It started with deciding to say yes to a challenge that felt impossibly out of reach, which led me to a beautiful city I’d never seen before and a finish line I never thought it would be possible for me to cross. A week later, I thought, I’ve come this far and learned so much about myself in the process—what if I kept going?

We leave on Friday for Eugene. The marathon is on Sunday. The marathon that I’m running in.

I pushed myself out the door a thousand times when I’d have given anything to stay home. I ran through wind and rain and dark night skies. I ran short, I ran medium, I eventually ran 21 seemingly endless miles, all in the name of preparing my body to endure 26.2. I spent money on tights and fuel belts and energy gels and music and hats and shoes. I got sidelined by painful injuries in my knee and hip and foot. I sometimes ran lonely; I always ran alone.

It’s been the hardest thing I have ever done, this training. A lot of it has been, in a word, miserable. I don’t know if I will ever want to do this sort of thing again.

But here I am, about to run a goddamned marathon. It’s not over yet, but I’ve put in the work to get this far and it is a nearly indescribable feeling. I read a quote once: “Out on the roads there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be.” I believe this is true. I believe these last several months of running have forever changed me. Or maybe just revealed what was there all along.

I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday, my friends, you who have helped me out so much with encouraging words and support from afar. Thank you for being such a positive presence in my life. Thank you for the kindnesses you’ve shown me and the advice you’ve shared. It makes a difference.

Now, assuming I don’t black out and die in a pool of my own vomit before I have a chance to make it past the audiobook section of my iPod and into the music, I need what can only be described as the World’s Most Epic Running Playlist, and here’s where you come in: what’s the one song that never fails to revive your flagging spirits, that you’d want piped into your head-holes to help stave off total physical collapse? The request line is OPEN.

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Paige
Paige
12 years ago

“Untouched” by The Veronicas. Love it.

Good luck this weekend! I’ve done two half marathons but have yet to work up the courage to attempt a full. You are an inspiration!! :)

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Rage / Bomb Track

Mimi
12 years ago

Ok, this is a totally corny pick, but it really does the job of pumping me up when I need it: “Hazel Eyes” by The Darkness. I challenge you NOT to pump your fist and sing along to the chorus.

Good luck to you, Linda. I’ll be thinking about you and cheering you on mentally!

Julia
Julia
12 years ago

Bad Romance by Lady Gaga (I know, okay, but I can’t help but lurve her)
Run for Life by Melissa Etheridge
Stronger by Britney Spears (Again, I KNOW)
Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional
And my new favorite song, which pushed me over the finish line at my very first 5K and may play on repeat over and over and over is:

Love and Memories by OAR (LOVE THIS SONG). The end.

Lauren
12 years ago

Color me impressed, woman! I can just about get through 30 minutes of Jillian Michaels! That said, Ballroom Blitz, either by Sweet or the Damned’s cover.

Amanda Blair
12 years ago

Black eyes peas, pump it. It’s very upbeat and just makes me want to get up and move every time I hear it.

Kat
Kat
12 years ago

“She’s So Lovely” by Scouting for Girls. Also “Mony, Mony” never fails to get me through the last few minutes of a workout.

Keli
Keli
12 years ago

Probably completely inappropriate for some people, but Prodigy – Smack my bitch up

Always gets me up this really steep hill at the end of my run.

aron
12 years ago

i have been reading your blog for a very long time and just wanted to stop by and say have a great race this weekend!!! i ran the eugene marathon last year and its a GREAT race, you will have a blast! the first marathon is SUCH a great experience, i am very excited for you :) soak it all up out there!

Becky
Becky
12 years ago

Fighter~ Christina Aguilera

Go gettem Linda….you kick ass

Molly
Molly
12 years ago

Bad Bad Boys by Midi Maxi and Efti

I wish you good running weather and know you have many fans cheering you on!

Ginger
12 years ago

It might be weird, but Such Great Heights by The Postal Service is my go to, kick it into gear workout song.

