Lisa Runs on Ramen

— running 26.2 and having foodie adventures too!


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I’m a Skechers Ambassador! Plus, Miami Half Marathon and Spring fun

Happy Spring, everyone! April brought torrents of rain down upon NYC, and I’m so glad that May is finally here in full force. I have gained a ton of pacing experience for two half-marathons and a full marathon since I last wrote! I have a few race reports to catch up on–April was a busy time for me as I participated in the Faberge Big Egg Hunt NY and ran in several races, including the More/Fitness Women’s Half (paced the 2:15 group), the Scotland Run 10K, and I paced the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 5:10 group! In March, my big weekend was running/pacing the NYC Half and running the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon on consecutive days. It was an exhausting schedule, but I am building up to my two goal races of 2014: the Great New York Running Exposition 100-miler in June, and the Superior 100 miler in Minnesota in September.

The Faberge Big Egg Hunt deserves its own post–the city of New York and Faberge hosted a really cool public art project, where anyone with a smartphone and a camera can participate. Artists, architects, designers and schools created/painted 270 eggs that were scattered around NYC for 3 weeks. During the fourth week, the eggs all nested together in Rockefeller Center! It was magical.

I will try and write more later, but I can quickly sum up my last month and a half in photos:

Me and Jackie after successfully pacing the 2:15 group at the NYC Half!

Me and Jackie after successfully pacing the 2:15 group at the NYC Half!

My medals from the Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon and NYC Half

My medals from the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon and NYC Half

One of the eggs hidden at Laduree Upper East Side. Artist: Isabelle Arpagian, Egg #85

One of the eggs hidden at Laduree Upper East Side. Artist: Isabelle Arpagian, Egg #85

 

Me and Jackie pacing the More Fitness Half

Me and Jackie pacing the More Fitness Half

Where's Waldo egg?

I found Where’s Waldo egg!

Plus, I have some big news…

I am excited to announce that I was recently selected as a Skechers Performance Brand Ambassador! I am so grateful to Julia, my friend, and Giulli, who believed in me and brought me on. I love how Skechers has been supportive of the local running community by signing up club runners as wear testers, and has sponsored some of my favorite races (the More Fitness Half, pacers of the Long Branch Half Marathon and the Run 10 Feed 10)! I am proud to wear their products  and I highly recommend their GoRun Ultras for runners who are looking for a stable marathon training shoe. Thanks, Skechers!

On February (2/2), I had the joy of running the Miami Half Marathon as a brief vacation before I started my new job. I wore the Skechers Nite Owl shoe (similar to the GoRun Ultra in terms of cushioning), and I ran a 2:16:35 in very hot and humid weather. This was only two weeks after I ran the Beast of Burden Winter 50-miler, so I was happy with my time.

Miami was a much-needed vacation for me, plus I treated it like a culinary/running trip. The Super Bowl was being hosted in NYC the same weekend, so I wanted to get away from the madness, then fly back to NYC to watch the game on TV. It was an ambitious plan.

My first stop was at Pubbelly Sushi in Miami Beach. I had wanted to come here two years ago when my friend Rebekah told me about it, and I finally made it! I highly recommend getting their BigEye Tuna Pubbelly roll–it comes with spicy tuna “arroz pegao,” rocotto cream, and sea salt. It was an explosion of flavors, very unique! I dined at the bar and the staff were very friendly.

Pubbelly Sushi in Miami

Pubbelly Sushi in Miami

 

Spicy Tuna Pubbelly Roll

Spicy Tuna Pubbelly Roll

 

Me with my bread pudding and ice cream at Pubbelly Sushi

Me with my bread pudding and ice cream at Pubbelly Sushi

 

As I was carb-loading for my big race (half marathon), I had to eat more, right? I also got the fried clam roll with cole slaw and lemon, plus chocolate bread pudding and ice cream for good measure. I practically had to roll back to my hotel because I was so full, but it was worth it.

The next day, I went to the Miami Half and Marathon expo at the convention center. Before I met up with my friends Kristen and Colleen, I had to stop by a cute bakery called True Loaf Bakery. Folks, if you haven’t seen this bakery yet and you’re visiting Miami–do yourself a favor and GO. It is a hidden gem, seriously. They bake everything fresh daily, and they are known for their breads and chocolate croissants. The owner is very very nice, and you could watch him at work in the open-air kitchen. I saw him applying a glaze to the un-baked croissants and was transfixed. I’m so glad I stopped by!

It looks like a European-style bakery, minimalist and airy, with plenty of baked goods on the shelves. I ordered the special daily bread, which was peach and walnut. It was a massive loaf and felt like it weighed 3 pounds, and I knew I’d have to share it later! I also ordered one of their to-die-for chocolate croissants. It was honestly the best chocolate croissant I have ever had!

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My super fresh, delicious loaf

My super fresh, delicious loaf

I also stopped by later in the day towards closing time to say hello to the owner and tell him how much my friends enjoyed the bread. He sent me home with a parting gift of some more baked goods. It was really sweet! I will definitely visit again next time I’m in town.

