Yesterday before I left for work I took a quick peek at my email and saw the following message from Eliza:

I think you should come to New Orleans on Feb. 28, 2010, and run the Rock & Roll Mardi Gras half-marathon. The race is flat, there are bands along the way,┬áthe weather should be decent, it’s in New Orleans, there’s plenty of time to train, and it’s my 35th birthday! Just an idea, if you’re feeling crazy!

I smiled, thinking that of course I couldn’t do that, but it was sure nice of her to think of me. Then I gathered my things, got in my car, and started my drive to the office with Visqueen’s Message to Garcia blaring in my ears.

About the time I was crossing the I-90 bridge, I pulled out my earbuds, because I wasn’t listening to the music any more. My brain was back in front of that email, worrying at it like a dog with a bone. In order to distract myself from the pointless exercise of dedicating a single molecule of effort towards considering such a crazy endeavor, I started thinking of my response.

Hey, thanks for the suggestion, but I can’t because . . .

Well, because I can’t. Duh.

At that point, I did something I’m not really used to doing: I started picking apart the reasons I couldn’t, in order to look for solutions.

I can’t run 13 miles. Okay, valid. Right now, I cannot run 13 miles in a row. I can run a 5K, but never once have I finished a 5K thinking, woo, if only there were another 12 miles to run! It’s more like, OH DEAR SWEET JESUS THANK GOD THAT’S OVER WHERE’S THE FUCKING BAGELS.

But I have until February 28, 2010, to train. That’s four months. I know from experience there’s a lot a person can accomplish in four months.

I don’t have time to train. Dude, when the hell am I going to find time to run all week long? I work outside the house, I have two demanding kids, it’s dark in the morning and it’s dark at night, I don’t have a treadmill. There’s no way I can run often enough to work up the endurance for a half-marathon. No way.

But wait. Let’s think about this. Most half-marathon training schedules involve four days of running. Three of those days are relatively short runs, with one day that includes progressively longer runs. I could do the long run day on a weekend when JB is home to watch the kids. The other three days, well, maybe I could run early in the morning before the kids are up. Or right after JB takes them to school, before I get ready for work. Or squeeze in a run during lunchtime at the office. Or try and finish my work day early and run before dinner.

We’re talking about 25-45 minutes of running, I think, for each of those three days a week. Can I find that time? Scratch that, can I make that time? I think I can.

I can’t run in the winter. It’s going to be dark. It’s going to be cold. It’s going to be raining.

This is true. But I can suck it up, can’t I? Get some winter gear and deal with the fact that warm August evenings only happen in, you know, August?

Yeah. I can do that.

I can’t afford to travel. We don’t have a lot of extra money right now. Plus, Christmas is coming up and that always sets us back. There’s no way I can swing plane tickets and hotel costs for this.

But I have always, always wanted to see New Orleans. JB and I have been talking about taking a trip together for months. His folks would be willing to stay with the boys. A flight costs about $250, and hotels aren’t nearly as expensive as I would have guessed.

In the grand scheme of things, will it mean more to me to save that money? Will I look back on this and regret having spent the cash to accomplish such a huge goal, while traveling to a part of the country I’ve always wanted to visit? Will I be sorry I looked at this opportunity and found my way to yes, instead of sticking with no?

I don’t think so.

I’m saying yes. I’m going to run a half-marathon in New Orleans on February 28, 2010. Oh my god.

Eliza, AB, Erin, and Dawn are going to run it too. Psuedostoops, Sarah Lena, and Regan are thinking about it.

Want to join us?

If not, is there something else you want to commit to that’s bound to kick your ever-loving ass, that sounds completely fucking impossible until you dig your way through to the YES that’s buried in it? Because I can tell you right now, it feels really good. Terrifying, daunting, and like adding another fifty plates to the ones already spinning . . . but really, sincerely goddamned good.

I’m going to do this thing. Training starts next week.


133 Responses to “Fifty more plates”

  1. Elizabeth on October 23rd, 2009 6:32 pm

    If you’re looking for inspiration to get you running (especially distance) I SOOO recommend this book:
    It’s part non-fiction adventure narrative, part straight running information and it got me back on the road after a 4 year (read: 2 child) hiatus that I thought was going to be permanent. Read the comments on the amazon entry – it’s a great read!

  2. Sarah Lena on October 23rd, 2009 7:42 pm

    Since I’m sorta ADD and wasn’t really keeping up with who’s in and who’s.. not.. can you make a big ole list and maybe we can get a block of rooms booked together?

    Also, I second the whole HIPS thing. Post pregnancy, OHMYGOD, HIPS with the hurting and the popping and the making me OLD and nothing I can do makes them not hurt and/or pop. But I’m also Italian and that’s where we store our extra fat, so maybe it’s the pressure of being laden with fettucini.

    The end and thanks.

  3. Debi on October 23rd, 2009 9:19 pm

    You can do it and you’ll be amazed that you waited this long to try it. Halfs are the best – easy to train for with a great sense of accomplishment. Good luck!

