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Happy New Year! My race calendar is mostly empty for 2016, but after a packed Fall running schedule, that’s fine with me. Next up is the Big Sur Marathon in April – 16 weeks from today! Being from Santa Cruz, I’ve visited Big Sur regularly since I was little. It’s one of the most gorgeous places on earth, and this marathon has been on my bucket list for a long time. I can’t wait to soak up those coastal views while doing one of my favorite activities. I mean, doesn’t this photo almost look fake? Northern California never ceases to amaze me with its beauty.

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After the JFK50, I was really hurting, between a terrible cold/flu and my busted foot. My whole body felt broken yet I somehow managed to avoid serious injury and within a couple weeks, felt like my old self again. I wanted to give my foot plenty of time to heal so I took a month off running and other high-impact exercise, and it was exactly what I needed! I did a two-week free trial with ClassPass, which was perfect. I had the best time trying new activities around the city – spinning, strength training, pilates, barre, deep water running, you name it! Some of my favorites – Peloton, Flywheel and Swerve for spin, Uplift and Throwback Fitness for strength, RJ Valentin’s deep water running, and FlexPilates. There are so many other great studios on there (e.g. MHRC, boot camps etc).

It was fun to try so many new things, and the variety did wonders for body and mind. I lost some of my running fitness by mid December, but I felt stronger, mentally refreshed, and hungry to start running again. Now that I’m running regularly, it doesn’t make sense to pay $125 for the full membership, but the 5 classes for $75 per month option isn’t bad, considering what these studios charge otherwise per class!

I’m quickly regaining my running fitness, and am now extra committed to incorporating non-running activities into my exercise routine. My running goals for 2016 are simple. Forget time – all I want is to be consistent, feel strong, and remain injury free. The end of the year was filled with too many accidents and injuries. I don’t wish to repeat that!

Most of all, I want to keep my running and other physical activities fun. I recently accepted two new jobs in addition to working full time at the hospital – I start this week as a private practice dietitian at Nutrition Energy Tues/Thurs evenings (we accept insurance, so get in touch if you’d like to book a session!), and will continue coaching Team Lipstick once a week. I’m super excited for these opportunities, but it means even less time to myself. Exercise will have to be my “me time,” so I have to make it count!

I started 2016 on the right foot (pun intended!) in the fun running department! E and I did NYRR’s Midnight Run on New Year’s Eve – 4 miles of fireworks, crazy costumes, glowing shoe laces, and all around awesomeness. I haven’t had such a great NYE in years! We aren’t huge fans of NYE, but felt like we finally found our scene. No cover charges, no dressing up, no fuss – just lots of people drinking, dancing, running and enjoying themselves. Yes, please! We were lucky enough to score two entries on behalf of the Time Warner-HBO Fit Nation team, pictured above. I look like a marshmallow as I was literally wearing five layers to stay warm. I know this year was “warm” compared to usual, but I’m a wimp when it comes to cold!

The race doesn’t start until midnight, but from 10pm there was a huge dance party and other fun things going on near the start. It felt like a huge outdoor party! I was surprised by how many non-runners hanging out and celebrating, and after the race started, cheering us along! I suppose it’s a nice free alternative to Times Square.

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The race itself was great. I was amazed by how awake and good I felt – I’m usually half asleep by midnight, and am not used to running after having a drink! We started the race with fireworks, which made it hard to run as I wanted to watch and couldn’t do both without falling on my face! This race obviously wasn’t one for time, so we stopped a few times to take it all in. We also enjoyed the DJ’d sparkling cider aid station – nice touch!

After we finished, we made our way to a bar on the UWS, where HBO had kindly sponsored our post-run party. We were the only runners in the place, so we got a few strange looks, but I think they were just jealous. It was awesome to drink and dance until the wee hours in our sweaty, crazy outfits and comfy shoes – who needs heels! We finished the night with a 4am pitstop at our local deli for ice cream – we had earned a treat after hours of running and dancing. All in all, a great evening and wonderful start to the new year.

I wasn’t able to run long this past weekend due to my work schedule, so I kicked off this training cycle with a long run this morning. It was freezing but sunny and clear on the river today. I reached 12.5 miles and felt strong. For that, I am grateful!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, active and fun 2016.

