Monday, September 24, 2012

Glad Game Monday XIX

Did you feel this way today? I sent this to Mr. Miller. I insisted on being positive today. It was a busy day, but I feel grateful. Grateful that I have a job, grateful for my husband, grateful for my family and my puppy dog. Being sad on Monday's because the fun, relaxing weekend is gone? The fun and relaxation would be NON-EXISTENT without a stimulating work week. SO. Let's get glad about Monday, excited for the week and weekend ahead!!!

I'm glad Sex and the City is on TV right now. ENOUGH. SAID. This movie is fabulous. I got my first cosmo before seeing this movie. 

I'm glad that we were Aunty Kristin and Uncle Brian to Georgie. Although his formal name was George, we all new him as Georgie (Insert high pitch voice). G-Man was our friends S and A's dog who Mr. Miller and I dog sat about three years ago. Two days after we gave Georgie back to the Anders, Lambeau Puppy arrived via my parents. We loved Georgie so much we got a Yorkie of our own. Georgie was Lambeau's cousin; gentle with him as a puppy, playful as a grown up pooch, sharer of his toys, and a willing example every time L-Puppy went to get his hairs sheered by G's daddy. (Georgie would go in the bathroom because he was concerned that Lamby was crying; Shaun would sheer Georgie a bit to show Lambeau it was okay. It always worked.) Georgie died suddenly at 6 years old between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning of last week. We are all upset because we loved this dog so much; he inspired us to get our love of a pooch, and was the best cousin a Yorkie could ask for. Georgie, we are so glad to have known you, so glad that you did not suffer, and so glad that Lambeau will continue your mischief.  We will always love and remember you G-Man, also known as Pork-a-belly.

I'm glad I ran 20 miles. I feel great! Had some quad soreness yesterday, but I feel awesome today. Score.

I'm glad that I went to the bathroom in Radio City Music Hall. It was SO old school! A powder room, old sinks; so old New York. I loved every moment of it.

I'm glad that I saw Bon Iver Saturday night. Oh yea, that was after running 20 miles! It was PERFECT. A sit down and relax concert, in comfy Radio City Music Hall seats, and an INCREDIBLE show by Bon Iver!!! They said they won't be in the US for the next 2 years...totally worth it! Bravo Bon Iver, Bravo.

How was your weekend?! Have you dealt with the loss of a pet? Have you seen Bon Iver? Did you have a great run or workout this weekend? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

40 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!...oh geez, getting to the 30's

Saturday, September 22, 2012

20 miles and my house smells like APPLES!

Here I sit, Lambeau on the pillow that is propping up my legs, trying to nap. Have you ever experienced this phenomena?! You run forever, then you can't nap. I used to be OUT COLD after a half marathon. Now? I can't seem to simmer down for a bit of shut eye. Mind you, my alarm went off at 5:30am, so I should be a bit tired. Nope. So I guess I'll let you know how my run went!

I ran 20 miles with my friend Leticia! She is fantastic. She has come back from injury and put up stellar numbers on her runs, especially long runs. When she asked me to join, I was scared. Scared I couldn't keep up, scared my fueling or my stretching would get in the way. I was scared for silly reasons, but reasons that all runners who run with partners or groups have; running your own run. I'm so glad to say we did great, made a fabulous team, and completed 20 miles!!!

I had made this mad gangster route on Google maps and said hey, this seems like 20 miles! Kids, don't try this at home. This was a GENERAL estimate which we tweaked ;-D We ran the East side of the Central Park loop, ran a full loop of the reservoir in between, and exited the park toward the West Side Highway on 72nd Street.

We ran up the West Side Highway to the George Washington Bridge. I was *SO* excited to see this lighthouse! I've seen many a picture of it, and I felt a fabulous sense of accomplishment as I traded photo taking duties with another (random) runner. SHOUT OUT TO TEAM FOR KIDS! They were doing their 20 mile group training run on the same route, and boy, did they encourage us! I think they thought we were in the group, but even when we outed ourselves as non-members they were still super positive and friendly. LOVE RUNNERS!

