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I just completed my last run of 2011 – it’s officially time to celebrate the New Year!

Here are my pre- and post-run shots:

  

I met up with the same women I ran with last week in Nisene Marks, which was really fun. While they stopped at 6M, I continued for an additional 3.6 so I could reach 1,166 miles on the dot for 2011! Well, that’s according to the RW running log at least, which I started in October 2009 and use mainly to keep track of my shoe mileage (it has a great feature that allows you to track various shoes you use). I just discovered that according to Garmin Connect (which is my main running log), I ran 1,200 miles. I’m not sure what happened there, but obviously I’m going with the higher number!

Here are my stats from the RW running log:

And here’s a nice, colorful graph from the RW log:

Here’s Garmin’s report for 2011:

My number for 2011 isn’t quite as high as 2010, where I reached 1,290 miles (according to RW), but I’m still very pleased, especially since I only ran one marathon this year. Let’s do a quick recap of the races I ran in 2011 (relevant blog links included):

Mornington Chasers 10k (March), Fleet Half Marathon (March), 17k Kentmere Challenge (June), New Forest 10 (July), Reykjavik 10k (August), Pacific Grove 10k (September), Portland Marathon (October), Windham Turkey Trot (November) and The North Face SF Endurance Challenge Half Marathon (December).

2011 was relatively light in racing compared to 2010, due to injury and one fewer marathon scheduled. I have a feeling 2012 will hold even fewer races in store for me, between school and everything else, but you never know! I found out yesterday that I was accepted into the NYC half marathon in March 2012, so that is now officially in my racing calendar. E got in too, which is very exciting – another excuse for him to come visit me from London (not like he needs one…), if he hasn’t already moved to NYC by then. I also found out that registration for the Chicago marathon begins on February 1st. E and I both plan to sign up. Come on, BQ!

Lastly, I completely revised my Goals page, if you haven’t already checked it out. I wanted to reflect on what I did and did not accomplish in 2011, and what I hope to achieve in 2012, not only in terms of running but other areas of my life. All in all, it’s been a momentous year – I quit my job and moved back from London, became an Aunt, turned 30, qualified as an RRCA coach, got into grad school for Nutrition and much more. 2012 is going to be challenging and intense, but I have a feeling that even bigger and more positive things are coming my way!

I’m off to the airport now to pick up E – best NYE gift I could possibly ask for! I can’t wait to see him – it’s been a month since we said our goodbyes in Boston and I’m really looking forward to spending the week together. We are having a low-key celebration tonight with friends, but are planning a couple adventures later in the week including trips to Yosemite and to Napa. I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2012!

Happy New Year!!

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As I update the remaining 2011-related sections of this blog and officially shift into my new NYU grad student existence, I am finally facing the reality that my “travel plans” widget is about to become, and will most likely remain, depressingly empty for awhile. This post is a quick reminder to myself before I delete the old and bring in the new that I’ve been very fortunate in terms of my opportunities to travel the world, particularly during my South America backpacking trip in 2006-7 (I’ve included a few shots from that trip below, for fun) and my shorter, more recent adventures throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East from London.

     

My ability to travel relatively frequently and easily was one of the best parts about living in London. I would’ve been crazy not to have taken advantage of such an amazing travel base. I had five weeks of vacation plus bank holidays, and there were TONS of awesome, incredibly different destinations only a short train or plane ride away. Sometimes the journey was a bit longer – to South Africa, for instance – but not nearly as bad as it would’ve been from the US!

Obviously, these trips weren’t always cheap, particularly in my last couple of years out there. However, I love to travel and made it a priority, knowing that my years in London were limited and it would be a lot more expensive and time consuming from the US. Instead of buying unnecessary clothing or overpriced drinks, for instance, I would put whatever money I had left after living expenses and savings towards travel. If I planned far enough in advance, flew with carriers like EasyJet and/or traveled during the off-season, I was usually able to find some reasonably priced tickets, especially within Europe.

I’d try to find good value hotels (with the occasional splurge, given that these trips were often only two nights and I had a travel companion) and then would offset nicer meals and expenses like late night cabs with using public transportation or walking during the day and eating lunch at a farmer’s market (or secretly making sandwiches at the gigantic breakfast buffet – yes, I confess to doing this without shame!). I of course always brought my running shoes – best way to explore a new place, in most cases, while squeezing in some exercise.

