This Runner's Trials
16Nov/1441

Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon 2014 race recap

Posted by runnerstrials

Once I felt better in the medical tent after the New York City Marathon, I turned on my phone. I had over 200 new text messages. Two hundred! I stopped and called my husband at mile 17 and told him to call my parents because I knew they were tracking me and would be worried, but I selfishly never thought about all of the other people tracking me until that moment. All of those people were worried about me. I felt awful that I did that to them.

In that moment, I hated technology and the ability to track people during a marathon. I thought to myself “next time I run a big race, I’m not telling anyone.”

One of those missed texts was from my sister-in-law, Laura. It was along the lines of “Jeff told me. I’m so sorry. Are you planning a redemption marathon?” I’m pretty sure I responded with “no way, I’m never running a marathon again.” Because that’s how I felt at the time. I hated the marathon distance. I was sticking to halves from then on. I was even considering dropping out of the Dopey Challenge.

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Marathon retirement.

But when I woke up the next morning, I felt OK which is weird for the day after a marathon. I was still freezing and my legs hurt, but they weren’t nearly as sore as they were after Charlotte Racefest in 2012 – what was my PR 1/2 marathon up until last month. That prompted me to start thinking about all of the wonderful races that I’ve run in my adopted hometown and I remembered that the Thunder Road Marathon was less than two weeks away.

There was a marathon. In my hometown. On a course I knew. In 12 days. And registration was still open.

thunder road full map

I could try to redeem myself…

But how stupid would that be to run a marathon 13 days after just finishing one? Even though I walked a good 6 miles during NYCM and kept the pace pretty slow up until that point, there was no way I would recover in time.

I took my thoughts to Instagram and most people agreed – running Thunder Road would be stupid. But there were some people who encouraged me to try to run the race, a few running friends, my brother-in-law Dan, Laura, and my husband – the people who knew me best.

I decided to wait and see how I recovered – and to see what the weather forecast would be. Thunder Road accepted registrations until the expo closed, 11 hours before the start of the race.

My legs felt fine a few days after NYCM, but it took me a long time to shake the chills. The last thing I wanted to do was run another marathon in freezing weather. As the race drew closer, my desire to run it grew – but the race day weather kept looking colder and colder. I didn’t know what to do. Then my husband gave me an early Christmas present that I’d been eyeing -- the New Balance Windblocker Jacket, perfect for cold weather running.

The day before the race, I still didn’t know if I should sign up. The convincing factor was the fact that Thunder Road also includes a half marathon (that I’ve run in 2008 and 2010). The full and the half start together and only split 0.2 miles from the finish line, so I could finish at the half if I needed to. If nothing else, I would get in my first long run for Dopey.

Still, I was nervous about running a marathon again after my demise at mile 17 during NYCM. But my family said they would be there for me along the course to make sure that wouldn’t happen again at Thunder Road. My husband and kids, Dan, and Laura planned to stagger themselves along the second half of the course to help me. They had extra clothes and food in case I needed it. Dan and Laura planned to jump in and run a mile or two with me if I looked like I needed a boost.

And I had a game plan for this race. I was so concerned about the pumping situation at NYCM that I never thought of a race strategy ( <--- huge mistake). My race plan for Thunder Road? Hold an 8:30 pace through 20 miles and then blow up. Because I know me, I cannot negative split a marathon. I knew I’d blow up during the last 10k anyway, so I may as well run as hard as I could until then.

I registered for the Thunder Road Marathon at 5:30 p.m. the day before the race, and I only told a handful of people.

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Saturday morning came and it was even colder than forecasted. I bundled up and drove to the start.

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Thumbs way down.

I absolutely love how easy this race is logistically. I parked within 100 yards of the finish line! I also loved the new course. It starts and finishes by the new BB&T Ballpark uptown. I walked into the ballpark, pumped in the ridiculously clean bathroom, walked out, and sat in my warm car until 10 minutes before the start. I’m not going to lie, I called my husband and told him I was freezing and didn’t want to run. His words to me, “just try. I bet you surprise yourself.”

