blog

11.07 2014

A Bitter Sweet Return

New York

On Sunday I ran the NYC Marathon.  Most of you know I suffered, hit the wall, and struggled to finish.  I was emotional and disappointed afterwards. But I am now at peace with what happened.

Here is how I got to this place.  I went into NYC relatively fit; Not scare a PR fit, but a solid 2:28 fit. Since my half-marathon in Philly 6 weeks earlier, I had solid and fantastic training.  My confidence grew and I felt very good about where I was considering where I had come from.  I had done sessions that showed 2:28 was what I was ready to do.  I wouldn’t be fighting for the win, but for a solid race and a big step in the right direction.  In the week leading up to the race, my coaches (Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs) and I started paying attention to the weather. First it looked like it would be perfect.  Then it looked like it might be rainy.  But in the final days leading up to the marathon it became clear that we were going to be running in very windy conditions.

I was prepared to hit 5:40 mile pace by myself, as I had practiced, in good weather.  But it was obvious that with sustained 20-30 mile per hour winds, I was not going to be able to hold that pace all alone.  Mark, Heather, Adam, and I discussed it numerous times, but the conclusion was always the same.  I would go with the leaders.  The race would be slowed by the wind and when they took off once the wind was at our backs, I’d do my best to maintain the solid effort I was on.

The only problem was that they didn’t slow down that much.  I underestimated how tough the women in the field were.  I thought they would be intimidated by the wind and run around 75 minutes for the first half, but these women weren’t going to let a little wind stand in their way.  I ran in the lead pack for about 10 miles. I felt great.  I missed the first 5 mile markers, later finding out that many of them had blown off in the wind.  The first mile split that I got was around mile 6.  I split a 5:36.  Faster than I was in shape to run, but not dangerously fast.  I could feel the pack picking it up the pace and around mile 9 I split a 5:29.  At this point I knew I was in trouble.  There was no way I was going to be able to keep this pace up. Not only was I not physically ready to run that fast, but we were doing it into the wind.  That 5:29 mile was a 5:20 effort. I didn’t want to panic, but I knew the pace was too hot.  I backed off and looked around.  But I didn’t see anyone in back of me.  I was all alone.  For the next 10 miles I soldier on completely solo.  At mile 18 I could see Edna Kiplagat struggling.  I focused in on her, it was something to work toward.  I was surprised by how gusty it was from mile 18-20 and it took me a full 2 miles to catch Edna.  I caught her, and thought it would give me energy, only it didn’t.  I moved ahead of her, but only slightly so.

The fight was starting to slip from my body.  I started to get a little nervous.  Anna Felix Dulce came out of no where and started running along with me.  Edna regained our little pack.  And we ran that way for a couple of miles.  But at 22 miles I was done.  I felt as if someone put weights on my shoulders.  It hit me hard and I struggled to keep moving forward.  I couldn’t remember the course or how far I still had to go.  Annie Bersagel went by me like I was standing still. Shortly after Deena Kastor went by.  As she went by she shouted at me to shake it off, that the park wasn’t too far away.  I struggled.  I knew my coach would be at mile 24 and it was my motivation to get there.  I needed to hear Mark’s voice.  But I never saw him and I was so deflated.  In all actuality I was completely delirious because I ran right by him, where there were no other people, and he gave me cheers of support.  But I didn’t see or hear him and I soldiered on. 

I passed the 25 mile mark and headed out of central park.  I saw Edna up ahead again.  I kept asking myself how far I had to run.  I was not thinking clearly, I had just passed the 25 mile marker!  As I made my way into central park the 2nd time for the finish, I tried to sprint.  I wanted to show everyone that I was fighting.  But there was nothing left in the tank, the harder I pushed the slower I ran.  As people yelled and cheered for me the tears started to fall.  I was as drained as I’d ever been.  I somehow got myself across the line; I was completely deflated.  It was the most exhausted I have ever felt in my life.  In the moments after the race I was an emotional and physical mess.  I was beyond exhausted and incredibly emotional.  I have at times been criticized for showing so much emotion.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and have never been good at “keeping it together.”  I used to worry about it and try to hold it in, but now that I am well into my 30s and a mother, I just don’t care.  It is who I am.  I am good at many things but not at hiding my emotions.  I am raw, I cry ugly, it is what it is.  And that is what you saw. Once I finally had some glycogen in my system and started to recover, I went over the race again and again.  I talked to both of my coaches, my husband, my friends.  And you know what?  I have no regrets, I would do the same thing 100 times over again.  Without the gift of hindsight I made the best decision I could.  It was crazy windy, I thought the risk of going out a little hard was better than running alone, and I still believe in that choice. I made the right decision based on the information I had.  That is how I have come to peace.

Am I disappointed?  Of course!  But I am not regretful, and that means I can move on toward bigger and better things.  The hard part is that I know I can run 2:28 right now, and unfortunately I can’t show that.  The marathon isn’t like the 1500m or even the 5k.  I can’t go back out there 2 weeks from now and prove it to everyone.  But I don’t have to prove it to myself.  I know the work I did, the preparation I had.  I know what I am capable of.  Even though I didn’t get to show it on Sunday, I know who I am.  And I am worlds ahead of where I was at this time last year – I am healthy and I am strong. 

As I move on to the next chapter I have to thank all of you for sticking by me.  I have received literally thousands of messages on social media, on email, and by text.  Your kindness has lifted me and healed my heart.  I may never meet you, but you give my running, and therefore my life, meaning.  I wish that I could properly express how grateful I am to have you all in my life, but I’m afraid a heart felt thank you will have to do. 

We don’t always get what we want.  Sometimes we work so hard, only to stumble. But our hard work is not lost. The work we do happened and although we may not have been able to show it on the day we hoped, it will be realized later on.  So, I didn’t get to show you a 2:28 marathon, and I’m not going to lie, that sucks, but I am looking ahead to showing you an amazing track season.  I am not afraid, I am not filled with regret, I am simply filled with gratitude and excitement for all the good things to come.  And I wish you the best in your lives as well.

Comments

  1. Good job Kara. Even when you struggle you are inspiring others. Thank you.

  2. Thomas Duchemin on November 7, 2014 4:56 pm said:

    Beautifully written and equally inspiring!

  3. ktan on November 7, 2014 4:58 pm said:

    Thank you for being REAL, we love you Kara!

  4. Christy Croley on November 7, 2014 4:59 pm said:

    We believe in you!
    You kept going when the going was Rough.
    We admire your tenacity and will continue to cheer as loud as we can!

  5. Liz Bailey on November 7, 2014 5:01 pm said:

    I was somewhere in your footsteps on the course, Kara, and that wind was a sumna b*tch. I’m so happy you found the positives in your race, and please know that all your fans are always right there with you. You’re tough, emotional and honest with yourself and that’s the best kind of role model. Keep truckin’

  6. Jenny on November 7, 2014 5:01 pm said:

    This is an incredible recap, Kara! I feel like I was there running with you. And gosh, your emotion – it makes it real. You did everything right! No regrets. You are a rockstar in my book! I loved hearing your story and you continue to inspire me and so many other women! Hugs!

  7. Amanda Fraley on November 7, 2014 5:04 pm said:

    Kara, you are such an inspiration to me. I ran my first half marathon last Sunday. My time was 2:44. I had hoped to finish closer to 2:30 but then I realized that I have been through so much – two pregnancies, 2 unplanned c-sections, weight gain, weight loss, the loss of my beloved grandfather – and despite all of that, I am strong, healthy and happy. Running is such a blessing in my life and I have you to thank for that. Two years ago I downloaded your book to my Kindle and I have never been the same. Thank you so much for being so real and honest. You are a true champion and although I may never get to meet you in person, you have truly touched my life. I can’t wait to see how amazing 2015 is for you!

  8. Stacie on November 7, 2014 5:06 pm said:

    You are more of an inspiration than any other runner out there. How you describe your race experience is very relatable. I admire your candor, honesty, and can’t wait to see what you do next!