Once I picked up my bib, I got pretty excited for the race. I couldn’t believe I was here! I had planned the whole trip in less than a week, and so I was really glad I came.

Me and Colleen at the expo

Me and Colleen at the expo

 

Me and Kristen at Cara Mia

Me and Kristen at Cara Mia

I met up with Kristen and her group of friends, and we dined alfresco at Cara Mia Trattoria in Miami Beach. See? I told you this trip was all about eating. My penne bolognese was on point–very delicious!

Penne bolognese at Cara Mia

Penne bolognese at Cara Mia

After the expo, I relaxed a bit on the beach, then bought some souvenirs, and decided that I would go to Pubbelly Restaurant (sister to Pubbelly Sushi) for dinner. I saw they had ramen on the menu and decided it was a no-brainer to go!

Pubbelly ramen

Pubbelly ramen

The ramen lemongrass broth was very flavorful, and the BBQ pork belly was silky and tender. It was great for carbo-loading! I dined at the bar and spoke to a couple that had just finished the tasting menu. I was still full from lunch, but they raved about the tasting menu and made me promise to order it next time I was there. Duly noted!

I also got some amazing Shortrib and Corn dumplings with black truffle. It was a very unique item on the menu so I had to try it! I highly recommend this dish.

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Finally, I ended the meal with the mason jar for dessert. It was one of the best desserts I have had in recent memory. I can’t even tell you the ingredients, except there was bruleed ice cream on top. Go for it!

Mason jar dessert

Mason jar dessert

Finally, I was done with my epic meal. Before I turned in for the night, I hung out with a mutual friend, Paul from New York. By the time we were done chatting for the night (he was running the marathon), it was already 11am and I had to get up at 4:30am. Oops. Oh well, no one ever sleeps on vacation!

My friend Kyle very kindly drove me to the shuttle the next morning–thanks, Kyle! It was great seeing a familar face before I boarded the bus.

The start of the Miami Half and Full Marathon

The start of the Miami Half and Full Marathon

I am barely awake in my pre-race photos because it was so early. The official start was around 6am, and there were wave starts to space out the runners. This race is always hot–I regretted not bringing a water bottle because we went almost 3 miles until we reached the first aid station! There were about 20,000 people in the race, so it was massive. Note to self–bring a water bottle for the first few miles next time!

The course was beautiful–mostly flat, but very hot and humid. I was so glad I wasn’t doing the marathon this time! I unfortunately had to catch a shuttle ride I had pre-booked to the airport at around 11:45am, so I was in a rush to finish as well as I could!

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There were fun signs along the course, and crowd support in some areas were good. I was so glad that I chose the half marathon, as it was high 80s and humid–very difficult to run in after a freezing cold winter.

My favorite part was running along the causeway and seeing the cruise ships. There were also cute motivational signs and pineapple on the course!

The Miami Marathon and Half always gives great medals year after year. This year’s was a triple spinner medal! I crossed the finish line in 2:16:35. It wasn’t my best time, but after a 50-miler I will take it!

Finish stats:

Net time: 2:16:35

Overall place: 6045/15458

Gender: 2243/7872

Age: 367/1135

Thank you to Got Chocolate Milk and Skechers for sponsoring me, and see you on a run somewhere fabulous soon!

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I love NYC

Pardon my gap between posts, dear readers. I’m excited to announce that I started a new job two weeks ago! I’m starting a new career in advertising, and I feel really blessed to have this opportunity. The year 2014 is off to a great start! I mostly set my race calendar for 2012 and it’s quite packed, with 28 more upcoming races. I am planning to run in mostly local races this year, with a few exceptions. I am signed up for the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver, and I plan to run in a few 100-mile races this year!

So what have I been up to the past 2 months? I raced three half marathons in 4 weeks, with a 50-miler thrown in the middle. On January 4th, I ran the Watchung Trail half marathon in New Jersey, my coldest race ever at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. It was my personal worst for a trail half at 3:41:00, but I was so proud to just finish, as the blood was freezing in my veins and it took me forever to warm-up afterwards.

Jackie, Shane and me at the Watchung Trail Half

Jackie, Shane and me at the Watchung Trail Half

It was a tune-up for my next race on January 18, the Beast of Burden Winter 50 in Lockport, NY. I went up with an amazing group of friends: Ken, Violet, Otto, Violet, Kat, Joe, and Kino as crew and pacer. Beth and Jim Pease hosted us once again in their lovely home, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had racing 50 miles in 17F weather! I finished in a time of 12:40:05, utterly spent but motivated to cheer on my friends running the 100-miler. That race will have its own recap in my next post.

