Monday, July 30, 2012

Glad Game Monday XIV

Well hello last Monday in July, didn't notice you SNEAKING up on me! I can't believe that August begins this week; where has the summer gone?! I'm determined more than ever to make it a  fun filled remaining four weeks. Today, however, I'm TIRED! I swam this morning, worked, lunched with a friend, and had to deal with getting an estimate on my car following the MTA bus that hit it....A MONTH AGO. It's the last week of summer school; YEA! It's slightly gloomy this week: BOO. Despite being upset with being told ALL the Olympic results BEFORE NBC decides to show them with continual commercials, let's get GLAD with things and try to focus on the good in our lives!!!

I'm glad the Olympics are on. OBVIOUSLY.

I'm glad wearing red, white and blue in an outfit is currently acceptable!

I'm glad that this restaurant exists. This hot up and coming brunch spot is reserved solely for double digit runs. Since my 10 miler Saturday was the first double digit run in a month, we decided to celebrate that with friends who were also involved in the fitness program Mr. Miller just completed! Hello fried chicken and waffles:

I'm glad that I got to wear my Olympic tank, found the Clapper at a thrift store, and started planning my 80's themed birthday party with party planner extraordinaire Mrs. Anders. Need I remind you of the legendary "A Party"?! Oh and yes, you did read that right. Currently a nightly round of singing "Clap on...clap off" and testing out the clapper has been taking place in the Miller house. 

I'm glad a college friend found a HILARIOUS joke gift I made for her! She posted this photo on my facebook page and I. lost. my. marbles! I was laughing so hard I started crying. These were my "chubbier days" when side profiles did NOT suit fact, I don't think side profiles suit me now either! Our adventures included climbing through indoor plants, avoiding icicles, and hiding near cereal? Oh college...the things we did with our free time...

I'm glad football season is almost here. I loved spending Saturday with the Anders, I can't wait to have regular company on Sundays! We got Lambeau a football toy for the season. So far it's been 24 hours and it hasn't had the stuffing ripped out...Football, 1, Lambeau Puppy 0. Oh yea, GO PACK GO!

I'm glad this pool exists in my neighborhood. It is beautiful with a sweeping bridge behind it. It's very grand. This morning's 10 laps was fairly quiet, not many ventured to the pool today. If I had more time I would have stayed so much longer; alas, work calls!

I'm glad that my coworkers continue to work hard at running! This was week 4 of our walk/run group and these ladies have been the go to faithfuls. This week we moved from only 3 minutes walking 1 minute walking to 2 minutes walking 1 minute running...and two sets of 2 minutes running! They have made amazing progress. I am SO proud of their hard work and dedication! At the end of every week they seem to say, "It's getting easier." or "That wasn't so bad."...always with smiles. LOVE THEM!

So, what are you glad about? Have you stumbled on some funny college photos lately? Are you on vacation? Did you celebrate National Cheesecake day (WE DID)?! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

96 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

10 mile long run...WITH MY HUSBAND?!

Yes, you read that right. Mr. Miller decided to join me for a long run! Now, the story goes like this.

Mr.: Hey, what are you running this weekend?
Mrs.: 10 miles. Over the bridge and 6 miles with Leticia in Central Park.
Mr: Maybe I'll run over the bridge with you.
Mrs. (Excitedly): OKAY!

5:45am alarm goes off. I half thought he would roll over and say "Go without me." Even though I shotgunned out ready to throw on my running clothes, get my fuel belt bottles out of the freezer, gel and endurolyted, READY. Mr. Miller took a BIT longer to get it together, so that's why I gave him an extra 10 minute window that he didn't know about! ;-)

We were going at a decent pace for me when Mr. Miller said, "This is a slow pace." Welcome to my running world, husband! It's not a sprint thing, it's a distance thing, and I was TIRED from tons of  speed and hills this week. Thankfully coach said she'll take it easy on me next week. Phew. 

Here we are running over the Queensboro Bridge! We saw The Dark Night Rises last night. So sad to see our bridge damaged in the movie; so glad to see it was fine today! 

We joined Leticia and a couple of new friends. At first it was supposed to be "Hi, this is my husband. Bye husband!" And off with Leticia & Co. for 6 more miles. Uh uh. Mr. Miller was READY for more! He said, "I think I'll join you and see how I feel." Needless to say, he schooled us in running. His cardio capacity is INSANE due to high interval plyometric workouts for the past 10 weeks. He's still going strong his first week out of the program. SO proud of him here:

This run was amazing. We ran 10.18 with a 10:15 pace. This is VERY good for me, and easy for him. We said farewell to our running friends (No!) and I headed to walk the park with a friend trying to better her fitness. I didn't want to finish this run; I was tired, dead legs, hot, humid, everything. The people around me PUSHED me. Thank you fellow runners! Love the Sweat You're With...and love the sweaty ones you're with!!!