  9. lindsay on November 7, 2014 5:08 pm said:

    Kara, you are such an inspiration!! I love that you are so real and comfortable in your own skin. I love watching your career! I know there are good things to come for you. I wish you the best 🙂

  10. Kara, I’m not an elite runner, not even a marathoner (yet). I’ve only been running for a couple years, and working on getting my pace to something that just lets me final once in a while in a 5k 😉 When someone like you–someone I totally admire and am awed by–admits struggling in a race, and feeling the same struggles that hit us all, it inspires me when the going gets tough to keep going. I know I’m not alone, if that makes sense (not that I’d ever be running next to, more like 5 miles behind, you :-). You are a rock star, plain and simple, and one race is just that, one race. Other women runners like me see your name and just feel awe and huge respect–and one bad race does nothing to detract from that. If anything, it makes us love you more. So thank you for being honest, and thank you for soldiering on, because you have no idea how many thousands you inspired to keep going behind you.

  11. Kelly on November 7, 2014 5:11 pm said:

    We love you, whether you show us a 2:28 marathon or not! Thanks for showing emotion – we all understand how you felt at that moment.

  12. Dawn on November 7, 2014 5:12 pm said:

    Wow! I have nothing but the up most respect for you. You are an inspiration! As a runner & mother. You gave me encouragement to run a marathon 9 months postpartum by responding to a post on runnerworld.com. You said I could do it but it wouldn’t be my fastest. You were right. I did it – conditions were similar to NYC but less windy. The cold temps affected me in ways I have never experienced on a training run or race – ever! My body stopped digesting and focused on keeping my body warm. By mile 10, my legs were numb. I too held it together, even though ever mile I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it across the finish line. Thank you for sharing your experience. Your words connect with me on so many levels. I too wear my heart on my sleeve. I am the first to cry. I too am an ugly crier. Your post encourages me to own that – as a 29 year old & mother. That’s who I am. So thank you, Kara, for being who you are and sharing it with the world. I too am focusing on goals ahead. Maybe another baby. Maybe a spring marathon. Maybe a sub 90 minute half. We’ll see. I don’t have absolutes but I have big dreams and so do you, my dear. So do you. xoxo

  13. Paul on November 7, 2014 5:13 pm said:

    Kara,

    Very well said. Very healthy attitude about the whole situation from my perspective. I am glad you decided to fight when you could have easily walked off the course. As you get older you might look back at this marathon as one of your best because you didn’t quit. My favorite marathon is not my PR. Mine is the one where I got to mile 21 and had to do everything I could to keep going. Good for you Kara. Keeping working at it.

    Paul
    Dayton, Ohio

  14. Sheila on November 7, 2014 5:14 pm said:

    I was sad to see you so sad as you ROCKED that marathon, but believed that you would come to understand how great you really were once you recovered. I’m thankful that was so! Last month when I completed my marathon, I cried tears of rejoicing despite the fact that my time was almost TWICE yours. Perspective is everything. Keep on!

  15. Amy on November 7, 2014 5:14 pm said:

    I’m more impressed by a finisher who’s “broken” than one who seems to cross the line like it’s no big deal. I’m inspired by your run. ❤️

  16. Kara Ng on November 7, 2014 5:15 pm said:

    Dear Kara,

    You are such an inspiration to women, mothers, runners, and athletes in general everywhere! You are so strong, I don’t know a language to express the feelings in my heart when I think about your amazing comeback! I wish you all the very best for you and your career, and I will continue to follow your journey 🙂 You inspire me to to get out there and run when I can, and to be patient and trust the healing process when I can’t. Please come back to NYC soon, I really hope to meet you someday.

    A super fan,
    Kara

  17. Your race was inspirational! You didn’t quit! You could see how much this race meant to you when you finished and we all could not have been more proud. Thank you for wearing your emotions on your sleeve! We all know it will happen for you, and can’t wait to see it happen!

  18. Gina on November 7, 2014 5:17 pm said:

    Thanks for the great race report! You are amazing!

  19. Kelly L on November 7, 2014 5:18 pm said:

    Thank you for being human and sharing your ups and downs with us. We love you and support you in your highs and lows. This as you know is always part of the journey. One marathon day is a drop in the bucket. You ARE strong and ARE fearless! Success happened when you got to the start line. I wish you well and know you will continue to make us proud.(win or almost win 😉 ) BTW, loved Colt’s recap on your race! *Priceless!
    Hope to see you in Boston again soon!! You need a “Meb” comeback!

  20. Cara Stone on November 7, 2014 5:20 pm said:

    very well-said. It broke my heart to see you so upset & disappointed on Sunday, but being so down-to-earth & vulnerable just makes you that much more HUMAN to those who might otherwise see you as some sort of superhero. And being human? That just makes you that much more relatable! It’s part of why we love you so much and will continue to cheer you on! You’re an inspiration to so many, Kara. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’!

  21. Sara Koehler on November 7, 2014 5:20 pm said:

    I completely respect your sentiment, Kara. Be who you are, unabashedly, and you will be rewarded for all your hard work in due time. I admire your faith in your training and your strength. Your courage is awesome! Be proud!

  22. Dawn Sabo on November 7, 2014 5:21 pm said:

    You are my mentor and I am so proud of you, I feel as if we are friends, even though we do not know eachother. But watching you has inspried me to become the runner i wantto be,.

  23. Melissa on November 7, 2014 5:22 pm said:

    Getting ready to run my fourth marathon tomorrow and will be thinking of your fortitude as i soldier through it…thanks for being a good role model as a mother and runner

  24. Heidi Dubberke on November 7, 2014 5:24 pm said:

    Kara,
    Thank you for being so honest and true. As I watched you during the race I felt your anguish as my heart broke for you. I appreciate how real you are; showing us small time runners that you go thru the same pain and anguish we can go thru with our training and results also. What I am struggling to learn thru my stress fractures this past year, is to be patient and kind to myself; both physically and most importantly mentally. Please be kind and patient with your self and continue to keep it real for us runners that look up to you! You are an amazing runner, woman and mother!!
    Hope to see you in Boston 2015, I’ll be there running!
    Heidi Dubberke

  25. Jeff on November 7, 2014 5:24 pm said:

    I admire your honesty and bravery – and I can’t wait to see that 2:28 !! Keep on running.

  26. Cathy Pedersen on November 7, 2014 5:25 pm said:

    You are a sincere person, and I am so glad I read your message. I am 63, and I will never be a runner like you. But through your open and honest account of your run, I realize that amazing runners like you have rough races. The wonderful thing is we all have struggled, but we find a way through them. We persevere. We fight. We continue on despite how difficult it is! Thank you. I wish you the best run of you life! 🙂

  27. Cindy rutherford on November 7, 2014 5:27 pm said:

    Thank you for this. I’m getting ready for my first marathon next weekend and I’m terrified of not finishing or doing so horribly I don’t want to tell anyone. But I’ve survived 16 weeks of runs, including the 20miler, and I’m just so encouraged by you. The impact you have is bigger than you’ll ever know.

  28. Tracy Evans on November 7, 2014 5:29 pm said:

    kara – thanks for your write up. I recently ran my 7th marathon & 4th attempt to BQ. I wanted it so bad & came up short. Given that I’m getting older, I aged up 10 mins… A time that I’ve gotten 3 times previously. Easy? No. I ran strong & just got plain tired. Narrowly missed my BQ again & was so mad at myself not allowing myself to be satisfied with a time that is still above average for a female my age. I appreciate your thoughts & reminders that sometimes it’s not our day, but we’ll get back up, wipe the tears & try again.

  29. Elizabeth on November 7, 2014 5:30 pm said:

    Kara, this is an incredible post and an even more incredible story. I have followed your whole career, and your attitude is so inspiring and incredible. I have my first stress fracture and had to drop out of a marathon, but knowing that I can come back strong, like you did, is what’s keeping me positive through physical therapy. You are an unbelievable runner, and an even more awesome woman. Congrats on a hard fought race, and welcome back!

  30. Madge V on November 7, 2014 5:30 pm said:

    So good to read that you are feeling better. It was heart breaking to see you so upset. We know that you are a phenomenal athlete. Setbacks happen everyday — it’s how we move forward that shows our true character. Best wishes on your next race and the goals that you have set for yourself. Be true to yourself & enjoy your run!

  31. Theresa Gerry on November 7, 2014 5:31 pm said:

    This is a beautiful & honest race recap. You are so cool to share it with all of us! I wanted to share a quick note –

    One of my very best friends called me after I had a tough race in Boston a few years back. She had followed my splits online and she knew it hadn’t been a good day for me. She told me it is much harder to “soldier through” when the race is difficult. My friend reminded me to be proud of finishing because it was really hard. These are the races that make us strong. These are the times we learn about ourselves, as athletes and as human beings.

    As my kids would say, “you are the bomb, dot com!”
    Theresa

    PS – I live on Maui. You should come here and I will show you all the best runs. (You can run and I will try to keep up on a bike!)

  32. Thank you so much for the honesty and frankness, and the motivation Kara. As a high school runner who just finished a poor cross country season and is going into track, you inspire to keep my head up. Here’s to a good track season for the both of us!

  33. Leanne Dellibovi on November 7, 2014 5:39 pm said:

    Hi Kara,
    Congratulations to you on your hard-fought race. I, too, ran NYC and I have been following your running for several years now. Like you, for the past several years I have been battling a series of injuries which has kept me from being able to adequately train at times and from performing my best. I have been behind the eight-ball with every marathon that I’ve done in the past 2-3 years. I BQ-ed in March 2013 (running an awful race due to the wind), but missed getting in to the 2014 Boston Marathon by 20 seconds because my qualifying time wasn’t fast enough. I was heart broken, but I believe in my heart that everything happens for a reason and that it’s all part of a bigger plan. So I’ve patiently waited and worked.

    I suffered from a lower back/hip injury in May. I spent 5 months rehabbing my injury, preparing to run NYC to the best of my ability…and, above all else, believing in myself. After a slew of bad races, I believed that NYC would be my comeback run…not a PR, but a good first step back to realizing my potential. The windy conditions on Sunday were unlike anything I’ve dealt with, but when I was out there, I told myself that I’d be damned if I didn’t have fun out there in spite of the wind. I stopped and took selfies with spectators, and I high-fived anyone with their hand extended. Well…It would appear that I am an aggressive high fiver because I tore an abdominal muscle giving out high-fives at mile 7, and I suffered through the next 19 miles in pain. I finished over an hour after I expected to because I was in so much pain. While I’m disappointed that I worked so hard and wasn’t able to show what I know I could do, I can look back on this experience and laugh. I mean, seriously, who tears an ab muscle giving out high-fives? Unbelievable. 😉

    I gained so much respect for you when I watched your post-race interview because you’re such an honest, open runner and person. This isn’t easy work that we do, regardless of the level we are at, and a marathon is a huge deal and undertaking. You lay it all on the line when you run, and your passion comes across when people watch your run and talk about your running. Your passion and openness, as well as your grace, patience, resilience, and courage are what heroes are made of. I am honored to have someone like you to look up to, because you believe fervently in yourself, especially when the chips are down. From you, I have learned to stay positive, to keep working, and to never, ever stop believing. Thank you for leading by example, Kara.

  34. Pam on November 7, 2014 5:39 pm said:

    Kara, I was in tears watching you storm the finish line with everything you had in that moment. And I am in tears now reading this. Never apologize for who you are or how you share how you feel. I am very similar and I’ve learned that many people don’t like it because it makes them feel more about themselves than they want to. Don’t apologize for embracing your emotions because it makes others uncomfortable feeling their own. You made all of your fans so proud. Thank you. Can’t wait to see you out there again!

  35. Jenny Chapman on November 7, 2014 5:39 pm said:

    The emotion we all saw showed us that you are just like any of us midpackers. We give it our all, try our best and sometimes it doesn’t work out like we hope. My heart broke for you but you should feel so proud of yourself. You are a true role model to all of us mother runners and such an inspiration to athletes of all kinds.

  36. greg on November 7, 2014 5:40 pm said:

    It can be hard to stifle the disappointment when we miss the mark of our goal, but shoot! This performance is nothing to sneeze at, your attitude is admirable. Congrats!

  37. Wendy on November 7, 2014 5:40 pm said:

    Kara, you are my hero. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You are driven, courageous and full of inspiration…and it is contagious. I hope to one day be able to attend a podium retreat and have the experience of bonding with other runners and meet you firsthand. If there is one thing I can relay, it is simply that you are truly, truly amazing. You’ve got this! Woop!

  38. Beth on November 7, 2014 5:43 pm said:

    Kara, you are an inspiration in so many ways. Even though you were struggling, I could not tell when you passed the cheer zone I headed up just before the Mile 24 fluid station. It was an honor to cheer you on. Your openness and honesty here helps me feel so much better about my own struggles – knowing that we are not alone in finding the going tough sometimes. You will always be one of my running heroes!

  39. Michaela on November 7, 2014 5:48 pm said:

    Kara,

    Your story is such an inspiration. I am proud of your effort and appreciate your honest and open reaction to your disappointment.

    I am a runner, a mother, and an oncologist (a cancer doctor). I have used your example of strength and endurance despite adversity to encourage my patients to continue on despite their seemingly insurmountable struggles.

    Keep working hard. Keep inspiring women everywhere. There are so many more important achievements in life than a 2:28 marathon. I know you know that. But I agree that missing the time you know you are capable of running still sucks!

    Last summer I was easily in 3:15 shape. I went out at that pace (or to be honest a little faster), not taking into consideration that it was 90 degrees outside. Needless to say, I hit the wall and shuffled across the finish in 3:30. Sucks.

    Michaela

  40. izzle_runner on November 7, 2014 5:49 pm said:

    Kara we love you and we support you. The best is yet to come.

  41. Isaac H. on November 7, 2014 5:51 pm said:

    way to go, keep it up

  42. Mark Hall on November 7, 2014 5:51 pm said:

    No regrets, way to go! Great story; you’re an amazing inspiration to the up and coming generation of runners, both male and female, who take great strength from seeing both great successes and unexpected set backs are part of our great sport. Your words will carry most further than a PR.

  43. Lindsay mast on November 7, 2014 5:52 pm said:

    What you did was amazing, Kara! You are beloved by so many for your spirit and guts. Keep running, and writing, and wearing your emotions. You are a breath of fresh air.

  44. Victoria Yeh on November 7, 2014 5:53 pm said:

    Kara- you’re so inspirational! I saw you in London for the Olympics and watching you and Shalane give it your all brought me to tears. I’m def no Olympian but the fights you describe during your races- all marathoners have felt them and that’s why we all love you, because even though we’re not Olympians.. We are all human. And we all feel the same things. The hard work you do in training and racing is amazing. Three words- get it girl! I look forward continuing to follow your career and can’t wait to see what more you’ve got!

  45. Karrie Saltalamachia on November 7, 2014 5:53 pm said:

    This is exactly how I felt after a half marathon that I ran in October that I was more than prepared for. I should have kicked its ass, but knew after the first few miles that it wasn’t my day to PR, despite my readiness for that race. Instead of setting another PR, I was a minute slower than the last one I ran and 5 minutes from my goal PR. I continue to increase my speed now even after I have no race to train for. I know where my training stands and that’s all that matters. Any given Sunday Kara Goucher. Any given Sunday.

  46. Kara,
    Thank you for being so real and raw. I, too, am a mother… We’re human and need to show our children that it’s okay to show our emotions. Keep showing your true self – this characteristic will keep you in check and help support you when times are tough.
    Keep on rockin’ girl. Believe.
    Hugs.

  47. Phil Stover on November 7, 2014 6:03 pm said:

    Kara,

    My Wife and I were rooting for you on Sunday and will continue to be your biggest fans going forward. The blog post just further solidifies in our minds what a WINNER you are. Thank you for the article. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being human. Great stuff. Have a great weekend!

