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E had a great race at the Reykjavik half marathon last weekend, running a PB of 1:52:51 – 18 minutes faster than his first half of two years ago on the same course – so I asked him to share his experience. Enjoy!

When you’re younger, you make mistakes. Scratch that. When I was young, I made a LOT of mistakes. To look back on events, I’m struck with a few key thoughts:

  1. Wow, the old me was really an idiot!
  2. I’m still getting older, so I guess the me of right now is an idiot too!
  3. Awesome!
The 2nd running of the Reykjavik Half Marathon was a poignant reminder that the “now” E – let’s call him “NE” (pronounced “knee”) – and “old E” from the 1st race – let’s call him “OE” (pronounced “oye” as in “oye vey”) really are different people. These misfits need some alone time:

OE: So, let me get this straight. You crushed my half marathon time by 18 minutes in two years? Seriously?

NE: Yeah, that’s right. I really don’t understand what the hell you were doing on that course in the first place.

OE: Well, I had never run 13 miles before; I wasn’t sure if my legs would even take me that far.

NE: That explains it. I’ve got a lot more miles on my legs now. Countless halfs, a marathon, tons of trail races – experience seems to count for a lot. Also, this time I knew the route – helps to have that covered ahead of time I think.

OE: How’d you do on mile 10? I still have nightmares about that one.

NE: I don’t follow.

OE: There was a gut wrenching hill at mile 10 – I’ve got the RunKeeper logs to prove it!

NE: There was a big hill? All I remember is getting ready to speed up every mile from 10-13. Must have been all of those training runs on the Amalfi Coast – not only did all of those hill sessions help me on the way up, but it really taught me how to throw myself downhill to make up for time on the way down; you never did that before I bet.

OE: I hate you. Well, you obviously did better with more gear right? I only had my iPod, iPhone, and high tech compression shirt on…bet you’ve gotten a lot of amazing gear since then.

NE: The weather was better, but I wore less gear not more. Definitely no iPods – that’s a huge distraction and while you’re messing up your song selection your mind isn’t focusing on all of the good things it needs to be focusing on – like form, function, and pain displacement.

OE: GU? Vanilla with Caffeine still the way to go?

NE: Not so much. The key is to be seriously hydrated before you start. I’ve been using Science in Sport (SIS) now which don’t have any caffeine – it makes you poop dude; wake up. I ran with water the first few miles and then ditched it – I bet you didn’t even know how to do the pinch and sip technique the first time did you?

OE: Nope. I remember eating something the night before – could have been anything.

NE: Pre-race meal and pre-morning meal now are pretty standard. The whale sushi and twix bars weren’t part of the plan – but they sure seemed to work; going to have to remember that for next time.

OE: How’d you feel afterwards? I still remember that my ass hurt from seam chafing and my left knee blew up like a cantaloupe. I was happy to finish but man I felt like crap – I bet you must have been completely destroyed after running so much faster than me.

NE: Actually, I felt awesome. Nip Guards. Body Glide. The Old Vaseline on your feet technique. You also did a lot of junk miles before this race and zero strength training or stabilization training – these days that’s a staple which really gets you out of landing in a bad way on your legs and messing up your knees. You never did tempo runs either, which was a mistake. I had a great race and managed my pace and pain perfectly.

Aside from losing a few pounds, all of the strategy and techniques I’ve learned in the last few years has transformed my running into a sport that challenges both my body and my mind – I’m really not sure how it happened but the before/after splits really tell the whole story.

OE: I’m in awe. This is definitely what I had in mind.

NE: Like Kanye says: Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger, more than ever, never over, our work is never over!!!!

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I got back from my long weekend in Iceland late last night – check out my photo album to get a glimpse of all my running and other adventures! Also, stay tuned for an awesome guest post from E on his Icelandic racing victory – he kicked some serious butt in the half and I’m extremely proud of him. It’s inspiring just how far he has come since running this race (his first half marathon, in fact) two years ago. Go E!

In the meantime, here’s my quick and dirty race recap: the Reykjavik 10k went well, especially taking into account my hip injury and recent lack of running. I set out with the goal to push myself hard, but not *too* hard until the last couple of miles to ensure I didn’t crash and burn, all while remaining mindful of my hip. I also promised myself I would at least get under 48 minutes, if not under 47. I ended up running 6.28M (narrow streets/slower runners forced me to weave a lot in the first few miles) in 46:46, which although not exactly close to my recent 10k times (45ish), was fast enough (7:26 min/mile average pace) to rebuild some of the confidence I had lost in my fitness levels. It had been over five weeks since I had run anything over five miles, and much longer since I had sustained a tempo pace for any decent length of time, so I was quite pleased. Plus my hip behaved!

