— -- The first American woman to win the New York City Marathon in 40 years described her victory as a "pinch me" moment.
"I've been dreaming of a moment like this since I was a little girl," Flanagan said. "All athletes have these dreams and these visions and it's what motivates us to get out the door to train hard. I visualized a moment like this and so I was trying to soak it up, but I was also running a little terrified that I was going to get caught.
"It really is a dream sensation."
This is Flanagan's second New York City Marathon, and she finished the course with a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds.
Flanagan's win comes just days after New York City was rocked with a terror attack that left eight people dead when a truck plowed into pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path in downtown Manhattan. The New York Police Department beefed up its security for Sunday's race in the aftermath of the deadly attack.
Flanagan, who also competed in the Boston Marathon in 2013 when two bombs detonated near the finish line, said New Yorkers were on her mind during this weekend's race.
"[I thought], 'I really want to bring a smile to New Yorkers' faces today' and I'm so happy that I could," she said.
Flanagan and her husband Steven Edwards are the foster parents of two teenage daughters, who she brought into her home during their senior year of high school, according to ABC News-owned station WABC.
"My husband and I became foster parents within the last year," Flanagan told WABC. "I love kids, and because my job has not allowed me to have kids yet, I want to be around them as much as I can."
Flanagan also told WABC that she runs because she thinks it makes her a "better person."
"When I go for a run, I come back a better person," she said, adding that this weekend's race was her 10th marathon.
In addition to running, Flanagan is also the co-author of The New York Times-bestselling cookbook, "Run Fast Eat Slow."
Her new book, "Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow." will be released next August, she said.