 As we left the George Washington Bridge, things started to get real. Like really real. Cramping (In my butt:? WHAT?!), fatigue, grumbling tummy (I took 2 gus within 4 miles!), the thought of running 7 more miles, the sun, everything. It was a mental battle. Leticia took the lead and I followed right behind her. We ran in silence until we were ready to exit the highway for the last 1.5 miles on the outskirts of Central Park toward our train station.

Finally, at long last, we finished 20 miles!!! Watch time: 20.23 miles in 3:40:20, 10:54/mile. There is a bit of a discrepancy, as we ran the whole way together, and Leticia's watch ended up being .25 behind mine?! Garmin, what's up with THAT?! Anyway, I finished with her...well, behind her. She found some end-of-the-run speed that my mental breakdown of hearing the beep and seeing the Garmin record 20 miles couldn't quite keep up with. Leticia, you're a tough runner and I was pushed so hard by you! THANKS!!!

Oh, last year's time? Last year's solo one and only 20 miler was 3:45, so that's great improvement!!! It was in October on a perfect day. Today was oddly humid, I was cold sweaty, which was really odd.

Overall feeling: confident. Even though the end was a bit rough, I had my friend by my side. Race day is a whole new ball game, filled with tons of energy, tons of spectators, lower humidity and cooler temps. I'm EXCITED.  

Oh yes, and the apple scented candle I bought yesterday? WORKS LIKE A CHARM. Happy first day of fall!!!

42 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

For the first day of fall, I'll run 20 miles

Tomorrow is the big day!!! EEK! Yes, it has come to that time where my long run has a 2 instead of a 1 in the tens place. Oh, wait, you thought I meant fall? Well, that is a big day too. Fall in New York has got to be the most wonderful season; clear blue skies, leaves crunching, THE MARATHON, and the start of drinking hot instead of cold coffee in the morning ;-D 

Thoughts on 20 miles. Well, the temperature appears to be in the  mid 60's to low 70's, with the humidity gradually dropping during the time we'll be running. I'll take it! Although I do not anticipate this run being as magical as last week's zero humidity ultra cool running weather, I do have high hopes. My only 20 mile run during training last year went swimmingly, and I hope for the same result this time around. I will be running with Leticia, and the tentative route is to try and locate the George Washington Bridge. Running Scavenger Hunt commence! I'm also attending a Bon Iver concert at Radio City Music Hall that night, so recovery will be KEY!!! Love me some Bon Iver. (Is it eye-ver or i-ver?!)

Thoughts on fall. I love it. Truly, who couldn't?! It comes just when I feel a bit bogged down in school to enrich my life with pumpkin, cinnamon, leafy kinds of things!!! Here are a few of my fall favorites:

Cooking fall foods! Not  many people associate cooking with fall, but I DO! This week I made pumpkin pasta (Not pictured), butternut squash risotto (Top picture) and pumpkin cookies (Bottom picture). Seriously, beyond delicious. All the pumpkin recipes are easy, but the risotto is an over an hour labor of yummy love.

 Football get togethers! Not a week goes by that we get to see at least some of our fabulous friends. 

Scented candles from Bath & Body Works blow my mind. Farmstand Apple? Leaves? Cinnamon Pumpkin? Autumn Day? Yup, picked them all up today...hey, the three wick candles were 2 for $20! Get em while they're hot! Sale ends today.

What are you looking forward to this first weekend of fall? Are you running long? Going apple picking (JEALOUS)? Drinking a delicious pumpkin brew? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

43 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NYC Running Routes: Long Island City & the Pulaski Bridge

In case you missed the other NYC Running routes posts, check them out!

