Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Endurance Athlete Widow's Gift Guide

Welcome, athletes! There have many so many awesome gift guides on the blogroll lately, I especially liked Ashley's  savings savvy options! Today I wanted to think about my better half: My Endurance Athlete Widow.

Endurances Athlete Widow: (EAW) The significant other that has to listen to you obsess over your sport, suffers under your spending habits on everything sports related, and cheers/supports you day in and day out. They are often left alone because of your running, cycling, swimming, etc.

MY Endurance Athlete Widow deserves the world. Mr. Miller has always supported me, gone the "extra mile" for me, and made sure I fulfilled my goals. When think of what to get him for Christmas, I contemplated the gift guides I saw on other runner's sites...and decided to tweak them a bit. Enjoy!

Running Music: Let them be the dj! Get your EAW iTunes gift card let them choose the music THEY want to listen to. We'd love yurbuds but why not a cool dock or speakers for tailgating?

Running Clothes: Nothing with moisture wicking! Get them something to wear on a nice date night that won't compliment cowbells or holding a sign.

Long run Time: Make plans to do something THEY are interested in. One idea could be a coupon book with vouchers for activities they enjoy. Ballet, sporting event etc. Share their hobby as they have shared yours!

I froze my feet off, we lost, but it was time well spent!

Running Bling: watches necklaces and bracelets, oh my! We all want an Erica Sara necklace, but what about our widow? Maybe a nice watch....not the GPS kind. Maybe cuff links...not with a 26.2 on it. 

Running Magazine subscription. You know how it goes: this months runners world arrives and it's radio silence during the first flip through. Why not get them a magazine and have a magazine night? Flip on the new speakers, cash in a quality time coupon and relax!

Running Winter gear: You know we all start searching our "organized storage" to find our winter running gear after a super cold run where we wished we had that hat or pair of gloves. Why not make sure your love is kept warm as well? Try gloves that have the touch screen capabilities, or ear warmers that won't ruin hair and has headphones hooked up! 

Running fuel: Get them some of their favorite snacks! Just like we eat our favorite meal post long run, send out our honey to pick up the best gel that we HAVE to have, or grab our extra water bottle from them during a race, we should fuel them too. Consider a childhood treat or a signature adult beverage. 

Running data: Want to get extra crafty? Hop onto Pinterest and get some cute ideas to display some high points this year together or during your relationship. You could create a spreadsheet, highlight a framed map with places traveled to, or list "top ten 2012 moments together".

How about you? What's your go to EAW gift? Do you find it hard to pick gifts for someone you know the best? Do you have any gift giving traditions? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Manchester Road Race Recap!

Miracles still happen! As of Monday, I was WAY more sore than I was the day after NYCM 2011. As of Tuesday, I was cringing and inwardly crying as I walked up and down stairs with students in tow...I believe I had to tell them more than once to not run me over! (Apparently, I ordinarily walk briskly up and down the stairs...). Wednesday, I woke up like a new person. WHAAAT? My legs weren't burning like hot coals, I was waking without my legs locking every five seconds, and I didn't get anxiety looking at stairs. Race day was ON!

Thanksgiving morning I was picked up by my marathon bib-sake, Melissa Mishriky. Yup. You all finally have a face with my marathon tracking name! My friend forever picked me up for our turkey trot. I, of course, thanked her profusely as we went over the highs and lows of the Philly marathon. We decided to take a picture. With a vacuum. Nothing says Thanksgiving like a vacuum. OUTDOORS!

I NEVER would have thought that I would run a "race" four days after a marathon. I told Mr. Miller that I had ZERO expectations for time. We decided to stay with Missy and our friend Brooke. With 15,000 runners, and no "seeded" position (NEXT YEAR I'll get a time specific corral! Only way to run fast!), we were forced to go SUPER slow. Like 12:00/mile slow. Like, we were running, then had to slow to a walk because EVERYONE was walking. The overcrowding iwas crazy. I had to remind my crazy, post marathon competitive self "This is for fun. This is a race to ENJOY the run, to enjoy your town, to enjoy your friends."

I ran HAPPY. 

