Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Marathon Diaries, Part 40: After the Finish Line

This post will recap from the moment after I got my medal until I went to sleep that night. But first I'm including a few photos from during the marathon that other people snapped of me. 

As you all know, Amy was the first person I got to see after I crossed the finish line. I already posted the photos of us together but there is another one that I think is pretty great. A friend of hers snapped this one too. It's the moment she gave the medal to her friend Tuhina, and later, to me. (check out Amy's great recap of the NYC Marathon, written from the perspective of a medal giver, social media reporter *and* future runner of the 2014 NYC Marathon!)

I'm so glad that moment was captured. I have a hard time looking at it without crying. It's really powerful to me and brings me right back to that place and time.


Then there's this photo, from just past Mile 12, which is great because not only can you see me running on Manhattan Ave (in my neighorhood of Greenpoint!) but in this photo of me,

photo by Matthew Schenning

I was taking *this* photo of them -


haha! How funny is that? I love it!


Amanda also got a shot of me when I pulled over to greet her & Robbie (after I saw that amazing sign she made for me)



Ok now picking up where I left off in the final installment....

Directly after getting my medal and heat sheet, and saying goodbye to Amy, I began my long walk out of the park. Out of nowhere I heard my name. It was Jessica, one of the volunteers with NYRR. She's not a runner, but her job revolves around assisting runners. If you've ever run in an NYRR event in Central Park that passes the 72nd St transverse on the West side (and I think all of them do), Jessica is always there - holding back the crowds of pedestrians from walking haphazardly into runners on the course. That intersection is rough, so this is no easy feat, I assure you! This is a photo of us in May -

with Jessica, my favorite NYRR person
me with Jessica from NYRR

She's so good to me personally and also great at her job while also being kind, supportive and sweet. She even stayed at work 1/2 hour late for me one time over the summer because I was on my way to pick up my bib and my bike got a flat. Anyway, it was her that I bumped into moments after finishing. And I was so thrilled to tell her "Jessica, I did it!!!!" I know she was proud too. :)

Then I had to find the exit out of the park. Keep in mind, I was absolutely freezing and had been for about 2 hours. I was also in a lot of pain. Walking wasn't even easy. I kept asking every 10 feet "Where are the ponchos?!" "Where is the exit?!" I never got a direct answer, I just had to keep walking. I called my Dad to tell him I finished and was on my way out of the park and should be there soon.

Eventually we were allowed to exit the park at 77th St and Central Park West. But then we had to walk south to 72nd to get our ponchos (I had just walked north from 72nd inside the park. I was not amused) Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I saw the volunteers handing out the ponchos on 72nd St. I was so happy to get that fleece lined poncho, you have no idea.

Then I crossed 72nd St, heading west, where I told my Dad to meet me. At the corner a cute man told me he liked my outfit, or my hair, and I thanked him. Then I looked at his face and said "I know you - why are you so familiar?" A friend with him said "That's Jackson from the Biggest Loser!" Oh my god, I loved watching him on BL! I was always a big fan of Jackson! Naturally I had to take a photo with him (after giving him an enormous hug)

with Jackson from the Biggest Loser

He congratulated me and then I kept on walking west, anxious to get in my Dad's car because I was so cold and sore.

Just a few steps later, who should I see? You guessed it - that team of 3 spectators that I had already seen 5 or 6 times along the course! They somehow spotted me (again, despite being hidden under my poncho!) and I'm pretty sure I hugged one of them. I thanked them and told them how they were truly one of the highlights of my day and it was so much fun to see them so many times. I couldn't believe I kept seeing them (in every borough except Staten Island!), or that their friend must have been running at the same pace as me (poor thing). It was such a nice way to end the night, being able to see them   and talk to them. (Even more amusing - one of them found my blog and left a comment on the first installment, I was glad they decided to google "bitch cakes" and find me!)

I walked the long block to Columbus Ave and waited for that light to turn green. I knew I was less than a block away from my Dad at this point and so close to relief. I crossed the street, looked up and there he was on the corner! I'm not sure I've ever been more happy to see him in my life. I actually said "Oh thank god it's you!" and gave him a big hug. He had his arm around me as we walked down the street to his car. Getting into the car was no easy task either. I couldn't really bend my legs. I just sort of sat my ass on the seat with my legs out stretched straight in front of me, scooted myself in by backing up and slowly and eventually bringing my legs in with me. He laughed at me. I don't blame him.

