Lisa Runs on Ramen

— running 26.2 and having foodie adventures too!

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April races, Spartan Race and London Marathon Part I

I had a very busy month of racing leading up to the Virgin London Marathon. It made for great training, but longer recovery. Here’s what my racing/training calendar looked like:

March 30: Red Hook Criterium 5K, Brooklyn

March 31: 1 hour of rock climbing, Brooklyn Boulders

April 6: Scotland Run 10K, Central Park

April 7: Katonah Run field trip–Leatherman’s Loop 10K course and Fire Tower 6-mile trail run (about 2 hr 45 min of technical trails)

April 13: Spartan Sprint Race, Citi Field 3-miler (lots of CrossFit stuff)

April 14: More Fitness Half Marathon, Central Park

April 21: Virgin London Marathon

April 28: Nike Women’s Half, DC

Needless to say, it was a packed calendar, and I was just focused on not getting injured. Here’s some brief recaps and photos:

Red Hook Crit 5K

This was an awesome nighttime race held in Red Hook, Brooklyn. There were a ton of great runners here, as the top male and female walk away with $1000 prize money. It started at 7pm and was an extremely flat, fast course–4 loops of a 1.25K course by the waterfront. Conditions were perfect, and the Red Hook Lobster Pound truck was parked at the finish. It was great seeing my Dashing Whippets teammates, and it was really fun cheering on the men’s race at 8pm. Thanks to Ben for taking photos, Kenneth for volunteering, and all my wonderful teammates for cheering! I ran my 2nd-best 5K time in 23:34, so I was very happy. Rewarded myself with a buttery Lobster BLT afterward, and stayed to watch the 20K Pro cycling final (the main event). Those cyclists are hardcore!Red Hook Crit 5K

Photo credit: Ben Ko

The Scotland Run

I always have a lot of fun at this race. A few days prior, I was in a photo shoot in Brooklyn Bridge Park promoting the race with some co-workers, and the Scottish government gave us goodie bag filled with a nice tweed bag, a small bottle of Glenlivet, cookies, a hat, and a red kilt! Awesome! I wore the red kilt to the race and it was a hit. It was really cold, but I warmed up towards the end. Thanks Ellen M from the Whippets for pacing with me! I was still a bit fatigued from my March races, but managed to run 53:54. Wearing a kilt was the best part! I did miss the Stoats Oat bars and Iron-bru that they used to give out…not sure what happened to those…

Photo credit: Ben Ko

Photo credit: Ben Ko

scotland run












































Katonah Trail Run

The day after the 10K, I went to Katonah (50 miles away from NYC) with the NY Trail and Ultrarunning group. Deanna organized the run, and I was super excited to finally get out of the city and run some trails! We were picked up at the train station by the Leatherman Harriers (thank you!) and driven to the trail head. We ran the famous Leatherman’s Loop 10K course, filled with 2 river crossings and mud pits, and lots of climbs. It was a lot of fun. Running at medium pace, we did it in about 1:15. Afterwards, a smaller group of us did the Fire Tower Trail (6 miles), which was rockier and more difficult, and with a wrong turn/getting lost it took us about 1:45. That was three hours of solid trail running, a great way to spend a Sunday.

Photo credit: Shane S.

Photo credit: Shane S.

















Spartan Sprint: Citi Field

This was a tougher 3-mile race than I expected–it was minimal running, 12,000 participants, about 75 burpees, and tons of Crossfit-related workouts. I still had a fun time and I finished the course in 1:05:20. To put it in perspective, the top male finisher was done in 28 minutes, and the top female was probably 10 minutes after that. I had never done a single burpee before that day, so it was tough but having raced so much helped. There was a ton of stair climbing (the Empire State Building Run-Up training helped!), rowing for 4 minutes on machines, jumping rope with a weighted rope, carrying water jugs up and down stairs, cargo nets, scaling a wall horizontally, military-style wall jumps, and stuff with weights. My least favorite thing was the military-style wall jumps because I was close to injuring my ankle when I landed on cement. My favorite things were the stair climbs and agility exercises (scaling a wall sideways and cargo nets). A lot of time was added waiting for certain obstacles, because there were so many people in each heat even though they spaced us out. It was fun, but I’m not sure if I would pay money to do it (normally it’s about $95 but I earned a season pass). Thanks Warren for volunteering, and Shane for coming out to support.

