2011 New York City Marathon Recap

by ashleyd on November 8, 2011

All week, I planned my marathon recap in my head. I would be so excited to share with everyone the PR I’d achieved and outline a few specific changes I made this year that I truly felt lead to that PR. But at the end of the day, you can’t plan life.

I have felt a number of emotions over the past 24 hours including, but surely not limited to, self doubt, anger, frustration, pain, sadness, powerful, dedicated, surprise, elated, and loved.  I told Theodora today, while we were enjoying a post marathon pampering session that at the end of the day I truly am proud for finishing the marathon. There were more than a few moments, including the first time I saw Bo at mile 14 and when Amelia passed me at mile 11 when I thought that I’d actually not finish the race.

But, as I look back on the experience, I’m choosing to focus on the positive and toast the experience instead of finding myself frustrated and depressed.

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The night before the marathon, Bo and I hosted Tina, Theodora, and Theodora’s mother for a small pasta dinner at our house. We didn’t want to stress with restaurant reservations so figured this was the best and easiest option.

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DSC_0048As you can tell from the pictures, it was a fun evening and ended early enough that we could all get in bed early.

I slept really well from 9:30pm until 3:30am when I woke up, worried I had overslept. After tossing and turning for an hour I woke up and spent 30 minutes stretching, foam rolling, and doing a post in hopes of putting my nerves at ease. I went back to sleep for an hour and finally woke up at 6:30, excited for the marathon.

Before I got dressed, I had a cup of coffee, small cup of cherry juice, and small piece of bread with peanut butter.

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I got dressed and ready surprisingly quickly considering that I was getting ready to run 26.2 miles! Having everything organized and in a pile made things very easy and kept me from having to search for items last minute.

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My marathon outfit for race day was as follows:

  • Brooks shoes
  • Zensah Calf Sleeves
  • Lululemon Skirt compliments of Choose Cherries
  • Lululemon long sleeve shirt compliments of Choose Cherries
  • Lululemon sports bra
  • Garmin
  • A hot pink Sparkly Soul headband

I hailed a cab, surprisingly easily, at 7:20 for the Staten Island Ferry where I planned to meet my other marathon friends.

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Better known as the bathrobe posse, the six of us (Melissa Z, Tina, Theodora, Emily, Dori, and I) rode the ferry together to Staten Island and kept each other company until our 10:40 start. I was the only person who had run the marathon previously and loved putting their fears at bay by answering questions during our ferry ride. It was so much fun to enjoy this time with even more friends this year than last year.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about taking the ferry to Staten Island versus the buses. The views are wonderful, there is plenty of room, and it’s a true experience.

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Once we arrived at the starting area we found a patch of grass large enough for our group and our robes and trash bags. We spent the next 45 minutes taking bathroom breaks, which were conveniently located 20 feet away from us, and chatting. We talked about everything and anything except the race itself until we heard the cannons blast and watched the 9:40 wave run over the Verrazano Bridge.

Around 10:15 they herded us into the corrals which meant it was the end of our group. We each went our separate ways, based on bib number, and spent the next few minutes getting to know foreign runners and chatting with strangers.

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Randomly enough, Melissa and I found ourselves standing next to each other as we lined up at the start 15 minutes later. This certainly isn’t our best picture ever but you get the idea.

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I was especially excited this year since I was able to run across the top of the Verrazano Bridge versus the lower level where I was last year. Little changes like this kept me excited for the marathon. After listening to New York, New York the cannon fire signaled the start of our wave. We easily crossed the starting line and headed over the bridge. I was already in awe of the city views but at the same time it seemed very far away!

Once we left the bridge and entered Brooklyn I remembered how much I loved this part of the course. The crowds were wild, the kids were abundant, people were hanging out of windows to cheer, and we were suddenly next to the 4:20 pace group. I telling myself to slow down but I loved running with Melissa. When we crossed the 10k at 1:05:05 I got a bit worried. I knew this was too fast a pace for me to sustain and I was feeling the pace in the arch of my foot and my shin. I started to try and slow us down but as we turned the corner we just kept reaching more jubilant fans. I asked Melissa if we could slow down as I needed to eventually get closer to my 11:00 minute goal pace. While she said “sure” I didn’t feel us slow much over the next few miles and by the 8 mile mark when Melissa turned for a picture, I moved to the side so we could part ways. She looked powerful and happy while I wasn’t feeling my strongest.