Last, a vote: Which is cuter? A Lambo or a Lambeau? #Seenwhilerunning

98 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

All things OLYMPICS!

Let's take a walk down memory lane and prepare ourselves for the greatness of sports that is upon us:

(2008) My original favorite is Gymnastics! Nastia, Shawn, I will always love you...

...the way I LOVE this girl: (1996)

(2008) I will never forget screaming, alone, at the television as this race took place...

...and cheering a team made up of competitors uniting as one.

(1996) Shannon Miller, I will always love you for your steady leadership that I recognized even though I was only 12:

(2004) A relay team with some old names and some new names, grabbing gold and looking like school girls:
(1996) Those gold shoes, that runner...maybe this is what convinced me that running was cool:

(1992) This was my earliest Olympic memory because my brother and father watched them with me:

(1996) Janet Evans. The one who confirmed that swimming was a GREAT sport. She set the world record in 800m free in 1989 and no one has matched it. She tried to come back after 15 years in retirement and didn't make it. You know what Janet? YOU TRIED. You were BOLD. You DREAMED. I loved it. And I loved meeting her four years ago. That's another story for another time, but it was an Olympic dream come true.

Now, this year, it's time to make new #Olympic memories. Follow some great athletes on Twitter. Set your DVR's.  I started following some athletes already, and some of the posts pushed me during my speed workout Thursday afternoon. Since running a night race means less than 12 hours until my usual 5-6am morning workout, I woke up with SORE legs. Smart move was to push my run to later. Mr. Miller confirmed this with a "Seriously?" When my alarm went off. He's my better, smarter half. Not smart move was that it was almost 90 degrees when I ran! Thanks to my Endurolytes, drinking 64 ounces of water and pouring 32 ounces of water on my head, I made it through 1 mile warm up, 8X800's and 1 mile cool down. I only missed my last 800 by 15 seconds; I had left the track and was EXHAUSTED. My coach said, "Congratulations on your first big girl workout." Gulp. I was so proud of this workout because mentally it was powerful; heat and exhaustion didn't shut down my body. I was preparing myself for GREATNESS.

I leave you with this: 

How do YOU find greatness? What is your favorite Olympic memory? What is your favorite personal "greatness" memory? TELL ME ABOUT IT!
99 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!...aka Greatness

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Running a Night Race

Have you ever run a race at night? I sure haven't! I have run at night; some of those runs were good, some of those runs were okay, some of those runs I contemplated why I ate heartburn inducing food for lunch! However, none of these races were timed except by my trusty Garmin (Who I like to affectionately refer to as "Poco Loco"; he reminds me of how slow I'm truly going!). I am fearful of night races because so many factors are contingent on a successful race; sleep, nutrition, hydration, OUTFIT, arriving on time, location, and much much more!

Despite my fear I made my night racing debut last night in the 5k Prospect Park series. I had no idea what to expect. First of all, I've been to Brooklyn twice on purpose (AMAZING John Mayer Concert and during the marathon last year!) and twice by mistake (There is a Whitehall Street stop in Manhattan AND Brooklyn FYI). So I left extra early, packed emergency things (Huge Nalgene of water, safety pins, a gu, extra electrolyte pills...yea I felt like a newbie!) Second of all, I haven't run a 5k since November 2010! I'm not a "racer", but I figured maybe I'd try for a PR (Current is 27:19)

The Plan: Starting Line decision. I really didn't know what I wanted to try for. I told my friend Leticia it could change at any moment. Since I tweaked my hamstring Saturday and it was feeling fine, I did not want to aggravate it again. At the start line I decided to pace Leticia, who is making a triumphant comeback from a stress fracture! She said "10:00's." I said "YESSSS." 

The race: 10:00'S?! Nothing can hold this girl DOWN! Leticia was HAULING; I believe my constant comment was "We're in the 8's." Mile 1 we went fast because the crowd was fast. Mile 2 we went a bit faster than we wanted but were finding our groove. Mile 3 we found our groove but ended up running under 10:00 anyway. Race running, it's so different! I find it hard to be comfortable in any pace because I always feel like I should be going faster!

Finish time: 28:41 2nd Best 5k Race for me!

