And Just Like That, It’s Over.

Wow. Haven’t blogged in exactly 2 months. Yup, this is why I’m not good at it…and I’ll have to stick to my day job, I guess?

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Since then, the walk has come and gone. We’ve completed 26.2 for another year in honor of Sean. The team, on the whole, has currently raised $12,981 for The Jimmy Fund. I, personally, have raised $4,898.80 so far this year. I’m hoping to be able to raise that last $101.20 so I can hit $5,000 and become a 3-Star Pacesetter.

starting

I walked with these two again this year, and I’m happy to say it went infinitely better than it has in the past. We started a little earlier than the rest of the team, because we knew we’d have a longer road ahead of us. See, there are only 3 people in the picture up there, but we had an extra person with us–Jennie walked at 18.5 weeks pregnant. It took us just under 11 hours, total, and I’m really proud of her for her accomplishment.

We started at 5:45am. As you can see, it was REALLY dark. It didn’t take too long for the sun to come up, though, thankfully. It’s so cool to walk the actual Boston Marathon route. It’s a great, but tough course, and to see signs like the one above helps to motivate us. We’re walking as a direct result of the tragedies that occurred surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon, so seeing that local companies are so supportive of those who were a part of that day means a lot to us.

The rest of the team started a little later. They were carrying a flag representing firefighters, as Dan is a firefighter with the Marion Fire Department. Walking 26.2 carrying an evenly weighted backpack is tough enough, kudos to him for carrying the flag the whole way. They caught up with us around the Mile 8 checkpoint, and it was great to have everyone together for a few minutes during the walk.

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We found it quite fitting that we posed in front of the Strength sign, being Team Collier Strong and all. We parted ways at that point, letting the faster team members take off at their speedy pace. We trudged along slowly…but then again, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, right? (ha. ha. ha.)

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A short while later, we all came across the mile marker for this year’s walk hero, Amanda. In addition to honoring Sean, we also raised money to honor her fight with cancer. (Actually, WE came across the sign a few minutes after the rest of the team did. God we’re slow.)

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And then they were in Wellesley. Travis, who graduated from the police academy with Sean and was his roommate, is a Wellesley Police Officer. I’m not sure where we were at this point, but kudos to the rest of Team Collier Strong for flying up the course! You guys are amazing.

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Eventually we made it to Wellesley and the just-about-13-mile marker as well, where I took my second annual Fit Revolution picture. Every year I’ve improved my strength and my walk a little bit thanks to the amazing instructors at Fit Rev and so I take a picture and post it on Facebook for Michelle, the owner.

About a mile and a half later, we ran into my awesome friend Sarah, who came out to cheer us on. Sarah’s run the Boston Marathon for years in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is a total rockstar. She walked with us from Mile 14.5 to 15.5 and it flew by. We were getting really close to the lunch stop at just-about-mile-16 and so it was great to have her talk to us. We talked about training, the marathon itself, and how she thinks more people should go out and watch the walk. Thank you again for coming out, Sarah!!

lunch

After a delicious lunch of sandwiches, chips and veggie straws, and candy (seriously, I ate all the candy on this walk) we took off to finish the last ten miles. It didn’t take us too long to make it to Heartbreak Hill…which is where I started to struggle with some slight knee pain. Thankfully, just taking it slow and stretching seemed to help immensely, and I was never too far behind Jennie and Chris.

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When we saw Mile 20, I got prematurely excited because I (again, for the third year in a row) thought we’d made it to the top of the hill. We hadn’t. That hill NEVER. ENDS.

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Soon enough, though, we made it to Boston College and we knew we were in the home stretch. We walked down the hill and around the corner into Cleveland Circle, where we knew we’d be walking a straight shot all the way to Hereford Street.

The rest of the team had already finished at this point and took this totally awesome photo at the finish line.

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I won’t lie. Turning right onto Hereford always gives me chills. You know you’re close. You know you’ve got a short trek remaining in your 26.2 mile journey from Hopkinton to Boston. I took videos and posted them on Instagram Stories and then stupidly forgot to save them. We had to wait at the light at Hereford and Boylston, which was torture, but within minutes we had taken the left and were walking towards the finish line.

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When you cross the actual Boston Marathon finish line, you know you’re close but you’re really just not there yet. The roads aren’t closed during the walk, so in addition to dodging tourists, college kids, and traffic over the course of 26.2 miles, the finish line is a little farther away. But at approximately 4:40pm, I took the above picture, and we crossed the finish line.

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So that’s it. Another marathon in the books. Thank you, so much, for all of your support and donations. To date, I’ve raised $10,313.40 for the Jimmy Fund. I’m very proud of that number and I hope to continue to see it grow in the future.

If you’d like to help me reach $5,000 raised and become a 3-Star Pacesetter, please visit my page do make a donation of any size: http://www.jimmyfundwalk.org/2016/leede

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