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I passed my RD exam on September 8th and graduated from my Dietetic Internship the following week, which makes this post extremely overdue. I thought perhaps it was a little to late to write about it, but so much of this blog has been building up to me becoming an RD, and I finally have a little downtime today as I relax before the Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow. As usual, things have been very busy since I last posted in August, mostly relating to my new full-time job as a clinical dietitian at Montefiore medical center as well as fall semester classes (I will finally be done with my Master’s in May). After such an intense year in the internship and then cramming for the RD exam, I admit my motivation to study is on the lower side, but thankfully, getting straight A’s is no longer top priority now that I have my credentials.

Taking the RD exam was a terrifying experience; I was literally shaking the entire time. I hadn’t taken a standardized test since high school (that was a LONG time ago) and had never taken an adaptive computerized test, so I was pretty freaked out. I knew I couldn’t have studied any harder (I crammed extremely hard for two weeks, with a few weeks of on/off studying before that) and I also knew going into it that a lot of people felt like they were doing horribly and ended up passing without a problem. So I tried to stay calm, as much as that was possible. My mantra was something along the lines of “all I have to do is pass,” but believe me, I did not feel like I was passing! The questions seemed very different from all my test prep materials (Inman, MedPreps, RD in a flash) and I only knew the answer right off the bat for a handful of questions. For the rest, I was guessing between two (or more) answers, in many cases because the wording was so confusing. However, I will note to anyone reading this who is preparing to take the exam that many of my friends did not think it was as tricky as I did. More importantly, despite the emotional roller coaster, I still ended up passing with flying colors!

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Getting my score report was the best feeling ever – what a high. I also haven’t felt that relieved in a VERY long time. Finishing the internship in early August was great, but I knew I wouldn’t really feel like it was over until I earned my credentials. We are able to call ourselves Registered Dietitians (RD), or the recently added Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). I am choosing RDN, although in the hospital, RD is more familiar and thus used more often.

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It worked out that my exam was scheduled right when my family had planned to visit, which made the post exam celebrations even more wonderful. I met them uptown at Alice’s tea cup and enjoyed a lovely high tea lunch, followed by a stroll around Central Park and an awesome dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Mermaid Inn East Village, before having to run off to class (unfortunately it was my first class of the semester that day too).

I hadn’t yet started my new job yet the week of the exam (just medical clearance appointments and training sessions), so it was nice to have some time off to spend with my Mom, before the craziness started up again. The weather was gorgeous for most of the week and although it wasn’t the same as having actual time off for a real vacation, we had fun wandering around and eating our way through NYC. One of the things my mom and I did was make ice cream in my new ice cream maker. We used the NY Times Master ice cream recipe – we figured we would start nice and simple with vanilla. IT WAS AMAZING and although slightly time consuming (you have to make the base and then chill it before putting it in the machine), it was SO worth it. I put the ice cream in individual containers, some with almond butter in the middle, to help with portion control, because otherwise we would have eaten the entire batch in one sitting! I haven’t had time to make ice cream again but am definitely going to after the marathon – perhaps will try pumpkin to make it a bit more seasonal!

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Speaking of pumpkin, I made a great batch of pumpkin banana pecan whole wheat muffins a couple weeks ago. They made wonderful pre/post running snacks, perfect as E and I completed our last long training runs for the MCM. I loosely based the recipe on Kathy’s cinnamon pumpkin muffin recipe from Happy Healthy Life, using whole wheat pastry flour, a real egg and skim milk (so mine was not vegan), ripe mashed banana instead of applesauce, some pumpkin pie spice as well as cinnamon, pecans, a small handful of rolled oats and no frosting. I’m looking forward to baking more pumpkin goodies once I’m back in NYC!

Our award  Second place finish

After winning 1st place in the female relay division last year, team Dietitian Divas got automatic entry into this year’s race and set out to defend our title. We all joked that our highly competitive spirit didn’t quite match up to our training (or relative lack thereof), but we gave it our all and managed to get a team PR of 2:29:19, 2 min and 40 sec faster than last year. Go team!

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It was a very early morning. I forgot how painful it is to have to get to transition on west 72nd on the Hudson by 4:30 am and sit around (in the rain, this time) for 4 hours waiting for my teammates to do their parts before I have to spring into 10k mode.