For a scenic route overlooking Manhattan with limited hills, check out running in this route! Although Queens is a short run in the ING NYC Marathon, it's my favorite! (This may or may not be because I live in this glorious borough...) The Pulaski Bridge marks the half marathon point, and running through Long Island City leads you to the ominous Queensboro Bridge. I've lived in it for six years and I am excited to share this route with you! 

Names: The Pulaski Bridge and Long Island City or LIC

Location: The Pulaski Bridge connects Brooklyn (McGuinness Boulevard) to Queens (11th Street). Long Island City is located along the East River overlooking Manhattan and is adjacent to Astoria.

Entrances: To run from the Brooklyn side, take McGuiness Boulevard to the Pulaski Bridge or take the G train to Greenpoint Avenue to follow the same route. To run from the Queens side, you could be adventurous from Manhattan and run over the Queensboro Bridge! If you prefer to take the subway, take the N/Q to Queensboro Plaza, or the R/M/E to Queens Plaza. Head toward the Citi Building on 23rd street, veer right onto Jackson Boulevard and follow signs toward the Pulaski Bridge. See Marathon Map for a visual. (Same directions from the Queensboro Bridge if you choose to run it!!!)

Via The bridge had cool art!

Oh, the views! As I ran this route I remembered that this was the spot that MANY runners stopped to take pictures in the 2011 marathon, and now I know why. I think I was a bit distracted because I knew my family was in LIC waiting for me. This was a gorgeous view. The bridge is not that long, and the elevation is NOT challenging compared the the Queensboro Bridge looming ahead. 

The walkway is narrow. It's just about equivalent to one side of the Queensboro Bridge's walkway! It was relatively empty (I saw four or five people total on a Sunday afternoon). It was well paved and had a cool little look out point as seen in the photo above. 

You get to be a bad a** and run in multiple boroughs! If you choose to run from Manhattan on a long run, why not train it to the Bronx, run through Manhattan, run across the Queensboro Bridge into Queens, then over the Pulaski to Brooklyn!? You could knock out FOUR boroughs in one long run! I couldn't get a picture from the walkway of the Welcome to Queens sign (BOO to you DOT!), but I loved the sign as I ran into Brooklyn! The bold statement made me laugh. Only in NYC!

There is a lot of great graffiti art in LIC. This neighborhood is known for having really cool industrial buildings adorned with art; I think a lot of it is legit because it's an "artsy" neighborhood. This was on the Pulaski Bridge and I just about lost my marbles giggling...alone.

Another example of a typical industrial building in LIC: 

If you want another scenic stop, head over the to Gantry Plaza State Park in LIC. This is a relatively new development (Opened in 1998). It has amazing views (Especially at night, but please don't run here at night. Too many industrial areas that are vacant.), piers going out to the water, and I believe water fountains! I'm not 100% sure, but there is a grocery store to buy water from. (Blogger fail. Guess I'll have to run back there to check out the water scene!)

Via Going out toward Manhattan

Via Running back toward LIC

Verdict: LIC and the Pulaski Bridge is a great running route if...
- You're running the ING NYC Marathon and want to get a preview of what's to come at the half marathon point!
- You want a relatively flat route.
- You enjoy views of Manhattan.
- You are good at navigation or following directions.
- You have a running partner; as I said, it's very industrial in some parts and I recommend running in the morning or afternoon.
- You carry your own fuel; there's no emergency Gel retailers that I could see ;-)

What about you? Have you run this route before? Have you ever visited the LIC waterfront? Do you think it's an advantage to preview a marathon route? TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Glad Game Monday XVIII

Good Morning Monday! It's a cool 58 degrees with the fall sun breaking through the clouds, blue sky peaking through! Oh, what's that you say, no work today?! Good bye, I'm going out to play! (Anyone know that Shel Silverstein poem "Sick"? It's amazing. Click the link and scroll down. I read it to my kids every year!) That's right, I don't have to go to work today! Or tomorrow! Or next Wednesday! WOOHOO! So, let's get glad (Even if you're at work, tired, or sad that your football team didn't win when they were supposed to ie Patriots) on this magnificent Monday morning!

