Tuesday, October 30, 2012

With Sandy gone, NYC marathon update

Thankfully everyone I know is well. This may mean they are without power or even displaced, but they are alive and safe. We had massive winds but barely any flooding, thankfully not losing power for more than 30 seconds. Others haven't been so lucky, you're in our thoughts and prayers. Check out this great post on ways you can help in NYC and for the marathon: http://runstrongereveryday.com/2012/10/30/what-marathon/

There seems to be a lot of controversy concerning the NYC marathon. Twitter is alive with speculation, retweets, articles and debates.

All that being said, it appears that the marathon still has a good chance of happening. See articles below:



I believe this is a decision to do something that benefits the city financially, runners who have trained for many months, and the overall moral after a trying few days. Many non runners believe it should be scrapped altogether, not realizing what a marathon can bring.

A marathon can bring excitement to a city that feels weary. A marathon can bring inspiration to people who are distracted by negative situations. A marathon can bring fun to a stressful week. If the marathon doesn't hurt the city, it can only help it.

Godspeed to all who are traveling. If you arent able to make it, my heart breaks for you. I hope NYRR will seriously consider not charging these runners for deferring. It's not in their power, and a lot of them are already lising money with travel expenses that will not be refundable. I encourage out of who do make it to reach out on the ING NYC Marathon Facebook page and coordinate cab rides by location; this could alleviate the stress and financial burden of not taking the $2.25 subway.

4 days until the ING NYC Marathon

Edited to add: pictures below are from my local park and neighborhood. Also blogging from my phone is annoying!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane #Sandy...just days before the ING NYC Marathon!

I'm having a serious case of dejavou. Snowtober anyone?! Yes. It was almost a year ago to the day (YESTERDAY) that Snowtober hit as I was on my way home from Saturday School, the weekend before my first marathon.

Now, on the week eve of my second marathon, Hurricane Sandy is threatening serious impact. School is cancelled tomorrow. Subways are closing down. Things are getting real yo. Ain't nobody got time for that!

This weekend, I ran my final "long run". 5 miles. Beautiful Connecticut trail. I was in heaven with my sister Coach Jen, running to my heart's content. 

I woke this morning at 6am with severe anxiety. Stupid storm. We bought the last 24 pack of water at our local grocery store in CT, then drove back to NYC and arrived around 11am. Bought more water, bread, peanut butter, beer, and made buffalo chicken mac and cheese. We watched the Packers game, and we won! 

However, everything has been clouding over the real excitement of this week: MARATHON WEEK. Route signs are up, finish line will be prepared, things are happening people. It WILL happen. Don't let this storm fool you: New York New York WILL be playing as the canons go off on 11/4/12.

The foliage waited for you, runners. Get ready for some FABULOUS Central Park views from miles 24-26.2. I can't wait to be greeted by trees, hopefully still bearing their limbs! (Above and below photos curteousy of the greatest South African Greek Goddess, Nadia! Check out her fundraising page!) 

Are you running?! Are you from out of town? Are you facing traveling struggles? NYC runners, do you have a day off? Any questions!? Tell me about it!

6 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tips and Tricks for NYC Marathon

So, I am NO marathon expert. Not in the least. This is number two for me, I repeat number two. However, I am a skilled OCD planner/packer, as well as NYCer (6+ years going strong). I've been receiving a lot of questions from first time NYC marathon runners, so I figured I'd answer them in an orderly context.

Going to the marathon expo. Basically take any train to 34th street. The Javits Center is still a bit of a walk, so if you see a bus that says "Javits Center", you can hop on that too. HINT: Go as early as possible. I went on Thursday last year and I didn't have to wait for anything. My friends went Saturday and said it was a DISASTER. The majority of out of towners come in Friday or Saturday, so if you can, I recommend going Thursday night. Personal hint: Bring friends or family members! Tons of companies have signage and posters for you to write on right then and there, so they get to share in the fun!

How do you get to the marathon? Spoiler alert: bus sign-up filled up in, oh, 45 minutes I think. If you're signing up at the expo, you'll 100% be placed on the Staten Island Ferry. SECRET: Your assigned ferry time is not looked at. They make announcements encouraging runners to simply get on the next available ferry...aka a lot of runners are late so the last ferries tend to be crowded. For non-NYCers: The trains run less frequently on the weekends, so add 20 minutes to your estimated travel time (Saturday and Sunday trains run every 15-20 minutes). Or, you can simply take a cab. I actually recommend this. The streets are vacant on Sunday mornings, plus the marathon closes down so many streets, many drivers aren't willing to chance it!