If you have resolved to run a race, improve your diet, lose some weight, or achieve any other health/fitness resolution, get in touch! I’d love to help, with your nutrition and/or training goals. Check out www.eatforendurance.com for more information. 

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I love the Oakley Mini 10k – definitely one of my favorite NYRR races! This was my third time running it with one of my friends and I was excited to be back and experience once again everything the mini has to offer. However, I couldn’t help but feel a bit apprehensive last night when I picked up the following bib number on a very rainy Friday the 13th:

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I mean, really NYRR? You couldn’t have skipped that number?! 🙂

Thankfully, despite my ominous number, I had a great race today. Was it fast? No. I came in at 47:08, which makes this year my slowest yet (compared to 46:47 last year, and 45:58 the year before…wait a minute, I don’t like this trend!). 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 I wrote in my first mini race recap in 2012, the mini is inspiring and unique in so many ways. NYRR always gets an amazing elite field, which this year included Desi Linden back again plus Deena Kastor, Molly Huddle (who won and broke the 30-year standing national all-women’s 10k record by 1 second), Lauren Fleshman and many others. It’s the only race that I get to be right up front – able to actually see all those incredible women start the race – which is very cool. The pre-race speeches are awesome (especially since I get to be right next to the stage for once) – today, Mary Wittenberg got the crowd revved up as usual, Katherine Switzer (along with the other female founder of the race) got up on stage to share the history of the race since it started in 1972, which I always like to hear because I certainly cannot imagine a time without women running! Desi gave a quick speech as did one of the Boston survivors, who said some very moving words about the space between where you are and where you want to be. It was a great start to the morning!

It’s also a very useful training tool for me, as I’m usually in between training cycles (i.e. post Spring marathon, usually climbing out of my gluttonous lazy phase), and thus is a great barometer of where I stand as I begin to prepare for late summer (NYC triathlon) and fall racing (Bronx 10 and Marine Corps Marathon). Two years ago – the last time I was able to really race – it told me I was in good shape for the start of my Chicago training and sure enough, I went on to BQ.

Lastly, the mini is a fun opportunity to catch up with my friend and this year – unexpectedly – race with her! I’m usually faster but this year she’s been getting one PR after another and I apparently am getting slower, so the gap is closing! She took off at the start and normally I would let her go and catch her later, since I tend to start out slower and gradually speed up (at least this works great in longer distances), but today I decided that I couldn’t let her out of my sight. My legs were feeling pretty heavy and I knew I needed a little competition to spur me on! So it was interesting for once to take off and try to hold on. Not my usual strategy but for a shorter race I guess it’s not a bad one.

I finally caught her around mile 1 and told her, “You’re really giving me a run for my money!” From that point onwards, we ended up running within a few steps of each other. I could hardly keep up with her at times and I was pushing HARD. I hadn’t raced like that in a very long time – it was uncomfortable, and at times horrible, but also wonderful to get in touch with that feeling of hard work and that good (i.e. non injured) pain that goes along with it.

I looked at my watch during the first couple of miles but then didn’t bother. I was just trying to hang on and continue to carefully toe that line of racing but not blowing up. Around mile 5, I could tell she was struggling (I was too) and so I gave her some words of encouragement about how well she was doing. She said she didn’t think she was doing that great – so I told her, “Well, you have one mile to change that! Don’t let me beat you!” That seemed to get her going – and sure enough she got a PR. That last mile was brutal. She got ahead and I managed to pour every ounce of energy I had left into one final sprint so that we crossed the line at the same time. We both nearly fell over when we finished. I had no idea what time we got but thought surely that at that effort we must have finished in 45 something. Nope – 47:08! I couldn’t believe it. But I was happy. What a great combination of camaraderie and competition.

So this year, the mini revealed that I have a LOT of work to do before my next race on Aug 3. We’re defending champs of the women’s NYC triathlon relay and I can’t let my team down! It was warm and humid out, and I hadn’t rested much during the week (silly me, deciding to start strength training again a couple days before), so I’m sure that’s part of it. But mostly I just need to get back to the gym, hit the track more regularly, and get rid of those extra pounds I’m carrying. Time to get to work! I’ve started to keep a food journal just to get back into more mindful eating. It’s VERY time consuming (even with myfitnesspal), and I’m proud of myself for sticking with it for 6 days in a row. It’s really increased my awareness of my eating patterns and how I can make some positive changes to optimally fuel my body and help get myself back into racing shape.