I'm glad for Rosh Hashana! Thank you NYC for respecting this religious holiday and allowing me to breath for a hot minute. This school year has been very stressful and this is a welcome mini break. Wishing blessings for those celebrating!!!

I'm glad that we have a great small group! We love the church we go to, and we have a group that meets in our neighborhood once a week. This week we visited my favorite restaurant for post long run fuel and had a great time. The boys took the challenge of eating a ghost pepper, aka the hottest pepper EVER...they each had a rice grain size piece and were hurting!!! Check out this lifestyle blog by one of the members. It's super cute and all things NYC!

I'm glad I ate this chicken sandwich. Well, split it with Mr. Miller. Didn't run that day. Got to TRY and be healthy ;-D

I'm glad that my Grammy turned 85!!! She's been through a lot this year, and I'm glad to celebrate her big day!!!

I'M GLAD THE PACKERS WON!!! Lambeau was too.

I'm glad this 16 mile PR happened!!! Oh my goodness, I totally blame the incredible weather! I felt great the whole time. I haven't seen 10's in a month or so, it was a ROUGH August for my pace. WAHOO! I'm also glad I recovered VERY well, even went for a 4 mile shake out run with Stephanie on Sunday and our pace was, of course, in the 10's. Steph is a speedy lady. She always pushes me! Thanks for coming Steph!!!

What are YOU glad about today? Are you glad Jay Cutler is no longer on prime time tv to further embarrass his team? Are you glad that you were chilly when you stepped out the door to run? Are you glad that Pumpkin beer is easily accessible right now? TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!

47 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

NYC Marathon Training Update II

Well, I'm another month closer to the big 26.2 day! Time is FLYING this time around. Last year I definitely did not feel like I do now; I blinked in the beginning of August and suddenly it's September. Let's recap August, which was a HOT HOT month of running!

Mile totals: 
August 2012: 111.5!  (August 2011: 100 miles)

Types of workouts:

Hills! I haven't been doing as many of these as I would like, but they are definitely part of my regular routes!

Speed: There were some TOUGH speed workouts. Coach C was tough on me. The hardest one was 8x800 at 4:30. UGH. It was really challenging, especially when I had slept in and ran it in 90 degree humid nasty weather. Smart? No. Mentally amazing? Absolutely. 

Beach Running!!! I think it may have torn up my toes a bit, but gosh darn it, I love running on the beach!!! Especially when dolphins are swimming by in the distance; it was truly amazing. I got to do three beach runs while on vacation and they were glorious. Coach C told me that whatever you run on the beach, double the distance because the degree of difficulty greatly increases with the sand! I'll take it ;-) My landlord runs Jones Beach all the time, so she bought those barefoot running things and said they work well. Noted.

Easy runs: There were PLENTY of these. I used them to break in my marathon shoes! Enter Nike Blueberries!!! I wore them around the house and on short errands for about two weeks. I took them for their inaugural easy run while on vacation. It turned into a great tempo run! (Photo credit to my nephew, McAuliffe's a bit blurry...he's working on it.)

Long Runs!!! The moment we've all been waiting for. My long run progression in August went as follows: 12, 14, 13.2, 15. The toughest run, by far, was the 15 miler. I struggled to finish it; it was after vacation, it had been a week and a half since I had run a long run. I was SLOWWWW in the heat and humidity. The miles were run nonetheless, glad to have it behind me!!! I struggle so much with the heat and August really kicked my butt during long runs. I'm hoping (And have seen) improvement in September and I look forward to THAT update coming soon!!! Thankfully not one dehydration episode, so there's that!

Best Routes. This training cycle I have ventured out of the my usual "run over the Queensboro Bridge, straight to Central Park, do not pass 5th Avenue, and do not spend $200." Some of the routes included:

The US Naval Academy 
We found a football workout, a cool dog, and did some push-ups during the run!