Secrets of Staten Island. WEAR THROW AWAY CLOTHES! I know this seems like a "duh" thing, but I figured I'd mention it. The clothes are donated, so please throw them in away in a designated location, not in line to cross the Verrazano Bridge! Also, do NOT stress about bathroom lines; there are so many of them you barely have to wait. Greatest tip: food IS provided. Dunkin donuts provides coffee, bagels and tea...not sure if I spotted donuts. Mmmm. I ate my own breakfast beforehand, but with a later start time, I may opt for a second breakfast! 10:55?! Ain't nobody got time for that!

Via (fun fact: I don't know this runner, but when I googled Staten Island this came up...she knows people I've met...NYC is a small runner's world! Also: I'm taking more pictures on SI this time, there are NONE on Google Images!)

What should I wear? Know thy self is the first rule of all things marathon. If you trained in shorts, wear your shorts. If you trained in a tank top, wear the tank top. The body heat from 47,000 of your closest runner friends creates a natural increase in temperature. Add that with a strong November sun (GOD willing!) it can feel pretty warm by 12pm. Last year I wore shorts, a long sleeve shirt and my charity's short sleeve shirt over it. I was okay, but I ran in the shade. This year I'm opting for the long sleeve only, which has sleeves that easily push back. If you're a "cold" person, wear capris. Please remember: overheating is the worst feeling, and over dressing is a major contributor. ALSO: Write your name on your shirt! Thousands will call it out! It gave me an enormous amount of encouragement!

I'm the one with "Kristin" sprawled on her chest!

Now, here are some quick tidbits borough by borough:

Staten Island: Don't trip over the lane markers on the Verrazano Bridge like I did!
Brooklyn: Yes, the brownstones DO go on FOR-EV-ER. Put on music if you feel "Brooklyn ADD" coming on. I recommend anything by Jay-Z, especially "Brooklyn We Go Hard" and "I and Love and You" by the Avett Brothers (It's SLOW but I feel it pushed me).
Queens: MY BOROUGH! It may be short, but cheer for the high school band! Also, don't get discouraged on the Queensboro Bridge; run if you can, move to the right if you can't. It's deathly silent, and the roar of 1st Ave will be waiting. Take this time to focus on breathing, check your body, and repeat your race mantra. You may need it ;-)
Manhattan: 1st Avenue may seem never ending. Look at the crowd, take it in. If you look straight ahead, it can play a mind game on you. Hint: If you like to countdown, you enter the Bronx at 128th Street...just in case you're counting down.
The Bronx is quiet. NO, it is not! This is a lie. I LOVED the Bronx. Embrace it. It's the shortest borough. Hint: You'll enter back into Manhattan at 138th Street, just in case you're counting down again!
Manhattan: 5th Avenue can make or break you. Hint: You enter the park at 86th Street, keep counting down! Know that once you enter the park, you're almost there. The crowds in the park are PHENOMENAL. You'll have to push in the last .25, as it is UPHILL (Thanks marathon creators!).

Edited to add:
SUPPORT! Get your friends and family to get in on the action!!! First, runners sign up on Asics Support Your Marathoner page. Then friends and family can upload videos and photos which may appear on a big screen as you cross a sensor strip! (It happened to me...seeing Mr. Miller and Lambeau at about mile 21 caused instant tears). They can also track you by signing up for NYRR's Runner Tracking. Both of these tools help your family and friends feel connected to your experience, especially if they can't join you for the journey!

Check out these additional tips and tricks! Ashley listed some great advice as well! 

Lastly, WATCH THIS VIDEO! It's a VERY real depiction of the marathon. I definitely teared up a few times. SO. EXCITED.

There you have it. A quick rundown of some tips of the NYC marathoning trade.

What about you? Do you have anything to add? PLEASE comment! I love new information and tips! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

8 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!...single digits! Hurricane Sandy, come and be GONE!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Marathon Checklist

Everyone has a checklist. Mine is daily. Teaching checklists, home checklists, running checklists, ugh. They're ever present, never finished, and always growing. However, this is the BIG one. The 26.2 marathon checklist. This is the basic format:

In addition to those all important checks, here's the REAL checklist!

