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It feels so good to be home, particularly because I won’t be here for long.

I arrived very late Wednesday night from Boston via Dallas and spent yesterday relaxing, unpacking and simply enjoying being in my own space again. I had a wonderful, action-packed five weeks on the road but by the time my departure date rolled around, I was craving my own bed. I also couldn’t wait to see this:

Nothing like walking to my local beach, soaking up some sunshine and listening to the soothing sounds of the waves. Back in California, at last.

I’m about to drive up to San Francisco for Sunday’s North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon but first wanted to fill you in on the rest of my multi-city tour!

My Thanksgiving weekend with E’s family was awesome – great company and incredible food, I couldn’t really ask for more! I somehow managed to squeeze in an 8 miler on Saturday – my last pre-race “long” run – which was challenging after a bit too much food and booze, but I pushed through. I also got a chance to make my Triple B pancakes on Sunday, which I think won me a few extra brownie points! I didn’t have blueberries and we didn’t have time to let the batter sit, but they came out great (or at least everyone seemed to love them) which made me very happy.

After our pancake brunch, it was time to drop E at the Boston airport to head back to London. This was our third goodbye and was particularly sad since we don’t yet have our next visit planned, but hopefully we will see each other sometime in January.

I couldn’t get a flight home until later in the week. I was a bit travel weary by this stage, but I was excited to spend time in Boston and visit some London friends who had moved there over the summer. My only relatively recent trips to the city were for Harvard-Yale games back in college, and as you can imagine, not much time was spent sightseeing!

I decided to spend most of my two days in Boston exploring the city on foot. I was fortunate enough to be staying somewhere very central – a mere five minute walk from Symphony Hall, 10 minutes from Newbury street and 15 minutes from the MFA – so I made the most of it.

After an easy four-mile run and some lounging around, I had lunch with my friend at BU in the student union (he works at the university). It felt strange to be around so many students, particularly since they were mostly undergrads, but I guess that will be me quite soon! That was the first of many campuses I crossed that day. It’s pretty amazing just how many schools there are in Boston. I felt like I was moving from one type of sweatshirt to the next every ten minutes. As a Yalie I feel like a *slight* traitor saying this, but I imagine it must be pretty fun to be a student in Boston.

I crossed the river and walked along the Charles river to Cambridge. I had hoped to run along the river but it was more convenient to run around the park close to where I was staying (right near Simmons College and the MFA), so walking was the next best thing. I was of course reminded of Haruki Murakami’s book, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.” I read that book three years ago when I first started running again in London and loved it. I also couldn’t help but think about the Boston Marathon – the sadness returned for a moment about not being able to run in 2012, but quickly faded. I know I will be back to run there someday.

I wandered up into Cambridge and across various campuses, including Harvard’s. Such a different feel from Yale – it was interesting to sit down and observe all the students walking by. I can’t wait to be a student again! I should be hearing from NYU regarding my application any day now…

On my way back down Mass. Ave. approaching MIT’s campus, I caught the most incredible sunset. The photos do not do it justice.

Dusk on the river was also beautiful and quite peaceful. Having a day to myself for the first time in weeks was very refreshing.

The following day, I explored Newbury Street, Beacon Hill, Faneuil Hall, Brookline and various other parts of town. I couldn’t help but stop in the Nike store, which was AWESOME. I wanted everything but am proud to say that I managed to control myself and only look. Once I get into school, I will reward myself with a new running outfit! 🙂

Beacon Hill was very cute – there were so many runners out and about, presumably because it was lunchtime and I was quite close to Boston Common. I caught a few doing a hill workout – looked pretty intense!

I managed to snag a last minute ticket to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform – an amazing seat for only twenty bucks! I was pretty tired after so much walking but really enjoyed the concert. Inspired me to get back into playing my oboe again…

After a morning race pace run on Wednesday, I had a couple hours before my flight to visit the Museum of Fine Arts. The MFA has been on my list of museums to visit ever since I studied Art History at Yale and I loved it. Unfortunately my visit was slightly rushed but I managed to see nearly everything I wanted to see, including a wonderful Degas exhibit. I found it particularly cool that they had a conservation room on display, and enjoyed lunch in their cafe:

And that concludes my short but busy trip to Boston! Stay tuned for more details on my upcoming half marathon in San Francisco – I am feeling very out of shape and have no clue how I will fare on this difficult course, but I’m excited nonetheless. Have a great weekend!

This morning I ran my first Turkey Trot, a 5M race in Windham, New Hampshire. This event has been hosted by a family out of their home since 1995 to raise money for a local charity. It started as a small event of 50 participants and has grown to around 1,200! It was great to see so many people out this morning getting some fresh air and exercise before indulging in their Thanksgiving meals.

