Archive for trail running

Dirt & Water

Posted in photos, running, trail with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2016 by afuntanilla

There are sections of The Dipsea I don’t love. Not because they might be challenging but because there are sections that are fully exposed to sun, no trees and the trail is basically hard-ass packed dirt/rock. Because of the severe drought we’ve had for quite some time, certain sections are this way and simply not fun to run on….and then there are all the many sections I truly love…the hidden sections with soft ground…soft from the fallen pine needles, dirt, daily moisture from the ocean. Hidden from the world by the towering Coastal Redwoods and Douglas Firs…they are a haven and a respite from an often challenging & confusing world.

There are many, many ways to enter the trail, but I have been preferring to start at Stinson and head East, since that will be direction on race day. As I accumulate the miles, my hope is I’m getting stronger and creating muscle memory…and it’s nice to see from my Strava data that I am actually improving. YAY! I love this app. If you are a competitive person, especially with your own self, this is pretty awesome. The challenge is always against myself…how much can i improve, how much better can i be…this day and this day and this day…I relish and am thankful for the opportunity.

As I have been starting on the Stinson side and then ending there, I usually take a walk over to the beach afterwards and soak in the moment. On my after-work days, I’m catching the scene 1-2 hours before sunset. It’s usually quiet and very peaceful. The other day, i just had an urge to go dip in the water. At the end of my run, i quickly grabbed a few items from the car: beach blanket, towel, recovery energy drink and headed to the ocean. I went full in and loved it. Wasn’t even that cold. I just felt like i needed it….one of those days…just wanted to feel the shock of cold and the force of water on my being.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. May you live as you want and may you be at peace. IMG_0192

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Muir Woods

Posted in running, trail with tags , , , , , , on May 9, 2016 by afuntanilla

My slice of heaven. Not belonging to me but a place I am fortunate to visit as often as I wish. Thankful for the logistical proximity of this stunning place with its ridiculous amount of microclimates, luxurious forest, refreshing aromas, and climbs that will stall you in your shoes.

The run today began on the Stinson side and up Dipsea. An unusual late start, nearing noon, I expected to encounter many hikers, especially also being Mom’s day. Legs feeling anything but fresh, but away i went as I simply could not stay away from this enchanting area that lures me in. Mile 1 – the familiar, wide, mostly crushed & loose rock section that opens up with ocean view about half way in….a mixture of white & gray clouds and just a tad of sunshine at the start. Mile 2 begins with a brief descent and then the steep ascent on the main heart of the Dipsea. This section is no joke. 2nd time in about 3 weeks I have “run” it..er…panted my way up the steep ass trail/steps…yowza. 14% incline over .9 mile. As I huffed and puffed & willed my way forward, I had this internal dialogue with myself…”i want to keep doing this section…especially this section until it gets easy…not easier, EASY”  Hence, I trust I will be going out there for a long time. The stunning beauty of the canopy of trees, the faint sounds of trickling water in the nearby creek and the feeling of being cradled in goodness makes the difficulty so much more manageable.

I wonder if mindfulness attracts trail runners or trail runners become more mindful. There is no way to be on these trails and NOT be mindful. My mind is full of nothing of my life…my awareness is completely wrapped up in the next step…over the roots, over the fallen redwood truck, up the stairs, up more stairs, descending over huge roots of trees whose age I cannot even imagine. The history. The stability. The consistency & durability of this beauty…unfathomable. I’m cognizant of the my steps and how I must be careful of these slippery descents as we did get just a bit of rain past 2 days…coming into Mile 4, I am finally done ascending and onto Matt Davis Trail where I know i can really run a bit. Narrow, twisty trail that will allow me to feel like I have a stride once again. Here is where I noticed a lingering fog that added a chill. My hands got cold and I loved the coolness on my cheek. A surge came over me at one point and its that kind of surge where I just want to scream because I am so happy and fulfilled in that moment…I want to scream it out to the world. Instead, I smile and feel it all in my chest and let it keep fueling me. Somewhere around Mile 5 or just after is the long descent back to Stinson Beach. Utter fun. Some danger due to the wetness that left some areas very slippery but all in all, a time to let loose, to let go and fly down…I could not hold back, could not go slower, I kept pushing, sometimes effortlessly, down this narrow trail. I had another internal dialogue happening; “why should i not try my best, why should i not go as fast as i can…why save the legs? what if this is the last time i get to do this?” Because we don’t know, do we…we never know…and so it was…today, in Muir Woods.

these days

Posted in random, road, running, trail with tags , , , on November 17, 2015 by afuntanilla

Sometimes, I’m on the trail. I’m surrounded by rocks, dirt, branches, fallen leaves, dusty trails. Ferns, Eucalyptus, Redwoods. My breathing labors as I climb the steepness, as I ascend over the fallen tree trunk, up the built in staircases. My eyes widen with joy and awe as I come to an opening and can see the Blue of the Pacific. She is mighty & fierce and calm and I need all of her attributes as I continue on these trails that push my limits and make me question my capabilities. They humble me. They challenge me. Their crookedness reminding me of my own and how the imperfect is so beautifully perfect…how it need not be straightened. They remind me of how small and insignificant I am….and then show me how big and valuable I am. I am not either or. I am both.

