Friday, August 31, 2012

Running with football? Sign me up!

Last night I ran the NYRR Back to Football Run. Wait, you're saying running a race because football season is starting?! That sounds like dream come true land for me! There have been many football Sundays which occur surrounding a run, scramble to get back home, throw some food together, er uh shower because I don't want to smell, and finally enjoying friends, food, and football. This was the PERFECT way to kick off the 2012 season!

I met up with some fun bloggers. I had never met Kim, who lives in my hood. We always seem to have our plans to meet thwarted by some bad luck. Last night, it finally happened! Don't worry, it was friendly! I also met up with Beth fresh off of a tough day at work, and Stephanie fresh off of a Hood to Coast Relay extravaganza! Running brings all sorts of people together!

What race is complete without proper fuel?! Since it was one of my last days on summer break, I decided to make some yummy cookies. These banana chocolate chip oatmeal cookies were perfect for before AND after the run!!!

Right before the race started, I found the Packer's honing signal. Unfortunately, no other fans were around! We should have had a meet up. A tweet up. SOMETHING! ;-) Throughout the race and after the finish I DID get plenty of "Go Pack!" or "Go Packers!" or "Yea Rodgers!" so I think the Packer's fans were just late getting to the honing signal.

Race Stats:
Start: 7:30pm - I was NOT a fan of this start time. My eyes are a bit funny, and running in the dark can be difficult; especially with sporadic street lights, race lights, camera flashes, etc.
Course: 4 mile loop around the rolling hills of Central Park. What to say of the course? It was hill filled!
Water: Three different water stations, not too congested.
Volunteers: Everyone was in their work clothes, it was so cute! Some were more upbeat than others, but it's hard to be upbeat after working a long day.
Finish/Fuel: There was water, bagels, and plums! Boomer Esiason was at the start and finish and gave great commentary. He even pulled my pastor's young son out of the crowd to toss the football with him before the start!
Time: 39:40/9:55 mile.

Overall Opinion: What a fun run! I ran with Kim and had a great time. However, if the race had started at 7, I think I would have liked it all the more.

Today was a beach day. After a two a day yesterday (3 miles in the morning, 4 miles at the race), a friend and I ventured to Jones Beach. Remnants of last night's race still present...

64 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

So, a runner goes to the chiropractor Part II

I have been going to a chiropractor since mid July. After having pain for long enough, I decided to give it a try. This post talked about my symptoms, the initial exam, prognosis and plan. I was a little skeptical that I needed to go THREE times a week. Come on. Really? I can barely get myself out the door for work, let alone keep three appointments a week! Alas, it was close to where I was teaching summer school, so I mostly stuck with it. Boy did I need it.

The exam went through a series of steps. First, I would lay face down and the doctor would feel my spine, ask how I was feeling, and see what the status of my messed up back was. Next, he would ask me how my running was going, pain during and after, and how my hamstrings were doing (They had begun to tighten, a possible result of lower back weakness). Then he would adjust my back; first my lower back, then my shoulder area, neck, and finish with my lower back/hip area. 

After the first week he added a lovely component that I have a love/hate relationship with: an impulse gun:

This gun is fierce. See that lady shooting the hamstrings? Yea, that has happened. Often. It's a bit painful to say the least, but the next day I always feel significantly better. It was also used on my back and neck to set my spine into alignment. When he used it on my hips, well, that hurt the most. My hips are in rough shape apparently, so I'm still working on those.

Analysis of progress:

Pain on a scale of 1-10 before visiting: 8. I was in pain washing dishes, and really anything that required bending or leaning.
Pain on a scale of 1-10 after visiting: 4. I still get pain, I always feel better when I go in. Case and point: I didn't go for almost two weeks while I was on vacation. My long run Monday was MISERABLE. I believe this is partially due to not feeling 100% back wise, cramped in a car, sleeping on different beds and using different pillows. 

