Strava Marathon (Lexington, MA)
Finish Time: 4:14
Temp: 43 degrees
Conditions: Perfect Running Weather
Run For: You
Where to even begin with this recap…
To be honest this recap has been really hard to write. I really don’t know where to start or even how to start. I’m seriously at a loss for words. 26 marathons in one year… running the last one yesterday. I really don’t even know how to describe all the feelings.
I’ll start from the beginning. This journey, this challenge, it all started as an idea. Personally, I wanted to push myself, try to see what my limits were when it came to running. I love the marathon distance and I really wanted to do something hard, something that people would think is crazy. As odd as it may sound, that excites me, the harder the better. There are 26 miles in a marathon so 26 marathons seemed like a good number that just made sense, in that crazy kind of way. Running that many marathons seemed like it would be a hard challenge for me, but as I have said I really didn’t want this to be all about me. I actually prefer that it wasn’t about me, so the question became, how do I make this about others…about you. This is where my awesome TC family comes in. Since 2010, I’ve been a coach for Team Challenge and I’ve met so many awesome and inspiring people, who all have a story. Their stories, your stories are so powerful and so inspiring. These IBD Heroes have gone through so much, yet they refuse to give up or let their disease control their life. I wanted to, actually I felt I need to share their stories and make this marathon challenge about them. Their struggles, stress, uncertainty, but also their determination, strength and their fight. I wanted this to be about them, about you… 26.2 For You! Run each marathon in honor of these warriors, these sources of inspiration, these heroes.
Running 26 marathons isn’t just a lot physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. If I was going to make it through all these marathons I knew I needed help, I needed motivation to help push me through when it would get hard. Pairing each marathon with someone I considered inspirational, someone I look to as an IBD hero was perfect! I have always drawn so much of my strength from all those around me who run for Team Challenge. This just made sense and this is how it needed to happen. Putting on the shirt with the Team Challenge logo is special. There is so much meaning behind it and I know I feel a surge of energy when I put it on before any run. I wear it with pride, not so much for me but for you, for all those who suffer, yet fight to not let these diseases control them. For all the marathons I did, I was able to share a story with each one and those stories, those IBD Warriors helped me finish each and every time. Without them and without all the support I got from all of you, over the year, this would not have been possible. I honestly believe that and feel that way. I didn’t run 26 marathons for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation this year… WE ran 26 marathons!!
What I wasn’t expecting, was the amount of people following along and the amount of support and encouragement I got along the way. Just yesterday, I was blown away by the number of people who joined me, in Lexington, and virtually on their own running whatever distance they decided to do. I even appreciated those who just thought about joining me, it really means a lot and I am so thankful for all of you.
As for the actual running part of yesterday, the marathon went really well. I felt and still feel great! I got to the bike path early, pre-dawn and was out running the first 5 miles alone. No other runners, no music, no sound at all really, just me and the sound of my footsteps hitting the ground. It was very peaceful and it gave me some time to reflect on everything. I thought about how this was the last one, about how good I felt running-wise, about how I’m so fortunate to be able to do something like this for a cause that means so much to me. Running is my thing, it’s what I do and it’s who I am, so moments like this, in those quiet morning hours is always something I’ll enjoy. I also thought about the 25 stories from those friends that have been through so much. I thought about how I will not stop fighting for them and doing all I can to help us find that cure. I thought about how I know I can’t get that cure alone, that with their help and yours we will get there together.
I was joined by so many people during the 26.2 miles, from one coast to the other and everywhere in between. I felt the love and support from near and from afar, I knew I wasn’t alone. Yesterday IBD took a huge hit and you, along with the people battling these diseases, were the ones who delivered that blow. IBD will not win and it will never be able to defeat those who suffer. It may try it’s best to take you down, but you are tougher and you are stronger than IBD will ever be. Days like yesterday proved it!
So those feelings I am finding so hard to describe… I feel blessed, I feel honored, I feel thankful, I feel lucky, I feel like I am a part of something so powerful. I am a part of this Team Challenge family which includes some amazing people that have done and will continue to do extraordinarily amazing things.
I want to thank all of you for following along with this journey. I truly mean it when I say I couldn’t have done this without you. This last marathon was for everyone out there who fights and will continue to fight these diseases. I didn’t just run for you yesterday…WE ALL DID!
This 26.2 was for you! 26.2 For You!