Thankfully, the time went by fairly quickly, and the event was extremely well organized. Like last year, it was cool to be a part of such a different type of event and watch all the athletes, especially the pros. I can’t imagine doing the entire thing and have no desire to, so I’m glad I get the chance to participate as part of the relay. I loved the tri tats we got to put on this year – hand tats and MASSIVE arm tats. I felt badass – I wish we got these for marathons!

Here’s our team before the start, looking surprisingly awake at 5am:

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Most of the time we shaved off was thanks to our swimmer, who was 3 minutes faster compared to last year, as well as our cyclist, who was nearly a minute faster! I’m so proud of them – they really pushed hard.

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I was pumped to try to win again, but as I crossed 72nd street before mile 1, my legs were really feeling it. Not a good sign! I told myself that I would start pushing more later in the park to avoid blowing up, thrusting myself down the hills and really going for it after the halfway point. Picking off triathletes one by one gave me strength (I know, it’s not fair given I jumped in for the run, but it’s still exhilarating to pass so many people in such a short race). And when a one-armed guy flew past me at mile 5, that inspired me to push even harder. The finish was worse than I remembered – like a never ending maze that zig zagged all around the 72nd street transverse. I was so happy to hear the cheers of my teammates and friends near the finish to keep me going!

Unfortunately, I did not beat my time from last year – I was 1 min 24 sec slower, which is pretty spot on what I predicted to my team. I knew it wasn’t realistic to get a PR given that I’m in the middle of marathon training (and didn’t really taper) and am also slightly heavier than last year. I also had to stop to adjust my chip, which was too loose around my ankle at the start of the run, and we were about 10 sec slower during our transitions, so I guess it all adds up. I tried my best, and that’s what matters! Check out my Garmin details here.

When I found out that we missed 1st place by just 35 seconds, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat responsible for our second place finish despite our overall faster time given I was the only one that slowed down this year. But that’s okay – it was a faster field and we were extremely close to winning, so 2nd place certainly is something to celebrate! Perhaps more importantly, we beat the team that used to win every year until we beat them last year (they placed 2nd last year and 3rd this year), which made us happy (competitive much?!). I’m proud of our team for getting a PR and we were excited to once again get up on that podium. I know for me at least, it’s likely the only time I’ll ever be up on a major race stage receiving an award! It’s also a great feeling to be part of a team for once, in a sport that for me mostly involves racing solo.

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We had the same commentator, you said the same thing as last year when we accepted our award: “Dietitian Divas – that’s so New York.” Um…okay!

We had tons of time to kill in between our finish and the awards ceremony, so we hit up the finish area booths before grabbing brunch. I’ve never gotten so much swag in my life! Check out all the Clif products I got. I swear, I didn’t rob a running store! They kept dumping things into my bag! I’m not a huge fan of recovery drinks, powders, protein bars etc (I prefer REAL food after a run), but I am experimenting with new gels and other products for the Marine Corps Marathon, and given how expensive they are, I was very grateful for these goodies to try.

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Now that the triathlon is over, it’s back to marathon training (I’m about to enter my 5th week of training) and studying for the RD exam, which I started to do yesterday. I also have one more week left of my Community rotation – my last rotation of my Dietetic Internship at Montefiore. I can’t believe I’m nearly done – it’s been a tough year and I know I have many more challenges ahead, but finishing this internship and taking the RD exam (hopefully in early September) will be such a relief. I don’t think the internship will really feel over until I have my credentials and finally start working!

I’m looking forward to heading to CA later this month for a little break before the exam to see my family, relax, study a little, and mostly just escape NYC for the first time in over 7 months. I have my first 20 miler coming up, which I am grateful to be able to run along my favorite trails in Nisene Marks. I can’t wait to breathe in that fresh redwood air and run on my beautiful local beach. Visions of home will get me through this final stretch!

As I write that title, I realize that I’m nowhere close to finishing anything. I’m trying to convince myself that there’s light at the end of the tunnel while I cram for my next two midterms (both on Monday), but I’m a first semester grad student who just started chipping away at a long list of prereq’s. With school, volunteering, training and much more, it’s go-go-go all the time. And this is supposed to be the easy semester!