Next Step: going to an appointment only once a week. With school starting, there is NO WAY I can maintain a three times a week schedule. Nope. Not going to happen! I also want to see if my body can regulate. My doctor said the plan is to wean me eventually to only occasional visits to monitor my alignment; this means I have to STAY in alignment with less visits. 

My overall opinion has been extremely positive. I have loved my doctor, I love that he respects my running, and I love that I have continually run into runners in his office. I've never felt pressured to complete all my appointments; he suggests and doesn't bully me if I can't make it or reduced it to two appointments one week. I have felt better and have gotten less headaches from my neck/TMJ, which I was getting every other week. 

In other news: I'm running a race tonight! The NYRR Back to Football run is going to be out of control fun. Out. Of. Control. Costume pictures will be shared tomorrow. The question isn't what to wear, it's which Packers item to where?! I have a million things but nothing race-ish; cotton tees all around!!! Can't wait to dress up and be silly, it's been a while!

Have you been "dealing with pain"? Do you rest if you feel a pain in your body? Do you push through? How have you sought outside help for aches and pains? TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!

65 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ING NYC Marathon NO Bag Check Solutions

Well, let's just say that NYRR was NOT popular last week. After releasing the new NO bag check policy, the outcry was instantaneous and swift. Throngs of people were tweeting and posting on Facebook in response to this announcement. I, on the other hand, calmly read the FAQ's, followed NYRR's responses to runners, and found a funny article about it that made me giggle. My verdict? Something had to change.

Prepare yourself for something truly dreadful: The exit out of the park, also known as the Death March, was horrible. I finished, took a photo, got my HEAVY recovery bag, and started walking out of the park...into a brick wall of runners. I touched on this during my marathon recap, but I didn't want to dwell on a negative detail during a positive moment. Let me tell you, runners: It is TRULY a death march. You've been running, you feel great, you cross your fingers and smile for an awesome medal photo, and now you must stand still for almost 45 minutes. I am telling you the ugly truth, it's horrible. You're like cattle, but none of the cattle are moving. Everyone is causing congestion by getting bags, thus all of us must wait. I had four or five people pass out around me, people panicking while calling for medics; disaster movie stuff. My husband kept calling me thinking something was wrong, and I finally became snippy and said "I will call you when I get out of this God forsaken park." Oops. Anyway. I started really panicking at that point, as was the girl next to me; like panic attack panicking. I wanted OUT. The girl who was joining me in a mental breakdown, thankfully, had her mom with her. The mom calmed us down, assured us that we were going to get out, and stuck with me for another 30 minutes of shuffling. Read: 30 minutes. So, after the high of finishing the marathon, the joy of receiving your metal and some food, you stand in controlled chaos and wait to see the light of day when you finally get out on to the West Side. People, this is not a desirable experience, one that I do not wish on anyone. Therefore, perhaps this new plan could prevent others from this experience?

I believe NYRR has looked at this from every angle. I am glad that NYRR listened to the complaints on their post race questionnaires. Every person I've spoken to ALWAYS lists the exit of the park as their number one complaint. EVERYONE. I don't believe NYRR did this flippantly, nor is it a money saving scheme. In fact, they stated that its costing MORE to provide 47,000 ponchos to all the runners. Some have said perhaps the trucks can be relocated; wouldn't that require MORE walking, a similar trek to returning to your hotel or apartment? If it is imperative to bring something to Staten Island that morning, UPS will be shipping those items back to you. They are providing phone centers at the start AND finish of the race. They're making the family meeting site more organized. In essence, they're trying to assist runners as much as they can in order to get them out of the park as quickly as possible. I mean, who isn't going to love snuggling up in this awesome fleece lined poncho!?

They look so happy. I can't wait to look so happy!

Counter argument: You live in NYC so it doesn't matter to you. True. I have the advantage of living here but, oh wait, you didn't know I live in Queens? Yes, it's true. I live further than most people's hotels will be from Central Park. 4.5 miles from Central Park, to be exact. Unless you're staying in the financial district, you'll be closer to your belongings than I will be. 