  • Make a playlist. I've been writing song names down on my notepad to ensure that I collect songs that I get pumped about. I'll reveal it soon. Or on November 3 at 8pm. Who knows?!
  • Buy the nutrition bar that worked on the last 20 miler. They sell it at the nutrition store around the corner; chia seeds, gluten free, not melt-worthy chocolate. Yum.
  • LAUNDRY. Every runners pesky detail.
  • Confirm marathon day outfit. I've been getting nervous about the weather. It's been FAIRLY warm recently. My plan is the gray shirt and black shorts I wore on my most recent 20 miler, and in last year's marathon. If the high is above 60, I'll have to panic rethink my outfit.
  • Eat carbs. I have been enjoying potatoes recently, and apparently Runner's World calls them the "perfect carb". 
  • Go to expo Thursday night. Yea. I won't be toying with Friday or Saturday. The earlier, the better. 
  • Get a  manicure with "Marathin" Essie nail polish.
  • Write thank you notes to people who have supported me. This is important, and I did it verbally last year because I was so busy. I intend on going old school and sending a thank you note.
  • Pray for good weather. This is ongoing. Heard there's a hurricane approaching? Snowtober? Let it be gone before marathon weekend!
  • Relax. Ha. Easier said than done! Mr. Miller and I will be retreating to Connecticut this weekend. I'll get to enjoy some time with family. I hope to take in the crisp fall air, smell of leaves, and Lambeau puppy running free in the backyard. 
How about you? Are you a checklist nut? Do you list things to do? Do you wing it? Am I missing anything? Tell me about it! 

10 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!..birthday tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top of the Mountain: Taper Style

You know that feeling, right? You've run your longest run..twice. You feel GREAT. You're on top of the world. Wait, what? No more "real" running. FABULOUS. Throw in a minor toe nail procedure, some dietary (CARB) cut backs, whoopie pies and shoot: it's the taper.

Training is a hike. I went hiking this weekend, and it was CHALLENGING. As I stated in my Glad Game Monday post, the Mr. warned me that it would be difficult; I scoffed. You live, you learn, you struggle through a hike. This hike was similar to marathon training.

Hiking, a marathon metaphor? Stay with me. We started out the hike and I had on a running jacket, and a long sleeve. BAD. CHOICE. I was hot instantly. All those claims that "it would get cooler up in the mountains outside the city" were FALSE. A throne of lies in fact. I toyed with wearing a tank top, but went for the safer long sleeve. Turns out safer would have, indeed, been a tank top. I was SWEATING profusely and uncomfortable. GROSS. This is like the beginning of the build up in marathon training. It's uncomfortable, extremely challenging, and breaks you out of your regular routine. I had a choice, just as I did in training: give up or climb on. I chose to climb on.

At each small peak, I gained more energy. This is true in training as well. Instead of getting bogged down by increased mileage, I'm challenged by it. Oh, 14 miles this week? 16 next week. And 18 after that. As we reached a temporary "plateau" (aka photo opportunity with open expanses), I gained a stronger desire to get to the peak (aka how cutback weeks make you hungry for greater distances).

There were times where I didn't know if I would make it. I was with a group of ten people. I can honestly say, aerobically, I was in the top tier of the "ready to run a marathon" in the crowd; however, my care to not stumble, fall, or strain muscles left me at the back of the pack continually. Training is often humbling. You think you're a rock star during one speed work session, and then you can barely make it through four easy miles. What matters is that the "hay is in the barn". All I needed to do has been done. Through blood, sweat, blisters and tears, this training cycle is essentially completed.

I've reached the top of the mountain. The peak of training has come and gone. The "runner's high" has vanished. what is left is the taper doubts. When a coworker asked me yesterday how I was feeling about the marathon I said, "Pssshhh, I'm excited to get running!" - insert yesterday's 3 mile run - Today I told her, "I don't know HOW I feel! One minute I'm a marathon warrior, next minute I'm a nervous wreck." So this is the mountain top. You feel confident in your accomplishment, but precarious concerning what comes next. The climb down. The big finish. 26.2. The NYC Marathon.

All that is left is the climb down. This is often the most difficult part. I feel ready. I completed a 5 mile tempo run at 9:30/mile average. This included NUMEROUS crosswalk pauses, as my runmute takes me through crowded cross walk ridden streets. This run got me excited. It said, "You're ready. Let loose now; you'll let loose again later."

How about you? Do you go CRAZY in the taper? Do you feel confident in the sudden cutback? Do you hike in wet leaves and dangerous boulders?! Tell me about it!

11 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!...single digits start ON MY BIRTHDAY!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Glad Game Monday XXII

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY WEEK! Yes, it's true. It's just three short days until I turn the big 2-8. Naturally, this is how I feel:

Via Dog Shaming. They make me laugh out loud daily. Okay hourly. 

Despite my birthday being excitingly close, Mondays can still be a drag. So, I decided I'm going to be glad about the people and things who have helped me through year 27 into year 28! So, let's get glad that we're alive, breathing, clothed, well fed, and possibly getting cake this week!