spartan race hi res - Copy

Photo credit: Spartan Race official photographer










































More Fitness Half Marathon

My muscles were pretty sore after the Spartan Race the previous day, and I was supposed to be tapering for the London Marathon, but I couldn’t miss one of my favorite races! The More Fitness Half was my first half-marathon ever in 2004, and so it was my 9th anniversary of my first half. I remember meeting the great Grete Waitz and Kathrine Switzer at the expo in 2004, and I still have the photos they autographed for me. For this race, I was running on Team Skechers, and they provided me with a pair of sweet, hot pink GoRun2’s and a tech shirt. The running shoes are really light, and pretty comfortable. I like them better than the first edition of the GoRun’s.

I wanted to treat the race as a hard training run and get psyched for London. It’s a somewhat tough, hilly course, going up Cat Hill and Harlem Hill twice, and ending on an uphill. At the finish line, I saw my cousin Jeannie cheering, and I saw my other cousin Lily finishing her first-ever half marathon! Lily and I went out to brunch with some of her friends at Uva, a nice way to celebrate. Congratulations, Lily! Thanks, Skechers, for the chance to run as part of the team!

me and lily

skechers photo



















































London Marathon trip, Part I

I was going to be in London from 4/18-4/22, and I wanted to make the most of the trip because it was my first time there since 2008! I had previously traveled to Oxford and London in spring of 2008, and the weather was gorgeous then. I had the same luck this time around–the weather was perfect all 5 days I was there.



























I wanted to make seeing my friends a priority, so I met up with Amanda in Cambridge for a day and had high tea at the Cadogan with Nicholette. I also had to juggle going to the expo and staying rested enough for the marathon, so I had a pretty relaxed itinerary in between.

Friday was my first day of sightseeing, and I was staying in South Kensington. The Victoria and Albert museum is one of my sister’s favorite things in London, so I had to check it out. The museums are all free in London, but this time around there was a special “David Bowie Is” exhibit that was on view from March-August 2013 that was an additional ticket purchase. So I queued up with about 150 other people to wait 40 minutes for my ticket. I’m glad I did, though! In the meantime, I admired the 30-foot glass chandelier in the lobby designed by one of my favorite glass artists, Dale Chihuly. I’m a glass art nerd (I’ve been to the Corning Museum of Glass twice).vicand albert



























I saw the David Bowie exhibit, which featured original artworks by him, video installations, and his outlandish/awesome stage costumes. It was a well-designed exhibit and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in London. Even the Sennheiser audioguide was cool–it automatically played a clip depending on where you were standing in the gallery, no flipping back and forth between tracks required. I ate a delicious lunch of a duck leg with potatoes and vegetables in the beautiful museum cafe.

Next, I headed to the marathon expo at the Excel Centre. I got there at 2:30pm and there were no lines!
















The volunteers were so nice, and all the runners got a black ribbon to wear on marathon day in honor of the Boston Marathon bombing victims. I got my bib number and headed straight to the Adidas store. I allowed myself to splurge a bit on three official marathon pieces: shorts, a zip-up track jacket in the colors of the Union Jack, and a fitted blue running top. As I was heading into the dressing room, my co-worker Gail was coming out of the room! We had planned to meet at 2pm somewhere in the expo but I was afraid of missing my co-workers because I had no working phone. It was a nice little moment of serendipity. I took a quick photo with Daphne and Gail and wished them luck.
















Then I got this neat photo op on the podium:

expo winner

After spending less than an hour at the expo, I headed to King’s Cross station to ride the train to Cambridge to see Amanda and her husband Dave. It was cool to get out of London for a little bit. Once I arrived, Dave and Amanda made me feel at home, cooking a delicious glazed teriyaki salmon with veggies and rice. Then, we went to the Tram Depot to meet some of their friends for the evening. It was great to spend time with them.


The next morning, I woke up with a raspy voice and a strong cough. Oh no!! I had felt the inkling of sickness right before, but tried to ignore it and took vitamin C to help quash it. I think the stress of the week and the lack of sleep from traveling contributed to it. I was worried about how I would feel on race day, but short of a fever I was determined to run. I bought some cold medicine called “Lemsip” (no Tylenol here), took some of that and hoped for the best! I took the train back into London and got into King’s Cross at 10:30am.

