Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My 50 States Journey Thank Yous

I did it! I finished a marathon in all 50 US states. My first marathon was in the state of Louisiana in 2005, so you could say this achievement took me 10 years. But also I repeated all my early states more recently. Between May 2012 to May 2015, I ran a marathon in all 50 states at least once. It was a crazy, accelerated pace to do such a thing. I never expected it to happen that way, but it did. Needless to say, an undertaking like this is difficult in many ways: physically, mentally, financially, logistically. I could not have done this without a ton of support. I’ll soon post my race report for the 2015 Newport Marathon in Oregon. But first, I’d like to thank quite a few people for supporting me in some way throughout the last few years as I achieved this remarkable feat.

Just colored in Oregon and it's the end of a major quest

My family. They supported my marathon training from the very beginning, never doubting that I could do it (at least not that I knew about), and were positive and encouraging. My dad Steve, before we lost him in 2006, was my number one supporter and knew of my first two marathon finishes and my plan to run the 2006 Columbus Marathon, which I ended up dedicating to his memory. My grandma Ann saw more of the craziness that became my marathoning habit. I dedicated the 2012 Monster Mash Marathon (in Dover, Delaware) to her. Thanks to my other family members who supported or encouraged me in some way: my brother Zack, mom Ruth, stepfather Ray, stepmother Kim, aunt Debbie and Ken, and cousin John who sent me a much-appreciated book about the foot and foot injuries. My mother-in-law Sally has been an awesome cheerleader, and my sister-in-law Brenda was instrumental at Route 66 Marathon where Scot proposed to me.

My team of professionals. Most recently my massage therapist Elena, of the Potomac Yard Massage Envy, has been a lifesaver (or at least a leg saver), keeping my muscles moving and addressing several injuries. Trainers Nancy and Angi helped get me on the path to fitness in the first place. My acupuncturist Dr. Kathe Ana of Heavenly Bodies Clinic treated the residual pain and inflammation from my stress fracture. Podiatrists Dr. James Petko and Dr. Ben Pearl helped in several areas, most notably with my multiple cases of plantar fasciitis. Thanks also to Dr. Bill Kempe of Airrosti Rehab, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Matthew Buchanan, and several physical therapists over the years.

My training programs and coaches. Though they’re no longer in business, the National AIDS Marathon training program’s Washington DC office was instrumental in getting me started. I thank staff member Steve and the coaches. And when I got back into running, Friends & Fitness training program with Craig, coaches Bruce, Jessica and Katrina, and fellow participants Kathy, Carolyn, Amy and others.

Shirlington Running Club. I’ve been a member since the club started in 2009 when I was not running any long distances. I’ve found support and friends through the club over the years. I don’t show up every Tuesday night, but when I do, I enjoy the sense of community. I also see my local SRC peeps at races. Thanks to the board members and our sponsors. Some notable SRC members past and present: Barbara, Justin, Txu, Shirley, Casey, Robert, Bill, Megan, Pam, Jen, Glen, Sherry, Catherine, Dana, Gary.

My running heroes. You are the folks I’ll never emulate, and you certainly inspire me. Meb Keflezighi, Shalane Flanagan, Kathrine Switzer, Grete Waitz, Jeff Galloway, Roger Bannister, Jesse Owens and others.

My cat sitters. I had peace of mind leaving my cats in such good hands while traveling. Matt, Carlos, Deb.

Friends who offered me a place to stay on my travels, or shared a hotel with me. Next to airfare, hotel rooms are a major expense when running all over the country. Thank you to everyone who opened your home to me or who split a hotel room with me, whether it was for a full or a half marathon (there were many races in addition to the full marathons that were part of my crazy streak). Jerry and Antonia, Trish, Sherri and Mike, Elizabeth Mc., Janice, Kim, Sarah, Abbi, Lori, Jody, Melinda, Eddie and Nilda, Jc, David W, Peter, Jon and Valery, Lis and Doug, Mike So., Peggy, Donnie, Ruth, Lisa, Kerri, Letty, Christine and Paul.

Marathon (or other distance race) on-course running buddies. Special thanks to those who ran one or more marathons or part of a marathon in pace with me. Sharing the miles on a tough race makes the day easier. Sharing the miles always makes things more fun. Many times, I truly needed my friends to help pull me through the miles. My pace team for Mardi Gras Marathon: April, Dana, Diana, Fawn and Phil, Iris. My pace team for Dublin Marathon: Christine, Carla, Courtney, Shane, Kate, and Virginia (training). Trish, Sarah, Michelle, Annette, Anders, Maricar, Peggy, Frank, Ray, Abbi, Ruth, Lori Sc., Lori Sh., Maria, Janice, Jody, Doug, Barb, Jess, Eddie, Nilda, Bill, Cindy D, Jim, Larry, Jennifer A, Jennifer W, Rachael, Kate, Shawn, Rhonda, Natalie Jo, Donnie, Terry, Linda, Angela, Becky, Wayne, Leah, Fran, Jill, Brooke, Araceli, Mike, Amy, Elizabeth T, Halbert, Jay, Tom and Carole, Cindy C, Kristen.

Fellow runners with inspiring stories. You may or may not be at my pace, but your own journeys have been inspiring. It may be that you’ve established a record, or continually set and broken amazing running goals, or dedicated your running to worthy charities, or overcome daunting hurdles to get where you are now. Whatever you did (or are still doing), whether you realize it or not, you’ve inspired me and helped to keep me running. Anders, Eddie, Kino, David W, David H, Julia and Shane, Trent, Tony N, Scott S, Danielle, Keith, Sid, Jim, Bettie, Larry, Frank.

All the other crazy runners I know. Members of 50 States Marathon Club, Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics, and Marathon Globetrotters.

My friends who don’t run a ridiculous number of marathons. You have still inspired me or supported me as spectators on one of my race courses, or by joining me on a training run, or just generally being encouraging. Charmel, Jerry and Antonia, Reggie, Matt, Shelly, Nikki, Pete, Tate, Sapna, Amy, Christine.

My employers and clients at RGS and Octo. I sincerely appreciate every manager, coworker or client who has been understanding about my taking off a Friday afternoon here and there, or a Monday off for return travel, or even a longer stretch of vacation. I couldn’t have done what I did without some flexibility in my work schedule, and I owe a lot of people thanks for making that happen, and thanks for your encouragement along the way.

Scot Barco. My crazy husband gets his own entry, and of course fits into many of the categories above. Scot and I met, got engaged and married, and joined our lives together during my crazy marathon quest. It is because of him that I finished my 50 states as quickly as I did. He always encouraged me to run more and more marathons, adding new states along the way. And whether or not we ran our races together or separately, and no matter what state of mind either of us was in after the race (sometimes we can both get cranky), I knew at each marathon, and in life, that he loved me, and still does.

There are so many more people who I am thankful for, whatever your contribution to my quest. If we ever met at a pre-race dinner or on a race course, if you ever picked up a race packet or me, or if you ever offered encouraging words in person or via Facebook, that means you. Thank you!

6 comments:

  1. What was your most favorite and least favorite race and why?

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    1. After running 65 marathons, it’s really hard to choose a favorite. I like different races for different reasons. Here are a couple: Chicago was probably my favorite urban marathon. It was extremely well-organized, the city skyline views were excellent, and the volunteers and spectators were everywhere, and very energetic. For rural or scenic marathons, I have to rate Madison Marathon in Montana among the best. It is not an easy race; it peaks at about 9,500 ft elevation and is extremely hilly. But it is also breathtakingly beautiful and well-managed. And for least-favorite marathon, it’s also hard to choose. There was no race that I hated, just certain aspects of different races that could be improved. Probably the least interesting course I ran was in Bismarck, North Dakota, but I still won’t count this as a race I disliked, because it was well-managed and earned me my ND finish.

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  2. How amazing! A truly inspiring feet (!) Now that you've reached this milestone, I'm tempted to say that it's all downhill from here, but that would be too stressful on the toes. So I will say that you can now relax, glory in your accomplishments, and contemplate your next challenge. I'm so proud of you...for this, and all things. M.

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    1. It's *never* all downhill from here! But I will take a break from races, with none scheduled until the fall.

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  3. WoW impressive! Well deserved "break"

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