That time I ran a marathon while injured…


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!


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?  


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

  1. I completely get your message about starting the marathon injured. I did that in both Paris and Rome, one with left leg ITB and the other race with right leg ITB. Painful and walked a lot of the second half.
    Longest ever run was a 12 hour race overnight, running a loop over a suspension bridge. Did 44 miles, loved it especially when the pizzas arrived around 1am for fuel :-)

    1. Running 2 marathons with ITB… ouch! 😣 The 12 hour race sounds pretty cool, nice work on 44 miles!… and yes to 1am pizza! 😊

  2. So my longest run ever was a half marathon that I didn’t train for…don’t recommend that but I was doing it for charity so I felt like I had to do it. Now that I’m training my longest is 8 but I’m considering a full marathon ah!!

    Plantar fascistic is the WORST! Dawn I can’t believe you did a marathon with that.

    1. I can’t believe i did either! Pretty crazy. So cool that you’re thinking about running a marathon! I know you will do GREAT! 😁

  3. I NEVER sleep the night before my marathon. A beer helps a little but I try to get a great night’s sleep the night before the last night.

    Genius idea for the throw away arm sleeves!

    I’m impressed that you took the cortisone shot and got it done. I’m also impressed that you remember it so well. Mine is a blur now.

    1. the throwaway sleeves worked perfectly! i’ll do that again for cold races. i actually wrote a lot of this right after the race when it was still fresh in my memory haha :)

  4. My longest run was a half but I also didn’t train for it. I had good intentions but…life. I am now training and hoping to really run a half next month! I am considering a full in April and if I do well next month, it will seal the deal. :)

    1. That’s awesome Deanna! You are going to do great on your half, and you will KILL IT in the marathon in April! :)

  5. I am not a runner, but I feel like these are good tips for any type of exercise we try to do. I started yoga this year and thought I was flexible until I couldn’t do a lot of it. I was trying to push myself and it was making things worse. Now I just let my body be in charge and it’s actually made me better at it!

    1. i could totally see that! it’s so important to listen to our bodies, no matter what the activity! :) thanks Stephanie, i hope you have a lovely week!

    1. It was definitely an experience i wouldn’t want to repeat haha. The plantar fasciitis it took a few months to heal, which was frustrating. but boy did i learn my lesson… no more overtraining for me!

    1. i’ve done the whole “run out of steam thing” –> it’s no fun to hit that wall! i’m thrilled to have posted your first comment! :) :) :) thanks for stopping by!

  6. Plantar fasciitis is NO JOKE. I don’t know if I would have been able to run a marathon with that (not to mention the shot…ouch)! I have only run a half, but I totally agree with ‘eating the whole bagel beforehand’ because I did the same thing as you. And my IT band was my trouble-spot during my run and after. I can completely relate with having shot legs! Congrats on your first marathon though =)

    1. That plantar fasciitis is crazy, I’m so glad it’s gone, hopefully forever!! IT band issues are pretty bad too lol. Gotta keep those legs happy to get through the long races! Thanks Laura, enjoy the rest of your evening! 😁

  7. I am not a runner at all, and I admire anyone who enjoys it! I have several friends who love running and run marathons. I always say “I don’t think a person should run unless they are being chased.” haha

    1. I didn’t enjoy running until i was in college! That’s when i fell in love with it 😊 you never know! Thanks Destany, hope you have an amazing week!

  8. Al I read was mile 15 and was like how did you make it there. I would have been dead after the first mile. If I would of even made it there. lol.

  9. Congrats on finishing a half-marathon! Loved your description of the race! I completely agree that taking it easy and listening to your body is the way to go! I used to be a much more avid runner (did a half marathon and a 30k) before my knees began to bother me. Now I mostly stick to jogging 5k once in a while- my knees are much happier :’)

  10. Congrats on completing your marathon! I love the idea of throw away sleeves. I agree that taking care of yourself is the most important part of training. Congrats again!

  11. Wow, running a marathon is quite an accomplishment! I started to run about 4 years ago and the longest I managed to go was 8km! I’ve stopped now but I hope to get running again once my baby is born. I feel so inspired by people like you, and running is the only sport that doesn’t bore me to tears! Keep going and keeping us posted!

