TCS NYC Marathon Recap

TCS NYC Marathon Recap!
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I have such mixed emotions about this race report. I missed my goal by almost 30 minutes, but loved NYC! Here’s a look at how my day unfolded…

Let’s start with flat Jennifer! (Armpocket, Garmin 620, Swiftwick socks, FuelBelt Bib Holder, Asics Cumulus 17)

I scheduled room service to arrive when I woke up at 4am.  I had coffee, a Picky Bar, and they brought hot water for my oatmeal.

I met up with the Asics Blog Team.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed these folks!!!  Read their blogs to see their journey to the NYC Marathon for Asics called Five to the Finish!

We were sporting our hobo chic throwaway clothes!

Asics bussed us to the Athletes Village.

I had an oatmeal on the bus and then noshed on this banana bread throughout the morning.

I ran into Courtney!  Seeing a familiar face in a big crowd is always comforting.

I had time to use the port-a-potty, sit down for a bit, and then it was time to enter my corral.  It was too funny that they had straw on the ground.

The Course: you run through: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, and finish in Central Park in Manhattan

NYC is the largest marathon in the world with over 50,000 runners!


  • A: 3:33
  • B: 3:40 (BQ)
  • C: have fun, smile, and give high-fives, because it’s not my day!

My corral started at 10:15 and we were on the lower level of the Verrazano Bridge.  Contrary to the rumors, I didn’t get peed on, lol!

The weather was in the 50’s at the start and I felt great.  I had control of my breath and was hitting my goals.  I ran into Heather Zeigler (an amazing runner) around mile 9 and she snapped this pic.  Obviously I was having fun!

And then mile 11 happened.  I landed funny on a sewer cover.  My ankle went left and my knee went right.  My stomach sank.  At first I thought I had hurt my ankle, but quickly realized it was my left knee.  An amazingly kind gentleman saw what happened and got me to the medical tent.  This was the first time I’ve ever had to visit medical in a race and it’s the first time I called Jason in a race.  He told me to shift gears, smile, and do my best to finish.  He met me at mile 16 where I just wanted to cry and quit.

This was on the bridge to the Bronx around mile 19.  Y’all, I’ve never hurt like this in a race.  It wasn’t pretty.

I had to visit a second medical tent, and I met up with Jason again at mile 23 where I handed him all of my stuff.  I needed to lighten my load.

By this point, I knew that I could push through and finish. Deena Kastor gave us so much great advice during our shakeout run before the race.  She said to smile even when we were hurting and miserable.  People are watching.  We should show our love for running.  This race is on the bucket list for thousands of people and we should be grateful.  So….I raised my hands, put on a smile, and finished as strongly as I could!

I was SO proud of myself for not quitting and so relieved to be done!

Here’s my post-race knee pic!

I took my butt straight to medical for some ice.

I may not have had the race that I wanted, but I did get a necklace and a cape!

We picked up a street pretzel after the race….hello salt!

For dinner, I was craving pizza….

And, of course champagne!

We ordered some more ice for my knee back at the hotel.  Bless their hearts, they thought it was for drinks!

And I crawled into bed with this chocolate cake!!!

The numbers weren’t pretty:

  • 5k: 24:25
  • 10k: 49:22
  • 15k: 1:15:03
  • 20k: 1:45:54
  • 25k: 2:17:54
  • 30k: 2:48:07
  • 35k: 3:20:33
  • 40k 3:53:25
  • Finish: 4:05:57


  • Picky Bar and coffee
  • Umpqua Oatmeal and banana bread on the bus and athlete’s village
  • 1 GU 15 minutes before race start
  • Cocogo in my handheld (discount code: JENCHOOSESJOY)
  • GU at miles 7, and an attempted GU at mile 15.  My stomach felt really sick, so I just drank fluids.


  • Amazing crowd support!!!!!
  • Considering the logistics for point-to-point races are tough, NYC did an excellent job managing traffic and 50k runners.
  • I loved running through all the boroughs.
  • The last few miles through Central Park were stunning with the crowds and fall leaves.
  • I’m a lot tougher than I realized.
  • Considering that I stopped at 2 medical tents during the race, my time wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
  • I felt really comfortable at my scary ‘A Goal’ pace.
  • To everyone that yelled “JEN CHOOSES JOY” at me during the race….THANK YOU!!!  I know I didn’t always look joyful (lol!), but it was such an awesome reminder!!!!!!!
  • I’ve made peace with the fact that is was a bad race.  It’s in the past…upward and onward!


