Touchdown from Chicago at 930pm, 1030 home, asleep by 11.  Alarm sounded at 245am, Maniac pal Stacy rang my doorbell at 315 – car pooling north to Fort Collins to finish my 50 States Quest, marathoning all 50 in under 3 years.

Knee wrapped, body banged up from yesterday’s 26.2 in Illinois – but mentally in a good place…today, the journey ends.  What started as a ‘one and done’ marathon in Anchorage evolved & spread across the whole USA.  Maine to Miami, Fargo to Falmouth, Sioux Falls to San Francisco, New Mexico to New York City.  After today, I will have marathoned every American state – all 50 plus DC.

50 States Finish

50 States Finish

430am bus departure – north up Poudre Canyon, point-to-point trek finishing in downtown Fort Collins.  No accident I would end my Quest in Colorado.  May 1st in Colorado.  Temps in the 20’s, light snow falling on canyon boulders & lodgepole pine.  It’s like the gods knew – it’s his 50th – make it PERFECT!

Layered up, descended the bus with hundreds of other eager runners, John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High blaring on outdoor speakers.  This was REALLY happening.  WOW WOW WOW!  Snapped more than a few snowy pre-race pics.  I never started with the dream of finishing all 50 – one of the biggest personal accomplishments of my life.

Queued up with the 5 hr pace group.  Slow n steady.  No failing today – run, walk, crawl – but finish before the 6 hour cutoff, gut out 26.2 miles.  Made insta-friends with 1st time marathoner, Jen & trekked together the first 15 miles.  Easy, forgiving course, mostly downhill to the Half.  IT band stung by mile 7 but kept trucking along.

HUGE smile, enveloped by snow – 100% in my element.  2:30 Half, one of my slowest…but on track to Finish.

Said my goodbyes to Jen at mile 15.  Walk, run – but kept moving,  Mile 18: shooting pain.  Not proud, but popped a pain pill.  Getting thru today’s run doing absolutely whatever needed to finish.

Left leg completely stiff – same recurring injury – just 3 miles more.  Not gonna sugar coat it – I hurt.  Each pounding step, nerve strikes from my weakened left knee (like bone grinding on bone).

Entered Fort Collins.  Focused.  Mile 24.

Pain was frustrating – constant, pulsing.  Crossed a long wooden bridge.  Mile 25.  I can do anything for a mile.  Felt better to slog than walk, drug my left prosthetic along.

Two-tenths to go, saw people, saw the Finish.  Bent the tin-man leg, willed it to move.  Music blaring in my headset, eyes tearing, pounded my chest – each step closer, folks cheering me on.  Kept pushing.  Would not stop.

Joy, relief.  So much emotion.  I DID IT – I finished.

If I never run again, this day I set a goal, met a goal.  I walked the talk.  I did the impossible.  No excuses, no regrets, nothing left undone.  Proud to have family & friends see me finish.  INNER PRIDE – absolutely anything is possible.

 

Congratulations #50 K R HAGA!

 

Here are your results for the 2016 Colorado Marathon:

Your final time is 05:23:27

 

Post-marathon lasagna.  Next stop: dessert – at The Chocolate Café.  Shower, (‘nother) pain pill, change of clothes, Dinner Theatre in Boulder.  Notta lotta sleep – 4 hours spread over 2 days – but tonite we celebrate.  B-I-G.  #noregretlife

 

 

 

May 1 • Fort Collins • Colorado Marathon

pre-race clip in Poudre Canyon — will never forget this day, snow/mountains/Colorado, storybook ending to my 50 States Quest

 

 

 

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