I'm glad that my parents are my parents! They are the best. Almost 28 years ago the doctor told my parents, "It's another girl!" Even though they thought I was a boy. They still take great care of me when I need them. Through broken bones, getting my license, moving off to college, starting out on my own in NYC, getting married, obtaining my masters degree and running half and full marathons, they have supported me and encouraged me. I'm so glad and blessed to have them!

I'm glad that I married this guy. We went hiking on Bear Mountain this weekend (I'm glad we did that too!). Mr. Miller warned me that this would be a challenging hike, and I shrugged it off all confident like, "Hey, I ran 20 miles last weekend, remember?!" Yea. He was right. It was super challenging! Not like a running trail hike, like climbing over boulders and rocks and sticks hike. He continually came to the back to check on me, as I was being the most careful hiker in the WORLD by constantly going slow over dangerous/easy to fall parts. I'm glad that he is my best friend AND my protector.

I'm also glad that he got me my dream boots. Yea birthday week!

I'm glad we have Lambeau puppy (AND for the Packers win!). He brings so much joy and companionship to our lives. Even though he's sometimes a naughty boy, I wouldn't trade him for the world.

I'm glad for my sisters. I'm the youngest girl and boy do I know it. These ladies school me, give me advice, laugh with me and cry with me. They're the best. I could not have made it 28 years without them...especially my former roommate, Katelyn (Blond on the right!) who moved to her own space when she was 16. Don't worry Kate, I won't hold it against you. We were still next door neighbors. (I'm glad for my brother Jaime as well, but I couldn't find a picture of us! He's always reminding me that I'm still young. Thanks for always seeing my youth as a positive thing, Jaim!)

I'm glad that I have a great group of friends that I can count on. These people are truly wonderful. The Cancun Crew went hiking together this weekend along with some other fabulous people. We had a great time. I am so glad that I get to spend time with people who make me a better person.

I'm glad that Starbucks Pods exist. Enough said.

I'm glad for new runner friends! This year has been amazing, meeting new people to run with and obsess with via Twitter and blogs.

Last, and certainly not least: I'm glad I can run. I know there's many of you out there injured or unable to lace up and go for it pain free. Abby wrote about it today, and it reminded me to be thankful for the unending gift that running gives to me; stress relief, health, goals, achievement. Here's to running for another 28!

How about you? Who are you glad to have in your life?! Did you go to a great Oktoberfest this weekend? (Did that after hiking...) Finally get to the track for speed work? Choose a 2013 marathon?! Tell me about it!!!

12 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!...single digits start ON MY BIRTHDAY!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Philly Marathon Goals

This is it. The goal post! I'm putting it out there, saying what I want. There's a certain fear in saying what I hope to achieve. What anyone fears is not reaching a goal that they really, really want. This time, I really want it. 

Last time, my goal was finishing. I reached it. I achieved it. I succeeded. My secret goal was getting my name in the New York Times. A piece of me got a bit sad when my watch beeped 5:00 and I was a mile away. Seeing it at the Finisher's Pavilion was also a sad moment for about 30 seconds. Then I realized that, heck, I finished a marathon! What would I do with that paper anyway?! Oh, I'm sure Pinterest has some ideas...


Here are some of my goals for the marathon:

Stay Focused. 

First Marathon: I feel like I was just along for the ride the first time. Taking in the scenery, lala land style. 
This Marathon: I will be monitoring my pace based on feel. I'm going to be constantly assessing how I feel; do I have more to give? Do I need slow down a bit? 

First Marathon: Last time I saw my family twice. I stopped both times, hugged, got pep talks etc.
This Marathon: I will only be seeing Mr. Miller in passing. (he surprised me and got a last minute bus ticket to Philly!!!)

First Marathon: I had a lot of fun. Lots high fives, lots of "Thanks You's" to supporters.
This Marathon: I will smile. Talking takes a lot of energy. I will TRY to restrain myself from talking...but I like to talk. So we'll see. Stay focused.

Stay in Good Form.

First Marathon: I tripped on the Verrazano Bridge within the first mile. (NOTE: The white lane dividers painted on road are RAISED!)
This Marathon: I will be VERY careful with picking up my feet. When I get distracted, I tend to trip! I will be paying closer attention.

First Marathon: I didn't pay as close attention to my form as I should have. My fuel belt actually helps me stand up straight, but some of those hills definitely induce some forward leaning.
This Marathon: Every mile I'm checking my form. It's good for my whole body, but especially for my knees and hips.

