I ran in the NYC marathon this past Sunday as part of the Celiac Disease Foundation’s Team Gluten-Free and it was an incredible experience. It was a beautiful, windy and cool day in New York, and I felt a wide range of emotions as I ran through all 5 boroughs of the city. As I ran the 26.2 miles I was able to reflect on my life since my celiac diagnosis in 2010, all that I have learned since then, and all of the incredible people who I have met as a result of having celiac disease.
I dedicated the miles that I ran to those who I have encountered with celiac disease, as well as to my family and friends who have loved and supported me these last few years as I have navigated the gluten-free life. I was going to list all of you who I ran for and thought about during the race, but I fear that if I do this that I will inadvertently leave someone out, so please know that you were all in my heart as I ran, and that I am so grateful for your continued support, inspiration, and love.
I am especially thankful for my mom, Phyllis, my oldest daughter, Grace, and my niece, Dara, who accompanied me to NYC for the race, ate GF with me the entire weekend, and met me near the finish line to help me warm up!
Gluten-free “carb loading” was much easier to do in NYC than in other cities that I have traveled to for marathons and half-marathons. Friday afternoon we hit Risoterria on Bleecker St. for a late lunch/early dinner. If you haven’t been there, I promise that the breadsticks alone are a reason to try it out! I actually ran into two of my Team Gluten-Free teammates, Saundra and Toni, at Risoterria, which was a blessing, as we knew that it was going to be nearly impossible to meet up before or after the marathon due to the large number of runners (>50,000). We were able to get a quick photo together too (see below). Outside of this, I was really bad about remembering to take photos the rest of the weekend, so I apologize for the lack of photos.
We met my brother and sister-in-law, and their kids, for lunch on Saturday and ate at S’Mac in Midtown, gorging on really large portions of (GF) macaroni and cheese. We will definitely return here on future trips to NYC as the prices were good, the service was quick, and I had enough leftovers to eat after I ran the next day. Much thanks to Dana from Celiac Kiddo for the suggestion to eat here.
We dined at Bistango, an Italian restaurant in the Kimberly Hotel, the night before the race, and I continued my carb-loading with GF rigatoni, a caprese salad, lots of GF focaccia bread, and a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. This was by far one of the best meals that I have eaten since my celiac diagnosis in 2010 (and one that I should have taken a photo of). If you have celiac disease, and are going to be in NYC, please make reservations to eat at Bistango…I will come and meet you!
Our post-race dinner was at Nizza on 9th Ave. I felt 100% comfortable eating safely gluten-free at Nizza, based on reviews from other people with celiac disease, and we had a great time. Since the marathon was finished, I also had no qualms drinking a few Bard’s beers while at Nizza to celebrate. Bard’s is not available where I live in WI, so I always try to take advantage of having it when I am traveling, as it is one of my favorite GF beers.
This weekend was one of the first times since my diagnosis that I have been away from home and eaten all of my meals at restaurants without experiencing symptoms from gluten cross-contamination. Thank you NYC for having so many restaurants for those of us who need to be gluten free for medical reasons! It was truly “carb loading” heaven.
If you are interested in running on Team Gluten-Free next year, please check out the Celiac Disease Foundation’s website in spring 2015 for information on the application process. Thanks again to all who supported me through the process of training for the marathon, especially my husband, Tom, and 4 munchkins. I love you all so much!