Feb 8: 3 mile road run

Feb 7: core workout @ home

Feb 5:  3 mile treadmill run

Feb 2: 4.25 mile trail run; Elevation gain 635 (makes me realize how this is really nothing compared to what i can do in muir woods)

Feb 1: 3 mile road run

So as you can see, February is off to a much better start than January. Thank God for HEALTH! I still have not picked any races. Basically, I’m just trying to get a base level of fitness back and go from there. I saw a lot of folks on the trails today and that also gave me a boost!

Also, these are the newest add to my collection:

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Brooks Pure Connect. These are one of the minimalist shoes. Not the least MINIMAL, but mid range minimal. So far, so good. I like the feel..like they hug your feet. Good traction even on the trail I used them for last weekend. Got ’em at a new specialty running store: San Francisco Running Company located in Mill Valley. If you are in the area, go pay them a visit. Good guys running the show!