Archive for training

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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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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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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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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Sunday 7/27

Posted in motivation, photos, road, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by afuntanilla

Sunday morning rolled around and after a minor debate in my head about where to run (Marin trails of from home base), I opted the latter. I laced up the HOKA HUAKA (who-ah-ka) shoes for the 2nd day in a row and hit the streets. The morning was almost an exact replica of the day before…clear skies, sun already heating things up a bit at 930am…
Once again, I headed up and over Western and straight ahead. This time, I hung a left on Chileno Valley, the country, rolling road that lead me to the West entrance to Helen Putnam Park. Immediately, I opted for the steepest trail, so steep that I have yet to be able to run this part…I would love to know the degree of steepness. This part is wide, super dry and I’m alternating between hands on quads and not, my breathing is heavier, sweat pouring more frequently and I can hear only my own steps and my own life force….Damn! I love this! I push forward to the top, rewarded with beautiful sweeping views of west petaluma. Catching my breath, I start to run again and make my way down the backside of the park along a windy, downhill narrow trail. I’m back on pavement and already thinking of going cycling after….
2 more miles and I’m back home, changing into my cycling stuff, downing some First Endurance ULTRAGEN and getting my butt in the saddle. I know I am pushing it as I plan to ride the 25.5 mile loop I did 2 weeks ago….but, I just want to. I just wanted to keep being outside, keep moving my body, keep feeling my body working. So. I did.

Locked into my pedals, I headed off on the SpringHill-Chileno Valley route. (man, I hope this doesn’t re-aggravate my hip, hamstrings . Felt good to be on the bike after 2 weeks. Felt good to propel my being forward with the help of this mechanical instrument. And, now that I am wiser and know I can use the small chainring, climbing the hills was a helluva lot easier. Still challenging, but not killing me. I could feel right away that this ride would be slower since I tagged the run on already…but I didn’t care. I kinda got into a meditative space….hard not to when it was just me, the land, the occasional passing vehicle, the sporadic herd of cows, and the open sky that let’s me dream and fantasize, that allows for being in the moment and appreciation, that offers the undaunted optimism I try to carry with me, in my core, in my soul.
I was a little more than half-way on the route, when another cyclist came up beside me….Jason! My buddy who rode this route with me last time! He was on his way home….would be riding a total of 80 miles today!! Fun to see him and ride the rest of the way together. It was just delightful & beautiful all the way around. The sun was beating down on us, with only an occasional splash of soft wind. With about a mile left, he left my side for his way home. Just over the hill, my wheels turned up on the sidewalk in front of my home. Sunday workout complete and feeling FULL!

Damn! I love to move and everyday I am grateful for my health! All parts feeling good!

Hope you are getting outside, stretching your heart, pushing your limitations. Why not?

Saturday 7/26/14

Posted in road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by afuntanilla

Saturday: a cloudless blue sky, west side heat rising and I am out the door 2 hours later than I wanted. No doubt, the extra time with head on pillow did my full body some good.
I look out at the quiet streets…to the right, to the left, and then go in the direction that called me again, the route that beckoned me forth….to the right.
Wearing my newly purchased HOKA HUAKA shoes for the 3rd time, I am slowly becoming familiar with their feel on my feet, with my stride in these new kicks. All the while, hyper cognizant of what my hamstring is telling me….I sense it continuing to feel better, looser, and so I proceed ahead with a little less caution.
In full sun exposure, cap down, I head up and over the 1st hill that takes me to the other side….where the quiet dominates and the cows roam; where the golden grass on the hillsides lies so still in this mid summer elevated heat. The houses become fewer and fewer as I make my way up the steep slope that is SpringHill. My legs now slowing moving up this lumpy, broken, pot-hole filled country road. Passing my Eucalyptus tree marker from last week, I rise just a bit more to my new benchmark and turn around. I have a plan, a goal…

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My legs welcome the descent and follow the route from last Saturday. Running past a lavender farm, & broken, empty sheds, the small rolling hills and I are becoming friends. Fast. I’ve seen you here before.

Greedily, I suck down and swallow my hammer nutrition gel and am thankful for it and the water to slosh it down. Water. Such a necessity.

Straight ahead and then to the right…Passing a home where once an unforeseen romance blossomed across coasts, cookies were made, and love shook the soul…

After the straightaway, I hang a right and am back among the busy-ness of a road that begs for attention. My meditation is over, my life is more at stake here on the busy bodega highway.

Down and away I run at a faster clip on this final downward sloping mile to the place I call home….

An easy 6 in the log book….

update…

Posted in bike, motivation, photos, random, road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2014 by afuntanilla


Been running, cycling, kayaking (for the 2nd time ever), flew a kite (barely…for the 1st time) hanging at beach…all outside my door and/or within 1 hour drive. This is why I live in the Bay Area! 

Got into riding my bike in June more than ever before. Probably will sign up for a short Duathlon in August. Have really been enjoying adding the cycling bit to my days. Even more, I like the what it feels like to Run after cycling. And, i’m finding my pace is even faster…which is really fascinating.

I have done 1 duathlon in the past….way back in 2005 after I first got my bike. That was when i lived in Atlanta. I’m looking forward to doing this one in the near future. I definitely have not been running as many miles, but the ones I am doing have all been quality, so i’m ok with that. I need to spend more time on bike to increase my abilities here. I may do another half-marathon in early SEPT. Still undecided….

June:

Cycling = 130.3 miles

Running = 53 miles

Included in this is 5 sessions of bike+run.

Am enjoying this variation of training, both how it feels physically and how I am sparked to learn more about how to improve my cycling, how to ride in various conditions, etc…it’s a whole new world…cycling. And, it’s pretty fun to go downhill!!

July is off to a strong start and i’m looking forward to seeing what I can do! The kayaking was ok…after an hour, I got kinda bored. LOL — I need more speed, I guess!!