Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer fitness in NYC

I am SO excited for summer! It's no secret that I love summer; from swimming, early morning sweat sessions, beach trips and sunbathing to movies in the park and frozen yogurt. This week I signed up for TWO fitness events, and the best part: they're free AND outside! I got to thinking, what other fun sweat sessions are out there in this great city?

We are lovers of summer. Summer activities are the best!

I found a few great sites that offer some fantastic fitness opportunities!

- Well and Good NYC is a great fitness site for NYCers! They have an AWESOME summer fitness guide, Check it out! (Many of the events on the summer fitness guide are included on my list, but I felt like they deserved their own mention because I really enjoy them! Good job Well and Good NYC!)

- Bryant Park has free Yoga! Although the schedule isn't out yet, Athleta puts on a great series of events. It's really fun to do yoga in the  middle of Manhattan, there's an ironic sense of peace while taxis beep and you put on your best warrior pose with 200+ of your closest fitness friends!

Tall buildings have nothing on these Yogis! Via

- Hudson River Park events. Although Well and Good NYC lists many of their events, this organization deserves its own mention. There is a HUGE variety of events, including yoga, cardio fitness, salsa classes and children's events!

- Al Goldstein 5k Series in Prospect Park. This is a fantastic LOW COST fun race series that you can participate in as much as you'd like! I got to join one last year and it was a blast; lots of runner friends and a nice park to run in. Prospect Park is a bit of a hike, so I'm going to try driving this summer to see if it's a quicker commute.

You can meet up with cool people and run around a pretty park!

- FREE public pools! Yes! NYC has free outdoor pools, WITH LAP SWIMMING HOURS! They during the last week of June and remain open until Labor Day. I love getting to my pool early in the morning, the community is amazing; people who don't see each other for 3 seasons out of the year are suddenly friends again!

Happy swimmer and happy runner. Swimming is AMAZING cross training!

- SUMMER STREETS! Gah I love this! Mr. Miller and I had the BEST time running 14 miles (Yes, his furthest distance yet...and he has no desire to get back to that!) on Summer Streets! It's definitely a nice change of pace from the regular Central Park or East Side/West Side run. There was loads of people watching and other activities to check out as well. Click on the link above to see all the fun things we did there while enjoying 14 Queens-Manhattan-Brooklyn Miles!

You get to run/bike/skate where only cars (usually) go!

- Citi Bike!? Okay, who is thinking/talking about this? In case you missed the mass memo to all of NYC, Citi Bike is a new bike share system. With stations all around NYC, you can rent a bike for different increments of time and not worry about the inconveniences of storing it at home or out and about. I'm interested for evening strolls on these bad boys, but I'm not sure the price tag is worth it for me. There are absolutely none in Queens, let alone Astoria....haterrrrs.

Check out their map for pick ups and drop offs that meet your needs! Via

Edited to add: 
Nike Training Club at NikeTown! Every Monday night, starting at 6:30, check out the FREE class on the rooftop of their flagship store in midtown! 

I love Nike Training Club!

How about you? Do you have any great fitness events to share? Are you going to be a Citi Bike user? Do you participate in community fitness activities? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Puppies, Rain Runs, and Cupcakes

Welcome to the long weekend work week warriors! This was potentially the LONGEST week for me. I felt like it would never end! Probably because it was all leading up to a fun filled weekend that has already had loads of good times. 

 This was Lambeau puppy at approximately 3:05pm when I got home on Friday. All play all day.

We went to a fantastic BBQ at friend's place on Roosevelt Island. This is an amazing annual party that has insane amounts of food, great people, and gorgeous views. I love the little traditions that we've formed here in NYC with friends and holidays. Driving to Connecticut is a traffic DISASTER this weekend, so we usually refrain from traveling during Memorial Day.

Despite gloomy weather we had spectacular views for the evening!

What's a fun long weekend kickoff without CUPCAKES?! That's right, I ran a few miles and then got to eat some AMAZING sweets! Abby set up a great fundraising event, a 5 mile fun run followed by yummy desserts. PERFECT Saturday morning, in my humble opinion! Central Park was so peaceful, the light rain and dogs off the leash was wonderful. I ended up cutting my run a bit short because I had to feed the meter, but it was great getting together with an awesome group of people for a nice little Saturday morning treat!

So many awesome faces came out to run and munch today!
This picture says it all: YUM.

On tap for the rest of the weekend? Brunch, BBQ's and running...all sound stellar to me!