At this point, I told myself to focus forward and on the crowds that I missed last year since I wore my headphones for the entire marathon last year. I found my pace slowing rapidly, or so I thought, and when I Amelia passed around mile 12, I didn’t really think I’d finish the marathon. She asked how I was feeling and I looked at her and said “horribly, I think I’m dropping out.” She was awesome and sweetly told me to calm down, focus on my breathing, and just put one foot in front of the other. It killed me to see her pass as I knew we had trained similarly but I knew I couldn’t get too negative this early.

I texted Bo to let him know I was running behind and that I need salt, desperately. Even though I had sipped my Camelback and taken 4 shot blocks my system felt completely depleted. At this same point I quite literally ran into my friend Elizabeth who was cheering in Brooklyn. She asked what I needed and all I said was a hug before I kept going. I insisted that Bo was bringing salt to mile 14 along with some water.

The next three miles are a complete blur. I remember doing my best to jog over the Pulaski Bridge, knowing that Bo was only a mile away, but felt weak and found myself needing to walk after each 3/4 of a mile.

At one point, around mile 12 I tweeted that I didn’t think I’d finish and that this was my hardest run ever. Some people have very strong feelings against using phones during a race, much less a marathon, but let me tell you, the messages I received every time my phone vibrated in my pouch kept me moving.

I was worried that I’d miss Bo so immediately texted him as I entered Long Island City, only to realize he was right in front of me.

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He gave me a huge hug, made me take salt tequila style, and told me I was finishing whether I wanted to or not. I asked him to refill my Camelback since I knew it must be empty by now. He unzipped it only to yell that it was almost full. “You have to drink more, what have you been doing out there? Sipping?”  Somehow, even though I’d been taking sips each mile, I hadn’t been drinking as much as I thought. When you grab cups at stations you’re forced to gulp which often makes you drink more than when you have your own supply. I cried and told him I was going to miss my goal and how sorry I was. He looked at me and said that my only goal was to finish and that I needed to get my ass moving.

This little pep talk helped me keep moving over into Manhattan where I knew I’d see him, my manager, and my personal trainer. My goal for the next four miles, until I saw him again, was to jog every 3/4 mile and power walk the 1/4 mile. I kept breathing, turned on my music, and did my best to power through. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that I got my period on Saturday morning. I wasn’t sure what to do or how it would affect my marathon. Unfortunately at this point I started to feel both stomach cramps and leg cramps. Even after taking the salt and having a few more shot blocks my system still felt empty and drained.

I took my headphones off so I could enjoy the “wall of sound” and focus on moving towards Bo, at 77th and 1st.

The fans were even better than last year. I never once felt that the crowds had thinned even though I was definitely hitting first avenue later this year than last year. People screamed my name, powered me to move faster, and at one point asked me if I was a professional power walker. As discouraging as it was at points, I knew that I could finish the marathon if I kept up my routine of alternating running and walking. I did my best to run to Bo at 77th, got a quick kiss and powered on to 119th where my trainer Lauren, was waiting for me.

Seeing her smiling face was the best thing that happened to me yesterday during the race. She was like sunlight, greeting me at the end of 1st Avenue. She forced me to take another gel packet, helped me realize that I could still finish in under 5:30, and provided some powerful affirmations about my dedication and strength. Don’t get me wrong, I know that yesterday wasn’t my proudest moment in running history but it takes dedication to do a walk/run combination for over 10 miles of a marathon.

Harlem and especially Bronx were better than I remembered with cheer stations everywhere including a radio station which was blasting Ludacris so loud that I heard them almost a half mile away! I loved the enthusiasm this borough showed for the marathon and how many people came out with their entire families to cheer on the crazy runners. While First Avenue is amazing, it’s more like one giant drunk frat party. The Bronx was a family affair providing runners the willpower they need to embark on the final 10k. Even though I felt surging pain with every step in my left leg, I kept moving. I knew that the cramps in my leg nor my arch could get much worst if I just kept moving. The faster I moved the the sooner I’d be done.