Counter argument: You have friends and family who can bring your stuff. Yes. That's true. Mr. Miller and I will be extending assistance to people I know that are from out of town. I've also seen other people already offering to do so. If I had checked a bag and obtained it in the Death March last year, it would have made things worse. There's no room to change, and I would be holding TWO heavy bags. Having someone else bring your stuff sounds better. One solution I thought of would be if hotels could send an employee with bags of runners while standing under the letter of the hotel's name in the meeting area; I know this would probably be too big of a task, but it's one solution that could help out of town solo runners.

Confession: I never check a bag. It's true. I've checked a bag at one race in my career. One. I didn't even need to because I could have left my things in my car. How do I get away with it? I use some awesome gear to carry my things:

I always wear my Fuel Belt. As nerdy as I look, I depend on NO ONE to hydrate me. It helps me get through water stations, or skip them all together. When I'm empty, I find a lonely volunteer with a pitcher or gallon of water and we tag team filling bottles. It's environmentally friendly too, WOOHOO! In my Fuel Belt I have four 8 ounce water bottles and a pocket for storage. I place my electrolyte pills in the pockets. 

Next, the hidden gem: My SPIbelt. (I had to wear it above my fuel belt in the marathon because of my bib, usually it's below.) Meet my Marathon Best Friend. I received this as a birthday present three years ago from a non runner who thought it was cute. SCORE! It has been my constant companion. When I go on shorter runs, I place my phone in it as a more convenient way to access my phone for music and pictures. During a big race, it holds my squirt bottle for my hammer gel and a nutrition bar that I usually eat around miles 12 and 20. When I went on their website recently, I saw that they have something for EVERY storage need. From a plain belt, or a SPIholder for ankle or wrist, to a waterproof attachment bag for fuel and phones, they literally thought of everything. The storage space expands significantly, allowing maximum items to be carried during the race. I HIGHLY recommend this item for the No Bag Check Marathon.

Feeling better about not being able to check your bag at the ING NYC Marathon yet? Well, this should sweeten the deal: The cool people at SPIbelt sent a coupon code just for YOU! They understand the challenges of not checking your bag, so they're offering 10% off and free shipping. Free shipping gets me every time. Here are the codes:

- 10% off SPIbelt coupon code: magellan12
- Free Shipping SPIbelt coupon code: ship12

What about you? Are you still outraged concerning the no bag check policy? Do you use a SPIbelt or other storage gear? Do you ALWAYS check a bag?! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

68 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

*A special thank you to the folks at SPIbelt for extending the coupon codes to readers; I wrote them yesterday afternoon asking if they had any, and I received a PROMPT response! Thank you for a great product and great customer service!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Glad Game Monday XVI

Oh, it's time to be glad? After I waited at UPS behind only five people for FORTY FIVE MINUTES!? Yes. It's true. I almost offered to start running around the warehouse to make the line go faster. Almost. Because this was after a disastrous 15 mile run in which I felt defeated, weak, and not cut out for 26.2. Yup. One of THOSE long runs. There's always at LEAST one a training cycle, where you sit on a curb and contemplate hopping on the train after 10 out of 15 miles (True Story). I had a run like this last year, but it was three miles LONGER. It was helpful to read that post just now; better perspective for this weekend. 

Heck, let's think of some things to be glad about this Monday!!!

I ran 15 miles. No matter how ugly, no matter how many walk breaks towards the end, I did it. Thanks to my sister, Coach Jen, who talked to me on the phone for the duration of those final miles.

I'm glad we took a nice picture! Sometimes it's like pulling teeth, but Mr. Miller always comes through in the end looking all handsome and such. SOMETIMES Lambeau Puppy looks at the camera...sometimes.

I'm glad we got to spend time together as a family. Meet the McAuliffes! My brother and his family. We had a great time playing bingo, catchphrase, beach football, and building sand sculptures. 

I'm glad I got to meet me college roommate's baby. Eleanor, you stole my heart. She is a PRECIOUS pumpkin and it was such a wonderful experience to share that with my friend. Amazing how, years later, it's like yesterday that we lived in Watson Hall together. XOXO Sterns!

