My NYC Marathon Was A Bloody Mess…With A Surprise Ending

“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.”~Hubert Humphrey

In another moment, having Alicia Keys walking next to me…might have been exciting.  However, given the context, I hated being next to her, because I shouldn’t have been WALKING.  Oh, life…it often takes us on a direction that we did not plan…even if we valiantly fight against it.  However, if we step back and take a moment to put down the boxing gloves, we can have the clarity to find the lesson life had in store for us.

This March, I kicked off an intense training program to prepare for the 2015 NYC Marathon.  I trained and ran in small races, then bigger ones, all in preparation for the Big One.

On the morning of November 1st, I was excited – enjoying the energy of the start line, I inadvertently walked into a puddle — I got my entire left shoe muddy and wet.  When the race started, I maintained my composure; I had been warned to not go to fast.  My plan was to run negative splits — a faster pace in the second half of the race.

I was ready to go…

A few miles into the race, my left foot (the one that got muddy and wet) started to hurt.  A small rock was lodged in between my toes.  When I stopped to remove my shoe and sock, I noticed the rock had cut open the skin between my toes — the open wounds created a bloody mess.  To make matters worse, my left sock – soaking wet from the puddle excursion – created friction and even more blisters.  I limped into the medical tent to get it cleaned and taped up.  I was determined to rejoin the race.

toes were a mess, thankful for strong pedicure game

At first, I was able to block out the pain and run.  After a few more miles — my body shut down.  I’m not sure if it was from the pain from the bandaged, bloodied toes or if I was depleted from not having enough food in the morning.  I couldn’t move.  I have never experienced something like this before — and I have done plenty of long runs, leading up to this race.  At mile 13, I stopped running and stood there for a moment, with my throbbing foot, trying to decide what to do.  It hurt so bad to walk at this point, but I didn’t want to quit.  At the same time, I knew it was impossible for me to run — the future had 13.2 miles of painful walking or quitting.  I still don’t know how I did it on a gimpy foot, but I finished.  I limped through, fighting back the tears coming from physical pain and disappointment.  I was walking with the walkers (not a runner in sight), Alicia Keys was nearby, and I hated it.

The last few miles were miserable.  I had to stop many times to lean against a pole and breathe through the pain.  My friends came and gave me their support along the route.  I crossed the finish line and had the medal placed around my neck, but I was sad.  It was not the finish I had expected.  I went home, and after a painful foot bath to clean the grime out of my open wounds, I went to bed, feeling like my heart was broken.

I woke up the next morning, and cried; a mixture of emotional exhaustion and disappointment.  Then, I picked up my phone — I hadn’t checked it since race day.  I was shocked.  I had over 40 friends send me text messages of loving support; saying how they had tracked me the entire race and followed me on the app until I finished (yikes, everyone knows my awful race time and they’re still proud of me?).  It took me an hour to read all the messages and I started to smile through the tears.  I laughed at the jokes my friends sent me about my run.  I was reminded of all my friends who took the time out of their day to cheer me along the race; I had friends in Brooklyn, UES and Central Park who waited for me to pass by.  I was blown away by the kindness, love and encouragement — it felt good.

Very often we focus on success and forget about enjoying the friendships and life we have.  And so I thought my Marathon Story would be about achieving a goal, after almost a year of dedicated effort.  Funny, it ended up being something completely different.  It awakened me to how lucky I am, to be surrounded by a loving group of friends.  My heart feels warm and I am grateful.  I didn’t quit.  I still can’t believed I persevered through it.  I made it through the pain.  And my friends still love and cheered for me with excitement, even with the abysmal finish time.  Truth is, friends make life a lot more fun — and I like this ending better than the one I had planned.

biggest gift in life: not measured in goals achieved, but by true friendships.

2 thoughts on “My NYC Marathon Was A Bloody Mess…With A Surprise Ending

  1. Thank you for sharing! I had a marathon experience that involved me calling to get picked up, but then deciding to continue and walking a good portion of the last 9 miles. Walking that many miles in pain is really hard. I give you so much credit for powering through this one!

  2. What matters is that you stopped to take care of your foot first…then you finished the race you were meant to finish, even if it meant limp walking! Be very proud of yourself.

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