Lisa Runs on Ramen

— running 26.2 and having foodie adventures too!


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Rockin’ and Rollin’ in the Nation’s Capital–RnR USA Marathon

I had a short but sweet visit to DC back in March for the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon. I was running on behalf of Team Refuel once again, proudly sporting my jersey and meeting up with other team members!

I stayed with my friend Lauren and she very kindly picked up my bib and VIP wristband for me at the expo.

I was exhausted after the 4.5 hour bus ride–Saturday races are hard logistically, especially if you have to travel for them. I tried to get at least 6 hours of sleep before waking up early to take the Metro. It was a chilly morning, and I woke up at dark o’clock with the impression that it might rain and remain in the 40’s for  the race!

I got to the start with plenty of time to spare–it started near the National Mall and thousands of runners were milling about.

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Soon after I got there, I bumped into none other than my dear friend Michele! She was tackling the full marathon too, and was hoping for a PR. I’m always amazed when people can find me pre-race without a cell phone in a crowd of thousands of people. It was a good sign!

Me and Michele at the Rock n Roll DC Marathon

Me and Michele at the Rock n Roll DC Marathon

My main focus was to be in good shape for the Virgin London Marathon on April 21, so I wanted to race with a hard effort, but continue building baseline mileage.

I also bumped into my Marathon Maniac friends Scot and Sandy at the start, as well as my buddy Catherine from my Ragnar DC relay team. It’s so nice seeing familiar faces!!

The course had a 5:30 cut-off for the full marathon, so I was aiming for a 4:45 to allow myself plenty of time. I ran with my Team Refuel zip-up around my waist for 26.2 miles, because I thought it was going to be cold but it heated up very quickly! At least it wasn’t raining!

The weather was actually perfect.  I ran with a camera and enjoyed the sights and sounds–parts of the course were familiar to me because I ran the Marine Corps Marathon and the Cherry Blossom 10-miler both in 2012, so that helped mentally.

There were a few long, steep hills, which killed my legs in the early miles but I ran up them and didn’t stop to walk. My body felt great and I felt like I could push myself.

Before I knew it, I was on pace to run 4:30! I was really surprised because I had an all-out attack strategy for Marine Corps, was on pace to run 4:05 or better, then I completely bonked and cramped so much that I ran a 4:31:32. This time was much different. I was aiming for a 4:45 and I felt strong and enjoyed the race much more.

I also knew that Lauren would be waiting for me at the finish line, so I didn’t want to make her wait too long for me, haha.

I crossed the finish in 4:31:04. Here were my official results:

Net time: 4:31:04, Pace: 10:21

Overall: 2217 out of 3540

Gender: 810 out of 1481

Division: 243 out of 416

I was proud, because I was running with an extra layer of clothes bouncing around my waist, and waved off the tiredness of travel and lack of sleep to push hard and finish strong.

Thanks Lauren and Jesus (my Team Refuel friend) for waiting for me at the finish line!

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I also found my friend George at the VIP tent. We ate mushroom ravioli, salad, and refueled with chocolate milk.

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I have pretty awesome teammates, and I want to thank Team Refuel and Got Chocolate Milk for the opportunity to run this race!

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A few days after I returned home, I ate at my favorite ramen place, Ippudo! I got their spicy ramen:

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And some other random/fun news–my friend Alejandra texted me that same week saying that she saw me in the April 2013 issue of Women’s Running magazine! They had printed a photo of me running the Big Sur marathon in 2012! I immediately ran out and bought a copy. Always smile when you’re running, because you never know who’s watching!!

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The Color Run NYC 5K (8/26/12)

What’s the best way to recover from a 100-mile race? Besides sitting on the couch eating my favorite foods, how about a fun, colorful, unscored run? That’s exactly what came my way when the Color Run 5K blazed into NYC, one of its stops on its cross-country tour. Even better, my friends Deb and Diane came to visit from DC, and I got to do all sorts of touristy stuff that I haven’t done even as a native New Yorker. Yes, my friends, until last week I had NEVER gone to see the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, not even on a school trip! I met Deb and Diane through Ragnar Relays actually–Diane was captain of a Ragnar DC team last year and I had the privilege of running in Van 1 with these gals!

Well, you can ask Deb and Diane–I took more than enough pictures to make up for lost time with Lady Liberty. Here are a few:

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So we spent all day on our feet sightseeing the day before the Color Run. The weather was gorgeous, and there were a lot of people but it wasn’t packed–the lines were quite manageable. We got lucky I guess! Next stop after the Statue and Ellis Island was the 9/11 Memorial. I highly recommend seeing it if you haven’t yet. It’s a quiet, beautiful place for reflection, and seeing it has an impact on me emotionally because I was only two blocks away from the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. I was glad that my friends got a chance to see the Memorial too.