How about you? I saw many people ran awesome races today, were you one of them? Have you ever done a fun run with an event afterwards? Do you like cupcakes (Is this really a questions?!)? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Glad Game Monday XXVI

Oh hello there, Monday. After a DREARY weekend filled with half marathons, naps and People Magazine, dragging myself to work today was somewhat difficult to say the least. I felt like I wanted another day to recoup! I didn't have enough oatmeal to make breakfast, I was sleepy, and altogether allergy ridden! There were a few highlights of the day, so I will choose to rise above the Monday blahs and get excited about the good things in life.

I'm glad that there are 26 school days left. YES!

I'm glad we're getting a GRILL today! So stoked. This is going to revolutionize my summer cooking plans. There will be grilled EVERYTHING in my home!

I'm glad there will be a cupcake centered activity Saturday morning! I'm SO excited to join Abby's Cupcake Run! If you are in NYC on Saturday morning, head over to Central Park for a fabulous event to benefit Team Challenge. Check out more info here

This will be me after 5 miles on Saturday morning.

I'm glad my jumping picture "somewhat" turned out! I was nearing the end of my run and noticed a photog, why not try for a fun picture?! It's a little up close and personal, but you get the idea. I got some good air too.

Almost done!!!

I'm glad it's marathon week for my friend Steph! Go over and send her some well wishes for this weekend's Vermont City Marathon! Do Astoria proud, girl!

I'm glad "North America" started on Discovery Channel. I was ENTHRALLED by this! From a Mustang turf war to the miraculous laying of eggs by sea turtles, this show was truly incredible. Although there were several "Kristin, this is the circle of life. See, other animals die so other animals can live." From Mr. Miller...yea. I couldn't handle when the gray whale baby didn't make it. So sad. The animal kingdom is fascinating but cutthroat. 

Don't worry, this baby mountain goat made it through some pretty treacherous perils. If it hadn't, I would not have continued watching! Via

How about you? Are you glad that you glad that this baby mountain goat made it? Glad that you survived a rough training/racing weekend? Glad that Stephanie is going to do well in her marathon :-D? Tell me about it! 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

Well, I did it. I ran the streets of Brooklyn without entering into Queens! ;-) This was a huge half marathon, very early start time, well organized, and decent to run. Here is my take on the largest half marathon in NYC!

I woke up BRIGHT and EARLY at 4:20am. Although I was in the second wave, which started at 7:30am, my ride was in the first wave with a 7am start. So, I went through the usual rituals; got dressed, put on my mole skin, applied body glide, and ate breakfast (Okay I took it in the car, I'm a slow eater race morning.).

My secret to race morning perfection? Buy coffee the night before then reheat it in the morning. NOTHING is open that early. Plus. it's in a disposable cup!

I arrived and waited by my corral with some friends. This was an interesting development. The bathrooms were corral specific, so you could only use the portapotties in YOUR designated corral. This means there were plenty of squat spots,; however, it got really stinky by start time. Another interesting development? I forgot my Garmin in the car...which was headed to Coney Island to meet us at the finish. So, inadvertently  I had decided to run "naked". (Can't wait to see the search sources on that one.)

 My coworker and speedy friend! Spoiler alert: She PR'D!

My other speedy friend! Spoiler alert: He PR'd too! I must have transferred my luck in these photos...

I joined Ashley's corral and waited to start. I was so glad she asked to start together. We started the Philly Marathon together and lasted an amazing 15 miles together before I crashed and burned. We are also currently PR twins so it was nice to know I was starting with someone who has the same pace as me.

 All about the Sparkly Soul and neon!

Go go gadget brightness!

Miles 1-4: I had to run by feel. Ashley had her watch and kept me updated. Miles 1-3 were pretty fast, so we tried to keep it a bit slower as we entered the park. By mile 4 Ashley knew she had to slow it up a bit, so I bid her ado and said, "You'll probably catch up to me sooner than later." Now I was really on my own.

Miles 5-8: These felt pretty consistent. I enjoyed some music that Mr. Miller had secretly added onto my playlist the night before "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" by The Beastie Boys and "Brooklyn" by Jay-Z. He knows me. I'm a nerd and love matching things like songs and locations. The park was beautiful to run in because the trees not only offered shade but a bit of relief from the humidity. It was cloudy so people assumed it was okay; nope. I could still feel the strongest rays of sun creeping through and was thankful for the canopy of trees. The entrance to the highway was pretty cool, it felt surreal that both sides were closed! I PR'd my 10k by 8 seconds, which means I was on pace for a potential PR if I powered through. However, around mile 8, my hip REALLY started getting uncomfortable. I had avoided walking at most water stations because I had my fuel belt on, but I had continually been putting water on my head from mile 5 on. Between the humidity and the hip, I knew what my future was: Completion of Goal A: HAVE FUN.