I walked to the start and planned on lining up with the 3:45 pacer. Except there was only a 3:40 and 4:00 pacer. I chatted with the 3:40 pacer and told him my game plan. Shockingly, he supported it. There was something about him that put me at ease. So even thought his 8:23 pace was faster than I planned on running, I wanted to try to stick with him anyway.

Once the race started, I immediately warmed up. I cannot say enough great things about that jacket – I wasn’t cold at all.

By mile 2, when we were running out of uptown, I knew this was my day. I felt on. The pacer had picked up the pace significantly in the second mile – 7:38 – but I felt strong and had no desire to back off. There was no wind. I was running on familiar roads. I would see my family after the half. I would get to nurse my baby after the race. Today was a great day to run and I was so happy with my decision to run Thunder Road.

On mile 4, I passed the pacer. He was still ahead of pace, but my legs felt stronger so I decided to listen to them instead of some arbitrary pace that I thought made sense. The hills of Charlotte that I used to curse when I first moved here 5.5 years ago now felt wonderful on my legs. Rolling hills are what I run during training, so of course I’d have an advantage on this course.

thunder road elevation 14

I also tried something new. I usually stop at every fluid station, but that day I ran with my own squirt bottle of Gatorade. Not stopping every mile was a huge success and I plan on carrying my own Gatorade from now on.

I kept feeling stronger and stronger during the first half of the course. At one point I cursed myself for not doing the half because it really felt like a PR day. I told myself to shake those thoughts. Today still would be a PR day, just in the full. I was feeling awesome and was confident I could do it.

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That is until we reached the point in the course where the half and full split. I was beginning to doubt myself. My hamstrings and IT bands were starting to tighten up – of course I wasn’t fully recovered from NYCM. I was so close to calling it a day and finishing with the half marathoners. My time would have been 1:46:xx. No where near a PR but a strong long run nonetheless.

The only reason that I took the left turn and continued on with the full marathoners was because of The Road Not Taken by Robert frost. I have no idea why that poem popped into my head but all I heard was, “two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Finishing with the half would be the easy way out for me. But today I had the courage to run a full marathon as hard as I could and I was going to do it. I had nothing to lose. Thank you, Mr. Frost, for giving me a much needed push.

The next couple of miles were more of the same. I still felt fairly strong, and was shocked that I kept seeing a low 8:00 minute pace flash across my Garmin every mile. The wind starting picking up and I remember only being cold in my face.

A little after mile 16, I saw Dan! He was in the middle of a 15 mile run, and jumped in to run with me a bit. I remember telling him that my face was cold, but that I was otherwise OK. It was a nice pick-me-up having him around, and he even opened a pack of Shot Blocks for me.

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As far as fueling for this marathon, I’m very happy with how things went. I ran with a 20oz Gatorade bottle that I sipped until mile 20. I took two Gus – one at mile 7 and one at the half mark. Then I started taking the chomps at mile 18 and had one every mile until they were gone. I also grabbed water at every fluid station after mile 20.

At mile 19, the best thing ever happened – I saw my kiddos on the course! It was a huge highlight. I think I started screaming and jumping like a crazy person when I saw their little faces in the stroller. I ran right over to them and gave three smooches and “I love yous” and was on my way.

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Then Laura joined me for a little bit! Somewhere between miles 19-20 is where I started fading. I knew I met my sub 8:30 for 20 miles goal, but I was losing steam. I told Laura that my goal was to run until mile 22 but then I’d likely start needing walk breaks.

This is when the hills of Charlotte started getting to me. I knew I was well within my goal so I kept telling myself to keep pushing, that I could do anything for a few more miles, but the hills were slowing me down big time. I took a 2-3 minute walk break right after mile 23, hoping it’d re-energize me, but it didn’t. I started getting cramps in my inner thighs, so I played with my pace a bit. I was freaking out that I’d get a major cramp and blow my race, so I told myself I wasn’t allowed to pick up the pace too much if I started to feel better.