The verdict: Night racing is fun! I'm not sure how I would fare in a 10k or more, but a 5k at night is a nice way to hang with friends, run a bit in an organized way, and grab some food afterwards! I personally grabbed a delicious turkey burger...and maybe some french fries. My only mistake was not bringing a handheld for water; there were no water stations and it was HOT and HUMID, and I love to guzzle down some water fo sho! Check out race websites like Running in the USA or local running clubs, they often do small 5k series similar to this one throughout the summer! There's still time for you to try out night racing this summer!

Seeing these lovely ladies made the race fabulous:

We were all sweaty messes and loving it. Great running with you Jocelyn, Carla, Leticia, and Stephanie and new runner friends! (Other girls in the photo, I don't know if you have blogs!)

Have you ever run a night race? Did you PR? Did you regret your lunch? Did you love it or hate it? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

100 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!....Oh. My. Gosh. Getting down to double digits.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Glad Game Monday XIII

So what if I'm two days late?! It happens. I have had a pretty low key summer, until this week. Monday I had four separate events or appointments in addition to working, and then yesterday I had two, today I have three! Yippee for keeping busy! Despite feeling like I'm rushing everywhere without catching my breath, I'm choosing to be GLAD and enjoy it!

I'm glad I visited the Nike Running Store in Flatiron! Let me tell you, I L-O-V-E-D this store! From the decor to the staff, everything was pristine and vibrant. Three separate times we were invited to join the running group they have Tuesday nights. I asked a few questions about a new type of treadmill they have for gait analysis, got to know what's up with the Lunar shoe series, and they DO have lockers for the running group folks! Everyone was so nice and helpful. Can't say the same for their next door neighbor, but that's a different story for another day...certainly not for a Glad post! Example of the wall that had amazing art and design ideas: (More photos to come! If you follow me on Twitter you saw most of them.)
 I'm glad there's shirts made just for me! That's right; Miller philosophy: Chill out, Run on.
I'm glad I got one of the last FABULOUS Olympic tanks! I'm also glad they run SMALL; they only had mediums left and thankfully it looks good on me. CAN'T WAIT TO WATCH THE OPENING CEREMONIES! I'm drafting the menu! I said biscuits and tea; Mr. Miller veto'd that in exchange for fish and chips. We're going to have to find a happy medium, because I'm a non fish eater!

I'm glad the #OLYMPICS are starting! Enough said.

I'm glad week three for my teachers walk/run group was a success! I'm so proud of our group. Thunderstorms were threatening, we had to change the time to a much hotter part of the day, and they still came!!! Change takes time, commitment and community!

I'm glad I got a good deal on TONS of fruit! 4 boxes of blueberries, 3 boxes of strawberries, and 6 boxes of raspberries for $19.50! Such a good deal, they were fresh, and now in the freezer and ready for smoothies.

I'm glad I had a friend to push me to complete 75 minutes of hills yesterday! I woke up with an upset stomach, so I knew I'd have to run at night. My former running buddy agreed to meet me in the Central Park to take on every hill imaginable. She is a HEAT runner, she loves it. Me? NOPE. She pushed me and kept me going. I almost quite three times. We ran up the east side and ran three loops on the upper loop. Less miles than in my past three weeks of doing the same workout, but it was 4pm and HOT HOT HOT! 

What are you glad about this Wednesday?! Are you glad that  you got to run or catch up with a friend? Are you glad that today is a break in the heat in the northeast? Are you glad the Olympics are FINALLY  starting this week?! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

102 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!....EEK! Almost 100 days!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Food Section: Olympics Edition

Can we say HELLO LONDON OLYMPICS 2012?! I am SO excited for opening ceremonies this Friday!!! So, do you wonder what track stars like Ryan Hall or Kara Goucher eat to fuel for a race?! So glad you asked!!! In the June 2012 issue of Competitor Magazine, they featured runners headed for Olympic glory and what they eat. Be sure to check out their website; I had never heard of it until Mr. Miller brought me home an issue. Love their site, check it out!

Ryan Hall, what do you eat?

Clearly Mr. Hall has a healthy idea of what to eat. I have tried brown rice pasta, and it really does taste like whole wheat pasta. He has a high protein diet which is great for fuel, energy and recovery. I am intrigued by the idea of breaking up a pre-race dinners into two parts. The night before my marathon last November I could barely eat my DELICIOUS dinner. I ended up having a snack later that night.

Kara Goucher, what do you eat?

