Lisa Runs on Ramen

— running 26.2 and having foodie adventures too!


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Always a Whippet: In Memory of Robert Petrocelli

I always knew that running was a source of strength and support, but this past week I am prouder than ever to be part of the NYC running community. On August 22, 2013, a beloved Dashing Whippets teammate, Rob Petrocelli, passed away. He was only 38 years old, and I will miss him very much. I have very fond memories of running the Fairfield Half Marathon and various NYRR races with him, and also spent some time with him and Fanny at the Disneyland Half back in 2011. I send my deepest condolences to the Petrocelli family and his loved ones.

My amazing teammate Simon put together a Crowdrise fundraising page for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to accept donations in Rob’s memory. Many Whippets attended his wake at Frederick’s funeral home in Queens, and we smiled when we saw the memory boards his family put together of Rob proudly sporting his Whippets jersey in old race photos. It’s times like these when a team becomes much more than just a group of people to run with; this week I felt like my team was my family when we supported each other in our sense of loss.

Robert Petrocelli (photo taken from Facebook)

Robert Petrocelli (photo taken from Facebook)

I was able to pay my respects at his funeral on Thursday. Although he is gone, his memory will live on through his family, friends, and in his accomplishments as a Dashing Whippets team member and Marathon Maniac.

I posted to his page:

“Rob, I’m dedicating my 2013 ING NYC Marathon to you this year. I feel honored to have been your Dashing Whippets teammate and fellow Maniac. You made a whole lot of people smile, and I remember sharing great times with you in the Fairfield Half and a whole slew of NYRR races. I’m so in awe that you qualified for Boston and ran it the year it was so hot–I remember you giving me a thumbs-up when I saw you while volunteering at a water station. I hope to run Boston one day just like you. Rest in peace, my friend.”

Rob (left), me and Paul at the 2011 Fairfield Half Marathon, CT

Rob (left), me and Paul at the 2011 Fairfield Half Marathon, CT

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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

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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

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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.

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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!

expo1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

amanda

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!

kingscross

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:

fortnum2

fortnum1

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!

tonkotsu

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


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I’m a REFUEL sponsored athlete! (and ran two PR’s!)

So the past week, I’ve been eating and running my way through NYC…which is what I do all the time. However, this past week was one of the most exciting in a while, because I just found out that I am a REFUEL with Chocolate Milk-sponsored athlete!! I entered an online contest back in August where I submitted a video about refueling with chocolate milk as my “after” ritual, garnered support from friends, colleagues, and family, and campaigned for votes from 9/5-9/30! I just got the news last week that I was one of the top 5 vote-getters for September in this contest, and I won a sponsorship package!! I won a $500 check and $315 worth of running gear, plus a chance to compete in a phase 2 contest for a trip to run in Europe, OR appear in a chocolate milk ad! Here’s to hoping!!  Thank you so much to all my friends and supporters for voting…I couldn’t have done it without you!

See how happy I am?

Me with the Nesquik bunny. Love chocolate milk!

That’s my new friend, the Nesquik Bunny, at the Rock ‘n’ Roll NY 10K on 10/13–my first race as a Team REFUEL-sponsored athlete. I only submitted my official paperwork mere days before, but I met up with the Team REFUEL people and even got interviewed by journalist Toni Senecal for Toni On! about why I like chocolate milk so much. I have no idea when it aired but if I find it online I’ll let you know! My friends Diane and Deb were in town for the weekend, so they came out to visit Brooklyn and we ran the race together. The weather was chilly but great for running. For the first time in over a year, I ran a personal best for a 10K– 50:32 or 8:08 min/mile pace! I shaved 1:30 off my 10K time! It must be the chocolate milk 🙂 I definitely had a bounce in my step when I found out the news that I was sponsored.

Here are my finishing stats (some of my best):

Overall: 549/4187

Div: 49/792

Gender: 167/2769

So after the race, Deb, Diane and I headed to DUB (Down Under Bakery) Pies to have some yummy Australian-style meat pies. I got the classic mince pie and it was flaky and delicious.