I literally smiled the WHOLE time. Even though I lost Mr. Miller who eventually found me, and then I lost Missy and Brooke (The crowds were crazy!), I ran HAPPILY the entire time. Not one pain. No tired feelings. No "16 more miles..." I ran like the wind. I negative split that thing and had a blast doing it. Our time ended up being 50:xx (too lazy to get my watch). This was a minute slower than my two best times, but considering the pesky 26.2 I ran on Sunday, I let it slide. I wore my NYCM orange shirt with pride.

Well, there you have it: My 8th Manchester Road Race is in the books. 

Did you run this weekend? Are you a regular at the turkey trot? Do you shun exercise on this holiday? Do you do your own thing? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Philadelphia Marathon Recap

We woke up Sunday morning at 5am. It was MARATHON MORNING! AH! Our host put on an awesome upbeat music mix (sorry neighbors, it was race day) and we excitedly ate bagels with peanut butter, bananas, pinned on Philly AND NYC bibs, and went to the bathroom a million times. By 6:15 we were walking to the start line, ready to run.

 Above and Below Taken by Ashley From L-R: Cheerleaders Michael and Beth, Nadia, Me, Ashley, and Meghan
We ran our last 20 miler together, now it was marathon time!

Just as all the race recaps I've read predicted, the bathroom situation was pathetic. It was 15 minutes before gun time and the lines were 50 people deep...PER TOILET. Seriously?! THANK GOD I didn't have a repeat of last year. I shockingly did not have to go to the bathroom, despite having gone 45 minutes before the start. WINNING! We lost Meghan to the bathroom lines, so Ashley and I entered our corral. 

We made a new friend! Our picture taker was Elizabeth, a fabulous UES mom of two. It was her third marathon; one before babies, and one after each baby! She recognized Ashley from her blog (The first of many Healthier Happier Bear sightings!), and was also running for the same charity as Ashley. She joined our 4:45 or bust brigade as we inched closer and closer to the start line.

I ran without a watch. You see, when I was in Connecticut visiting my parents I forgot my watch. They couldn't find it to send it to me, so I was running solo. Beth lent me her watch, which i had no idea how to use. When it went into power save mode at mile 1, I threw it to them as they cheered. Watchless run. Let's go. I'm going to detail my race in mile chunks because, well, it's nice and orderly that way. The following is the race of sections.

Miles 1-6: FUN. Running easy, feeling light, and chatting with our new friend Elizabeth. We saw tons of NYC marathoners in their shirts, and we encouraged each other in our race orphan comradery. We also saw our cheer section TWICE! They were so fabulous, holding hilarious signs such as, "4:45 or bust" or "It's long, it's hard, so go fast...that's what she said". They were awesome! This was a very crowded part of the course, and it felt hard to not go faster. Thankfully, Ashley kept us contained, we reminded each other to drink water (CRUCIAL when running when it's cold!).

Miles 7-10: Committed. Feeling great still. We were ridiculously consistent with our pace, keeping each other distracted, and overall running a great first half of the race. We encountered a hill which we were forewarned about at mile 9, and it was fine. We encouraged each other to "respect the hill". I refilled me fuel belt after the hill, ready for another series of miles. I stopped to stretch for the first time here and it felt good to pop my hips. This would continue every 5 miles, as was my race plan.

Miles 11-14: Quiet. This is where things got a bit rural. We ran around a scenic lake where the cheer crowds thinned significantly. This is also the spot where the half marathoners were finishing their race, trying with all their might to finish strong. We had to be extra aware of the surge around us of runners finishing versus runners carrying on. This is where my mental battle began.

Miles 15-19: Solitary. This is where I had to let Ashley and Elizabeth continue on alone. I had felt great until 15, when I stopped to pop my hip again then caught up to them. it took almost half a mile of pushing HARD to reconnect with them. I did not want to determine anyone's time because I was struggling. They ran on. I fought with myself for four miles, music playing, entering and leaving a well cheered area during the out and back we were running on. I can't say exactly what it was, I was simply tired and mentally shot. By 19, I wouldn't say I hit the wall, I simply wanted to be done. I had phone calls from my mom and my husband, each time I would simply say "I want to be done." 7 more miles.

