Wednesday, June 14, 2017

When Change is Life

Time to move - out of house, out of home, out of here, to somewhere new.

*bear with me, I have zero idea how Tumblr works. Who knows, I may be back here soon...

In case Tumblr blows up on me, here is my post:


Just like Chandler Bing - What Does she DO.
It’s been so long. Like, so so long. I don’t really even know what to blog about anymore.

I used to run a lot. I just to lift weights. I used to be a pseudo vegetarian.  I completed The Whole 30. I even ran a marathon. 
I am a wife. I am a mom. I am a (lame?) friend. 

I am human. 

I’ve struggled over the last few years to really find peace with what anything I’ve chose to do. Everything I seem to want to tackle feels like a chore, a challenge, a mountain. Now I’m at a bit of a stalemate. I don’t work out regularly, my pants don’t fit anymore (ironically they didn’t even when I was exercising so *middle finger* to that), my body aches and my digestion is still off. Naturopaths, western medicine doctors, acupuncture, meditation, pills, powders, elixirs, blood tests. I’ve tried them all and I feel worse now than ever. Also I’m on the throes of moving, plus i commute about 3 hours a day which is starting to to really mentally and physically wear on me.

I think the latter part of the equation is really what is affecting me deeply. I want to be more present in what I do, and especially in my family life, and I find that I just can’t. 

I feel like I’m falling apart a bit. 

I listen to a lot of podcasts and read many blog posts and scroll through IG on my commute, and I wonder - would that be something I would/could do? Work from home; manage my own schedule? But then, expose myself and shamelessly plug myself? Could I/would I do that? Would anyone even care about an old and out of shape asian lady living out in the suburbs complaining about her stomach? 

I know. Wow, I’m selling it! 

I don’t have a lifestyle brand to sell to anyone, I don’t have perfect skin,  and sometimes I burn shit in the kitchen. I’m not in great shape and I    wear the same things every week. Why don’t we have more realistic people in our social media? This perpetuates the idea that social media is not real, but if we’re spending so much time trying to escape reality, are we really even living? I get it. Curated photos on Instagram are just more aesthetically pleasing and make us feel good, just  like movies with reaal pretty people. It’s an escape from reality but the truth is, you can’t live in fantasy forever. The movie ends after 120 minutes, you know. 

Because real life still happens. 

I often wonder how many people, if any, feel the same way to do. The escape from reality is what part of causes me anxiety. I want to find people with whom i can relate, in real life. No one can wake up and be perfect. Not even Ciara, whom I’ve seen in person and is the closest thing to perfection. Mmmkay?

Flaws, issues, hang ups - we’ve all got them, so why hide them? Eventually they come seeping out of the sides if that large curated portrait you’re using to cover up the junk hiding behind the walls. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is.. I’m pretty jacked up but I’m sure I cannot surely be alone right?

My goal right is to figure out what would give me balance, peace of mind, satisfaction, contentment - all while just keeping it real. That’s all I really want. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Posting just for you, Y.

Oh my lord, I'm here.

So I guess if I don't run/exercise I don't blog? Suppose this makes sense. Since the last time we've chatted, I've been doing nothing of the sort! A few weeks ago after I blogged about being sick, I actually fell even sicker than before and ended up spending a week horizontally, writhing in sweaty sick pain, unsure of what the hell was going on. I was literally incapacitated for a few days and actually started to wonder if I had the death flu of the season. Fever, chills, body ache, no appetite. Instant diet, right? Ha.  I kid. No, I don't.... #vain.

Anyways, since that week, the recovery has been long and slow. Towards the end of the week of sickness, I was not getting any better and was actually getting more sick - high fever, lethargy, aches and pains. J insisted I go to urgent care the next Friday morning after having been sick over a week, and it took everything in me just to get my coat on over my 3 sweatshirts. I didn't even bother to pretend I was going to put on a bra. Besides, no one would ever notice. No one ever does! I left my hair as it was when I got out of bed, shoved my glasses on my face, picked off some eye crust and stumbled into the waiting room. Even signing in and providing my personal information seemed a great feat. The gal admitting me must have felt pity, and a little wariness as I leaned over the counter to catch my breath, and she kindly reassured me that she was almost done and that I could take a seat shortly. After what felt like 2 days (It was like, 20 minutes), I was called back and poked/prodded and tested for the flu.

