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.

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Shannon
Shannon
14 years ago

Awesome! Sounds like a great motivator for you to keep on track, and you and JB get some couple time out of it! A win/win.

:-)

Valria
14 years ago

Linda you will Rock.
I did the Ronk’n Roll 1/2 in Seattle this June and If I can do it you can do it.

Besides you and JB deserve a weekend away TOGETHER. No hunting, no blogher, just together.

GO FOR IT. I got Dog if you need me to watch her.

Junni
Junni
14 years ago

I really love this post. I totally do that pick-apart-in-your-mind thing until I finally say ‘you know what? Screw it, I’m doin it!’

It’ll definitely provide you with one hell of a February blog post!

You are a badass.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
14 years ago

Linda, you are just awesome.

Julie
Julie
14 years ago

I couldn’t *walk* that far, but you are awesome!

Rachael
14 years ago

I’m so jealous you get to run your first one so soon! I have to wait until MAY to run mine. But as long as the wait is, it was kind of nice to know that I have so much time to prepare and to convince myself I can do this. Four months is perfect – the program I adapted was for 3 mo.

Scott Dierdorf
14 years ago

KICK. ASS. You are awesome. Please let JB know that this decision entitles you to purchase any and all running- and exercise-related clothing, gadgets, and doohickeys. It’s in the Constitution!

Also, please, get new shoes frequently. You do not want to train really hard and end up with shin splints two weeks before the race. They say to replace them every 3-4 months, but I vote for doing it sooner than that given the mileage you’ll be racking up.

Phoe
14 years ago

Woohoo!

I’m doing my first half next month. You can do this. Four months? No problem.

It helped me a TON to get all my runs onto the calendar. I’ve had to tweak my schedule now and again if something comes up, but in general it’s worked really well to have everything laid out.

She Likes Purple
14 years ago

I want to run a half marathon next fall, during The Blathering meet-up in Chicago on World Race Day. Scratch that. I’m COMMITTING to running a half marathon next fall.

Dawn
14 years ago

I almost talked myself out of this one, claiming I didn’t have time to train. But you’re right – you can run a half marathon on short weekday runs and the long weekend run. I can’t even tell you how excited I am – it’ll be my first big (long) race in a while and I MISS IT.

Shanna
14 years ago

YAY! I’m excited for you! I used to think the same thing “no way can I run 13 miles…” but then I started training and come January I’ll be doing the same thing!
Can’t wait to hear how your training goes – make sure to carry tissue when you run in the cold or you’ll have a snot-cicle LOL :)

Lawyerish
14 years ago

If I were not going to be a month away from giving birth, I would totally join y’all!

You can SO do this. The long runs for half training are not *that* bad, so you can totally get them done on the weekends, and squeeze in the others during the week whenever you can.

It’s going to be awesome.

Brenda
14 years ago

uh.ya. NO. I don’t run….. for more than 20 seconds. Now, if we were biking. I’d be there. Have a great Time. And I agree with the shoe suggestion. They say every 300 miles you should get a new pair.

pookahs
pookahs
14 years ago

Awesome! I don’t think I can do the February deadline, but what a great motivator. I need to get out and run more.

Thanks for laying out the whole thought process there, great post.

Also, just FYI, driving while wearing headphones in WA state is a $124 ticket. eek!

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/archives/154875.asp

Kelsey
14 years ago

Love this post – it’s a great goal. Back in my decidedly more fit college days I trained with friends for a March marathon. We trained in lots of ice and snow, it can be done!

Cara
Cara
14 years ago

I was the cheerleader when my friend ran the New Orleans marathon, and it was awesome. This is going to be so great.

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

Linda, you can do it! I just finished my first half-marathon (was always a 10K-er before that) and it was great! My longest run during my training was only 8.5 miles (my training plan got totally derailed by my undergoing surgery 4 weeks (and unable to run for 2 weeks after that) before the event). So, if I could do it, you definitely can do it!

Kate
Kate
14 years ago

YES! DO IT! I just did the VA Beach Rock n Run 1/2 marathon and it was exhilarating! I was never a runner until this year but I did it! AND like Amy, my training got derailed through out the summer due to injury, my longest run prior to the race was 7 miles. You can toootally do this!

pseudostops
14 years ago

I’ve looked into it, talked to my husband who thinks I’m nuts, and cleared the necessary day off with my boss: I’m in.

Victoria
14 years ago

I am so, so proud of you. I’m actually in tears.

Jurgen Nation
14 years ago

I DM’d you because I was embarrassed you’d be all, “I don’t want *her* to come,” but like I wrote: It’s on like Donkey Kong. I’m so in.

jen
jen
14 years ago

Oh I wished this worked into my training schedule! As of now, I already have a half marathon scheduled for April 10 to prepare for the San Diego Marathon on June 6. Plus February is our busy season. Hmm…

Gah, I have always wanted to see New Orleans!