Ris
Ris
12 years ago

Hmm mine are SO dorky but they’re really upbeat and loud:
Eye of the Tiger
Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne (great pace-setter when you need a kick in the pants)
Single Ladies by Beyonce (I just think of how fit she looks in the video)
Hot Hot Hot (the remix from Bend it Like Beckham)

I could go on and one but I’m sure others will have plenty more suggestions.

Angela
Angela
12 years ago

You are awesome, and you are going to kick ass on this marathon!

This song is totally cheesey: Eye of the Tiger.

It has a great beat that you can run to around mile 25, when it feels like you can’t run any longer.

Good luck!!

Diane
Diane
12 years ago

What about good old corny”We are the Champions”? Does it for me!

Emily WK
Emily WK
12 years ago

“Painkiller” by Judas Priest. The drums get you moving, and the lyrics are about a robot who descends from heaven to help all of humanity.

Plus, Rob Halford screeching. Good times.

Brandy
Brandy
12 years ago

Yo Linda, I’m really happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Kanye West’s “Stronger” is one of the best workout jams of ALL TIME.

Sunny
Sunny
12 years ago

I’m lousy with song suggestions, but must say rock-the-fuck-on-with-your-bad-self! You’re going to kick ass.

Neen
Neen
12 years ago

Anything from Rocky.

Kristin
Kristin
12 years ago

“New York, New York” by Ryan Adams – there is SOMETHING about that song that is so energizing!

Good luck – I know you will be phenomenal in the race – because you are!! You are so inspiring to me down here in Mobile – I contemplated driving to New Orleans to cheer you on (probably strange, but not a stalker, I swear) – you really are an incredible, inspirational person – thank you for sharing your journey with the rest of us!

Sarah
Sarah
12 years ago

Check On It by Beyonce – always gets me pumped up for some reason!

Lots of luck this weekend!! Can’t wait to hear all about it! :)

Bree
Bree
12 years ago

I am a long time reader/lurker. I started running about 4 years ago and have enjoyed watching you accomplish your running goals. That said, I am also running my FIRST marathon this fall (Marine Corps in Washington, DC).

Here are my favs from over the years:
Stronger – Kanye West
Hung Up – Madonna
Its Raining Men – The Weather Girls (my husband always comments about this song when he borrows my ipod!)
What a Feeling – Irene Cara

Good luck!

Alex
12 years ago

I second the Postal Service.

Also:
Here it Goes Again, by Ok Go
She Said, by Brie Larson
Chinese, by Lily Allen
The World Should Revolve Around Me, by Little Jackie
Big Girl (you are beautiful), by Mika

GOOD LUCK! I know you’ll shine.

BB
BB
12 years ago

Know Your Enemy by Green Day is a good one. I wish you all the best, can’t wait to hear how it went.

Nick
Nick
12 years ago

I have to vote for “Idioteque,” by Radiohead, definitely there most pounding, beat-driven song. Good luck.

pickles & dimes
12 years ago

Good luck, Linda! You’ll do great.

I wholeheartedly recommend “Numb” by Rob Zombie. I require a serious beat when running, and this has a kick-ass, scrape-your-tongue-off-the-pavement beat with lyrics that only add to the awesomeness.

June
12 years ago

Go, go, go!!! You have really inspired me. (The Couch-to-5K is on my postpartum to do list, srsly.)

My go-to, upbeat, grins every time song: Manhattan Transfer – “Trickle, Trickle”

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Kick ass this weekend!!
I completely second the “Eye of the Tiger” suggestion… definite must for the playlist!

pickles & dimes
12 years ago

Sorry, it’s “Feel So Numb,” not just “Numb” by Zombie.

Nick
Nick
12 years ago

Oh and “Get Ready for Love,” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and “Atomic Garden” by Bad Religion.

Anne
Anne
12 years ago

Hit ‘Em Up, by Tupac. Angry=energized.