I'm glad that NYRR is attempting to remedy their congestion situation. Say WHAAAAT?! Yes, I'm a believer. I'm a believer in change. After my HORRID experience last year, something's gotta give! Tomorrow's post will be EXTRA special with coupon codes and suggestions for race day storage. Be on the lookout! 

What are you glad about? Did you wear an AWESOME outfit today? Are you getting closer to a fall race? Fun Labor Day plans?! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

68 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Workout on vacation: at the beach!

It's Friday. Boo. Most people would be excited, anticipating a summer Friday early release, or a joyous weekend filled with fun plans. Me? My vacation is ending. The S word is looming, first day back is September 4. Eek. Kids. Paperwork. Lots of paperwork. Anyway! Let's not dilly dally on the negatives, because they mean my beloved summer is ending. Let's focus on working out at the best place in the world: the beach.

Here was the schedule: 
Sunday: 3-4 miles on the beach with plyometrics stops (Didn't wear a watch, ran FREE!)
Monday: RAINY 7 mile tempo run 9:46/mile
Tuesday: 4 miles on the beach
Wednesday: Biked for about 5 miles
Thursday: Decided to rest
Friday: TBD! 

I love beach running, but there aren't any hills. On the contrary, I FOUND hills! If you're beach running, try to find some dunes and have at it. I ran up this bad boy five times on my 4 mile run Tuesday. It doesn't look too big here, but it's about level with the second floor of that house! Super steep, super challenging.

Running on the shore can be good and bad. The harder the sand, the better it is to run...or so you think. Although the firmer sand can keep you from heel striking like sinking sand often forces you to, the harder sand can tear up your skin. A healthy mix of slightly in the water and beyond the water can save your feet. Also, keep your eyes out for tiny shells, they can slice you bad!

Obviously, walking the beach is the best way to start and end the day. We take walks multiple times a day. Obviously the puppies love the beach, and half the time I'm running to get them going. Walking the beach is a great way to balance being sedentary and reading Gone Girl, People Magazine, etc.

Use beach supplies to get some planks in! Mr. Miller is a firm believer in push-ups and planks multiple times a day. Hey, why not? You're at the beach!

If you're brave, try kayaking! The ocean has not been very calm, so I didn't go out. I am a scaredy cat after an incident a few years ago...let's just say my dad didn't "have it" and I was flipped and thoroughly concussed by a kayak. So sad. The men took to boating and riding in waves, a great arm workout. 

The beach community staple: biking. We enjoyed biking and viewing the beautiful, often extravagant, beach houses. It's like being in another world. You barely realize your exercising, albeit not burning a ton of calories. My hamstring has been a bit tight from all the beach walking/running, so this was an easy fix to break a sweat for a bit.

TODAY IS A SPECIAL DAY! Lambeau turns 3 today! We celebrated with morning mimosas on the beach, meeting some new puppy dogs, and chasing seagulls. He almost got one, almost. Happy birthday Lambeau Puppy!!!

Do you workout at the beach? Do you celebrate pet birthdays?! Are you sad to see summer go? Excited for kids to return to the S word? How many miles should I run today?! (I'm thinking 4...not sure) TELL ME ABOUT IT! 

71 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Workout out on a vacation: In a hotel

Hi, I'm on vacation! I'm so excited to be heading to the beach tomorrow. Mr. Miller, Lambeau and I began our vacation by staying a couple of nights in a quaint harbor town of Annapolis, Maryland. When we reserved our room with The Westin, a special WestinWorkout room was available...OBVIOUSLY we were intrigued by this option! So we signed up! Here is what we got:

A full fledged gym right in our room! These things were situated in a workout corner ready to be used. No excuses when you wake up staring at a treadmill! We tried out some things with the weights in the treadmill. Unfortunately, I forgot to use the jump exercise arch nemesis. I even got to read the older version of Runner's World Complete Book of Running! Dreams come true, hotel room style.
Little did we know, we could have gotten new workout clothes! Apparently if you call ahead with your sizes, the hotel will lay out apparel for you. You live, you learn.