Of course, I had to stop by Platform 9 3/4 and get my picture. They now have a Harry Potter shop there! They even have a professional photog and props like a house scarf (I chose Gryffindor) if you wanted to use those. It was a 20-minute queue for the picture.

platform 9

I took a few with my camera, but ended up buying the higher-resolution picture from the shop. I am a sucker for good photo opportunities. Memories are worth it! I took a similar picture of Platform 9 3/4 about five years earlier, but it was in a different location and the setup was less elaborate. There was no line and it was a half-cart sticking out, no owl cage and no props.

I ate some Japanese food and a spicy chicken Cornish pasty (like an empanada) from The Pasty Shop for lunch.

pasty shop

I bought some chocolates from Hotel Chocolat and just admired the renovated King’s Cross station–it’s beautiful!


The rest of the day, I checked into the Palmer’s Lodge Hostel (a nice place I stayed at in 2008 and have now returned to!), then went to Knightsbridge to meet Nicholette for tea. I shopped at Harrod’s and bought a delicious pistachio strawberry mousse cake (from famous pastry chef William Curley). It was amazing and worth every pence.

curley 2

I met Nicholette for afternoon tea at the Cadogan, and we had a great time catching up after not seeing each other since college! We enjoyed the Chelsea Flower tea blend, some scones with Devonshire clotted cream, sandwiches (egg salad, cucumber, roast beef and mustard, and salmon), a Chelsea bun, a macaron, lemon tart, and other sweets). It was an awesome way to catch up with an old college roommate. Thanks, Nicholette!

tea cadogan

Afterwards, we met up with her friend Paola to shop at Fortnum and Mason for foodie gifts, and to eat dinner. I bought a bunch of tea and cookies at Fortnum and Mason. I saw a cookie that was too pretty to eat:



All that shopping made us hungry, and we finally headed to Piccadilly Circus and then Chinatown to search for food. We decided on Tonkotsu ramen, just so I can say that I sampled some ramen in London. I had the spicy pork broth ramen with house-made noodles. I was all carbed up and ready to go for the race…sick or not!


Stay tuned for Part II…and mind the gap (between entries).

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Team Refuel Voting, Macaron Day, birthdays and Samsung Galaxy S4 Launch

I have fallen behind in my blog posting, because the past couple of weeks I’ve been busy running a marathon, a half marathon, eating macarons, and getting people to vote for me to rejoin Team Refuel in 2013! I’m thrilled to announce that I’m a top-10 finalist to win a $500 grant from Got Chocolate Milk, but I need your votes! It only takes 5 seconds, and you can vote daily through 4/5! Furthermore, Got Chocolate Milk will donate $1 to the Challenged Athletes Foundation per vote, so it’s a win-win!

Voting link:

Thanks for your support! Regardless of the result, I am grateful to have represented Team Refuel in the 2012 season (I joined in October 2012) and am a proud alumna. I love chocolate milk and I use it as my recovery beverage after each race.

Photo from the Got Chocolate Milk website

Photo from the Got Chocolate Milk website

So in mid-March, I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon, thanks to Team Refuel. I’ll have a whole blog post about that later this week, but I’m happy to say that I surprised myself by running a 4:31:04 on a hilly course through Washington, DC! I was originally aiming for a 4:45:00 or under, but I underestimated my fitness early in the season. I typically peak in late summer/early fall, so it bodes well for the upcoming months that I’m racing…

Macaron Day NYC

On 3/20/13, it was one of my favorite days of the year–Macaron Day in NYC! That’s right, in New York City, there’s an entire day dedicated to bakeries handing out free macarons from opening until close (or whenever they run out). Most bakeries run out by 3pm, since usually quantities are limited to 500 and it’s become so popular. The macaron, not to be confused with the coconutty macaroon, “is a classic French cookie. The soft, crunchy, delicate shell is made from almond flour, sugar and egg whites, sandwiching a smooth layer of creamy ganache. ” (from the Macaron Day website)

I actually had the day off from work on 3/20, so I basically ate my way around the city. I started my macaron adventure in the West Village, where I met up with my friend Stephanie for our first macaron stop. Around 11am we went to Mille-Feuille bakery, where I had my first treat of the day: a salted caramel macaron lollipop!