I passed the Lululemon Cheer Squad and Caitlin around mile 22 giving her a quick hug and screaming that I was going to finish. At this point I had no doubt that I would finish I just didn’t know how quickly I could manage to make it down to Central Park.

Just as I passed these lovely ladies, I saw the 5:30 pace group approaching. This was the best thing that could have ever happened.  I treated them like my rabbit for the rest of the race. I made it my personal goal to stay at least a few steps ahead of them whether it meant running for short jaunts or power walking.

As I headed towards the park I saw a bright yellow shirt in front of me that looked very familiar. I swore it was Shannon but doubted that she’d be finishing around this time after her strong training. But, as I paired the long blonde ponytail with the Livestrong shirt I knew it had to be here. I sprinted ahead and grabbed her shoulders in elation. From that point on, we were inseparable. She was about to complete her first marathon and I had full intention of pacing her to the finish. she was exhausted and said it was the hardest thing she’d ever done. We stayed together, running in tandem, promising to do our best to only walk at the water stations. I told her that she had two people to watch for, my manager and Bo. She was excited to know that we had an audience and for the last three miles I enjoyed every moment of the race.

My manager caught this video of us around mile 24, as we headed through Central Park.

I had gone from fighting fatigue, muscle cramps, and fatigue by myself to finishing the last few miles of the marathon with an amazing friend.  We kept telling each other that we were going to finish no matter what.

With less than a mile left, we passed Bo and our amazing friends, Mike & Liz, at 59th Street. They were screaming so loud that missing them wasn’t possible. They knew that I was in rough shape, hence their inspirational sign.  Seeing them there motivated me to actually sprint a few steps towards them, feeling stronger than I’d felt in 10 miles.

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Minutes later, Shannon and I crossed the finish line hand in hand, in front of the 5:30 pace group!

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At this moment, we felt nothing but pride and elation. Some people may not consider completing a marathon in 5:29 an accomplishment but I do. I believe that pushing and persevering through anything makes you a stronger person and teaches you something about yourself. After yesterday, I realize that I have a strength and stubborn will I never knew. Even though I said I was going to quit and felt severe pain for many of the miles I pushed through. I never felt I was at risk of breaking or tearing anything.

Minutes after finishing, while we were in the baggage line, I started to feel nauseous. I kept teetering side to side and then putting my head between my legs. When I stood up Shannon asked me kindly to go to the medical tent. Being stubborn, I said I was fine. But, a few moments later I quickly ran towards the medical tent after screaming Bo’s phone number to Shannon.

Unfortunately for the poor volunteer, I vomited four times before they could get me in a wheelchair and send me over to the tent. At some point I passed out and woke up with an IV in me, a PT working on my left leg as I lay in a cot. For the next 30 minutes the doctor explained that I appeared to be severely dehydrated based on my muscles and the vomiting. I still can’t pinpoint what caused the muscle cramps, arch pain, and dehydration since except for the fact that I barely had any fluids for the first 10 miles and still, at the end of the race, found that my Camel Bak wasn’t empty. I was having a hard time keeping fuel down towards the end, which is something I never experienced last year.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about the volunteers who worked in the medical tent yesterday. They were so friendly and helpful that it made the overall experience far more bearable. The only frustration I had was that they didn’t use the emergency information we provided to call spouses or contacts. Luckily, Shannon called Bo so he was already on his way to the medical tent by the time I was released. We headed over to Jack Rabbit before taking the subway home.

When we got home I tried to take a bath but kept dry heaving and felt nauseous still. The doctors warned that I’d probably feel the affects of the dehydration until the morning. Therefore, per my mom’s recommendation, I did my best to eat some Saltines and sip on Gatorade and Ginger Ale last night while lying in bed. I slept 13 hours last night, waking up to find myself feeling a bit wonky but far better than yesterday.

Around 10am I was finally able to keep down solid food, the first time in 24 hours.

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I spent the rest of today working from home during the morning and then enjoying an afternoon of pampering with Theodora.

I won’t stop thinking about yesterday’s marathon for quite a while. I was hoping for a 4:50 finish and ended with a 5:29. I figured that even if the wheels came off I could beat last year’s 5:06, even if only by seconds. That didn’t happen by any means. I told more than one person that I didn’t want to run another marathon during yesterday’s race and recovery. If you mention my next marathon to me today all I feel is pain in my left leg. Yet, my heart isn’t ready to give up. I know that I have a sub 5 marathon inside of me. I just don’t know whether I’m ready to put my husband, family, and friends through another attempt just yet.

I really can’t thank each and every one of you for your kind phone calls, emails, text messages, tweets, and Facebook messages. You truly are the reason I pushed through yesterday even when I felt that my shin and arch could take no more pain.

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{ 73 comments }

Tropical Eats November 8, 2011 at 2:08 am

You are a fighter and I’m SO proud of you.

I definitely think it was a sign that you saw me on Fifth Ave. We needed each other to finish that final stretch!

Thank you so much for that and congrats on an AMAZING accomplishment!

Colleen November 8, 2011 at 2:11 am

I am sorry you had such a tough run but you have nothing to be ashamed of and so much to be proud of – it takes even more grit and dedication to finish when your body just won’t cooperate. Congratulations!

Stephanie November 8, 2011 at 2:13 am

WOW! this is an amazing accomplishment. who ever knows what happens out there. but you clearly got through more than you even realized. it is so easy to feel good and have a great marathon (easy hah) but to feel pain and push through, wow that is an endeavor and something to be proud of. wear the medal with pride. hope you r feeling better :)

ellen November 8, 2011 at 2:15 am

wow wow wow. i’m so impressed with your dedication and determination to finish. regardless of time and things that come up unexpectedly, you did an amazing job and should be proud of how hard you worked to cross that finish line.

also, i love “But, as I look back on the experience, I’m choosing to focus on the positive and toast the experience instead of finding myself frustrated and depressed.” great attitude – it makes a big difference. you still did something that most will never ever do. be proud of your accomplishments.

as you know, in every training cycle there are things that work well that we hang on to, and things that don’t work and we learn and move on. being able to focus on the positive will certainly help you as you set new goals. and i agree – a sub 5:00 is well within your reach in the future.

congrats – nice recap :)

Evi November 8, 2011 at 2:19 am

Congratulations! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that this is not an accomplishment. Yes, a lot of people ask about the time (probably also runners) but it’s always great to hear the admiration that others have for you when you just finished! And it sounds like it took a lot of work but you did it! (I had a very similar experience last year and this year- both at MCM). Keep running!

Clare @ Fitting It All In November 8, 2011 at 2:22 am

You may not have gotten your PR, but it looks as if you ran harder and stronger and braver than any one else out there that did. You FINISHED when most would have given up. Awesome job!

Meghann November 8, 2011 at 2:25 am

You. Are. Amazing. You’re determination and will is so inspiring, Ashley. I <3 you and I'm so glad you're ok. Just don't scare us like that again, ok?

Anne P November 8, 2011 at 2:32 am

So proud of you for not giving up. Congrats!!

Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life November 8, 2011 at 2:34 am

As someone who’s longest run was a 10K and THAT was a challenge, this post is just so incredibly inspirational. I’ve honestly never been one to really focus on PR’s, but I always admire those who do. I think it’s great that you persevered and made it through the race, PR or not. There’s not many people out there who can say that they’ve completed a marathon (more than once, at that) so you should be incredibly proud of your achievements.
Congratulations, Ashley!

PavementRunner November 8, 2011 at 2:35 am

You will remember this race forever. It’s the difficult ones that make us realize that running ISN’T easy. And it’s the difficult ones that make us stronger and realize how strong we are. Cheers and wonderful recap. Recover well and rock that medal with pride. A finish is a finish.

mindy @ just a one girl revolution. November 8, 2011 at 2:40 am

Ashley, you are such an inspiration – crossing the finish line of a marathon is a HUGE accomplishment, no matter the time! Congratulations, girl!

Haley @ Health Freak College Girl November 8, 2011 at 2:40 am

this made me tear up! you are such an inspiration for pushing forward. nobody knows the pains of running a marathon until they do one themselves. congrats!

Jess November 8, 2011 at 2:45 am

You are such a trooper! I’m so glad you and Shannon had each other at the end! You’ll recover from this and get that sub 5:00 marathon when you’re ready.

