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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April G.
12 years ago

Oh! The one with Riley is making me cry! You are amazing, Linda! Congratulations!

You are literally awesome, and so inspiring. Reading you has made me decide to start running again. I got the couch to 5k podcasts, found a good road near my house (I live on a state highway in a rural area, it has no shoulder at all), and now I just have to get new batteries for my watch. If you can train for that with a full-time job, class, and two kids, I can definitely do it with my super flexible grad student schedule!

Cara
12 years ago

You finished. Who gives two cents about the time. You FINISHED. You ROCK.

kim
kim
12 years ago

Wow – I am so impressed. This made me tear up.

Kami
12 years ago

That’s just fucking crazy. Cool, but crazy. JB is a really good guy. And you look amazing.

Kim
Kim
12 years ago

You’re a rock star! I’ve been keeping up with your Twitter feed as you trained… Although I am only at the point of a 5k, you make me believe more is possible. Congratulations on our achievement! *fistbump*

Kim
Kim
12 years ago

That would be “your achievement” not “our achievement” as above. Damn iPhone!

Lynnann
Lynnann
12 years ago

Loved the whole process. You go girl! Keep up the good work, and it was work, but no one can take that away from you. What an accomplishment! You will look back on this eveny for the rest of your life and feel so proud!

Rachel
Rachel
12 years ago

You are AWESOME!

Sarah
Sarah
12 years ago

um – you fucking rock!!!! I’ll be channeling you in a few weeks when I run my measly half marathon! Although I will be crossing the finish line with the glee version of Like a Prayer blasting in my ears!

Erin
12 years ago

Awesome! So impressed!!!

MotherGooseAmy
MotherGooseAmy
12 years ago

Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!!! Congrats!!!! Loved reading about it. Thanks, as always, for sharing!

erin
12 years ago

You are a MARATHONER. And nothing will ever change that.

Emma
12 years ago

The part where you saw your kids? Just about killed me. Crying at my desk. Love this. Congrats to you. Well done. Well done.

Andrea
Andrea
12 years ago

1. You made me tear up just now. I NEVER tear up reading blogs. This has happened maybe three times before.

2. You have inspired me in so many ways, and for that I want to say, “Thank you.”

3. Congratulations! \m/

robyn
12 years ago

I was cheering you on from Colorado!

The pushing through the awful, painful, part – the not giving up – that’s what you’ll remember and be proud of forever. ForEVER! You EARNED that!

So happy for you. :)

Victoria
12 years ago

I am so, so proud of you and am also totally bawling right now.
Thanks for sharing this.
You’re awesome

the wino
12 years ago

Am in tears.

You kicked its mothergrubbing ass.

*fistpump*

Karen
Karen
12 years ago

De-lurking to say CONGRATS! Way to go!

Thanks for sharing – you really are an inspiration.

Erin
12 years ago

Go you! Congratulations!

Jane
Jane
12 years ago

I have tears in my eyes that’s awesome and your family is awesome !! AND the next 5k or 2k or blahblahK that I do I AM getting a shirt with my name on it … ‘ Run Jane Run”!! You’re an inspiration… and so is JB!

Carol
12 years ago

And I’m thrilled to have run less than a mile a full year and something after breaking my ankle…Carol

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

YOU DID IT! Way to go, lady. So proud!!!

Shana
Shana
12 years ago

Amazing. Truly. I cannot even imagine the pride you must feel! Congratulations!!! Oh, and you have officially inspired me to try for a half marathon next year. I thought I was only good enough for a tri (last year) or maybe a 10k – but now – i’m aiming bigger. thank you.

Stephanie
Stephanie
12 years ago

You so rock. Congrats!

Saranlap
Saranlap
12 years ago

Good for you! Congratulations! I know exactly what you mean when you say it is simultaneously the worst and best thing ever. Rest on those laurels!

Barbara
Barbara
12 years ago

Congrats! you look awesome at the end…amazing!

Tina G
Tina G
12 years ago

I am all verklampt here! You are amazing! And now I am getting up off my ass and on to the Nordic Track like I should have done already. Awesome : )))))

kristen
kristen
12 years ago

Wow! Crying here…I completely know the love you feel for your family. How wonderful that they were able to help you through to the end. Congratulations lady!

