Lisa Runs on Ramen

— running 26.2 and having foodie adventures too!


20in24 cancelled and pacing the TGNY 100 miler

Dear readers,

I can’t believe it’s been just over a year since I started this little blog. I figured there were others out there just like me who love eating, running or both. I am so grateful to all my friends and readers who have fully supported my journey. I am grateful to my sponsors, Team Refuel/Got Chocolate Milk and X-1 Audio, who provide me with awesome gear, grant money and waterproof headphones not because I’m the fastest runner ever, but because I love running!

To follow up, a few weeks ago I was waiting for the bus from NYC to Philadelphia on 7/19/13 (it was 98 degrees in NYC that day, by the way), when I got word that the 20in24 Back on My Feet races were first shortened (to a 12-hr event), then cancelled due to a predicted 110F heat index for Saturday. I was melting into the sidewalk (literally), when I heard this news and I was so bummed. A ton of my friends called and texted me to make sure that I heard before making the trip. In a span of a minute, I considered all my options and made up my mind to travel anyway. Why? Two reasons: my friends were already en route to Philly, and most importantly, my cousin Jing was making the trip from Nashville to Philly just to cheer me on! He travels a lot for work and he had never seen me run before, but when he heard I was doing this crazy race, he offered to come and cheer. I couldn’t NOT go to Philly and not spend time with my friends and cousin!

So the bus arrived two hours late due to traffic, but I was able to make it to dinner at Spasso, where we laughed and cried (not literally, but on the inside) because we were all so sad that the 20in24 races were cancelled. Quite a few of us fundraised $500+ to earn our spots. I was glad that the money still went to Back on My Feet, a great cause, but sad because we had trained hard for this event and the heat would not have deterred us ultrarunners.


The next day, Jing and I went to Joe Coffee in Philly, then we met up with my group of friends (Alison, Atsede, Hideki, Rick, Joe, Annette, Scott and Lucy) for brunch at Sabrina’s Cafe and Spencer’s Too. I got the huevos rancheros and they were DELICIOUS.

We went shopping at Athleta (yes, sometimes shopping is the best therapy) and Philadelphia Runner. Jing and I decided to go to a museum–we tried to go to the Barnes Collection only to be turned away because you need to make a reservation (who knew?). We went to the Rodin Museum instead, and it was lovely. After, I managed to squeeze in a 2-mile run near Lloyd Hall (yes, it was 95 degrees…but nothing I haven’t run in before) before dinner. Then Jing and I went to an awesome sushi spot near the Best Western before I left for home. I only spent 24 hours in Philly but it was great!


At brunch in Philly


Jing and I in front of the Rodin Museum, Philly

Going backwards in time–it was tough to miss the 20in24 as part of my Bear 100 training (I had aimed to run 80 miles), but I am very glad I got to pace my friend Juergen for his first 100-mile attempt at the Great New York 100 (TGNY 100).

From June 29-30, a group of 50 intrepid ultrarunners ran 100 miles through New York City, almost undetected by the city. A Wall Street Journal article┬ádid bring awareness to the event, put on by Phil McCarthy, but for the most part it was a low-key event. My friend Juergen came all the way from Munich for this 100-mile run, so I wanted to make sure he succeeded! The plan was that I would pace him for 26 miles, then Shane would take over and pace him for 38 miles starting from the 100K mark. It was a crazy day for me–Shane and I went to the start line in Times Square at 4:30am to see the runners go off at 5:00am.

TGNY 100 runners in Times Square (photo by OhSnapper/Richard Chung)

TGNY 100 runners in Times Square (photo by OhSnapper/Richard Chung)

I then went to Central Park at 8:30am for the 5-mile Pride run, ran that, went to work to pick up my running supplies, then met Juergen in Astoria at mile 37 so I could pace him. Then I went to work the next day. Whew!

It was so worth it–the ultrarunning community is extremely supportive and I wanted to play my role to support the TGNY 100 runners. Juergen was extremely positive even when temperatures reached 90 degrees, and I joked at one point that he might have to carry me on his back and I would go down in legend as the worst pacer ever. (I took some walking breaks while Juergen took hardly any breaks) One of my favorite parts of the run was at Wide Water Marina, where my friends Becky, Steven, Ray and Bee were manning an aid station. They filled our bags with ice and gave us cookies and PB&J. It was awesome.

My job was to make sure that Juergen stayed hydrated, and I held the directions that gave turn-by-turn instructions. Luckily, we didn’t get lost. Every time a runner passed us we gave encouragement. I also loved running through Alley Pond Park, where Atsede, Annette and Joe were volunteering at an aid station.

Juergen was strong approaching the 100K mark, and Shane ran to meet us at Forest Park to make sure we didn’t miss the aid station.

Lisa (me) pacing Juergen during the TGNY 100

Lisa (me) pacing Juergen during the TGNY 100

I knew Juergen was in good hands. He ended up running a negative split, and finished in 6th place overall with a time of 23:15:24!! I was so proud of Juergen and our pacing team. Who says that running isn’t a team sport? My friend Tommy was the overall male winner, and Sky won the women’s division in her 100-mile debut. Congrats Sky, Juergen and Tommy! Also, congrats to my friends Shannon, Otto, and all runners who finished the 100 mile or 100K races.

After the race, Juergen and our friend Otto went home to NJ to nap, then I met up with them for a post-race celebration at Qi, a Thai restaurant.

I surprised Juergen with a mini-cake to celebrate his first 100-mile finish, and Becky and Otto joined us for the celebration.

Team Juergen

Team Juergen

A few weeks later, Juergen sent me a surprise in the mail for my birthday. It was a beautiful scrapbook commemorating the TGNY 100 run, filled with photos of the two days taken by friends and other spectators. It was one of the best gifts I have ever gotten. Thanks Juergen! I am proud to be your friend and pacer (and hydration manager).

Peace, love and running,