E and I felt pretty tired after our long travel day from London to Boston – our plane had to make an unexpected stop in Gander, Newfoundland to refuel due to “bad weather,” adding several hours to our journey – but I was excited to get some miles in this morning. My plan was to run 1M easy before the 9am race, then 4 x 1M at race pace (7:30ish) with 1 minute recoveries, followed by a 1M cool down, to keep in line with my race pace workout progression.

It was a gorgeous day – bright and sunny – but SO SO COLD! I forgot just how freezing New England gets by this time in the year. That certainly woke me up! Here’s a photo from our drive to the race, as we passed by Corbbets Pond:

I knew that the race would be fairly low key but wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by how well organized it was, and was particularly impressed that the race was held out of a family’s home! What an amazing idea. How friendly and trusting for a family to let a bunch of runners come into their house to use their bathrooms and keep warm in their living room!

We showed up around 30 minutes before the race to sign up and warm up. Everything was very chilled out – you just walked up to their garage and signed your name, donating as much as you wished to give to charity. Donuts, hot chocolate, water and apples were available in their driveway. Music was playing, everyone was gathering and chatting in the road and the atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly.

I warmed up for a mile, headed back to the start area to wait with E and then at some point a woman shouted “Run!” and we took off. I ran the first half mile with E and then started my 4 x 1M repeats. It was cold, the course was pretty hilly (although with as many downhills as uphills) and I had to dodge quite a few walkers, dogs, cyclists, kids and other obstacles but I had a great run. My splits were 7:27, 7:28, 7:29 and 7:15 with 1 minute “recoveries” (it felt a bit strange to just start jogging in a race so I took it down a notch to around marathon pace), followed by the last .2M or so slightly faster than race pace and a post-race cool down. My total time was around 52 minutes for 6.7M – I was using the interval setting on my Garmin and ran before and after the race, so I’m not sure what my actual race time was.

Here are a few photos from after the race:

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Today is my last day in London. It took some time to adjust to being back after nearly three months away, but now I feel like I never left.

My “real” departure was in late August, when I quit my job and flew back to California to meet my newborn niece, run the Portland marathon, qualify as a running coach and apply to MS/DPD programs in Clinical Nutrition. I expected to feel overwhelmed with emotion as my plane took off for San Francisco to begin this new chapter of my life. However, with my November London visit already planned, I felt like I was embarking on an extended trip home rather than permanently moving countries.

Now it’s time for my final preparations and goodbyes. I have changed my pounds to dollars, closed various accounts, prepared all my things to be shipped (okay, still working on that…) and have no clue when I’ll next be in London. Probably won’t be for quite awhile, although you never know!

I’m incredibly grateful to have had these two weeks, as well as some time away from London before returning to wrap things up. It has made this transition so much smoother. Aside from dealing with all the boring and annoying aspects of moving, which are far easier to do in person, I caught up with friends, wandered all over town, ate many of my favorite foods and ran along all my usual routes. It’s given me some closure as well as time to reflect on the four years I spent living here.

My long run on Saturday certainly presented itself as a great opportunity for reflection…

I had grand plans for my last long run of this mini training cycle. I had hoped to go to Hampstead Heath or elsewhere further afield in the early morning to run on some hilly terrain and avoid the crowds. However, E and I planned a last-minute weekend getaway and thus running along the river to Battersea Park and back was the fastest way to fit in 14 miles before we needed to catch our train.

It was a crisp, sunny day. I donned my new Nike running top once again, this time carrying two gels and my iPod (I usually don’t listen to music but needed some extra inspiration). I also decided to try out my new ING NYC marathon arm sleeves. I already had a pair in black (I wore them for the 2010 race) so when I saw that they carried them in orange this year, I snatched them up. Purple and orange are my colors, after all! Plus, there’s something about wearing arm sleeves that gets me extra psyched to run.

It’s business time!

After my run, E and I hopped on a train to Southampton and headed to Hotel Terravina, a lovely 11-room B&B right on the edge of the New Forest (not too far from where I raced last July). They happened to have a cancellation that morning, which was great news for us as we were struggling to find somewhere to stay before E called them.

We arrived to find this little dog on the bed, with a collar that said “Too tired to get up.” Yeah, that pretty much summed things up!!

We relaxed inside for a bit, but it was such a beautiful day out that we decided to go for a sunset stroll…at 3:30pm. Ah, winter in the UK. Gotta love it.

The hotel offered wellies for guests to wear – my size just happened to come in colorful stripes.

We walked along this trail for about an hour – it was very quiet and peaceful, exactly what we needed. This was also our running route the next day. We only ran four miles, but it was far enough to explore other nice parts of the forest. We even saw some wild horses, although thankfully this time they didn’t try to run us down!

After our walk, we had a wonderful three-course meal, which I particularly appreciated after my active day. One of the owners of the hotel is a French man who won Best Sommelier in the World in 2010 among other titles, so as you can imagine, the food and wine were very good. Here I am enjoying a glass of red…

The rest of the weekend was very relaxing – we were a bit sad to have to return to the craziness of London and face all the things we both had to do before leaving for Boston!

