training update {brief}

Not going to lie, I’ve been a bit nervous about Chicago for the last couple of weeks because of some IT band and hamstring soreness. Haven’t done any workouts and kind of felt like my training was at a standstill while trying to rehab the leg (via Dr. Levine) and run as much as I could without aggravating it. When Betsy and I were running together the other day, my response to her, “I feel gooood [about the race],” was pretty much “that’s great! I, um, err, don’t?”

I hate that feeling of not really knowing if things are going to head downhill injury-wise and if a goal race is going to have to be postponed (like I had to do last spring), especially when the race has been planned for so long with my bud. But, I do think I’ve wised up over the years and know that no one race is the be all that ends all, and whatever happens, it’s going to be fine. Still, I was relieved to finally have a great, pain-free long run on Saturday to help kick off this last stretch of training before taper time.


#sorrynotsorry for the Garmin shot

Set out for the run without a set plan, but felt good and ran a good chunk of the miles a little slower than goal marathon pace (so, 8:15-8:25). Really conscious of my fueling disaster a few weeks ago and took two gels (Clif Shot at about 70 minutes in and Honey Stinger about 2 hours, 15 minutes in) and a handheld filled with Nuun (which had to be refilled twice, so sweaty!). This kind of made up for the fact that I stayed out a bit too late the night before drinking beer and am way too in love with early morning runs to sleep in. Even so, I felt 100% better after the run compared to the one without fuel. Besides the usual post-long run exhaustion (and a tiny hangover), felt like I could pretty much go about my day as usual.


favorite post-run homemade “brunch” – two egg omelet with veggies and salsa, baked sweet potato fries

I haven’t really followed a training plan this whole summer, and plan on taking it week by week with some workouts and (hopefully) two more 20 milers until about a 3 week taper. A kind of controlled “winging it,” if you will. As fall marathon season gets closer, hopefully it’ll feel more like fall soon too…

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fueling fumbles {a bit on glycogen depletion}

Not really sure how it’s been more than a month since I last posted, but here we are! This summer (which is now almost over??) has been pretty busy with work and life things, but mostly good so I’m not complaining.

Running is going well but with a small “hiccup” of some IT band pain I’m trying to manage. Well, Dr. Levine is managing, I’m just submitting my left leg to his torture devices. Usually if I have IT band trouble – hasn’t happened in a few years so I guess I was due – I can’t run at all. This time, it feels ok to run but not normal, if that makes any sense. So, I’m still running but with a bit more caution, somewhat lower mileage and not so much speed work for right now. You know what they say about the best laid plans…

Anyways, I thought I’d share something stupid I did last weekend running and nutrition-wise, because why not? Even though I know better, I still make questionable decisions sometimes.


like starting to drink caffeine again?

So, I had signed up for a 10 mile race with Betsy but decided not to run it because even the thought of racing for more than an hour on a hilly course made my IT band hurt. Instead, I decided to “just run” nice and easy without a plan. Since the band felt ok on easy runs, I did want to get in a longer effort but wasn’t sure how long. Sometimes long run prep stresses me out, so I really didn’t want to deal with it and brought NOTHING with me. “Just running” sounded so freeing, you know? Plus I know where all the water fountains are in Central Park (including the only cold one – across the road from Tavern on the Green, holla!) and the West Side Highway, so it would be fine. The IT band loosened up after a few miles and I felt good, so decided to do my typical long run route along the WSH and see what happened. I stopped at water fountains a few times but had no nutrition – no gels, Gus, whatever – which didn’t really bother me during the run. I felt fine! And got in a good long run, woohoo!

But then I got home, stretched, took a shower and finally ate something. For the rest of the day, I alternated between being too tired to eat and too hungry to sleep, and it was a chore to go outside to the drugstore. What I had done here is completely deplete my body of its glycogen stores by not fueling during the run, and dehydrated myself on top of that. It takes about 2-3 hours (give or take) for our bodies to use up all available glycogen stores, and since I run first thing in the morning didn’t really have much else to start with (1/2 banana, maybe). Needless to say, my tank was empty when I got home and my entire body was super pissed – this felt something like a hangover but maybe worse. So this is what it feels like after those “depletion” runs some people do, I thought to myself. Maybe you know what I’m talking about – purposefully abstaining from fuel on a long run to train your body to be more efficient with burning fat and prolong the complete depletion of glycogen stores, all in an effort to feel stronger for longer and avoid the “bonk.”