Guess what? SURPRISE. No flu! I was just dying! Kidding.

After checking my vitals and looking in my ear and staring into my desperate, pathetic face, the doctor  prescribed antibiotics for what was suspected to be the most painful sinus infection, which explained the ongoing fever and debilitating headaches. I think I have unrealistic expectations of how medications work, because the five day antibiotics did not really seem to kick in until day 7. Yes, I realize antibiotics continue to work even after you've finished them all but I said I was unrealistic, remember? But at this point I had been gone from work for 7 working days, so I sucked it up, painfully pulled on some real pants #sweatpantslife and made my way to work that Monday. I was clearly not 100% but I managed to make it everyday, some days even on time. The headaches and sinus pain slowly dissipated but I was weak and had no energy. The mere thought of running sent me into a sweaty tailspin, so I decided to just push the idea of any physical activity out of my mind. Just walking down the street to get the mail was enough for one day. I ignored the fact that before this illness, I had been actually planning to train for a marathon. I kind of even forgot I had already run one in October, and I became the person who didn't care or pay attention to exercise/fitness. I deleted some instagram accounts that made me feel stressed or pressured or insecure about working out and "eating clean". I started to sleep earlier in the evening and found myself able to easily wake up early for work. I would come home from work with nary a stressful thought of trying to fit in a workout while dinner cooked, or shooing the kids into bed early so I could get ready for bed to set my alarm for 4am. I just stopped caring about it. I didn't run, didn't lift a weight, didn't even think about squats.

And you know, what? I have felt more relaxed in the last couple of weeks then I have in the last few years. I realize the stress of planning my runs and workouts, trying to make sure I hit a quota of miles or days exercised, was giving me more stress and less relief than I thought. I still love exercise and sweating and running with friends, but for now I need to take a break. My body and mind need to take a break. I need to stop trying to DO everything for a while and just enjoy the day. Eat dinner with my family, veg on the couch and watch some Food network. Sleep early. Do NOTHING. Imagine that.

I'm sure I won't feel this way forever, but for right now this works for me. We have a lot of personal things going on at home, and we are currently living in the midst of chaos as we prepare to put our house on the market. I've actually lost a few lbs since being sick, and instead of looking sickly and thin, I feel back to my normal self. No inflammation, no gut issues, better sleep. My pants don't look like my muscles are begging to be released. No more muffin top. I mean, ok. It's there a little but whatever, I've always had a pooch. Maybe it had to take being down for the count in order for me to realize what I was doing to my body? Maybe that's dramatic, but right now I feel more in control of myself physically than I have in years. Ironically, my mind is still a mess but I can blame that on moving and purging right? Omg throwing everything away. Tell me why I thought I needed to keep 10 empty Mizuno shoe boxes? WHY LINDA. WHY.

My new motto? TOSS TOSS TOSS.

Anyways, sorry for the bore. I won't be really blogging about anything requiring sweating except for the dump runs and trips to Goodwill. Not exciting for you but very therapeutic for me. I'm even up early n a Saturday to load the car with junk to donate. I'm sure I'll be back. I miss my running friends, I miss being able to lift heavy things. I just don't miss it enough to sacrifice the other things I've gained from it. Life ebbs and flows. I'll figure out a balance as I go.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I am home, sick. Why not blog.

Sometime last year, the Blogger App on my phone stopped working. Then I noticed it wasn't available at all anymore in the App store. So, there went my convenient, "blog on the way to work "strategy. Since blogging now requires me to actually sit on front of a computer, I've been much less consistent or motivated to share much. However, since I am home sick today I figure, what the hell.
I haven't been this sick in a very long time. Yesterday I left work early, and barely made it home to crumple into a heap into my bed. I had some workouts planned for yesterday and today, but clearly they are not going to happen. As tempted as I am to try and fit one in - I'm home, after all! - I know this is a really stupid move on my part. My body needs rest. 

