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Hello from Chicago! E and I arrived yesterday morning and all I can say is that I hope my race goes as smoothly as these two days have gone thus far! Our flight was very delayed and the check in lines at the airport were unreal, yet I somehow was able to check in at the first class desk which switched us onto a much better path. Our unusually friendly agent offered to put us, free of charge, onto another flight which was scheduled to leave at our original departure time. Not only did we land early, but we were also each given $250 vouchers to use on a future United flight. Apparently everyone else on the flight had been bumped from a flight that had been cancelled the night prior and we still got the reward!

Our journey into the city was quick and we had a nice reunion with my parents. We are staying with family friends about 1.5M from the marathon start, with beautiful views of the lake and all of Chicago. After a surprisingly delicious lunch that I made (my pre-marathon diet of bland, carbohydrate rich foods gets boring real fast), E and I headed to the expo. We spent a bit too much time on our feet wandering around, but it was a great expo, much larger than NYC. E got to meet one of his favorite ultrarunners, Dean Karnazes, and we both loaded up on marathon gear. I probably didn’t need FOUR different Chicago tops but I felt justified buying them, because THIS race is going to be a memorable one!

  

  

We relaxed the rest of the evening – we were both exhausted from a crazy week at school/work and the early flight. We both hadn’t run for three days and our legs felt heavy and tired – typical taper stuff, though! We crashed by 9:30pm, as my parents and their friends were out and about on the town until 1am! Talk about role reversal…!

I was a bit concerned about the weather – it really is cold here – but this morning’s 20 minute jaunt on the lake front put my mind at ease. I wore compression tights, a tank, arm sleeves and fingerless gloves – pretty much my exact outfit from NYC 2010. My hands were chilly but with the sun shining, I was sufficiently warm once I got going. I’m not quite sure I hit my MP spot on, but I felt pretty good! My throat was a bit scratchy this morning but I’m trying to ignore it – mind over matter! I practiced my new mantra – “I want it more than I fear it” – which naturally went into mental replay as I soaked up the beautiful views. It was gorgeous on the lake – so many runners out there! Definitely the Chicago equivalent of running in Central Park the day before the race!

It will be cold at the start, with temperatures in the high 30’s, but at least we won’t have to wait for hours on end like we did on Staten Island. My corral closes at 7:20am and I’d like to be inside by 7:05ish to get a good place, so I figure I’ll get there by 6:30 to have time to hit the bathroom lines. As always, that’s my paranoia – not being able to go to the bathroom when I need to before starting the race. I just keep reminding myself that in NYC, they moved us towards the start 30 minutes before the gun went off and I was completely fine.

  

But the REAL reason why I’m posting is to share the unexpected, awesome experience that I just had. E and I were relaxing back at the apartment and I happened to read on Twitter that Paula Radcliffe was making an appearance at Nike Chicago, less than a five minute walk away. I believe it’s the first time she’s been back in Chicago for the marathon since she set the world record here in 2002. She was supposed to speak at 1pm – we were already late and had no clue what it would be like, but we needed a walk after a big lunch and decided to check it out. As we headed out the door, I decided to grab my marathon bib – how incredible would it be to have the running legend herself sign my bib, to wear on the very course on which she made history?! Of course, I didn’t actually expect it would happen – but guess what? It did!

We had perfect timing. She started late, and the interview only lasted about 5-10 minutes. We arrived a minute or two after she began. I heard that she was originally supposed to speak elsewhere (maybe the expo?) and the location moved – perhaps that explains why there weren’t that many crowds. I mean, there were a fair number of people there, but for someone as famous as Paula, I was surprised. Many people didn’t even seem to know who she was! She gave some advice to everyone racing tomorrow – not starting out too fast, hydrating, having fun etc – and spoke a bit about “making it count” on Sunday herself with her own workout. Unfortunately she just had foot surgery – so she won’t be running the race.

 

I easily made my way right up to the front and as soon as she finished, asked her to sign my bib. I wanted to say something to her about how much she has inspired me or I hope she feels better soon – but instead I just grinned like an idiot as she bent over and signed my bib on her thigh and then smiled back at me and walked onwards. I was so emotional I couldn’t get any words out!

