Friday, December 30, 2011

Central Park Running Date

Running is easier, with a little help from my friends! R CAME RUNNING WITH ME! She's awesome. She's a new runner, wife, works in finance, and a fabulously amazingly wonderful friend. She has been doing so well and building up her endurance the smart and proper way! (10% increases). We had a grand time running. We started with a mile and a half on the 6 mile loop, then opted for the less hilly reservoir for a couple of loops to finish out a 5 mile run. 5 miles? Well, I actually ran to the train because I was running late, then decided to jog it out and clock it on my way home because I was feeling extra stellar, so that ended up being an extra mile! (.5 each way). That's the longest I've done since the marathon. I ran 4.5 at the beginning of December and felt confident to start building a long run on the weekends again, but I got sick for almost two weeks. Then, you know, Christmas happened.
Needless to say, I'm feeling better and more excited about running. I was getting a little down there for a while. The holidays were a tough season for my family, and after the marathon it appeared that my body was rebelling against me (Kidney infection, massive cold...). Now, I'm feeling the "get to" rather than the "have to" urge to get out and pound the pavement. By the way, R and I seemed to have planned our poses. Outside knee bent and turned in, arm on the hip, what?! Twinsies. Hey R, running a half marathon in March would ALSO make us twinsies. (I may or may not have sent her the training plan last night and infomercialed her today to convince her to join me...)

We met some really nice tourists! Kind people took our pictures...even though we live here...but we had to document our first run together! Even more exciting, it was R's first run in Central Park! Those are my marathon tops inside out...I love these two shirts, but felt weird wearing my World Vision tee with my name written loud and proud on the front. I didn't want every day New Yorkers shouting out my name in the street...just crazy Marathon supporters on 11/6/11.

What better way to celebrate a great run and the beginning of New Years weekend?! Thai. Mr. Miller and I went to our favorite Thai restaurant in NYC. Below are our entrees of choice; sadly, we don't really deviate because they're that. stinking. good. Seriously.

Thai beef salad. YUMMY.
Pad Thai. Hello old friend.

However, there was a show stealer from the excellent run. On the way home I stumbled upon some construction work. Look what they were constructing:

4. Blocks. From. My. House. Oh my. It's about to get real. I mean really real.

Any big New Years Eve plans?! Mr. Miller and I are going to R and her Mr.'s apartment for our third annual celebrating of New Years! So far on the menu: MANY RIDICULOUSLY YUMMY THINGS.

Tomorrow is New Year Goal time!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: The Year of the Marathon

First order of business: Cute Christmas photo!
Christmas Jammies are the BEST! Ella Bella was feeling sickies, but thankfully she perked up to open some gifts. Evan was so excited for everything. They are such sweeties. My youngest niece and nephew. Disclaimer to my fellow McAuliffe siblings: I love all my nieces and nephews equally.

2011 Goals Recap: I was the 1%. They say about 1% of Americans will run a marathon in their lifetime. I saw some calculations via googling, but really, we're all just estimating here. Let's go with 1%, it's more ironic that way! Anyway, I listed one main goal: running a marathon. CHECK YEA! It happened. I completed my "New Years Resolution", "2011 Goals" etc! Now, mind you, I only set one goal, because a marathon often takes up that much energy (As I've learned...). I had started setting up monthly goals but somehow tapered off (Who would taper off from goals???), so I think I will reinstate that for 2012. So, here goes the 2011 reflections that you've all been waiting for!

In August 2010 I purchased this bumper magnet:

I thought 2010 was my year. I was 26. I was going to run 26.2 miles in the Hartford Marathon. However, it just wasn't in me then. I got a slight injury, a set back here and there, and suddenly I was out of contention to successfully and safely complete a marathon, my first at that.

Insert charity entry. After not getting in to the NYC Marathon through the lottery, I harassed Juan at Team World Vision until I received that AWESOME call: "You're IN!" Amazing. Thrilling. Holy schnikies. This was really happening!

Training began. Countless runs into Central Park. Up at 5am to run before the heat. I got to know the pavement. Running home from school to get longer miles in midweek before dark. Things got serious. I even tried yoga! It was an amazing summer and an amazing fall. Successfully running 20 miles for the first time was the most exhilarating and exciting accomplishment of my training. Proud face below:

Speaking of fall 2011: I ran a marathon on 11/6/11. It was a truly amazing day. Everything worked perfectly. Weather, gear, fueling, fans, family and friends support: PERFECTION.

