This list is not comprehensive, but highlights some of my recent racing experiences. Check out my race reports for more details!

Oakley Mini 10k (June 14, 2014): I love the Oakley Mini 10k – definitely one of my favorite NYRR races! This was my third time running it and I was excited to be back, despite the fact that NYRR gave me the race number 666, which I picked up on Friday the 13th (?!?!?!??!). Thankfully, I still managed to have a great race. Was it fast? No. I came in at 47:08, which makes this year my slowest yet (this seems to be a trend lately…). But it was my first all out racing effort in a loooong time – without ANY hamstring pain I should add – and it was super fun! As in previous years, I couldn’t leave the post-race festival without getting my medal signed. This time, I got Desi’s signature (as before) as well as Deena Deena Kastor’s and Lauren Fleshman’s, and got to chat with all of them about how they ran, upcoming races etc. Definitely a wonderful experience!

Brooklyn Half Marathon (May 17, 2014): The race is a LOT bigger now, with over 25,000 finishers compared to around 14,000 two years ago. And I thought it was crowded back then! The course essentially is a Brooklyn version of the NYC Half, with 7M of rolling hills in Prospect park followed by a flat and fast stretch on Ocean Ave towards the beach. I wasn’t sure what to expect so soon after Boston. I was aiming to enjoy the race and get a good workout in; if I felt up for it, I planned to run around marathon effort in the park and then gradually speed up towards the finish. Turned out I felt quite strong! I still refrained from going full-out, but when I still felt good at mile 7, I started to pick up the pace and was able to stay around my usual half marathon range. I ended up finishing in 1:42:03 (Garmin details here), which funny enough is only less than a minute slower than my NYC Half time with far less effort exerted and certainly less prep work done. The atmosphere and finish area at Coney Island was amazing – and the expo in Brooklyn was pretty cool too. Definitely recommend this race! Full race report here.

Boston Marathon (April 21, 2014): By far my slowest and one of my toughest marathons, but an incredibly unique and special race overall. The crowds were AMAZING and I couldn’t have done it without their deafening support along every inch of the course. Ran over 20min slower than last year (official avg pace of 9:01). Although I knew I wouldn’t beat last year’s 3:36, such a slow time was unexpected. I had a strong training cycle without any major injuries and believed a solid effort would put me at around 3:40-45. Just after a few miles, l felt alarmingly fatigued and generally unwell. I didn’t fully appreciate just how run down I was from weeks of inadequate sleep, stress, and a stomach bug I caught 5 days beforehand (and apparently wasn’t quite gone) until I was out on the course. I also really struggled with the heat, not helped by the fact that nearly all my training was in freezing weather. I quickly had to slow down from my usual MP, which kept getting slower and slower. I didn’t want to push myself any faster for fear I wouldn’t finish. It was frustrating given how much time/effort training in the crazy winter, and at that pace it would have been nice to at least have a leisurely race by choice, but so it goes. I did my best to soak up the atmosphere – I reminded myself to look at all the spectators and runners around me, read all the signs, and gave E a huge kiss at mile 25 which energized me in that last mile. Everyone around me carried me to the finish. As for my time, well, I know it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that I was able to participate in such a historic and symbolic race! And even though last year’s race ended in tragedy, I can now fully appreciate and be proud of my individual race after struggling so much this year.

Full race report here and Garmin details here.

NYC Half Marathon (March 16, 2014): This was my third consecutive year running the NYC Half Marathon. Although conditions were brutal this year (SO COLD!!!!!) and I didn’t have the amazing PR race I had last year, I enjoyed the new course and got a good sense of how I will perform in Boston. My knee felt fine, no GI issues, I ran smart and held back the pace slightly as soon as I felt I may risk straining my hamstring in the cold, and finished in 1:41:24 feeling very strong. I struggled to motivate towards the end (it was so cold that I was being handed cups of ice at water stations), overall, it was a great training race!

Full race report here and Garmin details here.

