NYC Marathon legend Tatyana McFadden back on the podium after a season of health concerns

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Tatyana McFadden had won every New York City Marathon since 2013, and she finished second on Sunday, despite struggles from blood clots that plagued her throughout the season.

NEW YORK -- For the first time since 2013, Tatyana McFadden did not win the New York City Marathon. She finished second to Manuela Schar, at 1:51:02. But after everything McFadden has been through this year, it could be considered a miracle that she is still competing -- and ending up on the podium.

In February, McFadden found out that she had blood clots in her legs -- a complication because of hindered blood circulation in the lower half of her body. She had to withdraw from the Tokyo Marathon that month. In March and April, new blood clots formed, and the old blood clots weren't resolving. She had three surgeries to try to fix the issue, but all three failed.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Manuela Schar (left) and Tatyana McFadden congratulate each other at the finish of Sunday's race.

"I missed three months of whole training, and that was really tough. And for a while, it was coming back, and medication wasn't working, and [my] blood levels were off. That was really frustrating to take that time off and to deal with this," McFadden, 28, said on Sunday.

She consulted new doctors in Boston, but the medication she was given still didn't have any effect. They tried regenerating her veins to bring her circulation back to normal, but that didn't seem to work either. After months of trying, they eventually found the right set of medications, and after intense therapy, she was able to start training again in the fall.

When she asked if she could compete in a marathon again, her doctor said, "Exercise is good. I don't know if you'd be up for a marathon, but if you want, you can."

McFadden raced the Chicago Marathon like nothing had ever happened. She won her seventh straight title on that course and her eighth overall. On Sunday, she explained that Chicago was a flat track, and she knew it would be a good course to transition back to marathon racing.

Even though she didn't win the New York City Marathon, she said she is satisfied that she could come out and do her best in New York.

"It was a great race. I love New York City," she said. "It's a great city, amazing support, and the NYC Marathon is amazing, and NYRR have become like family. I love coming back to this race every single year."

She has already pinpointed what she'd like to do next year.

"Manuela is really strong, so she hit it really hard on all the downhills. Something to work on for the next year: becoming a little bit faster downhill," McFadden said.

Next on McFadden's list: winning the 2018 Tokyo Marathon in February, the race she had to withdraw from earlier this year.

"Hopefully next season will be off to a really good start," she said with a smile.

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