Awesome sign! I loved her pep! Thanks for the picture, Ashley!

Miles 9-12: I relished my last race of the season. Even though my hip was uncomfortable, I stopped to stretch, cracked my back (Yes, I did), and kept on running. I didn't walk at all, a big step for me. I had no clue about pace or time, I just kept going, enjoying my music and enjoying that I can, in fact, run. This wasn't a cop out. This was my reality: I was doing this race for fun, and if my body carried me to a good race time, great. Thankfully my psyche didn't beat me up. I'd say that's a huge win. I was also glad to stop and help a runner who was taken down by the heat. I stopped and gave all the water I had. This is what runners do. My time is not more important than someone in need with no fluid stations in sight. Thankfully another runner, a doctor, also stopped and I left them with well wishes. Hope you're okay, Eduardo!

Snapped by my run club around 12.5...I was smiling to the end!

My last 1.1 miles of racing: They were FUN. I had saved my best music for last and my hip was feeling a bit better. Isn't it funny how towards the end of a race, things are magically are tolerable? As I rounded toward the finish and the cheer crowds were thickening, I kept saying thank you to them. They loved it and began cheering. I was so happy to be finishing, and Coney Island was a picturesque end to the race. I crossed the finish line happy. I did it. Lucky number 7 completed. No regrets. All smiles. 

Brooklyn Half Marathon Finish: 2:13:04

One happy runner

Then I heard someone say my name in the background: Ashley! I knew she would catch up to me eventually! She had some issues with the heat and had to slow up as well. (You can read her recap here) We both had the same idea upon finishing: Get our feet into the Atlantic ocean!

 My feet were in heaven. I went up to my knees then knelt on the shore to get my hamstrings/quads involved. This was genius.

Great race with a great friend. So glad I got to start and end it with this lady. Plus, every race should end on a beach.

The main obstacle of the race was not NYRR's fault. The cell service was non-existent. Apparently the towers were jammed by the tens of thousands of people trying to use their phones. This created a panic for me, as I was trying to find my wonderful car-mates. I searched the area where we were supposed to meet, then decided to just stay put. It got cold and rainy, and I was getting VERY nervous. Thankfully, I spotted B across the crosswalk, and I've never been happier to see her!

Two very happy runners toasty warm in the car ride home. Thank you to the Chans for the ride!!!

All in all, lucky number 7 was a great race. The course was a bit quiet, but having so many runners made it easier to keep going. I loved seeing so many friends! The running community is truly amazing. Despite my time being significantly slower than my previous half, I am satisfied and proud of my new race bling. CONGRATULATIONS to all the amazing finishers, especially to many of you who made it PR city!!!

How about you? Did you race this weekend? Do you try to push through injury during a race? Have you stuck with a friend in a race before? Tell me about it!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Brooklyn Half Marathon Goals

This is going to be short and sweet. My banana chocolate chip celebration cookies are still baking, and my race nails have yet to be painted! This marathon is going to be PINK and fun!

Pink Sparkly Soul Band, Pink Pro Compression socks, Marathin by Essie, a Nike Fit Compression Sports bra, and Adidas Compression shorts. My Saucony Kinvaras have plenty of pink, too! (Not pictured: A gray tank. I will not be running shirtless sorry.)

So, let's move on to the fabulous goals for tomorrow!

Goal A: Finish the Race and have a blast!
Goal B: PR (Sub 2:05:07)
Goal C: Sub 2

I place these goals in this order because I've only done three weeks of real training. Following this somewhat okay training, I've been hit yet again with some serious allergies. So, I may be sucking down some cough drops on the course which is not conducive to a stellar race! We shall see what God has in store tomorrow. Every race is different, for better for for worse!

GOOD LUCK TO ALL RACING TOMORROW, NO MATTER WHERE! There are too many to name, best of luck to everyone! If you're in Brooklyn, look for me...I'll be in pink ;-)

How about you? Should I look for you in BK? Are you racing elsewhere? Have you turned out to the pastures for the rest of the "spring" season? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why is transferring bibs frowned upon in this establishment?