Cat @Breakfast to Bed November 8, 2011 at 2:51 am

You.Are.A.Rockstar. Holla for the home team.

diana@mymarblerye November 8, 2011 at 3:03 am

be proud. i would KILL to be able to run that marathon and finish it. Rock it. Glad you are safe.

Kath November 8, 2011 at 3:05 am

Congrats Ash!

emily November 8, 2011 at 3:08 am

wonderful job, and a great recap. this will sound trite, but sometimes things just don’t go the way we want them to. some runs are amazing, most are decent, and some are a struggle. races go the same way. in may i thought i would crush the brooklyn half but it was a terrible race for me, even though i thought i trained well – over 10 minutes slower than last year. it was disappointing for sure but my parents were proud of me anyway. you know that your family and friends will love you and support you no matter what your time was yesterday.

give it some time before you decide whether or not to run another nyc marathon – i am doing the same thing even though we had different experiences yesterday. take some much-deserved time off and see how winter running goes – maybe we can go for a run together some weekend.

Katherine November 8, 2011 at 3:10 am

Seriously, you’re will power is inspirational.

Hope you’re resting up, you deserve it!!!

kathleen @ the daily crumb November 8, 2011 at 3:14 am

congratulations, ashley!! what an amazing accomplishment. i found your blog through meghann’s and i’m loving poking around… and this marathon recap is fantastic. i have run chicago twice and am dying to run new york. maybe next year?! your experience is inspiring!

Suzanne November 8, 2011 at 3:30 am

Great job! Love your race recap and your race day outfit!

Maria November 8, 2011 at 3:34 am

What an accomplishment & a huge inspiration!!! You’ve made me really excited/nervous for my first marathon. I plan to run Chicago 2012!

maggie November 8, 2011 at 3:36 am

Congratulations on crossing that finish line! Your story made me so teary, good job for not giving up. You said it wasn’t your proudest running moment, but I think it should be one of your proudest moments……you could have easily stopped and dropped out, but you pushed through, with every ounce you had, and you made it. That in itself is something to be proud of…that determination and will to keep going and not give up, that you WOULD get through it. Congratulations!

Kelly Franks November 8, 2011 at 3:38 am

You are such an inspiration! I’m so glad you’re feeling better! You finished the NYC marathon for the SECOND time…that is a HUGE accomplishment! Way to GO!!!

Karolina November 8, 2011 at 3:44 am

I tweeted at you some point during the race (after you said you thought you wanted to give up). After I saw that, even though I don’t know you, I wished I could be there to cheer you on in person. Congratulations on finishing such a tough race! You are truly an inspiration for fighting through such tough conditions, and I’m glad that you’re feeling a bit better now!

AmandaRunsNY November 8, 2011 at 4:03 am

Congratulations! You ran a marathon! That is amazing and awe inspiring. The fact that you finished under pain and other complications just makes it all the more awesome! Congrats!

Katie November 8, 2011 at 4:19 am

I’m a mostly silent fan of yours. But I needed to write and tell you what an inspiration you are. Truly. I have so enjoyed reading about your training. Your doubts. Your persistence in making yourself see the positive and moving on. I so often get stuck, but you power on. Thank you for your honesty. I know that I will look back on this post again because it so sincerely says, keep on. You might know know Disney’s Nemo, but Dory always says, just keep swimming. I try to remember that. For me, it’s hard to do often. But you did it. Thank you so much. Congratulations!

Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 8, 2011 at 4:28 am

I would say pushing through a physically and mentally tough run like that is HARDER than running a sub-5. Good for you for not giving up. So glad you’re feeling OK after the dehydration scare!

Leticia November 8, 2011 at 4:53 am

I’m a regular reader but never comment! I absolutely love your blog. Thank you for sharing your life with your readers! I saw you twice yesterday, in between 17-18 and at mile 24 when you entered the park! Congrats on finishing and pushing through even when your body was telling you to give up. 2000 runners gave up yesterday, so remind yourself that despite missing your goal you FINISHED! Congrats, and I hope you have a great time celebrating all that you accomplished yesterday. Take care!