  

But seriously – how AMAZING is that?! My bib has been blessed! My good luck this weekend must continue – because Paula said so!! I doubt anyone else had their bibs with them – hardly anyone even had a pen – and I don’t think she was hanging around there very long. Wow. Just wow. I feel doubly inspired now to run my best tomorrow – to have a smart race and not start too fast, to believe in myself when I start to really struggle, to overcome my fears of failure and really make tomorrow count!

Good luck runners!!

I recently received some wonderful news: I’m going to be an aunt! My sister is having her first baby later this year, and I am very excited.

As any good sister would do, I’m trying to be as supportive as possible. She will of course get most of her advice from her doctor, but I still want to make sure I’m armed with knowledge to help her stay fit and healthy!

Okay, so maybe my sister isn’t a runner…but I obviously am, so I couldn’t help but read up on running while pregnant as I began to research other topics.

If you do not run regularly, then picking up running while pregnant isn’t recommended. In other words, I will NOT be urging my sister to start running (but will encourage her to stay active in other ways). However, if you’re already a regular runner, you don’t have to stop running during your pregnancy. I have a friend, for example, with two young children who continued to run up until the day before each baby was born! I can’t imagine what that must feel like or, more importantly, how you can avoid falling on your face, but clearly it is possible. Amazing.

Elite runners Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher recently continued to run during their pregnancies – they actually trained together, in part because they shared the same due date (although ended up giving birth four days apart). I really enjoyed reading this NY Times article on the topic, as well as the full interview on the RW website. How inspiring is it that two fiercely competitive and successful distance runners became best friends while training together throughout their pregnancies?! The ultimate running buddy, for sure – although I imagine having your young daughter run alongside you also provides plenty of motivation too!

Paula Radcliffe running a 10km race with daughter Isla, only a couple months before her due date

Although running 14M a day while five months pregnant is not advisable for most women, running a more reasonable number of miles (and/or doing other forms of exercise) still provides many benefits to both mother and baby. While doing a bit of research on this, I found a blog post entitled “If Paula can do it…” which nicely sums up the information I was seeking to include here. Rather than rehash it myself, check out the link – best to come straight from a “Mom on the run” who has personal experience to share!

So even if you don’t need to stay in shape for London 2012 like Paula and Kara had to do, try to continue exercising – if nothing else, it will help keep you fit for the day that you will have to start chasing after your little one, once he or she is up and running too!

P.S. Here’s a great interview of Kara Goucher in the NY Times, as she adjusts to being a new mom while getting back into competitive running.

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

Yesterday’s Sunday Funday impromptu ice cream party with friends! Arielle had her first cone (not her first ice cream, don’t worry). Messy and delicious! How are you celebrating summer with friends and family?
Is there anything better than fresh berries in the summer?? Probably, but really loving my breakfast today. Whole Milk European style yogurt (from TJs), cinnamon, berries, and sesame coconut clusters (another tasty TJs find) + iced coffee with whole milk. 🍓 Super quick, tasty meal before starting our weekend family adventures!
Happy Friday, friends! Working through lunch today at home and thankful for the tasty homemade 🌯 in my freezer. Huge time saver! Tofu, roasted veg, spices, cheese & avo + a popsicle to cool off for dessert. Only one week until our much-needed vacation and not long after that until baby #2 arrives - trying to cram it all in while I can! Along those lines, if you’ve been wanting to work with me, get in touch ASAP while I am still accepting new clients. Have a great weekend!
Here’s a quick & balanced dinner I threw together last week - TJs pumpkin ravioli, roasted mushrooms, and chicken sausage over wild arugula. I cooked the mushrooms with olive oil along with the sausages in the oven while the ravioli cooked - super easy. What are you all making for dinner tonight? I’m commuting home from work and likely heating up a tofu veg burrito I meal prepped this morning!
Post workout breakfast bowl - leftover roasted veg (butternut squash, broccoli, and mushrooms) + pesto zoodles + 2 eggs, iced coffee with half & half, and bowl of berries. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!
Confused about hydration guidelines? Check out my latest contributions to the @uamapmyrun blog! https://blog.mapmyrun.com/how-much-more-water-do-runners-need-in-the-heat/

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