Stay under 5:00

First Marathon: 5:10:23
This Marathon: >5:00. This is my only goal. There isn't a plan A, B, and C. I plan on crossing the finish line with a sweet PR. If it's 4:30, WOW. If it's 4:45, GREAT. If it's 4:59:59 FANTASTIC.

First Marathon: I had a sweet medal photo.
This Marathon: Repeat performance.

1 day until the Philly marathon!!!

"Injury", be gone!

Ingrown toe nails suck. They're like the smallest issue that can be extremely painful. You'd think I could cut it out myself, but I don't have a million tools extra sharp and fine enough to do so. After a traumatizing infection I soaked in Epsom salt and slathered on Neosporin. Yesterday was the first day of no oozing from the infection. Good sign. Still panicked. Today's appointment was the determiner of whether or not I'd be in a SUPER taper (sidelined), or just regular taper.

Via This was the scene this morning: cloudy and wet but no rain!

I ran 8 miles this morning. I completed my first taper long run. It was only a bit painful. It was glorious. I thought for a minute that I would run on the treadmill since the weather said 90% chance of rain...but when I brought Lambeau Puppy outside, I realized I'd rather run in the rain than run on a treadmill (This is a new phenomena that began this year). So I got on a tank, light jacket, capris and headed to my park. Immediately I was HOT in the jacket. Hello humidty in OCTOBER. I wore the tank for the majority of my run because, surprisingly, I didn't rain until mile 6.5. By then I was EXCITED for the rain because the air was hot and thick. I met Mr. Miller on his way home from a Cross Fit workout so we walked together for .25 mile...turns out I didn't turn off my watch! Sigh. I ended up running the last mile in 9:44 to help out my average, ending with a 10:57/mile pace. Not bad for walking 1/4 of a mile! Feeling good before my appointment.

I went to the Podiatrist ANXIOUS. I knew that I was overreacting, but I had this procedure done when I was 13 and it was HORRIFIC. The doctor was awful. There was tons of pain, blood, and he could have cared less. Therefore, this past experience was making me more anxious than normal. Although I waited 30 minutes in the exam room (per usual), the doctor was SO nice. He listened to crazy me explain that the marathon was two weeks away, my nail debacle last Friday night, and I showed him daily pictures of the swelling. (Obsessed much?!) After looking at my toe he determined that A) I indeed had an ingrown toe nail, B) the infection was gone because of my use of Epsom salt and Neosporin (Thanks Coach Nurse extraordinaire! No antibiotics to give me stomach aches!), and C) he was going to do a less invasive procedure to alleviate the pain and get me through the marathon. SCORE! He did the procedure without anesthesia (My preference: needles hurt more than cutting my nail out would, thanks.), and it was done within 15 minutes. Here is my lovely nail...so small, yet such a pain in the toe!

Via: MY FOOT. He asked me if I wanted to take it home. I said NO. 

I'll have to have a more invasive procedure eventually. Since I'm prone to them, it's better to get the bottom the nail bed (Matrix?) lasered off to prevent repeated injury. We'll cross that bridge...after 11/4/12!

Via Now it's time to paint my toesies with Marathin by Essie! They need it.

So now, I'm back in business. I'm excited that I'm done with my long run, that I get to indeed go hiking this weekend, and I didn't have to see any blood! Hooray! However, I am thinking of all the runners facing injuries. You have my support and a sincere, "You can do it, get well soon!" I know that an ingrown toe nail is NOT the end of my running world by far, and I wish all injured runners reading this a speedy recovery, coming back better than ever!!!

How about you? Any fun plans this weekend? Have you come back from an injury stronger than ever? What's the worst thing that's happened to you during a taper?! Tell me about it!!!

15 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So, a runner gets an ingrown toe nail...

Three weeks before the marathon.
Now it's infected.

So, I have to have a procedure done to remove part of my toe nail on my big toe. After reading several NOT so encouraging posts about surgeries gone bad (Google can be a friend or foe), I finally found this article that laid it out. The recommended recovery time is one to two weeks of no strenuous activity. I'll be doing my long run (8-10 miles depending on what my toe can take) on Friday morning before the procedure.

Let's back up a minute. I have had to annually visit the podiatrist because my feet are prone to ingrown toe nails. As I was cutting my nails Friday night before my 20 mile run, I scraped out the cuticles like my Doctor has shown me to do. Well, I believe I became a bit aggressive and it started bleeding...oops. So, in typical me fashion, I put on Neosporin and ignored it because, well, blood and I don't mix. I woke up at 2am to a throbbing toe almost doubled in size. Insert NO SLEEP until 5:15am alarm. I tested out my toe, somehow got it in my shoe, and thankfully it went numb. 20 miles piece of cake. Sunday? PAIN. Monday? Oozing. Infected. You live, you learn.

