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February 28, 2012

Lisa Dabao - Runner of the Month March 2012

Written by Dena Evans
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Lisa  Dabao is a recent 4:45 Surf City USA Marathon finisher who lives in Newport Beach, commuting an hour to Los Angeles every work day.  She’s a television commercial producer  (including some we’ve all seen) and a very busy one at that.  One could rightfully say that working is her life.   She works 6-7 days per week, 14 hours per day, which with the two hours commuting makes finding time to train extremely difficult.   Lisa slips in runs when she can and often finds herself running in the dark, getting her time away from what she describes as “the insanity of production.”   Lisa spent a precious few minutes with us, answering questions from FNF despite a 4:30am wake-up call the next morning as she worked on a shoot in Milwaukee.

FNF: How did you start running?

LD: I have been running since I was in high school.  Not with track or cross country, just on my own.  I've been on team sports ever since I was a kid and running has always been a part of my personal training. After school and organized sports ended for me, I kept running as a supplement to my workouts.

FNF: Who is your running role model?

LD: My sister Jamie, who is a year and a half younger, always inspired me.  She has run many marathons and after watching her complete them and listening to her talk about them for years, I finally committed to running my first in 2009 - the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.  It was a VERY rough run for me.  Jamie and I set out to run that marathon together.  I made the horrible mistake of running in my relatively "newer' shoes and was hurting at mile 8.  I remember thinking, “what have i done to myself?'” I finished that in 5:12 and was horrified.  Since that marathon, I have always known I would do another.  I was properly trained to run faster, I just BLEW it in wearing the wrong shoes.   Anyway, my sister Jamie got me started with this long running "madness" (as I call it).

FNF: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

LD:  As for running, I coaxed my wonderful boyfriend, Mike, into running with me.  He had never run prior to dating me.  I talked him into training for the 2010 Santa Barbara Half Marathon with me.  He completed his first 1/2 marathon in less than 2 hours.  That was so rewarding to me.  In racing, probably the last 2 miles of my most recent full marathon -The Surf City Marathon.  I started to cramp and my feet were aching.   All of a sudden, ALL of my aches and pains just disappeared and I was able to really push it to the finish.  I couldn't believe it when it was happening but just felt joy.  Actually, that entire marathon was memorable and enjoyable.  I believe FNF had a lot to do with that marathon being such a positive experience.  I felt pretty good the entire race.  I went out feeling strong and felt strong through most of the race.  There were many times when I looked down at my Garmin and had to scale back.  I wanted to respect the course and the distance.   Looking back, I know I could have finished in less time however, I'm VERY pleased with my results considering a week prior to the race, I didn't even think I could finish.

FNF: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

LD: I have thoroughly enjoyed the forum section of FNF.  I utilized the forums A LOT throughout my training for tips and suggestions from the coaches and other runners.  - While I was training, I felt as if I had my own personal trainer, Kate O'Neill Tenforde.  She would respond immediately with such care and insight.  I attribute much of my success in the Surf City Marathon to Kate's guidance and recalculating my schedule when I got sick for 2 weeks during my training.  I got a pretty bad flu over the holidays, but my longest runs (19, 20, 22 miles) were scheduled over that period.  I missed those long runs and tried to power through the shorter runs (at times only making myself feel worse).  I thought I wouldn't be able to finish the marathon.  With Kate's careful suggestions, I not only finished the marathon but came within minutes of my original goal time.

FNF: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

LD: I have learned that I MUST eat in order to run any distances.  I've always been a bad eater, but through my marathon training, I have learned that I simply cannot go without my oatmeal, raisins and banana before a long run. No way!

FNF: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

LD: On of my favorite training runs is The Newport Beach Back Bay Trail - it is at least 10 miles around the back bay, and you can add mileage from there if you need to.  It is a scenic run around a nature preserve and bird sanctuary.  There are beautiful sights, sounds and even parts where you get peeks at the glistening ocean.

FNF: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

LD: Well, I have the Orange County 1/2 Marathon coming up.  I wish to finish that in under 2 hours.  Halves have always been fun for me, but now that I have a time goal in mind, I think the fun will change to TOUGH.  Other than the OC 1/2 – when and IF I decide to do another full marathon - I will finish under 4:30.

Last modified on February 29, 2012
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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