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That’s Laura on the left. I have no idea who our other running buddy is.

Once I hit mile 24, I knew I had it. I could see the city’s skyline and I knew I was so, so close. I’d be running on the greenway, and was literally only 2 miles away from the finish, meeting my goal, and hugging my babies. I remembered doing the math in my head and realized I could run 15 minute miles from here on out and still go sub-4. Heck, I could walk it in if I wanted to. But why walk when I could still run?

My legs were on fire by now and it took everything in me to keep them running. I took a second walk break at mile 25 and told myself I was only allowed to walk for one minute. Then that was it. I wasn’t only going sub-4, I was also likely going sub-3:50, and possibly even hit 3:45:xx if I booked it. This was my day. My race. Everything had gone so right. I just wanted to soak up that last mile. I high-fived spectators and was smiling like a fool those last few minutes.

Then I made the final right turn and I saw the finish line about a quarter mile away. I teared up because I was so happy. I did it. All of those runs in the darkness, those killer Yasso 800s, those long runs in 75 degrees and 100% humidity – all of it was for something. I was about to meet my goals. I finally ran a marathon where I felt strong and I broke 4:00.

Then it happened. That moment was already one of my proudest race moments to date, but it became the absolute best running moment of my life. I looked to the side, right at the 13 mile marker (for the half course), and I saw my family. I ran over to them just planning on giving hugs and kisses, but Wyatt looked up at me and said, “Mommy, can I run with you?”

I grabbed him without thinking twice, and he ran with me. That final 0.1 mile was the best part. The spectators started going crazy when they saw him running with me and the smile on his face was just too much. My heart was bursting.

That moment is why NYCM went horribly wrong. My goal marathon was always meant to end this way, on this course, holding this little boy’s hand. That moment was actually four years in the making. The last race I ran before deciding to give up distance running due to infertility was the Thunder Road half marathon in 2010. I remember that day so vividly. I had a great race, but I felt like I was surrounded by “Go Mommy!” signs and it stung so, so badly. It was during that race that I decided it was time to put running on hold and only focus on getting pregnant.

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Official finish time: 3:47:50 – a 30 minute PR and 47 minutes faster than NYCM.

Here I was four years later – finally running a strong marathon, finishing with my son at my side, and with my daughter and husband waiting for us. Everything worked out exactly like it was supposed to. It was a total full-circle moment and I could not be happier. Wyatt tired out before the finish and we actually ended up walking across the finish line. That was a first for me, but I did not care. I knew that this was one of those moments that I’d treasure for the rest of my life. I felt like I had won the marathon.

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And then I was quickly brought back to reality when Wyatt ran to the banana table and tried climbing it. I felt how stiff my legs were and realized what poor planning it was bringing my crazy toddler into the finishers-only area. Thankfully, Jeff saw my panic because he positioned himself right in front of the only exit and called Wyatt over to him.

I grabbed a granola bar and Gatorade and headed over to my family. I gave hugs and kisses, had my snack, took a picture, and told Jeff I was ready to go home.

thunder road 14 finish line

Wyatt wasn’t interested in the family picture because he was binge eating bananas.

I finished well before Hadley’s next nursing session, and made it home in time to feed her and put her down for her nap on schedule. I put Wyatt down, too, and then showered and ate lunch. It basically felt like every other long run Saturday by this point, which I couldn’t be happier about.

I learned a lot of things over these past few weeks, and I’ll share more thoughts soon. But the biggie for me is that I’ve learned that I should focus on local races for awhile. I have several more big destination races on my bucket list and I’ll cross them off one day. I’ll continue to do runDisney races for fun, but it makes sense for me to do Charlotte races when I want to PR.

best medals ever

I love my city – unpredictable weather, hills, and all. I love having my family there to support me. And I love coming home and picking up life right where I left off without worrying about travel or pumping logistics. Life is pretty hectic right now, and simplifying racing just makes sense for the near future.