This pizza dinner, however, made our Monday blues disappear very quickly. I couldn’t leave London without going back to Pizza Metro in Clapham. The pizza is not only amazing, made with delicious, fresh ingredients, but it also comes by the meter! I’ve never gone with more than one other person and have always wanted to order one of the gigantic four-person pizzas, so I recruited some friends and this was the result:

Pure. Heaven. There wasn’t a crumb left on the tray. It certainly was an appropriate way to kick off Thanksgiving week!

So that brings me back to today. I’ve been procrastinating all morning and it’s time to get my things done. Finish packing my boxes. Pack my suitcases. Do laundry. Itemize everything. Go for a run. Return emails. Say more goodbyes…

It’s a bit sad, and I will miss living here as well as the frequent travel opportunities, but I am eager to move on. I’ve been such a nomad during my twenties and particularly throughout these recent transitional months that I actually feel ready to stay in one place for awhile, wherever my new home will be.

I’m also very excited to spend Thanksgiving in the US for the first time since 2007. I am celebrating it with E’s family in New Hampshire, which is why my next destination is Boston before I head back home to California next week.

Farewell London! Hello America…

Hello from London!

I have been back in the UK for a full week now and have been meaning to write for days, so clearly the craziness of my NYC trip has followed me across the pond! In between organizing my things, I’ve been catching up with friends and visiting some of my favorite places before I officially move back to the US.

I love the Fall, particularly on the East Coast and in the UK, so I have been trying to make the most of the lovely crisp weather these past few weeks before it slips away. London hasn’t been *quite* as sunny as NYC – in fact it has mostly been foggy, dark and damp – but that means when the sun does shine it’s particularly glorious and far more appreciated. I’m beginning to wonder how I managed to convince myself for four years that the weather wasn’t actually that bad here!

After several dreary days, the sun finally emerged just in time for my 12 mile run in Richmond Park on Saturday. I finally tried out my new Nike running top, which was my one splurge in Portland after the marathon. The colors and the cut got me to try it on, but the two pockets in the back (and Portland’s amazing no sales tax!) convinced me to buy it. The pockets are like those on a cycling top  – they don’t have zippers, but they’re deep enough to fit gels, snacks or whatever else! Check it out:

I put a gel in one pocket to have during my run and one of my homemade pumpkin muffins (cut in half and wrapped up) in the other pocket so I could have a healthy treat after finishing. It was very comfortable – this top might just become my next marathon tank if I can cram enough gels in the back and ditch my usual gel belt!

E and I decided to head to Richmond Park – I love doing my long runs there and the hilly trails were perfect for my North Face half marathon training, at least compared to running along the Thames. We got a late start – 11am or so – but it was still quite peaceful and the scenery was beautiful.

Let’s do this!

E kept me company for the first 7M loop and then waited for me at a coffee shop. Turns out he ran his second marathon without telling me (or as one of my friends called it, a SNEAKATHON) in Switzerland while I was in NYC!! He was afraid I would put my coaching hat on and lecture him that he wasn’t fully prepared for it (because he wasn’t), but he did quite well, especially considering the challenging course profile and the fact that it was far above sea level. I am very proud of him! He felt fairly recovered but was only just starting to ease back into longer runs.

It’s a good thing we both ran that morning, beacuse later in the day we headed over to our friend’s place for a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving feast! Last year, I celebrated the holiday in the UK with my group of US expat friends, and we had such a good time that we had “Thanksgiving” in July too. Since E and I will be in New Hampshire this year and this is my last London visit for awhile, we thought it would be fun to have one last group dinner together. There was, as you can imagine, tons of amazing food. I made a goats cheese and beet salad as well as a huge bowl of sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot ginger mash, pictured below. I could eat it for dessert it was so tasty!

The next morning we were still so full we could hardly move, but we had Sunday lunch plans up in Hampstead so we hopped out of bed and made our way up north. It was a perfect Fall day – so mild that we were able to eat outside on the pub’s patio and enjoy some cold pear cider. I got the venison – yum!


It was a rest day for me but after all that food I was craving a nice long walk in the sunshine. One of the things I love most about London is just how green a city it is – there are so many beautiful parks, both manicured (like Regents Park) and a bit more rustic and wild (like Richmond and Hampstead Heath). The Heath in particular is lovely – you really feel like you have escaped the city, as you are pretty much up on a hill looking down on it in the distance and there are no cars in sight. I wish I had explored it more often while I lived here – the terrain is quite hilly so I will perhaps aim do my 14M run there this Friday!


Between the parks and the river, there are so many great running paths in this town. Speaking of which, I have a race pace run to do – off I go to my local park!

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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