On November 6, 2011, I became a marathon FINISHER. And I got the medal to PROVE IT!
2011 was just the beginning. Just as the sign below said, I'm only at the start. 2012 looks to be amazing. 2011 was the year of Finishing. Finishing training. Finishing the long runs. Finishing fundraising. Finishing.a.marathon.
When I run, I run to finish. I wonder what I will finish in 2012? Prospective goals coming soon. Until then, if you don't think you're the best, you're not the best.
You're the best if you give your all to something, succeed or fail. In 2011, I was the best I could be.

I will be my best in 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All of the lights

Christmas was great! I got this AWESOME marathon ornament from Coach Jen from Gone For a Run! We went to Connecticut for a McAuliffe Christmas Extravaganza (I'll post photos tomorrow!), including 5 siblings, spouses, 12 nieces and nephews...needless to say, it was a full house! Christmas morning we drove to Rochester, NY for a Miller Christmas Extravaganza! Clearly we were traveled out. I took naps, was lazy, and all around sloth. I loved it. Poor running me felt guilty. So, my first day back in NYC I took to the streets:
I got new pants! What better way to motivate a run? I have one pair of running tights from last winter that are my tried and trues, but alas, they won't stay that way if I can't rotate wearing them with other pants! Spoiler alert: They. Were. AWESOME! I really liked them. Helpful running tip: buy running pants with a drawstring. If do not, you'll have slouchy pants and a plumber's crack that is not so attractive, even if you are passing people. Tonight's run was interesting. I almost got hit by two cars (Actually tapped by one), the wind was pushing my feet to the right or left when they were mid stride, and I only tripped once (Insert heart attack).

The best part of my run: All of the lights. (Insert Kanye song...) I loved running through my neighborhood. I set up a scavenger hunt to make this run more entertaining: I weaved in and out of streets to find some notable light displays! So, below are some of Astoria's brightest and finest!

MY FAVORITE: Charlie Brown's Christmas.
It felt like the Nutcracker here!

Best in show: These two yards! They're next door neighbors. Same owners? Competing neighbors?! It was a light spectacular!
This was the classier of the two.

Poor blow up displays blown over by the wind!

Poor Frosty. Santa is holding his ground against some fierce wind!
The Happy Holidays LED sign took things to the next level. What's next?! This yard had EVERYTHING going on!

So, there you have it: a run with all of the lights! Tomorrow I will be reviewing my 2011 goals (Typical), and give the tentative 2012 goals (Even more typical). It's simply that time of year! Out with the old and in with the new!

Confession: I still love Party Rock Anthem.

Every day I'm shuffling...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A time to Believe!

Definition of BELIEVE
intransitive verb
a : to have a firm religious faith
b : to accept something as true, genuine, or real
- Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

What do you believe? I believe in Jesus. I believe in God. I believe in Christmas. I'm so excited for this season of hope. I'm excited for family. I'm excited for my impromptu work get together tomorrow afternoon to celebrate the Holiday Break! Three cheers for being a teacher!

Can you believe this line?! Well, it was twenty people deep. However, I DID choose to go to the Ann Taylor Loft in Times Square. Not smart. You know it's last minute when you determine store locations by their closeness to the subway! However, I had a successful last minute Manhattan shopping expedition after work that went fairly well; no fights, no anxiety attacks in an overheated store, I even had a snack when my blood sugar ran low! Overall, completely productive.

I believe in pajama days!!! Tomorrow is PAJAMA day in kindergarten! I don't mention it TOO often, but I am an elementary school teacher. I can't wait to wear comfy cozies to work tomorrow and watch some Christmas movies!!!

I believe it's time for the Christmas card reveal. My VERY good friend M makes these amazing one of a kind cards for me every year. I show her a design and BOOM she's got it! This year we went with three different colors to add some variety. ENJOY!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Cheer

Definition of CHEER

transitive verb
a : to instill with hope or courage : comfort —usually used with upb : to make glad or happy —usually used with up
-Merriam Webster Dictionary Online

Lambeau is filled with holiday cheer! He's got his snowflake jammies and a candy cane bone. He really loves this time of year. Full of snuggles and droppings of cookie making ingredients on the floor...
Our friends are filled with holiday cheer! We had a Christmas luncheon at Rolf's, a German restaurant in NYC which is FAMOUS for its Christmas decor. It can be best described as being inside of a Christmas tree. I've been wanting to go for over two years, it was beautiful AND delicious!
Our anniversary is filled with holiday cheer! 12/20/11 marked three whole years since we said "I do"! It was a holiday filled ceremony, filled with ornaments as favors and Christmas photo cards as place cards. Everything about it was magical and fabulous.
Lobsters are filled with cheer! I got Mr. Miller TWO lobster dinners for our anniversary last night! No really, I did. I got a Groupon for two lobster dinners and I hate seafood. So, Mr. Miller had a lobster roll tonight! The gift that keeps on giving.