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As for Thunder Road, I am so in love with this race. My only complaints in previous years were the weather and the hills, and now that I’ve made peace with that, I only have great things to say. The race is so well executed, the volunteers and spectators are wonderful, and the course is scenic and challenging. I’ll be back next year for sure. Only time will tell if I do the half or take the road less traveled again. Because this time I know there will be more marathons…

Stats from the race:

Mile 1

8:31

Mile 8

8:03

Mile 15

8:02

Mile 22

9:34

Mile 2

7:38

Mile 9

8:06

Mile 16

8:11

Mile 23

9:54

Mile 3

8:05

Mile 10

8:13

Mile 17

8:46

Mile 24

10:57

Mile 4

7:53

Mile 11

8:02

Mile 18

8:42

Mile 25

9:30

Mile 5

7:58

Mile 12

8:10

Mile 19

8:33

Mile 26

10:15

Mile 6

7:54

Mile 13

8:21

Mile 20

8:55

0.2

9:40

Mile 7

7:57

Mile 14

8:05

Mile 21

9:07

FINISH

3:47:50/ 8:42 pace

13Nov/1417

Odds and ends

Posted by runnerstrials

1) I’ve been a bad blogger lately. I picked up an extra freelance project a month ago, and it’s been hogging my time. I turned it in yesterday and now I’m questioning everything again. Everything being the whole stay-at-home vs. part-time work-at-home vs. full-time work-outside-of-the-home decision that I seem to squabble with every few months. I cut back on work a lot after Hadley was born, and it felt really good to delve back into medical writing for the past few weeks. So, I’m at a crossroads again and don’t know where to go from here.

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I love being home with my kids, but I also love working. I achieved a great balance last year, but once another kiddo was added to the mix, things got thrown off again. I think I’ll always feel this way, though. I’m always impressed by the people who know they were meant to stay at home or work outside of the home.

2) That being said, I have a feeling I’ll just keep up this part-time work-at-home thing until both of my kids are in school, because it will take me that long to make a decision. It’s not the wisest financial move for my family, but oh my goodness, time is going so fast! This little girl turned 7 months old today…

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She doesn’t know what to think about the slide.

…and this not-so-little boy will be THREE next weekend. How?!

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Goofball.

3) I thought I’d be training for Dopey by now. Right before NYCM, I put together a training plan based on Jeff Galloway’s Dopey training plan. Pam and Christine used his plan last year and had great success, so I wanted to give it a go. Then the disaster of NYCM happened, and now I feel “meh” towards running. I think the disappointing performance coupled with the upcoming holiday season just make me not want to devote a ton of time towards training over the next eight weeks. I’m enjoying sleeping in a bit and doing short, easy runs. I’m hoping I get the urge to run fast and long again over the next week or so, or else I’ll be miserable at Dopey!

4) Speaking of the holidays, I wanted to share a Rodan + Fields offer with you guys that’s good for the rest of the year.

holiday bundle

I cannot speak about the Macro Exfoliator highly enough. I had my make-up professionally done last month for my brother’s wedding, and the make-up artist complimented my skin and asked how often I get facials. Umm never! It’s just due to the amazing Rodan + Fields REVERSE regimen plus the Macro. She didn’t apply any foundation or cover-up on my skin which is just crazy to me. I never thought I’d be the girl with great skin.

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My natural skin and my very unnatural eyelashes. My mom uses R+F products, too! Doesn’t she look great?

Email me at jenilee (at) myrandf (dot) com to learn more about the deal. Until the end of November, I can also sign you up as a preferred customer free of charge – preferred customers get 10% off and free shipping on one order a month.