The sad part? (In addition to the fact that the marathon is just 3 weeks away...) I'm supposed to be going to Bear Mountain with a fabulous group of friends for hiking and Oktoberfest Saturday. Therefore, if all goes according to plan, I'll be cuddling up to my iPad reading all YOUR blog posts and tweets while my friends enjoy some outdoorsy foliage fun. I missed this hike last year because I was sick and in training. What the heck!? I just want to hike gosh darn it!!!

Have you ever gotten injured right before a big race? Sprained ankle? Toe nail like me? Race-ending injured? Tell me about it. 

18 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Moments to make a Teacher Runner Smile

There are moments as a teacher that warm your heart. Moments when a student looks at you with a gleam in their eyes and say things such as, "You're the best Mrs. Miller." or "I missed you Mrs. Miller." in such a pure way that you can't help but envy their innocence  There are those times that you want to pull your hair out because students are driving you COO-COO for coco puffs (I say that to them...). This week, two days into the week, I've had two beautiful moments with some students. 

First moment: writing an essay on health. I am an ESL teacher, and I am preparing students to be able to write an essay based on a subject they may or may not know about. They take an assessment test in May, so each week we discuss a new subject, answer questions, and then write an essay about it. This week I showed the students a picture of children running and a picture of fruits and vegetables. The question was, "What are some ways that people live a healthy life?" The following conversation ensued:

Student: Mrs. Miller, I know why you chose this question. 
Me: Why? (As I snag a carrot from my bag...starving without a break for four hours.)
Student: I see you running outside. You run for like an hour. And you're always eating healthy snacks. Oh, and you teach the yoga class! You think it's important to be healthy.

Sigh. Day made. They see it.

Second moment: students are finishing up work. Some students are taking longer than others, so those who finish early are allowed to read a book. A shy student motioned me over to his desk. The following conversation ensued:

Student: Mrs. Miller, you like this book? (Holds up a book called "Endurance Running")
Me: I'm sure I would! I've never seen it before! (I'm SHOCKED.)
Student: You do this? (Points to a page with the headline: MARATHON
Me: Yes, that's what I'll be doing November 4. If you read this book, you'll understand what I'll be doing in a couple of weeks.
Student: Okay. I will.
(Minutes go by...)
Student: Wow Mrs. Miller. You must run all the time!

My students are making connections based on their observations of me. I don't really know the student in the first moment very well. This is their first year being a student of mine, although we've interacted occasionally. The student in the second moment must have REALLY been listening when I spoke during our first class when I told them "All About Mrs. Miller". I'm glad to see that my actions are helping students understand what a healthy, active lifestyle is.

How about you? Do you have people who look to you as a healthy influence? Do your kids sometimes make you coo-coo for coco puffs? Did you watch the debate?! (Wait, don't answer that, SOMEHOW political insanity will commence! HAHA!) TELL ME ABOUT IT!

19 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Glad Game Monday XXI

Hello Monday, you're bringing me one step closer to my marathon! Do you think that way? Or do you veer toward "SDJ$^$%^%^%$#$." Yea. I have those days. ALL. THE. TIME. Today, for example, when my swollen/red toe that I irritate while trimming the other day started pussing stuff out. Yup. Infected ingrown toe nail THREE WEEKS before the marathon! I'm having the surgery Friday, FIRST and only appointment for the next MONTH. However, being LESS than three weeks out from a fantastic marathon, I am feeling a  bit giddy. So, let's choose to list some things we're GLAD about this Monday!!!

I'm GLAD I ran 20 miles on Saturday!!! Yes, it's true. I had a BUNCH of things stacked against me, including a SWOLLEN/SORE toe from a nail clipping gone bad, irritated stomach, barely any sleep, and much much more, oh my! I sat at 5:15am looking at Lambeau Puppy's face after I tossed and turned from 2am and on after discovering a toe that didn't look like mine. I decided that I could tough it out. I ran a few practice runs as I brought him outside to do his business and it was tolerable. I'm GLAD that my toe went numb, that I had great co-runners, and that it was COMPLETED! IT'S TAPER TIME! (Said in a Jersey Shore "It's T-Shirt time" kind of way)

I'm glad for this little guy. I'm still thinking of our friends who suddenly and unexpectedly lost their pooch. Lambeau Puppy is receiving longer walks, more play time, and extra love in light of his cousin passing. He has been a great companion, especially on Friday nights filled with Law and Order SVU Marathons, macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. AKA LAME. He snuggles in and settles for a quiet pre-long run night!

