November 5, 2017 was an ordinary, rainy day for most New York City residents, but for Upper East Side mom Jessalyn Keywork, 32, it would turn out to be one of the most rewarding days of her life: she would be participating in the New York City Marathon.

“The day of the marathon was pretty much a blur,” Keywork explained. A majority of her morning consisted of rushing to the starting line. The busy subways and scarce about of cabs made transportation to the race very stressful. Keywork expresses how thankful she was, though, for the hectic morning that she had. “I didn't have time to get nervous or think about if my body hurt, or if I had to use the restroom again.”

This was the race’s 47th running, greeting 50,766 runners at the finish line. Although this number fell short of the record 51,394 finishers in 2016, 98 percent of those who started the race this year, finished.

While Keywork has 6 half-marathons (13.1 miles) and a handful of 5K’s (3.1 miles) under her belt, this was her first full marathon (26.2 miles). She explains what drove her to qualify for the marathon.

“I've been watching the NYC marathon for about 10 years now and I’ve gotten the same feeling every time I’ve watched: emotional.” Keywork goes on to express her love for the event, and how watching individuals from all different walks of life accomplish such a large goal gave her reason to give it a try.

While completing a full marathon is a feat within itself, Keywork did it with a brand new member of her team; her son Brayden was born just last August. She describes how having her first child also motivated her to run the marathon. Since she hadn’t checked a race this large off of her bucket list prior to having a child, she figured now was the perfect time, while she was still young and healthy.

“Training was not easy [with a small child],” says Keywork. “I was very lucky, though. Brayden was a trooper and went on many of my med-week runs with me. He would nap a majority of the time.”

Alongside Brayden, Jessalyn had a large support system that helped her train and prepare for the marathon. Her husband, Rob, assisted her when she needed it most. “Our weekends turned into Rob taking care of Brayden while I’d go on my three-hour runs.”

Keywork also explains how her husband was a long-distance runner in high school, which gave him the ability to help Jessalyn stay on track with her training and her diet.

“The last month or so of training I did a meal prep system that was sent to me based on what type of activity I was doing,” says Keywork. “Rob helped with making sure I stuck to the proper schedule so my body could get what it needed, but never too much.”

Upon completing the marathon, Keywork says she felt amazing. “I felt pretty great after. Although I was mentally and physically exhausted, it was exactly what I trained for, and I couldn’t have had a better experience.”

Jessalyn completed the marathon with a time of 3 hours and 53 minutes, which was in the top bracket for her age group. To learn more about the history and statistics of the New York City Marathon, click here.