Forgive me for being a physiology nerd, but this graph kinda sums up my life right now:

If you’re familiar with muscle contraction, then you know what I’m talking about. My big finish line is graduation, and that is a LONG way off – unfortunately it will take me much longer than 300 milliseconds to get there!

However, as with anything, you have to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks to avoid going insane. I can’t help but focus on the future, but I’m trying my best to also be fully present. I’m trying to enjoy the craziness (it’s stressful but awesome stuff, for the most part) and take things One. Step. At. A. Time.

My physiology midterm this past Tuesday morning was my first big step. It was my first exam in eight years, I studied my butt off for it and I CRUSHED it. I only missed one question! It had been so long since I had taken an important test, the closest thing I can relate the experience to is racing. And really, when you think about it, racing and testing aren’t that different. You set goals, you work hard to prepare – and then you perform and get your results.

I woke up early Tuesday morning and pretty much went into race mode until I handed in my exam. I was even wearing running clothes (since I had planned a tempo run following the exam)! I ate a good breakfast, drank lots of water, gave myself a little pep talk in the mirror and then headed to campus, blasting upbeat music to rev myself up. In the classroom, I blocked out the chatter of my classmates with some calming music, closed my eyes and just chilled out. I was focused and ready, just waiting to begin. I could’ve been at a race start – same exact feeling!

So, with my physiology midterm under my belt and my last NYC half marathon long training run completed as of this morning, I’m going to let myself consider the next couple of weeks my HOME STRETCH! Two midterms and a race – I can handle that. Sure I have another midterm the week after spring break, and mountains of reading, assignments and a billion other things to deal with in the meantime, and then another round of exams shortly followed by final exams, all very tightly packed together, but I’m not going to think about that right now.

What I AM thinking about right now is the incredible bagel I just ate. Whole wheat everything Ess-a-bagel, still piping hot from the oven, with cream cheese and eggs (made a mini omelet with egg white and feta cheese) on top. It was so delicious I nearly cried. Ah I love my post-long run food! The second bagel is taunting me – but I’m going to try to save it for tomorrow morning. I did a HUGE shop at TJ’s earlier this week and have tons of other tasty things waiting to be cooked!

I logged 16.85M this morning at 9:12 average pace, bringing my weekly mileage to 40.45M! AT LAST, I crossed the 40 mile threshold. It’s been awhile – since Portland marathon training, I believe.

Today’s long run was very wet, but awesome – my last long run before the NYC half marathon on March 18th. My hamstring was a bit tight at the beginning and end, and I was tired from not sleeping enough lately, but overall I felt really good. I ran with a friend for the first 11.5M and then finished on my own. As you can see in my Garmin details, we covered most of the race course, which starts on 64th st, loops counter-clockwise around the park, cuts over to the west side highway and finishes at South Street Seaport. I really appreciated the change in scenery – I love Central Park, but after a loop or two I get bored. I suppose one way to alleviate that would be to a loop of the bridal path and reservoir – I’ll do that next time. It was also really nice being able to run back to my neighborhood and immediately stuff my face with a bagel!

I ran in my new shoes, and they were very comfy. I got the same ones I always get – Saucony Omni 10 – but in a new color. Loving the black shoe laces! I almost didn’t wear them given the rain, but I figured they’re bound to get nasty eventually, so it may as well be today! Plus, I need to get some mileage on them before the race. They were soaked by the end of my run, but still I’m glad I wore them.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention that I learned something quite useful in the park from my running buddy today. This is probably common knowledge, and I feel a bit silly admitting this, but I didn’t realize that every lamppost on the loop is marked with a cross street. I often wonder where I am in between the larger park entrances and exits, and now that will never be an issue!

I should probably stop procrastinating and start studying for my Intro to Food and Food Science exam. I wish I could take a nap! Instead I get to learn a long list of food borne illnesses and other things relating to food safety and sanitation; various pigments in fruits and vegetables and how they react when cooked; all kinds of information relating to potatoes; tons of information on fats, oils, sauces and emulsions; how to make stocks; “mother” sauces (that just sounds so wrong to me) and their various uses; and much much more! It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds, but at least it’s all very interesting. My other midterm, Nutrition & Health, is your typical intro to nutrition, so things like dietary planning and guidelines, digestion and absorption of the macronutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) in great detail etc…I’ll tackle that tomorrow. Fun weekend ahead!

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

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