Depletion runs have been shown to be beneficial in the long run (ha!) for some pro athletes and by becoming more efficient fat burners, help them shave off precious seconds or maybe minutes. But! The act of training for something like a marathon and consistently running longer distances itself makes us more efficient fat burners, even if we fuel during our long runs. Maybe we can speed up these adaptations by doing depletion runs, but with the consequences of feeling like ass for the rest of the day. For me, a maybe front-of-the-middle-of-the-packer who will never win a race, this isn’t really worth it. You’re putting your body through a lot when this happens, and the benefits do not really outweigh the risks. I would rather fuel properly and be a functional person on a beautiful weekend day. To each his own, though, because I also wouldn’t blame a pro runner or triathlete for purposefully making these types of runs part of their training. After all, minutes and seconds can mean a whole lot more when running is putting food on the table.

And with that, I will leave you with a delicious recipe I got (and adapted slightly) from a recent issue of Runner’s World that is perfect pre or post-run fuel.


Whole Wheat Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes, Tofu, Veggies and Avocado Sauce (adapted slightly from this recipe to add more protein and veggies)
Servings: ~4

12 ounces whole-wheat fusilli
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup broccoli florets
2 cups kale, chopped
1 1/2 cups firm tofu, cubed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 avocados, halved and pitted
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about five minutes (before tender) and add in broccoli and kale. Continue cooking until pasta and greens are tender. Remove from heat and reserve 1 cup cooking water. Drain pasta and veggies, cover, and set aside. In a bowl, add tomatoes and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add oil and basil. Toss to coat. Set aside. Scoop avocado into empty pasta pot. Mash with a potato masher. Add garlic and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Whisk pasta water in, creating a light sauce. Stir in pasta and tomato mixture to coat.


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catching up {work/nutrition things, long runs}

Blogging is definitely the first thing to go when things get busy around here! I have no idea how we’re already almost halfway through July. Yikes! One of the (many) things I’ve been keeping busy with is my job at a clinic run by medical students at the hospital for patients in Harlem without health insurance. I counsel patients one Saturday per month on nutrition – lots of diabetes diet education – and have recently taken on a bigger role that will focus on teaching the med students what exactly nutritionists do in general, what I discuss with the clinic patients and what warrants a nutrition referral/consult – both in acute care and in the clinic.


I do talk about vegetables a lot

The timing of this new role is pretty perfect, because a recent analysis highlighted what many of us nutrition professionals already know – most physicians do not receive adequate enough training or education on nutrition to talk with their patients about it. Part of me thinks, duh, that’s why registered dietitians exist. But a lot of times, they don’t know when or why to refer a patient to an RD. And sometimes, they are the only healthcare professional a patient will see. Aside from nutrition education, the other main goal of my new role at the clinic are to see how we (and other important disciplines like social work) can work together more as one cohesive unit, rather than many separate ones, for the ultimate benefit of the patient. I wrote a post about why dietitians are so important for another one of my side jobs here, if you want to check it out!

the running
After this Sunday’s long run (ok, during Sunday’s long run), I was absolutely wishing for fall. It was everything I hate about summer running – warm, humid and oh so sweaty. I tried to do a workout in the middle of the run, but a malfunctioning Garmin was all I needed to throw in the towel and just try to power through the run at a somewhat steady pace. Trying not to get too down on myself about it – shitty long runs happen – and focus on the good ones I’ve had the past few weeks. 


July 6 long run workout: 3.25 miles easy warm-up, 4 x 6 minutes at between 10K and half marathon pace, with 1 minute rest, 40 minutes easy, 16 minutes at marathon pace, ~2 miles cooldown. Goals for the 6 minute sets were about 7:30 pace, and even though the splits were all over the place, the pace felt steady and pretty good. The main goal for this workout was to get more used to pushing the pace towards the end of the run on tired legs, and it definitely did that! By the time the MP minutes came around, I was fairly pooped but able to push through.

