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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!

Photo Jun 30, 6 47 00 PM (1) Photo Jun 30, 6 47 21 PM (1) IMG_0244 Mr & Mrs! IMG_0392 First dance

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!

NYC Triathlon results  Beast mode Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 6.43.12 PM Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 9.38.06 PM

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!

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 not sure you can classify spending less than 48 hours somewhere as a “holiday,” but my brief visit to Rome certainly was a much-needed escape – both from NYC and organic chemistry!

Normally I travel everywhere with my Saucony’s – I love to explore a city on foot and see the sights early in the morning before the streets get busy – but last weekend, running wasn’t on my list of priorities. Not when I had so little time in such a great city and less than two days with E, who I hadn’t seen in 6 weeks, and certainly not when I hadn’t slept much in a week and had a wedding to attend the day I landed. As much as I love to run, it was liberating traveling without any form of exercise gear whatsoever.

So I swapped my running shoes for flip flops and heels. Yep, those were the only two pairs of shoes in my bag, along with a couple sundresses and an evening gown. What took up the most space was my massive orgo book, but thankfully I left studying just for the plane. I gave myself two days to pretend that I wasn’t a student, that I didn’t have a billion things to do, and it was amazing. I actually felt like I was back in London and it was just another one of my weekend getaways with E. Being in Europe again felt perfectly normal – strangely, more normal than coming back to NYC a couple days later. I guess I still am adjusting to being back in the US, even 10 months after leaving the UK.

Rome was exhausting but exhilarating – the NYC heat wave seemed to have followed me to Italy, but when you are surrounded by so many incredible gelaterias, and when it’s perfectly normal to take a mid-day siesta on a weekday for several hours, the scorching sun doesn’t seem quite so bad. I hadn’t been to Rome since 2002, but I had a vivid memory of one of my favorite gelato places and it’s exact location in relation to the Pantheon. So, as soon as I made it to the city and was reunited with E (who looked very Italian I might add, waiting for me outside the hotel, reading a paper), we headed to the Pantheon, got a coffee at one of the best coffee places in Rome (Sant Eustachio) and then a massive three-flavor gelato with fresh whipped cream at Giolitti. Not exactly the healthiest of lunches, but when in Rome…also I knew that a wonderful, huge dinner awaited us at my friend’s wedding reception that evening.


The wedding was beautiful – unbearably hot in the church, which made me regret my wardrobe decision (long evening gown rather than the shorter dress I had worn to last year’s wedding in Ravello) but it eventually cooled off up at the villa overlooking the city, where the reception was held outdoors. I had taken a redeye and landed at 10am the day of the wedding, so I was quite proud of myself for staying up until 2am and waking up early the next morning to enjoy my one full day in the city. I definitely paid for it upon my return to NYC, but it was worth it!

Here are a few photos from the wedding:



I could certainly use another escape right now. As you may have noticed, I’ve been particularly silent recently, mostly due to my second orgo midterm and final exam (with Rome squeezed in between), and moving apartments, all in a 10-day period. It’s hard to believe that it all starts anew this week – I begin volunteering at Sloan-Kettering tomorrow morning, followed by my first of two new summer classes (food microbiology & sanitation and life cycle nutrition, both at NYU). Class is every day, Monday – Thursday. My coached runs with Gilda’s Club begin this Sunday, and I also start volunteering once again with City Harvest. At some point, I will also furnish my apartment so that my clothes aren’t lying around in garbage bags and I have more than a mattress on the floor and a makeshift desk!

I am starting to feel a bit drained, having had very little down time since I started school in January, and very little sleep in recent weeks, but I am excited for my new schedule and I am VERY excited to get settled in my new apartment. I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally have my own space – specifically, a fairly large, air-conditioned and quiet space, with a small but really nice kitchen! Most of all, I can’t wait for E to FINALLY move here from London later in July. It’s been nearly a year since I left London and now I only have to wait 26 more days. I’m living a bit further away from transportation and from campus, but closer to the river and in a much more peaceful, green location. Hopefully that, along with my new awesome bed, will translate into better (and more) sleep and better running!