I was thankful to be in a car going home and not biking home. On the one hand biking would have been a great way to relieve the soreness in my legs but on the other hand I hate biking in the cold or the dark and it was both of those things. Not to mention my feet were killing me.

As we drove home, my Dad asked me what it was like. I didn't even know where to begin. I was all over the place with my story. I remember telling about the woman in the wheelchair at Mile 24, the waste of time in the marathon village for that TV nonsense, Amanda's sign, how many people came out to cheer for me, William! (who my Dad is dying to meet), getting the medal from Amy at the finish line  I just rambled and rambled the whole ride home, telling him what I still tell people "It hasn't hit me yet. I can't believe it happened!"

I made it home and when I walked into my hallway, my neighbors (the talented ones from Two Arms that cheered for me on Manhattan Ave) had left this on my door. How sweet is that?

I came home to this beautiful sign on my door
thanks Mike & Karen!

I snapped a quick photo in my glamorous fleece lined poncho -

I never thought I'd make it home!

I peeled off my socks, afraid to see what my feet looked like since they hurt so much. My pinky toes were purple and the left one had a blood blister. Great.

Then I got in a much needed hot shower. I showered but didn't touch my hair or make up, which I thought was funny because it actually looked ok. I had been up since 3am. It was now 7pm. I survived cold, wind, a little rain, crying, eating a bagel & banana and drinking a lot of fluids. Yet my make up was still pretty decent looking. I found this fact so amusing that I recorded this video -

Then I headed to the bar, which was 3 *long* blocks away. I can't even tell you how slowly I was walking. I considered taking a cab. But I knew the walk would help, even though it was tough. Suddenly curbs were like walls though. And stairs?! Forget about it! I walked down my stoop stairs backwards, gripping the banister for dear life. But I made it there. I was at Bar Matchless!

Amanda was already there with Robbie. She said "I have something for you!" and handed me this -


That, dear blog readers, is a "bouquet of asparagus". OMG I love her so much! She knew my very bad Sarge would likely destroy the flowers in no time and asparagus was something I could eat. What a great & hilarious idea, right? She also brought the signs that she made for me - the ones that were hanging on her fire escape a few hours earlier. I can't wait to hang them up!

Me & Panda! So happy!!!
A handful of other friends came out to congratulate me too!

My friends Heidi (who was out cheering) & Izzi
Friends Elaine (who was also out cheering!) and Jeff
Friends Becky & Al

and of course friend Crazy Runner Mary Harvey & John - both of whom were in Long Island City cheering

Becky, Me & my medal

aw Erich came out <3
and Erich came out too
It was wonderful to see my friends, answer their questions and just be able to talk about the marathon and everything I experienced and felt that day. But let's not forget, I was also here for the beer and fries :)

it's been 6 weeks since I had fries!
Brooklyner Weisse & fries!

The funny thing is I'm usually not hungry after a long run. I could only eat half those fries! But I did enjoy 3 beers.

And that was it for Sunday night. I slept much better than I expected. I usually have very fitful sleep after a long run but I think the fact that I walked so much actually helped in this case.


I was basically completely useless. I never left my apartment or even got dressed for that matter. Walking from my bedroom to my bathroom often felt like an insurmountable task and actually getting into any sort of squat position to sit, or stand up from a seated position was basically the most challenging thing I've ever done in my life. My feet were also still pretty sore - though mostly just my left pinky toe. I had the day off work and was happy to not have to do anything.

It took me about 4 hours to read all your comments just on Facebook. Four hours. I'm not kidding. I must have had over 1000 comments there alone. And when a friend of mine from Allure saw the video of me after the marathon, with my nearly perfect makeup, she asked me what products I use and wrote this piece about me.

The rest of Monday was just spent uploading photos, catching up on social media and working on the first blog post.

Oh yeah, and I popped that stupid blood blister.


I showered, got dressed and ventured out of the house for the first time since Sunday night.

I'm sore but I'm wearing heels, damnit!

I was still sore in my quads, still had trouble walking down the stairs but sitting/standing was slightly more manageable. My big plans that day were to retrieve my bike from Long Island City (she'd been there over 48 hours!), go to Road Runners to get my medal engraved and vote. Those don't seem like huge tasks, but considering the shape I was in, they were.

