Washington, DC

Name: Lisa Romanzo

Self-described age group: my mornings fueled off coffee, my evenings off wine and ice cream, my current bosses can’t even complete full sentences, and I’m in bed by 930… i must be in the 30-35 range. waiting to move on up to the next age group!

Residence: Ashburn

Occupation: Physical therapist, but currently on hiatus to be home with my kids.

Why you run: Running makes me a better person. It’s my “quiet” time. With a traveling husband and family states away, running serves as my hobby but also my self care time. It allows me mental clarity, to work through things in my head or to just be in that meditative, steady state where I am free of thought. I love the endorphin release. How strong it makes me feel. And for the invaluable lessons it continues to teach me about self acceptance, resilience and hard work.

When did you get started running: Once college soccer came to an end, I needed an outlet to maintain some sanity and release some energy to get through graduate school so I picked up running. When I was deployed to Afghanistan, about three years later, my love for running grew deeper. Not only was it one of the only things for me to do, it filled the void and served as my therapy at a pretty low point in life. I carried it with me during the transition home and ran my first marathon, Marine Corps, that same year. I haven’t turned back since and running has never given up on me!

Have you taken a break from running: Only during my pregnancies and postpartum. When I started to experience back pain with my first pregnancy, that was it, I closed up shop. Second time around I made it further into the pregnancy, but stopped about a month before I had my daughter. I returned to running too soon each time. I wish I knew what I know now about postpartum recovery and running. the internet is a double edge sword. It’s a great place to raise awareness, find inspiration, get some basic info etc but it can also create and spread a lot of false information, especially in the pregnant and postpartum runners world. Women NEED to wait at least 6 weeks to return and definitely more if they have c-sections for the tissues to heal. A group of therapists from Europe created the first return to running guideline and they are actually suggesting after a review of the research, and input from clinical experts that women wait until 3 months postpartum! Unfortunately, there are many women “released” by doctors too soon. They are not ready. Physical therapists are the only professional at this point who should be releasing women for exercise because they fully assess all structures, muscles, etc and how they are functioning as a unit. It should be standard of care, but we have a long way to go to make that happen. this is certainly what I am more passionate about right now 🙂

Training shoe: No allegiance to any brand. I’m currently cycling through Salomon alming (love them!), Brooks, Nike and mizuno. I love shoes, but hate them at the same time. I don’t think any are really tailored toward what the research tells us we need… light, thin, firm and comfortable to us shoe. Less is more.

Coach or training group: No coach, yet! I have my eyes set on a few options for this fall’s marathon training

The hardest race you’ve ever run: NYC 2018. My son and I got into a car accident two days prior to the race when I was driving home to pack up. Instead, I waited in the hospital for imaging results. It was a really hard 48 hours before the race and I considered deferring, but wanted to give it a shot. The cold I was fighting turned into a full-blown cold the day before too. I had mentally, physically and emotionally ran a race before the race even started. I did well for the first 12 ish miles, but started feeling sick after that. I couldn’t stomach anything so I was running on fumes. Luckily, my husband found me at mile 23 and ran with me. I felt like I was going to pass out and didn’t want him to leave me, but I needed to finish that damn race. it was a heart breaker because I knew I was in such better shape than what played out that day. Unfortunately, life happens and we cannot change the cards we are dealt. I gave it my best shot, and that’s all I could do.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: Let’s see, I started running in sports bra last year. It’s just too hot and I let go of my insecurities about my body and what people would think.

Running mentors: My trusty chiro and friend, Aleck Wong.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: Around the Mall. I don’t get in there that often so it is a treat when I do!

Favorite local trail:  W&OD near Leesburg. The trees shade the path and it is just so beautiful and peaceful. Ashburn alone has trails just about all over the place. It’s a great place to run. You will always find another smiling face running, biking, walking, rollerblading.

My best race was: Richmond Marathon 2017 when I was 10 months postpartum. I had no goals other than to have fun, make it through training without injury and continue exclusively breastfeeding. I ended up running a pretty relaxed +15 min PR and truly had a great time.

Favorite local race: Army Ten-Miler. I’ve started with the wounded warriors and my old coworkers for 3 years in the first wave. we head out first with a 10 minute buffer before all the elite fly by. It’s always so humbling to see them run by so fast!

Ideal post-run meal: Nachos. All the nachos.

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: fruit punch sport beans

Goals:  To be a happy runner while chasing my limits. Should I ever BQ, it will be on my time and without sacrificing all the other important things in life like health, and family time.

Your advice for a new runner: Don’t get caught up in anyone else’s training or results. we are all so different and respond so differently to training.  Keep your eyes on the road ahead of you and just enjoy it.

Favorite running book: The Happy Runner

Song in your head during a run: Summa Summa Summa Time.

Have you dealt with a major injury: No major injuries. But dealing with a few little niggles right now from previous injuries from the old soccer days.

Running quote: Not a specific running quote… “Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. we risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary” Brené Brown.  Last year I certainly lost the joy for running that I had felt just the year before. I was pushing myself to run more, to chase some arbitrary number to get that coveted BQ. Any runner is incredible… no matter how fast, how far they run.  I think the car accident before NYC was a blessing really. Life is too short to chase down unnecessary expectations. The marathon is an incredible challenge for anyone and no finished marathon is a failure. Especially because a time doesn’t tell the whole story of what it took someone to get there. Will I keep pushing myself? Absolutely. We can be happy with what we have and what we are and still love the challenge to test OUR limits.

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner:  Compared to where I grew up, there are just so many more active people around here. You are never short of motivation, support, or inspiration.  Not only is it a safe place with the best views, the friendly faces on the trails make it that much better.

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