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.

nola_ladies
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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robyn
12 years ago

Awesome! I have run a couple half marathons and though I’ve felt like puking *from nerves* beforehand I can’t imagine actually puking from sickness and still going forward. Really, really impressive. Congratulations!

Michelle Salz-Smith
12 years ago

Congrats! Your story made my day and like always made me laugh and forget my nonsense troubles for a bit. Thanks!

Erin
Erin
12 years ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I’m running my first half in May, and I’m feeling like it’s a terrible, stupid gargantuan waste of my money and time. I needed this perspective! Now I just need to get to be able to run outside… damn Iowa weather!

Joanna
12 years ago

Yay! Congratulations to both of you!

Philos
12 years ago

So, a great weekend for All & Sundry?

I hope you saw my congratulations on Twitter, the message has mysteriously disappeared from my own feed and I am puzzled. Anyhow, congratulations once again!

Fi
Fi
12 years ago

Well done! xxxx

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

Awesome. Just AWESOME!
Could you be any cuter? I don’t think so! I love N.O. but haven’t been back since the flooding.
You and JB both ROCK! And damn ya’ll a little bit scary too!
While he’s holding off the zombies, and fighting them off, you are like the wind with a boy under each wing! I’m liking the image actually, lol!

JMH
JMH
12 years ago

You are great and such an inspiration. Thanks for all of the great running posts…they have motivated me to try a 10K this summer!

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

Are you KIDDING ME? You ran that whole em-effer after puking your guts out? YOU ARE A SUPER STAR.

Seriously.

That’s it. I officially have NO EXCUSE today. I will work out. Thanks.

Christine
Christine
12 years ago

AWESOME! You and JB both! The look on your face when you are holding your medal made me tear up a little. So, so happy for you, Linda! You are amazing – not just for running the race and finishing but for doing it after being sick as a dog just a few hours before.

You are an inspiration!

Jennifer
12 years ago

I lived in Nola for a few years. Your pictures make me miss it something horrible.

Congrats on the big race. You are such an inspiration to us all!

Great job Linda!!

twojams
twojams
12 years ago

Congratulations on such a great accomplishment, especially after the rough week (and night!). Amazing!

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

Oh, SO AWESOME. SO. Congrats, congrats congrats. You worked your ass off for it, and you’ve earned every second of the awesome you feel.

Funny name on shirt story: I was running a race once, and my brother hopped off the sidelines to run a few miles with me. Everyone was cheering “Go Liz!” as I ran by, and he finally looked at me and was like “My GOD you are a total rockstar!! How do you know everyone!” It took me a second and then I just pointed at my shirt where I had “LIZ” written in like, 52 pt font.

I really wish I’d never told him. It would be great for him to just go through life thinking his sister is immediately recognizable to thousands of people in a strange city.

Shanna
12 years ago

Congratulations!! That is AWESOME!

Michelle
Michelle
12 years ago

Go you! You are totally awesome. I loved your story, so inspiring and way to go JB.

Jem
Jem
12 years ago

Awesome work, Sundry and JB!!!

H
H
12 years ago

Awesome!

Jeanette
12 years ago

Good job to both of you!

Lori
12 years ago

Congratulations! This is the progression: half – full – half ironman to full ironman. You’ll be there soon.

And the name on the shirt thing? Great until you fall apart at mile 23 and the #$#$% crowd starts going: hang in there Lori, not much further, you can make it. Never doing that again.

Stephanie
Stephanie
12 years ago

Nice job!!!!! I am so impressed you ran aftewr puking, i ran my first half yesterday after a craptastic night of sleep but i can’t imagine doing it afetr puking. It’s a fanfriggintastic feleign when you cross that finish line! Love the shirt on the name idea… hope you slept alot last night and have a great day today!

Emma
Emma
12 years ago

Yay! Congrats! I too, was hoping I’d run (not literally) into you yesterday, but then I never quite figured out what I’d say to you in my head, so it’s a good thing…you would have had some sweating, drooling, blubbering stranger in front of you had we met. I hope you enjoy your day today in NOLA too, hope the rain holds off.

So, what’s next…?

Korinna
12 years ago

Holy Moses, he *knocked* him out?! Way to go.