Salted caramel macaron at Mille Feuille Bakery

Salted caramel macaron at Mille Feuille Bakery

Macaron connoisseurs: Stephanie and me!

Macaron connoisseurs: Stephanie and me!

They also had awesome wall art:

Macaron as art

Macaron as art

Stephanie and I also hit up Bisous Ciao and Bosie Tea Parlor together. At Bisous Ciao, they gave us a special peanut butter and jelly flavor, and I purchased a Thai Iced Tea flavored macaron and loved it! Stephanie’s favorite was the jasmine flavor at Bosie Tea Parlor.

I also stopped by the Columbus Circle area to eat lunch. So, I have a rule where if I ran a marathon that week, I get to eat whatever I want for that entire week! It’s a way of rewarding myself after racing hard. It’s a good rule, and helps prevent burn-out from all that marathon training. An even better rule is that if I run 100 miles, I get to eat whatever I want for TWO weeks. One day, I had two lunches just because I felt like it. This includes, but is not limited to, lots of dessert and lobster rolls.

I had one lunch at Francois Payard bakery–scrambled egg and bacon on pretzel bread. It was divine.

Breakfast sandwich/lunch at Payard Bakery

Breakfast sandwich/lunch at Payard Bakery

Macarons at Payard Bakery on West Broadway (organizers of Macaron day)

Macarons at Payard Bakery on West Broadway (organizers of Macaron day)

When I walked by the Time Warner Center, I spotted these:


A random bunny convention/ad in Columbus Circle?? Only in New York…

Tons of people snapped photos.

I like bunnies, but this was kind of weird.

I like bunnies, but this was kind of weird.

Next, I went to the Plaza Food Hall and had a lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster, and scooped up some macarons (pistachio and cassis flavors) from Francois Payard at the Plaza and Todd English at the Plaza Food Hall. After eating the lobster roll, I had some Lady M mille-crepe cake. This stuff goes for $7.50 a slice, but it’s the best cake in NYC. (I kept telling myself I earned it, I ran a marathon!)

To finish up my day of chasing macarons, my last stop was Mad Mac  at Bernadaud. The owner/chef of Mad Mac, Florian Bellanger, is a judge on Cupcake Wars! He is always there to greet his customers on Macaron Day, plus he had a great deal of 12 macarons for $15, a special just for the occasion. It’s the cheapest price for macarons I’ve seen, and they’re delicious! I bought a box, and felt good about my purchase because a portion of proceeds from macaron sales on 3/20 went to City Harvest! The sample of the day from Mad Mac was pumpkin–with real seeds. It was pretty good.

Me and Florian Bellanger, owner of Mad Mac and Food Network Cupcake Wars judge

Me and Florian Bellanger, owner of Mad Mac and Food Network Cupcake Wars judge

In all, I set a new PR of about 11 macaron places in 4 hours. My ultrarunning skills were put to good use! I didn’t eat all the macarons at once…some I saved for later. Some other places I visited not mentioned here were: Epicerie Boulud, Macaron Cafe and Bouchon Bakery. Here were the “winners” in my book:

Best Macaron Day sample: salted caramel (Mille-Feuille Bakery)

Most unique flavor: Thai iced tea (Bisous Ciao)

My favorite flavor: cassis (Payard Bakery)

Best decor/set-up: Bisous Ciao (it looks like a jewel box!)

Macaron Cafe

Macaron Cafe

As if that wasn’t enough, once I was done running around for Macarons, I went to the Japan Week celebration in Grand Central Terminal. I love hanging out in Grand Central, and they had a nice set-up with food for sale, information booths, and door prizes.


At Japan Week celebration in Grand Central

At Japan Week celebration in Grand Central

I sampled some tea and miso soup, saw a 3-D movie about the Shinkansen, and won a small door prize (third prize) in a random draw game. I won a cell phone picture stand that props up my iPhone! It had a picture of the high-speed Mag-Lev trains on it. It was useful, and better than the default prize, which was a pack of tissues! The guy a few places behind me won the grand prize–a $600 train ticket to use in Japan!! Oh well, at least somebody won!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Launch at Radio City

This was one of the cooler promotional events I got to go to–through gdgt, I managed to score tickets to the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch at Radio City Music Hall on 3/14. Since I knew the venue was world-class, I knew it was going to be an awesome event. I went with some friends, including Paul, Teresa, Art and Christie. We lined up about an hour early and the line was already super long. Luckily, we got in without any problems, despite the line being totally disorganized. Before we sat down, we were able to get drinks at an open bar (wine, beer, or soft drinks). The name of the event was Samsung Unpacked, and we weren’t sure what to expect.