But what surprised me (and gave me an extra confidence boost) was that even with my slower time, I managed to place really well! I came in 296th overall out of 3736 finishers, 20th of 2294 women and 10th of 1250 in my division (19 – 39). Had I run closer to my 45ish time, I would’ve placed 5th in my division – crazy! I’ve never placed that high in anything – guess it pays to do smaller, slightly more random races (with a lot of slower runners, apparently…)!

Here’s the link to my Garmin race details in case you want to check out the route, as well as a few visual highlights if you don’t feel like looking at the full album. Enjoy!

TODAY IS MY LAST DAY OF WORK!

Sorry, I’m just a little bit excited. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t really had a chance for this to really sink in, and finally, now that I’m sitting at my empty desk, having already sent out my farewell emails, gone on my last team lunch and said my goodbyes, I actually feel like I am leaving. And it is an incredible feeling – a long-awaited, energizing, satisfying feeling.

Little things will take some adjustment – like not having my blackberry. Yeah, I know, most people cannot wait to hand in a work blackberry, but since I also use it for all my personal communication while not at home (my phone is ancient, annoying and anything but smart), I predict some withdrawal. But that’s okay – I need to disconnect slightly during my last days in London to focus on my monster to-do list and say goodbye to my friends here, in person. I also can finally get a REAL phone once I’m back in the US – iPhone or Android, what do you guys think? Let’s get some debate flowing… 🙂

I will also miss some of my weekday routines – going to my favorite classes at the gym, having my coffee and breakfast as I read the news before starting my work for the day, gossiping with colleagues, lunchtime river runs etc. I certainly won’t miss the office – but I do like having that sense of structure. But again, breaking it all down and starting fresh is healthy – and necessary.

Oh yes – paychecks, can’t forget about that! I got my last one today, which was slightly painful – not sure when I’ll be seeing another one of those!!

And last but not least, I will miss some of my wonderful colleagues, who have truly made my work experience special (as well as tolerable). This morning I was surprised by a box of Hummingbird Bakery cupcakes (my favorite – now I really need to run!), a bouquet of beautiful roses, a London mug for my big cups of coffee, a “keep calm and carry on” coaster and a gigantic goodbye & good luck card.

And the cupcakes…

So now I’m wrapping things up and preparing to leave, at last. I remember the sense of freedom I felt five years ago as I left my NYC office building for good before travelling in South America – I feel the same way now. That mixture of exhilaration and fear, nostalgia/sadness and impatience to leave as quickly as possible…but most of all, I felt deeply confident that I had made the right decision. And I certainly did – just as I am doing now. I cannot wait to start making my way down my new chosen path!

But first, I need to properly celebrate the end of this chapter of my life – and what better way to do that than with another travel (and running) adventure?!

In a few hours, I’m meeting up with E to catch a flight to Iceland. We’ll have four days there to run the Reykjavik half marathon/10k and simply explore as much of the country as possible, which I hear is absolutely gorgeous! It’s been AGES since I’ve left the UK (for me, at least) – since the Amalfi Coast trip in June, actually! Normally I’m away at least twice a month during the summer, but with so much going on, I figured it would be wise to stay in town for most of July and August to prepare for my big move. It was a good call – although I can’t say that I feel prepared, I’m very much excited for a London break!

Which I guess is another good thing, given that in less than two weeks, I’ll be on my one-way flight back to California…

In about a month, I’ll be on a one-way flight back to San Francisco, along with as much of my London life that I can possibly squeeze into two huge suitcases.

In three weeks, I’ll be celebrating my final day in the office, capped off with an evening flight to Iceland – the last of my London weekend getaways – to run the Reykjavik Half Marathon.

In two weeks, I’ll be saying goodbye to my wonderful flat, which I’ve lived in for three and a half years (that’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere other than my parent’s house), and my amazing flatmates to (temporarily) move into E’s place a few minutes down the road.  

This weekend, assuming I get the okay from my physio tomorrow, I’ll start running again, beginning with one or two miles and slowly building up to get back on my October marathon schedule.

Any day now, my sister will be giving birth to a gorgeous baby girl and I’ll become an extremely proud aunt.