Accidental Olympian
14 years ago

I’ve always wanted to do the alzheimer’s walk (not nearly as impressive as running) in Seattle in Sept but I’ve never given myself the push to actually do it. I know this is WAY farther away than your commitment to run in Feb, but here, right now I am committing myself to doing it next summer.

Someone note this. I will need evidence to keep me in line when the reality of it all rolls around this spring.

Good luck on your newest adventure! I can’t wait to hear all about it.

Stacy
14 years ago

So cool! I also ran the Seattle Rock & Roll half and never in a million years thought I could do it, but it’s SO fun with the bands and the adrenalin takes you through half the race, I swear.

Totally get the training part in the winter though — especially here in Seattle. A great training program that I used for the R&R in June was this one (http://www.halhigdon.com/halfmarathon/novice.htm)the Novice training schedule (previous long runs included several “I think I’m going to die” 5Ks. I think that it really starts around 12 weeks out, so you’re practically there already.

Good luck!! Wish I could join cause you guys sound like an awesome group, but our travel budget is getting wiped so that I can go watch the hubby run the NY Marathon next weekend.

jonniker
14 years ago

Oh come on, Meredith, why let something as ridiculous as a GIANT BABY UP IN YOUR SHIT get in the way of running a marathon?

I kid!

Linda!!! This is awesome. And I think the whole reflexive, saying-no thing is something I do too often — not just with challenges, but with stuff like traveling, or visiting, or being out with friends or just DOING something other than lying about on my fat ass.

I might not be super goal-oriented right now, but there are so many lessons I can learn, man. Saying yes is one of them.

(I’m not running a half-marathon, though. Not now, anyway.)

Also, pookahs, I kind of thought Linda meant that she was just, you know, playing music. You can listen to your iPod in the car without headphones pretty easily nowadays.

Stacy
14 years ago

The link got hosed on my comment:

http://www.halhigdon.com/halfmarathon/novice.htm

stacy
14 years ago

Good Luck! You can totally do this, you know.

FYI, there is a book called Four Months to a Four Hour Marathon, it’s pretty practical and written for the average person, not runner, you might wanna check it out.

Mary
Mary
14 years ago

GOOD FOR YOU! And off topic, I saw that someone offered to watch Dog, which makes me remember your post about Cat. I might have missed the update, but cat never came back? Boo, sad. :(

telegirl
telegirl
14 years ago

Wow! I’m so impressed, Linda. Like Lawyerish, I’m about to give birth (3 weeks away!) and I hope to get into my running again afterwards. I haven’t run regularly in quite a while and the weather down here in Bend (read: snow, ice, cold, dark) may make it difficult but my husband was sweet and got me Yak Trax last year so maybe it’s doable?! Wish me luck on that. I really need to do something because since I have gestational diabetes, I’m more at risk for regular diabetes. Plus, my husband and I are 39 & 40, respectively so we need to remain “young” for our little ones. It’s not their fault we didn’t meet until later in life. That will be our motivation: our kids. Oh, and the fear I’ll have to stick myself with a needle the rest of my life! :o)

.303 Bookworm
.303 Bookworm
14 years ago

Don’t you love that feeling you get when you make a decision, even if you have to work toward it, and you just know, in you gut, that it is the RIGHT decision for you? Might not be the easiest but it is RIGHT.

I enjoy and I seem to be missing that as I reflexively say ‘no’ to things I’d like to do. So thanks for giving me the inspiration to look at these offers and find ways to say ‘Yes’. Lets face it, it’s the special moments in life that we’ll look back on, not the humdrum that (in my case anyway) ties us down.

telegirl
telegirl
14 years ago

I wish your blog had “edit” on comments. Don’t know why this bothers me, but I’m 39, hubby is 40. Let’s not make me any older than I already am.

OK. I’m done.

Heather B.
14 years ago

I’m running one in a month. Let’s see how I feel after the first half-marathon before I commit to a second one.

But it is tempting. Very, very tempting.

Sara C.
Sara C.
14 years ago

I am so, so excited for you! My most recent 1/2 marathon was the San Jose rock ‘n’ roll one a few weeks ago. The bands were fun, and the race had the best starting line set-up I’ve ever seen (free bagels, bananas, water, salt packets, & enough bathrooms).

Before my first 1/2 marathon, in July, I used this training plan from Runners World http://tinyurl.com/67cvnh and loved it. Just 3 days a week, and I did the speed work on the treadmill at the gym (easier for me that way) and the long run on the weekend. It worked too – I finished the race at almost exactly my goal time.

steff
steff
14 years ago

That’s awesome! Try one of those vacation rental sites, maybe you could get a cool apartment for the week for the same price as a hotel.

Crysty
Crysty
14 years ago

You inspired me and my sister with your Triathlon experience and now I am signed up for a local tri. It feels so good to have a plan. Thanks for the inspiration!! You are awesome and motivational!!