I even ran another night race

Thoughts: August was a solid month of training for me. Despite my struggles with the heat, I found myself making it happen and completed the majority of my training runs. Trying new routes is a great way to entertain myself while running. This training cycle has teetered on my becoming bored while running, which never happened last year. Every training run was a new distance, exciting, inspiring! This year? Been there, done that. Switching it up has made it more enjoyable to complete runs.

Lessons Learned: Don't run bridges under construction. ESPECIALLY when the construction workers are closing down a lane and cyclists don't care like a honey badger. Too many close encounters with handlebars! Lesson learned: No running through construction zones. I also learned that not all running shorts are created equal. I purchased a couple of new pairs, and they fit great in the store. I got to run, and they ride up like it's their job. My Adidas shorts that I wore in the marathon are still my number one's, but they're on their last leg of life...unless a seamstress can work some magic ;-( Lesson learned: Run in the store with the shorts on.

How has your training been going? Are you coming off a goal race? Do you have a fall race lined up? Are you experimenting with becoming a handlebar steering honey badger?! Tell me about it!!!

48 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Glad Game Monday XVII

Ok, so it's been a while since I've been all "glad" on a "Monday". I haven't worked a real Monday since June; summer school don't count yo, it's a half day with half the students. So, as we were watching the Packer's game yesterday, I leaned over to Mr. Miller and said in a terrified whisper, "Ohmygosh, I have to go to work tomorrow." WHAT. IS. WITH. ME?! I'm usually good to dive right back in to work, though it may be stressful and tiring. I've been passed out on the couch most nights, exhausted, and lacking in any motivation to get MOVING running-wise. Well, this has to change. Time to get GLAD about things; time to let go of the "Monday" syndrome and reflect on the things that bring a smile to my face.

I'm glad I dragged myself off of my bed from an 11 minute nap to go to the Mets game Friday night. Here I am with some of my best girlfriends: Mrs. Anders and Mrs. Slafter:

I'm glad Mr. Miller's friends gifted us with tickets! They are the coolest girls around, I got to spend time with his workout group people, and it was a great way to end a NEVER ENDING week back to work. Loved it. Thanks ladies for the hook up!

I'm glad the "Storm of September 2012" occurred AFTER my long run. Saturday held big forecasting predictions, including hail, flooding, and tornadoes. Thankfully we only experienced ominous storm clouds and strong rain. Phew. We ate tacos, drank pumpkin beer and watched movies. Can it get more perfect than that? I submit that it can not.

I'm glad for a group of Packers fans to, er, mourn with. Unfortunately, my GB Packers did not claim victory over the San Fran 49er's this past Sunday. Fortunately, I had a group of friends to drown my sorrows with. And when I say drown my sorrows, I mean I was rungry, and this drowning included green and yellow rice crispy treats, chocolate chip cookies and pretzel Hershey kiss melts with green and yellow m&m's. Pictures? I was too busy eating :-D

I'm glad Mr. Gray forgot to wear green or gold. As a Lions fan, he balked at the requirement to wear green or gold to the party. He was unable to withstand the consequences: wearing the outfit of the host's choosing; AKA a child's shirt and Green Bay wrestling mask. We still lost. However, this picture was priceless.

What do you have to be glad about? Are you a Redskins or Broncos fan with infinite possibility? Did you enjoy the most mind blowing brunch this weekend? Complete a great run, exercise routine or race?! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

54 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Working out with Shaun T...and then running 18 miles

This past Saturday, Mr. Miller and I attended a Powerade event featuring an Insanity workout with Shaun T. It was held at Chelsea Piers on the West Side. When we arrived, we were greeted by plenty of free Powerade Zero. YUM!