  12. Marathons are so much fun! But you’re right about not overworking your body especially since this requires a lot of physical strength. I think it’s good to indulge in a meal before the race but not one that would be too heavy! A bagel is perfect!

  13. You should be so proud for such a great accomplishment. I don’t run, more of a walker, but l admire those who do. You’re right, you have to listen to your body and l think l would have eaten 2 bagels :-).

  14. I admire your fortitude. I am not a runner, but your descriptions were such that I felt I was along the journey with you. I listen to my body and could not have ignored and pushed through what you did. Then again, I have a few moons on you. Walking is all I do. Have fun and pay attention to what your body tells you. Happy running.

  15. wow girl, it seems like a lot of effort to do it! the only thing I do is walking my son to school and its only 20 blocks away from home, so your marathon looks like climbing a huge mountain for me! Congrats and keep the energy to fulfill all your goals!

  16. Wow girl that sounds crazy! My dad used to run marathons all over the world but lucky he never started off injured – he did pass the finish line with torn ligaments and what not though. He never stopped though, absolutely loved it. Just keep listening to your body and don’t push it too hard so you can keep running :)
    Katja xxx

  17. My little sister and many friends run marathons and have had some injuries as a result but absolutely love the experience. I just watch and cheer! Good for you!

  18. I’m amazed that you were able to stick with in in spite of the pain! I enjoy running but have knee troubles so I can’t run on pavement and only short time on padded surfaces. I usually have a few steps notice before my knee gives out and that is it!

  19. I’ve recently started running, and I hope to do a 5K someday. While I really love it, I can’t even imagine a marathon–much less doing one injured. Kudos to you!

  20. Oh wow, I am so impressed. Go you! I’m not sure if I could do this. The longest I run is about 3 miles. If I went beyond that, I’d fall over.

  21. Wow! Such an amazing accomplishment. I particularly don’t enjoy running, so I commend you on finishing your race while injured!

    1. Thank you! It was tough, that’s for sure. I’m doing everything I can to stay healthy for the next time I toe that line :)

  22. It’s so interesting to me what we have to go through to learn to start to listen to our bodies. Glad you were able to recover and that no lasting damage was done. You are so brave for running a marathon. Maybe one day I will attempt it.

    1. Thank you! I’m relieved to be healed up too. Thanks for stopping by, i hope you are having a nice week so far! 😊

    1. I agree Sarah! It was an amazing experience but i will definitely do my utmost to stay healthy for my next race! 😄

  23. I would LOVE to be able to run a marathon! I tried out for the track team in high school, but to this day I just can’t seem to get the breathing thing down and end up wearing myself out so quickly because of poor breathing.

    1. Keeping breathing under control while running can be important, that’s for sure! Thanks for stopping by Jamie, enjoy the rest of your night! 🤗

  24. Wow, I can’t imagine running a marathon at all let alone one while injured! I can imagine mental stamina is just as important as physical!

    1. Mental toughness is definitely a factor for racing any distance! Thanks Brenda, have a lovely rest of the evening! 😀

  25. Congratulations on runing a whole marathon not just once or twice. I also admire your race day strategy of self coaching. I can barely ran a half marathon although I try one every year. Congrats again .

  26. I’m happy to have checked “run a marathon” off my last back in 2007! A foot injury has put me out of running but I sure did enjoy those races! 😊

    1. That’s awesome Holly! Stinks that you had a foot injury. I hope it is all better! Thanks and have a lovely evening! 😊

  27. I can barely walk without pain much less run. You are better than me. Glad you’re ok and maybe one day I will conquer a 5K. LOL

  28. Sounds like it was still a good race even so. I remember how it was for my friend and hearing all of the things he went through training. I have issues in my knees that would make doing this impossible. But this is great for sure.

    1. Thank you! It was such a good experience! Next time I’ll make sure to get to the start line healthy! 😁

  29. I am a mountain biker and I did a century with it – twice in a row, actually. I thought that was enough training to start at least a 5K. So one day, I’d put on my new running shoes and swagger up to the jogger’s lane. After a few strides my calf muscles ached. I tried stretching but it didnt help. That’s when I realized my folly. hehehe …

    1. Thanks Kiwi! It was a good experience, but I would definitely do everything i can to start my next race healthy! 😀

  30. I agree. You have to listen to your body and respect its limit. It’s better to be fit than pushing too much beyond your capacity.