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’s and Lauren’s, and got to chat with all of them about how they ran, upcoming races etc. Definitely a wonderful experience!

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I made a killer whole wheat pizza packed with veggies as well as some chicken sausage and cheese for my post race meal. YUM. E had just gotten back from a 50 mile bike ride so we both happily stuffed our faces. Here’s the pizza before I popped it in the oven. I love Trader Joe’s dough!

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And now back to the books. I stupidly left some substantial projects for my Sports Nutrition class to the last minute (these summer courses really fly by) and thus tomorrow I’ll be in the library all day rather than enjoying the beautiful weather. I dream that someday I will be done with this program!! The good news is that I finished my clinical rotations last week and only have about 8 more weeks to go before I finish my Dietetic Internship and can take my RD exam. I won’t be truly finished until May 2015, but still…light at the end of the tunnel!

 

I ran my second Mini 10k (and first race since Boston) this past Saturday. Just as last year’s race served as a diagnostic as I prepared to begin Chicago training, this year’s mini was meant to reveal where I stand with this distance as I get ready to run in the NYC Triathlon relay next month. My “Dietitian Diva” team members are counting on me to help get us to the podium!

Last year, my fairly untrained but all-out racing effort resulted in a 45:58, so my original hope was at the very least to beat this time, with a real goal of crushing my very old PR of 45:04. My hamstring, however, had other plans for me, having flared up a bit after Boston. I’ve since been able to run casually without pain, but speed work still aggravates it so I opted not to race the mini. It’s unfortunate because the weather was great (coolest mini in history apparently) and with three strong recent races under my belt, I have no doubt I could have PR’d. Another time I suppose! Instead, I ran within what I’m calling my “hamstring comfort zone,” taking it fairly easy the first 2 miles and very very gradually speeding up as much as my hamstring would allow. I probably got up to 85% racing effort by the last mile – so it was more of a tough workout than a race I suppose. The good news is that I still managed to run 46:47 (7:32 average pace), less than a minute slower than my full-on racing effort last year, so that’s a good sign that although slightly injured at the moment, I’ve become much stronger in the last year. It also means that worst case, I know I can run a sub-47 without a problem next month; not ideal, but not the end of the world either.

Despite the frustration of not being able to let loose, I had such a great time at the mini. It felt good to get back out there after Boston and experience some positive race energy. What I love most about this mini is the history behind it – for over 40 years, this race has been celebrating women’s running! You can’t help but feel like you’re part of something when you run it. Also, unlike many other women’s races, the mini draws an awesome elite field as well as many other talented, competitive runners, while welcoming new runners and runners of all levels. Lastly, it’s one of the only larger races that places me right at the front! It’s quite inspiring being able to run right behind the elites (well, at least for a few seconds before they take off).

I started up front with my running buddy like last year, although this time she was able to keep me within sight for the entire race which helped her crush her PR, so that made me  happy! She finished right behind me so we were able to grab our medals, flowers etc together. I have to commend NYRR – perhaps not checking a bag helped (hence the lack of race photos), but it was such an easy race from an organizational point of view. Everything ran smoothly throughout the morning and it was never too crowded anywhere.

          Mini 10k   Run happy!

The highlight for me – like last year – was getting my medal signed, although this year it was much cooler. No lines, no official signing tables, just Desi Davila hanging out by the finish area after running her first race since pulling out of the Olympics last year. She ran well so she seemed to be in good spirits. My friend and I were about to wander away from the finish area to grab coffee when we saw her chatting with someone. I found a pen and we were able to go right up to her and get her autograph. We also got to chat for awhile – it was so chilled out and I was really excited to share with her that since I saw her at the mini last year, I had qualified for Boston and ran Boston. I told her I hoped to run again next year but unfortunately for us “real people” (which made her laugh) who just barely qualify, it will be tough so we’ll see. She’s awesome – and so so tiny! Every time I see her it amazes me.

So next up in racing is the NYC Triathlon relay on July 14th, and then I have ZERO races in the calendar, which is very strange for me. I didn’t get into the NYC marathon lottery, which I decided was a sign that I should take a real break from racing this fall. I am excited to coach Gilda’s again this year, so I will still be running, but I think my body could use a break from structured training, particularly if I am able to get into Boston and will be training hard next year.