They had a ton of introductions by a host (forgot his name), then one of the CEO’s, J.K. Shin (Chief of Mobile Technology). My friends likened him to the Korean Steve Jobs, lol.

JK Shin introducing the S4

JK Shin introducing the S4

It was cool gaining entry into this hot-ticket event, even though we weren’t industry insiders. Everyone around us was working on laptops, clearly blogging/writing about the event. We just sat back and enjoyed it lol. The skits were a bit cheesy, but they showed off the features quite well, and the bi-level sets were elaborate:


There was a full orchestra, a ton of actors, costumes, and the whole thing must have cost millions to put together. Not to mention a viewing party was being held outside in Times Square. Some cool features I picked up on: there is a voice translation software that will translate written words and spoken text to many different languages, there’s a dual camera feature, and a “touchless” screen that detects movement, like the wave of a palm. The display is also pretty sick (some high ppi/pixels per inch), I didn’t take notes though.

Finally, the presentation ended with the first row of the stage flipping up some tables for audience members to play around with, and smiling Samsung staff ready to assist. They had the same demo stages downstairs too.

On the way out, we each grabbed a boxed dinner (pretty tasty–chicken with race and a delicious decorated sugar cookie (it had a “4” on it). As the parting gift, we also got 64GB micro-SD memory cards, pretty cool. Definitely a good event to be at!

A Half Marathon and Amy’s birthday

On 3/23 I ran the 13.1 New York race. I treated it as a training run, having just run the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon recently and barely having had time to recover. Still, I wanted to run it with a good effort, since I traveled from Brooklyn to Queens to run it! It was a crisp, windy day and there were a good amount of runners.

The course was winding and wet/muddy in some places. It was mostly flat but for a few inclines. I want to give a shout-out to my friend Franchel for running this as his first half marathon! I was very proud of him for finishing–it wasn’t an easy one! Thanks to Shane for coming out to cheer and take pictures.

Sprint finish after 13.1 miles

Sprint finish after 13.1 miles


I ran about a 2:01, a good effort on not-so-fresh legs. I’m using this as a tune-up for my next half-marathon, the More Women’s Half Marathon the second week of April. After the race, I had delicious food from one of my favorite restaurants, Biang! in Flushing. I had the spicy cumin lamb noodles in soup, and the quail egg with sausage on mantou (bread).

Quail egg and sausage on mantou from Biang!

Quail egg and sausage on mantou from Biang!

Eating spicy cumin lamb noodles

Eating spicy cumin lamb noodles

I love eating spicy cumin lamb noodles after racing–it’s a comfort food of mine. The appetizer/mantou was also delicious–perfect as a brunch-type food. It’s also a unique dish that I haven’t seen anywhere else!

To cap off my busy day, I went to my sister’s birthday party! Since my sister is a beloved food blogger, I knew the food was going to be awesome. It was a full apartment, and I’m happy I got to celebrate with her and all her favorite people (and animals–two dogs and two cats were present). Happy birthday Amy! Now please pass me a slice of that Momofuku Milk Bar banana cake 🙂



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Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon recap

I was super excited to represent Team Refuel at the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon on 2/24/13! Any excuse to fly down to New Orleans is a good one! I knew that I was going to indulge in some good ol’ Cajun food and fried chicken, but I wanted to do well in the half marathon to test my fitness. It was definitely a balancing act.

Leftover Mardi Gras decorations on houses

Leftover Mardi Gras decorations on houses

I arrived late Friday night so I could pick up my packet at the expo on Saturday. But first things first, my friend Steven and I headed to Willie Mae’s Scotch House for the best fried chicken in America (according to the Travel Channel and Food Network).