Amanda
14 years ago

Yeah!

If it helps, my best friend has done a half marathon each year for the past two years, and she has THREE boys – twins and a singleton – but she’s seriously committed and I know you will be too!

Restless Mama
14 years ago

Best of luck woman! You can do it!

Lisa
Lisa
14 years ago

Oh, I am so, so thinking of doing this. I have done a half and two full marathons, but those were 7 years ago. I live in a neighborhood which has HILLS! MOUNTAINS! and they scare the bejesus out of me. But, I was reading one of your posts last week about setting goals for yourself and I suck hind tit when it comes to goal setting, so maybe this is the kick in the ass I need.

And, for what it’s worth, running in shitty weather ALWAYS makes me feel like, “Fuck yeah, put my ass in a Nike ad!” I loved coming home wet, and muddy because I was “that girl” who I used to see running in crappy weather and I would think “that girl” was hard core, and she was now, me.

Janssen
14 years ago

What a good decision! Can’t wait to hear about the training.

Kelly
Kelly
14 years ago

Yeah!!! I ran the Mardi Gras Half in 2008 – I had only started running a year before that and I managed to run (very slowly) the whole way. 4 months is plenty of time to train since you’re already in shape. I was 36 weeks pg last Mardi Gras so I didn’t run it, but I’m training for it this year. So happy you’ll be running it too! I know some great guesthouses for rent in the uptown area if you want to see what its like to be in New Orleans and not just the French Quarter.

pam
pam
14 years ago

ooh, maybe i’ll do it too. i’ve done it several times. i’m doing a new half marathon here next weekend.

and i can’t believe i had to read your post to hear my friend regan is coming to town.

yeesh! she’s in trouble now.

Michelle
Michelle
14 years ago

Wow. I mean….WOW! You are ridiculously motivating. My husband ran his first 5k a few weeks back and will be tackling his first half marathon next weekend. I totally support him, of course, but I also think he is INSANE.

As for me? Well….I doubt I could run around the block without passing out so I’ve been toying with the idea of running the same 5k he did. That gives me a flippin’ YEAR to prepare but, trust me, I will need that.

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

I can totally see someone in New Orleans saying no to a half marathon in Seattle in February, but a half marathon in sunny New Orleans with bands playing along the way and Louisiana food at the end? HELL YEAH.

Glad you found your way to yes on this one because it will be a memory maker for you and JB.

Plus this
http://mardigras.marathonhotelguide.com/

Coleen
14 years ago

I am… thinking about it. Gotta get back from the honeymoon first, and then you know, learn how to run, but it’s definitely tempting. I used to do 13 miles in my sleep training for the 3-Day… is half-marathoning any different? You know, besides the running part?

Would you have me if I said yes?

Notylia
Notylia
14 years ago

Yay! I’ve been thinking about doing this 1/2 too. I lived in NOLA for years and my husband still has family there, so it’s completely worth the trip for us. And you just blasted through all of my rationalizations for not going thru with the training, so count me in too :)

Kate
Kate
14 years ago

It’s seems sort of crazy, but I’ve been looking for something to train for, and it sounds fun, so I’m totally in. I think my husband and I will bring the kid, though. Is that a really bad idea? We haven’t left her yet.

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

you have inspired me – and I love NOLA! I also wouldn’t feel that guilty if I went on an eating binge after the race (yummm… gumbo, po boys, etc). Can you post your training schedule? I can’t start training for a few weeks as I had a c section on 10/5, but I’d love to have something to train for (and to do with my maternity leave time)!

Jennie, Auckland NZ
Jennie, Auckland NZ
14 years ago

Yay!!!! I did the AK (auckland down here in little old New Zealand) half marathon last Novemeber – I trained but not nearly as much as what I should have. On the day (IT.ALMOST.KILLED.ME.DEAD) but I ended up running the entire bloody thing in 2 hours 10 minutes – it is possible and by god it is a buzz, best thing I did last year by a long shot.

Not doing it again next month, still recovering after last years ……….. But good luck for your training, you’ll kick arse x

Wendy
Wendy
14 years ago

So I’m just one person who stumbled upon your blog about a year ago, and I live across the country from you and we’ll never meet, but reading your stories has motivated me to join both a weight loss competition and a beginner to 5K running program this week. So maybe, in a little way, knowing that you’re an inspiration to me and so many others who read your words daily might be enough to help push you through to your goal!
Good luck to you, good luck to me, and good luck to all of the other women out there setting goals and REACHING them!

charissa
14 years ago

Oh my goodness. Here I was feeling all proud of myself for toughing out 90 minutes on the yoga mat after an earlier workout class in the evening, and you’re kicking all goal-setting ASS by talking yourself into being your best. : ) Good for you!
I won’t wish you luck, since you don’t need it — after all, you have something much, much better: faith in yourself and awesome willpower.
Go kick (umm, more) ass!

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