So, where did I go while I lived in London, aside from the 2-3 trips per year I made back to the US? In 2008 and the first half of 2009, my travel focused more heavily on weddings, reunions and other family events back home, although I managed to visit Madrid, Edinburgh, Sicily, and South Africa, as well as a number of places throughout England.

From the summer of 2009 onwards, I started to travel like a madwoman! I spent the second half of 2009 seeing Barcelona, Copenhagen, Paris, Istanbul, Amsterdam and Lebanon, twice (Beirut is amazing – that’s actually where I spent NYE), in addition to another extended trip back home to CA. Must include a few random photos, obviously!

   

  

In 2010, my free time was dominated by marathon training – plus I was in CA twice for weddings/family time – but I still made it to Paris (for the marathon), southern Spain, Italy (Trieste and Venice), Dublin, Stockholm, Berlin, NYC (for the marathon) and more long weekends across the UK.

       

This past year was pretty epic, with London as my travel base from Jan – Aug and Santa Cruz/San Francisco, CA as my base from Sept – Dec. It makes me sad that I have to delete the following entries from my “2011 Travel Plans” list, knowing I have hardly anything to include for 2012 (related blog links below):

Zanzibar (Jan/Feb); Marrakech, Morocco (March); Northern/Central Vietnam (April/May); Oslo, Norway (May); Lake District, UK (June); Amalfi Coast, Italy (June); Reykjavik, Iceland (Aug); Santa Cruz, CA (moved back Aug 30th); Big Sur (Sept); Portland (Oct); NYC (Nov); London (Nov); New Hampshire/Boston (Nov); San Antonio (Dec); and Los Angeles (Dec).

      

I’m in the process of making a 2011 photo book. E and I had our share of travel disasters, but for the most part the hundreds of photos that we took are bringing back some wonderful memories.

As for 2012, my new travel list will include the following on January 1st:

NYC (Jan 14th…until I graduate many many years later)

Okay, that’s a (slight) exaggeration. I do have a trip or two in the works for 2012, including a long weekend in Rome for a friend’s June wedding (thank you frequent flyer miles) and, hopefully, a long weekend in Chicago to run the marathon. That’s probably all I can handle, though. Quitting my job in August, facing insane tuition and living costs in NYC, having little time to spare in between year-round school, volunteer work and part-time work, and no longer living in such a lovely travel base means very little travel for me in the coming years! Not that I have a right to complain after being so spoiled…

No, I was not running as the clock struck midnight…I’m not that crazy! I was enjoying a glass of bubbly and a great view of the London fireworks from my roof, along with a large group of friends, both new and old.

I don’t usually like to make a huge deal out of NYE, and this year in particular, I wanted to keep things local and low-key. But even I was a bit concerned when, as of 3pm yesterday, I still hadn’t figured out my plans. However, some of the best evenings really are the ones that are thrown together spontaneously…

It just so happened that The Garrison, one of my favorite gastropubs (and also only a short walk from my flat), had one table left for their NYE dinner. Eric and I had discussed possibly cooking, but as we started to read the four-course menu, we quickly ditched that plan! Our meal was not only delicious but surprisingly light, and the owner even let us drink our own bottle of champagne without charging us a corkage fee. Result!

We finished dinner just after 9pm – perfect timing, since I had just learned that some friends were having a party in their amazing, massive flat literally across the street. We headed over and had so much fun drinking and playing games – can’t even remember the last time I played Taboo! Word soon got out that my rooftop had great views of the London Eye fireworks (and of my neighbors’ impressive fireworks display too, as it turned out), and so my evening wrapped up with an impromptu party back at my flat. I really couldn’t have asked for a better night – awesome food and company, lots of bubbly and fireworks, and all within a five minute walk of my bed.

Waking up this morning, however, was another story. How many glasses of champagne did I have?! Who knows. Which brings me to the topic of drinking and runningcan you have your bubbly and drink it too???

I’m not a huge drinker, so decreasing my alcohol intake or cutting out alcohol completely when I’m approaching a race usually isn’t too difficult for me, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone, particularly for those runners who are not training for a specific event. If you want to go out and get a bit drunk, does that mean you’ll have to miss a day of exercise? It shouldn’t, as long as you don’t go overboard and you are careful about drinking enough water throughout the evening and the next morning. Now, I certainly don’t advocate running while VERY hungover (chances are in that case, however, you will have NO desire to attempt a run), but sometimes going for an easy run while you’re feeling very blah the next day is exactly what the doctor ordered (ok maybe not, but who cares).