Waiting for fried chicken at Willie Mae's

Waiting for fried chicken at Willie Mae’s

There were a bunch of people waiting for their fried chicken at 11am when we got there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t eat in the dining room because there were plumbing problems, and all orders were packed to go. No big deal–we enjoyed our lunch in the car! I ordered the white meat chicken with buttered beans and rice. It was a steal at $13.

My pre-race meal: fried chicken at WIllie Mae's the day before . SO good. Top three fried chicken ever.

My pre-race meal: fried chicken at WIllie Mae’s the day before . SO good. Top three fried chicken ever.

The verdict? Definitely worth the trip to Treme and it was the top 3 best fried chicken I’ve ever had. The only other fried chicken comparable to it was at Coop’s Place (NOLA) and The Redhead (NYC). I’ll have to come back next time!

Off we went to the expo. I picked up my packet and met up with fellow Team Refuel members Jesus and Jeremy who also happened to be at the Got Chocolate Milk? booth at the same time. Picture time!

Me and Jesus S. Go Team Refuel!

Me and Jesus S. Go Team Refuel!

I love the Cavalcade of Curiosities display by Brooks!

I love the Cavalcade of Curiosities display by Brooks!

The expo was a bit of a madhouse–I got a free t-shirt as a door prize from Brooks’ “Cavalcade of Curiosities,” some Powerbar Fruit packet samples, but not much else. I missed meeting Kara Goucher, but I did get to see my NYC friends (and fellow Kara fans) Benny, Carol and Keila at the expo. Good luck everyone!


Before I headed to my pre-race meal at Domenica, I sat down to hear a chat between running greats Frank Shorter (gold medalist in the Munich Olympic marathon) and Rod Dixon (past NYC Marathon champion). I got photos with them afterwards!

Me and Frank Shorter

Me and Frank Shorter

Me and Rod Dixon

Me and Rod Dixon

At around 4:30pm, I headed to my early dinner reservation at Domenica. I ate super early for two reasons: 1) it was the only reservation I could get last minute due to the gobs of people in town, 2) Happy hour lasts until 6pm and pizzas and beer are 50% off! Good to know. I came here last year and was very impressed by the food and modern ambience, so I wanted to come back.

This time, my friend and I ordered the wild mushroom and bacon pizza with farm egg (yum) and the squid ink tagliolini with blue crab meat and lemon sauce. The tagliolini was buttery and oily but sooo good!

Domenica's squid ink tagliolini

Domenica’s squid ink tagliolini

Wild mushroom and bacon pizza with farm egg

Wild mushroom and bacon pizza with farm egg

Admittedly, I didn’t do too much research this time around about food. Next time, I would love to try a new place like Jacques-imo’s, the Upperline restaurant, and/or Cochon. There’s just too many good places to eat. There’s also super pricey options like Galatoire’s brunch, Antoine’s and Commander’s Palace…maybe in a few more years haha. I’m just happy eating good food without breaking the bank!

Race Day– Sunday 2/24

I woke up super early and excited to run! I was representing Team Refuel and I wanted to get there early to meet my friends. I also had access to the VIP tent so I wanted to take advantage of that too.

Steven was a good sport and dropped me off at the start line, bright and early at 6:00am (race started at 7:00). I chatted with some Team Refuel members, including Jeremy and George, and relaxed in the VIP area where they had muffins, bananas, and private bathrooms for us. These things make a difference when you’re in a rush! I also met up with my Aussie friends Jane and Trent, who I haven’t seen since the 2012 Tokyo Marathon!

Jane, Trent and myself

Jane, Trent and myself

There were a lot of notable elite athletes running the half. I didn’t realize it at the time I signed up for the half-marathon; normally I opt for the longer distance, but I ran the full marathon last year and got Louisiana as a state in my 50 states quest. I wanted to be able to sightsee and enjoy the food without worrying about 26.2 miles this time. Mo Farah, Meseret Defar, Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher were some of the boldface names running in the half marathon. I didn’t see them in the VIP tent at the start, but I told myself that I’d run fast enough to at least catch them post-finish in the VIP tent! Good motivation! Usually elite runners are more than happy to greet fans post-competition, especially if they had a good day.

The course was flat and fast, and ran through the most interesting parts of New Orleans. I ran a PR here one year and wanted to do myself proud again. Secretly I was aiming for a 1:55, but it was still early in the season and I wasn’t in peak shape yet.