I'm glad I saw this Saturday night! This was on my Yogi Bed Time Tea and it moved me...okay maybe I teared up a bit. Shoot. Running Crazies?! I'm ALSO glad I got to see some FABULOUS friends Saturday night, sanz photos! Boo! What was I thinking?! Well, Mr. Miller and I had a great dinner with the Grays and met Ms. Kiernan who was bartending. Needless to say, it was a great post 20 mile run evening filled with french fries, mexican food, wine, pumpkin beer, and LOTS of walking. Precisely what I needed!

I'm glad I made butternut squash risotto! I've been making this for two years, and it is by FAR my favorite recipe. We talked about it during our long run Saturday, and I *HAD* to make it Sunday. Many people on Twitter asked about it, so here is the link: butternut squash risotto. My adjustment is that I bought one container of chicken stock, but it does not equal 5 cups, it was about 3.5 cups. I adjusted the recipe by adding more white wine to the recipe to help the risotto soak and fluff. (By eye! Just count to 3 as you pour!) Buying another chicken stock would have left 2/3 of it in my fridge, and the white wine (I used sauvignon blanc) leaves a RICH flavor!

I'm glad my nephew things we're cool people in NYC! This is his class' version of a "Flat Stanley". He sent it to us in hopes that we would go some places with Mr. Help. Oh Mr. Help, you don't even know! He's going to the Statue of Liberty, Bear Mountain, and to school with ME! We were thrilled to receive this in the mail.

What are you GLAD about today?! Your barista remembered your order AND spelled your name correctly? Your team won this weekend?! Your long run was spectacular?! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

20 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Last 20 miler before the ING NYC Marathon!

It's true, yesterday was the day. Yesterday was the dress rehearsal for 11/4/12.  Yesterday was my last real "long" run before the "big" long run. Yesterday was my 2nd 20 miler.

I was thrilled to be invited by Ashley to join a group running 20 miles. She decided to put together a group of runners who run similar paces. I was beyond relieved when she asked me, because I didn't have ANYONE to run with Saturday, and that could have been an ADD disaster! 

It was the chilliest start to date. We met up at 7am and it was 35 degrees! My outfit was a big fat question mark. I wanted to wear what I was going to wear marathon day, but I didn't have 47,000 of my closest friends extending their body heat. So at the last minute I wore shorts, my long sleeve shirt, and my nike running jacket. Best. Decision. EVER. I was concerned the jacket would be too warm, but it was PERFECT. Plus the gigantic pockets meant less belt storage and easier access/separation of fuel.  I had to get a green tea on the way to keep myself warm. 

I got to meet some GREAT runners! It was AMAZING to run with a group of runners that I did not know very well. I've run with Leticia and Ashley before, but I made new friends in Meghan and Marcial. Ashley not only did a great job in collecting a fabulous group of similarly paced runners, she also mapped out a great route! We started at 14th street (Which has a CLEAN McDonalds bathroom in the early morning FYI!), ran to the East river path, down to the tip of Manhattan and up the West Side Highway to Central Park. Once we got to the park, we did a loop of the Resevoir and finished out the running the six mile loop with TONS of hills to simulate the Queensboro Bridge in the actual marathon around mile 15. Having a new group of people to get to know, as well as a stunning and constantly changing route made this run FLY by. (We all gave a big WHOOP when we went by the Staten Island Ferry! See you in three weeks!)

This is how I felt throughout the whole run. The plan was to start in the 10:50-11/mile pace and gradually work our way down. Spoiler alert: WE SUCCEEDED!

20 miles done! Marcial finished 18 miles, a PDR! He left us to finish the  job. Ashley and I held back a bit so Meghan and Leticia powered through. All of us completed 20 miles! SO PROUD OF ALL OF US!

Running Reward: MY FIRST PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE OF THE SEASON! Ashley and I were kindly allowed to decorate our drinks. Mine said "20 miles! 11/4/12 TAPER TIME!" I got lots of comments on how put together I looked in this photo. I don't think I really sweat at all during this run. Outfit and weather were perfect. Did you hear that, God? Yup. I loved your work on Saturday! Let's have an instant replay on November 4. Amen.

Yesterday was the 20 mile day; TODAY is the taper! When Ashley said "Welcome to the taper!" I got teary eyed. IN STARBUCKS. I am SO excited to scale back and let these weeks FLY by to race day. Three weeks from today people, three weeks from today. EEK!