And you? With the running? Nicely done. Nicely done.

Cara
12 years ago

Linda and JB = super couple. Awesome. Everyone who can finish those damn things deserves a medal, so Riley is right.

I’m glad you put your name on your shirt. I was ‘official cheerleader’ for a friend when she was running marathons (New Orleans was by far the most fun, by the way) and I loved being able to cheer for people by name. If I ever do it again, I’ll put my name on my shirt, too. I wore a Georgetown sweatshirt for the New Orleans marathon and realized some of the runners (the ones with some breath in their body) had fun calling back to me by “Georgetown.”

Amy M.
Amy M.
12 years ago

Congrats to you both! What an accomplishment!

Christine
12 years ago

Yay Linda! Yay JB! Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Andrea (@shutterbitch)
12 years ago

Congratulations! You rocked it. So when’s the 26.2?

Also, add my congrats for JB’s success as well. That’s gotta feel good to knock someone out.

You both are so inspiring.

Nolita Morgan
12 years ago

So proud of you! Congratulations!

Mel
Mel
12 years ago

Congrats to you both!!!!

Redbecca
Redbecca
12 years ago

Congratulations! (and I can I say I think you are the most adorable of the lot in that photo, so there)
And congrats to JB, too. I hope someone got that on film!

Angella
12 years ago

Yay! SO proud of you! And JB, too.

You look positively radiant.

Melissa Bartoli
Melissa Bartoli
12 years ago

Congrats to both you and JB! Enjoy New Orleans and remember to stop back at Cafe DuMode…..those amazing beignets cannot be found anywhere else! In my opinion, at least…

Kate
12 years ago

Congrats to both you and JB. What awesome accomplishments!

Holly
Holly
12 years ago

You are a family of bad asses! Congratulations to both of you!

MRW
MRW
12 years ago

It was awesome enough that you were going to do it and then to do it after puking and feeling like ass, amazing. Nicely done!

AndrewENZ
12 years ago

Well done to both of you!

Marty
Marty
12 years ago

My son, Andre, did the half-marathon too! He also said it was a gorgeous course. Check out his youtube video for the Groupon Challenge–you get to live free for a year on Groupon coupons–and if you finish, they give you $100,000. (Only one person selected) The video he entered shows him getting eyelash extentions! “Life is too short to have short eyelashes!”

Jessi
12 years ago

Well done! Wasn’t it the best feeling crossing that finish line?

Georgia
12 years ago

Congrats to both you and JB. You guys kick ass, both figuratively and IRL. Also, I want a beignet like WHOA.

Stacy
Stacy
12 years ago

Congrats on such a great race! And way to rally after a horrible start. Time to start thinking about the 26.2! You know you are thinking about it, right?;-)

Alice
12 years ago

you ladies were amazing!! i am so (almost) inpsired to train for a race! :-)

(also: your hat was much cuter than the still-wet mostly-unbrushed look i have going on there. and i didn’t even have the excuse of running a marathon first.)

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

Congratulations! So awesome.

sheilah
12 years ago

YAY for you!! And yay for JB! I am so happy for someone I have never met. You rock!

Regina
12 years ago

Woo Hoo! YOU ROCK!!!! (and so does JB)

tina
12 years ago

Congrats! You are an inspiration….(and so are the beignets!)

Mary Beth
Mary Beth
12 years ago

To you and JB-

Cool! That’s just so effing cool!

Kristin
12 years ago

You rocked it, lady. I can only imagine what’s next.

Lawyerish
12 years ago

You did it!! Fantastic job, Linda! I am amazed you did so well after being sick the night before. I hope you’ve been enjoying as many guilt-free beignets as your stomach can hold!

Also: way to go, JB! The Sundry household just flat-out kicks ass.

leigh
leigh
12 years ago

Congrats, Linda! Congrats, JB! So proud of you both.

L
L
12 years ago

Hey, way to go LINDA!

sharon
sharon
12 years ago

Well, it’s a very cute hat.

Also, glad to hear you conquered the 13.1. I conquered mine 5 years ago, and now, 2 children later, I desperately want to conquer it again. You give me hope!

Thanks, and congratulations.