Allie November 8, 2011 at 4:54 am

You are such an inspiration! I teared up reading your recap. The fact that you ran the NYC Marathon is something you should be so proud of! I am sure a sub 5 marathon is in your future :)

Ari @ Ari's Menu November 8, 2011 at 4:59 am

What an inspirational post!!! I honestly think that finishing when you feel your worst is a WAY bigger deal than any PR. In my opinion, you rocked that marathon because you never gave up! Be proud of yourself because so many others would have!

Brianne Hyder November 8, 2011 at 7:24 am

If you ask me, finishing a marathon that you struggled through at points (mentally, physically or both) is far more impressive than one you felt great through! Now THAT is something to be proud of! Way to go, girl!

Liz November 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

Oh, Ashley! You should be so proud of the fact that you finished yesterday. Sometimes it isn’t about the time, and this is clearly one of those cases. You should actually probably be MORE proud of this effort than any goal time!

Karen @ Run Shop Travel November 8, 2011 at 11:59 am

Like others have said this is a huge accomplishment and you did an amazing job pushing through to the finish! I saw you at Mile 16 and had seen your tweets so I cheered for you extra hard! While I’ve never had to go the medical tent, my last two half marathons were really tough for mental reasons; sometimes it is hard to get out of your own head but you did it and finished strong!

lauren November 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Ashley, job well done – you exhibit great dedication. I understand how you feel about feeling defeated, then determined. I signed-up for the Mt. Desert Island Marathon in Bar Harbor, using it as my 22 mile training run. The race was 10/16 and by mile 6 i felt an awful ache in my shin. By mile 11 i couldn’t run another step. It was an extreme lesson in humility to have to walk the remainding 15.2 miles, but i finished in 5:55. And this weekend, after being in a boot & taking 3 weeks off from running, I WILL complete my marathon, most likely as a walker. But…I WILL finish it :)

I hope you continue to recover, thank you for being an inspiration to us all.

Sara November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Ashley, this story is so inspiring! I was tracking you during the race with that app, along with some of my other favorite bloggers, and rooting for you to finish. Congratulations!

Heather @ Dietitian on the Run November 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

WOW. Congratulations, Ashley! Not an easy day, but you certainly learned that you can push through every ounce of exhaustion & doubt, finishing with that “pride & elation” that we’re chasing the whole time! :)

Dori November 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm

So impressed with you for finishing (also jealous) and I am glad you are OK. I had the same problem, was having a hard time fueling. Please be careful! But be very proud of yourself, seriously, you did amazing despite how hard it was.

Ada November 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I’m sorry you had such a tough race, but I’m super impressed that you managed to forge ahead and complete it. Awesome job! I did the race too and had such a fun time:) You’re so luck you were on the 7:20 ferry, my ferry left at 5:30am! I’m sorry you felt so sick afterwards. One of my friends was actually one of the ER residents working in the tent behind the finish line. Maybe he was one of the docs who helped you. Hope you are resting up and feel better asap!

Victoria (District Chocoholic) November 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Finishing a marathon is a huge accomplishment – but I know it’s very disappointing to miss your goal even if everybody around you is so proud of you.

You’re still a major inspiration to me, with how you juggled marathon training with a demanding job and extensive travel. Almost anybody else would have given up, but you are one strong, determined woman.

Lindsey November 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Best recap ever! I’ve read several other NYCM recaps and they all made it sound easy and like things don’t get hard until maybe mile 22. Your recap was honest and inspiring. I was Twitter following along and got really worried reading some of the texts. Which is funny since I’ve never met you.
Congratulaions on finishing the marathon and THANK YOU for the truthful, painful, and thrilling recap.

Eileen November 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Congrats Ashley! Great recap. I’m so impressed with your determination and spirit. You did an amazing job and should be proud of how hard you worked to finish. A marathon is a huge accomplishment! Hope you are resting up and feeling better. p.s. LOVED your outfit :)

Deirdre November 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Great post! I know it was a hard race for you, but you persevered which shows such strength of character.

Kim November 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now but I haven’t commented often, but after reading this recap last night while eating dinner (on my phone) I just had to come back today. I just wanted to say Congratulations, and that you are so inspiring! I struggle with a never-ending knee injury and as much as I wish I could run 26 miles, I feel like it will always defeat me. I am sure you made not only yourself, but so many other people proud when you crossed that finish line, despite your time. I loved your honesty because we all know that a distance run like that is no easy task, but you didn’t give up and that’s all that matters :) Congratulations again!