I wore my medal on the bus/subway/walking around Manhattan and so many people congratulated me and asked about the marathon. Of course I wanted to talk about it so it was nice to be able to share my experience.

I was so excited to get my medal engraved, especially because I thought I had missed my chance by not going on Monday. Thankfully they did it Tuesday also. As luck would have it, I bumped into and met Amy's friend Tuhina - the woman in the photo with me at the top of this post, also crying while she gets her medal from Amy. We waited in line together and talked about the marathon - a first for each of us. She is absolutely stunning -

Tuhina & Me
I got my medal engraved!
My name & time on the back of my medal

I was back to work. My quads were still sore, walking down stairs was still very challenging but I could sit/stand without issue. And my pinky toe still hurt.

Back to work!

My co-workers were so excited to see me and hear my story. And I wore my medal all day.

I went to my spin class (which felt GREAT on my quads) and my class gave me a dozen pink roses! How thoughtful!

thank you Bronxville Fitness Center!


My quads are about 90% back to normal and I can walk down the stairs with no issue whatsoever! But that damn pinky toe is still killing me. I have an appointment at the podiatrist in the morning.

I'm exhausted and finally going to bed. Good night everyone :)


  1. I have loved reading your recaps. I can't believe you went out that night and didn't just collapse into bed! But you certainly earned those beers.

  2. Hi Sheryl- this is the first time I have ever commented but have followed your blog for many years. I thought about you a lot on Sunday and took into account time difference and kept looking for updates on twitter/flikr. Congratulations truly inspiring woman, I may even run my own marathon one day ;)

  3. Congrats again Sheryl! I love how you are able to cap everything so vividly! Still can't believe I missed you at mile 16.

    1. I'm sorry too! I had a list of about 15 people to look out for. I found all of them except you and one other friend.

  4. So fun to read these marathon posts -- congratulations! It really all looks like the experience of a lifetime!


  6. I can't believe you went out AFTER the marathon!! Amazing. I would have gone home showered and not moved for days LOL Congrats again!!!

  7. Awesome. Congrats Sheryl!

  8. Sheryl, I would love to know about your post-run stretching "regime" some time!

  9. This is so great, Sheryl! I love that you ran into Tuhina again and were able to bond over the first marathon experience for each of you. And I'm so geeked that you got to meet Jackson. What a sweet cutie he is.

    You look radiant in all of these pics. I especially like the one of you with your asparagus bouquet. Radiant!!

    Thanks for sharing the Allure article with us. You're an icon, girlfriend! <3

  10. I just want you to keep blogging! I hated it when you stopped for so long!!! Glad you are doing so well post NYC!

  11. well done sheryl.
    long time reader (since 2009. and i've been passionately following your marathon journey the past two years), and i never comment. but this surely deserves it.

    great job, lady. you are beautiful inside and out. and you have accomplished something incredible. i'm so proud to "know" you. great job! you are truly the definition of a running rock star!

  12. Hello Sheryl,
    Just wanted to say congrats for taking part in the NYCM. That is awesome and I remember many years ago you saying you wished to do that. Good on ya Youre my inspiration!
    Cheers, Angharad

  13. Listening to your video clip, you really seem like a truly sweet person.(I get that from your writing as well and how appreciative you are of your supporters!) I am so happy for any success you have in your life. I would totally read your book if you ever write one! What an inspiration! HUGS!

  14. hey^^ love your style!
    when i tried to lose weight i learned a lot that surprised me. actually it´s quite easy when you avoid addictive foods and of course i felt the need to write about it ;) would mean a lot when you would read it, you won´t be disappointed! :D thanks!

  15. Those pictures of Amy handing out medals to you and her other friend....unstoppable TEARS! Makes me want to volunteer to hand out medals at Grandma's Marathon or the Twin Cities Marathon!!

  16. Loved every word of you marathon posts. I felt like I was right there with you while I was reading every post. Congratulations once again. I hope I run into you soon to give you a BIG HUG in person. I'm so happy for you because I know what this means to you. I was tracking you on the app (I was at a family party so bummed I couldn't go cheer) and sending you positive thoughts throughout the day. Xoxoxo

  17. Great job, Sheryl, and you have inspired me to try WW once again! Thanks!

  18. Well done! How you managed to go out that night is beyond me, but hey, I suppose your adrenalin was still pumping so why not?! Really though, congrats.


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