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 7.17.54 AM

June 27 long run workout: ~40 minutes warm-up, 3 x 10 minutes at a little quicker than marathon pace with 2 minutes rest, long 50 minute cooldown. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for this run, but this kind of workout is a pretty good one in general and helped me get back into feeling what marathon pace is like.

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 7.22.51 AM

Mid-week workouts have been lots of hill repeats and short intervals, and I’ve hit 58-60 miles the past few weeks. Feeling kind of tired, so am trying to be really good about taking one rest day per week (so far, so good!). I’ll probably do more short intervals for tomorrow’s workout, but want to really focus on having a good long run workout before going away for a long weekend.

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countdown to chicago {marathon plan}

Seventeen weeks seems like a super long time, but when it comes to marathons it’s (usually) just enough time to get down to business. I feel a little unprepared to “officially” start training, mostly due to running a fairly unplanned marathon a month ago and trying to slowly get back into the swing of things. I haven’t really thought through a specific plan other than the fact that I’m still going to do a weekday workout (usually Tuesdays) and a workout within my long run on the weekend. This seems to work pretty well and gives enough time for recovery between the two.

I’ve always had trouble figuring the types of workouts to do and when, but with knowledge from Coach John, the Jack Daniels Running Formula book and a recent article in Running Times, I think I have more of an idea of how the succession of workouts should happen.

1. Base building/volume – DONE

2. Strength/hills – NOW

3. Speed via short intervals – in the next 2-4 weeks

4. Strength and speed via tempo runs, VO2 max workouts – August

5. Marathon-specific speedwork – September

I may loosely follow this kind of schedule while gradually increasing my mileage and making two distinct changes from my last training cycle:

  • REST One of my goals for this training cycle is to prevent an injury from happening like last time, and am going to make rest days a priority. I had substituted an easy run for a weekly rest day a bunch of times when I was training in the winter/spring, and I don’t think it gave my body proper time to recover and rebuild from long runs, workouts, etc. in the long run.
  • STRENGTH Since my injury, I’ve been keeping up with a good schedule of PT exercises and lifting to build strength in my quads, hamstrings, glutes, arms and core. I feel a lot stronger and my knee is feeling good – I figure a plan like this can only help prevent those little weaknesses that can easily turn into an injury.

It feels good to have some kind of plan outlined now! Yesterday I did my first long run with a small workout, and think it went pretty well.


5, 10, 10, 5 workout: warm-up (this time I did ~40 minutes), then 5 minutes at between 10K and half marathon pace, 3 minutes easy, 10 minutes at ~half marathon pace, 5 minutes easy, 10 minutes at half pace, 4 minutes easy, 5 minutes at between 10K and half pace, cooldown (~30-40 minutes)

I like this workout because the last repeat is usually pretty hard, and it teaches you to push when the legs are feeling tired. This is what I need to focus most on, and while I didn’t exactly hit goal paces, it gave me a good starting point. Here’s to a great seventeen weeks!

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oakley mini 10k race recap

I signed up for the “mini” probably back when there was still snow on the ground – it’s a fun race and I missed it last year due to injury. It was 1.5 months after the New Jersey Marathon, so I figured I’d be totally recovered. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Three weeks post-marathon, I’m feeling ok but still not totally back to normal. Which I know is normal. So I went into the race with zero plan but a tiny glimmer of hope that maybe, a PR could happen since my current 10K PR is nothing to write home about (for me) anyways.


sprouted grain toast, almond butter, banana, strawberry and chia seeds

Fueled up with my typical pre-race breakfast and a little decaf coffee. We had some pretty gnarly thunderstorms the night before, but luckily they were gone by morning (unluckily, the humidity stuck around). I ran to the park and met Betsy and Jenny on the west side, where we finished our warm-up together towards the starting area.

