Lisa Runs on Ramen

— running 26.2 and having foodie adventures too!


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The Calm before the storm—Marine Corps Marathon 10/28

To say that I was a bit nervous going into the Marine CorpsMarathon would be an understatement. I was hoping to run well and possibly PR (run sub-4:05), but once the weather forecast wind and rain I relaxed my expectations a little bit and just wanted to run “well.” I guess that is the secret to why I’ve been running marathons for so long. If I set time goals for myself all the time, it would take the fun out of marathon running and  the journey would be a struggle.

 So before I left on the Bolt Bus to DC, to take my mind off my nervousness, I stopped by the Syfy 31 Days of Halloween display at Flatiron. My friend Donald and I took photos with a giant inflatable pumpkin, decorated our own mini-pumpkins, and got our own animated flipbooks! We took a 7-second video of us jousting and had a free flipbook made of us, haha.

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Diane hosted me once again in lovely Virginia, and I arrived on Friday night. She welcomed me with dinner, including this bowl of awesome buffalo chicken wing soup (yes, you heard correctly). It has chicken stock, bleu cheese, hot sauce, carrots, sausage and other delicious stuff. It was delicious.

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The next day, Diane, Deb and our friend Greg ran the Runner’s World Challenge shake-out run with Bart Yasso at 8am on the National Mall. It was peaceful and the tourist-free scenery was stunning. Plus, we got to meet Bart, the “Mayor of running.”

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After the run, my friends and I got Caribou Coffee. I always stop by that local coffee place when I’m in the DC area. Then,I met up with my German friend Jürgen at the Marine Corps Marathon expo. We walked around, took photos, and I ogled at the new Mickey Mouse medal in the RunDisney booth. I’m running for that 20th anniversary medal in January! Jürgen and I took a fun photo booth picture:

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And here is the Mickey medal (ooh and ahh!)

ImageOf course, I couldn’t stop by an expo without meeting a running hero. Shalane Flanagan was doing a signing at the Nissan booth. She placed second at the 2010 ING NYC Marathon and placed 10th at the London Olympic Marathon 2012. She’s pretty awesome, and we coordinated outfits :).

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After the expo, we were pretty hungry, so we ate at Matchbox pizza for lunch. I had a half-and-half pie. I had the fig, basil and honey pizza and I think a wild mushroom and sausage combination. It was delicious!Image

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For dinner, Greg very kindly invited us to his place for a lasagna dinner. I was so stuffed–we only had 3 hours in between lunch and dinner so we were well carbed-up!

Race Day 10/28

I met up with Jürgen and Amy on race day. Amy came prepared with a trash bag and a banana. We joke that ever since the Lululemon Seawheeze Half, the banana always has to be in our photo op. You can see the cloudy skies of Hurricane Sandy (approaching) hanging over DC.Image

The weather was cool and crisp, perfect for running. I told myself that I would listen to my body, and if I could run fast, I would. If not, then I would back off. When the starting gun went off at 7:55am, I felt pretty good. I was running around 9:10 or 9:20 pace, on track for a PR if I could hold it.

I soon realized that 3 weeks of 13.1 mile long runs was not exactly the same as running 18 miles for training. After my 100-miler, I wanted to give my legs plenty of rest so I didn’t run any longer than 13.1 miles. I also didn’t look at the hydration stops on the map. That was another mistake. The volunteers and Marines were fantastic, and I loved the scenery.

My Whippet friends Jim, Emily and Patricia were cheering on the course, as were Diane, Deb and Shannon! I was so happy to see them. There were a couple of significant hills, but it wasn’t too bad. I wished I carried my own water because I need water every mile, and the stops seemed to be every two miles instead. I still took salt tabs and GU as usual.

My friend Wams paced with me from miles 11-26 because she wanted a long run. She’s normally a 3:30 marathoner but she slowed down and kept me company. Thanks Wams! I remember giving her my 6:30pm Boltbus ticket home because I wanted her to get home earlier due to Hurricane Sandy approaching (I had a ride home so I didn’t need it anymore).

We ran past the Washington Monument, the Capitol, Crystal City, the Potomac River and more. The course was very nice.

I started cramping up really badly around mile 20 (due to dehydration) and had to run-walk the rest of it. I was in a lot of pain. I couldn’t prevent my muscles from seizing up. I managed to finish in 4:31:32. Oh well, I didn’t manage to beat Oprah’s time this time around (4:29), but maybe next time! There were lots of signs saying “Run and beat Hurricane Sandy!” so that was motivation enough.