Ms. Goucher, you surprised me. With so many fitness gurus touting "clean eating" and staying away from artificial flavors, Kara seems to eat what she likes! Fancy that! I hear you on the nachos, girl. Last year I had two pieces of pizza post marathon; they were heavenly. 

Want to see more on what elite athletes eat? Check out what a gluten free Elite Athlete, a vegan Elite Athlete, and a not so average sized runner eat to fuel for a race. 

What do I eat? 
Pre-race dinner: Pasta with chicken and and broccoli rabe. Bread because I can't resist it.
Race Day Breakfast: Bagel with peanut butter. This may be switching to oatmeal with banana and peanut butter.
Race Fuel: Gel 15 minutes before start, one every 4-5 miles. 2-3 electrolyte pills every 60 minutes. Eat half a thunder bar at miles 12 and 20. I grabbed a banana around 22 I think!
Post-Race: WATER, Recoverite shake by Hammer, banana and nuts.
Post-Race Treat: Something with a LOT of calories (Pizza was perfect) and a couple of adult beverages! This year may or may not include empanadas, but it will probably be pizza again.

How about you? What do you eat for Pre-race, Race Day Breakfast, Race Day, Race fuel, Post-Race and Post-Race treat?! Tell me about it! I need some good ideas, especially for post-race treat!

104 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why I'll be using kettlebells during Marathon Training

What's the best thing to do on a rainy day? SHOP! Since yesterday was one of the grossest days of the year, I decided to do errands and housework that would normally take up my time on a beautiful sunny day. While I was at Target, a unicorn moment happened: they suddenly had an extensive kettlebell selection! Say whaaaaat? Mr. Miller and I have been searching and researching which ones to get. Let's be honest, they're not cheap anywhere. Even if you find a deal, shipping is still a lot because they're WEIGHTS! They're HEAVY! So when I saw these Reebok beauties sitting all lonely on the Target shelf, I had to snatch them up. Get it? Kettlebell snatch? Oh, you will. Soon. Very soon.

I purchased three lovely KBs (That's how I'll often refer to them). The reason I wanted to get them was because all trainers tell me is that KB's are the best strength training you can do as a runner. During my UXF class with Stephanie, we did circuits with high intensity and high reps in short periods of time. A lot of the circuits included KBs. I loved them. During further discussion about the benefits of KBs for runners with our trainer, he detailed how they benefit us as endurance athletes:

- There is a lot of squats in the moves with KBs which strengthen the major parts of our legs that we use as runners (Glutes, hamstrings, knees etc).
- There is major core work in balance and execution of moves using KBs. 
- It is a cardio workout; your heart rate rises like running without the pounding impact.
- Your hips are strengthened in KB moves, a major area of weakness for runners.
- KB workouts work your whole body; machines isolate sections which is far less effective.

If that wasn't enough, my awesome friend Emily gave me further encouragement to take the plunge into using Kettlebells. If you want to know what she's like, check out her post "Why Being a Beast is a Good Thing." She encourages me so much with her fitness!!! When I asked her if getting KBs was a good move for me as a runner, she emphatically answered YES! She told me about a few people she's trained recently who were runners and saw PR's after going through her boot camp, which relies heavily on KBs in the workouts! KBs helped her lose her baby weight, and look at the CUTIE of a kiddo! Em, I wish we lived closer. We're a fitness match made in sweat.

PR's? Working my weak hips and legs? Cardio? Count me in Kettlebells! I'm excited to start using these in my regular workouts, especially since they are in my home. No excuses. They're effective even if I do 15 minutes a day. Everyone has 15 minutes a day. I will be doing a baseline circuit, hopefully tomorrow, and recording my results and progress every month. 

I'm glad I took the UXF class. I HIGHLY recommend in the Astoria New York Sports Club with Ethan Baum. He kicked my butt twice a week and taught me so much about KBs. I feel safe using them at home because my form has been monitored and corrected. Truthfully,  KBs work came naturally to me, and I'm glad it did. 

I don't recommend buying them and using them without an experienced KB user teaching you first. Like any weights, there's a right way and a wrong way to use them. 

Want to know more about Kettlebells for runners? Check out this article from Runners World about trading runs for strength training. This is NOT what I'm doing, but it lists the benefits of KB use. Also, check out this article from Endurance Magazine about the superior benefits of kettlebells for runners.