NYC Triathlon Relay (July 14, 2013): This was my first triathlon as well as my first relay. My two teammates (our team name was “Dietitian Divas,” since they are both RDs), had competed with a different runner two years prior and had placed 2nd, right behind a team that had won four years in a row, so we knew what we had to do. We each gave it our all – it was really tough waiting around for so many hours and then suddenly springing myself into full-on 10k racing mode, but I tried my best and managed to run  an extremely strong race in the heat, helping my team win FIRST PLACE in our division by just over two minutes! I ran 44:52 – which is amazing given the crazy weather, my jet lag and minimal training (having just gotten back from my wedding and honeymoon)! It was my first 1st place and first podium finish, so I consider that a huge accomplishment! We will be back next year to defend our title!

Full race report here.

Boston Marathon (April 15, 2013): What a bittersweet day…tough, painful race, and tragedy to follow. I had a strong training cycle, but my hamstring began to hurt early on and the course was harder than anticipated. I decided to ignore my sub-3:35 pace band and just run by feel. Dug deep and finished strong in 3:36:14, my second fastest marathon thus far (and just 29 minutes before the bombings). Despite the sadness surrounding this event, I’m trying to feel proud of my accomplishment after all the years of hard work it took me to get to the start line. I will be back in 2014 Boston!! Full race recap here and Garmin details here.

NYC Half Marathon (March 17, 2013): Despite the freezing temperatures and all my marathon training, I somehow managed to PR in the NYC Half, beating my previous best time from 4.5 years ago (the Royal Parks Half Marathon, in London). Granted, my new PR of 1:37:21 was only 13 seconds faster than my old one, but I hadn’t even come close my old time since I set it. The fastest I had run up until this race was 1:39:47, 2.5 years ago, so this was a very long awaited victory! The best part was that I felt so strong throughout the race and at the finish. It was an extremely fun race and a real confidence builder for Boston! Garmin details here.

Chicago Marathon (October 7, 2012): Sometimes you get perfect race conditions and you feel like nothing can stop you – that sums up my first flat and fast marathon in Chicago, where I smashed my goal to BQ with a PR of 3:33:18. My mantra throughout that race had been, “I want it more than I fear it,” the “it” being a BQ, and whatever physical pain I had to overcome to reach my goal. I remember seeing my parents at mile 25 and since I was feeling strong and was well under my planned race pace, I yelled to them, “I’m going to BQ!” The emotional impact of that statement, as I heard myself say it aloud and knew in my heart, my legs and my tears that it was true, was indescribable. Finishing that race was a spectacular moment – sheer joy and surprisingly, not much pain. Within 30 minutes of attaining my BQ, I registered for one of the last spots to run the 2013 Boston Marathon. Victory at last! Garmin race details here.

Bronx 10M (September 9, 2012): Normally I try to race a half marathon before a marathon to assess my fitness levels and determine my goal marathon pace, but this time I entered the new NYRR 10 miler, as I couldn’t find an appropriate half marathon in the area. This was my first experience racing a 10M and it definitely is my new favorite distance! I was a bit worried, since I still hadn’t done sufficient speed work and hadn’t raced since June, but it went very well. I set a goal for myself of 1:15 and ran 1:14:52, coming in 27th in my age group! Really enjoyed this race – the course wasn’t very exciting, but the roads were nice and wide, so crowds didn’t slow me down (unlike some of the other NYRR races in the series). There wasn’t much of a post-race finish festival, which I found surprising, but I guess this was a relatively small race. I would definitely do this one again! Garmin details here, full race recap here.