Speaking of which, I’ll end with a quick training update. I managed to knock out 15.5 miles in Central Park very early on Friday morning, in an attempt to beat the heat. I’m still struggling to adjust to the summer weather, which means my long runs have been on the slower side (although that’s as much due to not sleeping enough), but at least I finished the run. My calf/hamstring are still not feeling 100%, which has been frustrating this early on in Chicago training, but I’m trying to just take it day by day. I think the lack of sleep and added stress of school has made it harder for my body to recover. I need to respect that I am not a machine – I really do try to do it all, but I have to accept that I have limits and need to give my body and brain the rest it requires!

On the gel front, I tried Hammer gels on my long run – orange and huckleberry flavors – and they actually didn’t taste too bad, so they are still in the running. I didn’t really like the consistency all that much though – they seemed particularly sticky and like the power bar gels, I think I would want to take them with water. But at least I didn’t want to spit them out when I tried them!

As much as I wish I had another day to get myself organized, it will be nice to shift gears and dive into my second summer session. At least I have Wednesday off, as well as a massage booked for Tuesday! Most of all, orgo is DONE and I did very well in the class – that in itself calls for celebration!

It’s been so hectic lately, I can hardly believe that just one week ago, I was soaking up some Italian sunshine and gazing out at the Mediterranean…

My four days with E on the Amalfi Coast came together perfectly – a great balance between exploring the various coastal towns, relaxing back at our hotel and attending the weekend’s various wedding events. We even squeezed in two awesome coastal runs, which helped us earn at least some of the incredible food we enjoyed!

I should note that I didn’t plan this trip – well, at least not until we set foot in Italy. It was E’s friend who was getting married, so it seemed only fair to let him take the reins. But as some of you know, I am a slight control freak, so I couldn’t help but wonder how it would all turn out. Thankfully, everything was fantastic. Sure, there were a few things that E hadn’t thought out very well (or at all) which concerned me at first, but didn’t end up mattering. It was a truly lovely weekend from start to finish, which I of course documented with tons of photos! Check out my complete PHOTO ALBUM here.


E had convinced me to take the 6am flight from Gatwick on Friday morning. I certainly was not a happy camper when I woke up at 3:30am (or for the many hours that followed), but it was quite nice to land in Naples by breakfast time! After a strong cappuccino, we picked up our rental car – an adorable brand new Fiat – and started our 1.5 hour journey south. We drove down the A3, a big highway that passes through Pompei (which sadly we had to miss) and eventually leads to the SS163, a beautiful road that winds its way around the Amalfi Coast.

I think it was upon turning onto this narrow road that I left all my cares behind – the views were breathtaking, the weather perfect and the massive buses, trucks and other crazy Italian drivers confronting our little car and each other on nearly every blind curve took over all other thoughts!


Did I mention that this road was also our running route?! But more on that later…

We finally reached Hotel Marmorata around noon. Marmorata isn’t exactly a town, but a tiny peaceful spot just beyond Minori, below Ravello, and before Atrani and Amalfi. The hotel wasn’t within walking distance of Ravello (where the wedding was held) as E had originally thought, but it was only a 15-minute drive away and the location, perched right above the water, was perfect. It’s hard to beat waking up and falling asleep to the sounds of crashing waves, as well as being able to jump into the ocean within a minute of leaving our room. And when we craved a bit of action (or gelato), we simply hopped in our Fiat or went for a stroll, and soon enough, we were wherever we wanted to be. In particular, I LOVED the private sunbathing/swimming area, far away from all the usual beach crowds.

Once we settled in, E and I decided to drive to Positano. Normally, this wouldn’t take more than 30 minutes, but with heavy traffic on such a tiny road, it ended up taking nearly an hour. At least it was beautiful, and trying to dodge all the oncoming buses and cars kept us on our toes! We ditched the car, had a quick coffee granita to keep ourselves awake (it was actually slightly different from other granitas I’ve had – a very light, tastier version of a frappuccino – which we first became obsessed with in Trieste last summer) and then headed to a beach front restaurant called Ristorante L’Incanto, which our hotel had recommended. We shared a delicious lunch of pizza, salad, grilled vegetables and fresh local grilled fish – exactly what I had been craving – followed by a long walk (or shall I say climb) up and down the hillside town.