What is your strength training like? Do you use kettlebells? Are you a dumbbell kind of strengthener? Is strength training nonexistent for you like it was for me? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

105 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

So, a runner goes to a chiropractor Part I

Many people have differing opinions about chiropractors. I went to one in Manhattan for a massage from the massage therapist, and the doctor in the consult was a QUACK. I was with a friend, and he gave us IDENTICAL diagnosis, word for word. Then, a few weeks later, another friend was detailing her unnerving chiropractic experience and I said, "Is it ________________?" And her eyes widened and said, "YES! UGH! I felt swindled!" This is NOT that kind of experience.

So, let's clarify. I don't run like this:

However, I have been having lower back and neck pain for, well, forever. I've always had neck pain, and TMJ induced headaches; some of which have occasionally turned into migraines. I went to my family chiropractor in CT a couple of times a year, especially on college breaks to undo the damage of dorm beds. Currently, I can't sit in a chair for more than 15-20 minutes before I feel a strong tension in my lower back. Student's chairs are better for me; they're smaller and my feet don't have to reach for the ground! If I sleep on my stomach or at an odd angle, I will have neck pain and an all but guaranteed headache for the next day or two. It's all gotten worse with teaching; stress, carrying heavy bags, all of it.

I finally made the move and went to a chiropractor. It was actually a semi-fluke; I had a groupon for a massage with his massage therapist, and a consult was included. He takes my insurance, so it was like a match made in back pain heaven. 

So, why did this runner have to go to the chiropractor?

My symptoms include:
- Lower Back Pain on both sides (Fancy term: bilaterally)
- Neck Pain
- Hip discomfort and cracking to alleviate
- Range of motion limited, especially in the neck

Results of exams*:
- I have two discs in my lower back out of place (OOPS)
- My neck is seriously out of alignment (Potentially from a car accident when I was 5)
- My hips have weakened as a result for compensating for my uneven alignment.

*Note: This chiropractor did a three part exam. 1. Massage therapist wrote up an exam, and the chiropractor took a written statement concerning my symptoms. 2. I did a range of motion test 3. I had x-rays taken. All of these things were assessed by my chiropractor. He detailed and explained all the results at each step. This was very thorough, unlike the quack from before!

- 3 times a week for a few weeks
- After initial alignment is coming back, I'll receive exercises to do at home.
- Once alignment is back in place, occasional visits to monitor are recommended.

Today was my first appointment. Apparently, I'm TIGHT! It felt interesting. I felt a bit weird throughout the day, which is normal. Next week will  be my first full three days a week, so we'll see how I feel then. Fortunately, unbeknownst to me, my doctor is a runner. This came out during my second visit. He's done 4 half marathons and a 50k; skipped the marathon altogether! He told me, "Athletes do this alignment stuff regularly because they're at peak performance when all is right in their bodies. You've been operating with this discomfort for so long it's become normal to you." Mind you, when I'm running I experience no pain. It's when I'm sitting still! So I'm hoping to gain more comfort and less headaches during this process.

Do you have aches and pains? I found this article on Natural Cures by Runners World, and it lists some remedies, what they do and who should try them. I'm definitely in the chiropractic category. I'll be updating this series occasionally as I progress; it may be weekly, it may be monthly. 

What do you do with aches and pains? Do you go straight to the doctor? Let it play out? Are you coming back from injury? Tell me about it!!!

106 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Ps. Thank you for all the sweet comments on my sob fest post! I did a 75 minute hill workout Thursday and kicked BUTT with negative splits. It was the toughest run mentally, but once I finished it I felt as though I crossed a bridge. I run to run.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heartbreak Warfare

"...Disappointment has a name / it's heartbreak / it's heartbreak..."

John Mayer, you said it right.

So. I've been keeping a little secret. I applied to the Footlocker 5 Borough Challenge. I was honest about my projected pace. I got a phone interview. They said they LOVED me. Here's the catch: My time was not fast enough for the contest. I told them I would run my little heart out, and I even gained a coach in the process. 

It wasn't good enough. :-( 

I said that I was training to complete a 4:30 marathon. They wanted 4 hours. They said it was the only reason that hadn't chosen me. Mind you, they are the nicest people in the world, 100% professional and personal, honest and sincere. I appreciated the chance to simply be interviewed. 


I've become comfortable with my pace, clearly not winning any races in my lifetime, but this hurts. I really wanted this. I never do any of these contest type things or anything, and to get this far to get a final answer of NO is so sad. I really wanted the chance to challenge myself.

I have some cool ladies who encouraged me to dream big. Thank you to Michelle, Stephanie, Leticia and Dorothy for all your encouragement. My close friends were also very encouraging, thank you ladies!

