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Happy August everyone!

This is old news by now, but a few weeks ago Team Dietitian Divas made the podium again with a second place division finish at the NYC Triathlon Relay! The conditions were brutal – one of the hottest and most humid days we have had so far this summer. I was worried about my speed given the weather as well as my ongoing hamstring issues, but I managed to pull off a very strong effort. I ran 45:16 – just 20 seconds slower than my PR which helped us win first place in 2013! It has been awhile since I truly ran all out and I was surprised given that I’ve basically done zero speedwork since April. It was really tough and I was proud of myself for hanging in there and really pushing towards the end, when all I wanted to do was quit. Amazing mental training for the ultra!

Here are a few shots from the awards ceremony – including the random free stuff I scored at the finish line and our awards from 2013-2015!

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I had promised myself that I would only push as hard as my hamstring would let me and I did just that. I felt no specific hamstring pain throughout the race, even during my final sprint. I really should’ve known better though – it was so hot and the adrenaline was flowing, making it easy to cross that line without feeling anything until it was too late. A few hours later, my hamstring wasn’t feeling great. The frustrating part was that I had been running strong up until this point and was poised to ramp up my mileage with E for our 65k race in September.

After almost a week off running, the inflammation went down and I saw a sports doc who said that the strain is mild and I can continue to train with regular PT as long as I continue to run pain free. I have committed to doing twice weekly PT sessions and am hopeful that I will make it to that start line feeling strong!

I’ve had 3 sessions thus far and it’s going well. The doc said that he wanted me to try getting taped up so I tried that last weekend. It felt strange but I think it did help, as it got me through a 45 mile week. My PT explained that the tape works by shortening and compressing the muscle. Not exactly sexy wandering around for three days with my entire hamstring covered in black kinesio tape (not to mention the awesome tan line I got from it), but hey if it works I’m game!

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I’ve been moving forward with ultra training with some great runs on trails and road. It hasn’t all been peachy – rehabbing an injury can be frustrating especially when all you want to do is get out and run – but we all have our good and bad days. I’m trying my best to listen to my body instead of being a slave to the training schedule.

E and I recently spent a long weekend in Sugarbush, Vermont for a family event and saw it as an opportunity to hit the trails. Although our “trail runs” involved more hiking than running given the insane elevation gain over short distances and very technical trails, it was great training.

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First, we power hiked from our hotel in Sugarbush straight up to Lincoln Peak (3975 ft over ~ 2M) and ran back down the rocky slopes. THAT was quite the quad & trail running technique workout!! The views at the top were spectacular and we were thankful to just barely miss a massive downpour. I tried out my new Ultimate Direction hydration vest that I plan to use for the ultra. It took a little getting used to but overall was very comfy.

The next day, we ventured over to the Long Trail at App Gap. In case you are not familiar with this trail, the Long Trail is the “oldest long-distance trail in the United States” and “follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border as it crosses Vermont’s highest peaks.” The Long Trail also coincides with the Appalachian Trail for 100 miles, and it is part of that section that we visited.

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Originally we had planned a long “run” along the ridges back to Lincoln Peak, but we only made it slightly past Starks Nest for a 7M out and back due to time constraints. As you can see, this was another technical trail (lots of rocks, ladders, etc) so we mostly hiked, but there were a few sections that were more runnable and allowed for some technique practice (which I need, given we mostly run in NYC). It was a challenging, fun outing despite not making it very far. Tons of through hikers too!

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We only logged about 12 miles total that weekend and yet we both felt like we had just run a marathon so I wasn’t feeling too troubled about missing that long run! Plenty of time on feet. We watched an awesome ultra running documentary called Finding Traction on Nikki Kimball’s attempt to become the fastest person to complete the entire length of the 273 mile trail. Incredibly inspiring and fun to see some of the trails we had just experienced!

That’s all for now! E and I both had a huge mileage week last week, with more training, trail running, nutrition, coaching, gear reviews and other updates to come. Stay tuned!

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!