Join the Conversation

  • carla birnberg

    I swear each time I see a race recap posted I immediately click over and think: could I do this?
    I could not. You are hard core xo

    • JenChoosesJoy

      LOL….I say it all the time, but if I can do it…you can do it!!!!!

  • Torri

    Jennifer, I always enjoy reading your Monday morning posts, but this one is by far my favorite!! Congratulations on the race and you’re exactly right, your time was wonderful and especially given the medical issues you had faced! I hope your knee is recovering well. I’ve already finished my run this morning! Got to get it in when you can! lol Have a great week!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Way to start your Monday off right….you ROCK!!!!

  • TheHealthy75

    Way to make the best of a difficult situation! I admire you spirit and strength so much, way to rock it!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thanks so much!!!!!

  • AmandaM

    Best attitude and outlook. Lots of situations now will seem so easy after knowing you powered through lots of pain. I reference (in my head) my most painful marathon when facing new challenges. I think ‘i got through THAT, THIS is nothing!’
    That knee pic looks super painful. Congratulation for an awesome job and thank you for sharing it with us. Super motivating and inspirational.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I will never forget this experience and hopefully it will help me in the future! Thank you!!!!

  • Tiffany Under/Holmes

    Thank you for your courageous and honest recap! You’re a rockstar for finishing under those circumstances!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thanks so much!!!

  • Sarah @ SarahRuns26

    Still a great time! I didn’t have the race I wanted last year at NYC since I got hurt before the race. I was just glad to be able to finish! I actually really enjoyed being able to chat with people during the race and give high fives. After so many marathons, I’ve realized that not ever race needs to be a PR and definitely every race won’t be good, but I will learn something each time!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      My friends and I were just saying this very thing this morning. Every race won’t be an awesome PR experience!

  • Danielle Turk-Bly

    Great job! Way to show love and support for the sport of running even through all of your pain. You’re one tough runner!!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thanks so much!!!

  • Lynn B

    Congratulations on being so darn tough and gutting it out. It would have been very easy to quit. That is why I love runners so much – we are a tough bunch of people:) And as you stated all things considered your time was pretty darn good. You have a great attitude – upward and onward! Have a great day!!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      THANK YOU!!!!!

  • Alaina @ The Simple Peach

    Way to hang in there! I love Deena’s advice. Sometimes we lose sight of our love of the sport because we focus on time and goals too often. Love your honesty!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Her advice really saved me!!!

  • Margaret @youngandrungry

    I’ve been so excited to read this and what an amazing, inspiring perspective! I am so sorry about your knee. Long races are so unpredictable, but you had such a solid plan C in place and congratulations on reaching that goal! You truly lived up to your name and chose joy in a difficult time where most runner’s could not. I’m glad you had the support and perseverance you needed to get through that race because the takeaways are priceless and you are inspiring so many others!

    Thanks your your honestly and constant smile.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SO much for your sweet words!!!!

  • FitFriend Mike

    You’ve gotta love those ice buckets in hotels, very convenient for nursing injuries 😉

    That knee incident really sucks, nothing worse than having an accident affect your running when you’ve trained so well! I’m curious as to what the motivation was to finish once you were running injured? The last race I finished injured (half marathon) was the worst running decision I ever made. It set me back by 3 years. Better to save yourself for a day to put in your best performance IMO, so I’m just trying to understand why finish when injured.

    I wouldn’t be upset about your time given the unlucky circumstances. You’ll have redemption and be able to prove where your fitness is at in another race.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I was still able to do an interval run/walk. If I was only able to walk, I would have dropped out.

  • bubblyrunner

    You are so unbelievably tough and strong! The fact that you didn’t quit says a lot. I’m sad to hear about your knee–I hope you recover quickly!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SO much!!!!

  • Angie @ Pace with Grace Blog

    Way to push through and finish even when you were really hurting. That isn’t easy but I’m glad you learned just how tough you are! Its always the struggles that we learn the most from. Congrats!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you for your encouragement!!!!

  • Tracy Elliott Evans

    I think your time was pretty Damn Amazing! Congrats and hope the knee is feeling better!!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      THANK YOU!!!!

  • Jenny

    Congratulations! Keep us posted on your knee recovery- you know we are all rooting for you. : )

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thanks so much!!!!!

  • Monica Dean

    Thank you for your raw honesty. You, my friend, are a trooper deluxe. I think people do themselves a disservice by not having a plan “b” or “c”. The marathon is so unpredictable. The simple fact that we GET to do it is enough for me. Keep smiling!!!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      You’re so right! A lot can go wrong over the course of 26 miles and it really helps me to have backup plans!