In other news, I am very relieved to have completed my Spring semester at NYU – only one more class to go this summer and I will finally be done with my DPD’s! I also recently attended my ten year college reunion…pretty crazy that it’s been so long. It was fun to show Yale to E and see many old friends.

Otherwise, things have been insanely busy with all the last minute wedding planning, given how much I neglected to do during the semester, but everything is finally coming together. Last dress fitting this week (praying I can somehow stay the same size for two weeks, since my dress is very fitted), and a handful of things left to do but most of the big stuff is done. Only 19 days left to go!! Wow. E and I are beyond excited. I have no doubt it will be an incredible day! We fly to California next week…

And I will leave you with a delicious summer snack that I’ve stolen from some NYU friends. I have banana with peanut or almond butter all the time, but never in this actual form. It’s amazing. Simply slice a banana and freeze on a flat surface, then make little sandwiches with your nut butter of choice. SOOO GOOD. Enjoy!

Frozen banana & peanut butter sandwiches

I’m still buzzing from this morning’s Bronx 10 miler. At last, I set a goal for myself and I didn’t let it slip away (and believe me, I was close)! My target was 1:15 – an average pace of 7:30min/mile – which I thought would challenge me in the context of this week’s training without killing me and would also serve as a good diagnostic in terms of how my body is feeling, with only four weeks to go until the Chicago marathon! I ran a PR of 1:14:52, placing 687 of 5719 finishers, 84 of 2546 women and 27 of 1402 in my age group. I felt strong while I was running, I felt even better after the race and my new shoes rock (despite the fact that they are not purple)!

  

Ten miles is officially my new favorite distance to race! It has all the fun of a half but without the pain of those last few miles. Don’t get me wrong, there’s pain involved, but it’s not as speedy and sharp as a 10k or as drawn out as a half. It’s just right. I must sign up for another one soon!

The course was an out and back, starting right near Yankee Stadium – a bit boring in parts and certainly not flat, but the roads were wide and for once, crowds were not an issue. The only thing slowing me down was myself! I wasn’t feeling super confident about my speed, so I started out relatively conservatively. My motivation started to lag around mile 5 – it was warm and I could feel the effects of not doing enough speed work. I also was out of practice with water stations and was losing too much time grabbing a cup, so I stopped drinking after mile 6, since I was already about 30 seconds off my goal. I knew I could make up the time, and reminded myself of how I had just barely missed my NYC half goal and had a lot left in the tank because I had waited too long to get back on track. I’m often on the cusp and am so glad that I was able to turn my race around, to prove that I can and will dig deep rather than give up when I am fighting for my time in Chicago.

My last three miles were strong and I had one of the best sprint finishes that I’ve had in ages. I must give some credit to a man who yelled out, “Strong finish, come on!” and began his surge with two miles to go. I had already picked up the pace but forced myself to stay right behind him – no backing down! I’ve often served, unknowingly, as a pacer to other runners who thank me at the end for getting them through – it was nice to be on the other end today. I mean, that’s why we race, right? Not only to test ourselves and keep our bodies strong and fit, but also to run with others – to socialize, to help each other out, to fire up the competitive spirit, to be part of something larger.

Here I am with friends before the race…

And after!

 

Because all on my own, today just wouldn’t have been as fun or as meaningful. It’s all about sharing pre-race nerves/excitement on the way to the start line as well as post-race exuberance/pain/frustration etc. at the finish line – that completes my racing experience. I didn’t have E with me today, who visited family this weekend and could no longer race, but I did have the support and encouragement of my running buddy and four of my Gilda’s runners, who all rocked the race and made me proud! Also, I finally met Celia, who blogs at runningseal.com – it was a brief hello but nice to finally meet someone I have been interacting with online for a long time!

Now I’m home and thinking about my last four weeks of training, which I have yet to plan out. Perhaps I should have been aiming for a faster 10M time (1:13ish?) today to match my Chicago goal of sub-3:35. According to my RRCA race predictor chart, my 10M time of 1:14:52 is right in line with a half marathon time of 1:39:47, which is the exact time I ran in the Run to the Beat half marathon in September 2010. These charts are always a bit off in my experience – the marathon times are very generous, and there are just so many variables that affect race times – but I find it very interesting that today’s time lines up exactly with my other half time. If that half marathon time led to my 3:39 in NYC, a much tougher course than Chicago, then maybe – just maybe – I have some hope of getting under 3:35 next month. If nothing else, I think (hope!) I can get a marathon PR!

