how jen took on the new york marathon

Our PR Manager Jen is back from New York to share her experience at the NY Marathon. Grab your weekend coffee and read about her adventure. If you missed her first entry, read this first!

In my pre-race blog last week, I said that you learn a lot about yourself when you train for a marathon. After running the New York City Marathon, I realized that you also learn a lot about other people too.

Marathon week was a roller coaster ride. The pre-race buzz emanating from the city energized me. But, I didn't feel great during my runs – my Achilles and IT band on my right leg were still bothering me, leaving me deflated: “If I feel this way during a 3 miler, how I am going to make it to mile 26?” Panic set in. Should I even run the race?

NY marathon pre race
Jen ready to run at 5 a.m. the morning of the race.

While visiting the race expo, I perused a large poster board displaying the images of all 343 firefighters that died on 9/11. As I wiped my tears, the fireman behind the table asked, “You running the marathon on Sunday?” I nodded my head. “You’re gonna love it – you’re going to do great!” he said warmly. I thought to myself – here’s this man who puts his life on the line on a daily basis, who survived 9/11 – a hero, talking to me like I’m the hero for what I’m going to be doing on Sunday. I felt a shift taking place.

Later, I watched coverage of Edison Pena, the incredible Chilean miner who was also running on Sunday. Not only was this man was going to run the marathon with an injured knee, the longest training run he’d completed was 10 km (my longest was 23 miles, so I had nothing to complain about). My amazing friends Erin and Lindsay then stopped by my room, aware of my fears. “Stop focusing on what you’re afraid might happen,” they encouraged. “You have to at least try. That is why you are here.” And with those words, my fears disappeared in a New York minute.

It’s amazing what happens when you change your mind set – the world around you changes too. On Sunday morning as I stepped on the bus headed to Staten Island, Kathleen Jobes – an elite runner who competed in the 2008 US Olympic Marathon trials, whispered in my ear, “Jen – I promise you, running New York, you will not feel your Achilles at all.” On the bus I sat next to Dana Casanave. This marked her 44th marathon of 2010 (she is running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise money for South African orphans). I was so inspired, I wanted to jump off the bus right then and start running.

nyc marathon at 23 mile mark
Jen at the lululemon Mile 23 cheer station.

As the race began over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, I realized that Kathleen was right – I did not feel my Achilles at all, nor did I feel it for the entire race. Entering Brooklyn, I was motivated like never before. Both sides of the race route were crammed with people cheering passionately…and it didn’t stop for all 26.2 miles. As I ran, I thought, this is what Sidney Crosby must have felt scoring the gold medal winning goal. But I think I felt even more elated than that.

Everyone asked what my favorite part of the race was. I was so inspired by every single spectator; I slapped every outstretched hand, I waved at every fireman and policeman; I smiled at every face. At mile 23 I was in pain; my legs felt like lead, my feet ached tremendously. I passed the lululemon cheer station in Harlem, and what a boost they provided. Then, about half a mile after that, I had the honor to share a few strides next to the Chilean miner. That was all the inspiration that I needed to gut out the final 2 miles. Running through Central Park was a bit of a blur, but crossing the finish line wasn’t. I felt overwhelming joy that has yet to cease.

So, while many people are inspired by those who run marathons, I am declaring that I am inspired by all of those amazing people who supported me – family, friends and all of those spectators who cheered, and made me feel like a champion. What a wonderful world. Thank you!

View more photos of the lululemon community at the NY marathon

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Great story. I used to think s marathon was out of the question, but after running a few ten milers and a half maybe someday..

Comment by Dave Pinchock — November 13, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

Inspired!!! Love you Jen xo

Comment by joanne — November 13, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

Such an amazing accomplishment Jen! You rocked that marathon! xoxo

Comment by Goddaughter — November 14, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

This is so awesome. Your face is amazing. The thing I love about reading about your marathon experience, is that you are so humble and you make it feel like ANYONE could really do this. I need your marathon playlist, I feel a goal coming on.

You simply rock.

Comment by Whitney — November 14, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

Congrats!! That’s amazing!!!

Comment by Courtney — November 15, 2010 @ 7:37 am

I used to be an inactive teenager and then I fell in love with the sport of running. I only 6 short years, running has changed my life. I went from barely being able to get through a 3km training run to completing my first 100 miler a couple months ago in just under 24 hours. I finally ran NYC last weekend to make it my 44th marathon or ultra finish. If someone were to tell me I’d be doing that 6 years ago, I would have thought they were nuts. Every race I do helps remind me that it’s possible for anyone. Awesome job Jen!!!

Comment by Brian — November 15, 2010 @ 8:14 am

amazing Jen!! I couldn’t agree more, greatest Sunday I’ve ever had. Thank you so much for sharing! xo

Comment by Caity — November 15, 2010 @ 8:28 am

This is a beautifully written race report! Congrats on such an amazing feat!

Comment by Courtney — November 15, 2010 @ 10:06 am

Thanks for sharing this! I am running my first marathon in a few weeks and this was so motivating! Congratulations!

Comment by Michelle — November 15, 2010 @ 10:34 am

I think I ran with you for awhile, seriously.. Seeing your picture reminded me, I noticed the Gray top as I have the same one, and your name was written on both arms! Congratulations to you and your accomplishment! This was my first full marathon and I too was so full of nervous energy but let it go and just enjoyed the moment :) From # 39651 :)

Comment by Suzanne — November 15, 2010 @ 10:34 am

Good for you! This is a great perspective on a huge challenge. Congratulations!!

Comment by Laura M — November 15, 2010 @ 10:47 am

Jen – you are truly an inspiration! Congratulations :)

Comment by Janice — November 15, 2010 @ 10:53 am

YEAY JEN!!! Marathoners are machines – great job!!

Comment by Carlson — November 15, 2010 @ 11:48 am

Congratulations!! This NYC marathon was also my first and I could not agree with you more – the support from family, friends and spectators are what carried me through the race! A giant thanks to the spectators for standing out in the cold to cheer us on!!


Comment by Violet — November 15, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

Way to go Jen!! So great to hear about your experience. I loved seeing the lululemon cheerers at mile 7 in Brooklyn and in harlem.The fans and energy of nyc are what carried me through. There’s nothing like the NYC marathon! Keep running and inspiring us!

Comment by meghan — November 15, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

Ever since my husband ran NYC in ’04 the idea of ME running it has been in the back of my mind. I dismissed the thought a few years ago because of a serious knee injury. After watching it on TV this fall and following a few friends on FB that did it, that yearning is back. Reading your blog is just another motivating factor for me. I’ve never run one before but I’m going to go for it – and I’ll have all of those that can’t run (for whatever reason) in my mind the whole way.

Comment by Kim — November 15, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

Jen – what a truly inspiring story! I’m so glad you posted about it and let us live it with you. Hope this won’t be your last marathon. :)

Comment by Aleksandra S — November 16, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

Amazing- just amazing! What an inspiration!

Comment by Suzi I. — November 19, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. After working as a volunteer at the NYC Marathon last year, I was inspired to run it. Unfortunately I was not able to get in, so signed up for Chicago instead, which is in October. I’ve only been a ‘sometimes’ runner, but now my friend in Chicago and I are training together—virtually. I have a training plan, and am very motivated. The reality of all the runs is still a bit daunting, but I am sticking to my plan, and I believe I can do this!

Comment by Lisa Jayne — March 10, 2011 @ 10:44 am

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