  4. Frannie on October 23rd, 2009 9:28 pm

    I’m expecting my first baby Feb. 5th so no-go on half marathons. But I HAVE done a half marathon (in high school, BUT STILL). I would love to run and be healthy next year. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  5. Rachel on October 24th, 2009 12:22 am

    You are the one who broke through the “I can’t” for me. I can’t use my age as an excuse, because we’re almost exactly the same age. Can’t use the fact that I have not been terribly athletic in the past, because you weren’t either, and look at you now. Can’t use the excuse that I’m too busy, because… you get the picture. I’ve been fighting it for a long time, but this past week, the switch finally flipped, and in four days of working out I’ve worked up to 45 minutes on my garage-sale-find elliptical machine. I actually enjoy it, and I thank you from afar every day for being the motivating force that got me to the place where I feel that awesome “I worked out hard today” feeling.

    Look at all these comments! Look at how many people are better off because of you! You are an inspiration to many, many people and I’m proud to “know” you.

  6. kath on October 24th, 2009 7:50 am

    I am not going to run a marathon in four months. But because of you, I am now exercising from time to time, I need to commit to regular exercise. Thanks for being so inspirational.

  7. Clover on October 24th, 2009 10:56 am

    You know you can do the marathon. You have proven to yourself and everyone who reads your blog you can do anything. You rock, you don’t let yourself down, you can do it if you WANT to do it.

    Driving with headphones? Still not cool.

  8. Dani on October 24th, 2009 11:53 am


    Reason # 46885958 why I think you ROCK!

    Go get it Girl!

  9. Roz on October 24th, 2009 3:06 pm

    Great job! I KNOW you can do it. Just delurking for a minute to tell you that even though you may have to TRAIN in the cold and the dark, it is just as likely to be 80 in New Orleans on Feb. 28 as it is 30! I spent 25 years there, and go back frequently. That is where I go to get away from the cold!! In fact it is probably MORE likely to be warm and gorgeous…I would HATE to run anything there in August. The heat and humidity will kill you!

  10. dichroic on October 24th, 2009 10:22 pm

    Here via TranceJen to say good for you. I have not (will never) run a marathon in New Orleans because it’snot my sport, but I have rowed two marathons in Natchitoches, LA – and I have to say there’s nothing like rewarding yourself afterward with some good Cajun shrimp. Or crawfish, if it’s the right season.

    By the way, I echo what Roz said about temperature: our marathons are in November, and while one year I rowed it in long sleeves and tights, another year I needed only shorts and a tank.

  11. Jess on October 25th, 2009 12:28 am

    Just sharing, but I ran my first Half Marathon beginning of this month – took 3 mos to train, and it was much easier than I expected. You’ve got it exactly right on the training – you’ll be surprised how fast your body adapts to the longer distances. My race time was faster than I ever expected, I had an amazing playlist on the ipod courtesy of some good friends, and the whole experience was cathartic and spiritual and amazing and a testament to what a person can accomplish once they decide to go for it. You will not regret this – what an amazing opportunity – my only advice – get good shoes!

  12. Jane on October 25th, 2009 2:21 am

    You are mental. In a good way, sure, but mental nonetheless.

  13. Caitlin on October 25th, 2009 5:29 pm

    Three things:

    1. February in New Orleans is so not February anywhere else, cold-wise. You’ll be fine!

    2. And it’s Mardi Gras! Funnest, most paradiest, costumiest time ever!

    3. If you do this I might weirdly come out with a big crazy sign like, “Hi Internet Lady! I’ve never met you but wow you’re in my city and gee shucks have a great run!” so don’t be weirded out if that happens ;-)

  14. Sarah on October 25th, 2009 6:05 pm

    If I weren’t having a baby somewhere around January 20th I would totally be there. I love how you picked apart your excuses. When I started running, a friend told me her mantra – there is no excuse good enough. Good luck! You’ve got quite a cheering squad. Keep us up to date on how things are going.

  15. jessica fantastica on October 25th, 2009 8:27 pm

    Yay! I am headed to New Orleans on Wednesday to celebrate Halloween there. I love New Orleans very much so I am glad to see you said yes.

  16. Lisa on October 26th, 2009 8:32 am

    Good luck! I’ve run several half marathons and two full marathons. There’s nothing like the thrill of accomplishing a big goal that you’ve been training months for.

  17. zenel on October 26th, 2009 9:49 am

    Although I read your blog often, I’ve never commented. I live in New Orleans and am excited about your decision to run the MG marathon. I’m doing it too and I’ve never even run a 5K. I’m training with the Team in Training group to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society in memory of a good friend who died of cancer and who walked the marathon in 2003. I start my training this week as I’ve just recovered from sinus surgery. GOOD LUCK TO YOU! Maybe we’ll meet when you come to N.O.L.A.