No riding dogs like it's a small horse friends, it gets you time out. Via

We've all been there; an overzealous race schedule, an injury, or you simply have register's remorse. Either way, there's always going to be a large number of people who, for some reason, can't make it to the start line of race day. Sadly, there is NO solution for these individuals. I am not talking about individuals who want someone to run their 9+1 for them and just so happen to place in an age division, I'm talking about last minute issues that often let perfectly ready race bibs go to waste.

I was the recipient of a bib for the Philadelphia Marathon 2012. The second my friend heard that NYC was canceled, she texted me and said "My Philly bib is yours if you want it." She was injured and couldn't run, and was essentially eating $125 (CHEAP by NYC Marathon standards!). I wrote to the Philadelphia Marathon and explained the circumstances, and requested that somehow the name could be transferred. I offered to pay administrative costs and fees etc. The response was very polite, but they declined my request...and wished me good luck in the race. I think it was a generous move to wish me luck when they knew I would probably use someone else's bib. 

Most large races do not offer refunds or transfers. Refunds,  I get. You clicked register, you signed on. However, when big races sell out, what good is it to keep able bodied runners at bay when there are people willing to transfer their bibs? I looked up NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago; none of them allow for transfers. These are huge races, with tens of thousands of participants...which are also very expensive. These races take a lot of logistics, I understand, but with our technology today, what's holding them back from relieving the financial burden of one runner and rewarding one who is ready to race?

I stumbled upon a great post about this on a race director's blog. I appreciated the response, the candor that there will always be runners running "illegally", and that a main concern is fairness and medical safety. However, when  I read the comments, I was surprised to learn that the Marine Corps Marathon does indeed offer transfers. It's actually pretty genius.

Ottawa Marathon has the transfer spirit! Via

Transfers for the people! Basically, their policy is YOU find someone who wants to be the opt in to your opt out (They recommend Facebook...technology, oh my!), go through some service payments, and just like that, you're done. There is a time window which I find to be very generous (You may transfer up to two months prior to the race), but any monetary exchange concerning the registration fee has to be handled privately. I was also surprised to see that The Color Run not only offers transfers, but gives you a REFUND minus your Active.com service fee! These races are cutting edge and ready to lead by example as races who understand, well, crap happens.

So, is this the wave of the future? I foresee some definite issues if the bigger marathons started offering transfers with people exchanging hundreds of dollars privately...it could turn into a scalper's dream. However, for middle of the road races such as popular half marathons, could there be a movement toward transferring of bibs? With the popularity of races rapidly on the rise, I think it would be smart for race directors to consider SOME reasonable alternative. While runners sit on the sidelines looking forlorn, or are running "illegally", they could have done it legitimately if an alternative had been provided. Especially when the "You'll be banned from all races forever and ever" is a popular punishment for running with someone else's bib.

How about you? Have you ever run a race with someone else's number? (Obviously I have!) Do you think transfers should be allowed with certain restrictions? Do you check refund or transfer policies before signing up for a race? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Glad Game Monday XXV

I saw this on Facebook and don't remember where it's from. It's hilarious. That's literally me.

Well, it's that day we all love and adore! Back to the grind after a whirlwind weekend of long runs, visiting family and friends, with lots of driving in between. Despite an INSANE cold front approaching, let's get glad about things that remind us that there is more to life than Monday blues and breaking out the winter coat you laid to rest weeks ago.

I'm glad I got to spend Mother's Day with my mommy! We had a great Saturday and Sunday together. Sunday we went for a walk with the puppy dogs and it was simply beautiful. 

Sweet Annie dog doesn't pose for photos, she just likes action shots!

I'm glad Lambeau Puppy got to spend some time in the great outdoors! I know I know, he's a dog...but he needed to get out and stretch his legs! We walk him tons and bring him to the park, but getting into the suburbs is so fun for him!

Lambeau on the other hand loves to pose for photos...or rather he spotted a squirrel...

I'm glad summer is COMING! There are 33 school days left in the school year!!! I can't WAIT for my traditional summer fun, including....

 MY POOL! It's free, lap swimming in the morning, incredible views, sigh. I can't wait to dip in!

 THE BEACH! Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of beaches within an hour of NYC!

 Bryant Park Movies by HBO! I've been stalking the website since March...I can't wait for a Monday movie night in the park!...also, looking forward to being TAN.

SUMMER STREETS! Enough said.

FREE Yoga in Bryant Park and other free fitness classes outdoors!

I'm glad that the Brooklyn Half Marathon is this weekend! Lucky Number 7 is just days away! I'm glad the weather looks clear of rain, that I'm joining a bunch of friends in pounding the pavement, and for some new race bling to add to the collection! Goal post coming soon...stay tuned. 