Time to pick myself up by my bootstraps and plod on. I'll give myself one day to be sad. One day to think what if's. One day to wallow just a bit. Tomorrow, I must move on. Being upset isn't going to change the results. It's hard to not think that this was the drive behind my great training runs the past three weeks. I'll have to reevaluate and press forward. I have to remember that there are a LOT worse things happening to people, even people I know, and realize there is more good than bad in my life.

I started by having lunch with my friend Bernadette! B, we didn't take a picture! Thanks for a fun lunch to take my mind off being sad. Here's an oldie but a goodie!

So, Queens representative, you better bring your A-Game and win this challenge. I'll be rooting for you! 

108 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When Everything Goes Wrong on your Run

Do you ever feel that way? Like everything is fighting against you to keep you from running? Well, today was that day for me. We're in week three of ING NYC Marathon training and this morning was an*EASY* 3 miles. 3 miles?! Please child, I'll run those blind folded with soda as fuel. Pride comes before the fall. 

My attitude wasn't in it.
My body wasn't in it.
My WATCH wasn't in it (GPS mysteriously shut off, then took Manhattan time to find signal).
My stomach wasn't in it. 
My gear wasn't in it.
The heat index was NOT in it.

I was in it. After staring at my building longingly, taking 5 minutes to figure out how to turn the GPS on, then waiting another 2 minutes for it to find satellite, I gave up and ran my usual 3 mile route. I ran about a 1/2 a mile before things clicked.

My attitude was in it.
My body was in it.
My watch *+* GPS was in it.
My stomach was in it.
My gear sustained the run.
The heat index stayed the same.

What changed? My mindset. I thought of friends who have been injured, friends who didn't make it into the NYC Marathon. I thought about my experience in the NYC Marathon, and how I loved every moment of it. I thought about how during my maiden voyage of 26.2, I reflected (In Brooklyn, because you're there FOR-EV-ER), I reminisced that every. single. training. run. brought me to the starting line. 

So what if a 3 mile run took a total of 45 minutes because of a wackadoo watch and a groggy runner? So what if I wanted to wear my other shorts but couldn't find them? So what if it was humid and hot at 6:30am? So what if my stomach won't settle down for 30 minutes of pounding the pavement? I ran 2.58 with a 10:46 average; the other .40 will remain unknown. So what?

And now, since we should all by inspired, here is a word from Pinterest:

 Find this here
 Find this here
Find this here

Oh my goodness, that's ME!? Yes, my awesome friend made that pin for me. Repin if you feel so obliged. If you would like to follow me on Pinterest, feel free to do so here I pin about running, puppies, teaching, and NYC.

Feeling likes things are going wrong in a different way? There was a great article in the Runners World email blast today about mental blocks in training. Check it out, I enjoyed the article.

Have you ever had a time when things kept going wrong running wise?! Did you get scared by a raccoon? Thunderstorm get in your way? Chaffing got you down? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

109 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Glad Game Monday XII

Well hey there, hot and humid MONDAY! What a week, weekend, and MONDAY!  How have you all been? Partying it up summer style? Laying low in the AC? I've been doing a bit of both. No matter how great, how neutral, or how downright awful your Monday was, let's get GLAD and think of things that make us smile! Let the Glad Game begin!

I'm glad I finally got to the beach! Last summer was an epic FAIL where beach going is concerned, so I'm glad that we took some time to go. It may have been overcast, but the water, sand and occasion breeze was downright perfect. 

I'm glad I took this picture. I can't believe how perfectly amazing it is. Oh, and that guy? I'm glad he's all mine :-D

I'm glad I made a new friend in a runmeet! I sent out a faint tweet into the abyss asking if anyone would like to run near Gramercy. This not my usual running area so I figured, heck, maybe someone would want to run it too? Well, it turns out that Ashley was game and I totally enjoyed meeting her. She kept me right on pace; runs go by so quickly when you're getting to know someone! I did 3 miles with her and turned around...only 6 miles this weekend :-( The increase begins again next weekend; I'm glad for that! We also happened to run into my husband who was doing a crazy scavenger to love NYC. Of all the places he could have been, he happened to pass us by!

I'm glad I got to have lunch with a friend! This is my wonderful coworker Ms. Gomez. We went to the best diner and had french onion's so good that we wanted it despite insane humidity and heat!

I'm glad Ms. Gomez always creates adventures for us. She dragged me into an INTENSE Asian market and, well, it was intense. There was live EVERYTHING; jellyfish, FROGS (see below!), lobsters (see below!), squid, blech. Not my cup of tea. However, it was insanely fun.