How was your weekend?! Did you run long? Did you have a running reward? Did you enjoy anything pumpkin?! Tell me about it!!!

21 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Marathon Musings: 3 weeks out

I've been thinking just a LITTLE bit about a certain marathon. Oh my gosh. It feels like yesterday I said, "Oh, we're in the 50's in the countdown!" Suddenly, it's days away. It's time to trust my training. Trust my hard work. Trust my outfits. Trust my 20 miler on Saturday. It's time to TRUST. It's time to Google for some 26.2 inspiration: 

Marathon thoughts I've been having include:
- Will I hit the wall this time?!
- Will the weather be nice?!
- Will I meet my goal?!

It's all out of my hands. I've done the training. I can't control the weather. My goal is established, but it is to be determined by the actual race day.I trust in God to carry me through any circumstance. 

I keep going back to a quote I added to a post I wrote when approaching last year's marathon. It happens to be one of my favorite posts I've ever written! This quote keeps reminding me: festering and fretting keeps you from enjoying the time leading up to the big moment.

"Thinking too much about what happened, and what is about to happen, will wear you down. Live in the moment and take it on step at a time."
- Seal Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin

23 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Marathon Training Update III

Well, there goes September!!! We are now in the final month of marathon training. Where did the time go?! September had some definite highs and definite lows. This was a tough month where work began, runs were missed, and exhaustion was the name of the game. I feel like training for a marathon the second time around is a bit different (OBVIOUSLY). I 100% respect the distance of 26.2 miles. I'm still nervous and excited. However, when life happens, I'm not beating myself up or getting anxiety over it. I take stock, reassess, and run on! Here's September in a nutshell:

Mile Totals:

September 2012: 119.7 miles (September 2011: 115 miles)

Types of Workouts:

Easy Runs: With my build up peaking at 20 miles this month, my coach threw in a few 3 mile runs in the mix. 3 miles?! These runs were almost the hardest to start because they weren't "big" and "glamorous" and "challenging".

Speed Workouts: Non existent. Can we count faster long runs? Okay, let's go with that. ;-)

Long Runs: PEAK! Yes, it's true. The long runs went like this: 16, 18, 16, 20, 18...this second 18 turned into 12. HIGH. MILEAGE. One magical 16 miler my average was 10:02, WAYYYY better than the 11:00's I was averaging. This month also marked my first 20 miler of the training cycle with Leticia, and it was awesome. 

Best Routes: Running to the George Washington Bridge was fantastic! The West Side Highway was fairly flat and well populated by encouraging runners embarking on their own 20 mile runs. Running to Roosevelt Island was also a fun change.  Although it's about 3.6 miles round trip  it was a great destination to throw into a 16 mile run!

Bad news: I got a cold. I've been feeling run down this whole month; running only three times a week is not my style, but it's been happening. My body finally gave up after two weeks of feeling extra tired and slapped me in the face with a nasty cold. Fever, runny nose, body aches, you name it, I had it. It even caused me to give up at 12 out of 18 miles on Sunday (9/30), despite having a great pace (10:08 average in Central Park including running over the torn up Queensboro Bridge) After hydrating and following my coach's orders, October's training update will hopefully yield a better health report.

Thoughts: I don't like cutting a long run short. I've run through tears, I've run through rain, and I've run through heat. I've never ended early. This put me in a wallowing funk, which was made one hundred percent WORSE by getting sick. So. It's time to move beyond this month, which should have included MANY more miles, and kick assphalt in October.

Lessons Learned: If you can get a run in, get a run in. Get your clothes on and just do it. I will admit there was one day where I actually brought my things to work to run home, and I decided to get a ride from my car pool instead. I was just TIRED. I know it was the cold creeping up, but if I'm able bodied and just a bit tired, I have to TRY to get the run in. Everyone works. Everyone has time constraints. The difference is MAKING time. This month of October, I refuse to make excuses. I refuse to let myself feign exhaustion when I'm able to get a work out in. "feeling like it" is an overrated statement. Sometimes, we don't feel like running. Marathon training isn't about a feeling; it's about training your body to successfully overcome obstacles to complete 26.2. My obstacle is the energy to lace up; I will overcome it.

In less than a month, I will be a marathoner for a second time. This is my second to last training update. This. is. un.real. I can't believe how time has flown, how many new friends I have made, and how blessed I feel with all the support I have received. Here's to running NYC for a second time, better, faster, stronger.

How about you? How's your training? Have you skipped or cut short a LONG long run?! How was your September?! Tell me about it!!!

25 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!