Nothing But Bonfires
12 years ago

“Love Me Like You” by the Magic Numbers — starts slow, gets peppy, gets peppier, gets slow again, then gets CRAZY FUCKING PEPPY PEPPY PEPPY PEPPY PEPPY to push you over the edge to the finish line.

beach
beach
12 years ago

Next to You by the Police

Jane
Jane
12 years ago

“Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes” by Paul Simon (Graceland album) never fails to put me into a great mood, energize me, and get me moving.

Best to you Linda! The fact that you have trained and are making the attempt makes you both insane and awesome in my book.

Cara
12 years ago

“Kings and Queens” by 30 Seconds to Mars
and
“The Adventure” by Angels and Airwaves

I love the way these two build up throughout the songs. Plus the lyrics are pretty fitting on The Adventure.

Amblus
12 years ago

My very, very favorite motivational workout song right now is “You Fucking Love It” by Dirty Pretty Things. Trust me, you will fucking love it.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

You are so awesome. It has so great to watch this whole darn thing go down. Thanks for sharing.

Alrighty then, music:

Current go-to: Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”

(heh. “current” I know, I know, but whatever: it is a FANTASTIC running song, and has been in my running rotation for years

I’d be remiss to not mention Stronger by Kanye — I am not kidding you when I say I listen to it on repeat for THREE HOURS of a marathon. Every time my iPod would move to the next song, I was all “Nope, not working, going back to Kanye.” Three hours. Not an exaggeration.

I also really love the Jay-Z/Lincoln Park mash ups – Numb/Encore being my fave.

Enjoy it. Seriously. You’ve done the work, the race is the reward.

Also: take an ice bath. For real.

Amblus
12 years ago

PS. KICK ASS this weekend, Linda!

LauraC
12 years ago

Have a great race! I did one marathon and that’s it. I’m proud of that marathon but I will not do one again until my kids are out of the house.

My current running faves:
Imma Be – Black Eyed Peas

Ring-a-Ling – also Black Eyed Peas. Only bc they say ding-a-ling over and over to refer to penises and that makes me laugh like a school girl.

Sexy Bitch – because that’s what I am when I’m out running

Whip It – classic awesome running song

9 to 5 – I love Dolly and this makes me think about my dream to walk away from my job.

Georgia
12 years ago

I’m stealing all these music suggestions, for sure. Before you run your marathon (yay for you!!!) I highly suggest you listen to a recent Radio Lab podcast on the topic of “Limits”. It’s pretty uplifting and educational, and it’s helped me on my (beginners) exercise routine immensely.

Best of luck! Hope you don’t poop your pants!

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

Oooh, also, recently I have been loving running to Van Halen’s “RIGHT NOW!” Seems appropriate, right?

clarabella
12 years ago

“Sabotage” Beastie Boys. Old Skool.

Gleemonex
12 years ago

“Panzer Attack” by The Cooper Temple Clause.

“John the Revelator” by Depeche Mode.

Kristi
Kristi
12 years ago

‘How far we’ve come’ by Matchbox 20 always works for me.

Good luck for Sunday!

Operation Pink Herring
12 years ago

Daylight, Matt and Kim
The entire Collision Course album that the commenter above metions (JayZ/Linkin Park)
Cosmic Love, Florence + the Machine
Heads Will Roll, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Diane, Guster
Bombs over Baghdad/The Whole World, Outkast

Good luck, good luck, good luck! I’ll be silently cheering you on on Sunday!

Jessi
12 years ago

You are awesome and you’ll have a great time!

No inspiring song suggestions, but when “Private Eyes” from H&O’s came on, I could NOT clap. And clapping while running is funny.

Kimberly
Kimberly
12 years ago

Restless by The Crystal Method. The beat works its way into your legs somehow. Have a great race and I hope you booked a spa day for the week after for some motivation too! (And Molly- Midi Maxi and Efti- I broke that tape when I was in high school I played it and rewound it so many times!)

Sara
Sara
12 years ago

The White Stripes–7 Nation Army
Good luck! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

Kate
12 years ago

How about “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor? Only find some kind of kicked-up disco dance version. :)

Go get ’em Linda.

sooboo
sooboo
12 years ago

Move Along by All American Rejects.

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