After exploring Positano, we drove back to Marmorata to enjoy a quick dip in the ocean, followed by a bottle of local wine and a bag of local cherries that we had picked up on the way home. The cherries were fantastic, but I certainly would not recommend the wine, whose name has thankfully escaped me. At least by our last glass (i.e. once sufficiently tipsy), it didn’t taste quite as bad, and watching the sunset from the hotel terrace more than made up for it.

Ten hours of much-needed sleep later, we went for a 5M run along the SS163. I normally wouldn’t consider a windy road with loads of traffic to be an ideal route, but it was the only place to go and we had seen so many other runners and cyclists out and about, we figured it couldn’t be THAT bad…

It was already scorching hot by the time we left at 8:45am – at least it was early enough that the traffic was relatively light. We ran along the main road for about 5 minutes, at which point we turned off onto the 5km road up the mountain to Ravello.


We only had about 45 minutes if we wanted to make it to breakfast and were hoping to run towards Atrani as well, so we didn’t reach Ravello. However, as you can see from my Garmin details, we still got a very solid workout!

The run also provided tons of local flavor, which is why I always love to run while I travel. Aside from the incredible views, highlights included observing a group of older Italians buying fresh produce from a truck along the road (they were all just hanging out and gossiping); getting encouragement from/giving encouragement to various groups of cyclists passing me by (Força! Coraggio! Yes we are all totally crazy!); and perhaps most entertaining of all, hearing a woman in an apartment next to the road shrieking a tirade of abuse in Italian to her poor (or perhaps deserving) husband/lover. Yeah, I’m in Italy.

Before attacking the breakfast buffet, E and I threw on our swimsuits and jumped into the ocean to cool off – I can’t tell you how good that felt.

Not as good, however, as spending the rest of the day sunbathing, napping and swimming at the hotel, pictured below. I think it was the first time I actually felt RELAXED in a very, very long time. Pure bliss.


In the early evening, we headed to Amalfi to meet up with some of E’s friends and walk to the rehearsal dinner, held in Atrani at a restaurant called Le Arcate. I would fly back to Italy simply to have their white pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella and rocket all over again (so simple, with a smoky flavor) – and that was a VERY tiny fraction of our delicious meal, hosted by the groom’s parents. I guess now is a good time to point out that the groom is American (and Jewish), and his bride is an Italian from the Amalfi Coast. As you can imagine, there was a lot of food involved.


With all those carbs in our bellies, we were more than prepared for (and very much needed) our second, longer run the next morning. We woke up slightly earlier on Sunday so that we would have plenty of time to reach Ravello, and that we did! Check out my Garmin details – nearly 2,600 feet of climbing, and it was hotter than the previous day!

I brought my camera along, which I never do, so I got some great action shots.


Pretty scary to think that this is just a small section of the Amalfi Coast marathon. Perhaps I won’t be running it in December…although with views like these, it’s tough not to be at least slightly tempted:


We spent the rest of the morning chilling out at the hotel, with a short excursion to Minori to seek out some much-needed mid-afternoon gelato. It had started to rain, but thankfully the clouds cleared and the sun came out just in time for our walk and, more importantly, the evening’s outdoor festivities.