I really like that this is a women-only race, and I also really don’t like that it’s a women-only race. It has an awesome history of being the oldest women-only road race in the country (world?), started in the days of Kathryn Switzer when lady runners were not a common thing. Crazy to think of how far we’ve come! There were also a lot of awesome, fast elite women running, and since the corrals were seeded differently (no dudes), we got to start in the first corral and see a lot of great speakers on the stage before the race started. It was cool and inspirational to hear words from Deena, Desi, and Kathryn, to name a few. We also started the race right next to Mary Wittenberg, who I am always in awe of. Even so, I don’t do too many (or any, besides this one) women-only races because I find that much estrogen in one place to be a little overwhelming. And, I am not a fan of tutus, sparkle skirts, ruffles, feather boas, etc. on a race course. Moving right along…

Miles 1-3: 7:13, 7:23, 7:20
Ok, this doesn’t feel so bad, I thought once mile 1 ticked off. Betsy, Jenny and Mary had zoomed by me from the very beginning, and I told myself I was’t going to try to keep up. My legs felt ok but without any “pop,” if that makes sense. I knew the Harlem hills would be killer, and probably dreaded them for the most of these miles. It was hot and humid, and the sun was blazing. I can’t wait until this is over…

Miles 4-6.2: 7:51, 7:32, 7:45
True to their word, the Harlem hills kicked my ass and left my legs feeling kind of like jello. After that, I just wanted to finish the race and be done and didn’t care so much how fast I was going. Ok, maybe I cared a little. So this is still going to be a nice tempo workout to start off marathon training! Was my attempt to switch the mindset positively, and it kind of worked. I stopped looking at my watch and tried to work with the rest of the hills as much as I could until the finish.

Finish: 47:25, 7:38/mile

Ooof. I honestly felt like I was running in place for the last mile or so. Even though ~7:20 is about my goal 10K pace right now, I think I started out too fast for where I’m at right now and paid the consequences. When and how will I ever learn? After getting some water and meeting Betsy, Jenny, Megan and Dani for some post-race talk, photos and deliciously salty pretzels I felt better.


yay for running buddies! 

Betsy, Jenny and I started our cooldown on the bridle path and saw a lot of the elites doing their cooldowns, which I will never not geek out about. None of us knew who won, but when I got home it was so cool to see that Molly Huddle had set a new 10K all-women’s road record.

Even though I did not enjoy the act of actually running this race, I’m glad I did it and think it was a good way to kick off marathon training. And really, a morning spent in Central Park on a nice day with favorite running buddies is never a bad thing.

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marathon training part 7; summer hydration {nutrition}

Getting back to running after a marathon is always tricky business – at least for me. I know a good amount of rest and recovery is necessary both mentally and physically, and I’ve been trying to honor that and manage my FOMO of the bridle path by taking easy runs of whatever distance I feel like whenever I want. It’s funny, but I look forward to that post-marathon break all throughout training, but then during the break all I can think about is getting back into a training cycle. The grass is always greener, I guess!


i think i have enough running shoes, but i’m not sure

I’ve been trying to think of what kind of training “plan” to work with for Chicago (my seventh marathon!) and what I need to work on more this time around. One thing that has been consistent with my last three marathons – none in really ideal conditions either weather-wise or physically – I’ve started out a bit fast or right at goal pace and haven’t been able to hold the pace throughout the race. I don’t know if this is because I actually did start out too fast, or hot weather/tired legs/wonky training had more to do with the wheels falling off at various points before crossing the finish line. In looking back at my training, I’ve done most marathon pace miles in my long runs during the middle of the run and then let myself have a nice cooldown. It always seemed to work out well – I looked forward to that cooldown – but I’m wondering if doing more fast finish long runs with the MP miles focused on the later part of the long run will help me get used to holding a faster pace on tired legs. The race is in 18 weeks (yeesh, how did that happen), and I’m definitely going to include some of those runs into my plan. As far as everything else… I guess that’s still kind of TBD for right now (help?)!

on hydration
It’s been super humid in NYC this week, and it’s one of the first weeks I’ve had of super sweaty, I look like I just jumped in a pool runs this spring/summer. Thankfully, all of the water fountains are working in Central Park and along the West Side Highway, which are lifesavers in this weather. I talked about the importance of hydration during winter running a while back, but hydration on summer runs is, in some ways, a whole different ball game. Here are three of my most important tips for staying on top of hydration during summer runs:

know your sweat rate: Our sweat rate is typically a lot higher in warm weather and we naturally lose more fluids and sodium during our runs. If you calculated your sweat rate in the winter, that’s fantastic. But now is the time to re-calculate it in warmer temperatures to have a more accurate idea of how much fluids you need to drink during sweaty summer runs.

