If you read my previous NYC Marathon post, then you know my 2015 marathon ended a little differently than I had hoped. ACTUALLY A LOT DIFFERENTLY!!
I DID finish, but let me start from the beginning…
About three weeks before race day on Sunday November 1st, I felt pain and discomfort in my lower left leg. Last year, post 2014 marathon, I had experienced pain in the same location. Last year, this pain kept me from running for almost two months!! The pain was caused by tight muscles and stress from so much training…so we thought at the time….we were wrong by the way.
SO when I felt this familiar pain and discomfort a few weeks before the race, I became concerned and immediately went to see my sports doctor, my physical therapist and my sports massage therapist. I wanted to work this out before it turned into what it was last year. My doctor told me not to run until the marathon- which made me super worried…even though I was in the “tapering” portion of my training (when you drastically cut back on mileage and focus on recovering/resting your body), I was worried that not running at all would keep me from being as fresh and ready as possible. But, begrudgingly, I followed his instructions, got three intense sports massages, and went to my physical therapist weekly. I took lots of pilates and indoor cycling classes during this time and the pain decreased after a few days…then completely went away after a week. I was feeling GOOD, foam rolling non stop, doing exercises to strengthen my hips, and following my doctors instructions by not going out for a run.
So come race day, I felt healed… I felt ready… but in the back of my head I was a little TEENY tiny bit worried about my left leg- I mean how could I not be?! I was trying to focus on my excitement to run the largest most exciting marathon in the world, but I just couldn’t shake the thought that my left leg might cause me trouble.
So here I am at the start village for the race bright and early (6:30am early!!) that morning to do some press interviews, talking about my training, my goals and my reasons for running. This got my confidence up because it made me reroute my thoughts to a positive place. I thought about the strong training season I had, I focused on the charity I was running for, and the people who were proud of me and appreciated my efforts. I thought to myself: I can do this.
So the gun went off, I was with some of my best running friends, and we all started this journey together: talking non stop, enjoying ourselves and sharing this crazy excitement. I ran the first 9 miles with friends, but stopped a few times to hug and kiss Ben (my hubs) and my mom who were following my journey and meeting me at points along the course again this year. I felt good, I felt strong, I felt happy.
The energy from the crowd and the adrenaline carried me through once muscle soreness set in at mile 16. I was cruising along at an average 9:15 minute/mile- I was well on my way to beating my time from last year (4:16) by a whole ten minutes! You can only IMAGINE how excited I was to beat my time from last year!!
Next thing I knew, I was entering central park and tackling the last 2.2 miles of the course and I was SO excited! I picked up the pace then and still felt great… until immediately after I passed the 25 mile marker. I felt a shooting pain in that pesky left leg. I tried to ignore it and kept running but I eventually stopped and started walking. I HATED walking, I felt like I was failing…I hated that people saw me walking. Spectators were cheering for me to keep going, so I tried, but all I could manage was a funny little side trot, so I went with that. It was slower than a run but faster than a walk and it was all I could manage. The pain was intense but I was so close, I refused to stop or walk.
Then…my lovely readers…IT happened… I felt a snap/pop in my leg and I couldn’t move. I started panicking and crying, partly because I was in so much pain, and partly because I was so worried that a race official would see me and make me exit the race. I felt helpless. Then out of nowhere, like a beacon of light in a dark terrible, horrible sky…a very kind stranger came up and held on to me. Her name is Theresa and she told me she wouldn’t leave my side until we crossed the finish line, which was about .3 miles away, up a little incline. She asked me questions and tried to make me laugh. Then one of my Team in Training coaches, Ben- who was also running the race- saw us and grabbed me from my other side. They basically carried me the rest of the way and we crossed the finish line together.
I felt so overwhelmed emotionally. I was so happy that I was able to finish, and I was so thankful for the kindness of these two people who stopped their own race to help someone they owed nothing to. My finishing the race had nothing to do with their personal journey- but they chose to put their own goals aside for the sake of someone else. It was truly incredible, and I am so grateful.
So this year I came in at 4 hours and 19 minutes, which was slower than my goal. But putting my goal aside- I came in only three minutes slower than my finish time from last year, which after all I went through, I think is something to be very proud of. Everyones journey is different, and this year my journey took a dramatic turn at the end, but it was still a success. I discovered that I have more strength and determination that I thought and that the kindness of strangers is incredibly powerful.
I was immediately put on crutches- my mom took this photo BTW and I was like, REALLY mom?! NOW you take a photo!? haha leave it to moms, am I right?! Anyway, the next day I found out that I had broken my fibula bone, right in half. Its sort of a strange injury considering I didn’t twist my ankle or fall…my doctors hadn’t seen an injury like it before! I was on crutches for almost 6 weeks and am now healed and on my way to figuring out the root of the problem with my left leg.
I can’t wait to run again- it may be a while until I’m able to, so Ill be doing a lot of other workouts instead…but nothing can make me stop running forever. I love it and racing has made me a stronger person mentally and physically.
I FINISHED A MARATHON AFTER BREAKING MY LEG. HA! How weird and crazy is that?! Its definitely going to be a story I tell forever.
Photos by MarathonFoto