We went to check out the gym as well. So, you don't have a gym in your room? See what the gym has to offer. Mr. Miller led me in a series of exercises plyometrics style...I was TIRED!

The Westin is also EXTREMELY pet friendly. Lambeau loved his temporary digs, as well as a little exercise away from the hot hot heat outdoors. I recommend hanging out here if you enjoy getting your sweat on while vacationing, and seeing your puppy pampered!

Another great way to workout on vacation is running while sight seeing! We ran to the Naval Academy and it was beautiful. All you needed was a photo id to get in and you were allowed to tour the campus. Also, hotels often have running routes in metropolitan/popular areas, so don't be afraid to ask if they can recommend a scenic route.

We ended up getting on to the Navy Football practice field! Mr. Miller did pull-ups. I watched. I can't do them. Sad face.

What I can do: jump through ropes, find Newfoundland dogs that weight more than me, and take pictures of push-ups. I did 20 push-ups. That's all I could muster!

All work and no play makes the Millers dull. Don't worry, we've been having plenty of fun after working on our fitness! Happy Friday all!!!

How do you get your sweat on while on vacation? Do you head to the hotel gym? Relax instead? Take advantage of an indoor pool? Walk to sight see? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

78 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NYC Marathon Training Update I

After reading weeks of other people's weekly training updates, I realized I haven't done one! OOPSIES. I know you all truly care. Well, maybe you just want to know. Maybe? Well, pretend if you don't. I've mentioned  updates within posts about long runs, speed work and tons of hills. So, I'll occasionally check in and leave my words of wisdom to those who are also on the path toward 26.2. Words of wisdom. Ha.

Mile totals: 
July 2012: 103.1!!!  (July 2011: 57.45 YEA for growth!)

Types of workouts:

Hills! I have been doing a lot of hills. My coach says for 75 minutes, run as many hills as you I do! It's tough but thrilling.

Speed: I have been doing a series of speed work using intervals. This month I'm moving into Tempo runs. My goal pace for tempo runs is 10:27 pace, and intervals are 9:30 pace. I tend to run intervals around in the mid to high 8's because the Triboro Bridge (Pictured below) messes with my GPS a bit. For the first time in my running career, I have been faithful and doing speed work regularly. Thanks coach! She pushes me in a great way.
Pardon the old photo, I apparently haven't taken any pictures there lately! I've used it, I promise!

Easy Runs: These have building each week; this week it went from 5-6 miles to 7 miles. These runs are an easy pace, like a recovery run.

Long run: DUH DUH DUNNNNN! These have been going well. Mine have progressed as follows: 9 miles, 6 miles, 8 miles, 10 miles, 12 miles, 14 miles, 13.1 miles. Nothing to see here folks, just your typical long run build up! They're best when done with others! Also, they're best when done with Sparkly Soul Bands, because I have a different one in each photo!

 6 miles shared with Ashley!
 Multiple long runs with the Mr.!
One of the hottest runs of my life with Stephanie!

Seriously Leticia, we need to remember to take pictures! I've met her in Manhattan a couple of times to tag on miles together during my long run. Today I ran into Manhattan and she joined me in Central Park for 4 miles! 13.2 miles DONE before vacation! I can rest easy...until next weekend ;-)

Thoughts: I think I'm making some progress toward reaching my goal time of under five hours. I really didn't do any speed work last time because I was so busy that I simply fit runs in when I could, often not near a track. I hope I can maintain my workouts when school begins in September. ANDDD let's not talk about that happening ever again. Or until September.

Lessons learned: Not bringing body glide is not a good idea. I had to run in CT for a 12 mile run. Had a bit of chaffing. Not cool. Also, waking up early is always worth it.  After not getting some workouts done in the morning like I hoped, I had to do them in the afternoon. If I woke up and worked out, I could have napped in the afternoon instead of sweating it out like it was going out of style. Lessons learned. Check check.