  48. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am a really slow runner, and sometimes I forget that no matter *what* pace you run, everyone has good runs and bad, and wonders what would have happened if they had done something differently. I watched you finish on Sunday, and your interview right afterwards as you held your adorable son in your arms, and I thought you were just so brave and amazing to show the emotional side of yourself. Thank you for being so real, and for being a runner that all of us can look up to. You are incredible!

  49. Trish on November 7, 2014 6:04 pm said:

    You are truly such an inspiration. No
    Regrets!!!!

  50. Jolene on November 7, 2014 6:06 pm said:

    What a wonderful recap of her race. She describes what every marathoner goes through whether they run a 5:30 marathon or a 2:28 marathon. The expectations of one’s self, the hopes, the personal let downs, the hard work and the raw emotions. Well said Kara Goucher! Of course you’re 2:28 material! Everybody knows that 😉

  51. April on November 7, 2014 6:06 pm said:

    Kara.. You are an amazingly humble runner! Your words are beautiful! Can’t wait to see your 2:28!

  52. Amazing way to summarize the race, Kara. In the end, the bad moments — the rough races — are the ones that help us become better than we could have ever imagined. You are so incredibly strong and I can’t wait to see you continue to rock it!

  53. I love this!

    This could have been me at my marathon debut 3 years ago. Well, except that I’m not an elite athlete and I would have been happy with a 4:30 finish. But same thing as you…I hit the wall, I fell apart, conditions sucked and I finished 5:26. I was so ashamed and trashed and it took me 3 years to get up the courage to run Chicago again. I ran it this year and finished 4:17:55. And I had fun and felt great after! What a difference! My training this time was different, the conditions were perfect, and I had fun!

    The best part about reading your race report is that I could relate. Thank you for sharing your story, for being human, for having feelings…I’ll never ever run like you (I’m 52) but I’m glad to know that the same things we middle of the packers feel happens to elites too.

    There will be another marathon. And you will crush it!

  54. Michelle Moore on November 7, 2014 6:27 pm said:

    Thank you for your ability to stand in your own hurt and speak the truth. I had the exact same experience down to the mile you faded and I’m over an hour slower. I thought I was ready but I wasn’t prepared to fight the fight God had in store that day. I believe I. You and as a Mom of 5 and being older … But no less eager in my way to be good.. I am so grateful for your voice. It inspired me
    That day and gave me hope for a running future AND I still can’t walk right!!! You will move forward Steiger and wiser your fans and fellow runners will be watching and loving you no matter what.
    Ps you are the only famous person I have ever written!!! Don’t give up.

  55. Rui on November 7, 2014 6:30 pm said:

    Beautifully written. The marathon is a beast, and we have all learned so much from your experience. Best wishes for your journey ahead!

  56. Lindsey Jo on November 7, 2014 6:35 pm said:

    Thank you so much Kara. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Although I have won all but one of my races this season (I run for Columbia College), I haven’t laid down a fast time, and I have been so focused on that. I wanted to break 17 in 5K on a tough cross course… I wanted to dip down in those mid to high 16’s, but I haven’t. My workouts show I can, I know I put in the work this summer to do it, but I haven’t. Thank you for reminding me that we don’t have to prove anything to anyone, and especially not to ourselves, because we know it’s inside us, and eventually it will show, just maybe in a different way or at a different time than we want.
    You are my favorite. My absolute favorite. Thank you for always being so open and relatable. You make it feel like you are a friend.
    You are a badass. Keep at it, we all believe in you. Like you said in your first Driven episode, you know you have more to give in your running career, and we all know it and see it too. Go get ’em!!!!

  57. Thank you for this, Kara. Beautiful and powerful and yes, raw. I just had a race where I ran an awful time but I raced through the pain and gutted it out, and for that I am proud. It was an embarrassing race because the effort didn’t show up on the time, but this is what makes us stronger. Thank you for being such a strong woman and role model by SHOWING your emotions, and that it is OKAY to cry and be upset. I think that it is healthy and makes it easier to move on.

  58. Ana medina on November 7, 2014 6:50 pm said:

    Kara, reading this helped me also get over my NYC marathon race as well. I know you put everything into this, and is desapointing. so did I! I have 2 young boys and a pretty demanding job, and made so many sacrifices like training at 4am. I trained to make dream real on Sunday: run NYCM which I have wanted since I was a child and BQ. Trained to run a 3:38, but the wind pushed me away from it, and I ran a 3:44. But regardless, I feel bless that I ran NYC. Despite I couldn’t pull a BQ, I think I can. I’m now planing my next race and see if I can pull it off. Thanks for inspiring me. I can’t wait for your next win!

  59. Meghan on November 7, 2014 6:51 pm said:

    Wow! This was from the heart. Thank you so much for sharing this. I almost cried when I read it! You are amazing and I can’t thank you enough for always inspiring and motivating myself and others in the running community! xo

  60. Becky on November 7, 2014 6:52 pm said:

    I enjoy keeping up with your running career Kara. Great job in New York! You have a gift and I’m sure you’ll go far! Keep building up – I can’t wait to see what the future brings for you. 🙂

  61. Chelsea Luttrell on November 7, 2014 6:53 pm said:

    You go girl! 🙂

  62. Jessica Elliott on November 7, 2014 7:04 pm said:

    Very inspiring words — and exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thanks Kara!

  63. Arturo Gamez on November 7, 2014 7:07 pm said:

    Thanks Kara for sharing. You’re an inspiration and a role model for so many of us. Best wishes for you and your beautiful family. Take care and I’m looking forward to seeing you run again soon! 🙂

  64. Mitch on November 7, 2014 7:20 pm said:

    Kara, everyone knows how you race, train, and live. Only a fool would not understand that you can’t be “on” at every race. Without bad races there would be no such thing as good races. Also, it is important to not get so stuck on time and place – elite athlete or not. Stay after it.

    -Mitch

  65. Joe Bell on November 7, 2014 7:20 pm said:

    You continue to be an inspiration to me and millions of other fans. Thank for your honest and “raw” optimism in a sport where it so easy to be negative and dishonest. After having a similar experience in a recent marathon (that same windy weekend as NY), I found your report uplifting.

    Thanks, and cheers (QuaffON!) to you all the running moms and dads of the world! 🙂

  66. Lisa Ospitale on November 7, 2014 7:30 pm said:

    Kara, to me you did win the marathon. I admire you not only for the professional runner you are but also the amazing mother and wife you. I struggle daily with finding the me time I need in order to train properly for my little half marathons so what you do is amazing! You are strong and wearing your emotions on your sleeve only makes you stronger and only makes me admire you more. Your emotions show you care and what you do matters it isn’t only about the numbers it is more. I thank you for being you and it was an honor to see you pass at mile 26 and I screamed and yelled for you and like I said to me you did win. Good luck and I look forward to seeing you in the Olympics.
    Sincerely,
    Lisa

  67. John Loven on November 7, 2014 7:36 pm said:

    Such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

  68. i loved this post. I have always loved that you are not afraid to show emotion. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that is a weakness.

    I have followed your running career for years but my respect for you now lies more in your commitment to bring a great mother to your son.

    Good luck as you press forward.

  69. Eric benson on November 7, 2014 7:37 pm said:

    Kara,
    As athletes go you are really good, one of the best. As people go you give so much more than your job. For that I thank you. That is the reason I follow you. If it were just running, well I would read about you after races. But because you truly give of your self, I follow. I know it’s not in everyone’s nature to be so open, so thank goodness you are. You do so much good for us!
    Thank you.

  70. William Sullivan on November 7, 2014 7:42 pm said:

    It’s one race. You stated at the end of your commentary you said ” we don’t always get what we want”. Remember you have everything. An awesomely beautiful family, great friends, fans and sponsors that believe in you. And that happens simply because you are real, your emotions are raw, and transparent. That’s what makes everyone want to cheer you on. You have lots of cheerleaders.

