The full race report

I think the full race report needs to start the night before. As you can tell from all of my posts during the week, I was stressed and nervous about this event. I knew my body wasn’t it tip-top shape due to my hamstring injury, but I soooo wanted to run in this marathon. I prayed so hard to be able to run in it.

So, Saturday morning, I was sitting there, heating my hamstring for the last time and I just felt this peace and I knew God would get me through it. I knew it was ok to run. I also knew it would probably take it all out of me, but I didn’t care.

Matt and I left the house around 5:20 to make it downtown. We were among the first people there. We sat and stretch and then I went down and drank a cup of Poweraid. (Note: The race only served Poweraid, from here on out known as P.A. However, I trained on Gatorade. They are completely different though and I believe the P.A. was one of the factors in my puking later on.)I ran into Josh, who was running the half in preparation for his upcoming Chicago Marathon.
He gave me some great advice and told me not to stress.

I used the porta-potty and lined up. Even though it said no headphones, a ton of people had them, so I pulled mine out and popped them in my ears. I tried to get to the back of the pack of people because I knew I was slow. Soon, the gun went off.

Even though there were probably only about 2,000 or so participants in all three events total (5k, half and full), it took a while for us to get moving. But what a breathtaking site it was. We were facing downtown, KC and there was this early morning fog that had settled in. All I could see in front of me were streams of runners….

It took about 2 miles for it to completley thin out, but even then, there were still MANY people around me. As the crowd moved forward, I turned on my music and heard my most inspiring song, Eminem’s Lose Yourself. I started to cry a little bit because I knew I could do it. I knew this was my one chance and I wasn’t going to stop.

For a while I just listened to my tunes, but then I decided to be social. So I popped off my headphones and started talking to this girl next to me. She had finished Chicago in 5:48, with an injured back. I asked her how she did it and she said she just tried not to think about the pain. She was running the half. I stuck with her for a while, but needed to walk a little. I believe I was with her for the second aid station and completely forgot about my “favorite shoe man.” I was feeling pretty great.

We looped through the Plaza. I started to look for my friend, Erin who said she would come watch me run. She lives there, so I knew she would be close. As we were leaving the Plaza area, I saw her. She was screaming and jumping up and down. She had a bottle of gatoraid for me. She ran out into the street and started running with me. She told me she was really hung over from the night before but she was there. I had to laugh. She was just the energy I needed. When she departed, people around me told me I had a great friend. I knew. My i-pod stopped working after I saw Erin. I was officially musicless from this point on.

Shortly after the Plaza, the course split. I turned toward the marathon and saw a sign, “you are now on the Kansas City Marathon course.” I should note, at this time, I was still thanking every voluteer and police officer holding back traffic. I loved them all.

At the first aid station after the course split, a volunteer said, “Wow green looks great on you.” She meant my green bib that indicated full marathon. I thought, it sure does.

We climbed this steep hill winding through some of Kansas City’s loveliest neighborhoods. I met a lady from Alaska who asked me if it was always this humid in Kansas City. Unfortunately, I told her, yes. We stayed together for a while, but then I looked up and saw my friend, Laura, with her dog! She ran with me for a while and it was so great that she could come. I was totally surprised to see her there.

Once again, when she left, someone told me, “wow, you have a great friend.” Again, I knew.

I was feeling really strong until about mile 14. I was running strong, walking some and running strong. Then, my stomach started feeling sloshy. I had taken in a gu at mile 5 and mile 10. I took another at mile 15. But by then, I was really queesy. I was walking more than I had expected to, forcing my self to run to certain points. The volunteers were great. At one of the aid stations by the zoo, they were wearing little costumes…so cute. They offered me a cookie. I couldn’t eat.

Around mile 18, I saw my parents, Matt and Erin again. I was so happy to see them, but I was feeling so sick. Erin came out and jogged with me. I told her my stomach wasn’t holding up well, but I was fine. They all shouted that I looked strong.

Finally I reached mile 20. They had m and m’s there. I took one, and gagged it down. No food for me. My stomach was a mess. I saw another runner/walker who looked like I felt. I carried on. Finally, she caught up with me around mile 21. We walked together. Both not feeling so well. There weren’t very many people out at all. I had no idea if we were the last on the course.

Some jerk shouted at the police, “Why are you holding the road back for these walkers?! I thought this was a marathon!!” The lady, whose name was Tandy, said, “If I had the energy, I’d pop him.”

I agreed with her, but by this point, I couldn’t talk. A van pulled along and offered me the first of several tries to get me off the course. I refused. If I had to walk it in, I would. It helped having Tandy by me. We were both in no condition to run. So we walked together in silence. We got to an aid station where they had these cold sponges. They felt great. I wished I was running, but I couldn’t.

Shortly after that station, I hurled. I mean I lost everything in me. Poor Tandy, she stood there. (I didn’t know if she was one of those people who watching someone puke made her puke.) We were in a bad part of town and I didn’t care. I sat down on the ground. For a minute, I thought it was all over. I cried. Then, I evaluated the situation. I felt ok. I lost everything in me, so I figured I could go for it. The emergency crew was right there trying to help me. I accepted some sprite and sipped on that. They gave me a bottle of water. I took that with me. I started walking again. I had sent Tandy away, so now I was on my own. The crew drove along next to me, “Are you sure?” I was.

I noticed there was no police escort. A homeless man crossed the intersection with me. “Hey, did they leave you?” I said, yes. “Hey,” he shouted at everyone around. “She’s one of those runners!” He said, “I’ll cheer for you.” I loved him.

I was in a zone. Walking, not sure what the heck I was doing out there still. I looked up and I saw my mom. I thought I was halucinating. My parents do not fit in the ghetto too well, but there she was, carrying her Coach purse, and walking with me. She didn’t realize the police were gone. I said, “Mom, what are you doing in the ghetto?” She laughed. She said, “It’s ok, there are police.” I said, “No, they are leaving.” My mom started to freak. So now I was calming her down. My dad was a mile up the road, waiting to walk it in with me.

We met my dad. My dad and I walked. I can’t really remember what we talked about, but up ahead, we saw Tandy. She didn’t realize it was me. When we caught up with her, she was so surprised to see me. By now, the volunteers had also left the course. Without my dad, Tandy and I wouldn’t have known the route, but luckily, he had a map I had sent him a link to.

We were walking along some MAJOR roads in Kansas City, we had to walk on the side of the roads with no sidewalk. The ground was uneven. I barely had any balance left. We crossed over a bridge and I had to puke again. I puked all the water I had drank. My dad said I could keep going because I had less than a mile to go. So, I did.

When we got to the turn, where the finish line was, I turned in and saw the balloon arched finish. I started to jog. I looked up and saw what looked like mob of people. The announcer said, “Stephanie (last name) we’ve been waiting for you. We’ve never seen such a crowd for a final runner.” I had told Tandy to run it in with me, but I think I just sprinted in. My friends all had a sign that said, “We love you Stephanie.” They had all waited for me. I guess, when the girl before us finished, they thought she was the last person on the course. My friends all said, “NO she’s coming.” So the announcer waited. Seeing my friends (probably 10-12 people!) at the finish line waiting for me, knowing there were no more runners left, made my heart sour. Matt was tearing up as I finished. He was so proud of me. He kept saying that over and over. My friends said it too. I loved them. They offered me some juice and I sat there feeling puky again. My friends told me about the 30 or so people that had been brought in on stretchers. I felt good about making it.

They took me to the aid station, which was also packing up. They tried twice to get an IV in me, but they kept missing the veins b/c I was so dry. They sent me off, making me promise to keep drinking. My brother’s fiance drove us to our car. On the way there, I made her stop and I puked on the road again. I was so out of it. I couldn’t really talk.

On the way home, I asked Matt to pull over again. He was so worried, so he decided to take me to the emergency room. They put two bags of fluid in me. I started to perk up. Today, I feel like a million dollars that can’t walk. ha.

Thank you to all of you who supported me. You have no idea what your support meant to me as I fought the mental game to keep going after I got sick.

To those who have marathons coming up, I can only say, “You CAN do it.”


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37 responses to “The full race report

  1. BuckeyeRunner

    What a race report. That is one hard-earned medal. Wear it with pride. Congrats!

  2. plods

    Wow… you are such a warrior… you finished despite feeling terrible! So finally did your hamstring feel alright?
    Once again CONGRATS!!!!!!!!

  3. a.maria

    i cannot tell you how proud of you i am! thats an amazing race report… all the guys down here in austin are probably wondering what the hell is wrong with me and why am i crying?! (sheesh. i’m such girl!!)

    what an amazing accomplishment. after everything you’ve gone thru in your training and then on marathon day… i cannot explain how much admiration i have for you!

    congratulation just doesn’t quite seem like enough…. i wish i could have been there, i would have loved to run with you down in the KC ghetto!!!

    you will have this with you forever. never forget what it felt like to finish!! you’re amazing! congrats, once again!

  4. Barb

    That is absolutely INCREDIBLE! YOU DID IT!!! YOU FINISHED!!! You better keep that medal around your neck for weeks and tell everyone you know that YOU did a full 26.2. YAH!!

  5. Danny

    even i got tears in my eyes…

    congrats! you should enjoy your well deserved rest now!

    (btw, the medal everyone keeps commenting on – wear it till next year.)

  6. jeanne

    I’ve never read anything like this…it’s a hall of fame-r!! And yeah, it made me cry too. I can’t think of any more adjectives. Just that you are an amazing, incredible role model, obviously with more willpower in your little finget than I have in my whole body!

    and just p.s. How was the hamstring during the run? It sounds like it didn’t bother you, or maybe you were too sick to notice it! (And note to self: i’m not drinking any weird stuff that i haven’t already made friends with before the marathon!)

    You bronze that medal and put it on your hearth…you’ll be telling this story to your grandkids.

  7. Stephanie

    Regarding the medal: I will wear it for a few days for sure!

    Regarding the hamstring: it hurt like hell, but once the nassuea set in, I didn’t really notice the hamstring. Today I can’t even stretch it out straight to walk, so I’m walking a little like an ape. ha.

    Thank you to all. I thought you might not have as much respect for me because I didn’t run it all at the end, but your comments mean a lot. I know if my stomach and my hamstring were in better shape, my marathon would have been totally different, but then, I wouldn’t have gotten to experience this terrific outpouring of love from my family and friends!

  8. Simba's Mom

    I appreciate the fantastic race report, but really we could have waited until you had rested up! 🙂
    Congrats again, but like others have said, it doesn’t seem like enough of a word to capture the admiration for your effort.

  9. partyrunner

    i join the girls and boys here in crying as i read your report (boyfriend, watching football game, noticed and asked what was wrong!…i explained i was reading race report of girl whose had a hard week, was going to run in pain…oh, never mind). YOU ARE AWESOME!!! i love everything but that dumb guy that shouted about walking the marathon. maybe he should get out of his dumb car and try 26.2! anyway, you rock. you will remember the feeling of finishing forever. savor every second today, the feeling of ‘why, yes, i ran a marthon…’

  10. brent

    *sniff* woohoo! you did it! you are so strong and brave. you kicked butt. this one’s going down in history!

  11. Scott in Washington

    Yep, teary eyed from coast to coast. Long may you run Stephanie.

  12. brent d.

    OMG! You are such an inspiration! Thank you for the great report! I will definatly keep you in mind as I prepare for my future marathon (well… the strength you had and you pushing through everything… not so much the vomiting and the immense pain, etc… lol) GREAT JOB!

  13. rae

    Wow! That is one awesome race report! I can’t believe you were already up and posting about it and not sleeping in! You may never do one again, but at least you can say you are a marathoner. Great job, you rock!!!

  14. Running Chick

    “I thought you might not have as much respect for me because I didn’t run it all at the end…”

    are you freakin’ kidding me? I have MORE respect for YOU than I do for whatever athlete crossed the line first. Your marathon journey took guts and nerves of steel (ok…so maybe you left some of those guts out on the course…).

    You raced when others would have welcomed the excuse to not race at all. You FINISHED when others would have walked off the course.

    You are a runner. You are a marathoner.

  15. Anonymous

    I had tears in my eayes reading your tale. Well done!
    And BOO and curses to the organisers who left you to fend for yourself, that’s a DISGRACE. Anyway well done and yay for you

  16. Fly Bunny

    This weekend I decided that I am going to try to run the KC Marathon next year and you are an inspiration. It doesn’t matter what place you finished in, you finished and with support of great family and friends. Maybe after you recover you can run with me 🙂

  17. QueSaraSara

    Add me to the crying list. I am so proud of you, Steph. You are amazing!

  18. Flatman

    Good Holy Lord…I am amazed at the heart, determination, guts, strength, etc…that you showed. This has been quite a journey for you, little one. I hope you never forget how we (your other family) feel about you and your accomplishments. I am awestruck and speechless in light of your race report. This means so much to me (even though we don’t even know each other), since I have my own “first” marathon coming up. Just wow. Thank you for showing that no matter what, you can finish!

  19. Megan

    Yep, crying too! You are awesome, Steph.

  20. Running from my House

    You are such an inspiration! Take some well deserved time off!


  21. Noames

    add my tears (and admiration) to the pool. Congratulations, marathon-lady!

  22. BigRunner


    All I can say is WOW! That is the single most guttiest(sp) race report I have ever heard. I as well have teared up.

    I have just started training, but your story and bravery will stick with me throughout my days.

    You are awesome and I vow to run the KC marathon next year and I hope to see you there and meet you.

  23. berriewine

    wow. Congrats! You are awesome

  24. Sarah

    I have tears streaming from that report, Stephanie…wow. Such determination and such courage…you are a *true* marathoner. Congrats!

  25. Runnin' Sis

    This is the best Race Report I’ve ever read. I am going to book mark it so that I can remind myself of your determination whenever I’m feeling iffy in my training! You are amazing!

  26. Ljisaak

    Oh my gosh, I’m one of the cry babies. I’m crying right now…thank you for inspiring. After reading this it makes me think I could actually one day run a marathon.
    Thank you for the story. YOu are so awesome!!

  27. Cassie (TIGGS)

    Add another crybaby here. HOW AWESOME AND AMAZING!! You’re a real trooper Steph. Way to go!!!!! You are the most hardcore RBF’er yet!!!!

  28. Jessica, a Houston Runner

    congrats!!!!!!!! how inspiring! keep us up to date on your running now that you got the big 26.2 done! 🙂

  29. ShoreTurtle

    Amazing! I just read your race recap and I’m speechless. You rock!

  30. Al Carter

    ohmigod – I’m in tears here reading your report – you are one BRAVE lady – you rock.

  31. Ph

    Congratulations on you finish. I always get emotional reading about people who never thought they could finish a marathon finishing one despite everything.

    Wear that medal and show EVERYONE until you have no friends left because they are sick of seeing your marathon medal. Only 1% of the population will ever finish a marathon this year. Congratulations on becoming an elite athlete.

  32. Joe

    holy crap.
    Color me inspired.

  33. teddyjb

    Awesome…absolutely awesome. I’m a little misty now. Keep wearing YOUR medal.

  34. Jon (was) in Michigan

    This is pretty late after your marathon, but congrats on a hard fought battle. Sounds like you had a heck of a time out there, and you pushed onward through it all. Marvelous! You should be damn proud of that medal. You certainly earned it. 🙂

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