Tagged as: , 17 Comments
5Nov/1451

2014 New York City Marathon race recap

Posted by runnerstrials

For the past year, I’ve been training for the 2014 NYC Marathon. I remember following along with the 2013 race on social media, so excited for my friends. I was supposed to be there that year, but I deferred to 2014 due to pregnancy. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from the 2014 race.

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I wanted to do well at the NYC Marathon so badly. I’ve never raced a marathon well, so how fitting that the NYC Marathon – a race I remember watching as a child – would be my best performance.

I trained well. I created a 16-week marathon training program and stuck to it – the first time I actually completed a marathon training plan. I felt strong on my long runs. There was no bonking or stomach issues even on ridiculously humid days. I nailed my paces. I even earned a very unexpected half marathon PR four weeks before the marathon.

I was confident that I’d meet my sub-4:00 hour goal. But that didn’t happen. I was no where close. NYCM went horribly wrong, and I jinxed it the week before. The one condition I didn’t want to run in? Wind.

nyc marathon forecast

In the days before the race, I told everyone I wasn’t nervous about the actual race itself at all. However, I was incredibly anxious over the logistics. Looking back, I don’t think running a marathon when breastfeeding was a bad idea, but doing a large point-to-point, destination race probably wasn’t the smartest move for me. I’m not going to go into many details here (but I’m more than happy to answer questions), but the stress of being away from my baby, using a less than stellar pump/ worrying about it causing supply issues, checking my pump into the medical staff before the race, and making sure that I’d be reunited with it afterwards was a little too much for me.

That being said, NYCM was incredibly accommodating to nursing mothers. I was allowed to pump in an ambulance before the start (with another nursing mom!), the medical team happily checked and transported my pump, and it was exactly where they said it would be at the finish.

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On race morning, I woke up at 5:15 a.m., got ready, and left my friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side around 6:15. She generously escorted me to the subway where I met a ton of other marathon runners. You could feel the nerves and excitement in the air. The subway was packed with runners – all sharing the same goal. It was a cool feeling.

At 7:15, we all got off the subway and boarded the Staten Island ferry. Taking the ferry over was such a fun experience, offering beautiful views of the city and Statue of Liberty. I planned on meeting up with two friends on the ferry, but my phone was being wacky and losing battery fast, so I turned it off. Luckily, everyone was so, so friendly and I made several new friends which helped calm my nerves.

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Once we were off the ferry, we had to walk outside to catch a bus to the start. Even though I was bundled up in my throwaway layer, it was very cold and windy, especially on the water. I kept repeating to myself on the walk to the bus “don’t shiver, you’ll waste energy” and this became my mantra for most of the race.

I sat down on the bus a little after 8 a.m. and assumed that I’d have plenty of time to go to the medical tent, pump, use the portapotties, grab some Gatorade, and be in my corral by the 9:35 a.m. closing time (I was in wave 2 set to start at 10:05). Well, I was wrong. The bus ride took much longer than expected due to traffic. We didn’t make it to the start until 9:00 a.m. I was a nervous wreck at this point. I didn’t find the medical tent for another ten minutes and I had to cut my pumping session short so I could make it to my corral in time.

I had planned on grabbing Gatorade at the start, but I didn’t want to risk missing my start time. I was allowed to start with the later wave, but with already going so long between pumping sessions, I didn’t want to risk the extra pain. I thought it’d be OK to start the race a little dehydrated since it was so cold ( <--- dumb).

Once in the corral, I was able to use the portapotty. I’d heard that there were no portapotties in the corrals and people usually had to pee on the bridge. However, there were announcements saying peeing on the bridge was prohibited this year, so I wonder if the corral portapotties were new.

I got out of the portapotty as soon as my corral was starting. I made the walk to the starting line and tossed my throwaway layers in the donation bin. I was dressed in capris, a tank top, arm warmers, a hat, gloves, and my Brooks windproof jacket. I was cold, but I assumed I’d be fine once I got going because this jackets has kept me warm before. “Don’t shiver, don’t shiver, don’t shiver” was all I kept repeating to myself.