And today, I have officially completed my Open University nutrition course (which began in early May) and am starting the application process to various Nutrition & Dietetics DPD/MS programs in NYC and CA.

Wow. There’s a lot going on in the next month (and beyond). I’m still somewhat in denial – and probably will be until things really start to kick off – although it’s definitely sinking in. No wonder I’ve been feeling so all over the place this past week!

I’m obviously excited for everything that’s currently unfolding – but as you can imagine, all of these things put together elicit such a mixture of emotions, it can be slightly overwhelming at times. Particularly times like now – when I can’t run.

I know you runners out there understand exactly what I’m talking about. Running is my outlet – it helps me cope, it makes me happy, it gives me confidence, it keeps my weight down, it connects me to others (and the list goes on and on). Actually, I have to have a good think about why I love to run and make it such a priority in my life, since I still need to write my “story” for my coach’s next running book.

Although I have been cross-training, I haven’t been for a run in a week now, and have only done about 21M in the last three weeks in total, so I’m feeling extremely running starved at the moment. But I suppose that’s a good feeling to have, as opposed to feeling burnt out and unmotivated – I’ve been there too!

At least I can say that I truly am feeling better, in terms of my hip. I’ve been extremely disciplined about resting sufficiently as well as doing the exercises my physio has given me, so fingers crossed I get the green light to run when I speak with him tomorrow. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this excited to run a mile – maybe even TWO – in my whole running career! 🙂

Wish me luck…and stay tuned for updates on all of the above!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Given how little time I’ve had lately to do things like, say, nutrition course homework (currently am two weeks behind), Spring cleaning (better one season too late than never), and a whole bunch of other stuff on my to-do list that I’ve been putting off for ages, I was forced to cancel other plans and finally get it all done today.

I haven’t been quite as productive as I had hoped, but I’ve definitely made some progress:

*I read one chapter in my textbook, all about Fats. Interesting stuff. I now know, for instance, why chocolate melts in your mouth and not in your hand. Crucial information, clearly. Only four more chapters to go…

*I did a 7.5M/60-minute fartlek run in the sunshine – not quite the tempo run I had planned on the treadmill (couldn’t face the gym), but still a relatively challenging run.

*I FINALLY registered for the Reykjavik Half Marathon on August 20th with E, and we also booked flights, so it’s official – I’ll be in Iceland for four days this August! Well, if the volcanoes behave, that is – fingers crossed!! We were very close to entering the full marathon, but then decided we would prefer to do some sort of day-long snow mobile/glacier trekking adventure the day after the race, which obviously requires the ability to walk! This is a big item off my list, since we have been talking about doing this race for over a year now – E ran the half two years ago and loved it, and I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and can’t imagine going from anywhere other than London, since it’s so close. Even still, it will be an expensive trip, but hopefully staying in a hostel and flying at odd times will offset the total cost. I think it will be worth it!

*I also finally booked a flight to California at the end of August to spend some extended time with family, meet my niece and (gasp) turn the big 3-0. Very excited (well, not so much for the latter…)!

*And as an extension of the above, I just received an email from the RRCA yesterday that they have added new coaching certification courses to their September/October calendar. Sadly, there is no California course, and the date of the one in NYC (which would be an ideal location, since I am overdue for an East Coast visit) is too early for me to attend. However, there is a course from October 7-8 in Portland, OR which could be doable. It’s not too far from CA, I’ve never been there (but have heard great things – Nike HQ is near there too!) AND I could even sign up for the Portland Marathon on October 9th. I’m still not sure if I’m up for more marathon training just yet, but I’m already logging about 30M per week, so I could easily increase my mileage later in the summer and do the bare minimum to simply enjoy the race. Looks like the entries are filling up fast, so I’ll have to decide soon if I’m up for either/both.

Has anyone run the Portland marathon before and/or is planning to run it this year? I’m sure if I did the RRCA course beforehand, which would take up most of my time and presumably introduce me to some interesting new people, I’d be fine going to Portland by myself, but it would be nice to have some company (particularly for after the race). So if I do it, I’ll most likely try to recruit one of my parents and/or some friends.

Either way, E and I are considering some marathons in later November/December that could be fun. I would hate to let all of 2010 go by without at least one big race!

Anyway, that’s my update for now. Back to the books as well as the disastrous state of my room!

Now that I have finished training for the Fleet Half Marathon, perhaps you’re wondering what’s up next in my running calendar. To be perfectly honest, not all that much, which is both strange and liberating after such a race-filled year!