Miles 20-24: Wilderness. This was the quietest area of a race I have ever experienced. EVER. I've never run a race, small town or big city, where there was such a stretch of quiet. Maybe it was because the area was far away from the finish, with no road access to get to it (We were, in fact, running on the road!). Maybe it was because many runners had finished and their cheer squad had left to be with them. However, it was dead silent. It was me and the road. I had to start doing a run/walk ratio. 30 seconds at the beginning of the mile, and 30 more seconds during the mile if I needed it. Always timed, never more than 1 minute of walking. Setting parameters in the wilderness helped bring me to the promised land.

Mile 25: Oasis. I was done. Done with being done. Done with struggling. I wanted to see my husband. I wanted to see the finish line. I wanted to see my friends. I wanted to be a finisher. I ran. I ran the best I could. Songs echoed in my ears with lines like,

"You shoot me down, but I won't fall, I am titanium..."
"It's in the water, it's in the story, where you came from, the sons and daughters, in all their glory, it's gonna shape them / and when they clash, and come together, and start rising..."
"The dog days are over, the dog days are done, the horses are coming so you better run / run faster for your mother run fast for your father, run for your children all your sister and brother..."

Mile 26: Promised Land. I saw Mr. Miller run out to me. I instantly cried. He encouraged me, "You can do it. You're doing it. You're almost there. Enjoy it. Take it in." All These Things That I've Done by The Killers begins in the background of my ear phones. I saw my cheer crowd cowbelling and screaming their heads off. I cried more but picked up my pace. The Finish Line. The Promised Land. It was within eye sight.

Above photos are from Ashley runner photog extraordinaire

Mile .2: Finisher. I picked it up, I ran like I was doing a Yasso 800. I actually lost Mr. Miller because he didn't expect me to take off. The allure of the finish line was too much. I ran. As I approached the finish, in my ears a soft song sang, "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier...I've got soul but I'm not a soldier...". I crossed the finish. I did. All These Things That I've Done to get there hit me. As Mr. Miller caught me to congratulate me, I grabbed his jacket and basically collapsed. He held me up and told me "Enjoy the moment." My song was ending with the words "If you can't hold on...if you can't hold on...hold on..." My Marathon was done. I held on. I was a finisher.

Finishing Time: 5:08:42 (Previous PR: 5:10:38)

PR CITY. I found my friends after gathering myself from being an emotional knapsack. We ALL PR'D! I was so proud of my friends who finished, so grateful for my friends who cheered in Philly and afar, and for the support of everyone around me throughout this insane marathon training season. I picked myself up by my shoe laces, held on, and finished.

Ashley's handiwork again!

Then, there was FOOD. Of course, the day would not have been complete without Ashley's husband getting us an AMAZING lunch, and a great dinner with friends celebrating marathon AND Packers victories!!!

Marathon number 2 complete. I am a finisher.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Philadelphia Marathon...the Preview

No cheesesteaks to eat here, folks. We were ALL business going to Philly. It's been three days since my second marathon. Let's dive right in to the beginning of a great weekend of marathoning, shall we?

We left for Philly from NYC on Saturday morning. I picked up Nadia, Beth, then Ashley and her hubby. Of course there was coffee, chatting, conference calls, and one stop to retrieve cookies...AND to stretch...

 "Scenic" Princeton stolen from Ashley!!!

In height order...displaced NYC Marathon Orphans!

Once we got to Philly, we entered Casa De Garcia. THE. BEST. BED AND BREAKFAST. IN. PHILLY! Okay, so it's not a real B&B, but Ashley's friend GRACIOUSLY agreed to host FOUR crazy runner girls in his apartment. We got the lay of the land, and started operation packet pick up and couch surf ASAP.

I know I know....It's not my name. Don't judge. FREE entry from my BFF.

The city was alive with marathon fever! We enjoyed the mile "out and back" to the expo, then plopped ourselves in various places in case de Garcia for some serious sandwiches and R&R. This included nail painting, foam rolling lessons, trying on throw away clothes, a thwarted Magic Mike viewing (Under no circumstances would I EVER watch it or recommend it...), and a pleasant continual streaming of "Friends" episodes.

Release the back!
Two runners, one pair of throwaway pants. Perfect. 

I was stressing. Not going to lie, marathon number two was getting to me. THANKFULLY all the members of our crew allowed me to cook, my constant stress reliever. I made sauteed chicken with pasta, sauce, and delicious "unadulterated" white bread!