Mr. Miller reunited with his test group. This group of people are simply amazing. They would meet together five, sometimes six days a week to work out with Shaun T. They've become friends and helped each other toward reaching fitness goals. As I was taking this picture, I overheard people saying "Wow, look at how many people came together! I wish I had a group to workout with like that." It's true. A fitness group makes it more likely that you'll succeed; having a group of people who actually get along makes it FUN to workout! The few times I was able to join, they embraced me, helped me, and encouraged me. 

The Chelsea Piers location was awesome. There were people working out all around us; sprinting while dragging weights, boxing, everything. The atmosphere was charged for some serious sweat! Once Shaun T came out, it was all on...he even pointed out where garbage cans were located in the room "just in case"...yea. So. It was an amazing workout. If you have never done an Insanity workout, I strongly encourage you to try it. There is no equipment, and you're sweating within 30 seconds. Since I had a long run to do after the workout, I did not do as many jumps because I did not want my joints to be shot. I felt a bit guilty, but hey, I had an important training run! After about 45 minutes, we were drenched and sufficiently worked out. Powerade provided bananas, apples, and of course, Powerade Zero!
After the workout, Shaun T did a Q&A session. Some questions were great, like "What do you do when you reach your goal?" He suggested eating what your calorie recommendation is and either repeating Insanity or finding an exercise that you enjoy. Other questions were ridiculous: How can I work for you? I have asthma, I don't want to take medicine, I can still do Insanity, right? UGH. There's always one in a crowd, but there appeared to be several. He was gracious yet honest, and I really enjoyed hearing his answers. (Every time I've interacted with Shaun T, it has always begun with a  hug, a how are you, and he is sincerely interested.) I loved his shirt in the picture. You can't really see it, but is says:

My accomplishment

We got to see Tania and her husband Derek! Tania is the "star" of Insanity. She has been a great help to Mr. Miller during this test group. She and I had a meaningful conversation about coming back after a baby. She shared her struggles (She has a baby boy just under a year!) and helped me wrap my mind around the possibility of coming back stronger after pregnancy. NO, I'm not pregnant, but it will happen eventually and honestly, the after baby body challenge is a big fear of mine. I was comforted to know that someone else had the same fears and overcame them.

Then I ran 18 miles. Let's go over the highlights, or rather the low lights, of this run, shall we?

  • I started at 11:30am. LATE.
  • I ran this run AFTER a hard workout.
  • I forgot my gel. THANKFULLY Super Runner Store on the West Side had a huge Hammer section that they got a week ago. Thank. God. I was stressed because Gu never does well in my sensitive tummy. Phew.
  • It was 90% humidity. It was HOT.
  • There was a tornado watch.
  • My blisters weren't fully healed; though they were wrapped, I could feel them. I'll be posting on blisters soon.
  • I was soaking wet from sweat.
  • Ended up with HORRIFIC chaffing that I've never had due to a certain undergarment. I've heard of ladies having this problem, but it never happened to me. It did, and my back has a few layers of skin removed. OUCH.
  • The Queensboro bridge is under construction, so I had to be extra careful at the end of my run with torn up road...I'm the Queen of Tripping, so I was scared!
  • There was some walking. OHHHHH there was walking. I power walked during each of the last three miles. I'm not ashamed, I was HOT, tired, and sweaty.
  • HIGHLIGHT: I ran 18 miles. Boom. End of story.

My boys took great care of me. After an ice bath, Mr. Miller bought me some yummy Ben & Jerry's ice cream (Shhhh don't tell Shaun T!), went out and got amazing Mexican food, pumpkin beer, and helped me put Aquaphor on my wounds. (Unfortunately, I can't reach them. Awkward.) Obviously Lambeau Puppy licked my sweat and helped compress my legs. What a snuggle puppy!

How was your weekend?! Did you run long or take it easy? Have you ever done Insanity? Do your animals enjoy your sweaty return? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

56 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!

*Note: Thanks for all the comments and texts asking how school is going! It is CAH-RAZY! I am exhausted and it's affecting my training. Trying not to freak out: this is a new week! Training smart and hard!