I’m a Marathoner!!! NYC 2016

I’m a Marathoner!! Honestly, I thought I would never say those words in my life. I didn’t call myself a runner until 2014 when I got accepted to be in the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco! It wasn’t until then when I knew I had become a “runner.”

Fast forward to 2015, getting ready for my 2nd half marathon in SF – I was sooooo ready. But at mile 7, I was struggling & my mind just kept telling me “you will never do a marathon – this is miserable and you’re only at mile 7!” When I crossed that finish line, I was sooo happy that it was over and that I will NEVER EVER run a marathon.

In January 2016 – applications for the NYC Marathon raffle opened up. I’ve signed up for the NYC Marathon before through the raffle but I have never been picked.  I remember signing up this time and not even thinking about it – I paid the $10 to donate to NYRR and then I submitted my name and didn’t think anything about it.  Then on March 8, 2016 – I got the email saying “CONGRATULATIONS!! You have been accepted into the TCSNYC Marathon 2016!!” omg omg omg. I remember this date so clearly because it was the same date I got laid off on my job. It was a horrible HORRIBLE day. I had been let go of my job that morning & me being so emotional – I was crying and I was so down on myself that day, it was just the worst day ever. I remember going grocery shopping (cuz life goes on) and I got the email at Smith’s and I was just in shock. But it also made my horrible day turn into a not-so-horrible day. I was going to run the New York City Marathon and this has been something on my bucket list since sophomore year of high school! Even though, I had told myself I would never run a marathon – I could not NOT do this!! (Also, they charge your credit card immediately once you get picked – so bye bye $200 – either way I might as well make the most of it)

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-10-24-24-pm

I knew I had to start training ASAP. I created a training program through the Nike Running App and it had me start my training on Monday, May 9th – which is about a 5 month training program. Luckily, by that time – Steven and I had moved to Carlsbad, California and I had the best running route – along the ocean!

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

I trained super well the month of May & June – I was consistent and my miles were going up every week! I also ran the Lake Tahoe Half marathon with my amazing friend Brittany in between training so that helped a ton.

13497684_10153767182973175_978279880480094419_o

Then July came… Steven & I traveled to Paris, Amsterdam and England that whole month! and I did not run at all. Then August… Steven started his new job in Los Angeles and we had a temporary place in Studio City, CA and my training was alright.  I ran a ton in August up and down Ventura Blvd.  At the end of September, we were moving into our new apartment in Playa Vista.  Luckily, we have our own little gym here so I could run on the treadmill, but I’m not a big fan of training on a treadmill so I avoided it when I could.  In October, I ran my longest run – 16 miles in Santa Monica along the oceanfront. I was so shocked that I could do 16 miles after my sporadic training. I ran 6 miles and then walked 2 minutes then ran another 2 miles and kept doing that until I hit 16 miles. I felt good when I did that.  Definitely sore by the end of it, but now I knew how I was going to pace myself come race day.

I should’ve ran 2o miles for my last long run training because everyone always says “if you can run 20, you can run 26!” I obviously did not listen and ran my 16 miles. During my last weeks of training – I barely ran at all which was dumb of me.  The week of the race – I ran probably 8 miles total.

RACE WEEKEND

We left for New York Friday, November 4th and arrived around 10:45PM! We ubered to our cute Airbnb (Thanks Tom & Sharon!) and felt right at home. We were so tired so we went to bed early and my brother Mark and his wife Imee and their baby Mila drove from Virginia Beach to hang out with us in NYC for the weekend! They arrived around 6am the next day and we slept in until about 9AM.  I was too excited to get out and explore / pick up my bib and race #!!!!  We went straight to the race convention center and the expo was packed full of different vendors and Asics selling a ton of NYC Marathon gear – it was packed! We picked up my race # and headed to the Highline! I was excited to take Steven to one of my favorite spots in NYC and show him where I used to hang out with all of my friends when I interned there back in 2014.

We walked on the Highline and then went to Chelsea Market – but unfortunately got out of there quick because it was again, SO PACKED! We headed to Ramen-ya (best Ramen in NYC) and then to Central Park! We saw the finish line (eeeek!) and all of the flags of the participating countries all lined up.  I got to take everyone to Sheep Meadows (my favorite spot to have a picnic) and we relaxed until we figured out our next plans to meet up with my Dad, stepmom and baby brother George!! They flew from Florida to see me run!

img_5027img_5033img_5051img_5062img_5090img_1964

We met up with my dad and his family in Flushing (the REAL Chinatown!!) at a Chinese Restaurant.  Note to self: chinese food before a race is not the best idea. do not do it. We ate soooo much food. It was so good to see my dad and his family! My baby brother George is almost 4 years old! and he can speak fluent Chinese!!! He knows English but they speak more Chinese to him than English.  We headed back to our Airbnb because baby Mila was getting tired.  She was such a good baby on the entire trip!

RACE DAY

My transportation time was scheduled at 7:30am – Staten Island Ferry.  But my start time was at 10:40AM – I was super confused! But I woke up around 6:15AM and got ready for the race.  I slept pretty well but actually woke up around 5am and then couldn’t go back to sleep. My brother and Steven drove me to the ferry place and I made it just in time to get on the 7:30AM ferry.  It was packed with runners!! I scoured the place to see if I could make a quick friend.  I sat by this girl who came all the way from Australia! It wasn’t her first marathon ever but first time running NYC.  She gave me some advice on the marathon and she basically said to “just have fun.”

I got off the ferry and we were in long lines for security checking that we had our bib on and that no spectators go any farther.  I was walking by this girl who looked alone so I introduced myself and I immediately made a new friend – Renata, from San Paulo, Brazil! We rode the bus together all the way to the Runner’s Village and it was so good to be with someone instead of by myself.  I had friends at the Runner’s Village but it was impossibly trying to find people because there were soooo many runners. At the village, they gave us bagels, energy bars, bananas and water. Renata and I talked the entire way to the village and we kept saying “I hope we finish!!” “I’m so nervous!” “We are CRAZY!!” Renata got chosen through the lottery as well and she came to NYC by herself, no family.  I was super impressed. I got her email just in case we got separated so we could stay in touch.  She started in the same wave and corral as me!  It was a nice, sunny day and we were ready to run!! The first wave went at 9:40AM and we had a lot of waiting to do.

It was finally time to line up with our corrals and it was almost start time!! Renata and I were so anxious to start running and get the day started! As we were walking towards the starting line, an announcer greeted all of us and someone sang a patriotic song (not the National Anthem though) – then someone started up the cannon and we heard a loud BOOM sound and that was our que to start going!!!

The Starting line was at the beginning of the Verrazano Bridge that crossed over to Brooklyn! My phone died right as I started running and I had my charger in my fanny pack because I definitely was going to document this race as much as I could – as I was pulling my charger out, my credit card and ID fell out so I immediately had to stop – losing my friend Renata! It was okay though… I kept on going and I don’t know why, but it was super hard to breathe running on that bridge.  The Verrazano Bridge was about a mile long and once we got off the bridge, spectators were there cheering us on.  It felt SO GOOD. My Spotify wasn’t connecting, so I decided not to run with any music and rely on the spectators to keep me motivated.  Every chance I had, I high fived all of the little kids and that’s what kept me going! At every mile, they had bands playing which help me stay motivated.  I loved the signs and people screaming “Welcome to Brooklyn” or “Welcome to our home.” It was amazing.

Honestly, Miles 1 – 13 were a blur.  I felt like it went by so fast. I did remember someone (a spectator) at Mile 5 feeding me half a dunkin donut lol and I ate that thing like a savage.  I kept with my pace and running strategy.  I ran 6 miles straight, walked 2 minutes and then ran the next 2 miles.  When I got to mile 8, Steven was cheering me on! It was so good to see him!  Miles 1-13 was all of Brooklyn until we crossed another bridge into Long Island City / Queens / Lower Manhattan.  Mile 15 was not the worst, but we were under a bridge and spectators weren’t allowed under the bridge.  So it felt really quiet and it was a little bit of an uphill battle.  I had already walked my 2 minutes so I had 2 more miles to go until I would let myself walk again. I pushed through that bridge and when we got to mile 16 – the spectators were back and I had to keep going! Also, I kept thinking – don’t die, don’t die because 16 miles was the longest I trained – could I get past 16 and finish this thing?

Mile 16 -20 again were a blur. At Mile 19, they were giving out energy goo which I think mentally was telling me “you can do this.” When I got to mile 20 – I made it to The Bronx. There was a huge sign that said – “Welcome to Mile 20 – say hello to The Wall!” I thought that was pretty funny but I hadn’t hit my wall yet.  I loved running through The Bronx – the culture and vibe there was amazing.  We finally crossed over our final bridge to Manhattan and at mile 22 we were running down 5th ave.  By that time – I was definitely feeling it. I had hit “my wall.” I had friends and family tracking me the entire time and one of my best friends, Andrea texted me at mile 23 and said “3 miles more! Don’t stop running!” I was so tired that I was walking soooooo slow that my dot on the tracking app looked like I had stopped! But when Andrea texted me, that helped me keep going! I knew my family was waiting for me at mile 24 and when I kept going – they were around the corner when I entered Central Park! I loved seeing all of them cheering me on.  I’ve never had family come see me run (except Steven) so it was amazing to share this experience with all of them.

Okay – so after I saw them at mile 24, I knew that I couldn’t stop.  I was only 2 miles away!! At mile 25.5 we ran through Columbus Circle (where my old Internship was – hey Y&R!) and then ran back through Central Park.  At this point, the track was lined up with flags from all over the world.  This time – I could see the finish line so close!! I heard my name get called as I was crossing the finish line and I was smiling so big for the cameras because there were about 20 of them!  I couldn’t believe it.  I had finished a MARATHON. 26.2 miles. Wow. A volunteer put a medal around my neck and I got my picture taken with my medal and kept on walking with the other finishers to pick up our post-race bag full of food and drinks.  I immediately ate an apple and chugged a protein shake that was in my bag.  This was probably the worst part of the race – they made you walk another mile to get out of the race area to meet your families! I was so sore that my face was just stone cold. Volunteers kept asking me – “do you need medical?” hahaha I just kept on walking and finally got my race poncho and met up with Steven and my family!!

I am so happy the race is over! I’m so happy I had the chance to run the NYC Marathon and cross this off my bucket list.  If you are hesitant about doing a marathon – just do it! Your body can handle it even if you think you can’t. (if you train)

P.S – I finished at 5 hours & 22 minutes!

P.S.S – I didn’t make it on ESPN but I did make it onto the NYC Marathon Snapchat story!!

804935_1240_0030804965_1331_0043805040_1043_0044805086_1035_0015805113_1500_0012818064_1385_0040

xoxo,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

 

Advertisements

Lake Tahoe Half Marathon

So in February, my friend Brittany asked me if I wanted to do the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon with her in June! Obviously, I said YES and Steven said yes because his cousin that he hasn’t seen in forever lives in Lake Tahoe – so it was a perfect time to visit him and take a couples’ trip!

We flew from LA – SF and stayed with our friends Lucy and Jerry.  They both are newish residents of San Francisco and it was so fun to catch up with them! We had them stay with us in Provo in January, so we were really excited to see them! I can always trust Lucy to take me to the best food places and I was right! They picked us up from the airport and we went straight to the yummiest Ramen place (but the worst service…lol).

We had about a day and a half to explore SF – so the next day we went to Lombard street, toured Lucy’s work at Square, Twin Peaks and Dumplings! Touring Lucy’s work was a big highlight of our day because we were treated to free lunch, smoothie bar and ginger shots hahahah it was so fun. Maybe because I love free food but whatever!!

The next day, we went with Jerry to Seward Slides, Bi-Rite Creamery, Painted Ladies, and the iconic mosaic steps! Then we met up with Brittany and her husband Joram to road trip to Lake Tahoe! We checked into our hotel (HOTEL CHALET) & went to bed because we were so tired from the drive up and we had our race the next morning!

Joram & Steven dropped Brittany and I off at the start line for the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon! We ran the whole race together which was so nice because we could pace ourselves.  It was about 75% down hill and when it was up hill I hated it hahaha. I was feeling good from Miles 1 – 7.  At mile 8, I felt the blisters on my toes, but I kept going! I was really impressed with the snacks/drink stations at each mile. It made you look forward to each mile. Mile 10 felt like an ETERNITY! We were running most of the time on the main highway and then mile 10-11 was in the woods so I had no clue where we were.  The last mile we basically sprinted to the finish line while Brittany is holding on to a red bull from one of the drink stations hahaha It felt so good to finish!! It was so nice that this race wasn’t as big as the Nike Women’s Half because it was easier for Steven and Joram to take pics of us through out the race!

I think my favorite thing about the race is that I can eat WHATEVER I WANT!! We went to Heidi’s Pancake House and it was so yummy! We went back to the hotel to rest and shower and then we met up with Steven’s cousin Scott and his girlfriend Kayla.  Steven had not seen Scott in years so it was a great reunion for them.  We went out for fro-yo and found out that runners get free fro yo ALL WEEKEND. We definitely took advantage of that and went twice. Then we went and relaxed at the lake and ate yummy Greek food!

For our last day in Tahoe, we went to Emerald Lake and Emerald Bay.  Both, beautiful places to visit if you are in South Lake Tahoe! We drove back to SF and they dropped us off at the airport.  It was an awesome trip and another half marathon in the books! Now I’m training for the New York City Marathon happening in November – so wish me luck!!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

IMG_2779IMG_2783IMG_2790IMG_2793IMG_2794IMG_2813IMG_2818IMG_2828IMG_2840IMG_2842IMG_28665900388922818560wv61783352483512325438879386042368wv61783352483512324882066605342720wv6178335248351232IMG_28825776498376572928wv6178335248351232IMG_288913497684_10153767182973175_978279880480094419_o13528323_10153775463263175_1467613114650809208_oIMG_2893IMG_2896IMG_2897IMG_2904IMG_2909IMG_2916IMG_2922

Kayla Itsines BBG 1.0 REVIEW!

So if you follow me on my fitness Instagram or Snapchat you probably already know that I just finished Kayla Itsines BBG Guide 1.0! I get really shy sometimes on posting photos of ‘me’ on social media. It’s not that I’m ‘body shy…’ I don’t know or maybe I am!! This was my 2nd time finishing Bikini Body Guide and for some reason this time felt different.

This blog post is all about my thoughts on Kayla Itsines & her workout program. When I first discovered this program, my friend Stormy was telling me all about it when I was living in NYC in the Summer of 2014. She would send me screen shots of the workouts and tell me to do 7 minutes of each circuit & then repeat.. but, for some reason I just did not understand what she meant. So i pushed it aside and forgot all about it.

When I decided to move back to Provo, I immediately was in half marathon training mode for my first Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco! But with running a ton comes burning a lot of calories and I was HUNGRY all the time.  So I ate a lot while I was training. I was so shocked when I gained SO much weight during my training period. Once my race was over, I decided to look into the Kayla Itsines Program and try it out.

I was hooked.

Do three 28 minute circuits Monday, Wednesday and Friday and that’s it? Also incorporate some LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) Cardio and I’m done for the week? It definitely fit into my busy work schedule and I LOVED these work outs. Kayla suggests everyone who does her program to take progress photos every 4 weeks. I accepted her challenge and the results were SO CRAZY!

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 9.24.22 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-03 at 9.24.34 PM

I finally started becoming comfortable with my own body and I felt SO GREAT. Obviously every week wasn’t perfect but with the BBG guides, I could always count on another organized week of workouts if I failed the week before. So a year goes by, I finished guide 2.0, took a break, started half marathon training for my 2nd Nike Half Marathon Race and then immediately started BBG 1.0 right after my race.

In the beginning of 1.0, I didn’t really take my eating seriously. I still ate a ton of sweets, sugar, fatty foods but did my BBG workouts every week. EVERYONE knows that “abs are made in the kitchen” and blah blah blah but I wasn’t taking that seriously at all. Winter was coming which meant baggy sweaters, hoodies, and no need for me to wear a swimsuit. My eating habits turned into bad sleeping habits, skipping workouts, etc. Christmas time came and I was on week 10 and I did NOT work out at all during Christmas vacation. Steven and I ate sooooo many sweets that we were literally addicted when we got back to Provo. We were like savages trying to find chocolate ANYWHERE bahahaha Obviously with the new year, my brain automatically switches to a “new year, new me” mentality and when that first monday of 2016 came, I was ready to KILL it at my workouts.

I got back in the gym and started on week 10 all over and went every morning. I made it a routine to set my gym clothes out every night, get up after 2 snooze button taps, drink a big glass of water and go to my car and scrape the ice off of it so I could drive to the gym.  Not going to lie.. it was MISERABLE especially the dumb ice on my car. But, I made it to the gym every morning to do the BBG circuits, LISS, HIIT and rehab (stretching).  By week 12, it became a habit and I was loving the results I was seeing on my own body. I’m sad I didn’t take any photos from the beginning but I did take pics of my results at the end!

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 9.43.03 PM

After a series of doing the BBG guides, other workouts, going on whole 30 and half marathon training – it finally clicked well it actually didn’t click.. I just honestly needed to limit myself from my usual donuts, ice cream, cake, and treats!! I’m starting to train my stomach on foods that will help me to not crave sugary foods. I can say 100% that the BBG guides do work if you eat healthy, do the workouts religiously, get good sleep and drink LOTS of water. I’m currently on week 13 of BBG 2.0 and eating 75% Paleo and 15% whatever I want because life is short and sometimes you just need to indulge!! Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Week 16 progress pics and follow me on my fitness instagram @Liz_linsanity!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson