That time I ran a marathon while injured…

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Hi friends!

Remember how I’ve run a couple marathons? In today’s “Monday Runday” Let’s talk about my first marathon experience!

The Hartford marathon!

Let’s start with the night before the race. I remember waking up randomly that night due to nerves, going to pee, hydrating/snacking on carbs, then going back to sleep. By the time my alarm went off in the morning, I had gotten about 4 hours of sleep.

But I was ready to rumble! Buzzing with adrenaline, I barely noticed the lack of sleep.

For pre-race fuel, I had 2 honey stinger gels and a few bites of a plain bagel. I was too nervous to get any more of it down (in hindsight, I should have eaten the entire bagel).

My weather app said it was in the 40’s so I wore throwaway arm sleeves ($2 tube socks with a hole cut in the toe). I got too warm quickly due to my very toasty “adrenaline jacket,” and tossed them in the first mile.

I originally had a goal time for the race, but scrapped it due to injury. You see, just a couple weeks before the race I was diagnosed with “mild plantar fasciitis.” Looking back, I can say it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. I made mistakes overtraining and did not listen to my body during the training cycle. I was too naive to realize what the ache in my foot was signaling. I ended up getting a cortisone shot in my heel 10 days before the race. I would not do this again (the overtraining OR the cortisone shot!).

Anyway, back to the race.

There was fantastic spectator support at the start. I heard Joel yell my name and turned just in time to catch sight of him before I was swept away by the sea of runners.

The course winds through Hartford then out onto residential streets before looping back downtown again. There were a few musicians and DJ’s at various points, but not many spectators. The course is mostly flat, with just a couple rolling hills as it transitions from highways to paths along the water, and vice versa.

I had to remind myself a few times that I was running a marathon… because it didn’t feel hard or even REAL. I kept reminding myself that my dream was becoming a reality, and I wanted to soak in every second.

The temperature rose to mid-50’s, and eventually peaked in the 60’s. There was no shade, so it felt HOT when the sun came out.

My foot didn’t feel great. I remember stopping to stretch my calves several times. I had read that this can help to loosen the plantar, but it honestly didn’t seem to help me much.

Joel met me at mile 13 – he was easy to spot due to the scarcity of spectators. He held a big green sign that said “Go Dawn!” He gave me a hug and said I looked good. I remember feeling great and was so happy. He took my photo, said “see you at mile 21!” and sent me on my way.

My foot started to bother me at mile 15. I switched up my foot strike, which helped a lot. Note: I wouldn’t exactly advise changing your footstrike in the middle of a marathon… my calves were crazy sore afterwards!

I still remember when the lead man flew past me, moving effortlessly in the opposite direction towards the finish line. I kept a lookout for the lead woman. The look on her face was one of complete focus. Her form was smooth. I gave her cheers of encouragement and felt totally inspired.

My foot started to REALLY hurt at mile 16. As well as other parts of my body…my I.T. band…my shin…my ass.

Desperate for a distraction from my crumbling body, I got the earbuds out of my running belt and started listening to some music.

Getting to the turnaround point at mile 17 was a huge mental boost. My legs rallied. The pain evaporated.

I reached mile 20 feeling oddly good, but unable to pick up the pace. I knew that Joel was waiting at mile 21, and that motivated me to keep going.

It was so GOOD to see Joel. He snapped a few more photos and offered to run the final miles together. I told him I felt fine to finish on my own. He sent me off with an encouraging “see you at the finish line!”

Mile 22… the road pummeled my feet. Surely I would emerge from the race with stumps instead of legs.

At mile 25, I managed to pick up the pace. Many were walking by this point, so I passed a lot of people.

When I rounded the corner to the finish line, I was exhilarated!

FINISHED!!!

A woman put a medal around my neck and a man wrapped a foil blanket around my shoulders. I couldn’t resist a couple selfies with my shiny new bling. 🙂

In the days following, my legs and feet were toast. I mostly penguin-hobbled around my 2nd floor apartment until I felt confident enough to attempt the stairs.

I took a lot of time off running afterwards to let my plantar fasciitis heal. This is when I started cross-training in the pool (pool-running!).