  • Beth

    Congrats on a great race! Even with the two stops, a 4:05 finish is fantastic. These are the races that make you stronger, and they just propel you forward. Your next race will be all about redemption, and it will be amazing!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I have a few races coming up. I doubt I’ll be speedy, but I just want to enjoy them!!!!

  • Priscilla Bankston

    Thanks for sharing! Great read! I just love your attitude!!! Such a great inspiration, upward and onward!!!! Keep us posted on what’s next for you! Prayers and happy healing for your knee.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thanks so much for your sweet words!!!!

  • elawruns

    Yikes!! Your poor knee. That pic makes me want to cry. Every runner’s worst fear.
    So glad you were able to finish and (kind of) enjoy the race atmosphere. I’m sure the pretzel and chocolate cake made you feel better :)
    How did people know to yell “Jen Choose Joy” ?

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words!!!! Thanks to my blog and social media, other runners/spectators and I were looking for each other on the course so we could cheer for each other!

  • Kimberly

    I felt like crying when I saw the photo of your knee :( Kudos to you for pushing through and finishing strong!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you!!!!!

  • Melissa

    Way to push through!! So inspiring! :)
    You are so positive to look at all the good that happened that day, instead of dwelling on the bad part.
    Love the recap, it was real, and it was you! :) Best of luck while you heal!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thanks SOOO much!!!!!

  • Jill @ RunEatSnap

    Jen, that is amazing that you even finished! I almost teared up just reading this. I had sharp knee pain at mile 10 for my last half marathon and had to run/walk the last 3 miles and it was dreadful! I do not think I could’ve pushed through a full marathon distance with such pain. You are a rockstar! And that chocolate cake looks da bomb!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SOOO much and the chocolate cake was SOOO good!!!

  • Beata F

    congratulations!! I had a very similar race, my legs after mile 8 were just not having it. I don’t know why I was in so much pain, I was too scared to go to medical:) It was my first marathon and I absolutely loved it!!! The crowds in Brooklyn made me fall in love with New York even more. I didn’t finish with the time I wanted but I didn’t quit when it got really tough and I had so much fun! I can’t wait to run another marathon! I am thinking of MCM next year.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      CONGRATULATIONS on finishing a tough race!!!!!!

  • Jenny K

    Bad race… you did a stellar job! It’s a tough course regardless of injury. You killed it — two stops and still 4:05… #rockstar

    • JenChoosesJoy

      You’re right…it’s definitely a tough but awesome course!!

  • Jess at Run Pink!

    I’m so sorry to hear about your knee! I know how bummed you must of been. You know I feel your pain on having a bad race day… Especially when it’s your A goal!! Will I see you in Nashville next year?! I decided to go ahead and sign up as a St Jude hero again. I had so much fun last year with it. :)

    • JenChoosesJoy

      YES!!!! I’m not 100% what I’ll be running in Nashville, but I’ll definitely be running. I LOVE that you’re a hero!!!!

  • Hannah

    Way to finish with a smile! You’re an inspiration! I know that you didn’t reach your goals, but I want you to know that you accomplish so much with the way you inspire people to be happier every single day. Congrats on running the race, happy healing, and thank you for your energy!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SOOOO much!!!!

  • Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete

    Aw girl, you are SUCH a strong soul! I am SO happy that you still got out there, with an injury so early on. I am proud of you and so inspired by your words and your journey — you always put the most positive, the most JOYFUL spin on things in your life. This was an awesome recap…thank you so much for sharing with us!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SOOOOO much for your sweet words!!!

  • Suzy Slane

    Oh CRAP. That knee. Keep us posted! I hope it’s just a simple fix. Congrats on your race, and take care of that post race bod!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      It’s already SO much better!!!! Thank you!

  • Laura Olinger

    Bad races happen. I had one this fall. Actually, doing my recap (I filmed mine as a video along the route) made me feel better about it, because I took the time to analyze what didn’t go well, and celebrate what did. Your accomplishment in finishing this race was enormous – most people can’t even imagine running a marathon, let alone one with knee pain. Bad races make us even hungrier for the next chance to prove ourselves!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      It really helps to know that other runners can relate….THANK YOU!!!!

  • stephanie g

    I love your goals for the race. I’ll definitely be keeping them in mind (well, the spirit of them, not the same speedy times!) next time I go for a big race.
    I’m so sorry about your knee, and that your race didn’t go according to plan. But I’m glad you learned how strong and determined you are! You still came out with a great time and a happy smile, so I call it a win. :)

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SO much! Having multiple goals really helps me to keep a positive attitude when things go south, lol!

