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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hannah
hannah
12 years ago

Congratulations!!!

bouncy
bouncy
12 years ago

This made me cry like a moron.

Congratulations!

Nichole
12 years ago

I’m crying, too!! Congratulations. You are awesome.

Christy
Christy
12 years ago

Tears here as well. What an amazing story. I’m so happy for you!!!! Wow. Well done.

Christina
12 years ago

You are such an inspiration! Congratulations, I am in absolute awe of your commitment.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Congratulations!!! What an accomplishment!

Chataine
12 years ago

Wow, I am totally tearing up. SO AWESOME! You have inspired me to renew my commitment to running a (lousy) 10K. CONGRATS!!

MelanieL
MelanieL
12 years ago

I am glad I am home this morning and not at work since I am crying like a baby! Congratulations!

Corrie
Corrie
12 years ago

Congratulations! Amazing! You are an inspiration, Linda. I think of you now when the going gets tough. Huzzah!

lisa-marie
12 years ago

Wow! Congratulations! You are amazing and a great inspiration to us all!

Kate
Kate
12 years ago

Congratulations!!! YOU DID IT!!!

(I wonder what challenge you’ll take on next.)

Jessi
12 years ago

Done…and on to the next one :) You are an amazing person. Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment!

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

You. Are a rock star. This post made me all teary.

Congratulations!

Pamela
Pamela
12 years ago

Delurking to say congrats. This post made me cry.

Lily
Lily
12 years ago

You are a goddess!!! Rest up :)

Vicki
Vicki
12 years ago

Congratulations!! You are an inspiration, more then you know.

Faith
Faith
12 years ago

The way you saw this as a possible goal and embraced it even though it was a sometimes horrifying thought is inspiring to even me, someone who doesn’t know you at all beyond what you’ve posted here.

So I can’t even imagine what kind of inspiration you are and will always be to your kids, who will remember this day – and I’m sure many more days in the future – when you took on a seemingly insurmountable challenge and whooped its ass.

For that, I congratulate you. You are the kind of mom I want to be.

dorrie
dorrie
12 years ago

I was running Bloomsday yesterday totally sending you vibes. Great job!

Pinkie Bling
Pinkie Bling
12 years ago

I am so, so happy and proud for you!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!

Kate
12 years ago

I’m losing my shit just reading this! So amazing! Congratulations. I feel like I say this on all of your fitness posts, but seriously, you are such an inspiration.

HalynB
12 years ago

I already said it on Twitter, but WOW…So Amazing! I love how your family was in this with you.

Also, I can’t believe how great you look in that post race photo. I would be such a hot freakin mess, and you just look all glowy and beautiful…how do you do that?

Janet
Janet
12 years ago

You are AWESOME and such a rock star! And you are making me cry:)

Vicki
Vicki
12 years ago

De-lurking to say: Simply AWESOME.

On so many levels.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

You rock; I got teary just reading this. Of course I’m pregnant, but you know. You rock

Kellie
12 years ago

Sitting here freaking crying. YOU did it. You DID it. You did IT.

Lucy Fisher
Lucy Fisher
12 years ago

Yep.
I’m blubbering, and you effing rock.
That is all.

Anna
Anna
12 years ago

I’m sitting here with the hugest grin on my face for you, because holy shit, that must’ve been the awesomest feeling crossing that finish line.

And those photos of the boys cheering you on made my heart thump a little harder.

Linda, you are some awesome. Really and truly. I hauled my ass off the couch last year because of you and lost 30lbs. And, even though I’m back on the couch now with ice cream and a baby in my belly, I read this and can’t wait to get off it again.

Congratulations!

metalia
12 years ago

I don’t throw the word “inspiration” aroud very often, but my god. You are one. Many, many congratulations to you on this incredible accomplishment. (Those pictures are making me all teary-eyed, too.)

shizzknits
12 years ago

Congrats!!!! What an amazing thing to do…you rock!

metalia
12 years ago

“AROUND,” that is. D’oh. (See? I told you. Teary-eyed!)

paige
12 years ago

yeah. I just cried all the way through that post, too. rock on, linda. job well done.

sweetsalty kate
12 years ago

Holy shit. Beyond impressed!

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian

So many congratulations!

And damn it, I’m crying.

Maggie
12 years ago

I just cried through that entire post. The picture of you running to your boys? HOLY CRYING FIT. If that makes me, a random blog stalker feel the way I did, I can’t even imagine how you felt.

A super, huge congrats to you :)

Julie Brada
Julie Brada
12 years ago

OMG, you are AWESOME. Such an inspriation!

Jen @ lifelove'n'wine
12 years ago

You are so freaking awesome! I literally teared up reading this post…I’m so proud of you and so glad that you had such a loving, supportive family there with you!

Kimberly
12 years ago

Amazing! Congrats, you big marathon completer, you!

Laura
12 years ago

Congratulations!!

M.A.
M.A.
12 years ago

I cried, too, Maggie. Usually I cry over one of the kids — now it’s for their Mom. FELICITATIONS, Linda! P.S. You LOOK fantastic. No joke. And P.P.S. I *really* adore your husband. JB, you rock too.

Annabelle
Annabelle
12 years ago

Marathons are simulatenously the best/worst experinece. That is exactly it. I knew you could do it (even though we’ve never met…), and now you know it too. Revel in it for awhile before you decide ‘what’s next.’

Jamie
12 years ago

You. Fucking. Rock.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I had tears streaming down my face reading this. Everything about you is beautiful! XO

victoria
victoria
12 years ago

Well, so much for my mascara. Congratulations, Linda!

twojams (Shannon)
twojams (Shannon)
12 years ago

So fantastic. Congratulations!

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

This made me cry. You are an inspiration! We all knew you could do it. Hooray for you and your beautiful family.

jane
jane
12 years ago

congratulations! this is a beautiful post, totally made me tear up and am feeling inspired to try something new today.

Nicole
Nicole
12 years ago

Awesome. Congratulations!!

Jennifer
Jennifer
12 years ago

I’m crying at my desk. I feel very proud of you, and also very inspired. Congratulations!

telegirl
telegirl
12 years ago

Holy crap! You did it!! Congratulations, I got teary-eyed reading about your family support… that was amazing. You are very lucky.

Lori O
12 years ago

Awesome, just awesome! I loved reading this – brought back the same feelings from my first (and only) marathon experience 3 years ago. I didn’t have kids yet, so I can only imagine how much better it would be to see your kids cheering you on!