How has your training been going? Are you doing crossfit? Running your first half marathon? Couch to 5k? Tell me about it!!!

80 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When marathon training runs don't happen

Do you ever have one of those days? Days where there is no REAL reason for you not to run? Days where there is no injury preventing you from running? Days where you just simply don't feel like it? Well, yesterday was definitively one of those days. I had 5 tempo miles on the agenda, and they didn't happen. I slept in, did housework, avoided avoided avoided. I stressed about all I had to do before we leave for vacation Thursday morning, and only got a small amount done. Then, suddenly, it was time to go to Bryant Park to secure my blanket on a patch of grass!

There's no friends in war...NYC space war!

Bryant Park movies always does a NYCer good. It's been a yearly tradition to go at least once a year for the past six years. Our first one we saw was The Birds, it was fantastically creepy because the movie contains NO music. Last night we went with our Cancun Crew to see All About Eve, which I had never seen and loved. While experiencing this fantastic NYC summer event is always fun, I didn't get home until 11:30pm.

All About Even in Bryant Park

Today had 7 miles on the agenda. I woke up at 9am, blamed Lambeau Puppy for his superb snuggle skills, and determined I was going to run later. After texting a few friends, all of whom were either not running or had been a morning faithful, I sat down to think about my options. With vacation coming up, I knew that if this feeling of slothiness stayed, it would be even more difficult to train. I determined that my schedule needed some, some "tweaking". (You've Got Mail fans? Anyone?)

The Snuggle Pro Himself

So, this week's New York City Marathon schedule has been tweaked. Today I ran 3 easy miles to remind my legs what they're supposed to do when I lace up my Nike Pomegranates. Tomorrow morning I will complete my (originally slated for the weekend) long run: 13.1 miles. This will allow me to shift my 5 tempo and 7 easy miles to later in the week, when I'll be running through scenic routes bound to get my drive to run in high gear. 

Hopefully everything will even out at the end of the week. Mind you, I love to exercise on vacation. Last year, in fact, I ran everyday! One rest day I biked a bit then ran a mile. Hey. It counts! Although I love running, the environmental factors pose a challenge in the beach community I'm in; no shade and it gets super hot super fast. Last year's 12 miles started just after 5:30am and I almost didn't finish because I was so hot. So, I'm going to run 13.1 miles tomorrow like a champion and enter my week and a half vacation with the peace of mind that I completed my long run already!
Maybe when I finish I'll take photos in this Olympic Team USA jacket? Oh, wait, it's $450.

The moral of this post? It's okay to miss a few runs. It happens. However, you do have to pick yourself up by your shoe laces and run a few miles. Last year I got a no running for a week stomach bug during the third or fourth week of training for the marathon. I thought my marathon running world was over. It wasn't. Guess what? I finished it and had a great training cycle. So if you find yourself in a slump, adjust, and plod on plod on plod on. In the words of my professor: "The bend in the road is the end of the road if you fail to make the curve."

Sidenote: I know many people who are injured right now, and you all are making me realize that it's a get to run not a have to run. I think I just did too much this weekend and I'm tired.  I'm cheering you all on and I'll have you in my thoughts as I pound the pavement, wishing you speedy recoveries!

Do you ever have days when you just don't feel like running? Do you get overwhelmed by packing/cleaning before a vacation? Are you not running because of Shark Week?Have you felt guilty about missing marathon training runs? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

81 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Giveaway WINNER!

Yesm I'm up WAY beyond my bedtime, but chose a winner!

Comment #1 was from Stephanie at Epicurious Runner!!! S, congrats on your win! I won a contest with her, so I find this selection very ironic. Thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway.

85 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

NYC Running Routes: Summer Streets!

What on earth are summer streets? So glad you asked! During the summer, has arranged for Park Avenue to be closed to car traffic, allowing runners (hello!), cyclists and pedestrians of all kinds free to roam the streets! With rest stops along the way, this is a scenic crazy taxi free route is sure to encourage fun and high fives.