  • Lauren

    I love this! 1. I too thought the straw was funny! 2. I was so afraid of getting peed on bc of all the rumors I heard, so I made sure to stay dead smack in the middle of the bridge! Hah, but glad to say there were zero incidents that I saw! 3. Even though it hurt like heck, running through the park was really awesome. 4. You are a super tough cookie, I’m so proud of you!!!!!! 5. Soft pretzels are amazing, I ate so many of the nuggets when I got home. I think they’re my new favorite post run food! Again, a thousand congrats. You are a ROCKSTAR and motivate me to get better every day!!! xo

    • JenChoosesJoy

      CONGRATULATIONS to you, too!!!!!!!

  • corrie

    Such a great recap and what a glass half full outlook! You really did practice what you preach and CHOOSED JOY that day when you could have chosen so many other emotions and most of all..chosen to quit!! I am so proud of you my sweet friend and we allll know what you are capable of! Upward and Onward! PS…I loved ” And I got a necklace and a cape’ 😉 Love you!!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I may not care about medals but if you call it a necklace I’m definitely more interested, lol!

  • Lynn B

    Ok weird question. Do you wear your phone on your arm when you run and listen to music pinned to your tank through your nano? On long runs my phone around my arm ends up driving me crazy. And I saw that your music was attached to your shirt. Just curious :)

    • JenChoosesJoy

      This race was so strange! I don’t always carry my phone when I race, but I’m so glad I had it to call my husband mid-race. I mostly use the ArmPocket for when I’m pacing training groups. It doesn’t bother me at all. I also rarely listen to music, but wear my Nano when I race…just in case I need a pick-me-up. Long story short…I had my phone for an emergency and my Nano for music. I’m SO grateful I had both!

      • Lynn B

        Maybe you’re psychic :). I’m
        Glad you had it too!! And glad your knee is better.

  • Sheena

    Great job but so bummed to hear about your knee! Glad you pushed through and finished and NYC seems like such an awesome race. I am looking for my spring marathon now. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I’m still not sure what my Spring goal race will be. I have 3 more races this fall and then I’ll look forward!

  • Emma

    While I normally enjoy reading your blog, I have to say your comparison of luxurious race grounds to refugee camps is in poor taste. With humility, I suggest you educate yourself on the horrific living conditions the people living in these camps have dealt with/deal with.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I certainly didn’t mean it in an offensive way and I’m sorry you took it that way. I obviously know that there is a huge difference between an athlete’s village and a refugee camp.

      • Emma

        Awareness of such huge differences would prevent such comparisons as race grounds look nothing like refugee camps. Nonetheless, I am glad to see the sentence is removed.

  • Amanda B @ Cupcakes and Miles

    Yikes! That post-race knee pic looks painful! And seriously… two medical tents + a knee that swollen + and you still get a 4:05?! Dang girl! I’m proud of you!


    You did so amazing!!! Congrats on an awesome race! The marathon is so hard because it is such a long distance and you never know what to expect. You did an amazing job dealing with the hand you were dealt! I always set three goals too! I hope your recovery is moving along fast and your knee is doing better! 2 stops and an injury and still a 4:05!! Superwoman!

  • Sue Tate

    Wow, way to push through but that knee looked terrible!! So sorry you had to deal with that. But you finished with a smile on your face and that photo at the finish says it all!! Love it! Congrats and hope to see you this weekend in Vegas!

  • Dejah Tunney

    Jen, I almost NEVER comment but I just wanted to say I’ve missed your blog the past couple of days! I hope you’re feeling better!!

  • Pam Keenan

    Catching up on blog reading after being gone the last few days. I also ran the NYC Marathon and while I did not have your experience with a sewer cap, I did notice that there were many places on the crowded course where a slip up could happen due to the condition of the roads and the huge number of runners. Glad you were able to finish despite the knee problem. Between miles 7 and 8, I had my ankle stepped on hard by a another runner and my shoe removed. I was really lucky to avoid a face plant, but managed to turn around, avoid the oncoming runner, grab my shoe and put it back on. It was a scary moment and my ankle bothered me for about a mile. The runner who did the damage never stopped to help me which really was bad, IMHO. Good luck with your recovery.

  • Katie Ringley

    I know that this has been a rough couple of days for you and I just wanted you to know that I totally understand everything that you are going through right now. Just know that us bloggers stick together, and that you are a beautiful shining light in this blogging world so don’t forget it <3