Wednesday, April 20, 2011

50 States Challenge... Complete! Boston Finish!!!

Monday I ran the Boston Marathon and completed my quest to run 50 marathons in 50 states!!! It took about 2 years and 3 months to hit all the states (plus a few extra just for fun). The past 2 years have revolved so much around running, planning, traveling, etc just to get me to the finish of the Boston Marathon. I'm so excited to have finally gotten there. 


How did it go? I ran a 3:34. Not great but I was having some serious stomach issues.... the 10am start really throws your body off when you're used to 6 and 7am. Eating the day and night before as well as the morning need to be adjusted and I wasn't exactly sure how to make that adjustment. I heard from a lot of people that planning and eating is a common problem for Boston with such a late start. Regardless of the time it was an awesome experience. I could have run a 5 or 6 hour race and still have been unbelievably happy. Finishing Boston and finishing your 50th is such an awesome experience... having them combined was amazing!!! Esp when you have this waiting at the finish...


My family, friends, maniacs, and bloggy buddies have been SO supportive over the past 2 years. I'm incredibly grateful to have them and was so happy to have so many at the finish line. It doesn't end there.... my friends Lauren and Kyle were jumping the course and even went and bought me GU. I had a ton of other friends all along the course that managed to find me with those crazy head boppers I was wearing. Thank you all so much for coming out... it wouldn't have been the same without you!


Marathon Morning!
I woke up Sunday to MB reading (and crying over) an article about my marathoning from a local paper... this was going to be a long day. My parents took me to the buses, got some dunkin donut bagels and coffee, and they sent me on my way. MB said it was like sending me to my first day of kindergarten. 


I was nervous all the way out to Hopkinton and when I finally got there I was ready and raring... and had 3 hours to wait. lol. Luckily for me, I found Mel and Bethany and Ryan to keep me distracted from the chilly morning and the longest wait ever for a marathon start. 

Entertaining ourselves before Boston involved Mel and I finding water "sent from god" and us convincing Bethany and Ryan to reenact their proposal from a prior Boston Marathon. Awwwwww

The Race
Walking to the start of wave 2 was the most exciting few minutes of the race. I've never felt so much energy at the start of the race. The excitement was tangible in the air. This was the first time I took my sweats off and revealed my "50 States" outfit so a LOT of questions were asked and other runners were nice enough to congratulate me. The start of the race is almost completely downhill. That matched with the speed of those around you, it's hard not to get caught up going out fast. Starting from Hopkinton the celebration is in FULL swing with "adult beverages" already in the hands of the spectators.


It got more exciting with each new neighborhood we ran through. My favorite spot was Boston College. The students were crazy and SO excited for every runner. The all changed "USA" when I went by which was pretty cool. I was happen to discover I had a lot of friends along the way that I didn't even expect. They found me easily with my head boppers. The number of spectators along the way was amazing. From the start I had dropped my bag of GU but the spectators had enough oranges and twizzlers along the way to feed a 3rd world country for a year. 


Finishing the Boston Marathon
Warning: The following content is rated 'S' for sappy and 'D' for dramatic (I was in a creative writing mood). You've been warned...
The feeling of finishing your first Boston marathon is amazing. The feeling of finishing your 50th state marathon is incredible. Combine those?... it’s practically indescribable. But I’ll try just the same…

I was at the end of the 26th mile when I looked up and saw "Herford Street" and I smiled knowing just how close I was. We approached the only other turn at Boston, Boylston Street, and I could feel the weight of all the training, marathons, traveling, etc. falling on me already. I stopped and walked for a few paces to collect myself (I was NOT going to cry down the last stretch of Boston). Turning onto Herford and Boylston has to be the most intense feeling I’ve ever had. The noise is deafening. Perfectly good strangers are SCREAMING your name like you’re Kara Goucher. The sites and sounds are a sensory overload and looking up to see the Finish Line looming .2 miles away is almost startling.

Turning onto Boylston my mind exploded with blurred thoughts of every marathon, every state, every training run, injuries that were pushed through, and hard workouts that were completed. I heard my name,  glanced to the left and saw the Red Head and all the encouragement and friendships I’ve gained from my bloggy buddies flooded through my mind. I saw a maniac up ahead and almost lost it again thinking of the incredibly supportive group I’ve become part of. It was like my “marathon life” was flashing before my eyes. And let me tell you… 50 states+ worth of marathons and all that encompasses is a LOT of thoughts to cover in 2 tenths of a mile!