Jocelyn @ Enthusiastic Runner November 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Congratulations on finishing!!!! That is always the most important thing!

Ericka @ The Sweet Life November 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Thanks for sharing that awesome story, Ashley. I was watching your tweets during the marathon and I know how it feels! That is how I felt when I ran Chicago last year and came in 30 minutes past my first marathon. Sometimes, your body is just OFF and there’s nothing you can do about it. But that pushing through even though it felt so hard so early on, will be a lesson and experiences that is invaluable! I’m so glad you did and glad that you feel good about it! You DO have a sub-5 in you! Also, after my very difficult, slow Chicago marathon, I came back in my next marathon to PR by 12-minutes and then next one, I PR’d by another 12. Anyway, amazing job!

Amanda November 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Congrats Rock Star! I’m also someone who seldom comments but enjoys reading. I really want to run my first marathon next year and I ran 3 halfs this year, with my 3rd being the hardest and slowest and inflicting pain. While it was only half the distance, I related very much to your story. So inspired that you powered through and that you are so honest in your blog.

Kali November 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Congratulations hun!!! Way to push through to the end! I’m so proud of you :)

Katie @ cooklaughmove November 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

That is awesome!

I had a similar experiance at the Riverbank Run 25k and once I got over the disappointment of a non-PR finish, I was thrilled and proud that I powered through pain and sickness to finish at all!

It was also during my period and I was so dehydrated, I couldn’t quench my thirst or hunger no matter how much or what I drank and ate on the course.

Gwen November 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I hope that you’re really feeling better today, Ashley! You did it, and should rightfully be proud of finishing. I am sure you have a sub-5 in you as well! <3

Ashley T November 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I held my breath reading this post. It’s not just brave that you took on the marathon and succeeded again; it’s really brave that you took such a hard look at yourself and shared it with us – perfect strangers. But, I feel like I know you as well as I know myself thanks to your selfless sharing of your experiences, emotions, and everything in between.
I’m so happy for you and proud of you – thanks so much for sharing this incredible experience.

Katie November 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

A friend directed me to your blog and this post got me a little teary. So sorry for that scare you endured, but you should be so proud for finishing. Congrats! I am so impressed with your toughness! Take care!!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy November 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Great work, Ashley. Your recap was fun, but painful to read. Pushing that hard for that long will do a number on your body. You deserve that pampering post race. Oh and I love the pink calf sleeves!

Laura November 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Congrats on finishing! As far as putting yourself through another marathon – what about doing one soon, so you can take advantage of already having the training done? There are a lot of neat marathons coming up in the next few weeks that aren’t too far from NYC.

Kimra November 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I’m so impressed with your attitude. I’ve never run a marathon, and I think part of it is that I’m afraid things won’t go *right* on the day of that one race. The end must have been really scary, but I’m glad you were able to get help and are feeling better now!

Juliette @ Finish Your Broccoli November 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Ashley – what an INCREDIBLE accomplishment. The fact that you FINISHED against all odds is truly admirable and inspiring. If you can make it here, you really can make it anywhere. Congratulations to you!!!

Misha November 8, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Your story brought tears to my eyes. I look up to your determination so much…you’re amazing and I loved following your race on twitter.

Caitlin November 9, 2011 at 12:28 am

Ash I am so proud of you. I know first hand how tough fueling during marathons can be, how you can have great training runs (or bad training runs) and never quite be prepared for what’s going to happen on race day. You are so honest and so many people can relate to what you went through. I am SO glad you are okay and so in awe of your resilience and strength. xoxo

Lori November 9, 2011 at 1:04 am

I came across your blog when I just took up running this summer. I have never left a comment, but this time I just couldnt hold back. I was so sad to hear what happened to you during the race, knowing how dedicated you were to your training. But what you accomplished under the circumstances is so admirable. So no matter what the clock says – you are a marathoner, you are an athlete, and you have more determination and willpower than most people can ever hope for. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment. Wear your medal with great pride – you earned that baby!!