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I was assigned to the lower level of the Verrazano. I’d heard amazing things about the start of the race. The excitement of the race and the views of the city made many runners start out too fast, even though the first mile was completely uphill. I made it my goal to keep it slow over the bridge and just enjoy the experience. And I did! For about 2 minutes.

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It was so windy on the bridge. I can’t even explain it, but I’ve never run in wind like that before. Everyone was completely silent, and all I kept thinking was “someone is going to blow off the bridge – they need to cancel the race.” I was so tense from fighting the wind that my neck and shoulders are still sore today. When we passed an area on the bridge with solid sides that connects the top and bottom levels all of the runners let out a collective “aaaah”. Once we were out in the open again everyone started screaming “nooooo!”. As frustrating as the wind was, it was nice knowing everyone else felt the same way that I did. Conditions today wouldn’t be ideal, but I was in it with 50,000 friends – we would get through it.

Coming off of the bridge, I felt great. I’d averaged a 9:45 pace for the first two miles, exactly where I wanted to be. My pace goals for the rest of the race were simple – keep it under 9:00 minute/miles and enjoy the experience.

This was pretty easy to do at first. The course was beyond packed. If I had wanted to run any faster it would have been virtually impossible to get around people. I’ve never ran a race this crowded, but I loved it.

And, oh my goodness, the spectators. The wonderful people of New York City lined the streets, probably 10 people deep, from mile two on. I’ve never ever experienced crowd support like that. I’d heard the spectators were amazing, but it truly is something that every runner should experience firsthand. It was incredible. The spectators in NYC win hands down.

The first 10 miles or so, I didn’t even feel like I was running. I drank Gatorade at every water stop and kept plugging along at my pace. The wind wasn’t bad at this point in the course and I even felt warm. Everyone else must have, too, because the course was littered with throwaway layers. That’s my one complaint about the race – I hated staring at the ground hopping over clothes. But where else were runners going to put them?

Everything was going perfectly until the water stop around mile 15. I stopped to drink Gatorade and the next thing I knew, I was wet. Someone tossed their cup and soaked my pants in the process. I didn’t think much of it, just “that sucks” and I kept running.

Then we made the left turn up the Queensboro Bridge. Everyone warned that it was a never-ending hill and they were right! Ouch. I kept telling myself that the famous crowds lining 1st Ave., when we came off of the bridge, would be my reward.

Then it happened. I was at the top of the bridge with the bulk of the hill behind me and wind gusts got strong. As bad as the Verrazano, except this time, I started to shiver and couldn’t stop. My legs became numb, probably because I had gotten wet. “Don’t shiver, don’t shiver, DON’T SHIVER.” It didn’t work. I was shaking as we came off of the bridge and didn’t even notice the incredible spectators on 1st Ave. I had no idea what was happening to me. I literally couldn’t control my body.

I just told myself to keep running, that I’d stop shaking once I warmed up. But suddenly the course was shaded and I just kept feeling colder and colder. “Just make it to the next water stop,” I told myself. Once there, I picked up the Gatorade and it felt so cold going down my throat that I immediately threw it up.

And that’s when I lost it. I started crying. I had no stomach issues all of training but I just threw up at mile 17 of the marathon. I started walking, took out my phone, and called my husband. I told him that I had no idea what was happening. I was cold and got sick, and it came on so suddenly. I asked him to call my mom (who was meeting me on 77th and Columbus) and say that the race was going to take me longer than planned. I was finishing no matter what – I had to make it to the P5 medical tent at the finish because that’s where my pump was -- but I’d be walking.

I have no idea why I decided to walk from then on. NO idea. Rational Jen would have made it her goal to do a 1 minute walk/ 1 minute run ratio or something similar for the rest of the race, but my thoughts were far from rational at that point and they kept getting worse. I eventually stopped shivering, but my walking stride got shorter and I felt like I wasn’t even moving forward. I’d try to tell my legs to run, but that didn’t work much either. I was so confused.

2014 nyc marathon

A very rare moment of running.

Another runner came up to me and asked if I was OK. I just said “I’m so, so cold” and he suggested that I stop at the medical tent. I told him that’s where I was going – the P5 medical tent at the finish to find my pump. I wish I listened to him and stopped at medical tents on the course! My friend had a similar experience, but was able to briefly warm up at medical tents every mile or so, and she finished in much better shape than I did. I really was not in my right frame of mind.

Around mile 23, my feet started hurting so I finally thought “hmm maybe I should just run”. What a novel idea! And, believe it or not, I was able to run (slowly) to the finish. My calves kept cramping up because I didn’t eat or drink anything since mile 17. How stupid is that? I literally ate and drank nothing from mile 17 on. I definitely wasn’t in my right mindset at all.

I don’t remember many specifics from the end of the race except running through Central Park. I loved it. The spectators were on fire and the rolling hills actually felt good on my legs (that’s more the type of elevation profile that I’m used to).

I wasn’t happy or relieved when I crossed the finish line. I just wanted my pump. I remember wanting to walk around people so badly but the finish area was so crowded that I couldn’t get anywhere fast. Everyone was stopping to take pictures and I was confused as to why. Umm maybe because most people are happy after they run a marathon, Jen?

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Yikes.

When I made it to the table of volunteers handing out our food bags, a lady asked me if I was OK, and I just responded that I needed my pump. Then she called another volunteer over to escort me to the medical tent. I was super confused. I told her that I just needed to know where the medical tent was and I’d walk there myself, but she said “honey, you’re purple, you’re not walking anywhere.” Before I knew it, I was in a wheelchair. The volunteers asked me about my symptoms and all I could respond was that I needed my pump.

We entered the medical tent and I was put on a stretcher. One doctor put a blanket on my legs and another put one around my shoulders. I was given hot broth with salt in it and was told to drink it. I kept asking for my pump, but one doctor bent down and looked me right in the eyes and said, “you are hypothermic. We need to get you well and then I promise we’ll let you pump.” He told me to look at my hands myself and yup, they were purple.

After the second or third cup of broth, I started to feel better. I told the doctors everything that happened and I completely freaked out when I realized that I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since mile 17. Then I got a very well deserved scolding from one of the doctors. Something along the lines that a breastfeeding runner should never go more than a couple miles without water, let alone the last 9 miles of a marathon. I felt like an idiot, and I couldn’t figure out why I made such poor choices. But the doctors told me that type of confusion was normal given how much my body temperature dropped.

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WebMD helped me understand, too.

After four cups of broth, a long pumping session, and about an hour in the medical tent, I was allowed to leave. I eventually found my mom and cousin and we made the trek back to NJ. I called my husband and texted a lot of my friends and everyone just kept telling me that they felt bad for me that I ran such a bad race. But it wasn’t my finish time that upset me, it was the fact that I didn’t enjoy most of the New York City Marathon – a race that I’ve always held on a high pedestal.

I’m feeling much better physically today. Emotionally, I’m not doing too badly considering that I blew my goal race. I still got to the run – and finish! – the New York City Marathon. I still had a successful marathon training cycle that lead to a half marathon PR. And, most importantly, I’m healthy.

When I sat recovering in the medical tent, I just kept thinking how thankful I was for the doctors and that nothing too bad happened to me. I was going to be OK. So what if my marathon took 40 minutes longer than expected? I was feeling much better and that’s all that mattered to me in that moment.

So, that’s what I’m trying to remind myself any time that disappointment creeps into my mind. My race didn’t go as planned, but NYCM was truly an amazing experience. I have no regrets.

photo 4 (5)

Thank you so much, New York City. You have the best volunteers and spectators in the world. I hope to be back one day.