Then… silence. I crossed the finish line and in the 3 or 4 steps it took me to bounce out of my stride I swear it was like static silence in my head and all around me with the quite thought of “I did it.”  It may as well have been a training run. Silence around me and looking down all I could see were my own feet and the road. I heard MB’s voice yelling my name and it broke the silence…

(In a recent interview I was asked what I like best about running… why I chose this sport. I told the reporter that I love the fact that in marathon running you control your destiny. Once that gun goes off there are no coaches and no teammates to rely on if it’s a bad day. Only you can control how you run and what the end result is.

…But we all know that’s not completely true. If you’re lucky before you even tie your shoes to walk to the start line you’ll have gotten already gotten encouragement from your friends in the form of a cookie basket, champagne, and a new pink sweatband. You’ll have been encouraged for weeks (sometimes months and years) by family and supported to go after any goal you have. You’ll have had amazing coaches and running buddies that have been patient through injuries and temper tantrums, and excited when your goals are met. When you run a marathon it’s up to you to move one foot in front of the other but I know I would never have finished a goal this big without my family and friends.)


Finishing the Boston Marathon was exactly like my general running career. I came to the finish by myself in silence but when I looked up there was all my family and friends behind me, supporting me and cheering me on. My whole family was there (parents, brother, grandparents, aunts uncles, cousins), my best friend was there, my FIRST running coach was there, and many more friends. I started crying before I could make the 10 feet it took to walk from the finish line to them. My mom hugged me til I stopped and everybody took (oh so attractive) pictures to capture the moment. 


I’m not ashamed that I hugged my mommy and cried… because 1.5 hours earlier Ryan Hall had a similar emotional embrace with his Daddy! If an Olympic caliber runner can do it, so can I! 

Mission Accomplished.... 
Well Steph's 50 Marathon Challenge is complete. So what now? Well I'm working on my WS100 training currently. After that I'm actually going to cut back on my marathon craziness and focus on SPEED... I have plans to PR at the New York City Marathon this November!!! What? Did you really think I was going to give up the marathon bug that easily? 

I want to thank EVERYbody for the amazing support I've received along the way. I started this blog as a way to keep my family up to date on my marathons and I never expected it to turn out like it has. I've made so many new friends over this adventure. Also a HUGE thank you to my family, especially MB who is my biggest fan. She will be finishing her own 50-states quest this coming March at the LA Marathon just in time for her 50th birthday!!!! 

Happy Running,
Stephanie

40 comments:

  1. Congrats Steph on both Boston and state #50!!! What an amazing accomplishment!! You are awesome!

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  2. Congratulations, that's a great accomplishment! Now get to work... you've got some major training to do over the next 2 months!

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  3. You're awesome!!! Congratulations!!!

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  4. I'm not one prone to crying, and I was doing pretty well for a while, but when I got to the picture of you crying, I instantly teared up and let out a few silent sniffles (can't let my kids in the next room hear me). Congratulations.

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  5. what an amazing report, I got teary eyed just reading it!! congrats on your journey

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  6. Congratulations on finishing your goal!! It's been a great journey following you these last few months. I hope to read more great adventures from you!

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  7. What a wonderful account of an amazing accomplishment. I wish I had the opportunity to meet you and congratulate you in person. Keep on truckin' and keep proving that anyone can accomplish any goal they set out to achieve.

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  8. Congratulations Stephanie! I've enjoyed following your journey for over a year now. Like you, I'm on the 50 state journey(5 states so far). I hope to get a chance to meet you in Chicago, NYCM, etc. Again, congrats on gettin' your Boston and 50th state!!!

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  9. I teared up just reading about it! what an awesome accomplishment. I hope to gain your speed and BQ one day. Congrats again. Can’t wait to see whats next for you!!

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  10. Great race recap - I admit I got a little weepy just reading it. Congrats on your amazing accomplishment!

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  11. Hey, I saw you when I was running Boston too!! Great job on your race, and fantastic job on getting all 50 States! I too am hoping to get all 50 under my belt :]

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  12. Congrats on accomplishing such an amazing adventure! You are an inspiration for so many!

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  13. I came across your sight while googling the Hatfield McCoy marathon which I am training to walk in June. Have enjoyed all your updates and congratulations on Boston and your accomplishments!!!

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  14. Now you made me cry! :) Congrats! Amazing! You're an inspiration! And I love the fact that your Mom was with you every step of the way. :)

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  15. jeesh, i need a kleenex. a HUGE congrats to you!!!! Wow, how the heck did you complete ALL that in just over 2years? That's insane!! haha, thanks for posting our picture, that's a really good angle, better than the one we got. Thanks.
    Congrats!!! Very proud of you and I'm happy I got to meet you!!

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  16. Congratulations Steph. What an amazing accomplishment. Good luck as you continue your journey.

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  17. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment! Great report of the emotions and fun of the race. Good luck in your training for Western States.

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  18. Congratulations!!! That is a great accomplishment, glad you got to enjoy it and be fully INTO it.

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  19. Congratulations! Welcome to the other side :)

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  20. Congratulations on one fantastic and amazing journey!! You are inspiring! I will be running the same race you race to get Kansas completed on your list as my first Marathon this year!! I know thoughts of your journey will keep me moving!! Enjoy every second of this wonderful accomplishment!

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  21. CONGRATS!! I got serious chills looking at that pic of you crossing the finish line. I can't even imagine the feeling of finishing the 50 states at BOSTON of all marathons. so very very very impressed!

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  22. you are awesome! thanks for sharing your story with us. We are proud to have been a small part of it back in Kansas last year. We saw you at mile 19.75 on Monday, one of the many who knew you and yelled your name. Good luck at WS100 and NYC and everything else coming up. -Scott and Celeste

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  23. Congratulations girl - so so sooo proud of you!

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  24. Congratulations Steph! Good luck with WS100 and your other future running endeavors!

    I want to thank you for sharing your journey with me and every one else. I have been following you for quite a while and you are constantly amazing me with your running abilitiies. I was even lucky enough to be able to give you your medal in Detroit and running with you in Dearborn! You are an inspiration to me and so many others.

    Please do not stop blogging about your running. even if you do cut back on your marathons, write about your training! I can't wait to see where running takes you next.

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  25. congratulations! you are such an inspiration and its so rad to get to watch you complete such an incredible goal.

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  26. You are awesome! And I absolutely LOVE your outfit! Great job, and look forward to hearing about Western States.

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  27. Your achievement really is amazing. Can't believe that you did it in only 2 years, that awesome. The late start to the marathon would really throw me off, as well as the 3 hour wait in athletes village.

    That is a great costume, awesome that you got so many people screaming USA and your name!

    The best part is that it sounds like your entire family was there, that is very powerful. I always feel like I'm running for my family, so having them there probably was even more of a motivating and emotional factor. Congrats on everything!

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  28. You're done? Holy crap! Congratulations!!!

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  29. Congratulations on such a huge achievement! I can't even imagine what it must have felt like to cross that finish line! :)

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  30. AAaaaaaaaand I'm crying. Congrats girl you are so amazing!!! Spike and I tried to get to your event but by the time we returned to the hotel, with how slow we both were walking, for him to get cleaned up we wouldn't have got there until after 6. I'm so sorry we missed it but please know I was there in spirit and I am so proud of you girl!!!!!!!

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  31. Congratulations!! You have done it. I had no doubt that you were planning something for after the WS100. :)

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  32. Congrats!!! I have a pic of you that I took at mile 7 in Framingham! I was so impressed by what you were doing!!! I am going to post it this week so check it out!

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  33. congrats, steph! this is such an amazing accomplishment. Congrats on #50 and all 49 before that. You are awesome!

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  34. Congratulations Stephanie!! What a huge accomplishment!!

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  35. STEPH my favorite little firecracker, I am so happy for you!!! What a journey this has been (and to be continued, OF COURSE). I'm so happy we became bloggy and REAL buddies. You inspire me daily with your wild antics and marathon adventures.

    I have goosebumps reading your account of those last 0.2 miles, flooding with emotion and reflection. You should be so damn proud!

    AWESOME that the whole gang was out to support you! Wish I could have been there to see it, but I know we'll cross paths at another marathon again soon. :)

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  36. congratulations!!! that is so amazing! I am a new follower-i wish i started with you on the beginning of your travels! But I'm looking forward to see what is to come!

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  37. Congrats, you are truly inspirational!

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  38. So amazing...congratulations...truly inspiring.

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  39. So you finally were able to run in 50 different states. I have to admit that it is a great accomplishment. Congratulation.

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