Name: Summer Streets

Location: 72nd Street and Park Avenue-Lafayette Street and the Brooklyn Bridge entrance

Entrances: Anywhere on Park Avenue from 72nd Street until 14th Street, then enter at Lafayette Street until the Brooklyn Bridge.

We entered at 60th Street and Park Avenue around 7:15am, and the streets were teaming with runners, bikers, and walkers! I had 14 miles on the schedule, so Mr. Miller and I ran from Astoria, over the Queensboro Bridge, and on to Summer Streets. As we started running down Park Avenue, I said "Wouldn't it be cool if we ran through the tunnel at Grand Central?" Well, this was the first cool thing we did on Summer Streets!

Be sure to take fancy pictures:

The route was not as flat as I thought. The hill up to Grand Central was a pretty decent climb. When running back uptown, Park Avenue between the 30's and 50's has some decent climbs as well. If you're including the Brooklyn Bridge in your run, then you're adding some great bridge climbs as well.

Timing was an issue on this route. Although Park Avenue was closed down, there were some cross town streets open for traffic, resulting in being stopped at a stoplight every 5-6 blocks. Also, my watch was out of control; hi, I'm Kristin, and I don't run 7:xx minute miles. I spoke with other runners and they said the same thing. It must be the tall buildings! As long as the GPS accounted for the distance, I figured I'd survive an easy long run without constantly monitoring my pace.

I was unsure about the water conditions, so I brought my fuel belt. This was an awesome move, even though there was PLENTY of water! It was a HOT, HUMID day, 90% humidity in fact. Staying hydrated was key. We stopped at each water station and the water was DELICIOUS freezing cold goodness. I refilled my fuel belt and threw some on my head. Each rest stop listed on the map had frigid water.

You can add the Brooklyn Bridge or the Queensboro Bridge to your run! If you're looking to add some distance or challenging hills you can add either one of these bridges to your summer streets jaunt.

Enter the Brooklyn Bridge by following the signs at the end of Summer Streets in lower Manhattan. Warning: Brooklyn Bridge appears to be under construction so it was a TIGHT claustrophobic fit:

If you choose to add the Queensboro Bridge, enter at 60th Street and 2nd Avenue: (Photo is Queensboro Bridge run and view of Manhattan Bridge)

There was awesome people watching! Little kids on bikes getting stuck with training wheels, first time rollerbladers, and puppies in baskets! This made my day: a Yorkie puppy in a basket! 

Speaking of puppies, we ran into a real Firehouse Dalmatian! Her name was 20. Also made the run happier ;-)

Not only are the streets available for activity, there are events taking place at each rest stop! We got to try out some Muscle Milk, eat some applesauce, sample  homemade cookies and lemonade, we ALMOST tried the "Are you Stronger Than a 5th Grader", but we didn't want to stop running for 20 minutes. Some things we didn't partake in that you should check out include free bike rentals (GET THERE EARLIER THAN 7am), the Muscle Milk Yoga and massage recovery area at the midtown stop, and the zip line at Foley Square (Which was booked for the day by 7:45am, according to the sign). 

Verdict: We loved Summer Streets! PLUS, Mr. Miller ran 14 miles, a new PDR for him!!! We also ran into a runner friend at the end of our run who joined us for a bit; love NYC and random run-ins!

This route is right for you if you...
- Want to do a FUN run!
- BYOWB (Bring Your Own Water Bottle, unless you're part camel; it's HOT!)
- Enjoy a flat route with a few decent hills.
- Want to add other activity to your run.
- Need bathrooms; there are plenty of Starbucks etc with public restrooms on the route.
- Want to try a unique NYC experience!

This route is not for you if you...
- Want to PR.
- Desire to monitor your pace (ie run at goal pace, intervals etc)
- Freak out when your watch is out of whack.
- Don't like stopping at stop lights semi-often.
- Don't want yummy snacks along the way!

Have you tried out Summer Streets? Tell me about it! If not, there is still time! The last day to experience them is August 18, 2012. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately for me, I will  be on VACATION in Virginia Beach!


85 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!