My Journey through the NYC Marathon

By Kelli Foster @runwithkelz


It’s now November 3… we are about to catch our flights to NYC!! It’s happening… I am on my way to… finally.. run this marathon… the excitement… anxiousness… pressure.. joy.. sacredness… pain.. SOON TO BE GLORY were all penetrating through my body and I was jittery the whole weekend. 

At 10:45 am the Blue Corral started moving closer and closer to the start line our time was set for 11 am . I had on a sweater and sweatpants to keep me warm so I took off the sweatpants and tossed them into the donation basket. I kept my sweater on though because we still had ten minutes till the start. They played the national anthem, I started praying and everybody started getting loud and excited and everybody started telling each other good luck and we started moving forward. Finally, they started shooting a barrel gun and starting the corrals… I took off my sweater and started jumping in place to stay warm. We started moving up…. We kept moving up.. the music got louder.. I could hear the announcer clearly… and then the barrel gun went off… MY CORRAL had started… I crossed over the starting line…. TIME TO GO!!!!!



Heart pounding.. nerves jumping.. mind focused.. but legs could barely go anywhere…. It was SOOOOOO many people at the starting line… I wasn’t about to waste any energy trying to duck and dodge runners so I just stayed in place until it got less crowded and I was able to get out the bunch.. so the first mile was a chill mile… after crossing mile number one.. my Nike app said I was running about an 11’15” pace… which I thought wasn’t too bad.. but I needed to pick up the pace to be on target for a PR.. so mile two was my “come-back” mile. After mile 2 I was at 10’45” pace, so I was progressing. Mile 3 was 10’30” , I was getting more comfortable and getting into my stride. Mile 4 was at 10’20” and I slowed down at the water stop to start my gels, which I mentally scheduled myself to take every 3-4 miles. And due to almost choking in the past… I knew what water stops meant for me, that I would have to almost stop and slow down to drink and then continued running so I didn’t want to have to go through that process too frequently.

Everything is going great, my pace is staying between 10’20” and 10’30”, I’m mentally very positive, my music is going, the crowd support is amazing and I honestly am distracted from the fact that I’m actually running because everything is going so great! At mile 16, my knee starts shooting pains up.. I try to run with more pressure on my right leg so it takes some of the pain off and it works a little, but now I start praying.. God just help me get to the finish line and get through this race… and just like that.. after about a mile.. it was okay again and I’m back rolling. Now I’m at mile 18… here’s my wall…. I’m physically good, I don’t feel much pain.. but if it’s at all possible… I was mentally drained from being so positive! I know it sounds crazy, but I was tired from pushing myself and telling myself to stay in… keep running.. you got this.. you got a lot of folks counting on you… It pushed me.. but also drained me… and the 3 bridges that I had crossed over thus far hadn’t helped either.

At this point what I did was I gave myself a break.. I slowed down… I told myself to take a breather and catch myself a little until I got to the next water stop then I was going to get back in it. So for less than half a mile I took a break and at the next water stop I took my gels and got back in it. So what I did was I found a runner that was running my pace, but a little faster and used them to pace myself and I stayed close to them. This really worked for me and pushed me when I felt tired and wanted to take another break… because taking another break meant losing my pacer. So I did this until about mile 23. At mile 23 I took my last gels and got water and lost my Pacer. But with 3.2 miles left I felt I could handle it. Got through mile 24… and mentally I was like “It’s time to put it all out and DO THIS.. You’re in NYC.. you can DO THIS!!” I was STILL on target for a PR.. soooo close to the finish.. just had to keep going.

Here’s the hard part though… I couldn’t go any faster! I tried to pick up my pace.. but then I had to slow down.. I wanted to sprint in.. but my body just couldn’t do it. I was nonetheless still moving.. but my pace had slowed down a little bit and I was almost done. I entered into Central Park and then I mean the crowd was sooooo loud and energetic and encouraging.. I picked up my legs and started picking up the pace… turned one curve and it was more people, turned another curve and more people…but I’m like “Where is the DAMN finish line????!!!!” I was running out of steam.. so I saw the sign that said one mile left.. so I took some deep breathes and kept going… WHHHYY does the last mile always seem like the longest EVER????!!!!!!

Okay, I see the finishing clocks… the photographer and the crowd.. almost there.. I make sure to get my smile together for the camera, stand up straight & keep going through the finish line. As soon as I get across I come to a stop… stand there for a minute look around and tear up! Why?? I really don’t know… emotions just rushed forward like I was still running and sat in my eyes.. I could BARELY walk another step.. my legs had gotten so stiff in less than 2 minutes… I went and sat next to a police officer that was close to the finish line and told her I just needed to catch my breath. As I was sitting I got hot.. fell over and the First-Aid team took me to the med tent. They said I was dehydrated, which is very common after running marathons. So I had to drink two bottles of water and eat an energy bar before they released me and told me I would be ok. What an experience!



Up, down, waiting, running, stiffing up, falling over… I wouldn’t trade any of my experiences for ANYTHING in the world! This race was by far the farthest from any race I EVER imagined running and I EVER imagined completing and I EVER imagined doing my 1st year of marathon running! I mean… this race has put a fire in my heart to RUN.. I mean it has ignited something in me, an excitement about running for myself.. to splurge running wherever I go by means of motivating others to run, or encourage runners, or continuing running myself… this race has LIT that fire! The running community and everybody I met in NYC was so nice, friendly, open and color-blind! There is no race or color or gender segregation in running… we all prepare and train.. commit hours & hours of our lives & bodies to fulfill a goal… to JUST RUN because we love to.. JUST RUN! If the world outside and larger society were more reflective of the “Runners’s World” the world would be so much more accepting, motivating and so much more of an awesome place. to live in!!

Some of life’s most challenging events that we take on.. can really change the lives of many that dare to take the plunge! The NYC Marathon was that plunge for me and successfully training and completing it has in so many ways changed my life. Th New York City Marathon wasn’t just another marathon for me..  it was THE marathon for me.. the World’s BIGGEST Marathon! Not only am I part of the 10% of American’s that have completed a full marathon.. I’m a part of the 5% that have run and completed the NYC Marathon!



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