Steamboat Springs, CO Continental Divide 15M Trail Race (August 19, 2012): This a tough race – or shall I say half hike, half shuffle, at two miles above sea level – but well worth doing. I had spent four days at elevation to try to acclimatize and still I felt like my head was going to explode at 10,500 ft! E and I entered this race as a purely for fun/training run, to substitute for one of our 20 milers for Chicago and to give ourselves a nice break from road running and the heat/humidity of the city. My Garmin only showed us as having gone 14.32M – and my average pace was 14:31 min/mile (slowest pace EVER) – and yet I think it’s safe to say that we worked just as hard as we would have done in a 20M run. In terms of value for money, this race is tough to beat – 35 bucks for one of the best-organized, friendliest and most beautiful races I’ve done in quite some time. Additionally, the race was small (capped at 150 people), the post-race festival was great (free lunch including beer, and a ride down the gondola back to the hotel), the special hotel rates were a steal (a super nice Sheraton for just over $100 a night, with the hefty discount) and the swag was off the charts – an awesome tech race shirt and a post-race raffle which gave nearly all runners some sort of prize. I got lucky and won a pair of Mizuno shoe of my choice, up to $135 value, from the sponsor – Ski Haus. I chose a pair of trail shoes, which I needed anyway – score! In total, we spent 10 days in Colorado – Boulder, Steamboat Springs and Vail. Such a great vacation – did wonders for my fitness and my mental health! Garmin details here – full race recap to come.

Women’s Mini 10k (June 9, 2012): LOVED this race – well organized, great atmosphere, fun course and simply awesome to celebrate women runners! I entered it to assess my fitness level before diving into Chicago Marathon training later in the month. I hadn’t raced since March and had done zero speedwork and very little running generally, due to time constraints and injury recovery, so I wasn’t sure how this would go. To my surprise, I did quite well – I didn’t get a PR, but I was only 54 seconds off of my best time. Given my training and the relatively hilly course, I was extremely pleased! Plus I got to meet Desi Davila after the race. Garmin details here and full race recap here.

Brooklyn Half Marathon (May 19, 2012): This was my first experience pacing someone in a race, as well as the first time E and I raced together! It was a warm day and we unfortunately missed our goal by a few minutes, but we still had a fantastic time. I would definitely recommend this race – one of the better courses of NYRR’s 5 Borough Series and so much fun to run – although it was quite congested, weather is iffy in late May and the course isn’t very flat, so if you’re looking for a PR, you may want to look elsewhere. You can find my Garmin details here, and my full race recap here.

NYC Half Marathon (March 18, 2012): My first big road race since the Portland Marathon. I started my Master’s in Clinical Nutrition at NYU in January, so I wasn’t able to focus 100% on training. However, I still gave it my best shot and am happy with my performance. I ran 1:40:17, just barely missing my sub-1:40 goal, but feeling like I had some energy left in the tank. Kicking myself for waiting to long to push and definitely looking to redeem myself next year! You can find my NYC Half training log here, Garmin details here and my full race recap here.

North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon (December 4, 2011): I completed this tough but awesome trail race in the Marin Headlands. I decided to use a slightly different type of schedule than usual, resembling some of the programs discussed in my recent coaching course. I only had six weeks to train (after taking some time off to recover from the Portland marathon) and was on the road for most of that time, so I wanted to keep things simple. Please find my training log here and related blog post at the start of my training here.

I ran this race with a group of running buddies. The weather was perfect and the scenery beautiful, but the course was no joke, with three killer hills that felt especially tough with practically zero hill training, only two aid stations and an unexpected additional mile (it was a 14M half marathon). My goals were to have fun and finish strong in 2ish hours. I didn’t “race” it but still kept it challenging – took it fairly easy on the uphills (which were very long and steep so wasn’t entirely by choice – walked a bit of that second beast of a hill) but pushed it on the downs and was somewhere in between on the flats. Given the extra distance, I was very happy with my time of 2:08:33. My official placements were 108 out of 496 overall; 20th out of 230 women; and 11 out of 89 in my category (women 30-39). Bonus – we were sent off at the start by Dean Karnazes and every finisher got to high five Michael Wardian upon crossing the line – pretty cool. Between all that and the best race swag bag ever, it was a great event! Garmin details here. Full race recap here!