    1. Thank you Paula, it was an unforgettable experience, that’s for sure. I hope you have an amazing day! 😁

  31. Congrats on the entire experience. The Mister has run a marathon so I know what that training looks like. It can be intense, watching people finish and crumble was like nothing I had ever seen. Their bodies were pushed to their limits.

    1. Training definitely requires a lot of time and effort! Its crazy how much the distance can take out of you. Thanks Mimi, i hope you have a lovely day! 😊

  32. Interesting read. I’m currently training for a half and completed 8 miles for the first time last week. My hip flexors were in agony afterwards and I had to take a week off from running to allow them to recover. Definitely a smart recommendation to rest when needed Dawn. Im impressed you got through the 26 miles with your injury.

    1. Thanks Dave! I hope your hip flexors are healed up and that your half training is going well. Taking time off to recover was probably the smartest decision. I hope your day is going well so far! 😁

  33. I have never run a marathon! so much prep needed! You’re so brave! congrats! it’s a great achievement!

    1. Thank you! it took a lot of training and preparation! I will hopefully be running my next one healthy! :)

  34. Oh my goodness, Dawn! I can’t believe you pushed through that! I’m amazed, and impressed.

    I’ve started running again this year, and just signed up for my next (3rd) half marathon, but this time I’m going to make sure I’m trained up. Running injuries are the worst though, I have some achilles tendonitis so have taken up swimming as well (a welcomed break!), hopefully it’ll heal soon and I can hit the trails again.

    1. Oh good for you! I am training for a half marathon currently too! Yes, definitely make sure you’re trained up and most importantly, healthy! All the best with your training Amber! :)

    1. Thank you Mayuri! I hope you’ll get to run your marathon very soon! Thanks for stopping by, enjoy the rest of your week! 😁

    1. Lol me too! I cant think of a better reason to enjoy a bagel than rubbing a race! 😊 Thanks Krystal, I hope you have a lovely rest of the week!

  35. My longest run was a 100 metre challenge back in school. Running is not my thing again. I’m pretty much unfit. It must feel so good to finish the marathon when you had an injury.

    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! 😁

  36. 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!

    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! 😊

  37. 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!!

    1. Thank you Krysti, i appreciate that! It wad an amazing experience, for sure. I hope you have a fantastic day! 😊

  38. 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.

    1. Thats so exciting! You are going to crush your marathon! I agree, the struggle makes it all the more special! 😁

  39. 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. :-)

    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! :)

  40. This is crazy! I ran 2 5ks with an unliked broken foot but I can’t imagine running a marathon injured. Way to go girlZ

    1. Ouch a broken foot sounds awful! 😣 i hope it’s all healed up! Thanks for stopping by, i hope you have an amazing week! 😊

    1. Thank you Brytnie! I appreciate that! Thanks so much for stopping by, i hope you have an awesome day! 😊

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

    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!

  42. 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 ☺️

    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! 😊

  43. 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! 😄

  44. 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

    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! 😊

  45. 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

    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! :)

    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! 😊

  46. 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.

    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! 😊

  47. 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!

    1. Thank you Olivia! It was such an awesome experience! I appreciate your stopping by, i hope your day is wonderful!

  48. 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

    1. Thank you Sondra! Yes, so important to listen to our bodies! Thanks for dropping by, I hope your day is amazing!

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

    1. Its certainly an amazing experience! Thanks for stopping by Chelsea, i hope you have s wonderful day! 😊

  49. 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.

    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!

  50. 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.

    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!

  51. 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.

    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!

    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!

    1. Thank you Kim, I appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to read! I hope you have an amazing day!

    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!

    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!

  52. 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.

    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!

  53. 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.

    1. Walking intervals sounds like a good workout. I appreciate your stopping by Sandra, I hope you have a lovely day!

  54. 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.

    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!

    1. Aw thank you Courtney, that’s sweet of you. I appreciate your stopping by. I hope you have wonderful day!

  55. You did a great job and an inspiration for many others. Being injured and running a marathon is not what everyone can do, salute to your spirits.

    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! 😀

      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!!!

      2. Haha! I completely agree, it’s so important to listen to our bodies! Something I learned the hard way!!

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