Things got off to a rocky start here in New Orleans when I found myself huddled, a miserable shivering wreck, on the bathroom floor at 2 AM, cursing the room service club sandwich I’d ordered back when the contents of my stomach were still on the inside of my body. I truly thought I wasn’t going to be able to do the race, and I wept, piteously, into the bathmat.

I somehow managed to rally when my alarm went off a few hours later, until I poked around for my wallet and discovered it was MIA, at which point I fell into a deep terrified pit of despair, remembering the hellish nightmare when I lost my wallet in Austin last year and wondering just how in blue fuck I’d managed to repeat that kind of stupidity. I was on the verge of calling the local cab companies, thinking it must have fallen out of my backpack while I was en route to the hotel, when during one of my frenzied pacings around the room I literally stubbed my toe on it from where I’d apparently tossed it on the floor the night before.

Pro tip: if you’re thinking of running your first half marathon, I really, really don’t recommend an exhausting pukefest the night before, then a full blown panic attack the morning of. Just a little piece of advice from me to you.

I’m happy to report things improved after that, thank god. I walked to the starting area with Katie, Danielle, and Erin, and it was amazing to see so many people milling around—the race was much bigger than I’d imagined it. (I think something like 18,000 people ran today.) It took 45 minutes from the time the gun went off for our group to actually get to the official start, and I’ll know this for next time: there is plenty of time to visit the porta-potties.

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The race itself was . . . man, I don’t even know how to describe it. It was wonderful, it was hard, it was fun, it was grueling. I loved running through such pretty streets, I loved all the fantastic people cheering us on. I felt okay until the last few miles, and the last mile in particular was a bitch. I tried to pick up my speed but I just couldn’t, I was running on fumes and the repeated mental mantra that it would all be over soon.

I didn’t stop, though, aside from a couple speedwalking breaks at the water stations once I realized I couldn’t run and drink from a cup at the same time.

My final time was 2:17, and I crossed the finish line exactly how I’d predicted: hurting, but so happy. Katie took my picture for me:


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Riley will be glad to know that yes, Mommy did in fact get a medal. Never mind that everyone got one, okay?

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As far as things I do recommend when it comes to preparing for a long race, I heartily endorse putting your name on your shirt, even if it makes you feel like a total cheesebag. Because people yelled “Go, Linda!” at me, and that. Was. Awesome.

After we’d taken a shuttle bus back and cleaned up a bit, a bunch of us went and had an astoundingly delicious meal at Acme Oyster House. I got to spend time with AB and Eliza, whom I haven’t seen since Journalcon in . . . what, 2003, or some such craziness. Oh, I was in such good company today.

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Photo ganked from AB’s Twitter: me, AB, Erin, Alice, and Katie. Please note how everyone’s hair looks lovely while mine lurks, a matted rat’s nest of post-race horror, under a hat.

We ate until there wasn’t room for a single more bite, then we went and got beignets. My god. Heavenly.

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I’m so wiped out (and, um, FULL) I plan to crawl into bed soon and sleep for at least 12 or so hours, then tomorrow I’m going to explore the city a bit. I’m feeling like eight million blistered dollars, my friends, and I cannot thank you enough for all the encouragement you’ve given me, here and on Twitter. It made a difference, it really did.

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you. So you know JB’s big fight last night, well, he knocked the guy right the fuck out in the first round. It was the best fight of the night, according to the folks watching. How about that?

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Meggan
Meggan
12 years ago

You are fantastic! I’ve been watching your Twitter feed all day thinking good thoughts for you! Next time, come to San Antonio. I live near the starting line..you’re more than welcome to stay at my house.

ginger
ginger
12 years ago

Awesome! Congratulations to you and JB!

marilyn
12 years ago

Congratulations!!! You’re amazing and you’re in New Orleans! Holla!

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Fantastic! Both you and JB are AWESOME. I am proud to read your writing. :)

Erika
Erika
12 years ago

Congratulations on your race! And I’m not surprised about JB’s fight. His opponent didn’t stand a chance against a man who can jump SOOOO high. I know that really has nothing to do with it, but I’m so impressed by the jumping. :)

Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

Congrats to you and JB! You guys are awesome!!

kathleen
kathleen
12 years ago

a million congrats to you and JB!