As if that wasn’t enough, I ran the Fred Lebow Half Marathon a week later as a training run on exhausted legs. It was also freezing, but I managed to finish in 2:14:47. This is actually good, because I just got the wonderful news that I will be pacing the New York City Half on 3/17/14 for the 2:15 group! I am so excited to pace this group with my wonderful friend Jackie Choi. Can’t wait! The winter of early 2014 will henceforth be known as the “polar vortex,” one of the snowiest and coldest winters I have experienced in a while. As a last hurrah before I started my new job, I treated myself to a getaway to Miami, FL, to run the Miami Half Marathon! I had a wonderful time recharging my batteries, eating great food, and seeing friends like Colleen, Kristen and Paul. Full recap to come in the next two weeks.

ING NYC Marathon

I had been aching to write a race report for two of my favorite New York City races: the ING New York City Marathon (held on 11/3/13) and the NYRR 60K (formerly the Knickerbocker 60K, held on 11/16/13). I would have felt like a bad New Yorker if I didn’t even mention these two races on my blog, even though they happened months ago.

I had been waiting for 11/3/13 for a long, long, time. I had the honor of working the marathon in the years 2010 and 2011, but wasn’t allowed to run while working. I realized I really missed running the ING NYC Marathon, so I jumped at the chance to run it in 2013. I ran it in memory of my friend, Rob Petrocelli, who we had lost in 2013. It made the race even more meaningful. I had an amazing day.

I ran into my Hawaiian friend Harvey Nakasone on the SI Ferry (total serendipity)! I also saw my good friends Juergen and Michele at the start, and we gave each other our good wishes. We warmed up with awesome Dunkin’ Donuts fleece hats at the start village. I was in the green start, wave 2, same as Michele! My sister Amy and my cousin Anthony were able to see me on the course. Amy caught me at Williamsburg (mile 12), and Anthony had an unplanned sighting of me at mile 26, because he was volunteering!

I saw Shane cheering me at Mile 13.1, and he gave me a pack of peanut butter M&Ms to keep me going, haha.

Lisa at mile 12, Williamsburg

Lisa at mile 12, Williamsburg

My legs were tired from running a 1:55 half marathon in LA the week before, but mentally I felt strong and I was just having an amazing time. I saw so many friends on the course–Otto’s 4:00 pace group passed me and I said hey, and so many Whippets were cheering in Harlem and Manhattan.

The mood was so festive…a dramatic difference from the somber mood after the 2012 marathon cancellation. The NYC Marathon was back with a vengeance! I felt blessed to be running in my beloved city again, basking in all the cheers as if I were a celebrity.

I couldn’t wait to get to the finish and see my friend Juergen (who was also finishing in the Team for Kids area), and to reunite with my mom and Shane. This year, we also had orange ponchos to look forward to in addition to the medal at the finish line. The weather was crisp and clear (about 55F) and I was running so close to my goal time of 4:30! I managed to finish in 4:33:14, but I was happy anyway. Although I was a tiny bit short of my goal, I had set a course PR! My previous course best was 4:52 way back in 2009. I had come a long way since then.

Lisa at the finish of the NYC Marathon

Lisa at the finish of the NYC Marathon

Thank you to all my friends and family for your cheers and support!

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As if finishing the ING NYC Marathon wasn’t reward enough, a few days later, I entered a contest through Erica Sara Designs…and I won! Erica Sara Designs makes gorgeous custom jewelry, and a lot of their bling is race-inspired. I already had a necklace and a pair of earrings from her that I wear all the time, so this was a real treat. I opted to have the ING NYC Marathon logo engraved on it, along with my finish time and blog name on the back. This is very similar to the elite athlete gifts that her company was commissioned to do for NYRR. Thank you so much, Erica Sara!

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NYRR 60K

Last but not least, two weeks after the ING NYC Marathon (just as my legs were starting to forgive me), I ran the NYC 60K. It was formerly known as the Knickerbocker 60K, and it had been my first ultramarathon in 2010. It is somewhat masochistic to run 37.2 miles completely in Central Park, but it’s so easy for friends to cheer you on, and the camaraderie is great, so for me it was a no-brainer to do it. I had wanted to do better than the 7:05 that I ran in 2010, but I had to wait and see how my body felt.

My friends Daniela, Claudia and Violet helped pace me, as well as Violet’s amazingly energetic Pomeranian, Jet. Violet & Jet ended up running 8 miles with me! Thank you to my dear pacers!

Violet and Jet pacing me

Violet and Jet pacing me

I was so grateful for their company, as things were starting to get a bit mind-numbing after 4 laps.

My friends Henry and Ken were running this as their first ultra, so I was rooting for them as well.

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credit: OhSnapper photography

After 9 laps, I crossed the finish line in 7:15:28! It capped off a long racing season for me, so I was proud. My legs weren’t so happy with me, but once I had my recovery meal at Shake Shack, the pain was mostly forgotten. Mom and Shane were at the finish line, as were my friends Michelle, Christine, Lisa and Gary (from Lockport, who also ran), Annette, Beth, and a ton of other Whippets. Sky and Tommy, my teammates, had podium finishes–Sky came in 2nd for women and Tommy was 3rd man overall. So glad to have run this race with so many of my dear friends!