Either way, I have my work cut out for me in the next couple of weeks. I need to start working in some faster running and I also need to do a bit more hills/strength training. I haven’t been totally delinquent, but not as disciplined as I was a couple years ago. I was contemplating chucking my last 20 miler this weekend but I think I will stick with a long run, perhaps cut down a few miles and add a chunk of MP running. School still has to be my priority this month – and it’s going to be a very, very crazy month as far as my classes go – but today’s race renewed my determination to give it my all in Chicago.

I’m starting to think that the races I go into with relatively low or neutral expectations are often the great ones. Not to say that setting ambitious goals for yourself isn’t worthwhile – this is what I usually do, and it’s what led me to BQ in the NYC Marathon, for instance. However, my perfectionist tendency to put so much pressure on myself and over-analyze the journey to the finish can sometimes backfire rather than motivate me – it’s a fine line!

Take my very first half marathon, for instance – I had taken a week off due to a bad cold and didn’t really know what I was capable of achieving. Rather than plot out a detailed race strategy or obsess about pace bands, the gun went off and I just started running. By the second mile, I realized how strong I felt and gradually pushed harder and harder until I reached the finish. I ran a 1:37 and am still trying to beat that time! I trained hard for that race, but my ability to remain so focused and in tune with my body was equally important. Just run forward as fast as you can until you are done – it really felt that simple. And yet most of the time, for me, it never is that simple!

I didn’t break any personal bests at yesterday’s Mini 10k race, but I did exceed my expectations and had a fantastic race. I went into it utterly exhausted (I haven’t really slept much in the last two weeks – part insomnia, part organic chemistry), I didn’t feel like running, my stomach was upset and I wasn’t prepared for this race (I’ve done minimal speed work since March). Hence the low expectations! This race was supposed to be a diagnostic to assess my fitness level as I launch my Chicago marathon training, but my real goal was to improve my NYRR race “best pace” of 7:39 so that I could be placed in a higher corral going forward. It wasn’t a very lofty goal, given I normally run a 10k much faster, but I wasn’t sure I could even manage a 7:38.

  

My running buddy met me bright and early at Columbus Circle, where the race began. Racing is always more fun with friends! I decided to test my running skirt out in a race – figured wearing a mini skirt would be appropriate for the all-women’s “mini” 10k – and my skirt didn’t disappoint. I might have to buy another one…

The race started at 8am and we really lucked out – it was supposed to be a hot one and the sun was kind enough to hide behind clouds until later in the day. This was my first all-women race – I normally wouldn’t go out of my way to do an all-women race, but I loved it (minus the crazy long toilet lines – they definitely needed more toilets!). The course was challenging but awesome and being surrounded by so many women runners was inspiring. Without all the men in the way, I was right up front – I could see the elites (Desi Davila, Edna Kiplagat and many others)!

The beginning (running up Central Park West) was crowded and I was feeling pretty apathetic about the whole situation, but at some point during the first mile, my attitude shifted. I don’t know why. Maybe being surrounded by so many other female runners and feeling proud to be part of something much larger motivated me – or wearing my Claire tank, which I usually only save for big races – or looking at my watch at Mile 1 and seeing my 7:20 average pace. Whatever it was, something stirred within me and I felt that fighting spirit come back. “Slow down!” my brain yelled, but my body said “screw it” and kept pressing on. The roads opened up as we entered the park and I was able to get “into the zone.”

It’s really tough to toe that line successfully in terms of pushing as hard as you can without crashing and burning before the finish – but in a relatively short race, you can afford to be a bit more risky at the start and I decided to just go for it. The hills were a bit brutal, reflected in my slightly slower split at Mile 4, and I was losing a little steam in Mile 6, but I managed to keep up the momentum for the most part. The downhills felt incredible (why do so many people fail to use the downhills to their advantage?!) and I LOVED the fact that the last part of the race was similar to the NYC Marathon course, including the same finish (minus that horrible hill at the end – I could’ve done without that). It brought me back to how hard I was working at that stage of the marathon to reach my goal and motivated me to keep pushing.