A few lessons I learned from this experience…

Lesson #1

It’s better to be undertrained than overtrained. Don’t be a hero. Listen to your body. Take rest days. Run EASY. You don’t want to toe the line injured (or worse, not at all).

Lesson #2

Don’t start your watch until you are physically crossing the start line. I made the rookie mistake of starting my watch when the gun went off — I was so far back in the crowd that I had already traveled .22 miles and lost 2 minutes by the time I reached the actual start line. My splits were off for the ENTIRE race.

Lesson #3

Eat a WHOLE bagel (or the equivalent) before the race. I only ate a few bites due to nerves. As a result I felt a bit bonk-y towards the end of the race.

That’s it for now! Catch up on other running posts here!

What’s your longest run ever? Aside from running, what is your favorite workout?  

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187 thoughts on “That time I ran a marathon while injured…

    1. It did feel good to finish, but it took a while for the injury to heal. Thanks for stopping by, i hope you have an amazing rest of the week! 😁

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  1. What an experience! But so inspiring! I don’t think I have any aspirations to run a marathon, but I think it’s an awesome thing that people take on. And they seem to get hooked! I have a friend, that’s just part of her life, training for marathons and running marathons. Kudos to you!

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    1. It really is an experience that hooks you! That runner’s high can’t be beat! Thanks Tanya, i appreciate your dropping by, enjoy the rest of your evening! 😊

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  2. Wow this is such a wonderful experience! And yah, you should care more about your health because it is much more precious than a medal. Anw, congrats on your achievement, you deserve it!!

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  3. I’m currently training for the LA Marathon in March and this was what I needed to read! Thank you. I’m in awe that you made it the entire race with an injury. That medal means more because of that. It’s a pretty medal by the way.

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  4. I can relate to so much of this. Running a marathon injured is horrible, but I cant help also thinking……. still a PR and so many lessons learnt. 🙂

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    1. Yes! It’s not ideal to run injured, but I will forever treasure that PR and all the lessons I learned along the way! Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a fantastic week! 🙂

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  5. I have been training for a marathon and really struggled building up the distance without it negatively impacting my body! You’re a superstar!

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    1. I hear you on the struggle, it can be tough to balance the mileage without getting injured. Best of luck to you in your build-up! You are going to do GREAT!

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  6. I’m not a runner, but I really walk a lot, especially with my dogs, about 3/4 Hours/day! I always agree about that listening to our body is the first step to selfcare!

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  7. Great recap! I love reading other’s marathon experiences. Running and rock climbing for me! Hahah and the marathon’s my longest. I technically did an ultra marathon once, but it was only 28 miles and I completed the 27 miles version so it barely counts as even an ultra! But I plan to do more! Prefer trails to road ☺️

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    1. You can definitely call yourself an ultra runner! That’s amazing! Thanks so much for stopping by, i hope you have an awesome weekend! 😊

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  8. That’s awesome, Dawn!
    I completely relate to it, since even I injured myself a bit by overtraining.
    One of my knees was hurting bad during the entire run.
    Thankfully, nothing serious.. Just a lesson learnt in the end! 😄

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  9. you run whilst injured! you are so brave! my sister and I recently run the half marathon as well and ever since running I feel as though my minds changed. I feel stronger. theres something about running a half marathon thats so empowering. well done

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    1. That’s so awesome that you and your sister ran a half! I completely agree, running is so empowering! I hope you both keep in running! Have an amazing day Miranda! 😊

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  10. Love your writing style. You literally transported me to the marathon run with you. This had me chucklng >>>”I mostly penguin-hobbled around my 2nd floor apartment ” <<< haha! No I´ve never run a marathon. Doubt I ever will. Am more a swimmer + zumba/pilates

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    1. haha thanks Nancy! It wasn’t pretty for a while there lol 🙂 I appreciate your stopping by, I hope you have an amazing day! 🙂

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    1. Thank you! It was such a cool experience (minus my foot hurting of course lol) and i can’t wait to do it again! Thanks for stopping by, i hope your week is going well! 😊

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  11. My longest run so far has been 6-7 miles. I challenged myself to “run away” from a problem that was bugging me. Next thing I knew, I had gone 6-7 miles and my problem was still there lol. My favorite workout besides running is either my after run yoga or Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.

