First things first:

race_dunzo

I’ve got a marathon medal. Sure, it says “Finisher” which is sort of like “Participant!” or “Great Attendance!” but what the hell, I have a MARATHON MEDAL.

I don’t even really know how to describe the race except that I had two very clear thoughts at two very different parts of the course, and they were as follows:

• This is one of the best experiences of my entire life
• This is the worst experience of my entire life

And it was, really. Both of those things.

I felt pretty good during the first half, strong and in good spirits. Then there was kind of a long dreary stretch along a highway that was boring and grueling, and just after that section, right when I needed it, there were my boys on the side of the road. Riley was waving like mad and holding up a sign for me and Dylan was perched on his grandfather’s shoulders and I totally lost my shit. It was just one of the most amazing feelings ever, being able to run up and hug them and have everyone tell me I looked good and they were proud of me and Dylan squealing and Riley saying “Mommy!” over and over. That was . . . well. I am never going to forget that, ever.

race_kids

race_thumbs

I picked up after that for a while and then there was a really awful section during which I kind of needed to go to the bathroom and then I really needed to go to the bathroom and then I was in dire fucking agony and desperately scouting bushes on the side of the trail and calculating over and over just How Bad Things Were and this lasted from mile 18 to 22 because there were no porta-potties for that stretch and it was totally my worst nightmare come true and I have no idea what my problem was because I never get those kinds of problems and I can kind of laugh about it now but oh jesus it wasn’t even remotely funny at the time.

(PS: When I finally got to a bathroom? No toilet paper. And I’d just like to give a public apology to my handkerchief for its undignified and disrespectful end of life.)

JB’s brother was waiting with JB at mile 21 and for a brief minute Joe ran with me, in his formal funeral-director suit and shoes, and I wish like hell I had a photo of that moment because it was kind of epic in its awesomeness.

Then JB ran with me from mile 21 to 26, which was a lifesaver. Those last four miles or so were . . . man, I don’t even know, it was like my entire body was disintegrating. I felt like the kids in that Stephen King story, The Long Walk, where all I could do was stare at the ground ahead of me and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I saw the boys again at mile 24, which was a slice of pure joy among all the pain, and then the finish was so close, so close I could see the stadium.

race_riley

JB kept pace, pushing me to keep going, and he cut away right before mile 26. There were so many people lining the route, everyone cheering and yelling encouragement, and we ran between barricades which led us onto Hayward Field. The very last bit was on the track, rounding the bend and into the straightaway, and I picked up my feet and sprinted across the finish mat.

With, I will confess, Chariots of Fire playing on my iPod. I KNOW, RIGHT?

race_finish

After the finish I pretty much collapsed in tears and just sobbed openly while some nice college girl put a medal over my head and it was done. Done, done, done, my god.

My finish time was just under five hours. Slow by some standards, but I don’t care. Oh, you guys. I did it.

race_medal

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tiffany Pelletier
tiffany Pelletier
12 years ago

Congratulations!! YOU DID IT!

Kate
Kate
12 years ago

Amazing. Just amazing! *You* are amazing! Congratulations! I am in awe.

laura Porras
laura Porras
12 years ago

Absolutely AMAZING! I am crying I’m so happy for you – yeah, kinda weird since I don’t know you, but it’s just such an unbelievable accomplishment – Congratulations :)

Rachel
Rachel
12 years ago

YAY1 Congrats! You rock :)

Julie
12 years ago

congratulations!!! such an amazing accomplishment.

BethanyWD
12 years ago

WOOT! Congratulations.

samantha jo Campen
12 years ago

I’m all teary. Hearing about the kids, JB running with you, Joe running with you, the kids again, all of it.

Wow. What a fabulous life experience my GOD. Remember when you first started running? And you were wheezing going around the block? And how you did your first 5K and said it was awful and who would ever do that again?

Gives me hope.

Stevie
12 years ago

Awesome. Totally, completely awesome. Congrats! So what’s next? Ironman triathlon? ;-)

Jenn Perryman
12 years ago

Yup, totally amazing. And I was trying not to get choked up as I read this too, because my husband will ask me what was wrong, and I’d have to explain the whole “someone I kinda know but have never met or talked to and doesn’t really know me ran a marathon today and it is just so… awesome” and he’d give me THAT look.

But still… totally in awe of your ability to kick ass when called for.

lisa
12 years ago

Fabulous! Thanks for sharing your journey with us- you are an inspiration!

Elle
Elle
12 years ago

Yay!!! Congratulations!! I (and everyone else for that matter) knew you could do it!

So, when’s the next one? :)

moojoose
12 years ago

You are a remarkable woman and this post made me ugly cry (with joy) for you. Congratulations on achieving your goal! You are such an inspiration!!

Meredith Savage
12 years ago

So proud of you! That’s awesome!

ginger
ginger
12 years ago

Da dum da da DUM da DUM da DUM da da da da DAAAAHHHH (wah-wah) … what, you don’t recognize Chariots of Fire written like that?

Congratulations, Linda! Amazing the difference a coupla years can make.

Emily
Emily
12 years ago

WAHOO!!! Totally teary for you too. Congratulations. Don’t ever forget how amazing you are. Ever!

Heather C
Heather C
12 years ago

Wow, congratulations! I am seriously in awe. And also in “Awwww” for the Riley and Dylan moments!

Valria
12 years ago

Totally Awesome!!!
Great support system there!

kate
kate
12 years ago

Bravo. BRAVO!!!

ginger
ginger
12 years ago

Uh, it dawns on me that came out wrong. Please assume I meant that the good way, rather than the dismissive way or the way that suggests you were an inert tub of goo a couple of years ago. Okay? Yeah. Sorry. This is why I don’t go out much.

Kathleen
Kathleen
12 years ago

Just awesome. I’ve never heard a marathon story that involved that level of cheering from the sideline, which makes it even more awesome. And you ran for almost five hours? Who cares about speed, that’s pretty admirable!

Jamie :)
Jamie :)
12 years ago

Many, many CONGRATULATIONS to you! You are AMAZING!!!! :)

Maggie
12 years ago

It’s amazing. You kick ASS, Linda!

Michelle
Michelle
12 years ago

Well, I cried just reading this. Seriously awesome. Fan-freakin’-tastic. :)

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

YOU DID IT!!! For the rest of your life, you will look back on this day and remember You Are Amazing. Woohoo!!! This post made my night!

Jem
Jem
12 years ago

Ahh congratulations!!! As a long time reader since diaryland and seeing you over all these years, I totally cried. lol. and I love that you played Chariots of Fire!!!

shriek house
12 years ago

Dude. I cried just READING that. Rock on.

Angella
12 years ago

You made me CRY, dammit.

Happy for you, proud of you and all of the things that you deserve to hear.

YOU DID IT.

ErinM
ErinM
12 years ago

Awesome!!! Way to go, Linda!!!! Congrats! (And a few more !!!!!!! just because.)

honeybecke
honeybecke
12 years ago

Hell yah! You are amazing Linda!
I have been anxious to read about your 26.2 all day. You gonna get 26.2 tattooed on your foot or what?
Well done. Relish the day!

Mimi
12 years ago

Wow, wow, WOW! So awesome. Great job!

charla
charla
12 years ago

huge congrats, linda — i can’t say amazing, because i’m not even surprised that you finished. you’re quite a woman!

Kim
Kim
12 years ago

That’s amazing. *Wiping tears from eyes*

Have enjoyed reading about your journey, very inspiring. Your kids are awesome!

Connie
Connie
12 years ago

Yeah, I am crying too. Congrats!!!!

Tracy
Tracy
12 years ago

That is so awesome. Well, except for the bathroom part.

Margaret
Margaret
12 years ago

You are an inspiration, truly. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

oh my god, holy crap, you ran 26 miles. That’s amazing

Mandy
Mandy
12 years ago

Aw, you made me all teary-eyed! Congratulations and well done!

Bridget
12 years ago

Man…I choked up reading your Twitter updates earlier today, and I’m choking up reading this now. You are such a badass. What an accomplishment. Good for you.

Shana
Shana
12 years ago

Go, Linda! You amaze me with your persistence and stamina. I bet Riley will remember it, too. :)

Lara
Lara
12 years ago

Is that one of your little guys in the blue with his arms stretched out in the 3rd to last photo? He is so excited – incredibly cute! Good on you, I’m beyond impressed!

heather
12 years ago

yah! awesome job, girl.

wordygirl
12 years ago

WE KNEW YOU COULD! What a great story. It’s so awesome that your boys were there to cheer you on. Way to go!! I bet your family is so damn proud of you!

Alex
12 years ago

This post brought me to tears. I’m just so *happy* for you!

Congratulations!

Jill
Jill
12 years ago

Congratulations, that is awesome! I have been thinking about taking up running (like to the mailbox for starters) and went shoe shopping today, and the salesgirl left me completely alone and I was so out of my element I left. You have inspired me to go somewhere else and get some damn shoes.

marta
marta
12 years ago

OMG Linda, you rock so Holy Hard! Congratulations!!!!
As a total aside, thanks for the calorie calculator app tip. Totally changing the way I eat.

mrsgryphon
mrsgryphon
12 years ago

Congratulations! I definitely got a little teary reading that, and I’m sure you’re absolutely bursting with pride tonight!! That medal is well deserved… and I hope you’ve got massages and hot tub time scheduled for tomorrow ;)

Alyce
Alyce
12 years ago

You kick so much ass! Congratulations!!!!

Sassy
Sassy
12 years ago

Congratulations!! Such an amazing achievement!

Kate
12 years ago

Please pass the Kleenex. Dammit, I’m at work and how am I supposed to answer the phone with this huge lump in my throat??

Seriously, Linda. I don’t even have words. What an amazing day. To have your family there cheering you on, and running with you, and the pictures?? OMG.

I swore I’d never be interested in doing a full, so STOP BEING ALL INSPIRING AND SHIT.

Congratulations. Revel in it – you earned it.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Many, many, many congrats and god damn if I’m not crying into my bowl of organic cereal right this very moment.

Congratulations, you kick ass, and how wonderful and awesome was your support system?

I’m so happy for you.

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