Mel
Mel
12 years ago

Congrats – that’s so awesome!!!

You should check out this new site –
http://irunlikeamother.com/forums/index.php

I live in Pittsburgh and a Mom here started it, I’m new to this running thing but I’ve been loving the advice on this site for new and old runners alike!!

Lola
12 years ago

Ok, why am I sitting here at work CRYING because YOU just did this??? Maybe its because I still remember that first post when you were talking to that nice couple on the plane in NOLA and doing that little crazy motion with your finger? Maybe its because I remember when you first were so excited about TurboJam or HipHop Abs (remember that?)? (which by the way, you totally inspired me to START doing something and I bought all those videos and have lost almost 50 pounds since then).

I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. But I am so freakin proud of YOU. Go LINDA.

Lucy
Lucy
12 years ago

Glad I’m not the only one with tears in my eyes. So happy for you!

Stacie
Stacie
12 years ago

Fan-fucking-tastic. Hooray, Linda!!!

beekeebear
12 years ago

YAY! Congratulations! And what a wonderful post. You got me a little misty-eyed and goofy-smiley. :)

Diane
Diane
12 years ago

You are so very, very amazing. There is really nothing left to say. I’m in tears and I am so proud of you..btw Happy Mother’s Day and what a gift to your family and to yourself.

telegirl
telegirl
12 years ago

OK. I keep looking at how amazing you look. I want to look that good. I think I am actually going to go for a run on my lunch. For the first time in 2 years!

Sonia
Sonia
12 years ago

So. Effing. RAD!!! I had goosebumps reading this! CONGRATS!!!!

L
L
12 years ago

Go Linda, go Linda, go LINDA!

Emily
Emily
12 years ago

Congratulations! You are very much an inspiration to me, everything you have been doing yourself, combined with raising a family, is truly how I would like to one day be!

Gina
12 years ago

Two words: Rock! Star!

Ali
Ali
12 years ago

I came across a link to this post via Christina (mytopography) on Twitter and totally cried as I read it – what an awesome, freakin awesome, accomplishment. I live in Eugene and spent some time at about the 20 mile mark (right where there was a little hill you had to run up before crossing a bridge) on my bike in the early morning cheering on some of the runners. It was so, so inspiring just to be out there watching. I can only imagine what it must have been like to run into Hayward for the finish. Way to go.

Jenn
12 years ago

Aaahhh you did it! I don’t even know you and I’m SO proud of you. I’d like to hereby place my bet that this won’t be your last one :) Congratulations, MARATHONER!

julia
julia
12 years ago

Hi, tears in my eyes reading this. You are awesome. Congratulations.

catherine
catherine
12 years ago

You inspire me. Started couch to 5K tonight.

Cass
Cass
12 years ago

Am officially a crybaby. And completely inspired to follow suit. Thanks and big congrats!

willikat
12 years ago

YOU DID IT!!!!!! I even hiccupy sobbed at my desk reading this today. I am so proud of you! Congratulations! We knew you could do it.

Lana
Lana
12 years ago

I’m crying too! What a fabulous experience! Super proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished.

Kristal
12 years ago

I cannot even imagine what it must have felt like to cross that finish line. What a HUGE acomplishment! CONGRATS to you. Wow!!!!

Sara
Sara
12 years ago

Linda,

amazing, congrats.

You’ve inspired me so much. I decided to follow in your footsteps last august, I started walking every day. At 230lbs I could not run. Today I weigh 172lbs and I ran for the first time. For 9 minutes. Which isn’t huge but to me it is.

Thanks, for making me think I can do it too. I have a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way.

I’m proud of you. Thankful for you.

Missy
Missy
12 years ago

I’ve gone back and read this like 5 times over the last couple days and I keep choking up every time. So awesome, Linda. :-)

Meagan
Meagan
12 years ago

Ok, no, “finisher” is not the same as “participant.” You FINISHED A MARATHON and you rock! Congrats! And fwiw, my husband and I both finished ours in over 5 hrs, so you beat us. :)