It’s been quite an exciting summer so far! And after yesterday’s turn of events, I think it’s safe to say I’m enjoying a bit of a winning streak…

First, an amazing wedding and honeymoon: After five weeks of frantic wedding planning, E and I got married amongst the redwoods on June 30th at Nestldown, up in the Santa Cruz mountains. The day was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined and filled with so many special moments. We can’t wait to get the professional photos – here are a few taken by friends!

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Nothing beats marrying the person you know you are meant to spend your life with and celebrating with your loved ones…except perhaps escaping all the craziness and enjoying your first days alone together as husband and wife! 🙂 We spent a week in Tofino and Sooke on Vancouver Island – a perfect place to relax and explore the outdoors (cycling, sea kayaking, and of course running). We loved the weather (which was perfect every day – apparently that never happens), dramatic landscapes, running long on Long Beach, and all the awesome food and wine. It was blissful!!

Ferry to Vancouver Island Dinner in Tofino Tofino view Pacific Rim National Forest, Tofino Schooner Cove Trail Long run on Long Beach Cycling on the beach Sea kayaking Sooke

Second, winning 1st place in the NYC Triathlon relay: Just a few days after our return to NYC, after having eaten waaaay too much and trained far too little, I competed in the NYC Triathlon as part of a relay team (I had committed to this race before I got engaged, in case you were wondering). It was my first triathlon as well as my first relay, so even though I wasn’t too thrilled to wake up at 3:30am and wait around until 8:45am to run 10k in the heat and humidity, I was really excited to race in such a different type of event.  And let’s not forget about the body markings – at the expo I thought it was ridiculous that they would make me mark my age on my calf and my number on my arm (isn’t that what the bib is for?!), but I felt hard-core when I got marked up in transition! 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. It was such an interesting experience – and made me realize how simple running is by comparison! I have always said I want to try a triathlon someday, but man, that is a complicated sport! Maybe I’ll try a sprint at some point though…

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We each gave it our all – it was really tough waiting around for so many hours and then suddenly springing yourself 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 technically is a PR as that time and distance are up on the race website – although *technically* it is not a PR, since the distance I ran was not a full 10k. It was closer to 6 miles – the short run that our swimmer had to do to get back to transition counted as part of my distance but not my time. But hey, I still ran a 7:29ish or faster pace in crazy weather, with jet lag and hardly any training, and we WON! It was my first 1st place and first podium finish, so I consider that a huge accomplishment!

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The best part, aside from winning of course, was passing people along the course. I’ve never passed so many people in a race before!! It was such a morale boost, even if I knew it was completely unfair since nearly every person I passed was doing the full triathlon. I kept getting these exhausted looks of disbelief as I sped past them because the body marker had forgotten to put an “R” on my leg to indicate I was doing the relay. Haha! I can’t imagine how the triathletes felt after swimming and biking – I was struggling and I hadn’t been racing for hours. By the end of the course, I was in complete beast mode – it was awesome to really push myself and know I had tried my hardest when I crossed the finish line. It felt even better knowing that my teammates were counting on me – a new feeling in what is usually a solo sport for me – and that I hadn’t let them down! I will definitely be doing more relays in the future – SO much fun.

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Third, acceptance into the NYU Dietetic Internship: Yep, you read that correctly. I received an extremely unexpected phone call yesterday morning notifying me that a spot had opened up in the NYU Dietetic Internship (which basically never happens) and I was next on the list, meaning that I am now starting the DI this September, just as if I had originally matched back in April. I am still in shock. After working so hard, and receiving such devastating news that I didn’t match, followed by everything that happened in Boston, it’s beyond gratifying that everything somehow worked itself out and now I’m suddenly where I had hoped to be in the first place. Simply amazing.

This year certainly has been an adventure! This wonderful turn of events suddenly happening right at the time that I was starting to feel discouraged and frustrated with the process once again really reaffirms my belief that things have a way of working themselves out for the best. I am still surprised I wasn’t accepted in the first place, but I’ve put all that behind me – all’s well that ends well. Right now, I’m just grateful – I realize how unusual this opportunity is, and how lucky I am that it came my way.

While luck is of course a factor in all of this, none of these wonderful things would have happened had I not worked so hard planning the wedding, running the race, applying to internships etc. So it’s nice to be reminded that hard work really does pay off.

Now, off to celebrate!

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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