Next, for dinner I decided to take them to Ippudo, an amazing Japanese ramen place known for its notoriously long wait and very high reviews on Yelp. I love noodles as a pre-race food so I knew that we had to go there before our 5K! We waited 1 hour 15 minutes for a seat but it was so worth it. The picture does not do it justice:

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The broth was rich, with roasted pork and vegetables, and the noodles were silky smooth. Yummy!

Can you guess where my blog name came from? haha.

After dinner, it was time to get some rest before the race!

On race day, I woke up at 5am so that I could take a taxi and meet Deb and Diane near a Brooklyn train station to pick them up. The worst part of the race was getting to it. Floyd Bennett Field/Aviator Sports is so out there that it’s a 20 minute bus ride from the nearest subway, and the taxi dispatcher had to ask me which neighborhood it’s in because people never go there. There was NO mention in the pre-race instructions (or from the people working the expo) that there was a shuttle from the train to the venue. Imagine my surprise when I learned that there actually WAS a shuttle! At that point, the shuttle line was long and we had already hired the taxi, so we just went with our original plan. After a very expensive cab ride (factoring in wait time), we reach the destination with an hour to spare. The taxi ended up being worth it because my friend said that she waited 45 minutes for a shuttle and missed the first 10 minutes of the start!

We stretch, check our bags, and got some free goodies from the sponsor tents. We got nice turquoise metal water bottles from Chevy, some frozen Greek yogurt popsicles, MASH sodas (my favorite), Fuze juices, Red Bull, and bandanas! I had fun checking out everyone’s cool outfits, like crazy sunglasses, tutus, and cut-up t-shirts.

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This is us before the Color Run (Deb, Diane, and me, left to right)

At 7:50 we line up in the corrals, really pumped to go as the DJ riles up the crowd. I hold my iPhone in a ziploc bag (for post-race pics), my bag of colored powder (after crossing the finish line) and make sure to don my sunglasses and bandana. I’m ready!

The race goes off in waves, spaced about 30 seconds apart. We are in the fourth wave and we can’t wait to get going. There’s great music playing, a diverse crowd (age-wise and ethnically diverse), and everyone’s there to have a good time. At about 8:05, we’re finally off! So the goal of the race is to run/walk at your own pace and get as much color as possible. My legs were still feeling heavy from my 100-mile race the previous week so I was glad that it was an untimed event. You basically run on a former airstrip, volunteers have squeeze bottles filled with colored cornstarch, and you welcome as much powder as they want to throw on you. It was important to have the bandanna to cover your mouth so the flying dust doesn’t make you choke. Each kilometer was a different color. We got orange, blue, red and yellow I think.

The space was wide enough to accommodate all the runners, but the course did feel a little shorter than 3.1 miles (someone later said it was about 2.8mi on the GPS). The volunteers were fantastic though. They had a great time splashing everyone with color, and were covered head-to-toe themselves in their assigned color! The course was very boring but not bad–there’s not much to see on an old airstrip.

When we crossed the finish line, there was no clock and disappointingly, no huge blast of color. Oh well, that’s why they gave us our own color packets. Every so often, the emcee onstage would announce a color blast, and everyone in the crowd would open their packets at the same time and douse their neighbors in color. It reminded me of a Hindu festival called Holi, where people throw colored powder (called rang) on their friends. I attended a Holi festival in college, and it was fantastic.

Deb, Diane and I had a ball taking post-race pictures, eating the yogurt pops, and (for me), bumping into random friends that were also in attendance. Image

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The post-race party had photo opportunities from a professional photographer, music, color blasts, KIND bar giveaways (my fave!), and even a marriage proposal onstage! The proposal was the cutest moment. Everyone was covered head-to-toe in colored powder and taking photos. It was a festive atmosphere. Earlier in the day, storm clouds started moving in but luckily the rain held off!

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I thought that in its first year, the Color Run 5K did a good job and I’d rate it a 3.5/5 stars. My only gripe was that the pre-race and post-race shuttles were super disorganized. We asked around where the post-race shuttle was picking up from and the staff couldn’t tell us for sure. We ended up waiting for 15 minutes, then walking 10 minutes to the MTA bus stop because it was more reliable. At least the MTA bus came right away.

So post-race, Deb, Diane and I treated ourselves to fresh doughnuts from the world-famous Doughnut Plant and brunch at a place in Hell’s Kitchen called 44 1/2. What a great end to a fun day!

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