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Hopkinton First-Time Marathoner Recalls the Run

Kelly Walsh decided after watching the Boston Marathon start so many times, she had to do it herself and after months of training, here's what she accomplished and urges you to do the same.

Hopkinton First-Time Marathoner Recalls the Run Hopkinton First-Time Marathoner Recalls the Run

I did it! 4:44:53 minutes after crossing the start line in Hopkinton I finally reached the finish line!

 As I sit here writing this concluding article I can’t piece together words or emotions to sum this experience up. I never thought I could do this. But I did. And finally I can say that I ran the Boston Marathon.  

 I figure recounting my whole experience won’t be beneficial to you. So I’m sharing some of the most common questions I’ve been asked:

 Will I do it again?

As I was cramping up after the race I was asked this and I tearfully responded, “No! No sane person does this."

However, the next day when I woke up and had time to process what went on the day before I knew I needed to do this again.  

It was such an amazing feeling. My plan is to do it in two years for Dana Farber.  In the meantime I plan to continue to run, but might just draw the line at a half marathon!

 Did you run the whole way?

No. Heartbreak Hill got the best of me. I knew if I wanted to run the last mile I had to run/walk mile 22-25.  

I only let myself walk up hills and through water stops, just to help reduce the cramping and save my legs. To my surprise my average mile time was 10:51. I was running, on average, slightly over 10-minute miles for the first half of the race.

What was it like turning onto Boylston?

I get goosebump thinking about it.

That is a feeling everyone needs to have! To turn the corner and see the finish line – something I have been dreaming to see since November was surreal.

The crowds were three-people deep. Having them cheer my name, knowing in minutes that everything I worked months for, and sacrificed for was all worth it.

 What did you do after the race?

I celebrated!

My sister, boyfriend, and close friends cheered me on at the finish and then we went to a bar on Boylston. I was in my glory, accomplishing a life goal that I never dreamed of actually doing.

Could I walk the next day?

Yes,  but I was in pain. Watching me walk down the stairs was the most entertaining part. I felt the worst on Wednesday, but felt almost back to normal by Thursday.  

 The best piece of advice I got:

Write your name on your jersey!

 I toyed with the idea of not ruining a shirt and instead writing my name down the side of my arm. But then Jeremy, a marathon coach who came from New York to support me said, “Kelly don’t be afraid to ruin a $35 shirt. That $35 is well worth 5,000 people cheering your name when you need it along the route."

Thank God for that advice. All the “Go Kelly” and “Don’t stop Kelly, you’re almost there” got me through the tough times. Not to mention I felt like a celebrity!

 So thank you for following this crazy journey.

It was knowing that people were tracking me and counting on me to finish that got me through this race.

If you take anything away from my articles I hope it is that any race, whether a 5K, half marathon, or even marathon is totally doable if you really want it.

Just start small and keep moving, keep gradually adding miles and you will be surprised that yes, you can actually run that far. 

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