  18. Jenn on October 26th, 2009 11:16 am

    Awesome! Congrats and good luck!

  19. Amanda Strong on October 26th, 2009 1:26 pm

    I know I’m late to the party commenting here but seriously, you can do it.

    We have a huge marathon here in our fine city and I made it my 2008 New Year’s Resolution to run the half marathon portion. I started training in January. In Ohio. I ran in the snow and ice and slush and all before I learned why Under Armor is so fucking important (and why it’s so expensive – b/c it’s made from unicorn tears, it’s that good).

    I will tell you that I was so goddamn proud of myself (I trained solo and ran it solo) that there were a few times during the race that I started to cry and had to remind myself to not do that, dummy, lest I hyperventilate and screw it all up and by god I’d come this far, I wasn’t screwing it up.

    I had plans to run this year’s half but got knocked up then miscarried and knocked up again and it threw my training off. So? I’ve decided to set a loose goal to run it (just 5 mos. shy of giving birth at the end of this December). Did I mention that I haven’t run at all this pregnancy but instead took up swimming?
    So, you go girl!

  20. Kari C. on October 27th, 2009 11:09 am

    Oh yes, the is something I just started training for…the trivalley tri! Scasry as I haven’t swum in over 25 yrs, almost been that long for bike riding, and running? Uh, not with the size of the “girls”. WAY too uncomfortable! But, as I’ve sadi before, you looked like you had so much fun on your tri, that I decided, what the hell?!

    Adult swim class? Check, started last week. Just me, who has swimming experience, and 2 other ladies with NONE. He doesn’t quite know what to do between us all, as I threw him with my “My goal? Triathalon training.” And frankly, it was a helklish big hurdle just walking out to the pool in a swim suit! ack! LOL And have a co-worker, who does open water swimming, who is willing to take me out to Lake Washington starting in March, as I want as much experience with that as possible by July.

    Bicycle? Check. Got it last Thursday then attempted to ride to my swim lesson. Didn’t manage the steep hills, and my legs almost went on strike, but were on the move! But definitely need cold/wet weather gear for riding in.

    Running? Actively working to that point. Got the Ennell running bra for big boobular women, but it’s too big! Sent it back for an exchanged smaller size. And buying good running shoes this week. So when all of the gear is here and working, out I go with my iPod.

    Ass getting kicked? Check. But by gods, I will be in the best shape of my life, and 3 tris this summer/fall is a goal I intend to complete! Thanks again for the motivation! :)

  21. heather on October 27th, 2009 12:11 pm

    i’ve probably told you this sometime in the last five or so years that i’ve been reading your blog, but i think you’re amazing.

  22. Jenna on October 28th, 2009 6:26 am

    Damn you – I just signed up for the NOLA half marathon. :) Seriously, thank you for being an inspiration to us – reading your posts has pushed me to do things I’d normally never consider…

  23. Frema on October 28th, 2009 8:08 am

    Hooray! I’m new to running and finished my first 5K in September. I want to run a half-marathon next year (local, in Indianapolis) and have been debating which one to go for: a fall one so I can train in warmer months, or a spring one so I can funnel my energy into training right now? I’m still undecided, but I know I want to do it. Reading about your training will be a good motivator for me.

    Good luck, Linda! And be sure to share any tips and resources you come across along the way.

  24. Jessamyn on October 28th, 2009 1:56 pm

    You know, the possibility of doing something like this actually motivates me to start running, not because there’s any way in hell this is something I could do in 2010, but maybe in 2011? It would be something to work toward, anyway. And good for you, and yay for saying yes!

  25. ana on October 29th, 2009 11:32 am


    Maybe it’s the big-ass storm hitting Denver right now and causing cabin fever, but I’m on board. I don’t blog, I rarely comment, but I’ve kept up with your blog and some of those others for several years now. I’m barely at 5K-ability right now, but holy cats. Registering today.


  26. Lindsay on November 1st, 2009 10:19 pm

    Dude . . . just noticed ur response to my entry and I’m not sure how to interpret or respond.

    Was ur point that I’m a dumbass and ur a good samaritan (not that I’m saying that’s not the case).

  27. Admiration « moojoose on November 3rd, 2009 7:39 pm

    […] And then she posted this. […]

  28. jessica c on December 23rd, 2009 12:05 pm

    soooooo, couple months into training. how are you feeling? i just finished my first half on december 13, and i can 100% say that YOU. CAN. DO. IT. the adrenaline, the people you meet, the booze afterward make the 4 months of training and pain all worth it. good luck in NO – i’ll be doing my 2nd half that day in texas! :)

  29. Kristina on January 8th, 2010 3:09 pm

    Saw this ad today and thought about you guys running the NOLA half-marathon.

  30. Admiration. « m. lissa on September 21st, 2012 11:01 am

    […] And then she posted this. […]

  31. Admiration. « except that on November 14th, 2012 9:17 am

    […] And then she posted this. […]

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