  • Weigh yourself naked before running
  • Weigh yourself naked after a run
  • Estimate how much fluid you took in during the run, if any

Now, subtract the post-run weight from the pre-run weight. For every pound lost, you should be drinking about 16 ounces during the run. Add that 16 ounces to any fluids you consumed while running to get your total fluid needs, and divide the number by hours to get an estimate of how much you should be drinking per hour on the run.

replete sodium: When it comes to sodium, we lose between 500-1500mg per 16 ounces of sweat depending on how much of a “salty sweater” we are. And, contrary to popular belief, those awful muscle cramps that tend to creep up in the late miles of a marathon or hot long run are not from potassium depletion, but sodium depletion. Drinking an electrolyte-containing beverage like Gatorade or Nuun can help replete lost sodium, and if you’re a super salty sweater, salt packets can be lifesavers.

drink early: Sometimes the body can’t tell it’s thirsty until we’ve already lost as much as 1.5 liters of fluid, or 2% of our body weight. That’s enough to affect performance, and by then it can be tough to adequately rehydrate without causing GI distress. The key here is to drink early and often. Make sure you go into your run or race well-hydrated (your pee should be a pale yellow) and that you consciously drink every 15-20 minutes after you start running. Pay attention to how your body feels, though, and take a break from drinking if your stomach feels full or “sloshy” to avoid over-hydrating.


and make sure to re-hydrate post-run with my favorite green power smoothie!

Happy running and racing!

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recovery, thoughts on “eating clean”

{thanks for your comments to my last post!}

The past week has been all about recovery and a little celebrating – both the marathon and this birthday thing that happened. It’s been fun to not really worry about getting up at X:XX o’clock to run or do whatever, but I have to admit I’m kind of itching to start training for Chicago. I was pretty sore up until about Wednesday, and then slowly started to feel like my normal self again minus some lingering exhaustion. I’ve gone on a few easy runs since the race and think some of the post-marathon sluggishness is starting to lift (hooray!). Still, I don’t want to push it so will probably keep the miles easy the next couple of weeks before really gearing back up.

That’s about all I’ve got when it comes to running, but luckily there is always something to talk about in the world of nutrition. One thing I’ve been wanting to write about is the term “clean eating” (or, #eatclean, if you will). This article said a lot of what I think of the term, but I think it’s worth a little more discussion. It’s everywhere – blog world, books, Instagram, Twitter, magazines – and the term is used by a ton of different people (even some RDs, to which I cringe). But what is “clean eating?”


are vegetables “clean” ? What if they’re not organic? Or local?

That’s the thing – it doesn’t have a definitive meaning. It’s not a scientific or clinical term, and it’s basically subjective to whomever is using it and what they think it means. That’s kind of confusing and misleading, yes?

In general, I think people who use the term are trying to eat minimally processed, whole foods, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s great as more than half of the American diet typically consists of processed foods (!!!). But the term still bugs me because it is inherently negative in the assumption that if there are “clean” foods, then there must be “dirty” foods. And if you’re not following whatever version of “clean eating” you believe in, then you must be “dirty eating” or eating poorly. That doesn’t really make sense! And it sets a difficult standard for most mortals who enjoy a treat every now and again, not to mention it can also open the door to disordered eating patterns.


elk burger from Bareburger – lean protein, whole grain goodness

I’ve said before that I don’t think there is any one “bad” food, and this term puts a lot of foods (again, based on your own personal definition of it) in that category.  Instead of “eating clean,” I think focusing on food as fuel, eating a generally healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and good protein sources with higher calorie, higher fat and heavily processed foods consumed in moderation is a more positive and doable way of looking at how we eat.