At the moment, the only event I have entered is the 17km Kentmere Challenge on June 4th in the Lake District, which I am running with a group of friends. I’m not planning on doing any structured training for this event, although I will obviously be doing a fair amount of running to stay in shape. I’ll probably have to throw in some hill training too, because based on my last trip up there, the trails look something like this:

I also hope to enter the Reykjavik half marathon on August 20th, as part of my desire to do more destination races. E did this race two years ago and we had hoped to run it together last summer, but the dates didn’t end up working out. I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland, so should be a fun long weekend if I can get the time off to go!

Other than that, I’ll probably do a local 5k park run and 10k, as well as a 10 miler (I’ve never done one!) and another half marathon somewhere in the UK (Canterbury perhaps?) to keep myself fit, but chances are no other “big” races for awhile. I had originally wanted to do a fall marathon – Berlin, Chicago or something more exotic like Kauai – but with the birth of my niece in August (and the fact that registration is now closed, for Berlin and Chicago at least), I’m going to postpone my next major marathon (ie one that I train for seriously) until next year. I need a break from PB-driven training, and that’s why I’m turning more to trail races and other “low key” events (as designated by me, that is) for the time being.

E and I are actually toying with the idea of entering an ultra over the summer, although we haven’t found one yet that is suitable in terms of location, distance and date that still has spaces. He is obsessed with running an ultra, and I told him I’d join but only if we start with 50k – it’s been awhile since I’ve run over 15 miles so I’d prefer not to dive right into a 50 or 100-miler! Hopefully he’s not still considering doing this crazy 50M trail race in the Lake District that he decided to enter awhile back. The race requires navigation skills (potentially in the dark), and given that he can hardly find his way around cities (remember my Effing Forest post?), I’m not sure it’s a good idea for him to attempt a solo 50 mile race in the mountains!

I’m also still clinging to my .01% chance of getting into Boston – if not, there’s always Big Sur, London, Napa or a number of other great races! We’ll see how it all shakes out…

So it’s going to be less fight and more flight for awhile. I’ve replaced my packed running schedule with an increasingly crazy travel schedule. It all kicks off with a long weekend in Morocco bright and early tomorrow morning…because the week after a big race wouldn’t be complete – to me at least – without a celebratory trip to cap it off!

Good luck to all you spring marathoners – hopefully the lovely weather will stick around to inspire your last weeks of training!

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

This morning's breakfast bowl isn't exactly pretty, but really delicious and filling! Two fried eggs in a pan with black beans (I used 1/2 cup = 1 serving), a little feta, a few spoonfuls of ricotta, some pesto (random but had some leftover and tastes great with eggs), and 1/4 avocado. Cooked all together for a high protein tasty breakfast! Awesome @onepeloton endurance ride earlier today with my buddy @mattwilpers before enjoying some family time outdoors on this beautiful day. Arielle came to visit afterwards and clearly is a big Peloton fan too! Speaking of which, check out the latest episode of the Clip Out (a Peloton fan podcast) - had such a great time talking all things nutrition and Peloton with @clipoutcrystal and Tom, who are hilarious btw! (Link in bio - my segment ~20min in). Wishing everyone a very happy first day of Fall! 🍁🍂 It's my favorite time of year to get out into nature and go for a run. L'Shana Tova to those who celebrate! We started the New Year with some apple picking at @wilkloworchards on our way back to NYC yesterday. Was so much fun, and Arielle was a great little helper! We don't have much food in the house after being away so these crisp local apples with almond butter will be our tasty, healthy snacks today. Getting ready for the loooong drive back to NYC after unplugging in Lake Placid for my bday! Fueling with a bowl of 5% plain Greek yogurt, bananas, peaches, and apple cinnamon granola. Not much of a view from our balcony this morning of Mirror Lake - swipe right for our view yesterday! So beautiful and peaceful here - minus screaming baby, of course. 😂 #Tbt to earlier this week, when one of my awesome @nutritionenergy clients surprised me with a @levainbakery cookie after we talked about them at our last session. I had planned to save half for my husband (those cookies are seriously dense!), but it was so delicious, I changed my mind and had the second half later in the day. Did I feel bad about it afterwards? Did I end up skipping dinner or working out more to compensate? Nope! I had already eaten a healthy balanced lunch, and it's not everyday that I enjoy such a decadent treat (although you will find me having smaller treats quite often 😀).

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