  71. Bebe on November 7, 2014 7:50 pm said:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kara! You remain an inspiration, and I look forward to following your career 🙂

  72. Tom on November 7, 2014 8:00 pm said:

    Kara,
    Thanks for your thoughts. You have a true gift (5:40 mile pace!), and have nothing to prove to anyone. Don’t be hard on yourself!

    Tom

  73. Robert W. on November 7, 2014 8:03 pm said:

    Hi Kara,

    Thanks for sharing. It’s refreshing when we can see the context of how epic a marathon race can be, not by victory, but the struggle of the magnitude of the challenge. The differences of seconds per mile can mean whether you can even finish. While most elites can brush off a poor performance and even DNF gracefully, it means more to the rest of us that you actually finished.

    — Robert

  74. Andréa Severson on November 7, 2014 8:06 pm said:

    I completely admire your unmasked emotion and genuineness and competitive drive. And, sharing your stories as a professional athlete help all of us contextualize our training and our triumphs and also our disappointing race days. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  75. TJ on November 7, 2014 8:10 pm said:

    You are amazing. Part of what makes you so special is that you are willing to share your emotion, and your human-ness with us. Thank you for being an inspiration!

  76. Esther on November 7, 2014 8:22 pm said:

    Your honestly as a competitor is inspiring. There’s nothing more human than an Olympian saying yes it was hard and yes i hit the wall. Thank you for being you. As a lover and fan of the sport, it is only more encouraging to read about your experiences.

  77. Joe on November 7, 2014 8:22 pm said:

    From a mere mortal runner who has a marathon in the morning and would be satisfied with a 4:48 (and for whom 4:28, if I could pull it off, would be a PR) … keep your head up! I watched the race and saw your interview on TV. I think sometimes recreational runners like me look at elite athletes and think of you almost as robots, perfect in every way, doing things that we could never do. Seeing you there on TV, holding your son, with tears running down your face, brought home the realization that even though you are a professional, you’re still a human being with feelings … and you have good days and bad days just like the rest of us. (Of course I’d love to have one of your bad days as one of my great days!) The important thing is that you did the best you could under the conditions that you had to run in, and most of all, you did not give up. You hung in there and finished the race despite the pain and fatigue, and that’s all any of us can do. The good news is that there is always another race, and I am sure you will do better next time. BTW don’t feel bad about being passed by Deena … she was seriously getting after it, and congrats to her on a great race!

  78. Jeanne Mogauro on November 7, 2014 8:23 pm said:

    What an amazing race report. Thank you so much for sharing. You are such an inspiration. 🙂

  79. Beth Theule on November 7, 2014 8:48 pm said:

    Kara- I cried right along with you. As I saw your face and tears I got them too. Not because of disappointment in how you placed, but because I know you were so disappointed. It was hard not to feel with you in that moment. But it was also so real, and so you. Which is why you’re our favorite. You are more than an amazingly talented runner. You are a great wife, mother, daughter, and you are real. Whoever criticized you for showing emotions is lame. It is what makes you so relatable to so many. Running as you know is deeply personal and emotional. So much time, prep, and care. Even more so for you. But I think we all came to respect and love you even more in that race. You showed a perseverance and heart by finishing, when most would have quit. In my eyes, you won!

    So I’m happy to see you haven’t lost heart. We’re all here to cheer you on, and know you’ll continue to do great things. We love you for who you are, and how you inspire so many. You have come so far from being injured, and we know you’ll get to where you want to be because you’re a fighter, and always inspire us to be fighters too!

    Beth

  80. Jill on November 7, 2014 8:54 pm said:

    Thanks for the insightful and detailed report. Marathon running is such a science. Congrats on running a hard race.

  81. Angel on November 7, 2014 8:54 pm said:

    Kara,
    I was always a Goucher fan. I’m excited to follow your running and hear how Ya’ll are doing. Cheers to all you do as a mom, a runner, a wife and as a Goucher….one of the original “Goucher running fan club”
    ANGEL

  82. You continue to be my running idol because of your real-ism and your true emotion. I agree you can’t be disappointed for giving it your all and running your heart out!

  83. Mark on November 7, 2014 9:16 pm said:

    Your effort inspires many people. Keep being “you”!

  84. Rayna Drago on November 7, 2014 9:21 pm said:

    Us “regular” runners would love to run just half as fast as you! You are amazing at what you do and though you may not win every race, you are a winner to so many of us. We know how hard running a marathon is and you exceed expectations time and time again. You are real and a true blessing to this sport. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future. The world needs athletes like you. Be proud of all that you have done…you are a true inspiration.

  85. Linda on November 7, 2014 9:21 pm said:

    Kara, you are my running idol and my heart broke for you when you crossed the finish line. I can’t wait to see what you do in the future! 🙂

  86. Laura on November 7, 2014 9:31 pm said:

    Ahh!! You are amazing!! You inspire us. Thank you. Cheering so hard for you!

  87. Julie Berland on November 7, 2014 10:03 pm said:

    Kara,
    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. You are an inspiration to many including myself and I value that you wear your heart on your sleeve and there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing emotion after a race.

    Just reading this made me recall my very emotional first marathon in 1996 when I was 28 years old. I was living in Boston and was fortunate to get a bib by raising money for a charity for the 100th Boston Marathon. I started out strong but hit the 1/2 way mark and everything went downhill emotionally and physically. The newton hills were so hard, I didn’t see a single friend, I’m sure I was under-fueled and over-tired (got up to get on the first bus at 5am for the noon race). By the end of the race at 4:25 minutes when I finally met up with my Boston Running Club friends I was in tears for a long time; it hurt so bad. That raw emotion can still bring tears to my eyes 18 years later just recalling the event. Even though I continued to run for fun and exercise, I didn’t attempt another marathon until last year. I ran the Colorado Marathon and qualified for Boston with a 3:50:18. It was such a different experience returning to Boston this year. My emotional maturity (it has a ton to do with being a mother; you just really don’t care what others think anymore!), my confidence in my abilities and what I get from running almost every day regardless of what I may or may not be training for, is at such a different place then my first marathon experience 18 years ago. I ended up running 4:06:57 this year and was pleased and grateful to have had the experience. Running truly gets better with age, in my experience. Our goals may change and we may slow down but the value and the time spent is priceless.

    Thanks again for sharing your insight and letting us all live vicariously through your amazing spirit and ability as a runner!

  88. Lisa on November 7, 2014 10:30 pm said:

    I ran NYC also but for me it was my first marathon. It was crazy windy!!! just want to tell u that u r such an inspiration! As far as I’m concerned u r superhuman! Lol! I’m amazed at what u r able to do even in a race that u r disappointed with. I am a 46 y/o mom of 4 and I love how u let your emotions be out there! It shows u r human like the rest if us but with with an incredible gift of grace and speed with running. I just became familiar with your story from the article in Women’s Running about the running retreat. Any plans for another one? I would LOVE to attend! I wish u all the best and look forward to hearing all about your future successes!!

  89. Megan Petersen on November 7, 2014 11:27 pm said:

    Thanks Kara! You’ve always and always will be an inspiration to me.
    Looking forward to see you fly.

    Megan (Clute) Petersen

  90. XC Coach on November 8, 2014 12:01 am said:

    Your effort in NYC was amazing to follow. I was so impressed that you put out the effort to stay with the leaders even though their pace may have been a little much. It was a gutsy run, and that’s what our sport is about.

  91. Mary on November 8, 2014 12:16 am said:

    Kara –
    Great recap.
    I had a supervisor who was convinced that showing your emotion – particularly tears – was weakness. What crap. For me, I know that I have a huge heart and I show it. Agreed – motherhood blesses us with perspective.

    Cheers from Oregon!
    Mary

  92. Richard Sadler on November 8, 2014 1:53 am said:

    Kara amazing post inspirational and right from the heart it was an amazingly difficult and hard day weather wise, we couldn’t even get the pictures in Epsom London great run and we’ll done…

  93. Melody on November 8, 2014 2:06 am said:

    Your integrity and heart far surpass a timed goal or PR. Your spirit gives us inspiration.
    Thank you for showing us the emotional side of running. ROCK ON KARA.