During the race, I didn’t feel 100% myself. Then, I remembered that I had oily tagliolini and fried chicken for fuel. That was probably it. I could have regretted it but I didn’t–just gritted my teeth and pressed on.

The weather was perfect–nice and cool but not windy. I remembered wishing I had my sunglasses on as we ran down St. Charles Ave. The out-and-back course allowed us to spot the elite athletes, so that was cool to watch. Mo was running like a champ, and Shalane and Meseret were neck-and-neck in the women’s race.

I was actually on pace to run a PR for the first 7-8 miles of the race, then I bonked and ran out of gas. As we ran through the French Quarter in the final miles, I told myself to hold on. I still wanted to finish under 2:00, fried chicken in my stomach or not. We enter City Park and I know I’m almost done. My legs were fatigued but I urged them on. As I crossed the finish line, the announcer gave me a Team Refuel shout out! I vaguely remember him saying “Look at her sprint it in! Must be the chocolate milk!” As a rule, I always try to sprint it in to the finish. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t run hard enough. It just means that I want to finish strong.

Here were my results:

Net time: 1:58:36 (9:03 pace)

Overall: 1983/9270

Gender: 760/5867

Age group: 159/985


I was pretty pleased with my placing, especially because I placed in the top 13% of women. Sweet! It turns out that I was the first Team Refuel member to finish the half marathon as well. A Team Refuel rep, Lindsey, greeted me at the finish with encouragement and ice cold chocolate milk. It was nice to see a smiling face at the end!

I met up with Jeremy (also on Team Refuel) at the VIP tent, and we chatted away while waiting for our respective friends. There was hot food like pasta, muffalettas, and po’ boys in the tent. There were beignets and yogurt cups too! As if that weren’t enough, you could get a mimosa and we had our own private supply of chocolate milk. So awesome!

Best of all, the elite athletes were chilling in the same space while they waited for the awards ceremony. I was really excited about meeting them, but I especially wanted to meet Mo. He became a household name since he won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m in the London Olympics. He also won the half-marathon in a sick time of 1:00:59!

Me and Mo Farah

Me and Mo Farah–he won in 1:00:59!

Me and Kara Goucher

Me and Kara Goucher

Kara Goucher was so funny and sweet. Even though I’ve met her multiple times, I always make an effort to say hello if she’s doing an appearance. She asked her agent if she had spinach in her teeth before taking a photo with me, haha.

Me and Shalane Flanagan

Me and Shalane Flanagan

Me and my teammate Jeremy. Soon he'll be starring in a Got Chocolate Milk? ad!

Me and my teammate Jeremy. Soon he’ll be starring in a Got Chocolate Milk? ad!

Me and Meseret Defar, women's champ

Me and Meseret Defar, women’s champ

It was a great day. It’s my third time running this race in New Orleans and I feel blessed that Team Refuel sponsored my race entry this year. Thanks Team Refuel! I really enjoyed meeting teammates from different geographical areas. Everyone is really nice.

Finally, you’d think I was able to rest and take a nap after all that running, but I went sightseeing and eating instead. I met up with friends at Oceana for some gumbo. I had previously had an illy coffee and a strawberry and Nutella crepe at Merchants cafe, so that was my brunch. We also walked around in the French Quarter, where I did some souvenir shopping and explored the French Market a bit more.


Nice hat!

Nice hat!

For dinner, Steven and I met up again and we headed to Coop’s Place for some more delicious fried chicken. They use an awesome spice/pepper blend for their chicken and I can’t resist going here for the third time! The chicken comes with jambalaya too. I wish I could eat like this more often.

Fried chicken and jambalaya at Coop's Place

Fried chicken and jambalaya at Coop’s Place

It started raining, and after dinner we headed to Cafe du Monde for their famous beignets and chicory coffee. We tried going yesterday at 11am but the line was ridiculous. At 8pm on a Sunday, we sat down right away. I missed out on going to Cafe du Monde last year so I made up for lost time!

Beignets at Cafe du Monde

Beignets at Cafe du Monde

Finally, as I walked down Bourbon Street (not a huge fan of the touristy scene), I noticed how quiet and beautiful the street was in the rain. This is probably one of my favorite photos I’ve taken in recent memory. Soon, I would fly out at 7am and return back to my beloved NYC. Until next time!

rainy NOLA