Cookies are filled with cheer! If you're looking for any last minute recipes, here are a few of my favorites. The first one, Chocolate peppermint cookies, are my personal favorite. Several friends request the recipe annually. Everyone always loves them!

Kisses with cheer:

Peanut butter balls of cheer:

My body is full of cheer. I'm finally on the upswing. It's been almost two weeks since my cold symptoms started to take over my life. I'm finally feeling like a human again. I plan to take the time off over the holidays to throw in some two a days and get myself back in a running groove. I miss it. I want some running cheer.

Did I mention Friday is pajama party day at school? Yup. Packers jammies cheer here I come!

What brings you cheer?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What is courage?


  1. The ability to do something that frightens one.
  2. Strength in the face of pain or grief.
-Taken from Google

Courage can be great, courage can be small. During my grandfather's eulogy, my brother spoke of the courage he showed in everything he did. He was a paratrooper in World War II, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge which took 80,000 American lives but turned the tables on the Nazis, he was a firefighter, and he was a provider for his family. So, what can I have the courage to do in the future? What small steps of courage, such as donating to a cause, running a race, or doing a kind deed for a stranger, will I take? Well, so far, I've decided to run the 13.1 NYC half marathon in March. I will be running as a fundraiser, not just as a runner. This is a race that gives all its proceeds to World Vision in order to provide Deep Water Wells with clean drinking water. If you are interested LET ME KNOW!

Charity takes courage. It takes a sacrifice, and sacrifice often scares people. Mr. Miller and I have been looking for opportunities to be charitable. He donated a coat at our church clothing drive. He's purchased bagels for a few homeless men, and given away his subway pass when we're going away but it has a few days until it expires. However, charity can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It can be listening to someone who needs a friend, helping someone with a heavy load, or simply a smile at a neighbor. I decided to send five Christmas cards to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital in hopes that their courage would be recognized with a card full of gratefulness and holiday cheer:If you are interested in doing this, there's still time! In case you can't see the address, send Christmas cards to:
A Recovering American Soldier
C/O Walter Reed Hospital
7519 Hospital Dr.
Gloucester, VA 23061

Whew, that was a heavy beginning! However, I felt it was important to share. In other news in the amazingly exciting life of Mrs. Miller & Co.:
There is a new countdown!!! We are going to Cancun for February break! Mr. Miller and I, along with two other couples, are venturing on a tropical winter escape. We've never been on a true friends vacation like this, and we are so stoked to live it up! (Yes, this is the hot tub at the hotel. Yes, that's a fire pit in the middle of it. Yes please.) So yea, Operation Christmas Cookie, aka eating healthily and exercising, is going to turn into Operation Winter Polka Dot Bikini.

So, about that exercise...I'm trying! As mentioned in the previous post, I've needed a bit of inspiration to get motivated. I found my inspiration, had three great runs last week and my first yoga class since August...then BAM: Cold. Or post nasal drip. Or allergies. The jury is still out. Either way, I'm coughing up a lung. I was trying to exercise through it, but tripped on my run Tuesday night and realized my head isn't really with it currently. I've been taking the route of hydrate, rest, hydrate, and don't eat too many Christmas cookies. (Ok, well, what am I supposed to do when I make chocolate peppermint cookies!?) So, next week is a new week. My goal is to run four times. I'm also attending a pilates class for the first time with a Groupon. This is taking a lot of courage on my part. I'll let you know the damage afterwards.

What is something courageous or charitable that you can do this month? Let me know!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Back for Some Inspiration

Definition of INSPIRATION

a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation
- Merriam Webster Online

Inspiration. I've need a little these days. Remember my NYC Marathon glory days? Oh, you don't? Let me refresh your memory:I was inspired to run my first marathon. I was further inspired as I became a charity entry for World Vision. I was pushed to even further inspiration when I completed the marathon. It all happened. For real. After the marathon, I needed some downtime. In case you couldn't tell, I was a bit intense with preparing for the marathon. I was on training overload for over six months. After the marathon I was told over and over again "You inspire me." "You're so inspirational." "I'm going to start running because you inspired me!" Me? Seriously? Mini legged me? 5:08:35 marathoner me? I didn't even make it in to the NY Times! (I'm a Finisher, that's what counts, I know...) After my bout with a kidney infection over Thanksgiving, my grandfather's passing, I've been lacking in inspiration. EVEN YET, people are still coming to me for running advice, telling me to rest my legs, telling me that I'm an inspiration. I feel so humbled. So unworthy. As Mr. Miller said the other day, "No one who inspires feels like they're truly an inspirer. They often just are." So, I will list some people who are currently inspiring me:

My Dad inspires me. My dad was the go to guy for my grandparents, and especially during the final months of my grandfather's life. It was stressful. He balanced work and family and still found time to call me and ask how my day was. Dad, you're an inspiration of dedication.

My friend R inspires me. R is an aspiring runner who considers herself so slow it's not worth mentioning (Hmmm sounds familiar!). Funny though, her times are my times, and it's something to be PROUD OF! She texted me the other day to inform me about a great 4.5 mile run with a 9:xx/mile average. R, you are an inspiration of hard work.

My friend C inspires me. C completed her first 5k in September. I told her that she was going to do it in under 30 minutes; she laughed at me. Guess what? She did it. Now she's eyeing a half marathon with me in March. She's tackling new challenges with excitement. C, you are an inspiration of tenacity!

The following are some of the things that have gotten me out of my uninspired funk recently:
The Green Bay Packers inspire me! (Mr. Miller and I at the Giants game!) 13-0. Perfection. As they said in Remember the Titans, "Up until now, we've been perfect. And I'd like to keep it that way." The Packers show hard work and dedication really do pay off.
The Rockefeller Christmas Tree inspires me. Cheesy? Maybe. I've been watching the tree lighting since I was a little 8 year old Connecticut resident. Every year I still watch it, and get the privilege of seeing it in person. It gets me excited for the season and lights up the city that I love.
Eating healthy inspires me. As I said on Facebook, I'm on "Operation Christmas Cookie". AKA, eating super healthy throughout the day and exercising so I can eat Christmas cookies!!! Hey, tis the season! It is yummy indeed.
The season of joy inspires me. All aspects of Christmas lift my spirits. Christmas carols, generosity, friends, family, lights, cookies (mmm), santa costumed Lambeau puppies, all inspire me toward joy. During this lack of inspiration I almost let it get away.
My family inspires me. Every single one of them. This weekend we celebrate the life of my Grampy; paratrooper, purple heart medal owner, retired firefighter, is there anything uninspiring about him? He did the most dangerous jobs and never thought recognition was necessary.

What inspires you? Leave a little for me!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I am thankful for my Grampy

"I'm especially thankful for all my grandchildren. And for each one of my great-grandchildren."
- Grampy Thanksgiving 2010
James F. McAuliffe was my Grampy. Don't let the the stubborn persona fool you, he was a tender hearted Irish fellow. My Grampy lived 87 years. He was married to my Grammy for 65 years. He had 3 children. He had 8 grandchildren. He had 12 great-grandchildren. My Grampy was a hero to this country and to me. He went into the army as a paratrooper because, in his words, "They paid you more money to do the dangerous job." That's how he met my Great Uncle Buster, who died in combat. My Grampy received many awards, including the Purple Heart. After the war, he visited Buster's family, and met my Grammy. They have lived in the same town all their lives. My Grampy was a hard worker, a retired fireman and a chauffeur during his retirement. He taught me the value of hard work and dedication. "If you can work, you better work." He'd say.

I have fond memories with my Grampy. He may have been a bit gruff sometimes, but he was really a swell guy. He'd always talk with me, come out to say hello, and drive me whenever I asked. I have many fond memories including:
  • Walking to get the newspaper when I was REALLY young and slept over.
  • Going to mass with him when I was REALLY young.
  • Riding my bike over and swimming in their ultra clean pool.
  • Grampy drove me to Disney when I visited them in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Grampy helped me wash my car because "I needed help to do it right."
  • Grampy at Christmas. It was his favorite time of year.
  • Grampy sat Mr. Miller and I down when we decided to go Puerto Rico for our honeymoon to show us all his pictures from Rincon. He told us great stories about his vacations there.
  • In more recent years, we spent Thanksgiving with Gram and Gramp. It was the best time.
  • Seeing my Grampy with the great grandchildren. It pains me that he will never meet my own children.
  • One day this summer, when he was having a "bad day", I didn't go into the den to give him our usual hello and kiss on the cheek. He came outside, found me, and immediately gave me a kiss and said, "Hello Kristin." That was a good day.
  • All the good days we had this summer. My dad said he put on his "best face" when we came to visit.
I said good-bye on Sunday. I visited Grampy in the hospital, and he didn't know I was there. I gave him our usual kiss on the cheek and said good bye.

