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.

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
133 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sonia
14 years ago

Right on! :) Good for you!

Rachel
14 years ago

I’m in. As a PacNW transplant, I’ve run 2 in Vancouver, 1 in Seattle, 1 in Whidbey. It’s only right to run one back in my homeland.

(Four months is plenty of time to get goin!)

Kristina
Kristina
14 years ago

Sundry – You can totally do this and not just finish but FEEL GOOD and enjoy your accomplishment. Three days of running a week (2 short, 1 long) and you’re golden. I have a “busy women’s half marathon training guide” that I can scan and send you – I’ve used it and it works! Good luck and hooray 13.1!

Philos
14 years ago

Kick ass! Good luck to you.

Kate
14 years ago

{Chuckling…} Somehow I *knew* you were gonna end up at this point. With all that you have challenged yourself with, this is the next big challenge. And you’re gonna do GREAT.

Because of you, I got my arse in gear and did my 1st half marathon this summer – the Inaugural Rock ‘n Roll Seattle marathon – and then I did my 2nd one a few weeks ago, up here in my town. I’m not a runner and didn’t train to run the whole thing, but managed to run part of it, more the 2nd time. And boy, now I *want* to run a whole one. There’s nothing quite like it. And crossing that finish line? PRICELESS.

Wanna join me for the Seattle RnR the end of June 2010??

lisa
14 years ago

Hmmm….I think flying back from Japan might cost more than I’d like to spend. And I’d be all jet-lagged and groggy and trip over my feet (how’s that for an excuse?) But really- I’d entertain the idea not for the race but for the chance! to! meet! sundry! :)

Jen
Jen
14 years ago

You are AWESOME! I love how you came back to the idea and thought seriously about the reasons for “no”, then figured out how to make them “yes”. What’s the worst that could happen? You’d be really tired. You’d have to be rescued by the sag wagon or whatever it’s called. And you’d have a really great story to tell about it. Life is for living, and you are right in there living it!

Jem
Jem
14 years ago

Yay! New Orleans is SO awesome, I love it there. Congratulations!

Kathy
14 years ago

I’ve been following your blog for several months now (and like a dork, read almost all of your archives!) and you’ve inspired me.

I? Am not a runner. Never have been. I’m a swimmer, we’re different and, okay, a bit snobby about not being runners. Well, some of us, anyway.

But I’m going to do it! There’s a 5-mile race in Anchorage (150 miles from where I live in southcentral Alaska) next June and I’m going to do it!

I’ve never run that far in my life! I haven’t run a mile since middle school! In the ’80s! Also, I’m seriously out of shape and I have asthma and I have to quit smoking to do this. I’m also scared to death.

But I’m doing it anyway. Eeek!

Sunny
Sunny
14 years ago

That’s kick-ass! One of my best pals ran the Seattle R&R 1/2 marathon in June. I cheered her along at a few checkpoints and met her at Qwest when she finished. She’d never run more than a 5k prior to last June, but she followed the Hal Higdon novice plan (as linked above) and ran no more than 10 miles as her longest run before race day. She was scared shitless before the race and was totally positive she’d piss/crap/vomit/fall down along the route. She didn’t (thank god, I would have been forced to claim her!). She’s now “hooked” on running half-marathons and is even going to R&R Vegas this Dec. I’m so proud of her. The R&R atmosphere on race day was fantastic, even from a spectator’s perspective. I know you’ll “rock it”. Quite frankly, my ass is too big to consider NOLA in Feb, but I’m creeping along towards R&R Seattle next June. By then, you’ll probably run the whole damn thing! Way to go!

Bachelor Girl
14 years ago

Hell yeah, lady. You can do it.

regan
14 years ago

Last year I ran a half and full marathon so I know I can do it. I’ve just got to find those cheap flights you were talking about….