  94. Tara on November 8, 2014 3:29 am said:

    Love that old yoga saying, “On this path no effort is wasted.” So glad you are being so practical when dealing with the beastly marathon. You understand it even better now. Run on woman!

  95. Rob on November 8, 2014 3:39 am said:

    Dear Kara,
    I had to step out (only 305 runners did) because of a sudden knee injury and I was disappointed, but there was no doubt in doing that, because I did not know what was going on. It was the second time I attempted to run the NYC marathon, in 2012 I was also there… The knee is fine, just a runners-knee and ignoring the signals in the weeks before the race because I wanted it so bad. To read your story only confirms what I already decided; I have to travel from the Netherlands to the USA again for this race! Thank you for sharing and no doubt the 2:28 will happen.
    best,
    Rob

  96. Steph on November 8, 2014 4:05 am said:

    Thank you for this article. After an injury last year, and with it came a year of disappointing performances, I was looking forward to showing off what I had worked so hard for this time in the NYC marathon. For me, that was a time of 3:18. I really, really thought I could get there!!! As I read your article, I have to say – I felt the same way you did – I knew I started too fast, was maybe a little over confident about those insane winds, and could feel myself slipping by mile 18. I never gave up, but I certainly didn’t finish at 3:18. But with the marathon, it’s all about the journey – the things we find out about ourselves not only on the course, but during our training, right? I’m sure that you had many mini accomplishments along the way which lead you to that cold, windy, start line!! Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us runners.

  97. Love this post; it reminded me of why Im a fan : you run with heart Kara 🙂 much respect! The true fans will stand by you through it all x awaiting that 2:28 🙂 happy miles(:

  98. Patricia on November 8, 2014 4:51 am said:

    A marathon is not like any other race and runining a 2:28 or 5:00 marathon doesn’t define you. This is a stepping stone for you & you are an inspiration to athlete moms everywhere. Look up & don’t give up! You are so much more than a race. 🙂

  99. Calesse Cardosi on November 8, 2014 4:58 am said:

    Kara,

    Keep fighting! You inspire me and so many others, runners and non-runners alike. We continue to cheer you on!

  100. Giambattista Rota on November 8, 2014 5:03 am said:

    Congrats!!…I admire you so much!…I saw you as an amazing but human athlete!!…and I think a beautiful person!!….Best regars from Italy!!…I hope to meet you , maybe during NYCM in the future…….ps. I run many marathons, and this time was my first NYCM : simply incredible!!! A really dream come true!!…..And on Monday after marathon my prize was to buy a pair if Skechers …so to dream to run as You and Meb …:-)….

  101. Shan on November 8, 2014 5:26 am said:

    Not the time you wanted, but that was a crazy fast and I know you are going to have even better race in the near future. Lots to look forward to!

  102. Nancy on November 8, 2014 5:28 am said:

    Thank you for sharing your experience of ” hitting the wall”. After experiencing it in my first marathon, I’ve wondered if it ever happens to elite runners. The state of mind/body you describe is so close to my own experience. Facing that beast will always be one of the most powerful moments of my life. In the end, it did not deter me, it liberated me. I have run two more marathons and I’m nearing sixty! Both have been powerful and joyful and life changing.

  103. Erin on November 8, 2014 5:35 am said:

    You are such an inspiration!! We were cheering at mile 2 when you came off the bridge. I was so excited to see you- you’re such a rock star!! (I sound so corny but I can’t help it- you say you wear your heart on your sleeve- girl, we are kindred spirits in that sense). You inspire me daily, on the days I don’t feel like running, during the runs when I feel cruddy and want to give up, during the great runs when I feel like I’m flying. You are amazing. I’m sorry you were disappointed in your time but in my heart you are the true winner.

  104. Amy on November 8, 2014 5:47 am said:

    Kara, you have the support of so many, and you are an inspiration, no matter what your finishing time in NY this fall. As a mother of two children and a runner myself, you’ve given me a strong, female, parent, runner role model to look to, admire, learn from, and feel inspired by as I balance the duties of parenting, work, and life while fitting in runs and training. Thank you for your openness and know this, we are all proud of you–tremendously so.

    -Amy

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  106. DEEDEE on November 8, 2014 5:55 am said:

    I for one appreciate and respect your raw emotion. You bring hope to all runners because of your accessible real ness. You are my favorite pro runner and you will be on a podium soon. You are a lion, or should I say Mama Bear. Thanks for sharing. We love you.

  107. Ray Krause on November 8, 2014 6:01 am said:

    Thank you for describing what I felt running my first ever NYC. I clock 9 min miles but 11:32 pace required every fiber of my body to just finish. I trained properly and did all the tips and tricks I knew but nothing helped in the second half. Yes, I had excuses like skin cancer surgery 18 days before the race. But I finished which is something I doubted from mile 10 onward. NYC is special and now I can forever say I’m a New York Marathoner. Take care and God bless!

  108. Veronica on November 8, 2014 6:05 am said:

    Kara, I had two races like that this year, where conditions did not allow me to show off the times my training showed I should have been able to race. Like you, I do long distance so couldn’t get back out there right away to try again. I feel your frustration – keep the faith and know that your day will come. Mine finally did last month and yours will too. *hugs*

  109. Suzanne on November 8, 2014 6:23 am said:

    You are truly amazing Kara. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. You continue to inspire this 63 yr old runner.
    Your honesty, emotion, dedication to training and doing your best and love for your family are so apparent and what it’s all about at the end of the day.
    Go Kara! Here’s to many more races, finish lines, PR’s and lessons learned along the way.

  110. Larry Stall on November 8, 2014 6:25 am said:

    Great article, Kara! It was a tough day and you gave it your all like you always do. I love to watch you race. I’m sure the future of your running and your life is bright. You go!!

  111. Kara, you don’t have to prove anything to us! We love you and cheer for you! We are on your side! 🙂 I too wear my emotions on my sleeve. I think it is a good thing that we can express how we feel. 🙂

  112. Jessica on November 8, 2014 7:08 am said:

    thank you for sharing this. I am a mom of three who just started running about six months ago, and you have no idea what it means to read that even world class runners struggle on certain days. I’ll likely never be a 5:40 miler (I’m aiming for under 10!), but I’ll remember this post next time the weather is crappy and that little voice is telling me to just stay inside and eat popcorn. Congratulations on making it through.

  113. Eugenie on November 8, 2014 7:11 am said:

    Kara, I am a huge fan and was thrilled to watch you run up First Avenue on Sunday. You are fast, you are strong, and you are truly an inspiration to all of us. As Tom said, don’t be so hard on yourself!

  114. Luke on November 8, 2014 7:20 am said:

    Kara, once again you exemplify all that is good in a person, mother,wife, friend, mentor, spokesperson, ambassador and athlete. I have no reservations in classifying you among the most inspiring athletes that I have ever seen. It is a small but awesome class of raw, classy, smart,leaders: Muhammad Ali; Roger Federer;Emma Coburn; Summer Sanders; Mark Sputz; Michael Johnson and, yes..Kara Goucher.
    Keep following your instinct and do not put limits on the influence and impact you can have on the world. Your reach is way beyond 26.2 miles. Keep well.

  115. Andy on November 8, 2014 7:22 am said:

    Your a winner . You gave it your best on that given day . Just being able to feel and share the emotions after the race with family and friends as you did , is what life is about ! I have ran 3 Bostons and I always feel a lot of emotion before and after the race, keeps me in check that I am human , LOL . Thanks for Sharing! , Andy . Happy running !

  116. Sheena Rancourt on November 8, 2014 7:23 am said:

    Kara, I got to see you run past me on Bedford and 12th street. It was the first time I have seen you run in person. It was amazing. My 6 year old daughter was with me all the way from Nebraska! The conditions were crazy, maybe it wasn’t your fastest run, but you are amazing! You inspire me. I have been reading your blogs since you were pregnant with Colt. You have shown me that moms need to make time for themselves and can also appear selfless for doing so. Running makes me a better mom and you have helped to show me and so many others how. And as a result, my daughter loves to run and exercise and be healthy. Your time was just a number, but just you being there meant a lot to so many like me!!! I cannot wait until I make it in the nyc marathon lottery and until I can see you run again.