How about you? Is there anything you are super glad about? Did you have a rough Monday? Are you racing this weekend? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lucky number 7

News flash: I'm running the Brooklyn Half Marathon next Saturday. So, in seven days I'll be running half marathon number 7.

I like to think I've run many "half marathons". During two marathon training cycles, I have probably run over the distance of a half marathon fifteen times??? Maybe more. I tend to sign up for run race per season and train solely  for that race. However, after a rough goal race where I didn't meet my goal, I decided that I wanted one more crack at a timed, t-shirt and medal giving 13.1.

The Training.

Only one problem: I haven't really been "training". After I went away for spring break, where I did a lot of beach walking, sun bathing, and beverage sipping, I eased my way back into running with low mileage. We're talking 8 miles a week. Sheesh. I really fell hard off the training bandwagon onto the "fun I'm not training" wagon. When my running partner decided to register for Brooklyn as a "redemption race", she encouraged me to do so, and I said "Nah...". But then, on our runmutes, I started getting race envy...the type that I could cure by actually running in the race myself. So, I'm in.

I had to adjust my training and do a three week cycle build up. I was actually toying with doing the race when I met up with a Twitter friend to meet/run. We ran on the East River, and I decided to save a subway swipe and run home over the Queensboro Bridge. I had no watch, it was untimed, just me and the road. When I got home I estimated Google Maps said I ran just over 6 miles. That's when I decided I could do it. So, my progression plan became 6, 8, and 10 for my long runs. I completed them all, with some speed, hills, and runmutes mixed in.

The differences since my last half marathon.

The weather has been a major factor. It has been SIGNIFICANTLY warmer in recent days, causing this ALWAYS warm runner to doubt a PR is possible. I ran 10 miles yesterday after work, aka when it was over 80 degrees in NYC. It was bearable in the shade, and a huge confidence booster for me. It wasn't even close to my goal pace, but my route was challenging. I ran over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, the 5 mile loop in Central Park with a run around the Reservoir mixed in.

Can we say GORGEOUS?!

This is an entirely different kind of race. This is a HUGE NYRR race. In fact, I didn't realize how big it was until I read an article detailing how 20,000 runners will be a huge boost for Coney Island....20,000?! I realize now that I do much better in bigger races. I never felt like quitting during the NYC Marathon because everywhere my feet ran, there were amazing spectators cheering my name. In Philly, I ended up in a runner's wilderness that was close to unbearable. I attribute this to the lack of crowd support and a smaller field of runners around me. I also felt the same issues plagued me during my most recent half. I'm excited to see how I respond in a big race again. Who knows?!

The People.

SO many people are running this race! I'm excited to join so many amazing runners, and I hope I happen to run into them this Saturday.

TONS of these runners will be out in BK this Saturday! Come watch us fly!!!

How about you? How successful have you been during a last minute race? Have you ever done a shortened training cycle? Have you done better than expected in a (warm) race late in the spring season? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Falling gracefully

It doesn't exist. Let me tell you, I've done it. I fell at the beginning of my first marathon training cycle and thought all was lost...thankfully there was just some road rash on my arm. I fell the Monday after the canceled NYC Marathon...I suffered a fractured pinky and some scrapes. My marathon shirt got ripped...thankfully my mom is old school and sewed it back together again. 

Monday. It always seems to be a Monday. I was stressed from work, tired, and wanted to get an easy 3 miles run. I had no music, no phone, just me and the run. I was almost 2 miles in when I saw a plastic circular thing, similar to what wraps around shipping boxes but seems to have no use: 

See those straps? They have no real use. Also, this is not my photo, and the only one on Google that had these stupid things in it. 

So, I thought I cleared it. Nope. My front toe got caught just as my back foot kicked off, trapping my feet and sending me flying. This is a reenactment:

I was dressed for success that day. Via.

I did a quick check and I was okay. Just a REALLY scraped up knee, elbow, and hands. One person asked if I was okay, I said yes as I started running off...partially in shock, partially because I was still half a mile from home and needed to get there somehow. I made it safely, and thankfully my nurse/neighbor patched me up.

So, here I am, injured. No pedicures this week like I planned, and 10 miles on the agenda for Friday. I'm fairly sore and it's pretty nasty. I may try to run today, but the "scabbing" is really stiff and uncomfortable. Scroll down if you want to see day 1 and day 2 of the injury, day 3 (today) is much uglier so I'll spare you. 