I’m going in reverse chronological order here…

Rewind to Sunday, 10/7/12–I ran the Staten Island Half Marathon, part of the NYRR Five-Borough series. I went into this race wanting to test my fitness for my upcoming Marine Corps Marathon. I knew I was capable of running a good time on this fast course, but I knew it would hurt. A lot. It’s really hard for me to run a PR (personal record) in a half-marathon because I have run so many of them, and sometimes I zone out instead of “attacking” the course. Does that ever happen to you, fellow runners? Regardless, I knew that my teammates from the Dashing Whippets Running Team would be bringing their A-game, so I had to represent!

Lisa running the Staten Island half (photo by Ben Ko)

The course was mostly flat, out-and-back, with just a few inclines. My legs were burning but I kept a pretty steady pace. I felt good and I was inspired by all my Whippet teammates giving me a thumbs-up. I was really happy when I saw Ben with his camera! With about 1 mile left I knew I had to push hard to PR–no faltering the final mile!

I was the proud owner of a new personal best–1:52:34 for a half-marathon! It was an average of 8:36 a mile, shaving off 1:00 off my previous best. Yay! I ran a 10K split of 53:02, and it hurt with still more than 10K left to go! It  was great seeing Takashi, Anthony (also a Team Refuel athlete) and Warren at the finish line.

We got sweet medals and the satisfaction of having run a half marathon before some of our buddies woke up at 10:30am 🙂 It started to rain, and Takashi drove me and Warren to Brooklyn in search of the best brunch at Rose Water. I love this place–and even though there was a wait, it was worth it. Don’t you think?

I had the fried swordfish cake with salad and two poached eggs, plus a steaming mug of apple cider. It was all for $15! Shhh don’t tell too many people about this place–it’s popular enough!

So to reward myself the few days after the race, on Wednesday 10/10, I treated myself to a great lunch at the Cinnamon Snail Lunch Truck. It’s a vegan truck famous for its spicy Korean-style tofu burgers and vanilla bourbon donuts. The same day, Deb, Diane and I made a pilgrimage to Totto Ramen. Yes, this is the temple of ramen with an ever-present line of salivating foodies. We waited a little under an hour–and it was worth it! I got the medium spicy ramen with pork, and I liked it! I give it 4/5 stars. I still like Ippudo better, but that’s just me.

Totto ramen

On Thursday, 10/11, to cap off an exciting week, Teresa and I attended a benefit for the Audubon Society at the beautiful Bowery Hotel. There were passed hors d’ouvres from Sonnier & Castle, unlimited open bar, a silent auction, and some celeb guests. One of them was Carlos Falchi, the Brazilian handbag designer. We chatted a bit, and I took a photo with him–nice guy! His daughter Juliet is on the Audubon Young Members committee, and she was one of the co-organizers of the benefit.

Me and Carlos Falchi

I went to this event two years ago and had an amazing time. In 2010 it was at the Ace Hotel, and I walked away with an amazing gift bag (thanks Gilt City!) that included over $400 worth of product (including a Carlos Falchi faux-snakeskin handbag, Brooklyn Boulders climbing passes, Essie nail polish, a v.fraas woven scarf, and more). This time, the gift bag was less elaborate but the silent auction was even more amazing.

Mini owl at the Audubon Benefit!

Me and Teresa

Teresa won two silent auction items and I won my favorite lot–Ivanka Trump red heels and a gorgeous deep pink Carlos Falchi clutch (let’s just say I got a heckuva deal, and all the money went towards charity!). That alone–and the chicken curry tacos and tomato basil mini-tarts–was a great highlight of the night.

We ended the night going to Teresa’s friend’s birthday event at Pegu Club (happy birthday Chris!), where we tried Earl Grey MarTEAnis and scallop burgers. I think I ran enough to indulge this week!