I was very excited for the wedding – not only because it would surely be a unique and beautiful event and I had never been to a foreign wedding before, but E and I also don’t get dressed up very often. Generally, we are fairly causal people, and many of the things we do together involve running or other active pursuits, so it was quite fun to put on a nice dress and see him in a suit and tie. We of course took plenty of photos on our way to (and at) the wedding to document the occasion:


Villa Cimbrone was breathtaking and beyond romantic – a fairy-tale wedding venue if I’ve ever seen one. There’s no way I can do this place/the event justice by describing it, and even my photos pale in comparison to actually being there, but here are a few from the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner reception (all held in different parts of the Villa) to give you an idea:


We were feeling a bit rough the next morning, but waking up to yet another (and sadly, our last) gorgeous day in Italy and a refreshing swim in the ocean helped us brush off our hangovers. Our flight wasn’t until 9pm, and we still hadn’t visited Capri, so we drove the rest of the SS163 to Sorrento, ditched the car and hopped on the fast ferry (20 minutes) to the island.

We got to Capri just after 12pm, and decided to take one of the many cheap tourist boats on offer (no need to do a pricey private one). Although we had to wait nearly an hour for the next tour, it was great to get an overview of the entire island, which is surprisingly quite big!

We had heard that Anacapri, the second largest city, was much nicer and less touristy than Capri Town, and also would allow us to take a 12-minute chair lift up to Monte Solaro, the highest point on the island. So, we headed to Anacapri on the public bus (an adventure in itself), in the hopes of getting a quick look at the town and catching the lift up the mountain. Unfortunately, it took so long to get up there (the buses are rather infrequent) that we only had time for a quick lunch of pizza and gelato in one of the squares, which was nice but not quite special enough to make the trip worthwhile.

I would have loved to have made it to Monte Solaro and spent some time exploring the quieter footpaths around the island, but we would have needed a full day to do that. I’m still glad we went, though, and at least we managed to get some excitement at the end of our trip. As we wandered around eating our gelato, we lost track of time and nearly missed our ferry back to Sorrento! Clearly we had done a bit too much relaxing and gelato is, um, very distracting. We quickly found a taxi (a convertible, I might add) whose driver was determined to get us to our boat within 20 minutes, even if it meant killing us (and others) in the process, all while blasting techno music.


Normally, this type of situation would seriously stress me out, but somehow it felt more like being on a roller coaster – we were laughing the whole way! Nervous laughter perhaps? I think so. Guess there wasn’t much else we could do…but the good news is that we made it to our ferry in one piece, got our car back in Sorrento without any problems and found our way back to Naples Airport without getting (too) lost. Success!

This is where everything started to deteriorate. Nothing serious, of course – flight delays, screaming children kicking our seats, being questioned for ages at the UK border (which never happens), causing us to miss the last train – the kind of stuff that makes you feel like you need another holiday by the time you get home in the middle in the night, with work early the next morning! Thankfully, my Italian glow helped masked the bags under my eyes…

My trip to the Amalfi Coast was far too brief, but I got a taste of an amazing place that I will definitely be seeing again – perhaps not at the marathon later this year, but most definitely at some later stage of my life!

Yep, it’s time for another travel adventure already! I can’t say that I’m excited for the 3:45am cab to the airport tomorrow (those early morning flights always seem like a great idea when booked months in advance), but I can’t wait for some proper summer weather while exploring the Amalfi Coast for four days!

A friend of E’s is getting married in Ravello – I’ve been to Sicily and all over Italy, but never to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, so of course I had to tag along. Also, technically speaking, my Portland Marathon training begins on Monday June 20th, so what better way to prepare for my next big effort than a bit of R&R, plenty of great food and wine (I’m going to a Jewish/Italian wedding…enough said), sunshine, swimming…

…And HILLS. My running shoes go pretty much everywhere I go, so I hope to fit in a short run or two. Given that we are essentially staying on top of a mountain, I can be pretty certain that any route I take will involve lots of hills. And guess what I just discovered? If I enjoy running down there, I can enter the Amalfi Coast Marathon, which this year will be held on December 18th. How convenient, since E and I are looking for a December marathon to do together. Check out this crazy course profile – it looks like a roller coaster!!

I commented that at least the entrance fee would be cheap (25 euro if we enter by the end of June) – to which E replied, “Yeah it’s cheap – if you don’t count the helicopter evacuation.”

Good point, E…So I’ll just go back to focusing on this weekend – and Iceland – and Portland – first. 🙂

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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