  117. erin on November 8, 2014 7:25 am said:

    You’re a rock star in my book. The marathon is a tricky and unpredictable beast. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  118. Cindy Claviter Rourke on November 8, 2014 8:16 am said:

    Always our hometown hero, Kara!! You are amazingly strong, and it is such a pleasure to watch you run, starting way back in 7th grade! I was watching the marathon online, and even sneaking updates on my phone at church! You ran the best race you could on that day. The hard thing about your profession is you only get to showcase yourself every now and then. These races are only a quick snapshot into your daily training, dedication and commitment to running. (It’s like a state mandated test given to students—it doesn’t show the whole picture of that individual. It’s just a small slice of information on that particular day.) It’s the race results (and test scores) that the public sees. You are one amazing runner, wife, mom, friend and inspiration to so many!! 🙂

  119. Butch on November 8, 2014 8:21 am said:

    88.02% age grade in high winds? That will work in my books all day long. Good job!

  120. Rosy Hanssen on November 8, 2014 8:53 am said:

    You are truly the heart and soul of running and are amazing. The important people still and always will believe in you… hang in.

  121. Christine on November 8, 2014 8:55 am said:

    Kara, I ran NYC too (so far behind you), and the wind was just brutal. I can’t imagine what it was like for the elite women, running essentially alone for the entire distance.

    I know that you were not happy with your time, but try to remember everything that you did accomplish — you fought your way back from terrible injuries, you fought alone against that wind for miles and miles and miles, you put yourself out there, and you went for it. What’s that Wayne Gretsky quote — you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take? Not going for it, holding in your emotions, giving a rat’s ### what anyone has to say — those are things to regret. Striving for a goal, giving your very best effort — that is something to be proud of! Even if the result was not quite what you’d hoped for.

    People like you and Meb have a special gift — and it’s not just speed, though obviously you are an amazingly speedy runner. Your true gift is speed PLUS heart — heeart is what lets you come back against all odds, to stick your nose it when everyone thinks you are done. Believe in your heart just as much as you believe in your training and your splits. You will get there.

  122. hilary on November 8, 2014 8:56 am said:

    kara–

    You are an incredible inspiration to me and so many others. I’m glad you are holding your head up high because what you did out there was courageous. I love how real and down-to-earth you are–you’re so strong! You’re a great role model, so be proud of that and all of your many accomplishments.

  123. Kristin on November 8, 2014 9:08 am said:

    Kara
    Hurray for you!!! You continue to be my hero and inspiration, so count me among your gazillion fans!

    Thanks so much. I have taken almost a year off after last year’s NYC, being emotionally spiritually and physically trashed. It was wonderful to ‘hear’ your honesty and perspective. And get a reality check!

    At sixty, I refuse to acknowledge that I 1) am a decent runner and I do keep running! 2) Had a BQ, in my first marathon, but DNF at Boston because I insisted on running with a sinister infection, at age 57. 3). Need to get over myself a whole lot more quickly! and be grateful that I can try again if I choose to!!! Thank you for your transparency, commitment and inspiration! And for changing sponsors so you can be YOURSELF! It’s taken me all this time to get that! 🙂

  124. Bridget on November 8, 2014 9:45 am said:

    NEVER apologize for being strong enough to be vulnerable by showing your emotions. It’s taken me years to learn that same message. I felt the same way EXCEPT I am a mere mortal who ran a 5:05 marathon struggling every mile and a far cry from my PR of 4:30 but in a lot of ways I felt the same way. And I felt like I needed to go over all my reasons why I fell short instead of being able to be proud of what I DID ACTUALLY do which is run the damn NYC Marathon. Which was not stop and walk, a promise I kept to my 8 & 5 year old. And I got to see the faces of so many strangers and children that came out and to cheer for me and 50,000 others. So selfless. So amazing. I’m thankful now for all of it and not feeling embarrassed by my crappy time. Thankful. And I’m thankful for your words. You are a total bad ass. Hold that in you. Big things are still inside and ahead of you and you sharing your soul makes it more possible. Best to you and yours.

  125. Kelli on November 8, 2014 10:55 am said:

    Kara, you are such an inspiration to SO many women! You are strong, you are real. We know you could have hit that 2:28 if it weren’t for the dang wind. It is so refreshing to see someone be so open about their emotions in the spotlight. That is exactly how I would feel if I were you, so why not show it?? You are going to dominate the track season and your next marathon. Your hard work WILL be shown and realized. We all have faith in you!

  126. Linna on November 8, 2014 11:22 am said:

    This was such an incredibly moving and honest post. Thank you so much for being so courageous and showing such raw emotion with us. You are so inspiring and have such an admirable attitude. Though it was not necessarily the best race for you at NYCM, the fact is that you already know you can run 2:28. There will be another race where you will be able to show that to the world – and I can’t wait to watch and cheer you on for that 🙂 GO, Kara, GO!!!!!

  127. Sarah Ingle on November 8, 2014 12:03 pm said:

    Kara- you’re the bomb! Forget about it, another day another race. It will be there. #HeadUpWingsOut!!

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  129. Kara, one of the hardest things is to not live up to self-exspectations but if you know deep inside that youré a good runner, thats all that matters.

  130. Valerie Swartz on November 8, 2014 2:24 pm said:

    thank you so much for sharing that – I currently can not run d/t a lingering hamstring injury, but so appreciate what you did share b/c it applies not only to running but to life!

  131. Terry Cheng on November 8, 2014 3:52 pm said:

    Kara, thank for proving you are a human being. You are still Minnesota hero. Keep running.

  132. Lauren on November 8, 2014 4:42 pm said:

    Kara, thanks for showing us the realness in the struggle. It’s good to hear (although not your ideal day) that professional athletes struggle too. The marathon is no freaking joke! One day it could all click and another it just doesn’t for whatever reason. Congrats on a strong race!

  133. Dear Kara,
    I just want to say that you did a great job running the New York City Marathon you did your best and they will be a other Marathon you can do in 2015. Good luck to you in 2015 and you will run much better in your next Marathon next year!

    I wish you good luck in 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  134. Jeannie on November 8, 2014 8:59 pm said:

    You did an amazing job in the circumstances and I was so proud to watch you keep going!
    I have always wondered — what if there was no staggered elite women’s start? What if you started with the men? You would have a heck of a lot more people to key off of, block winds, work toward. Yes, there would be some traffic, but really, at a 2:30 or faster pace, not that much — especially if you started at the front (as the faster women in NYC do anyway). In my eyes, the benefits of running with people totally outweigh the TV coverage aspect of having the women start ahead. Would you ever consider starting with the pack, based on your recent experiences? Next time! 🙂

  135. Liz on November 9, 2014 6:27 am said:

    Thank you, Kara, for this wonderful message. You’re a genuine and lovely person. As I say in every post, twitter, etc., YOU ARE MY HERO!!

  136. Jessica LeBron on November 9, 2014 7:01 am said:

    Hi Kara! I will always root for you. Thank you for sharing your experience. We have met before pre baby Kara at a Nike event and you were so humble. “I have no quit in me!” Is my mantra and you didn’t quit. #momsalute #marathonmoms

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  138. You’re amazing, Kara. Not only as an athlete, but as a person who is willing to put herself out there and to be her authentic self. I wear my heart on my sleeve as well, and sometimes that means I hurt more deeply than others. I spent a big chunk of my life trying to change that but like you, I have come to recognize that that’s just who I am. Likewise, I’ve come to see that while I do feel great sadness (a long-term running injury has eked many, many tears out of me), I also experience great joy. I feel big. That’s me. And that makes life very rich.

    I also believe that vulnerability and openness is a sign of strength. Our bodies won’t always do what we want to do. We can’t stop aging or injuries or those awful “walls” during a race, but we can keep opening ourselves to others and to life with all its messiness, joy, fun, sadness, and challenges. Accepting our limitations, making ourselves vulnerable by admitting we were disappointed and we couldn’t do what we thought we could is a beautiful edifying thing.