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    1. 6-7 miles is a my favorite distance! I feel like its the perfect amount of time & miles for some reason lol. I’ve never tried the 30 day shred but it sounds like a great workout! Thanks Christina, i hope you have an awesome day! 😊

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  12. Congrats on your first marathon! Though it seems like you’re a veteran at this point! I have never ran in a marathon or walked. It may become a goal for the latter half of my life. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. You go girl!! I have so much respect and awe for people who are able to rigorously train and complete a marathon or half marathon. It’s so important to know our bodies limits and not over train, but way to fight through the pain and learn from your mistakes!

    Sondra xx
    prettyfitfoodie.com

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    1. Its definitely something to slowly build up to! I hope boot camp fitness was fun! Thanks Jenny, i hope your day is amazing! 😊

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  14. I learned about lesson 2 the hard way. I was also about .21 miles off. my it threw me off when I didn’t see the finished when I thought I would. I just did a 5k.Kudos on even entering a marathon.

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    1. Such an important lesson, and i will never make that mistake again! Great job on your 5K! Thanks for stopping by, i hope you have an amazing day!

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  15. This is such an inspiration! I don’t know about even running a marathon if I was in peak health. I know that I have made the mistake of not eating enough to get me energized before one though.

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    1. That’s a rough mistake to make, but at least you’re not likely to make it again! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read, I appreciate it! I hope your day is amazing!

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  16. I haven’t ran a marathon. But oh my from what you posted it sounds like fun but yet hurtful. When I read and quoting “My foot started to bother me at mile 15. I switched up my foot strike, which helped a lot. Note: I wouldn’t exactly advise changing your footstrike in the middle of a marathon… my calves were crazy sore afterwards!” First I thought…mile 15?! What! Then you said you switched up your foot strike? I’m like, wait I rather do cycling. LOL! Like how in the world you do this? I know training is a must but I’m still stuck at 15 miles. So interesting to hear your story.

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    1. Is pretty crazy, isnt it! And even crazier to think that at that point, i still had around 11 more miles to go! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read. I hope you have a wonderful day!

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    1. I completely agree Kim, the process is so incredibly rewarding! I loved the structure of training and the discipline it taught me. I can’t wait to do it again! Thanks for stopping by, i hope your day is amazing!

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    1. I think you’ll enjoy your half! I address have enjoyed the training buildup more than the actual race, but races can be pretty great too! I am sure you’ll love it!

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    1. I know what you mean, the full takes so much more out of me… I’m much more comfortable with the half distance. It doesn’t beat me up quite as badly! Thanks Jess, I hope you have an amazing day!

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  17. NOT a runner at all! Between my age, health conditions, and being overweight, running is not something I can do. But wow, kudos to you not only for accomplishing such a feat, but doing so while injured and enduring the pain until you completed the marathon!

    When I exercise, it’s a combination of a stepper, various exercises with bands and weights (from 10 up to 25 lbs), and some floor exercises including planks.

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    1. The stepper is tough stuff! It really gets the quads burning! And good for you with the strength exercises, I need to incorporate more of that into my routine too. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read! I hope you have a lovely day!

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  18. Congratulations on finishing your marathon, that must take courage and determination. enjoyed reading about it. I am more into walking interval as an added activity to my fitness regime. I applause all who do marathons. Well done.

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  19. I can totally relate with this! I am not a marathon runner but I swam competitively and I still work out everyday. There have been many swim meets I have swam at sick, and many practices I have gone to with various injuries and fevers. Its hard, but you do what you have to do sometimes.

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    1. It’s true, you do what you gotta do sometimes! I can’t imagine swimming sick, especially in colder water. When I run while I’m sick, it’s always super crummy! Thanks for stopping by, I hope your day is amazing!

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    1. That sounds painful! Ouch! I definitely do not want to repeat my injury experience…I’ve decided to have a very low tolerance for injury/overtraining! May you have all the healthiest of miles ahead of you! 😀

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      1. Just listened to your body… if its uncomfortable drop the pace and distance… (well if you’re as old as me you have to listen to your body a fraction more than you used to) ha ha!
        Keep it up!!!

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