ElizabethZ
ElizabethZ
14 years ago

If you do this, I might finally be motivated to get on my elliptical gathering dust in the living room. I hope. Baby Steps. I know you can do it, and I am looking forward to reading about your progress. I bet it will be a phenomenal experience.

J.
J.
14 years ago

You can DO IT!!!! Just prepare carefully and methodically! I just ran the Amsterdam Half Marathon last weekend. Here are my tips:

1. follow a training program – I really like Hal Higdon’s half marathon training program.

2. Crosstrain! If you run every single day you will hurt yourself. Really focus on putting other cardio and strength into your routine: yoga, swimming, burpees, biking, 30Day Shred. I ended up running about three times a week – two short runs and one long one on the weekends, but overall I have been working out 6 days a week. And let me just say – I am not especially athletic! I just got into the swing of this!

3. Concentrate ESPECIALLY on strenghtening your HIPS and your knees around your IT Band – these get sore from lots of running, and in a race you do more dodging side to side than you’d think, so make sure your hips and knees are STRONG.

Good luck! It will be so much fun and you will feel so ACCOMPLISHED!!!

I am proud of you already.

lily
14 years ago

I will print out this amazing piece of self-motivation again and again- and it will be posted on every.wall.around.me.
You rock.

Baking Mad Mama
14 years ago

Fantastic! I’m so glad you’re going for it, it’ll be awesome. You’ve motivated me to start running again too!

Gnometree
14 years ago

Just to make you feel a bit better, the 5K is just over 3 miles, so you only have to do an extra 10 miles (not 12). And 13miles is just a bit more that 12 miles, and 12 mile is almost 20K – SO you can already run 1/4 of this race. Piece of piss really.

Eliza
14 years ago

J. speaks the truth about hips! That’s probably what was most painful for me when I trained three years ago … I think they just weren’t ready for those longer runs. Stretching the bejeezus out of them helped — not much feels better than a really good hip stretch during race training — but yeah. Hips. ANYWAY — I am really thrilled about this, clearly.

Christine
14 years ago

Dude, you’re the coolest. Seriously, you’re my adult hero. Go you!

Now should I start running so I can convince you to come to Philadelphia?

Cassie
Cassie
14 years ago

Good luck girl! Because of you I ran my first 5k in September. Because of you I get off my ass each day and work out…or at least think about it (had a one month lapse, but back at it). LOL Because of you I am thinking of running the 10 mile part of the Twin Cities Marathon in 2010. And because of you, I AM GOING TO DO IT! Thank you for being so inspiring!

Christina
14 years ago

If you have not looked into a training program yet Hal Higdon has great training programs for running races – that is what I have been doing for 5ks and they are perfect!

I am already committed (TERRIFIED) to running the Mini Marathon in Indy May 8th. Excited but scared and it is even further away.

I work full time and have two kiddos. Prior to June, I thought there was no way I could train for anything much less workout (which I was all WAIL poor me I am so fat and I have no time to workout… totally lying to myself of course!) but we have totally made it work.

When it was summer it was easier running outside, etc… but I took to running at the Y in the evenings after the kids are in bed. I usually leave by 8pm and if I do not lift weights I am usually home by 9:00p. If I lift weights, it is a bit later. Anyway, it works out.

You can do this – good luck!

ellbee
14 years ago

I need to do this. I ran two races this year (5k qualifier and the country’s most popular 10k–the Bolder Boulder) They were my first attempt at running and it was awesome. I was supposed to run a half with my running partner last Sunday–he did and I didn’t due to various shitty reasons. I’m mad at myself for giving up and think that running 13 miles two days after I turn 31 has a nice symmetry to it. N’Awlins, look out!

julia
julia
14 years ago

I *so* wish I could join you guys, but I can’t afford to fly to New Orleans, no way, no how. I did recently join my local running club, and committed to running the Baystate Marathon with them (held in my town, so no plane tickets necessary) next October.

You’ll do great, though, and I will be cheering for everyone from my house on February 28th.