Portland Marathon (October 9, 2011): Unfortunately, this training cycle did not go to plan (which was a new BQ of sub 3:35). Due to a hip injury that plagued my runs pretty much from the start, my 16-week schedule turned into a bit of a mess, with a large gap in training that only gave me room to work up to 18M in a not exactly ideal fashion. Thankfully, I was able to recover sufficiently throughout training to get to the start line, aiming for 3:39 – 3:42. I had initially hoped for a slight PR on the lower end of 3:39, but instead achieved my “best effort” goal of 3:41:15. It was a solid performance (1 minute 39 seconds slower than NYC, but 40 seconds faster than Paris) and I finished feeling proud. I perhaps could’ve pushed a fraction harder in the last few miles to sneak in under 3:40, but I didn’t want to risk blowing up so decided to increase my pace more gradually than I usually do from 24M onwards and save my real push for the remaining .2-.5M.

Official placements are still settling, but I seem to have finished 1040 of 8386 overall (13% of runners finished ahead), 235 of 4405 women (5% finished ahead), 45 of 753 group F30-34 (6% finished ahead), and 61.23% age/grade. In my last 6.2 miles, I passed 212 runners and 23 people passed me. Oh – and my favorite stat? Of all the people I passed, 80% were men! As the t-shirt I bought at the expo says, “Some girls chase boys – I pass ’em.” 🙂 Check out my Portland training schedule for more details – and here for my full race recap!

Fleet Half Marathon (March 20, 2011): I started (officially) training for Fleet beginning in late December 2010 (I had actually been training quite a lot previously, which is why my starting point is a 70min run). My goal wasn’t to get a new PB, since I knew that was unrealistic going in, but to beat my last competitive race time of 1:39:47. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t my day. I finished in 1:42:04, the slowest time I’ve done to date, which was disappointing. But it was still an interesting and fun experience – check out my race recap and my Fleet Half Marathon 2011 training plan for more details.

Post NYC Marathon, building up for Fleet: I took a nice break after NYC to let my body recover, and then gradually eased back into regular running followed by structured training. I put this schedule together to start preparing for the Fleet half marathon in March: December 2010 Training. Particularly in winter, it really helps to be following a training plan.

ING New York City Marathon (November 7, 2010): My second marathon pre-dates this blog and thus I don’t have a full race-recap on this site (yet!), but this race is one of my strongest athletic performances to date. My goal was sub-3:40 (to qualify for Boston – before they changed their times) and I finished in 3:39:36, placing 7,349 out of 44,829 overall; 1,134 out of 16,072 women; and 235 out of 2,612 in my category.

It was a VERY tough race – mentally and physically – and such a different experience from the Paris Marathon, which I had completed about 6 months earlier. I trained extremely hard with my coach, Sam Murphy, and am proud of what I accomplished. Team Claire (aka my parents) as well as countless friends and thousands of other supporters helped me reach my goal. It was a truly memorable, special day and a race that I cannot recommend highly enough – I will definitely be back again! Check out my training program below.

NYC Marathon 2010 (July – November 2010): This was an 18-week, personalized plan created by my coach, Sam Murphy. I was still recovering from some lingering knee pain from Paris and wanted some extra time to work with Sam (particularly on my technique) and get back into shape. I did tons of training races, which were invaluable to practicing my pacing on hilly courses as well as my nutrition strategy (I had suffered GI problems in Paris, so this was a huge concern for me in NYC).

Run to the Beat Half Marathon (September 26, 2010): This was one of many races I completed as part of my NYC marathon training plan, but the only one that I actually raced. My goal was sub-1:40, and I’m pleased to report that despite a much hillier than anticipated course, cold, windy conditions and a delayed start (by nearly an hour!), I finished in 1:39:47! I would not, however, recommend this race by any means. It was one of the most poorly organized races I’ve ever done, and the course was not very interesting. But, I was happy with my time, and alls well that ends well!

Paris Marathon (April 11, 2010): This was my very first marathon! My top goal was sub-3:40, to qualify for Boston. I finished in 3:41:56, placing 8,817 out of 30,976 finishers overall, 477 out of 7,620 women and 232 out of 2,598 in my category. I was feeling great and for the first half of the race, was on track for 3:38 thanks to the fact that Paris is a flat course and I had arrived well prepared in terms of training. Unfortunately, however, I suffered terrible GI problems later in the race – I had to stop FOUR times for the bathroom in the middle-late miles and felt so ill by mile 18 I nearly dropped out (and I never give up on anything)!