I had to be helped to the medical tent after the finish line due to my cramping, but I was so happy to be done. Thanks to the Marines and volunteers! I ran into Becky during the “slow march of death” out of the finish area. We got cool “disposable” jackets and a lunch box, plus Gatorade. Good finisher amenities. Plus, the medal was gorgeous!

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After the race, Jürgen and I left DC together and he drove me home once we realized that MTA trains and buses stopped working at 7:00pm due to the hurricane. Thanks so much Jürgen! The medal below is so precious to me because it reminds me of the good times before Hurricane Sandy struck. I am so lucky to have the support of my friends, and I was honored to run this race with them.

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Hurricane Sandy and ING NYC Marathon memories

This week was an emotional roller coaster, and I thank the powers that be for keeping my friends and family safe during Hurricane (aka Tropical Storm) Sandy. I pray for the victims of the hurricane that still have a long recovery ahead of them.

On Monday, October 29, it was my Mom’s birthday. It was also the day that Hurricane Sandy made landfall in NYC and the Jersey shore around 8:30pm EST. For many days we heard warnings about this massive “Frankenstorm,” and at the time it seemed like the biggest worry was maybe stocking up on some extra food and leaving Washington, DC, as soon as possible after the Marine Corps Marathon to make it back to NYC early. Special thanks to my friend Jürgen for driving me back safely post-race, and for Diane hosting me and sending me off with big hugs back to NYC. [Dear readers, I will post about the Marine Corps Marathon later this week.]

On Tuesday morning, I awoke to news reports of devastating images like this one of a flooded South Ferry station:

photo credit: Associated Press

The phone calls and texts were flooding in to make sure that I was doing ok. I thank everyone who sent me texts, emailed, or called–it really means a lot.

Fortunately, my family was ok, the house was fine, and we still had electricity. Some of my friends were not so lucky. Most of Lower Manhattan below 37th Street had no power. My dad had to walk home on Tuesday from his hotel workplace near Grand Central all the way back to Brooklyn–it took him 2.5 hours because there were no trains working, and few cabs to be found.

Staten Island and the Rockaways were devastated. Over 100 homes burned down in Breezy Point, Queens. I sent prayers and positive energy to all who needed it in the world.

This whole week my office was closed due to a collapsed crane so I worked from home. Besides the minor inconvenience of no subways into Manhattan, I felt very lucky.

Then, on Friday around 5:30pm, it was announced that the ING NYC Marathon was cancelled. My friends all know how much the marathon means to me, so the news saddened me. I was supposed to host my friend Steven the night before the marathon. He deferred his 2012 marathon entry on Wednesday when he found out his flight was cancelled due to the hurricane. JFK was closed and reopened only on Wednesday.

So today, on what was supposed to be Marathon Sunday, 11/4/12, I walked around Greenpoint instead. I was in the area caring for my sister’s cats, instead of being at a cheer zone and the finish line like I planned to. I felt a bit empty. To cheer up, I walked into Sips and Bites to buy myself lunch. I bought a Fairyland sandwich (fried egg, spinach, Korean chili paste, mushrooms on a Parker House Roll) and got a free coffee with my Foursquare check-in. It’s the little things in life that make us smile.

I read stories via Facebook about my friends volunteering in Red Hook, going for their own runs in the city, and setting up Red Cross fundraisers. I wanted to do something. I walked around the neighborhood and saw that Brooklyn Industries was collecting supplies for relief in Far Rockaway. I immediately walked into a bodega and bought some canned goods to donate. It wasn’t much, but the volunteers smiled and thanked me as I dropped them off.

I love my city so much that it hurts to see it suffer.

So I leave you with the following images. It was November 6, 2005, and I had just run the ING NYC Marathon, my first one ever.

My sister took this photo of me at Mile 6, Brooklyn

My mom, dad and sister cheered for me on the course. My boyfriend at the time, Jason, and his mom cheered for me from First Avenue and 60th Street in Manhattan. I heard the “wall of sound” on First Avenue. My friends Stasy and Kseniya gave me a bouquet of roses. I smiled so much that day. I crossed the finish line that day feeling like I could do anything. I vowed to try another marathon, just to get that feeling again. I was bursting with love for New York City. And I still am.