Finally I reached the finish – it took me a long time to catch my breath. My official time was 45:58 – just 54 seconds shy of my 10k PR, which I ran on a flat course several years ago. I really left it all out there on the roads – it’s been awhile since I’ve pushed that hard, and I’m really proud of myself given my current fitness level. What a great starting point! I really am more of an endurance runner and usually don’t like 10k’s because they are so fast, but I was really happy crossing that finish line and it was actually really nice to be finished in 3/4 of an hour! I placed 287th out of 6,122 women overall and was 77th in my age group, 30-34, out of 1,146. My average pace was 7:25 – great news for my future NYRR corral placements. Here are my Garmin details.

This bodes very well for my Chicago training, assuming I can keep myself injury free. Clearly I have more speed in my legs than I previously believed – surely helped by the fact that I’ve trimmed down slightly since I raced my last 10k, over a year ago. My hamstring felt fine during the race, but it has occasionally felt a bit sore after workouts so I just need to keep up my strength training and be very mindful of how my body feels.

  

After the race, my friend and I enjoyed our popsicles and other post-race goodies and chilled out on the grass, stretching and listening to the live music. She got a PR so we were both really amped up.

  

We were about to leave when we noticed a crowd around one of the tents – turns out Edna Kiplagat (who won the race – she also won the NYC marathon the year I ran it) and Desi Davila were there signing medals and taking photos with fans. Awesome! I LOVE Desi so it was such an honor to meet her. I’m kind of obsessed with this photo. I couldn’t believe how tiny she is in person!

Both women signed my medal – Edna wrote “good job” and Desi wrote “Claire, run happy!” Best medal ever.

We finally left the race area and on our way out, we saw Desi running with her coach. They were speeding along, doing some cool-down miles presumably. I can’t wait to watch her run in the London Olympics!

I’m definitely doing this race again next year. Great course, great crowd and truly inspiring to see how far we’ve come in the last 40 years – GO WOMEN RUNNERS!!!!

I finished my last final exam on Tuesday morning – and it’s taken me this long for my brain to start functioning normally again! Nutrition & Health on Monday was a piece of cake, but Physiology on Tuesday was a bit brutal. I walked out of there in such a daze that it took most of the day to actually register that I had finished my first semester of grad school! Once it did click, I can’t tell you how great it felt to be done. I just got all of my grades – 4.0 (woo-hoo!) – so it was a very successful start to my program and I’m feeling quite proud of myself.

My freedom is short-lived – two weeks to be exact – but I’m trying to make the most of it. I somehow managed to drag myself to the gym after the exam and then balanced it out by spending the rest of the day in bed watching bad TV. It was amazing. E arrived later that night – that was my real reward for finishing exams, finally seeing him! I had planned for us to do a short tempo session the next morning – just 2M at his goal race pace of 8:20min/mile so I could practice pacing him before tomorrow’s race – but we were both too exhausted to make it happen before his early morning meeting.

While he worked, I spent the day catching up on emails, running errands and doing an internship project up at Physical Equilibrium. I know, not exactly post-exam vacation stuff, but it just felt nice to not have my head in the books. My RD taught me how to process food logs using top of the line software, which gave me a good taste of what I’ll be doing both in Diet Assessment next semester and in my own future nutrition practice. I also met with the owner of the company to sign all the paperwork for my coaching gig with Gilda’s Club NYC – I am BEYOND excited. Our first meeting is in mid-June, and our first scheduled run is in mid July. I’m not sure yet how big our team is, or how much experience our runners have, but I will find out soon.

It was a gorgeous day and I had bailed on my run, so I walked from midtown all the way up to the NYRR office on East 89th street to pick up our Brooklyn Half Marathon numbers. On the way, I stopped at Bloomingdales to get frozen yogurt – while processing food logs, someone had eaten a small frozen yogurt from Forty Carrots and I was trying to estimate serving size. Obviously I had to do some research! 🙂 Let’s just say it was the largest “small” I’ve ever seen in my life. It was at least 2.5 cups, maybe 3? Portion sizes in this country are just insane. But it was so good.