Jae
Jae
12 years ago

Hooray for you both!

Gonna start couch to 5K on Monday as soon as my Frees show up…

elizabeth
elizabeth
12 years ago

You guys are my heros!

Mary
12 years ago

Badasses, the both of you.

Connie
Connie
12 years ago

You and JB kick ass!!

gigi
12 years ago

AWESOME! You almost make me want to give up my couch potato lifestyle! Seriously-way too go for the both of you!

justmouse
12 years ago

woot! congratulations to both of you! you guys are such an inspiration. :D

Kristin
Kristin
12 years ago

Congratulations! I couldn’t wait to hear all about it. I’m running my first 25K this spring and I’ve been reading your training posts. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

P.S. That shirt was adorable!

Kristin C.
12 years ago

You should be so proud of yourselves. Your kids are going to grow up so strong and so brave. Congratulations Linda & JB!

Noemi
12 years ago

YAY!!! I am so so happy for you, and if it’s not too strange to say, so very proud. You inspired me to complete my first half marathon, and it was such a wonderful experience, I couldn’t wait for you to have the same feeling once you crossed the finish line. Thank you so much, Linda, and congratulations on a job very, very well done.

Starr
Starr
12 years ago

A HUGE way-to-go! to both of you! That’s totally the shiz! Not to mention, you’ve both probably improved your likelihood of surviving the zombie apocalypse by 10fold! I’m moving to your neighborhood, come Zday! LOL

cindy w
12 years ago

Congratulations on finishing! That is awesome! Woot!

And FWIW, you mentioning Acme Oyster House & beignets just reminded me of reasons why I’m happy to be going to New Orleans next month. (It’s for a family reunion thing, which would normally be groan-worthy, but OMG the food! Yes, I will totally get on a plane with a 3 year-old for some damn fried oysters!)

honeybecke
honeybecke
12 years ago

You totally punished that half marathon Linda! I am so very proud of you. I loved your shirt idea too, very clever. Your hat is adorable, by the way.

Stephanie
Stephanie
12 years ago

I am so proud of you! You are awesome. Enjoy your time in New Orleans. And congrats to JB!

Jill
Jill
12 years ago

You ROCK!

Tia
Tia
12 years ago

You guys rock!

Jen - Mom of 4
Jen - Mom of 4
12 years ago

Congrats! I’m so happy for you (and now totally worried for my race in August – I now know I will be puking all night!)and I’m so glad that everything went the way you planned (after the hellish morning!). And of course, JB ROCKS! Was there a video of the fight? If so please post!

Marie Green
12 years ago

Wowza, Linda. What a fabulous- in so many ways!- day! I’m so, well, PROUD of you, which is weird b/c you’re not my kid or anything. But it’s been so cool to hear about it all.

Also, go JB! =)

Shannon
Shannon
12 years ago

I feel like a proud mama hen. you are freaking A-MAZING. Congrats….you so totally rock!

Cindy in AZ
Cindy in AZ
12 years ago

OMG! I don’t know if I would have been able to do that race after heaving my guts up the night before. But I guess you wouldn’t have to worry so much about having a full stomach/colon? Anyway, You both did good and I am so proud of you guys! Congratulations!

jen
jen
12 years ago

Congratulations 1,000 times over. You rock!

Christine
12 years ago

WOOO! Go Linda! I am so very happy for you! And JB rocks the house, too. Nice job, both of you! :D

Kathleen
Kathleen
12 years ago

CONGRATS!

wordygirl
12 years ago

WOOO! So damn proud of you, Linda! Now, go make sure that New Orleans never forgets the day YOU came to town! ROCK ON!!!

silene
silene
12 years ago

Congratulations!!! I hope you always remember this feeling. You continue to be a HUGE inspiration for my own fitness journey!

pam
pam
12 years ago

Awesome! Can I tell you without sounding too creepy that I was totally looking for you all day? Of course, you finished 45 minutes before me, but damn, I wish I’d known you were in the corral in front of mine! (You should be glad I didn’t know, I think. Weirdo.)