I'm glad I came up with a fabulous cheer up hubby idea! Well, I wasn't so glad in the process. It was a bit difficult to clip the rubber bands off of a lobster when you're scared of it...and it wriggles. Needless to say, my neighbor was there filming for moral support, and the video is hilarious. It's wicked long, so I'll save you the drama. Mr. Miller is having a LONG week at work, and since I utterly refuse to cook or handle seafood, this is a big success. I hope he likes the lobster avocado salad!
 I'm glad I made my first lobster! WOOHOO! SUCCESS!

I'm glad I got the meat out without a lobster cracker! I used a hammer; messy but effective.

I'm glad I got my speed work in today. Yea, that was funny. I somehow figured out how to change my watch to kilometers to make it easier to do my workout; and then I couldn't figure out how to change it back 30 minutes later. So, I'm also glad that I figured out how to change it back! I blame runner brain: can't calculate or handle heavy machinery when focusing on running.

I'm glad that Leticia is running again! She was injured and has made a great recovery. NYC Marathon here we come!!!

I'm glad Stephanie got a PR! Great race gfriend!

Last, and certainly not least: I'm glad that my teacher friends took time out of their summer to walk and run today!!! 

How about YOU? What are you glad about today? Are you glad that Trader Joe's sells the best unsweetened iced tea in the world? Did a friend share great news with you? Are you on vacation? TELL ME ABOUT IT!!! (If you're on vacation, relax and tell me when you get back!)

110 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Training Tips: Ultra Marathons

This is the last installment of the training tips series for the summer! We saved the big one for last: ULTRA MARATHONS! In case you missed the other training tips, you will find links in a previous post on running a marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k, and training here. Today we have a FABULOUS runner named Danielle! Danielle and I first connected because we both ran our FIRST marathons on the same day! While I was preparing for a belated birthday party/marathon celebration and a few weeks of REST, Danielle was getting ready to amp up her running prowess! I've enjoyed following her journey from casual runner to a BEAST runner. 

Be prepared to be inspired! ENJOY!

Name: Danielle
Twitter Name: @LngMayYouRun

A mere two months after running my first marathon, I found myself lining up at the start of my first ultra- the Croom Zoom 50k Trail Race. Anxiety, excitement, giddiness, and fear were all flooding my little brain as I huddled with the 78 other runners trying to stay warm in the 20-degree weather. I was about to begin the journey of a lifetime- I was about to begin my first ultramarathon.

An ultramarathon is simply any distance longer than the 26.2 miles of a marathon. The most common distance for the ultramarathon newcomer is the 50k, or 31.1 miles. Other distances include 50 miles, 100k, and 100 miles. The most famous ultramarathon is the Western States 100 Miler (WS is to the ultra community what the Boston marathon is to the road racing community) and arguably the most difficult ultramarathon is the Badwater Ultra (a 135 mile journey through the desert in the middle of summer). Of course there’s the Barkley Marathons, but that’s an entirely different kind of crazy.

So what on Earth possessed me to run an ultra? Simply put: to see if I could. There’s an unexplainable power to conquering our fears and pushing our bodies past their limits and then some. In a way, it makes you feel superhuman. It makes you feel like you can do anything.

Some people might argue this, but I think that if you can run a marathon, you can run a 50k. Completing 26.2 miles will give you “adequate enough” training to cover 31.1 miles. But if you want to really enjoy your first ultra, I would recommend a different approach.

Most ultras are on trails but my first marathon (and most of my training) was on roads. When I was preparing for the Zoom 50k, I kept my basic marathon training schedule but added two new components: more trail running and back-to-back long runs.

Running on trails is a different ballgame than running on roads. Your stride changes, you slow down, and you trip more often (some more than others). There’s really no alternative to getting trail experience than running on trails. Plus you get to see some pretty awesome parts of Nature that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

The purpose of back-to-back long runs is to prepare you body and mind to run on tired legs. I ran a 20 miler one day followed by a 10 miler the next day. Another week, I ran three back-to-back 10 milers.

Additionally, your long runs will give you an opportunity to practice your fueling strategy. I’ve found this is the one thing that greatly differs from marathon running. You MUST eat, there’s no getting around it. If you’re body isn’t metabolizing food and giving you constant energy, you might as well just embrace your DNF (did not finish) before you even start.

Of course ultrarunners use energy gels and such, but after 10-12 hours, these things can get cumbersome. Common foods found at ultra aid stations include: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips, candy (such as M&Ms, Snickers Bars, cookies, etc), pretzels, bananas, boiled potatoes, orange slices, watermelon, and Pepsi/Coke. If you’re trying to imagine how someone might possibly stomach said foods while running, don’t forget that in ultras, you slow down and do more walking (two things that road runners ABHOR!). Just a handful of these items can do wonders for your energy levels in the middle of an ultra!