    Just know that you have many, many fans who always see you as a strong woman and a winner. And as my husband has reminded me over and over as I have wondered if I’ll ever achieve the running goals I thought possible given my injury, my children could care less what my running pace is. They just want Mommy, fast or slow, or not running at all. My presence is enough for them. God bless you!

  139. Wendy on November 9, 2014 6:40 pm said:

    Thank you for showing that even elite athletes struggle sometime and fight to get to the finish line. You are such an inspiration!

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  141. Walter Burch on November 9, 2014 10:32 pm said:

    Hi Kara,
    My daughter and I were in perfect position to see you come into the final 200 yards to the line and we cheered for you with all our heart! As exhausted as you were, you turned to us and acknowledged us! I know this was so tough and so windy and your blog explains carefully your options and choices and it’s so inspiring to me that you have absolutely full confidence in where you are and what is in front of you for this season. You are such a exemplary pro athlete who shares so much of yourself with your supporters. Life is all about doing your best, not making excuses, and moving forward with faith and confidence no matter what — and that is what you are all about. Here’s a brief story I want to share with you: My wife, who had never run a marathon got into the NY Marathon by putting in her name in the lottery with myself and my daughters. They surprised me by doing this and I couldn’t believe my wife would want to attempt it, but she trained as best she could and put in a couple of 16 milers despite having plantar fascitis. When she was limping somewhat outside the Javits Center and I knew how windy it was going to be I worried that she would have a tough day. There was no way she could run it but wanted to run/walk or get across the line anyway she could. She is 60 years old and is a special needs assistant teacher. On Sunday, after we cheered you on…I took the subway from Central Park to Brooklyn and met my wife who was walking in the wind at mile 8. Her feet were hurting her badly but she kept going because she wanted to inspire her students (who had given her cards and well wishes in LA before we left). All the way from mile 8 on people greeted her and kept cheering for her. She said “I think I’m the last one” and people came out and supported her. Policeman helped her, a sanitation worker poured her water because the water stations were closed. People stopped and took pictures with her. I never imagined she could be the last person in a marathion and actually having a moving experience that she will never forget but I’m so grateful she got the opportunity! The bottom line Kara is that my daughter met my wife and I on the 59th Street bridge and, even though the course was open to traffic in Manhattan, she walked all 26.2 miles — walking through Manhattan, the Bronx, and back into Manhattan late in the evening! When we got into Central Park, her brother let the race organizers know that even though the timing strip had been removed ten minutes earlier — not to leave because she was almost finished and shortly after 9pm she made it and the roadrunners folks and the NYPD all shouted her name over and over to get her to the line in 10 hours and 10 minutes. She was full of tears as they draped the medal over her and told her, “this is the last medal!” I have run 17 marathons in my life but this was by far my most special marathon seeing my wife with sore feet and all get to experience the struggle (sometimes suffering) but incredible joy of giving her all. It was about 8 hours after you passed by us in the front row of the grandstand at Central Park! Here’s wishing you a rewarding season ahead and thanks for being such an honest and real inspiration to all of us!

  142. Donna Tremblay on November 9, 2014 10:49 pm said:

    Hi Kara, I ran the race also, (of course however, I am an amateur) I was hoping to PR at 4:10, which would have been a good time for me, but at mile 20 I slipped and fell flat on my face requiring stitches. I did finish, but lost an hour and a half as a result. As they say, anything can happen in the Marathon, that is the challenge of it! There is always next year. Hopefully you can look at it the same way.
    Remember that there are not many women in the world who can run like you do! I am your biggest fan and you did awesome as far as I am concerned!

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  144. Elaine on November 10, 2014 6:40 am said:

    Kara you are amazing and continue to be such an inspiration for me! I also ran NYC and was fit enough to run a 3:25 marathon, as proven by my 1/2 and 30k times, but I also underestimated the power of that wind and only hit 3:30. I can also relate to the mile 25 delirium…I don’t remember a whole lot from those last few miles. It was such a tough race this year. You fought hard though and so you should be proud of that! I can’t wait to see how great you do in your next marathon. 🙂

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  146. Janice on November 10, 2014 11:18 am said:

    You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story. You are truly inspirational!!

  147. Scott Martin on November 10, 2014 11:49 am said:

    You’re a true inspiration. Wear those heart-felt emotions on your sleeve, and use them to propel you to bigger and greater things. The celebrations and highs will always be greater than the lows!

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  149. Valerie Torres on November 10, 2014 12:22 pm said:

    I saw you at mile 17 and cheered my head off! It was the coolest thing ever to be in your presence. You’re a rockstar in my eyes. Always & forever!

  150. Jeana on November 11, 2014 8:35 am said:

    I ran NYC this year also. It was the first race I didn’t finish. I was heartbroken, devastated, crushed…there just aren’t words to adequately describe my disappointment with myself. I am not an elite runner. I’m just a 40 something mom who raised a lot of money for Autism Speaks in order to gain entry to the NYC Marathon. I did it for my daughter who has Down Syndrome and Autism. I felt like I failed her that day. I had written her name on my hat and people that it was my name. As they yelled “Go Savannah” I gained strength to keep going. I started to struggle at Mile 11 but kept going and at Mile 20, every muscle in both my legs locked up. Not only could I not run, but I couldn’t walk. I keep going over that moment and just wish I could have stood and finished that race, even if all I did was walk. Its’ over, I can’t change it, but your story helps me to see that I wasn’t alone in struggling in that wind. Sitting at the start until after 11 am, not getting enough salt, so many factors played into it. Right now I’m content to stick to half marathons. I don’t know that I ever want to run a marathon again. I have run and completed two so I know I can, NYC just broke me.

  151. Jen on November 11, 2014 2:01 pm said:

    Congratulations on a hard-fought race and comeback. Can’t wait to see what you pull off next time.

  152. Pingback: Running Against The Wind: My NYC Marathon Recap - KH Nutrition

  153. shaibal on December 12, 2014 6:43 pm said:

    Love this race report and read and re-read this many times over. You gave your best and to us you’re a winner

  154. Denise Smith on December 16, 2014 9:57 pm said:

    Kara, I met you at New Orleans RnR last year & you were so nice! Thanks for sharing your 2014 NYCM experience, I was there in the wind too (I thought it was windy last year-ha). I heard some runners get crazy before races. Until NYC I had never been one of those runners,the Saturday before the race I had a meltdown in the subway station on the way to the expo. Thank you for sharing that you are a real modern women who has good and bad days. It helps us back of the packers to find the best in ourselves,too.

  155. Leah Rife-Dupuy on January 28, 2015 8:58 am said:

    Thank you for being such an inspiration for all of us runners out here. I think every one of us has experienced something like that (not achieving a time that we know we can, or just being mentally hard on ourselves) and you are so positive about it all. You’re a fantastic role model and an amazing person. Go get that 2:28!

  156. susan sullenberger on January 30, 2015 10:02 pm said:

    I have a daughter in competitive gymnastics and it does not always prove to be the best day on meet day. I love the way you write, you put the work in, you know where you are at…on any given day you may or may not be able to share your progress with everyone. I tell my daughter you work hard all week, just do your best and it is enough. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. As a mom and a runner your experience is so valuable.

  157. Abigail on March 26, 2015 8:18 am said:

    You inspire me to keep pushing forward Kara…you inspire me that next year I’ll be in a better place physically and mentally than I am today. Going in for compartment syndrome surgery in 2 weeks, so I can get back to running.

  158. Williamzew on May 19, 2016 12:31 am said:

    I truly appreciate this forum post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more. Meridieth

  159. Emily on July 18, 2016 5:20 pm said:

    Kara – I saw you push through this race in 2014. I was supposed to be running that year too but I got injured the day before. Reading your post inspired me and I continue to re-visit it for inspiration. I finished NYC in 2015 and having to overcome disappointment made the race that much better. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

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