7 state, 21 mile Challenge: The Finale

Day 4: The Finale

I’m going to keep pleading for donations to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. As of this evening, I’m at $140 of my $500 goal. Any amount will help support LLS and the hundreds of thousands of patients and families they help each year through research and support. If you donate $10, you’ll get 5 entries to my Dick’s Sporting Goods giveaway!

4 days ago I set out on a journey to start my new life in Philadelphia. With a full car and a wild imagination, I also set out to run in every state I drove through. With late starts, lots of wildlife, Nuun, and Sport Beans (some even consumed during actual running), this morning culminated my trip.


My day started with me wanting to stay in bed, and sleep. Feeling tired, heavy, and just exhausted, I set off to Valley Forge to complete my journey. In my head, I kept reminding myself that cancer patients live feeling like they can’t go on, almost every single day, and yet they do. If they can keep going, I can run 11 miles healthy.

Even though I’ve been training in the heat, when I do long runs, I cannot get my pace and hydration worked out. I always do the first half really strong, and then fall apart. I had to move from a 4:1 run/walk ratio to a 2:1 for a good part of the last 5.5 miles. But I kept going.

Over the course of the run I saw a baby bunny, a beaver, and 2 deer. Impressive PA, I like the variety of wildlife!

All in all, I finished the final 11 miles of my journey at a pace that would give me 3 minutes to spare on my half-marathon PR, which I’m hoping for in 3 weeks at the Rock and Roll Chicago Half-Marathon.


When I got back to the hotel after I finished, it hit me that I’d actually done this. I set out a goal, and completed it with no shortcuts, no excuses, and no regrets. I need a serious massage this week, but it’s so worth it.

Now if I can hit my fundraising goal, the tears that welled up in my eyes will fall with happiness. My family, while I love them, hasn’t been close since I was a kid, but my grandparents brought us all together. My grandfather wasn’t perfect, but he was a great Nampie, and as he reminded me often, I got my smarts from him 😏

So, friends, thanks for following this crazy journey. It’s been so fun to share it!

What’s the strangest animal you’ve seen on a run?
How do you deal with heat when running? Extra points if you’re a sweatopotomous like me
What’s a favorite memory you have of a grandparent?

8 thoughts on “7 state, 21 mile Challenge: The Finale

  1. Pingback: Saying Goodbye to 2013: The Year of Change | Run Stretch Go

  2. Strangest animal, classify strange? A couple of weeks ago I saw, kanagroo’s, emu’s, birds and a few deer. I’ve nearly run over a stumpy tail lizard, ended up leaping over him (he was basking in the sun light).
    Heat and running, well I try to run before the sunrises, but that doesn’t always happen. If I know it’s going to be really hot, I take my fuel belt, and my arm band cause man my head gets sweaty (my hat gets really wet too).
    I never knew my grandparents (they lived oversea’s), but the memory I have is smell, when it comes to wool (she was and still is a knitter).
    Well done on reaching your running goal too. You’ll make your goal donation.

    1. Wow! Cool animals, although I guess they a probably normal to you. I’m tired of the deer, I need cool things that won’t chase or threaten to eat me.

  3. Mark Varner

    Very impressive job! Through the heat, humidity & lots of driving you did complete your goal.

    No strange animals just cows. I have seen more deer on the highway than on my run.I sweat a ton so I try to go out as early as possible bring a running water belt circle around & fill it sometimes stop at home if I need some honey stingers.

    A couple of favorite grand parent memories (to numerous to mention). Grandma would always specially make cooked oatmeal when ever we would wake up (they ate long before we woke up). She would always have brown sugar, cinnamon & raisins ready. One other is back when I was very young Grandma would butcher her own chickens on the farm which was an interesting experience. Mom grew up on the farm but I didn’t

  4. Jeff

    Maybe not strangest but coolest animal seen while running was a fisher. Most folks don’t even know what that is, but it’s really cool. It’s a large Mustelid. That means it’s from the Family Mustelidae which is the same Family as skunks, otters, pine martins, weasels, mink, wolverines, badgers, etc! Fishers are super fast. They are about the size of an otter but are more terrestrial. They often climb trees and are one of the few predators of porcupines! Pretty sweet!

    I sweat like crazy. I deal with heart by carrying water. I use a belt. It’d going longer distances, I try to do loops so I can get more water to fill my belt every 10 miles or so. I also dump it on my head, down my neck & back.

    Fave memory of Grandparent, Hmmm? Tough because there are so many. Plus had four Grandparents. One of my faves is when my Grandpa Kalup took me to the Erie train yards where he had set up a cab ride in a switcher engine in the yard! That was so cool. He did that for me for my 5th birthday. I can still remember it like it was last week! 🙂 It was many years ago!

    Good job on the fund raising. I did the Relay for Life a few weeks ago, I was able to raise $651 in the days, I ran 33 miles. Not bad for a diabetic with a completely torn & unpaired ACL. It was a hoot! You will do well. Thanks for your efforts! Peace!

    1. Hmmm I don’t know I’ve ever seen a Fisher. That’s a good one.

      Great memory! Grandparents are always impressive with stuff. My mom is that way with my nieces too. I guess it’s the perk of not having to be fully responsible for them?

      Wow! What a crazy run?! I hope you eventually got your knee repaired!

  5. Yea for reaching your goals of running and Philly! I’m sure the money will come. I see nothing strange on my runs…well, I did see a chicken and rooster on one once. It was strange as it was at a salvage yard… Hubby ran twice this week and both times he saw a black snake. He HATES snakes, so I’m not surprised he’s the one who saw them. LOL! I ran that area today and only saw a gray kitty. 🙂

    Favorite grandparent memory? Oh heavens! That’s hard. I will say I remember fondly going to a Phillies game with my Grandpop when I was little. We were sitting on the aisle and the Phillie Phanatic jumped between us scaring the living daylights out of us both! It was pretty funny in the end, but in that moment my poor little girl heart felt like it would jump out of my chest! LOL! Of both of them, Sunday night dinners when I was in high school. We went every Sunday night for years. We stopped when I went to college. But, I remember fondly going over Sunday afternoons and getting home about 8:00. I miss that.

    1. What a great memory! We went to my grandparents every Sunday after church until my parents got divorced. But I probably spent almost as much time there as I did at home as a kid. I loved their big house and going through stuff in the attic.

      And ew, snakes. I hate them too! I saw a dead one the other day and it was bad enough. *shivers*

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