Back to the Zoom 50k- about 6 hours and 47 minutes after the bullhorn sounded (and 33+ miles… I got a little lost), I finished my race and could officially call myself an “ultramarathoner.” It was amazing, horrible, empowering, and painful all at once.

There were three things that really stood out to me on my first ultra experience. The first was the greatness of camaraderie. The race began before daylight, so we were all running behind each other down the single-track trail with headlamps on. It was very cool to see the string of lights up ahead of me and hear the banter of my fellow runners.

The second was the beauty of Nature. As I ran through the dark, I could see the dew hanging in the air like frozen snowflakes as armadillos were scurrying off to my sides. The frost on the ground sparkled like silver from the light of my headlamp. When the sun rose, everything turned a beautiful golden color. You could almost hear Mother Nature yawn. You just don’t get these things on the roads.

The third thing about my first ultra that stood out was about myself: conquering my inner demons. In marathons, it’s all about how to avoid hitting The Wall. In ultras, it’s about how many walls you hit, because you WILL hit them. Despite my meticulous calorie intake, I still bonked around mile 27. I felt like I had nothing left in me. I wanted to quit. I questioned my ability as a runner and felt so, so inadequate. My wall was more than just physical, but also mental. Yet somehow, I dug down deeper and found more strength, more confidence, and more perseverance than I thought I had.

In order to see what you’re made of, you have to push yourself to your breaking point. And when you’re faced with the decision to quit or keep going, and you chose to keep going, you know you’ve achieved something fierce.

“Your body can achieve what your mind perceives.”

(For more info on training for ultras, check out Bryon Powell’s book, “Relentless Forward Progress.”)

THANK YOU, DANIELLE! That was an awesome post! You've made me consider an ultra...uh oh!

How about you?! Have you done an ultra? Do you WANT to do an ultra?! Did this post make you feel tired just thinking about running more than 26.2?! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

113 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Marathon Training: Summer Wardrobe Additions

A change in season means a change in wardrobe. In the beginning of June, short sleeve shirt and shorts or capris were my normal morning outfit; and even then it could be a bit chilly. Suddenly BAM, end of June it's 75/80 degrees at 5am and you better be in your tank and short shorts! When I assessed my summer running wardrobe, I found that a lot of my tanks were super tight, and I didn't like that. It's the old school style; I'm loving the new "loose fitting" running tanks! Also, I noticed that the piping on my current tanks were chaffing up the inside of my biceps when it got really hot and sweaty, so I wanted to find tanks that, well, didn't do that! 

Here are a few pieces of running apparel I added to my summer running wardrobe this year*:

I am always wary of camis. They never fit right; either too loose, too tight, or too short. This one was great! I am so vane when it comes to tan lines, so this is a good choice if you know you're going to be in the sun and need to work on those permanently display "white raceback tanks", aka WHITE SKIN! No chaffing on the arms: score.

I love this tank! It's just loose enough that it breaths and it stays relatively dry. If I sweat like a fiend, it generally dries quickly. It is super soft and the bright colors are my favorite! It was a great race day choice. No chaffing on the arms: score.

Concerning the tank: I love it! It had a similar feel as the GapFit racerback, but was just a bit looser and perfect for a HOT HOT HOT run in Connecticut! It is also super soft, thin, and ready for when the  humidity was out of control. No chaffing on the arms. Score.  
Concerning the shorts: They're great! I LOVE that they are BRIGHT blue! They are very comfortable and don't ride too high; the waist band is a cool design of colors, but that'll never be seen on a run ;-) The website only has drab colors like black and grey, so check your local target where they have some awesome MERRY and BRIGHT color schemes! I recommend trying them on. I had to go up a size because the leg openings were cut very slim. Hello runner's thighs...well, at least my runner's thighs.

Well, there you have it! Some great summer running gear items to ensure that you look good, feel good, and sweat good during marathon, 1/2 marathon, 10k, or 5k training! Speaking of summer, head over to Mom Runner and check out my guest post in her Smoothie Love series! There are some delicious recipes that I can't wait to try out!

What are your summer running apparel must-haves? Are you a Lulu Lemon gal? Are you all Asics? Does your running wardrobe need a revamp? Tell me about it!

114 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

*I was not given any of these clothing items. These are items I found myself, purchased myself, and chose to blog about myself.