Thankfully I persevered – I had worked too hard to let myself quit – and I even managed to make up some of the lost time in the final miles, despite the warm temperatures and lack of crowd support. It certainly was not the enjoyable, triumphant performance that I had imagined, but still – I’m proud of my time, particularly given the circumstances, and am truly amazed by just how far I was able to push myself. Victories are more significant, anyhow, when you’ve overcome greater obstacles.

Either way, crossing a marathon finish line for the first time is an incredibly unique experience. I cried. I collapsed on a stranger dressed as a clown. I thought I was going to die – generally speaking, but also of thirst. (As a side note, Paris is a wonderful race, but it has many faults – not only in the lack of toilets at the start and on the course, which was particularly traumatic for me, as well as the lack of crowd support compared to races like London and NYC, but also the mayhem at the finish). After having to walk (well, shuffle/crawl) for more than 20 minutes, I finally reached a water/sports drink station and shortly thereafter, fell into the arms of my parents, who had managed to cheer me on not once but FIVE TIMES throughout the race wearing Team Claire t-shirts. Best. Parents. Ever. They are half the reason I pushed myself to the finish.

As many runners do, I swore I would never run a marathon again as my parents practically carried me back to our hotel because it was too painful for me to walk. After a nice long shower and some delicious french pastries, I went online and immediately received an email from the New York Road Runners congratulating me on having been accepted into the 2010 ING NYC marathon in November. I kid you not. And what was my reaction? HELL YEAH!

Paris Marathon 2010 (December 2009 – April 2010): I started working with my coach Sam before training for this race, and this is the 16-week, personalized plan that she created for me. I finally caved and purchased a Garmin about halfway through my training – it certainly is a very useful tool, but it has its downsides too. It’s sometimes hard with that thing on your wrist not to obsess over the numbers and simply focus on how your body feels.

Brighton Half Marathon (February 21, 2010): This was one of several training races that I ran while preparing for the Paris marathon, but like with RTTB, the only one I actually raced. And also like RTTB, one I wouldn’t highly recommend. I was aiming for sub-1:40, and finished in 1:40:52, placing 958 out of 6,064 overall. I was actually pleased with this result, given the horrendous conditions (freezing temperatures – pouring rain and strong winds) and more importantly, the terrible shin pain that nearly caused me to drop out after the first mile and slowed me down the first 30-40 minutes (before my legs grew so numb from the cold that I couldn’t feel them anymore!). This race was one of my most miserable races! Post-race pizza and cupcakes helped, though (and I do love Brighton).

Royal Parks Half Marathon (October 11, 2009): This was my first half marathon as well as one of my best race performances! Given I had just recovered from a cold, and wasn’t quite sure what I was capable of running, my goal was around 1:42 – 1:45. I finished in 1:37:34 to my total shock – placing 839 out of 10,200 overall, and 98 out of 3,426 in my category.

This was before the days of my religious use of pace bands and Garmins – I just had my little stop watch and worked out splits in my head. As I started racing, however, I felt SO AMAZING that with each mile, I kept running faster and faster! And as my pace increased, the prospect of running such a speedy time propelled me even more towards the next mile. It was one of the smoothest and most enjoyable races I’ve ever done. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a flat, well-organized and fun half that takes you through some lovely parts of central London.

Royal Parks Half Marathon Intermediate Training Plan: This is the 16-week training plan that I used for Royal parks, provided by the race organizers since I had not yet started working with my coach. I was just starting to get into more structured training, and since I didn’t yet own a Garmin, I ran based on feel and used sites like mapmyrun.com to work out my mileage. Over the course of my training, I lost about 12 pounds, which is partly what led me to such a fast time. I currently am about 5 pounds above that weight – partly muscle from my marathon training though! 🙂

Other info:

Creating your own running log: If you would like to start keeping your own running log or building your own training program, I’ve included below a template that I always use for my training. Perhaps you may want to choose your own inspirational color! Obviously, I’m a huge fan of purple: Training Schedule Template