I’m always curious to hear thoughts on topics like this – do you ever use the term “clean eating”? Like it or dislike it?


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2014 Buffalo Marathon Race Recap

So, I ran a marathon on Sunday.


smiling around mile 26

I started thinking about maybe running the Buffalo Marathon in the beginning of May, right after the New Jersey Marathon (the one I had been training for) happened. My runs were feeling good and I really wanted to have something to show for training through this horrific winter. So I found a cheap plane ticket (my family lives there, so staying and food = free), told myself that I’d run either the half or the full marathon depending on how long runs went the next couple weeks and how the knee felt. I did 16.5 miles ~3 weeks out and a 20 miler 16 days out and felt good, so decided to go for the full and see what happened.

Since this plan came together rather quickly (and spontaneously), I didn’t really mention it to many people partly for fear of jinxing how good I was feeling and partly because not talking about it seemed to bring a lot less pressure, and I put enough pressure on myself as it is. Plus, I told myself that if the knee started hurting for some reason, I’d pull out and it wouldn’t be a big deal. So it kind of became my Secret This-Might-Be-Crazy Marathon Plan.

I got to Buffalo on Friday and basically spent the next two days relaxing, eating and visiting the race expo. My sister and I went out on a three mile shake-out run on Saturday morning (she’s running her first 5K next week!) and I felt pretty good. The weather was great and promised to be decent for race day, and this was a relief since you never know what will happen in Buffalo when it comes to weather. My dad made spaghetti with venison meat sauce (it would be pretty hard to go veg there…) for dinner with a side of crusty, delicious bread and ice cream cake for dessert (birthdays…). #carbs

The race started at 7:00 a.m., so I woke up at 4:30 to have some (decaf) coffee and eat a little breakfast before heading to the start with my dad and sister, who, bless them, woke up just as early as I did and hung around for the whole race.


bright shirts = easy spotting 

This was a small race compared to even the standard NYRR race, and leading up to the start I was astonished at how easy it was. We got there around 5:50 a.m., hung out in the Buffalo Convention Center with plentiful bathrooms and I didn’t mosey on over to the start until around 6:45 a.m. where the marathon and half marathon started together. Easy peasy, and before I knew it we were off. Shit, I’m running a marathon. 

Miles 1-5: 8:15, 7:59, 8:08, 8:14, 8:19
Obviously BQ-ing is always my A goal, but since I’ve had such weird training cycle and the injury, I thought shooting for sub-3:40 was more realistic. The weather was great – about 50 and sunny – but I knew it would get warmer and sunnier later on. Felt really good during these miles and they flew by – we mainly ran through some neighborhoods and back down towards the Buffalo waterfront. I don’t remember a whole lot else.

Miles 6-10: 8:04, 7:59, 8:14, 8:18, 8:09
Here I started thinking that maybe I could do it – go sub-3:40 and possibly even BQ if I just kept it up. I tried to remind myself that the race had barely even started, but probably got a little too over-excited. Took my first gel at mile 6 because I really wanted to be one step ahead of my nutrition and avoid any sort of bonking.

Miles 11-15: 8:12, 8:17, 8:20, 8:28, 8:32
My sister and dad were going to be cheering at about the halfway point, and I was looking forward to that as we got closer. Miles 9-12 ish were along the waterfront, which was pretty but super sunny and I was getting pretty hot. I also reminded myself that soon, the half marathoners would finish and the number of runners would thin out (A LOT) for the rest of the race. Saw my dad, tossed my gloves to my sister and hit the half in about 1:48 – right on target. Took my second gel and it didn’t go down easy – my stomach cramped for a good mile or two and I just kept telling myself it would go away eventually and to calm down. My pace was slowing a bit here and I was vaguely aware of it.

