NYC Marathon Team Spot Check In: Lisa Larson


1. Tell us a little bit about how you came to be involved with NBR. What was your first run? How long have you been involved?

I’ve been running with NBR for about two years. I joined a couple of months after I started running because I don’t know how to do anything half-assed or just for fun and figured if I was running I needed to be all in. I am a former professional ballet dancer and after about a year of retirement I needed something else physical to consume all of my time. The first NBR run I attended was WNRR and without having any context for what the team was about aside from its pretty metal website, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to keep up. There were definitely some faster runners there, and it was that pressure to catch them or at least to catch up that kept me coming back.

2. How is marathon training going? Are there any specific workouts that are really moving things along for you? Tell the world a good NBR long run story.

Marathon training is….going? I don’t know how to say this without sounding disconnected from the marathon hoopla but currently it very much just feels like another compartmentalized part of my day. I’ve gotten up to a 16-mile long run which is further than I’ve ever run and I feel proud of that, but its very much just one aspect of my life. It’s a huge time suck, but its not all-consuming in the way that I thought that it would be. I started a new job in breast cancer research on the same week that training started, and that has been physically and emotionally draining. I think it’s a blessing because it’s provided me some perspective and some balance with my running. I’m working with critically and chronically ill people all day every day. The running task feels very easy compared to that. That said, I think that finding time to cross train has been crucial to staying healthy and attending TNT has made those medium runs a lot easier to get done when I’m exhausted. As for a good long run story, I just ran 16 miles with Sean Laude as my bike escort offering water and gels the whole way. My mind starts to get weird at around mile 14 so having his company and persistent cheer got me to the end of a particularly hilly run.

Photo by Jody Bailey

Photo by Jody Bailey

3. Which NBR runs are you attending regularly to train? Are there any NBR members who inspire you to train hard(er)?

I have to mention TNT again here. Track work intervals have always come easy to me but the concept of a tempo run to a new runner can feel somewhat daunting. TNT is a really inclusive group that makes each runner feel accomplished at the end of their run and it’s that positivity that keeps me coming back. For runners who inspire me to train harder, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my amazingly supportive partner, Sean Laude. He is great at reminding me how capable I am when I lose sight of my abilities. He doesn’t ascribe to a theory of excessive praise but his words are always genuine and his ability to be present for me pushes me to want to make him proud and allows me to recharge when I’m losing focus. The other NBR runner who inspires me daily is Kevin Vargas because he is equally diligent in his training and his recovery which so many runners forget to do. He is also generous and humble despite his insane running talents and paced me to a five minute half marathon PR in May!

4. What does it mean to be chosen by your peers for a coveted NBR marathon team spot?

I’m humbled, because I think these spots should go to someone who exemplifies what it means to be an NBRior. I mostly wake up, try to excel in my career, be a decent partner to Sean, squeeze in a few runs, and make the world a little bit better and kinder in the process. Most days I think I fall short, as we all probably do. We’re all human and trying our hardest and I think that is what this team is all about. We’re all people with our plates full trying to give a little something to the run community and I’m honored to be here. 

5. What do you plan on eating post-marathon? What about the night before?

Post-marathon I’ll eat as many calories as I can get into my mouth that day, and then aim to do a more refined celebratory dinner later in the week when I’m not full of GU. Maybe an omakase menu or something similar to remind me to slow down and unwind. Before the race I stan a pizza all to myself, preferably from Bravi Ragazzi in Bed Stuy (with anchovies for the extra salt!). 

6. What inspires and motivates you to run this year's NYC marathon?

My dad is who inspires me to run this marathon and who inspires me to get out the door to train on my worst days. He passed away from cancer about a year ago and grew up running cross country for Trinity School here in the city. He would have loved to watch me run the marathon so I’m doing this for him, in his memory. He is also why I am reminded every day to have gratitude for a body that lets me push it in so many ways even when I feel sore or tight or run down. 

7. In your head, what animal (real or fictional) do you think you most resemble when you're running?

This is the hardest question! I’ve been sitting on it for about a week and then while running the trails of suburban Chicago this weekend a small creature skittered in front of me and I found my answer. I’m definitely a chipmunk. The can go fast for short distances, are small, and just a little bit skittish. I also have a lot of cheek (literally and figuratively) and enjoy being out in the woods.