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5 Things You Should Know About Me: Lisa Stublić

October 08, 2013 at 12:45pm EST | by Barbara Huebner, Marathon News Service

When Lisa Stublić gave up her brief swimming career and took up running instead, it soon proved to be a good choice: She won her first race for Crosby (CT) High School, a 4K, by two minutes, before going on to compete at Columbia University, where she earned All-America honors in the steeplechase while studying music theory. After drifting in NYC for a couple of years, Stublić had what she calls “a quarter-life crisis” and moved to Croatia, the country of her father’s birth. She vowed to at least learn the language if nothing else, but she met a coach, Slavko Petrović, who sparked her running career. In December 2008, less than four months after she began training under Petrović, Stublić set a Croatian record in the half-marathon. In the 2010 Berlin Marathon, her debut at the distance, she ran 2:33:42 to set another national mark and achieve the Olympic “A” standard; she thus became the first Croatian female marathoner to qualify for the Olympic Games. Earlier this year, Stublić finished third in 1:09:18 in the NYC Half to lower her national mark for that distance, and then in April turned in a surprise 2:25:44 victory in the Zurich Marathon, a personal best by more than five minutes. She will be running her first ING New York City Marathon on November 3.

  1. For three years my middle-school gym teacher urged me to do an endurance sport, so I finally tried swimming but quit after the first warm-up. The coach told us to swim a few laps and I swam as hard as I could because I figured that way I would be able to go home sooner. When I started to get out of the pool the coach explained that the training hadn’t started yet, but I couldn’t imagine swimming any more that day so I quit.
  2. After I graduated from Columbia I worked in a café. I’m really into specialty coffee and espresso. I used to have a goal of going to the World Barista Championships. One thing I miss about NYC is the small cafés where you can just go and read a book. Here in Croatia, cafés are for meeting and talking with friends, not sitting alone.
  3. The biggest difference between the United States and Croatia is the mentality of the people. In the U.S., people seem to think they can do anything if they put their minds to it. In Croatia, people seem to defeat themselves before they even get started.
  4. When I first came to Croatia, I was living with family members who thought it was weird that I was skinny, and that I was still unmarried at 23. My aunt kept telling me I needed to gain 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds) so that I would look more like a woman and could attract a husband. She thought that eating four hotdogs and four eggs for breakfast every day would help me in this pursuit. I declined, but I still managed to become engaged to a Croat and will be getting married in May.
  5. My 2:25:44 in Zurich was a huge PB, but I wasn’t surprised. My training showed that I was in 2:25 shape. As for NYC, I haven’t set anything concrete as far as time goes. I hear that the course is rather difficult, and the women start alone without pacemakers so that it has a championship-style feel to it. Most of my mom’s side of the family lives in the tri-state area, so they will be coming to cheer. That always makes a race more special!