Julie November 9, 2011 at 2:03 am

Congratulations!!! A similar thing happened to me last year, except I didn’t have your determination to finish!!! You will come back, and when you do, it will be so much sweeter! This year felt so much better when I compared it to the misery I felt last year. Amazing job pushing through it!!!

Angela November 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

i was planning my “marathon PR post” all week as well. actually, i started writing my facebook status in my head as i was running…

congrats on the finish!

Christina November 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Congrats on your marathon, Ashley. I’m glad you had a good time! The post race dehydration thing is a bit scary and I hope you’re doing well and recovering nicely now.

Heather November 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Congrats on finishing! You are quite the inspiration! Way to stick it out – that’s something to be MAD PROUD of.

lauren November 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Be proud, Ashley! You conquered another marathon. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned, both on the road and in life – and we have to be OK with that. Hope you have a speedy recovery and enjoy your downtime.

Stephanie November 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Hi Ashley – I’ve read your blog for about a year now and have never commented before. However, after reading your post, I had to comment. One of the reasons that I enjoy your blog so much is that I feel like I can really relate to you (my favorite post of yours is the one you wrote before last year’s marathon, it was like someone was writing about me and my journey to running a marathon). I ran my second marathon about 2 weeks ago, hoping, too, to break 5 hours (I ran my first last year and finished in 5:03:00). Instead, my upper hamstring flared up at mile 19 and the last 7 miles were excruciatingly painful and I had to run/walk (but mostly walk). Like you, I really questioned if I could finish. I did finish (5:33:21), and despite my frustration with not meeting my goals and with having a horrible marathon experience (after my first experience was so great), I realized that I accomplished something that not many people do, or even try to do. You should be proud of your training, your dedication to finish, and your courage to even try. I know that throughout the blog world, there are a lot of people who make running a marathon look so easy, but it’s not. You should be proud of yourself for running the race and doing as well as you did. Congratulations.

Robin November 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Considering what happened out there, you better be pretty darn proud of yourself. My 2nd marathon sounds so similar to your story and I am embarrassed to even tell people but yet I should be proud. I let myself get dehydrated also. You finished a marathon in an amazing time. You ran NYCM. You are an amazing inspiration. Recover and enjoy that medal.

Gia @ rungiarun November 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm

You are so inspirational. You fought to that finish and I’m so proud of you. Take good care of yourself and your body … I have no doubt that you will be back out marathoning again, but in the meanwhile, lets Perfect The Half!!!

Kayla @ Learningtosayyes.com November 9, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Tough races are what show who you are and I am as always impressed. Would be happy to buy you a celebratory drink here in town to prove it too :)

Beth @ Beth's Journey November 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Congratulations Ashley! You just finished your SECOND marathon – that is more than most people can say. Be proud of yourself!!

Michel November 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm

You pushed so hard and finished. You should be so proud of yourself.

Marie November 11, 2011 at 1:12 am

Congratulations, Ashley! Even though I am not a runner, it was really moving to read your post! It was inspiring to see you push through to the end! Running a marathon is a huge feat and you did it! ;)

Renee' November 12, 2011 at 5:01 am

What a great re-cap. For us who have never run a marathon your play by play is so inspirational. I will be doing my very first marathon relay this Sunday and my very first 1/2 marathon in Philly next weekend. Hope to be a RockStar like you!

Rach@ Girl on the Run November 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm

How scary! I am so glad you are ok. And I think finishing a marathon is a huge accomplishment, no matter what!

Caroline November 13, 2011 at 1:04 am

Hi Ashley,

I found your blog on the Runners World list…and wow!! We had almost the exact same experience. I, too, was hoping for 4:30-4:45, got kicked in the ass around mile 9 by who knows what, felt exhausted, got carried through by seeing loved ones and hearing the crowds shout my name, and finished in 5:14. I’m a little disappointed in myself, but also really proud….and proud of you, too! I think about marathon training when I face other challenges in my life like that– if I have the resolve to keep running another 10 miles when I feel like I’m going to puke and fall over, then I can get through a LOT! Congratulations!

(PS. My blog is here: http://www.act1diabetes.org/2011/11/10/these-vagabond-shoes-are-longing-to-kick-back-with-a-diet-coke-after-the-new-york-city-marathon/)

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