Melissa
Melissa
14 years ago

So glad you are going to do it! New Orleans is a great place to visit. You’ll give us all inspiration…especially me in my third trimester sitting on my fat ass by then. You go girl!!!

Christy
14 years ago

No seriously, a friend and I were discussing this exact race yesterday at lunch. I ran it a few years ago and it was amazing! Since then, I have also had two kids (3.5 yrs and 14 mo) and haven’t run much since. I’m so in. If we were a football team, I’d totally huddle with you, slap your rear for encouragement and yell BREAK! It’s so on…

Eliza
14 years ago

I might have lied about the race being TOTALLY flat. There might be a (minor) overpass or two. But it’s MOSTLY flat. And I think people come to it to set PRs and such. So — just felt the need to say this. Pumped!

Ryan
14 years ago

I think that is great, i took up running about 7 weeks ago; we have our first 5K on November 7th. I am at 3 miles now so i needed a new goal so i am signing up for our Turkey Trot 10K on thanksgiving morning which also means i can eat whatever the hell i want thanksgiving day! My ultimate goal will be a 1/2 marathon…if i can set that goal, honey you can totally do it! you are very inspirational, i just told my husband the other day i wanted to do a triathlon because of you, you are so motivating for me! you can totally do this!

Jen @ lifelove'n'wine
14 years ago

You rock. Seriously.

Erica
Erica
14 years ago

Seriously so inspiring! Thanks, I needed that today.

Liz
Liz
14 years ago

Totally awesome. Half Marathons are my favorite distance to run, for all the reasons you mentioned: it’s challenging, yet the training doesn’t require massive rearrangements to your lifestyle.

Got get ’em, Linda. This is awesome. (And of course, now I’m wondering if I can join you …)

Kathryn
14 years ago

ME TOO! ME TOO! My friends and I have already made plans to do this as a birthday celebration for one of them who is turning 33. You will love New Orleans. It’s only a two-hour drive from where I live. I started training this week for a Jan 10 half-marathon, and I’m using the Hal Higdon 12-week plan for novices. GOOD LUCK!!

Laura
Laura
14 years ago

I am running the San Antonio R&R half in November. I didn’t know how I was going to run 13 miles until I joined our local Galloway training program. I do 2 short runs during the week, and a long run Saturday mornings. We’re doing 14 miles tomorrow at 5:30 a.m., to “tear down the wall.” I would have never imagined I could do it, but 4-5 months of training with a group has made all the difference in the world. 13 miles will be a piece of cake!

Amy W
14 years ago

I never thought I could run 13.1 miles either, but on November 8th, I am doing my first half marathon.

The training? I added a mile each weekend, so I am up to 12 miles for my long run this weekend. During the week, I do 3-4 miles 2-3 times a week. And it works. You will be amazed.

Good luck!

pam
pam
14 years ago

if the course is the same as it was two years ago, it will be completely flat. the overpasses eliza mentions are on the old course. i’ll only do it if it’s the new course, though, because it’s much nicer.

debra
debra
14 years ago

You can totally do this!!! I’m running my 3rd half marathon next weekend. I’m a 38yr old single Mom who still weighs about 15lbs more than I’d like. I run 4 days in a good week, 3 days in a more typical one. No problem!!!! And the money thing…my first was in Bermuda, have.never.regretted.it. EVER.

kate
14 years ago

good luck! Use priceline for hotels, they are all decent and you get great deals. Have fun.

Angie
Angie
14 years ago

You’ve inspired me! I’m going to do it too. I’m seven weeks postpartum and I need to get rid of this baby fat. I was already thinking about getting back into running, so your post was a great motivator. I have family in south LA so I can leave the kids with them and run with my husband. Thanks for the kick in the butt! Maybe I’ll see you there!

Jilian
Jilian
14 years ago

You will not be sorry!! I’ve run 5 of the Rock n Roll events (some multiple times – 9 total) and they are amazing! And man… crossing the finish line. No experience like it. Especially when you are with friends!