How about you? Do you fall often? Do you think I'm the clumsiest runner alive? Do you know a good tuck and roll teacher? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Races are like weddings: You only get one, and you want it to be perfect.

Now, many amazing bloggers have written great posts comparing running and marathons to real life situations. I love this post comparing marriage and a marathon. So true, so true. I also love this post comparing pregnancy/childbirth to a marathon. (I haven't experienced that yet, but the post was very realistic...hence having experienced one but not the other yet!) So, while talking to a friend about goal race day, I got to thinking: A wedding is kind of like race day.

Now, as the title states, you only get one. Some get more, but hey, more power to them. However, in our MINDS, when it comes to a goal race that you've been working 6-8 months towards (The shorter end of an engagement length), you only get one goal race. You NEED that ONE race to be PERFECT. Here are my thoughts on how these two events are so similar. 

You register, and you get all tingly. This is really real! You've registered for something you really want! YIPPEE!!! 

You weather stalk obsessively. Some races have rain, sleet, snow, heat, but we race regardless of the elements. We pray for 50 degrees and partly cloudy on race day, obsess over precipitation percentages, and hope for the best. I prayed for 6 months straight for snow...and we got an insane storm the day before our wedding! It added some stress, but it was exactly the way we wanted it. 

Spoiler alert: Wedding photo too soon...it's the only one with snow in it!

You get to your dream weight and get your nails done. Yup. After a good training cycle, I generally feel fit and ready. But of course, race nails MUST happen. (Guys, maybe a new hair cut???)
Take note: Never have I been this light, nor do I think I ever will be again!

The day of is FILLED with jitters. Getting the shoes, the outfit, your Sparkly Soul band; EVERYTHING must be ready and set to race. 
I borrowed my sister's veil...it's no Sparkly Soul, but it did the job.

Once you get to the start, your heart is racing, ready to go. Some of us tend to need liquid courage, perhaps by way of a gel or gatorade. Maybe getting to the start was stressful, or maybe you couldn't get down your breakfast in time before getting to your corral.
I needed some liquid courage because of a terrible unplowed road keeping me from my wedding. 

Then, suddenly, it's go time. The National Anthem is sung or played, maybe New York, New York is blasting on the Verrazzano, or your favorite song is playing in your earphones. Maybe, just maybe, a few tears well up in excitement and emotion because this is it: What you've been waiting to do and planning for many months.
This was the most attractive crying photo of me. The others were just plain embarrassing. 

There's a crowd watching and cheering for you. You run like the wind, hoping that it won't go by too fast, or too slow. You hope you'll remember every moment of it, enjoy every moment of it, cherish every moment of it.
Not exactly cheering, but you get the picture.

Then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, the finish is before you. Smile for those cameras! It's time to get that finish line photo that you will screen shot out, or, if it's good enough, buy! You cross the finish line with a feeling of accomplishment. THERE. I DID IT.

Biggest smile ever. It was a truly beautiful finish.

THEN: THE AFTER PARTY. This also takes plenty of planning as well! First things first: WHERE'S THE FOOD?!

I didn't eat dessert for 6 months. I had two pieces of cake. Well worth it.

You see friends and CELEBRATE. You're done! You thank those who came out to support you, and celebrate the joyous occasion of completing your race.
At the end, the shoes always come off!

However, not every race goes as planned. There may be heat, snow, sleet or rain. There may be something vital you forgot to pack. There may be people who back out at the last minute. You may not feel at your optimal "best body" self. You may panic thinking you're not ready. Things may happen at the wrong time. When these things happen in your "Goal Race", the race that you NEED to go perfect, I give you the advice all my friends who are getting married:

Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't major on minors. Enjoy every moment regardless of little bumps in the road along the way. Remember what you're doing and why you're doing it.

The good thing about races? There's going to be more than one. I was so encouraged by Meggie's post about continually toeing the line of marathons to qualify for Boston. In my heart, my most recent half marathon was my big goal race of the year, and I didn't make my goal. I was pretty down about it. I gave myself my own advice and remembered: I love running, this is why I do what I do.

I love Mr. Miller, that is why I did what I did.

So, if you're entering a big goal race and think there's only one and it MUST be perfect: Stop. Breath. Run. Enjoy every moment of it.

How about you? Have you ever compared running to a non-sporty thing? Do you put all your eggs in a basket? Do you come back stronger if you don't meet your goals on the first try? TELL ME ABOUT IT!