Since Nadia was last in, she brought an air mattress. I knew Nadia had back problems, I knew things weren't right when she INSTANTLY questioned her sleeping arrangement. Since it was my friend's first marathon, I agreed to swap places; my spot in the bed for her air mattress. God grant me sleep. I eventually had my prayer answered.

It was hours until *OUR* marathon. 

*OUR* replacement marathon.

*MY* second marathon.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Philly Marathon: I am a finisher

I am a two time marathoner! I did not meet goal A, B, or C. I pr'd by two minutes, so I'll take it! 5:08:xx. Race recap to come!

Thanks to all my friends, family, and bloggy/twitter friends for your support and encouragement!!! Congratulations to all the finishers out there. You did it. Time does not define you, finishing what you started does.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I'm wearing: #philly marathon

There is possibly nothing more important than answering the question: what are you wearing!? Well, it's pretty simple! I'm wearing what I wore in my first marathon, minus my team world vision shirt. So, long sleeve, shorts, fuel belt, SPIbelt, sparkly soul band, Nike blueberries, and my very own Kristin fabric name tag! My mom made it for me. Message me if you want a custom one made! It's reusable and won't ruin any of your awesome run ing tops!

What do you wear for a big race? Do you like to change it up? Are you a creature of habit? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

3 days until the PHILLY MARATHON!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

#phillymarathon pinspiration!

It's a rainy Tuesday. The extended forecast, often not accurate, says rain for this Sunday. Figured it was time for a little pinsperation! You can follow me on Pinterest under the username kristinannm. ENJOY!


4 Days until the Philly Marathon!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Glad Game Monday XXIII

IT'S MARATHON WEEK....AGAIN! The Philly Marathon is this coming Sunday...EEK! Thankfully I get today off, but this is also the week of parent teacher conferences, also known as working from 8am-7:30pm. Now, I know that is normal for some, but this is just a crazy day, with thousands of parents and children, talking constantly, very limited downtime. So, let's choose to look beyond the crazy and be GLAD about some great things!!!

I'm glad that it was Veteran's Day. I'm proud to be an American, and I'm proud of all our service men and woman who have served and who are currently serving. Thank you for your commitment and sacrifice.

My Grandfather James McAuliffe, Purple Heart recipient, letter signed by Harry Truman

I'm glad that my 80's birthday bash was a success! Seriously. So much fun! Mr. Miller decorated, set up the music, everything. He's so good. The restaurant was fantastic, the guests were hilarious, and that Rubics Cube was made by the Farrah Fawcett look alike...and Punky Brewster. Oh, where's Punky?!

I'm glad that my friend dressed up as Punky Brewster! There was so much attention to detail it was insane. He drew the sunshines on the hair ties, his dog had a dog tag for Brendan the dog...epic. And I don't use the word epic. All night we heard, "Holy macaroni!" The. Best. Those two know how to dress up AND create amazing Rubics Cubes. Thanks Anders!

I'm glad I got to dance. Yup. I'm surprised they even caught us on camera we had so many moves.

I'm glad for this group of wonderful people. Truly wonderful friends are hard to come by, and I have six of the best of them. The Cancun Crew rallied with me during my Marathon sadness, volunteered with us, and celebrated with me for my birthday (The Slafters, on the far right, were in Turkey. I guess we'll have to do another 80's night!!!)

I'm glad for running friends. Ashley and I plan to run the Philly Marathon together, and she has arranged so many aspects of it. I'm so blessed to be going along side her! 4:45 or bust!!! I'm also glad that so many running friends crossed the finish line in Richmond this weekend! A special congrats goes out to Leticia for DOMINATING her first marathon! WOOHOO!

I'm glad that I got to run 10 miles in Connecticut. We're visiting for the weekend, and it's been a beautiful time. I ran 10 GLORIOUS miles, smiled like a goof the entire time, said hello to fellow runners AND walkers (Because that's how we #CTforlifers do!), and got to pet golden retrievers and a great dane. Oh, did I mention my average was 40 seconds faster than marathon goal pace? Love the Super Taper. Love. It.

How about you? Are you glad that it's almost Thanksgiving? Are you glad that the Starbucks holiday drinks/cups are back!? Are you glad to be running a turkey trot or other race?! TELL ME ABOUT IT!

6 Days until the Philly Marathon!!!