In my case, as soon as I woke up, I immediately started to rehydrate with a big glass of water. I had an easy 45-60min run marked in my calendar for today, which I would normally do earlier in the morning without having food beforehand. Given my hangover, however, as well as the fact that it was already noon, I decided to make some brunch instead.

I know many people swear by a greasy breakfast and perhaps even a drink as their hangover cure, but that just leaves me feeling heavy, gross and certainly in no state to run, which was not how I wanted to start my first day of 2011. Here’s my guilt-free “morning after” menu for two, mainly composed of what happened to be left in my fridge:

  • Three-egg omelet with shitake mushrooms, spinach, cheddar cheese and marinated tofu. I included all three yolks this time – I often only use one – and steamed the mushrooms and spinach in the microwave before adding to the omelet.
  • Fruit salad (sliced granny smith apple tossed in ground cinnamon, pomegranate seeds)
  • My homemade banana-walnut wholewheat muffins – I happened to have a couple left in the freezer from a batch I made a few weeks ago. They’re delicious when heated up in the microwave, and make the perfect (and convenient) healthy pre/post-run snack! I will post this recipe very soon!
  • Large steaming mugs of Monmouth coffee with skim milk – the best coffee I’ve had in London, so far, providing a much-needed energy boost!
  • And last but not least, a massive glass of water (with some Advil for that headache!)

I felt infinitely better after having this meal – relatively light but also filling and nutritious, with plenty of protein, calcium, healthy fats, complex carbs, anti-oxidants, iron, caffeine and so many other things essential for runners and non-runners alike!

However, I was still undecided as to whether or not I would go for that run. My bed seemed so warm and inviting, unlike the awful London drizzle that awaited me outside. For days like these, whether it’s the hangover blahs, fatigue, or general disinterest, my rule is – put on your running gear, start out at an easy pace and, if after ten minutes you’re really not into it, then you can call it quits. It might help to run with some fun music to get you motivated, or maybe you just want some peace and quiet while your thoughts wander (I opted for the latter). But don’t give up before you even try!

The one exception to this rule is the most important rule of all, which is always listen to your body. If you have been training hard and your body is craving some rest, then go for that instead. Doing one more easy run isn’t going to make a huge difference! But if you’re just feeling unmotivated, then get out there!

Sometimes I stop at ten or twenty minutes, but more often than not, I start to feel better and an easy mile turns into six, as was the case today. It was a miserable day out and the run seemed to go on for ages, but the fresh air still felt good and I enjoyed having the opportunity to clear my head and sweat out the previous night’s indulgences. I got back home feeling, well, not exactly re-energized, but I certainly felt good about myself and the year to come.

HAPPY 1/1/11!

Happy Holidays from the fight and flight response! I hope you have all managed to rest up, enjoy time with your loved ones, indulge in some delicious food and also (perhaps) squeeze in some runs or other forms of exercise! I had a relaxing staycation in London, which has left me feeling energetic and psyched for my next big challenge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m still on my marathon break, having just run the ING New York City Marathon last month and the Paris Marathon before that. But having trained my heart out for over 18 weeks to smash my sub-3:40 marathon goal, it seems wasteful not to take advantage of all that hard work! Each day I catch a glimpse of my “race wall” – a wall in my bedroom that I have plastered with race numbers, medals, photos and other memorabilia, mostly from 2010 – and think, “Did I really do all of those races?! How I can keep up my momentum and continue to improve as a runner in 2011 without completely giving up my social life, travel plans etc?”

Don’t get me wrong – I loved my post-marathon time off of running and the weeks of aimless exercise that ensued! Garmin-less easy runs, yoga, new gym classes and many rest days helped me make a strong recovery both physically and mentally after having pushed myself for so long. After awhile, however, I started to get bored and hungered for new goals to keep me motivated during the dark, cold winter months – something more interesting than simply “stay in shape.”

My running coach, Sam Murphy, suggested that I enter some shorter races, which sounded like a great idea as I stared at my unusually empty race calendar. Given my increased strength and endurance from marathon training, I could perhaps achieve some new PBs! I also hope to expand my running horizons and try a few more trail races once it warms up, as well as a marathon in the fall to keep me in marathon shape before I (hopefully) tackle Boston in 2012.