Anyway, it was a gorgeous day and I beat the couple from Biggest Loser. So I am happy. :D

Shawna
Shawna
12 years ago

Yay for you and JB!!! Congrats!!!

Michelle
12 years ago

GO LINDA!!!!! Wow.You are even more badass than I thought. (And, for the record, I thought you were right up there with Chuck Norris in terms of meeting every challenge you encounter.)

So….when ya adding the 26.2 notch to your belt?

SJ
SJ
12 years ago

You are such an inspiration to me, you have no idea – and uh, I don’t even know you. I did briefly say ‘hello’ in Chicago last year (but yeah total stranger here) saying that I’m so very happy for you (and for JB – way to go dude!) and so very proud. You totally rocked New Orleans! And in great company I must add…

Have fun in NOLA. One of these days I’ll make my way down there myself. Who knows, maybe for a 1/2 marathon…

Kate
12 years ago

Linda, I was keeping my eyes peeled for you today too, just so I could tell you what an inspiration you are. I signed up for the NOLA half after you did – my first half ever. When I started training, I couldn’t even run three miles without walking. But I carried through and ran the whole thing today, finished about 30 seconds before you did (although I wasn’t sick last night!).

Good job and you are awesome. Have fun tomorrow – we’re leaving on Tuesday too, so I’m hoping it won’t rain ALL day.

B
B
12 years ago

Good on ya, girl.

Jessica Ashley (Sassafrass)

Ahhh, you’re inspiring me. Especially with the panic and the puke.

I think you’re pretty much a rock star right now.

Bridget
12 years ago

You and JB are freaken rockstars. Awesome job.

Sarah Lena
12 years ago

So incredibly, utterly proud of you. Your perseverance and determination are just .. well, I wish I had just a fourth of it.

Hope you have a fabulous time down there!

Kate @ Life As I Live It

You are the Dynamic Duo if there ever was one! Giddyup.

And I’m with Noemi…you have been such a huge inspiration to be personally that I did two half marathons last year, mainly walking them. But THIS year, I intend to run the entire thing. (I’m doing the Seattle RnR again, btw…you should too!) And like another Kate said, I too couldn’t wait for you to have that feeling of the crowds supporting you, and crossing that finish line. (I’m like, TOTALLY, stealing your idea of putting my name on my shirt.)

So, SO proud of you and your effort. And JB too. Truly, what great examples you are setting for your boys about how to be strong and tackle challenges. Congratulations to you both!! (And cyber hugs from B’ham, in a totally non-stalkerish kind of way.)

elz
elz
12 years ago

Congrats to you both. I just finished my first 10k and wonder how am I going to make it to my half?! I love the idea of putting my name on my shirt; the encouragement would make a huge difference.Congratulations again.

Alina
12 years ago

Yay Yay yay!!! Congratulations to you both. There’s nothing like overcoming and finding yourself at the other side. (Metaphorically, of course. I know you’ll be running full-tilt toward the next goal.) High fives to both you and JB.

Faith
Faith
12 years ago

This sounds so dorky, but I’m so proud of you!! I remember you posting about committing to the race and being so scared about how much work it would be, and I’m really impressed that you DID IT!!!

divrchk
divrchk
12 years ago

A huge congrats to you and to JB! Wow!

I do have to say that the fighting thing freaks me out. I think about the dude’s family that had to hear that their guy got knocked OUT! Yikes! But, you seem cool with it so rock on :-)

6512 and growing
12 years ago

Congratulations, I am super-awed. And my goodness, you are gorgeous.

Katherine
Katherine
12 years ago

Dayam! I was prepared to be impressed with just the race itself, but after the puke fest and panic? Super impressed. Thems some fine cahones you go there. Good for you.

tanya
tanya
12 years ago

YAY!!!!!!!!!!! So proud of you and all your hard work! And also for JB too. What a great weekend.

Cora
12 years ago

Congratulations!! That is so awesome. I grew up near New Orleans and I love that city. I bet running in it would be inspiring and beautiful. Also? I love beignets. :)

serror
serror
12 years ago

Awesome! Way to go Linda! And JB!

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