  

It was my first time up at the NYRR headquarters and I thought number pickup was very efficient. There weren’t too many giveaways this time – just a gel – but the t-shirts were WAY better than the NYC Half. E’s number is in the 9000’s and I am in the 5000’s, so I will be heading back to start with him. Even though my coral doesn’t matter for this race, I took the opportunity to speak with someone at NYRR to understand the system better. I didn’t get why I was once again placed in the 5000’s.

Apparently, as a member, you are placed according to the best time you have run with NYRR. You can’t predict a better time or use a best time from another race that is minutes faster – you must prove yourself. Fair enough. However, for non-members, even those who have raced with NYRR before, you simply enter your predicted time and are placed accordingly (which is what I did when I registered E for this race). I wouldn’t mind except that in the NYC Half, I was placed in the mid 5000’s – the runners around me were much slower, which slowed me down in the first mile or so. I finished in the 2000’s which clearly supports that I didn’t belong back there, yet once again, I was placed in the 5000’s! I still don’t get it. They said that I have been placed with other runners whose best pace is 7:39 (for the record, that is not my best pace) – so either Brooklyn Half runners are a lot faster than NYC Half runners or everyone’s best time was from a long time ago. Again, I don’t care for tomorrow’s race, but when I’m actually racing, it’s frustrating and causes me to lose precious time while I weave around everyone. But enough venting…

Yesterday I was supposed to begin a serious apartment hunt – trying to find a decent apartment in NYC has displaced my school stress (this city is the worst) – but I didn’t get too far. It was another beautiful day out and I decided to let myself enjoy if for a few hours. I had a great lunch with a friend at Google (the NYC office is nuts – the food is amazing, I’m very jealous), then wandered around Chelsea Market and walked along the High Line. I also finally treated myself to my first item of running clothing from Lululemon, as a reward for finishing my first semester. I settled on the Run in the Sun skirt – I’ve always been curious about running skirts, and really need more gear for summer. I also liked one of their running shorts, but the liner bugged me slightly. The skirt had longer spandex shorts underneath, which I find far more comfortable.

It was a pretty awesome day until my water bottle opened up and spilled all over my bag – which I didn’t notice until it was too late. All over a book I borrowed from a friend, my wallet, my iPod, and most importantly my iPad. My iPod seems to be okay, thank goodness my phone was in my hand, but my iPad is not faring so well. It seems to have dried out slightly and the sound is now working again, but the screen is a bit messed up. That was my 30th birthday gift – huge bummer. So much for trying to stay hydrated!!

It wasn’t anything a nice dinner with E couldn’t fix, though. We went to Hearth and had a delicious meal – I got a marinated mushroom and ricotta salad to start, veal and ricotta meatballs with spinach cannelloni (can you tell I love ricotta?) and we shared a rhubarb crumble with ginger ice cream for dessert. So tasty!

Today, the apartment hunt continues, and I’m trying to rest up for the race tomorrow too. I’ve walked so much in the last few days, my legs desperately need a break!

Honestly, I’m not sure how tomorrow will go for either myself or E. Normally, running 8:20 pace wouldn’t be anything I would worry about – but I haven’t been running very much the last two months, I’m still recovering from weeks of sleep deprivation and there’s a heat advisory. I also need to be very careful about not running too fast in the early miles – my legs will naturally want to break into half marathon mode and I can’t let them! E has been training but he’s exhausted and jet lagged, and he usually struggles with heat.

But we’re still going to go for it – our goal is sub-1:50 so he can PR and qualify for a seeded start coral in the Chicago Marathon. I’m a bit bummed that we didn’t get to practice pacing, but we’ve run together so many times in the last couple of years I’m sure we’ll be fine. I’m going to wear a pace band and try my best to keep him with me. It will be our first time racing together, his first time racing with someone, and my first time pacing someone, so I’m very interested to see how it plays out. I’ve received strict instructions to only deliver facts regarding time, pace, distance etc and not encouragement, which is against what I would naturally do, so hopefully I can keep my mouth shut and not piss him off. 🙂

Either way, I’m really excited to cross the finish line together. The race is at 7am and we need to get up at 4am – I’m counting on adrenaline to get me revved up! Obviously I am hoping we finish under 1:50 – his goal is my goal, his victory my victory – but given the weather and our physical condition, we can only try our best.

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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