Miles 16-20: 8:18, 8:20, 8:43, 8:38, 8:50
This part of the course was the hardest, and it’s funny because it was what I was looking forward to the most because it went through Delaware Park, which I’ve never run through. It’s quite pretty, but the sun was blaring down without any shade, it was getting warmer and there were only a handful of other runners around me so it seemed to go on forever. Took my third gel around mile 19. My pace also slowed dramatically pretty suddenly. It was weird, like I was giving the same effort but the wheels were just not turning. Different from hitting The Wall because I didn’t necessary feel glycogen depleted, just tired. My mom and aunt were going to be cheering around mile 19.5, so I looked forward to that and got a little boost after seeing them and pushed on. 10K left, it’s only a loop around Central Park. Keep moving.

Miles 21-26.2: 8:47, 8:25, 9:07, 9:19, 9:06, 8:50
I hate miles 21-23 of a marathon. So close, yet so far away. I really, really wanted to stop here and throw in the towel. The 3:40 pace group caught up to me around mile 21, and I was like shit, ok. Just keep up with them. Do not let them out of your sight. That lasted for 1 mile (22, see above), and I just didn’t have it. I walked through a few aid stations and took some water and Gatorade because the thought of taking another gel was nauseating. I tried not to get down on myself and thought maybe I could eek out a PR if I kept moving. After mile 24 I felt a little better and knew the last few miles were on a nice downhill, so just kept pushing and telling myself things like, ok, only 15 more minutes of running. You can do anything for 15 minutes. 10 more minutes of running… and so on. Saw my dad and sister again around mile 26 which was awesome – my dad yelled “come on, push it!!” which definitely helped me keep moving. At this point there were crowds again so that always helps distract from the pain. I looked at my watch which seemed to be moving a whole lot faster that it should have. Dude, if you want to PR you need to haul ass to the finish. So that’s what I (tried) to do, and as always, crossing that line was oh so sweet.


Official time: 3:42:48 (8:29/mile) – 10 second PR, 15th AG, 69th female (small races FTW!)

Hobbled over to my mom, aunt, dad and sister for some post-race refreshments. It was so cool to find them quickly and to have such a great support crew! They hugged me, held my bags and didn’t tell me how badly I probably smelled. The race put on a great spread of pizza and beer in the convention center, and even though I felt super nauseous choked down half a slice of pizza because I know all too well how important it is to get some carbs and protein in soon after the race. The thought of beer wasn’t too appealing at the time, but I made up for it later.


veggie burger, sweet potato fries, blue moon <3

I wore my “Boston Strong” shirt for this race partly because I like it, and partly because I wanted to channel how inspired I was from this year’s Boston into my race. My mantra was from the phrase I saw in the Boston Bombing Memorial Exhibit – Lace up your shoes and run for those who can’t. I think that says it all right there. Throughout the second half of the race, I kept thinking about The Goal (BQ) and whether I’d be disappointed if it didn’t happen yet again. Obviously, I would have been ecstatic if it had been my day. But really, that’s not what this race was all about anyways – it was about running because I could, in my hometown with support from family, two of whom (my dad and aunt) have never seen me run or watched a marathon.

I honestly do feel pretty lucky to be able to lace up my shoes every day, run a few miles or a marathon, and that so many people rearranged their whole weekend around me and my (arguably) crazy running habit [end cheesiness].

Now on to the next!

Posted in marathon training, Race reports, Running | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

plant-based diets {thoughts}

This past weekend I watched two documentaries about plant-based diets, veganism, their effect on the environment and our health – “Vegucated” and “Forks Over Knives.” As a nutrition expert (it feels funny to say that, but… I am), I know eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds has both long and short-term health benefits. I myself also consume low-fat dairy (mostly in the form of Greek yogurt) and lean animal protein – mainly because of additional health benefits, as well as the taste and variety they bring to the diet. Even though I try to buy organic, grass fed, cage free, etc. when it comes to meats and eggs, I haven’t really thought about where the stuff comes from or what it means. When I think organic, I know the animals have to be raised with certain standards in mind, but am pretty sure they are still not frolicking through the meadows until they happen to pass away pain-free in their sleep. Some of the footage in “Vegucated” clears that right up (to the point of tears, almost). To be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel about this right now…


but I’m still down with the occasional burger, fish, chicken and eggs for now: two egg veggie omelet with sriracha, baked sweet potato fries

