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)

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!!

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xoxo,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

 

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Life Lately…

A lot has happened this past month and I’d thought I would share what’s been going on with life! So beginning of this month, I got laid off. I won’t say a lot about it – but it was totally unexpected and i really just miss my co workers and working with my best friend Kari every day. It’s weird not having a job.  I’ve had a job ever since I was 16 years old and if I got a new job, I would literally have that weekend off and then start the new job on Monday.  My life has been go go go since I was 16.  I started college 6 DAYS after my high school graduation. I worked 2 jobs while I was at BYU and the day after BYU graduation I moved to NYC to start an internship! I’m not trying to brag or anything, all i’m trying to say is that I’ve never really had a break.

So when I got laid off – Yeah, I cried a little and then went home and Steven was there to comfort me and he just said “well now you have this time to figure out what you want to do next.” & in my mind – I’m like “omg there’s no steady income coming in, you’re still in school, how are we gonna live!?!?” Luckily, we have savings and we are totally fine. But it was so weird not having a regular routine. Every day would be the same – wake up, gym, breakfast, go to work, come home, cook dinner, hang out with Steven, sleep. I even had certain times where I would drink my water!! haha

Anyways – with all the time I had, I started baking more cakes and practicing different techniques, learning how to frost and finally started my own cake insta – @lizzies_bakery! I’m still a way amateur baker / I’m super shy still because there are way more awesome bakers that I follow on my personal instagram! But the thing with cakes and why I love them so much is that I can make something from scratch and decorate it how I want or combine different flavors together and it will be something so delicious! and you know me – I LOVE SWEETS. On my spare time, I would always just be on Pinterest or YouTube reading cake blogs and learning new things that I wanted to actually do. At first it started out as a hobby and now I am actually making a little money off of this little business! So if you need a cake for weddings, birthdays, showers, or a holiday party let me know!!

Being laid off is definitely a trial for me – but I know that Heavenly Father knows that I can do hard things and I know that i can do hard things and overcome these unexpected obstacles that come my way. I also know that blessings come when you are trying to do the right thing – Steven’s cousin Rachel needed a nanny part-time until graduation, which is perfect timing because then I still have time to make cakes in the morning! It also keeps me busy instead of just lounging around in the apartment on social media. Also baby time with Buffy who is the cutest and such a good baby.

If you’re still reading this – here are mine & Steven’s plans for the summer. Since my work said I could go to London and now that I don’t work there anymore our plans had to change. Since there’s no point to stay in Provo and keep paying rent – we are moving at the end of April after Steven’s graduation to Carlsbad, CA and living in Steven’s parent’s home by the beach! We’ll be there till May and middle of June and travel to Europe for 2 1/2-3 weeks and then I’ll drop Steven off in London so he can attend his Oxford University Study abroad! While Steven is on his study abroad, I’ll be in Vegas for a little while and then maybe visit my Dad who just moved to Florida – we will see! But then in August – we have NO CLUE where we’ll be!! So Stay tuned!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson IMG_1669

Milk Bar Birthday Cake

If you’ve ever been to Milk Bar in NYC/Brooklyn, then you know what I’m talking about. They are known for their AMAZING cookies, cakes, pies and just sooo many yummy treats and don’t forget about their cereal milk.

I remember pinning this recipe a LONG time ago but reading the recipe kind of scared me. You need a lot of different ingredients you normally don’t use and I had to buy some stuff on Amazon. Some things that might not sound familiar –

CLEAR Vanilla Extract – This will give you that yummy boxed flavor taste (which is a childhood favorite, am i right?!) You’ll need this ingredient in all 4 of the things you need to make.

Glucose/Glycerin – I searched glucose on amazon and it gave me glycerin from Wilton brand. It basically gives your frosting that perfect white color like the frosting that comes right out of the tub.

Citric Acid – This goes in your frosting (just a pinch) and you can just use a tiny squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Acetate sheets – All of the blogs that I read said you can buy these at any specialty craft or kitchen store. uhhh yeah right! I searched far & wide in utah valley to find these but literally NO ONE had these and all of the employees had NO IDEA what they were! & I didn’t want to spend the $35 on amazon, so I went to Target and bought plastic dividers ($1.79) – cut the folder tab and taped two dividers together. The acetate sheets help you assemble the cake making that perfect 6 inch cake!

So this recipe contains:

  • Birthday Cake
  • Birthday Crumbs
  • Birthday Cake Frosting
  • Milk Soak

I had to buy some equipment off Amazon to make this cake – 6 inch springform pan & 6 inch cake ring. The 6 inch cake ring is key to making perfect circles for your cake.

To make this cake, you really need a kitchen aid and you need patience. You are mixing a lot of fat, oils and sugar together – so all of the ingredients are basically fighting to stay apart. The strength of the kitchen aid helps mix it all together but make sure you pay attention to the minutes you are mixing everything.

I got the full recipe here. It may seem daunting but I made this cake TWICE and both times it took me about total 1 1/2 hours. I made it for my half birthday and one for my good friend Jenn Blosil’s birthday! If you are having any troubles with this cake here is a quick video that I watched for reference to help me get through it!

I also created a new Instagram just for my cakes! Follow me at @lizzies_bakery on Instagram! I’ve been thinking a lot about making cakes and actually selling them to people. I’m definitely going to start out small but if you or you know anyone who needs a cake for a wedding, bridal/baby shower, birthday, etc – let me know!!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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We Love Visitors!!

Last week we had a couple of visitors come visit us here in good ol’ Provo, Utah!! Our first pair of visitors was my friend Lucy Ye & her boyfriend Jerry! I met Lucy while I was interning at Hill Holliday in Boston! Lucy is originally from Boston so while I was out there Summer 2014, she showed me around some of the sites like the best ramen restaurant in Cambridge & Six Flags New England!

Lucy accepted a new job at Square in San Francisco so she made the LONG drive from Boston to SF.  She texted me a pic of her google map showing the route & the line went through Salt Lake City! I immediately texted her and told her YOU HAVE TO COME STAY WITH ME IN PROVO.  I don’t know how they drove so fast but they got to Provo in 3 days… CRAZY. They got to provo really really late and luckily we had their room set up with our handy queen air mattress for them. We let them sleep in and Lucy asks “what’s that donut place you are always posting about?!” UH HI. PROVO BAKERY!!!!!  We obviously had to take them there. After some yummy donuts & driving around downtown Provo showing them Center St, the new Provo City Temple & BYU campus we headed back to our apartment to go night skiing!

We went night skiing up at Sundance Resort & it snowed the day before and it was raining in Provo so there was SO MUCH fresh powder.  I’ve never skied or snowboarded in any fresh powder before.  Granted this was my 2nd time skiing.. haha I’m not the best at skiing but Sundance was so much fun and Steven is a good teacher 😉 We skied mostly greens but our last run was a blue and we did it!! I only fell once! After skiing we were STARVED and Lucy & Jerry have never been to In&Out before so we took them there!!

They decided to stay another night in Provo and while Steven & I had school & work, they went to SLC and visited Temple Square! When we got back we drove to the Midway Ice castles! I’ve never driven through a blizzard and in Provo Canyon I could not see the road in front of me.  It was SO scary! I had my hazard lights on and I went like 15 mph.  It was my first time at the ice castles and it was a ton of fun! Cold, but fun!  Going back home was scary also… sooo much snow! I was driving slow but some other cars passed me super fast and 25 min later they drove in a snow bank… SAD. We are so grateful that we made it home safely.  We loved having Lucy & Jerry stay with us in Provo and we can’t wait to hang out them again soon!

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This past weekend we had my stepsister Dana and her boyfriend Cole come visit us! During Christmas, Dana was talking about how she really wanted to go to Sundance Film Festival end of January and when tickets went on sale, I texted her and asked her if she really wanted to come! Luckily, everything worked out and her & Cole came up Saturday night and met up with us at Tower Theatre in SLC and we watched one of the Shorts Program movies. You never know what you’re going to get at Sundance because nothing is rated hahaha Shorts Program is where they compile 5-6 different short movies into one program. The cool thing about the movie was that all of the directors were there to do a Q&A! It was super cool to be there!

After the movie, we made reservations to Market Street Grill because a ton of my friends RAVE about it. But, I wasn’t a big fan.  It was good food but WAY expensive. We ordered the clam chowder and Steven ordered a fish & chips meal.  Dinner was a good time to catch up with Dana & Cole. It was weird actually having her up here because usually she is up here with our parents for a special occasion or something! After dinner, we drove to Park City to walk on Main St. We literally drove through a blizzard to get there but made it there safely! There were a ton of people because it was a Saturday night.  I think I saw someone famous and I think we looked at each other because he was about to get in a black SUV and all of his body guards were like “you good, man?” But, I didn’t recognize his face hahaha

We had so much fun with Lucy/Jerry & Dana/Cole! I’m grateful for amazing friends and family.  It’s crazy how I interned with Lucy in Boston and a year and a half later she’s here with us in Provo! I try and make an effort to not lose contact with people that I meet because you never know if they need a place to stay on their long drives from the east coast to the west coast!! Sorry for the long post!! Thanks for reading!

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XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson