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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Carrie
Carrie
12 years ago

Holy million comments batman. I think you’ve got some support here! Good luck Linda.

The song that never fails to get me pumped to run is Headstrong by Trapt.

Ali
Ali
12 years ago

Stronger by Kanye West

sal
sal
12 years ago

If I had to pick *one* song:
Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys

But these never leave my running playlist:
Chosen Time – New Order
And Me – Beastie Boys
The Game – Common
Soon – My Bloody Valentine
Satan Said Dance – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
Los Angeles – X
Someone Great – LCD Soundsystem
New World Water – Mos Def

Sunday is going to be awesome. Looking forward to reading all about it.

jillian
jillian
12 years ago

Kick Drum Heart – the Avett Brothers

Pumps me up everytime!

Stacy
Stacy
12 years ago

Stronger – Kanye West
Mr. Hurricane – The Beast

Kate
Kate
12 years ago

Good luck Linda! My running playlist always includes Rage Against the Machine (Bulls on Parade) and Henry Rollins (Get Some Go Again, Illumination).

Kathryn
Kathryn
12 years ago

Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
Tiny Dancer – Elton John
Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

Good Luck on Saturday!!

Kathryn
Kathryn
12 years ago

Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
Tiny Dancer – Elton John
Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

Good Luck on Sunday!!

Laurelyn
Laurelyn
12 years ago

Rock Star by NERD and For the Girl by the Fratellis. Good luck!!!

ElizabethZ
ElizabethZ
12 years ago

I know you are going to rock this thing. I will be sending good thoughts your way on Sunday.

As if you need any more suggestions but some songs that always make me feel good/motivate me are:

Rio – Duran Duran
Take on Me – Aha
California Dreamin’ – M & P’s
Wild Horses – U2
Various Eminem numbers – I saw Lose Yourself on here many times, I agree with that one.
Burn it to the Ground – Nickelback
Free Fallin – Tom Petty
Boys of Summer – Don Henley

Annie Stevens
12 years ago

‘Brandy on April 28th, 2010 10:04 am
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.’

That was epic ftw!

My personal recommendation would be “Irish Blood, English Heart” by Morrissey – it always makes me jump up and down. That guitar! His voice! Can’t beat it.

Best of luck – because of you (and other motivations, such as being fat) I started running. Thank you so much! Rock on!

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

“All Right Now” by Free. It was the song the band at my alma mater played at football games when we got a touchdown, so it never fails to lift my spirits and often my feet.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Oh, and of course, GOOD LUCK! I am totally excited to know you’ll be doing something you’ve never done before, and meeting the person you were destined to be.

Bianca
Bianca
12 years ago

Town Called Malice by The Jam

The Metro by Berlin

Rebel, Rebel by (the one, the only) David Bowie

Vacation by The Go Go’s (you can dream about going on one after your marathon)

Knock ’em Out by Lily Allen (cracks me up every time)

God Only Knows by the Beach Boys (it makes me think of the special people in my life and that inspires me, even though it’s not really a “pump you up” song)

tanya
tanya
12 years ago

Hello Seattle Remix – Owl City
Viva la Vida for sure
Call on Me (remix) – Eric Prydz
Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap
Dancing With Myself
Switch – Will Smith
Release – Timbaland/JT
O… Saya – M.I.A. (Slumdog Millionaire)
The Walk – Imogen Heap
Everybody ona Move – Michael Franti
Let My Love Open the Door – Frampton
Pussy Control – Prince
Days Go By – Dirty Vegas

Good luck!!

sara
sara
12 years ago

The Black Album – Jay-Z

Steven
Steven
12 years ago

Taking the Long Way – Dixie Chicks
The Sandman – Metallica
One – U2

Good luck!

Claire
Claire
12 years ago

Talk like the- The Presets
Delurking to give you that!

Jessica
Jessica
12 years ago

The 2 songs that currently help me get through my long runs are one off the new Groove Armada called I won’t kneel & my all time fave for making me push it. Eminem’s Till I Colapse. Nothing like getting your inspiration from Eminem. Best wishes to you Linda…you have no idea how much you’ve inspired me!

Maria
12 years ago

I’ve been watching your progress in relative silent awe. Truly, good luck to you this weekend.

Muzzle – Smashing Pumpkins

My favorite.

Alex
Alex
12 years ago

Boom Boom Pow– Black Eyed Peas
Beautiful Day– U2
Better Things –The Kinks
She Will Have Her Way – Neil Finn

All were on my playlist for my first half marathon last year– and you are inspiring me to dream even bigger. Good luck, and have FUN!!

jobonga
jobonga
12 years ago

Florence + The Machine – The Dogs Days Are Over
It will make you feel like you are being chased but you are winning.

Emily
12 years ago

GO LINDA GO!!!! You’re my hero and you’re going to kick that marathon’s ass.

Songs: Where Eagles Fly, by Sammy Hagar; Nothing But Green Lights, by Tom Vek; Stronger by Kanye West.

Tia
Tia
12 years ago

Back in Black by AC/DC!
Well I’m not a runner but when I hear this song it makes me want to run :)
I honor of you this Sunday I’m going to do what I’ve been wanting to do since you started this running adventure. I will run. Not sure how far but I will do it. Best of luck my dear, you can do it!

SeriousMom
12 years ago

Walking On Sunshine

And I’m going to run Sunday too. Good luck! You can do it! woo hoo!!

Debbie
Debbie
12 years ago

“Rebellion” by Arcade Fire. Something about the beat always peps me up when the energy is lagging.

Good luck! You are going to do great. I can’t wait to read all about it.

Debbie
Debbie
12 years ago

I was going to ditto what others said about “Eye of the Tiger.” One of the cheering sections I ran through during an event was playing this and it definitely pumped me up (and made me a bit teary).

Maybe you can come up with a playlist of just songs you need to hear when you *really* need some help and a playlist for when you are in that zen state and just moving along.

Joe
Joe
12 years ago

My music might be a little different. I used to use some of these songs on long bike rides… 100+ milers. I had to have songs I didn’t mind having stuck in my head if the battery on my player died. But some of these are more recent than my riding days. Good luck, and listen to your body. Then tell it to go to hell.

Tourniquet – Evanescence
When the Weight Comes Down – The Tragically Hip
Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
How Bad Do You Want it – Tim McGraw
Animals – Nickleback
Speedway at Nazereth – Mark Knopfler
Half Way Up – Clint Black
She Didn’t Know – The Tragically Hip
Estranged – Guns and Roses

Laura in PA
Laura in PA
12 years ago

Good luck, and congratulations on everything you’ve done to get this far. I have a feeling this isn’t really what you’re looking for, but the first song that came to mind was “I am Singing” by Stevie Wonder. Such a happy song!

Nikki B
12 years ago

I’m so excited for you, and can’t wait for the race report! Kick some ass.

And listen to Banquet by Bloc Party.

Megan
Megan
12 years ago

Emminem’s Lose yourself makes me want to kick some tail!!! Sorry, I’m as work or else I’d say I’d like to kick something else.

Jo
Jo
12 years ago

Girls Just Wanna’ have Fun- Cyndi Lauper!!!!

Lauren Gregz
Lauren Gregz
12 years ago

Best of luck, Linda! You are beyond inspirational! As someone who also hates running I know the importance of a solid playlist. I like aggressive tracks to keep me moving. My personal favorite is “let it rock” by Kevin Rudolph and lil Wayne.

Tear it UP, lady! We’re all rooting for you!

Carolinabeth
Carolinabeth
12 years ago

Stronger by Kanye…Yes, he’s a crazy jerk, but just try to get through the song without putting on your tough girl face.

I’ll be thinking on you on Sunday. You’re an inspiration to us all!

Kim Hartman
Kim Hartman
12 years ago

Madame Helga by the Stereophonics, use it near the end, when you need a push from the great riffs that this song includes.

Great luck to you, Linda, for a marathon that you deserve and have worked so hard for.

Kick some ass.

Cara
Cara
12 years ago

Hey, if you go through these comments and make a big list of songs, would you mind posting it? No sense in us all doing it :)

Kelli
Kelli
12 years ago

Go Linda go!

Bedouin Soundclash – When the Night Feels My Song.
It always makes me smile, always makes me want to move.

Good luck on Sunday!

Chrissy
Chrissy
12 years ago

Baby, I’m a Star – Prince
Sexyback – JT
Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough – MJ
Firestarter – The Prodigy
More Human than Human – Rob Zombie
The Sound of Settling – Death Cab for Cutie
Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira
The Distance – Cake

Katherine
Katherine
12 years ago

Canned Heat by Jamiroquai.

Good Luck Lady!

Jamie
12 years ago

ooh, i am stealing all of these suggestions for my second half-marathon – my playlist is crusty and old (see: battleflag/lo fidelity allstars)…

My power song is, always will be, always has been “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC. My current second runner up (pun very much intended) is “Wake Up!” by Shooter Jennings/Hierophant.

m
m
12 years ago

Florence and the Machine “Dog Days are Over”

Actually include the lyrics:
Run fast for your mother run fast for your father / Run for your children and your sisters and brothers

Its such an amazing song her voice is FAB

Good luck!

EmilysHollow
12 years ago

This is totally cheeseball, but when I was training a while back, R. Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest” got me going EVERY TIME. I know. Lame. But it worked!

“Come on Eileen” was another fave, but not nearly as good as R. Kelly.

Mel
Mel
12 years ago

Good luck!!! I’m running with a relay team in the Pittsburgh marathon on Sunday – it’s only 4.3 miles and I’m all worried, I can’t imagine 26.2 :)

Lisa M
Lisa M
12 years ago

Try these, they *always* motivate me, all from Cherry Poppin’ Daddies (i know, ewww), album is Zoot Suit Riot

So Long Toots
Zoot Suit Riot
Ding-Dong Daddy of the D-Car Line
Mister White Keys
Brown Derby Jump
Dr. Bones
Master & Slave
No Mercy For Swine

Amanda
Amanda
12 years ago

First of all, I know you will kick ass. You are an inspiration to me, as I just started running and working out for the first time in a year and a half!

My suggestion is totally cliche and corny, but I LOVE Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. This is one of the few songs that I can rock out to no matter my mood or energy level.

Good luck! I’ll be cheering you on this weekend!

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

“Saturday Night Fever” by the Bee Gees!!!!!

Best of luck!!! XO

Kate
12 years ago

I don’t have any song suggestions; oddly I like running without music (I know, even *I* find this weird), but I wanted to wish you the best of luck on Sunday. Your journey has been such an inspiration!

Penny
12 years ago

Oddly, “Teardrop” by Massive Attack is always a good one for me. It’s not a fast song, but listening to the heartbeat that drums along in this song always seems to center me and gets me into a nice running rhythm.

Chels
Chels
12 years ago

Cake – Going the Distance

Seems very fitting does it not?

Andrea (@shutterbitch)
12 years ago

Mojo, by Peeping Tom.