Although I’ve been back into structured training for many weeks now, this week officially marks the beginning of my new target – a half marathon PB.  This will be the first race I train for without any regular assistance from my coach in about a year. I’ve been very spoiled, receiving Sam’s training schedules each week as well as other general advice! You can never really predict what will happen on race day, but I’m confident that IF I stay focused, listen to my body, train wisely and somehow keep my sweet tooth in check, I’ll do just fine. I’ve learned so much from my coach and from my own experiences while training for two marathons, two 20-milers, six half marathons, four 10ks and many other races in the last year and a half (yep, I just counted them on the wall!), so I’m pretty revved up to take on this next challenge on my own.

THE GOAL: To finally beat my best half marathon time of 1:37:34. I’ve been trying to get sub-1:37 ever since I discovered that this time would give me automatic entry to the NYC marathon, which would be pretty awesome. I would love to do that race again.

THE RACE: Ideally, I would run the same course, the Royal Parks Half Marathon, to eliminate as many variables as possible. However, Royal Parks is in October, and thus too late, so I settled on the Asics Fleet pre-London Half Marathon on March 20th. This race is local, advertised as a fast course with an excellent chance to achieve a personal best time, small enough to give me room to run my (very ambitious) pace and exactly the time of year I was after.

THE SUB-GOAL: To beat my best 10k time of 45:04. I haven’t done a 10K race in over a year, and I’ll be racing this right after my beach holiday, but I am still hopeful!

THE (TRAINING) RACE: The Mornington Chasers Winter 10k in Regents Park (same course as my best time) on February 6th.

THE PLAN OF ATTACK: So far, I’ve been borrowing bits and pieces from my previous marathon schedules, which include tons of great sessions, but I need to compose a full 12-week schedule (which is, apparently, the ideal build-up to a half marathon) that is more geared towards the half distance. For those of you who are interested, I will be posting my training program so you can follow my progress, or even better, join the fun!

THE NUTRITION STRATEGY: My diet has been pretty horrible lately (and by lately, I mean since the NYC marathon), but hey it’s the holidays, right?! New Year, new goal, new nutrition effort. Although I certainly don’t look like I need to lose weight, I need to lose about 5 pounds if I hope to achieve my goal. On average, runners are two seconds per mile faster for every pound they lose, and that really adds up over longer distances! I’m going to make a concerted effort to be more mindful of what I eat and to ensure I consume plenty of protein, complex carbs, fresh produce and healthy fats to fuel my runs! Check out my recipe page for some of my favorite runner-friendly recipes!

And now, it’s time for a sports massage. What better way to prime myself for the New Year?!

Happy running to you all, and wishing you a very healthy and exciting 2011!

Welcome to FFR

Hi, I'm Claire! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (MS, RD, CDN) and a Road Runners Club of America certified coach. This is where I share my latest adventures in running, racing, food & travel! If you'd like to work with me, please visit my professional website, Eat for Endurance.

My PRs

Marathon (Chicago): 3:33:18
Boston Marathon: 3:36:14
Half-Marathon: 1:37:21
10M: 1:14:52
10k: 44:52

My latest photos

Grateful for quality time this week with my little pumpkin! 🎃😍 Happy Monday from California! I haven’t posted any running pics for a long time as I’ve been dealing with a hip injury for the last few months (and zero running for the last 5 weeks). 😓 I haven’t run a race, even a short one, in over a year - so different than how I imagined my postpartum running life to be. It makes me sad that I can’t run especially while in Santa Cruz, but I’m trying to stay active in different ways, be diligent about my PT, and remain positive even though the road to recovery feels endless at times. Yesterday, E and I went on a beautiful beach walk in the morning and then I did a hike with a friend and our babes in the afternoon, where I normally run in Nisene. I miss running but hopefully will get back to it soon, stronger than before! Baking “for the baby” tonight (so I say as I gobble up these delicious treats). Made mini pumpkin muffins (and a few mama sized ones), recipe adapted from @babyfoode. So easy to make - I added full fat Greek yogurt and almond butter to include some healthy fats. I think Arielle will love these - if for some crazy reason she doesn’t, more for me!! 😂 Nice work on tonight’s dinner, @trailz.io!! So good I’m going back for seconds. Veg bake with layers of eggplant, red onions, tomatoes, zucchini, ricotta, breadcrumbs, & spices with arugula on top. 👌🏻 Surprise package in the mail today! Thx @rxbar - stoked to try out the new gingerbread flavor. Speaking of, how on earth is it already the holiday season?!?! #rxbar Love @siggisdairy triple cream yogurts - perfect to satisfy a craving for something sweet and indulgent while providing 9g protein, relatively few calories (170), and calcium. The chocolate flavor was so delicious! #dailysiggis

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