Beware… when you run more than one of these events in one year you get special medals (http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/heavy-medals)… it’s addicting :)

I really like Hal’s training plans. You’ll be ready in 12 weeks. (http://www.halhigdon.com/halfmarathon/novice.htm)

Andrea
14 years ago

You = badass.

And it’s funny how thinking “I can’t” is the default for a lot of us. Well, I applaud you for questioning the default.

marathon
marathon
14 years ago

You can absolutely do this! If you want, email me and I’ll send the training plan I used for my first half marathon. It’s a realistic (and fulfilling) goal filled with curse words. I’ve done 3 half-marathons now and can’t wait for my next. Let’s see…a Feb. trip someplace warm…I may just join you guys.

Laurie
14 years ago

Half way through this post I was thinking, I hope she makes this a call out to all of us kinda thinking of embracing running and you did! I live only an hour away and I could do this, right? New Orleans is beautiful. I hope you love it.

Lo
Lo
14 years ago

That’s awesome. I love the behind-the-scenes view of how you motivate yourself, very useful for folks like me still looking to get out of “I can’t”!

Lizzie
14 years ago

I ran my first step ever in February so that people would stop asking me if I was pregnant again and I’d have to stop saying “NO, IT’S FREAKING LEFTOVERS FROM LAST TIME.” I now run 3-5 miles 3x week. I’m thinking I need a goal, though, and a half marathon cuts it, I think… I’d like to hear about your training schedule, since you seem to struggle with running like I do!

Stacy
Stacy
14 years ago

I just did the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco last Sunday. It is totally doable! I’m turning 40 next month, have 2 small boys (5 and 2) and an understanding, helpful hubby. You are in much better shape than I am so if I can do it, you can! Four months is a lot of time. I started my training in August so that was less than 4 months. I did it through Team In Training but you can look on Runner’s World website and find a training plan there. Good luck!

allison
allison
14 years ago

you ROCK. I love your description of the “yes buried in the no” — totally awesome.

Mine is in building a website business to do from home while I learn to be a mother starting in March. Wow.

Thank you!

pookahs
pookahs
14 years ago

Jonniker-
Sundry wrote “I pulled out my earbuds” which is what I was referring to. But maybe I am dense and they are metaphorical ear buds. :)

I trying to find issue or nit pick, just giving a heads up. I would personally HATE to get a huge ticket for rocking out to music. I know someone who has been ticketed for wearing their ipod earbuds while driving on I-90 (same stretch of road Sundry mentions) Thats all…

Clover
Clover
14 years ago

wait, you drive with headphones in? Isn’t that bigtime against the law? And dangerous?
Like bridge traffic isn’t bad enough… oh Sundry, I do love you, but not okay!

Lindsay
14 years ago

Dude,
I’m in. I’m doin’ it. I’ve pissed out of training for two half-marathons, and I’m out of excuses.

Also 2/28 is both my brother and mom’s birthdays. My brother passed away on his third birthday from complications related to Downs Sundrome and my mom is currently battling a terminal illness. I can’t think of a better way to show them the strength that both of their fights have given me as a person.

Oh, and the benefit of uninterrupted sleep, and perhaps even six, away from the pitter patter of two nocturnal toddlers is also pretty appealing :-).

Maybe we can scoop one another off teh pavement.

Thanks for kicking my ass into this disaster-in-the making.

Lindsay
14 years ago

Oh and that would be sex, not six . . . you know it’s needed when you’ve lost the ability to spell it.

Sundry
Sundry
14 years ago

GROAN. Listen, my crappy earbuds aren’t *nearly* as loud as my actual stereo, so consider me a good fucking Samaritan. I have never once allowed an ambulance to get up behind me while I blissfully rocked out.

PS: U R FOCUSING ON THE WRONG PART OF THIS ENTRY OMG