I'll miss you Grampy. You were loving, caring, and tender in your own way and in your own time. I'm so blessed that you got to see me graduate college, get married, earn my masters degree, and run a marathon. I will be forever grateful for your support and love.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

No Thanksgiving Day Race Recap here folks....

So, in case you missed it, I was sick. It all started Tuesday night, as stated in my previous post. I was apparently sick for a while, but because I ignored a lot of little things as "I'm just not feeling well today" type of symptoms. Nothing was severe, nothing said "Go to the doctor and get a prescription!" If I had done that, things would have turned out way differently. Instead, I spent our 3 hour traffic ridden drive to Connecticut (Thanks Mr. Miller for being a traffic trooper!) Wednesday shivering in fleece pants, wool socks, Uggs, a sweatshirt and down vest. Oh yea, and a Lambeau Lap Puppy. He's warm and toasty. When I got to my parent's house, mommy took over and immediately put me in her bed and ran the show. My fever finally somewhat broke around 9pm. I am thankful for my mommy. Thanksgiving morning I had a slight fever, but a steady flow of Tylenol kept it at bay most of the time. I am thankful for Tylenol. The worst part was that it apparently spread to my kidneys. I had extreme lower back pain since the end of last week, and I thought it was because of my realignment/massage/lack of running. I was constantly stretching, doing yoga, using the roller, hot showers, and bribing Mr. Miller for a massage (He always did it willingly, what a guy.) However, these interventions weren't doing any good and that should have tipped me off as well. It turned into stabbing pain Tuesday night whenever I moved, coughed, yawned, laughed, anything. Thankfully, Thursday morning the antibiotics showed signs of finally working after three doses, and I was coherent and able to talk and make sense!I am thankful for antibiotics. I'm still recovering from the back pain and moving around carefully, but I didn't want to let it ruin my weekend with family. I am thankful for my family. Below are some pictures of me putting on a big girl face to celebrate! Warning: I will be referencing Friends Thanksgiving Episode quotes! And yes, I'm thankful for Friends Thanksgiving Episodes.What, are you afraid you're gonna run out of pie?! My mom always makes amazing homemade pies! We waited a while for these. Oh my they were good. Challenge update: I did get the walk in after the meal, but it was a very short walk (1/4 of a mile). It's all I could take. Probably even a bit much! I didn't eat too much at dinner, simply because I couldn't. Also, not pictured: Mr. Miller's parents came! We had a great time. I didn't really have my phone, but my mom took some good pictures with her camera. More to come!
We all really missed Grampy. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about a year ago. Three weeks ago he had to go into the hospital. He's not doing very well, and everyone missed him. Needless to say, we had a steady flow of tears while everyone went around the table to say what they were thankful for. Grampy was included in a lot of them. I am thankful that this summer we had several good visits where I learned even more about him, about history, and his experiences in the war. Praying for peace and health for your Grampy!

Challenge update number 2: Yes, I ate this. It should be noted that it was sort of a brunch. I ate fruit for breakfast and this for brunch. YUM. Ross Geller would be proud. Don't worry, I had on my "eatin' pants". I did make sure to have the thinnest layer of each item, but more turkey. Hey, it's a protein right?! Well Jim, you did it. She's finally full.

We dog-sat Lambeau's sister! This is Kerri. She's Lambeau's actual litter mate. My lifetime neighbors here in Connecticut bought Lambeau Puppy's sister because they saw how darn cute he was! They were getting ready for a wedding and needed peace, quiet, and no doggy/dress accidents! So Kerri came to play. They had fun. Truth be told, Urban dweller Lambeau was a little put off that we banished him outside! Crying and scratching at the door. Pansy. MAN UP! Play outdoors.
This is the wedding! Mark and Sandy had a beautiful wedding set in a historic barn. Mark and I grew up building forts in the woods, playing basketball together, and when it rained, pool and air hockey tournaments! They're a fabulous couple, we are so thrilled for them! Thankfully I was feeling good, but towards the end it was too much activity for me. I even tried to dance, but the Twist really didn't agree with my back.

Today, I'm determined to be productive. I'm going to arrange our Christmas Card list and Gift List. If I'm going to have a quiet weekend, might as well do something productive.

What are you doing to be productive this weekend? How is the running? I will try not to be jealous, I promise.