Sometimes, I am on the road. The steady, flat, straightforward path allows for a different kind of focus; a bit more lazily as one foot is placed in front of another. The energy of a quiet Sunday fills my lungs as does the cool November air. That late fall breeze gives a welcoming chill as it crosses my face, my chest. My eyes water, just a bit, from the force of nature, from the utter exuberance of the moment. I want to feel it all, embrace it all.

Drink up!

repetitive…

Posted in motivation, photos, running, trail with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2015 by afuntanilla

It is thru repetition that we get better. However, the repetition must be accompanied by awareness, more deliberate effort, laser focus. This is how we improve, in anything.

Of course, this is also in addition to a desire and the belief that you can be better. At ANYTHING. At LIFE.

Why not?

At the halfway mark on Sunday’s concerted and fun effort! Happy to have hot some personal bests of sections of the trail today. Happy Runner.

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for the joy

Posted in motivation, running, trail with tags , , , , on September 25, 2015 by afuntanilla

for the past few weeks, the running has been a time and place of pure joy. exhilaration. I lace up. I go roam with intention, with curiosity, with abandon, with determination, with freedom.

I enter into a place that is just for me, but makes me better for my life, for others.

I zone out, but zoom in.

Every sense feels on high alert. The smells on the trails permeate and refresh me after hours inside a boxy office. The beauty of all the enormous trees…so generous in their gift of shade, solace, inspiration…of respite from a world of pavement, buildings, stores, stuff…

my eyes awakened and renewed by seeing a blue bird whizzing by and the deer who startled me today. there she was just SITTING there at a switchback junction as if she was saying, “oh, hello.”

I, who has a habit of looking down, have to remind myself to look up…look up and what do i see…i see the Pacific Ocean out beyond…on this very warm late September day…i see the serene looking blue waters and want to keep running to her…i want to dive into her calmness, her consistency, her vastness.

My eyes so attune to this trail; my familiarity with it still growing, even after all these years, all these miles. My friend, my companion…

The roots, jagged rocks, smooth sections, dry, cracked hardened areas, the stairs…the never ending stairs and the ones that are slipped in here and there just to keep you honest, on balance. Talk about having to be and stay present. This is it. The place where attention is demanded, not just merely suggested. Stay present or you might miss the amazing beauty that falls upon you.

My ears activated by my own breathing, the rapid increase of expiration as I try to go faster up and up and up. Aroused by the simple stillness and quiet of a path with, at least for now, had no other runners.

As thankful as I am for a body that allows me to experience this movement, i am equally grateful to have all my senses in working order so that I may live and appreciate ALL OF THIS. Grateful for a heart that beats…

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November Closing

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, trail with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2014 by afuntanilla

The long month of November comes to a close. Most of the heavy mileage was Nov 1-15, as since then it has been taper mode. Race day is next Saturday. Even though this has been taper time, I’ve been doing very little running since 11/15 for a few reasons…a) my nagging left hamstring, upper calf issue/injury b) just giving my body more of a rest as I sensed it has really needed it. c) mental break needed
It’s also been a time these past 2 weeks to try to get myself mentally in the right frame of mind to tackle 50k instead of 50 miles. I have to say, this has been challenging. Coming to the conclusion that this distance was the better choice, at this time, burst my excited-running bubble!! Some people might be relieved, but I….am disappointed. And, quite honestly, I just have to let it go now. Let go of being disappointed. I need to let go and embrace what I feel my body is capable of at this time. I have to let go and focus on what I believe is achievable rather than be bummed about what is out of reach right now.

I did get in some good mileage + elevation in my final weeks of pushing hard Nov 1-15.

All of these miles were on the race course. And about 90% of all my training runs have been on the course, which is exactly what I wanted. So, there will be no course surprises come Saturday.

A couple of people have asked me recently if I am excited for the race. Quite honestly, I am not that excited at the moment. But, as I wrote above…I know why and I need to let go. I fully believe that as the week progresses, I will be. I will pick up my race stuff at The North Face, I will go & listen to a talk with Rory Bosio & be around fellow participants….I believe my excitement level will be high by end of week!

November Total Miles: 107.5

Total TRAIL miles: 100 (7.5 road miles)

Total Elevation: 35,648

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The After

Posted in running, trail with tags , , , , , on September 14, 2014 by afuntanilla

When your body is caked with dirt, mud, sweat from the undulating, unrelenting, beautiful terrain.

When your pulse finally settles down, normalizes to others; rest of life

Your eyes move over in a quiet gaze, noticing the world; the people, their movements

It all seems kind of dreamy, doesn’t it?

Looking down at your feet,

Shoes removed

Tan line of dirt wrap perfectly around the edge of where leg meets ankle

& the protruding ends of Tibia, Fibula.

Toe nails slightly bruised

A small blister showing signs of life

Otherwise,

Feet look regular,

As if out for a stroll

Only you know

What they have been through

Where they have traveled

What they got you through

How they helped you

Climb, conquer

The trail, today

Tomorrow, awaits