I’ve also been doing some reading and researching on vegetarianism (in general, avoidance of animals like poultry, beef, pork and fish) and veganism (avoidance of all animals and animal products including dairy and eggs) – for both professional and personal reasons – in terms of health and sports performance. There’s plenty of research showing that vegetarians are generally “healthier” with less of a risk for chronic disease and obesity, and there’s even some research that shows veganism may be able to reverse some chronic diseases. Whether this is because of an increased focus on fruits and vegetables (and those powerful antioxidants), reduced intake of animal products and processed foods or a combination of both is the question that continues to be asked and answered with support for both sides. It’s also totally possible to eat like crap as a vegan or vegetarian (fake meats, refined carbohydrates, processed stuff), so there’s that to keep in mind too.

A lot of vegan athletes also claim they experienced shorter recovery times in between workouts after following a vegan diet – most famously, Scott Jurek, who wrote “Eat and Run” (great read!) and also that No Meat Athlete guy. This theory really gets me, because wouldn’t we all like to feel good enough to do more quality workouts in a shorter time period? Right now though, there isn’t a whole lot of research to know just exactly how vegan diets effect athletes and whether there is a huge difference between meat eaters and non-meat eaters. We do know that there are a ton of vegan athletes who are thriving these days, and that these diets can be nutritionally “complete.” It’s absolutely possible for vegans to get enough protein, carbohydrates and fat – it just requires a little extra work.


quick vegan dinner – sprouted grain tortilla, hummus, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, tomato, avocado, tofu

This is not the part where I say I’ve gone vegan, am shunning Greek yogurt for life (SAD) and telling all of my patients and clients to never eat meat again, but it’s something I’m going to keep researching and thinking more about. Right now, I think a diet can be healthy whether it includes animal products or not, and the main problems with “unhealthy” diets continue to be processed junk and portion size.

Partly because I’m so into this topic of late, I’ve started using more plant-based protein sources recently like beans and tofu, and it’s been fun to think of new meal combinations I haven’t tried before. Like I said, I don’t plan on becoming a total veghead any time soon, but more variety in the diet is never a bad thing!

Posted in Nutrition, Ponderings | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

smoothie season {green power smoothie}

Last weekend I did something totally crazy – I bought a blender. I know, living on the edge over here, right? But anyone with a small NYC kitchen and (extremely) limited counter and storage space will understand that aside from being generally frugal, I just didn’t know where I’d put the darn thing. I’ve never really had the need for a blender, but lately spring/summer smoothie recipes have been very appealing to me and always sound so delicious after a long run or an afternoon pick-me-up. Luckily, the spring cleaning bug also got the best of me and I found the perfect amount of space for my new little Magic Bullet.

Then, with smoothie recipe ideas flooding my brain, I went to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and splurged on a ton of delicious ingredients. My first try was a play on something I had a few weeks ago at Juice Generation – I’m not in the habit of spending $8 on a smoothie (!!), but it was really good and pretty easy to replicate with a few tweaks to give it even more of a nutritional punch.

Green Power Smoothie
with mango, banana, kale, spinach, almond milk, Greek yogurt and chia seeds
350 calories, 16g protein

1 cup raw spinach
3/4 cup raw kale (torn into small pieces)
1/3 cup frozen mango
1/2 frozen banana, sliced
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Add ingredients (up to Greek yogurt) into blender pitcher or Magic Bullet cup (liquids should go first next to the blade for best mixing/blending) and blend until smooth and desired texture is achieved. If it’s too thick, add a little water and keep blending. When finished, pour into glass (or drink it out of the pitcher, I don’t judge) and sprinkle with chia seeds. Enjoy!


I’ve always said that I like “eating my food” and drinking smoothies just isn’t the same, but they can definitely have their place in the diet and are more filling than I thought. The Green Power smoothie was refreshing and easy to sip on after Sunday’s race as my stomach was a little unsettled and I didn’t really feel like eating a meal. It also sounds just about perfect after a hot long run in the summer heat (oh boy, can’t wait for those!).

Posted in Nutrition, Recipes, Running | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments