Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...Lisa

This week's spotlight is on Lisa of Journey Cooking and Living (here). Once you read her interview head on over to her blog and say hello! She has a fantastic personality which is quite evident in the photos below!
Lisa at the Napa Marathon on March 6, 2011

Lisa and her daughter at the Mercer Island 1/2 Marathon on 3/20/11

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Lisa: Since high school track, and I graduated in that's 32+ years!!

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Lisa: It just felt good to run, and track was fun in high school! It also gave me the confidence I needed in my 20's and 30's. I struggled for these years with body image issues, and it took a great toll on my self-esteem. Running gave me freedom and straightened things out for me, helping me to appreciate myself. Still now, my weight still goes up and down a bit, but because of running, I am able to keep it in its proper perspective and not let it affect how I feel about myself! Running reminds me to be true to myself, no matter what I weigh! There are so many times in my life where I look back, and realize that it was running that saved me, giving me just what I needed at just at the right time.

I thank God every day that I can run, because I know that it is a blessing. And I am very grateful for it.
Lisa with two of her special running friends, Chris and Tamara, who make running even more meaningful

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Lisa: I think about 20 years, just fun road races mostly. Started doing marathons in 1995.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Lisa: My new favorite, as I am now approaching my 50th birthday, is the 1/2 marathon distance. I just did one three days ago, and I am still flying high. It is enough of a challenge, but not so grueling that I have to work my whole exercise routine and life around training.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Lisa: The Great Wall marathon 2001, running through a poor Chinese village. The little children were so poor, that they had no clothes. But they had smiles big enough for the entire world! They ran after us, and held our hands as we ran, welcoming us in their village, and cheering us on. Unforgettable!

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Lisa: Would have to be the Scranton, Pennsylvania Steamtown marathon 2002. Nothing wrong with the marathon itself, I was just undertrained and very dehydrated. The ride home I was in the back of the car for 3 hours throwing up! Awful memory...

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Lisa: My biggest pride is that I have run 11 full marathons in 4 continents, all after becoming a mom! While my husbands work had us living in different countries for 10 years, I took advantage of the great places we lived and looked for marathons in each new location. I've run them at the Great Wall of China, the Australian Gold Coast, Florence, Italy, Singapore, and others in the U.S. Also did several 1/2 marathons while living in Tokyo. I was able to savor each new place from a wonderful perspective, and it also gave me relief from being in a new town, new country, without friends. Running as an expatriate overseas was a very good thing, in so many ways! Most importantly, my husband and three kids were always supporting me during these marathons, which was the best gift ever! My first marathon ever was in Florence, Italy and my twin boys were toddlers and ran to the finish to hug me! Now they are 16 and they still come when they can, and are proud of me! In two years, my boys will be leaving for college, and I know that I will miss them desperately, but as it always is, running will be there for me to fill the void!!

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Lisa: My cell phone and Advil! With three teenagers, I always want to be reachable. On a recent run, I started an out-and-back long 17 mile run, and exactly at halfway point (8.5 miles from my house), the school nurse called with my son very sick needing to be picked up asap, and my husband was out of town. I gave myself a PR running the remaining 8.5 back to get my son! Glad I had my cell.

I keep Advil with me because once in awhile I will get a migraine. I have to medicate with Advil right away, or I am stuck with a 3 day nasty headache. I always have 3 Advil capsules with me!!

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Lisa: As much as I try, I cannot get myself to like GU, Sports Beans, Gatorade or anything like that when racing. I love raw almonds, peanut brittle, and water with flavorless electrolytes!

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Lisa: Soup!! Something about soup after a race! It hits the spot perfectly!

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Lisa: Definitely my mom and dad. Nobody even comes close. They are my heroes.

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Lisa: If your cup is small, a little bit of salt will make the water salty. If your heart is small, then a little bit of pain can make you suffer. Your heart must be large.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I tell runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.
~Mike Fanelli, club coach
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face...You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
~Eleanor Roosevelt
You have to live in the solution, not the problem.
~my dad
You have to take the bad with the good.
~my mom

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel___________.
Lisa: Like I've taken some cloudy glasses off, and can see things clearly. At peace!

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Lisa: I want to live with the grace, strength, and faith like my mother (who is on the treadmill faithfully an hour every day, even now as she battles cancer). I want to get more into triathlons. I did one 2 years ago, and it was tough. I want to challenge myself even more as I get older. I want to pass on the gift of exercise to my three beautiful children.
Lisa at the 2010 Portland Marathon whcih she dedicated to her mother and the Cancer Society.

Jodi: Please feel free to add anything else you feel will help others lace up their shoes and get out there and run!!
Lisa: I've never met anyone whose life didn't change for the better from taking on running!

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Lisa! Best of luck in achieving your current goals!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Lisa YOU inspire ME!!


  1. Great interview!! What a cool story about the Great Wall marathon!! How amazing!

  2. Great post! Lisa is a very special individual!

  3. What a beautiful post and an inspirational story!