Inspiration for the Marathon Run


I did it. I can’t believe it.

 I finished. Business is settled.

Take THAT 26.2 miles of pain…you did not win this time.

I’m a scrapper. Just when I think I have nothing left, I will dig deeper. And that is exactly what I had to do to get through this. Dig deep.

**The following post is a long one. It has a lot of pictures and recaps the day of the marathon. It has special thank-you’s at the end too. Just wanted to let you know!**

EXPO! Did Someone Say EXPO?


Driving to Expo in driving rain!

We arrived in Pittsburgh on Friday to pouring rain, which was forecast for the ENTIRE weekend. Great.

Since hubs and I wanted to stay off our feet as much as possible on Saturday (race being Sunday), we wanted to hit the Expo early. So he and I and the kids ventured to the Convention Center down town and walked through the Expo…

Here is were you pick up your Bib number, goodie bag and shirt. You can also try out new products or buy whatever you need want. Vendors were everywhere showing off their wares…the kids helped me pick out a bumper magnet that says “26.2”-and said I could only stick on the car AFTER finishing. Good motivation.

My watch battery died on the way and I did not have time to replace it, so I also got a new watch. I love it because the face is larger than my other one- easier for my old eyes to see!

I also saw this shirt which cracked me up!


The best says "I Thought They Said "RUM"


We then moved on to the “Wall of Fame”…18,000 names….and it said “find yours”!



Is that us??


Yes! It is!


"What's Harder Than Steel? The Last Six Miles"

We snaked through the valley of vendors, then stopped at the Sponsor(Dick’s Sporting Goods)  area and bought matching hats.
I will have to say THE best purchase we made that day was KT Tape.  It is a supportive sport tape that allows full range of motion while you exercise. You may have seen it during the Beijing Summer Olympics during the beach volleyball games…Kerri Walsh had this black tape all over her shoulder…this is the stuff- and it is AMAZING!
I have no affiliation with the product or brand, I just have to share that if you play hard and have aches and pains…like knee pain, shin splints, shoulder pain…try it. You will become a believer. My story in a minute….
Getting Ready
Saturday was a “rest” day…did a little shopping at IKEA (my fav-or-ite store ev-er!), coffee and a chance to drive the course. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to drive and we joked that the winner of the race would finish in less time than it took for us to drive it (The winner finished in 2:16! We were right!).
During that drive, I started asking folks on Facebook & Twitter for encouragement. Pick a mile and I as I ran that mile I would think of them. It would help me get through because I knew I would be out on the course all by myself. Hubs is much faster than me so I needed some good vibes. The response was really overwhelming! I cannot believe all the kind words and was amazed at how quickly the miles were claimed. Some requests truly touched me and I carried them with honor (a special thank you to follow). 
Race Day!
The alarm sounded at 4:00am! Too early! Made some coffee and got ready. Just before leaving, I taped up BOTH knees…this is where I am going to share with you the one thing that made me nervous about this event.
I did not have enough miles on my legs to do this.
My longest long run was only 12 miles. I had so much knee pain (mostly ITBand) during training that I could not get past this distance. I should have had AT LEAST 18-20 on my legs, but I did not and it was freaking me out. Would I be able to do this and finish?
So I taped and hoped for the best.
We got dropped off downtown around 6:00am and the city was already alive with runners.

On our Way! and it's raining...


Here we go!!


This is the left knee taped up.


The support from the crowd was amazing-this was a youth choir giving high-fives.


First view of the city-nearing mile 8.


This was taken for my special mile for @fourplusanangel. The flags looked like wings.


The pain begins. Charlie Horse cramps in both calves.


I could not tell you what mile I saw this, but it was exactly what I needed to see at that moment.


Finishers Medal! I am now a Marathon-er!


Badges? Yes, I Want My Stinking Badges!

I am not going to lie. This event hurt. It hurt a lot. When I crossed mile 15, I did not know how I was going to do this. My calf muscles felt like they were rolling up my leg then knotting in the meat of the calf. When I ran, it got worse. So, I had to walk. From mile 17 to mile 24, I walked. And it sucked rocks. All day, I was getting tweets and texts encouraging me along and as I got later into the race, the more emotional I became. My phone would ding and I would read “Keep Going! You are doing great!” or “So proud of you!” words that kept my feet turning over one after another.

Mile 22

My overall goal for the race was to finish, but the competitor in me wanted a time…so I set my goal for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Now, remember the fact of only having 12 miles as my long run? Yeah, competitive brain was not registering that.  At. All.

Hubs goal was 4:30…which he acheived (so proud of him!) and he called me at mile 22.

Hubs: How are you? How are your knees?

Me: (blubbering mess) I don’t think I can do this! I can’t make it! My feet hurt so bad and I can’t run because of my stupid cramps. My knees don’t hurt at all. It’s my feet…Boo-hoo-hoo.

H: You are doing great. You can do this.

M: (Now realizing my goal time had passed and I was pushing past 6 hours) If I finish after 6 hours, do I still get a medal?

H: Yes. You will finish, and get a medal. (Later, confessed that he had no idea if I would or not, he just told me yes)

M: ok. (Sniffle) Because, if I go through all this, and I don’t, I am going to be pissed!

Mile 23

Family was on the sidelines!! My brother and sister-in-law and their two kids were there to cheer me on!! It was so nice to see them, but at the same time, I was miserable. My sister-in-law asked me one question: “Can I get you anything?”  and my only response was: “Yeah. The end.”

They walked me as far as they could and guided me toward the next mile. Thank you!

The Finish

The last 1/2 mile, hubs and my son came to meet me. As soon as I saw them, I broke down again. I kept asking “am I close” and they said “yes, just over the bridge and around the corner.” Once we were over the bridge, I could see the checkered flags….I was determined to cross the finish line running. With that, I got a new burst of energy and saw my daughter on the side taking pictures yelling “go mom!” She ran up to me and flanked with both of my kids, I crossed the finish line, a medal draped over my neck and into the arms of my hubs. And, yes, you guessed it. I cried again…muffled words of “we did it and I love you’s” into eachother’s shoulders.

I crossed the finish in 6:53. One hour and 23 minutes past my goal time. I guess that was not bad for all the walking that I ended up doing. And not bad for not having the miles on my legs!

It was an awesome moment. One that I will remember forever.

Special Thank You’s

My first very special thank you goes to Jessica, a woman I just recently met on twitter and through blogging, who was kind enough to write a thank you to me today @fourplusanangel. She claimed mile 11. I ran this mile in honor of her late daughter Hadley who was one of triplets. Go Here for Hadley’s story. To reach Mile 11, we had to cross a bridge and when I saw the flags, I could not help but think they looked like angel wings. I snapped a picture and sent to Jess. This was the start of a steep hill into Oakland. It crests just as you are entering into the campus at Pitt and I needed all the help I could get. A song on the iPod came on, and I felt as though I was being swept up the hill. It was the first time I cried on this run. A very emotional moment.

So, to Jessica, I say thank you. Thank you for sharing Hadley for part of my journey.

A few others to thank:

Lisa F-W. Thank you for mile 22. I could hear your words and your mantra over and over- ” I know I can”

Josh & Petra: My favorite speedskaters. You have always been so supportive and I just love you like you were my own kids.

Sandi: My paesan: Thank you for tweeting the whole race! Your supportive words always appeared when I needed to read them most.

Jane: From way down under your words encouraged me to keep going.

Dawn (MK): your texts and tweets-thank you. Telling me you missed my face and to “Go Baby Go!”- you rock.

Sherri, Liz, Poppy, Heather…for all your support and RT’s!! Thank you!!

@ITSMoments & @BooYaDad: Your call to action & encouragement meant so much. Thank you.

@Sarahviz: You will rock your half marathon!!! Thank you for your kindness!

Sue & Tony-Thank you for being “with me” all day…every check point would have a quick response of “keep going!”

Alison & Rich– You always made me laugh! Just when I was feeling down- you would quip with a good one. Thank you! :)

I am missing sooo many others…so many that tweeted and sent messages on Facebook. It really, truly did help me through and I cannot begin to tell you how much it meant to me that you took time out of your own day to encourage me. Thank you so, so much!

I may put a special page up here just to list everyone.

The final thanks goes to Hubs & kids and the Pittsburgh clan- You have been so supportive from Day 1, cannot thank you enough for everything!! I love you!!



About Kelly Pugliano

Kelly is a lifelong foodie who shares her love of cooking, baking & writing about it on this blog. All recipes & photographs are made in her home kitchen or enjoyed during travels near & far. She has been featured on, iBlog Magazine and Capital Region Living Magazine.

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  1. says

    Having ran a half marathon many years ago I can so relate to your pain! And crossing that finish line was nothing else I’d ever experienced in my life, I still think of it often.

    You did it. You made it happen and kept your word to yourself in spite of so many issues that came up. I hope you are very, very proud of yourself because I know I can speak for all your friends and family when I say WE’RE ALL REALLY PROUD OF YOU!

    • Kelly says

      Oh Sandi,

      Thank you so much! I still can’t believe I did it! But I am sooo glad that I crossed that line, running! I have kept the shirt from the 1st marathon all these years and brought it with me this time to motivate me. I can now smile when I look at it, thinking “yeah, I finished THIS time!”

      Your words during the race kept me going…they would pop up on my phone and my eyes would sting with tears. And I would keep going.

      You are the best! :)

    • Kelly says

      If I could give you a big fat juicy kiss right now, I would! :)

      Thank you! I can’t wait to cheer you on during your walk!! You will be AWESOME!

    • Kelly says

      Thanks mamma!!

      I appreciate all your support! And it was an honor to run mile 8 in your friend’s memory.

      YOU are amazing!! You did a triathlon!! I am so impressed- always wanted to try one by myself…I’ve only ever done with a team and I always take the bike leg. How was it?

  2. says

    Congratulations! I am so proud of you. You didn’t do a run farther than 12 miles?? Yikes! That makes it even MORE impressive!

    Let me tell you the good news: you set a very beatable PR! I had to walk half my first marathon and I smashed that time when I ran my second!

    Running a marathon is an amazing accomplishment. It doesn’t matter how you finished, just that you DID finish. Not many people can say that. It’s a feeling you can’t describe to those who haven’t done it.

    But I get you! Now when are you going to run your next one?


    • Kelly says

      Thank you Cheryl!!

      12 miles! I know! I was really freaking out…I had to prepare mentally for mile 12 and beyond, because I knew it was going to be tough. All the years of speedskating helped I’m sure.

      Ha! That is so funny about breaking the PR. As soon as I crossed the line and composed myself, I said I am never running one of these again. Then I looked at my watch and said to myself: Yes I am. I have to beat this time! :)

      You are so right- It’s a feeling you really can’t describe…like a big ball of emotions all squished together.
      Next one is in the planning stages! :)

  3. says

    YOU did it! This post is so encouraging and inspiring. Running a marathon is so physically taxing even when your training is perfect. I have been feeling really anxious about my race because I haven’t put in the mileage I should. I may steal your idea of having someone sponsor a mile, because I thought it was great. So glad it’s over and you totally earned your medal!

    • Kelly says

      Poppy, You are the best! I will never forget when we “met”…all those months ago while I was doing a long run in the middle of winter on my treadmill! We tweeted about our marathons and I thought of you often during my runs.
      You will do great! You do have the miles…and you will finish.
      Having those “sponsored” miles? Awesome. I would take out my list to remember who had what mile and it really helped.
      Thank you for mile 20, for all the enouraging words and good luck with your marathon!!
      Can I have mile 22??

  4. says

    Oh my gosh! This post has me all weepy and I had already read Jessica’s early. Such a great story of inspiration for both of you.

    I love how you did this with guts and determination and lots of lots of support. I think it is a lesson we should learn – most things worth doing are done with the support of a lot of people.

    Congratulations again – and I hope you took this weekend off.

    • Kelly says

      Thank you Heather for everything! Your updates were great to receive!! :)

      The support was so incredible..and I am so grateful for everyone’s kindness-it really did help me get through some rough patches…

      And I did take the next weekend off! For sure! :)

  5. says

    You rock, woman!

    I’ve run two marathons, both with fewer than 2,500 runners…I’d love (and likely hate) running such a large event.

    I still remember mile markers 22, and 23, and 24…each coming impossibly slowly during my first marathon. It was excruciating. Worse, though was that I was hungry but couldn’t eat a damn thing afterward. And I nearly upchucked a beer.

    Tell me, is there any better feeling than a hug at the finish line? You absolutely rock, having done something that the bast majority will never attempt (maybe because the “rest of them” are sane). Great recap!

    • Kelly says

      Two marathons? Wow! I think you would like a big event-although I must say it did thin out quite a bit once the half-ers turned off course!

      Those last miles do suck rocks, don’t they? And I’m with you on eating afterward..I tried a banana and could only eat half of it- then a plain bagel. Couldn’t do that either.

      To have my kids cross the line with me and into hubs arms really was the best part of the whole day. THAT made it worth it.

  6. says

    Awesome, babe! Wow, what an event and what a finish…and I’m so amazed you did it with your knee all messed up!

    I love that t-shirt too….I would’ve bought that one!

    Congrats again….so proud!

    • Kelly says

      Thanks Sherri!

      I know- I’m kicking myself for not getting that shirt!
      I’m telling you, both knees were taped to high heaven and it WORKED. I still can’t get over how I had NO PAIN for 26 miles! Incredible.

      Thank you for everything! :)

    • Kelly says


      I feel like we are sounding like the Chipmunks from Bugs Bunny!!

      It really is YOU I need to thank- so many things lined up for that mile 11…something so beyond us…it was awesome.

  7. Craig says

    Wow, so very impressive. Reading this makes me even more proud of you!! To only have 12 miles as your longest run and even attempt this, much less finish is something you should be proud of. What perserverence to keep pushing. Great way to lead by example!

    • Kelly says

      Thanks Craig!

      Can’t thank you enough for your encouraging words…to attempt this on 12 miles I think makes me a little crazy! But, I HAD to do it.

      Now that I can look back, the whole experience was awesome!

  8. says

    I’m so proud of you! I bet it was the most awesome feeling crossing that finish line! Love the photo of you kissing your medal!

  9. Pamelama says

    I’m so proud of you and I’ve got tears in my eyes! You did an awesome job. YAY for the medal! Love Vic for telling you that you’d get one even if he didn’t know. Momma wants a medal – Momma gets a medal! Love your determination and strength, surrounded by family and friends. Great story. 😀

    • Kelly says

      Thanks Pam!

      Vic is the best, isn’t he? And I am so proud of him. He totally ROCKED his first marathon!!
      I know he was freaking a bit when he called me because I really was falling apart. But he always knows exactly what to say to get me focused again. :)

  10. says

    I knew you could…but I picked mile 22 because I knew that would be where you would want to stand if I was the one running where there was just over 15% left to go, your mind starts to say f%#k-it and your body is so fatigued that it gives into your head. I knew you would need someone to snap you out of your own head…
    Yay! you did it! So, what’s next on the bucket list? (ride the PMC with me and the rest of Team Kermit?)

    • Kelly says

      The wheels are turning…..

      Lisa, what would I do without you?? Crash and burn I think…

      Thank you for EVERYTHING. You were with me every step of the way.

      Love you!

  11. says

    I was crying reading this post – Great job!!!!!
    I am a “runner” too, although I only do about 10-12 miles a week. But I like it. One day I hope to run longer races. I’ve only done 2 5k’s. this was inspiring. COngratulations!!!!!!
    And that’s so cool you used to live here in The good ‘ole NEPA!!!! How long ago? I’m looking forward to learning more about you!

  12. says

    Wow, was laughing and crying whilst reading your post. Congratulations and well done! I am a mom and am about to embark on training for my for first marathon (actually ultra-marathon, 50km)

  13. Leah @ LeahMarieV says

    I love this!! I am starting my first half marathon training tonight and I am scared to death! Thanks for the inspiration, one day I MAY have enough courage to do a full..

  14. says

    Thanks for the inspiration! I ran my first half marathon last summer and a full has been on my to do list. I had encouraging updates from fb friends as I ran too and it was very helpful. I have only started running passively these past few years. Looks like I need to start training and cross it off my list. Thanks for sharing


  1. […] your scrutiny? For Kelly from Mom Got Blog. I only recently ‘met’ Kelly when I read how she ran a marathon, and was touched by how she asked her readers to ‘claim’ a mile each, to help inspire […]

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