My NYC Marathon Journey to the Finish Line

Thank YOU, Thank YOU, Thank YOU, Thank YOU. Thank you for supporting me and helping me cross the finish line on Sunday at the NYC Marathon. The journey to the finish line was beyond emotional. I cried multiple times. I cried out of pain, and I cried from listening to the inspirational reasons of why people were running.

When I sat on the ferry, I happened to start talking to one of the runners. She was sitting by herself and looked nervous. In conversation I learned that this was her first marathon, and when I asked her why she was running. She looked down at her phone and when she looked up, she had tears in her eyes. She said, “I have to prove this to myself.” I then also started crying and told her she got this. I knew that she was doing this marathon for herself, but I knew that she was also doing it to prove to people that didn’t believe in her that she could do it.

On our way to the course I happened to be sitting next to a 70-year-old woman on the bus who had run over 100 marathons. She was talking to me about how taking part in marathons has helped her to really focus on herself. I was amazed by her strength and her ability to be able to have all these marathons under her belt. She wasn’t stopping any time soon- I’m telling you, people are utterly amazing! We got to the course like an hour before it was time for us to start. I used that time to stretch, use the bathroom, and just to focus on the journey ahead. The first 10-14 miles I ran smoothly. The crowd was cheering us on and so many people kept pushing us. They believed in us SO much. It was around miles 14-16 that I started to feel the excruciating pain in my left foot. I was familiar with this pain as it had been the same one, I experienced last year during the NYC Marathon. From that point onward, I used the medical stations as much as possible. A quick solution to any sort of pain during the marathon is BioFreeze. I would stop at a medical station every couple of miles and ask them to spray BioFreeze on my left foot. That would temporarily numb the pain until I made it to the next mile. As I was dealing with the pain in my left foot, my right foot also started to hurt, there was cramp on the back of my right knee and my left knee started to feel weird. In summary, I was in immense pain.

At around mile 18, I stopped next to one of the volunteers that was distributing water to the runners. I leaned on my knees, looked at the pavement and started crying. I looked up at the lady and said, “I am sorry to put this on you, but I’ve got to let this out.” For some reason, just saying that helped me. I also told her “I think the reason I am crying is because I know I’m in excruciating pain, but I also know I will not stop until I make it to the finish line.” She smiled at me and said, “You got this.” After that I kept pushing forward. Along the way, there were SO many people that looked at me and said, “You got this girl!”

After mile 18, I cried every couple of miles just to let out the emotions I was going through. Wow even as I type this my eyes get teary. Each mile was a struggle after that. I kept stopping at medical stations for them to spray on BioFreeze and to massage my knees, feet, and any cramps.

At mile 22 I bumped into this woman who I could tell was also in a lot of pain. She told me her lower back was hurting but she was going to make it to the finish line. I was so proud of her and encouraged her to keep pushing forward. In conversation I could tell that her eyes were getting teary. She then told me, she was running for her brother. She had a picture of him printed on the back of her shirt. He had passed away two years ago, and she refused to accept that he was gone. She cried even harder and I told her that she was super inspirational. I knew she was in pain physically, but also, she was dealing with a lot of emotional pain. My feet were now hurting a lot , so I told her to keep going towards the finish line. We hugged and she, like me kept pushing along.

The last couple of miles seemed like they would never end. My method was to look down at my feet and think of this journey as being one step at a time (thank you Ellen). I vividly remember being 200 meters from the finish line, looking at it and then crying again. It was a combination of happiness and physical pain. Once I crossed the finish line, I looked for assistance to help me get to the medical tent.

Once they iced my leg I left to go home. So many people on my way home acknowledged me for running and stared at my medal. I was proud of myself for finishing yes, but also for trying to motivate and push people along the way despite the pain I was experiencing. When I finally got home and saw my mother and father, I broke down into tears and hugged them. I will never forget this experience, it was an emotional roller coaster. I am so grateful for it.

One of the reasons why I also ran was to support the programs implemented by Girl Up globally. So many people need help, and for this reason I am still committed to reaching my fundraising goal of $3,000. Please donate and or share with your network. Here is the link to donate: https://fundraise.unfoundation.org/fundraiser/2314062

Thank YOU again, I would not have made the finish line without your support.

Best,

Manisha

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