Listen to your body, Linda. Don't be a dummy.

However, up until yesterday I had been feeling pretty good. The last week or so had been a little frustrating on the digestion department though. I'm pretty sure I can track it back to some errant chia seeds in my overnight oats. I also haven't had oats in weeks, so I'm sure the combo of oats, chi, and some grated carrots was the perfect gut storm. 

In any case, I've been pretty uncomfortable all week, and I think my hormones are also at play here with my digestion. I had an acupuncture appointment yesterday, which I think may also have contributed to my feeling ill. She treated some new areas on my tummy and hands yesterday for my issues. I think sometimes treatments can exacerbate your symptoms before making them better? In any case, here I am - sick at home, greasy and hungry after having slept over 12 hours last night in my own sweat. Yeah, my life is full of the glamour.


I think I found a full marathon plan for the upcoming Rock n Roll Marathon. I need to tweak it a bit to fit in two solid days of strength, and at least one FULL rest day. My body is not a fan of high mileage, and I think I need to just be ok with that for now. While I felt strong during my last marathon cycle, I look back now and realize I was probably just a ball of inflammation. Everything always felt puffy, and I don't think I recovered well enough after my really tough runs. I have loose goals for this marathon, since it's J's first and I want him to be able to set the tone, so I'm going to just give myself a break this time around and try and take it a little easier. This may mean only 4 runs a week instead of 5, depending on how I'm feeling each week. I'll share the plan once I finalize the details.

In the meantime, I've been still doing my workouts and fitting in the miles when I can. I've been doing strength in the AM and running on the treadmill in the evenings, which right now seems much more doable than rolling out of bed before 4am to will my legs to move.

To stave off treadmill boredom, I've just been doing intervals after a very slow 1 mile warm up. Plus, I've been listening to podcasts instead of just zoning out on the tv and it somehow seems to make the miles go a little after? Just a little. 

1/9: Lower body workout. AM
1/10: Core
1/11: Upper body circuit. AM. 5 miles TM, pm.
1/12: 4 miles, TM. pm
1/13: Rest
1/14: Fit Test. HiiT
1/15: 6.33 miles, outside. Uneven number. WEIRD.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

It's a new year, so why not...

I did something a little different this week.

Well. So, I was off from work on Monday, so I went out for 8 brisk miles at a 9:05 pace. The first few miles were dicey because parts of the roads were still slick with ice, but I ended with a 8:34 final mile, which lately feels like an Olympic performance effort.

Tuesday I woke up strangely sore but managed to fit in 3 easy treadmill miles and some deadlifts/squats.

OW. My legs.


Those two days weren't very different from my norm actually. That was pretty status quo.

So, my "what I did differently" was that I decided to take the plunge and actually pay real money for a workout plan. I found this peppy gal on Instagram, and her workouts seem to always pique my interest. It probably helps that she always has a smile on her face, which I normally consider to be annoying but on her it's totally adorable and endearing. Hmm, how do people even DO that anyways?

In any case, for $15 she offers a StrongHer workout plan for the month of January that is a mix of strength, body weight, and HIIT workouts. I was worried I wouldn't be able to incorporate this training into my running but so far it seems to be working ok. The first workout was on Wednesday, and initially when I read the description it seemed pretty easy, even for the intermediate level but HOLY SWEAT BALLS. It was pretty tough.

I do think I overdid it a bit with the leg workout on Tuesday, because I've been hobbling around like a 100 yr old grandma around these here parts, and Wednesday just brought more of the pain, but in the best way.

Thursday was a 6 mile run that felt Herculean in effort, even though it was much slower than Monday. I ended with the SH core workout, and a much needed hot shower. It's been really cold here!

Today I ended the week with a "not that easy" 5 mile slow run with my friend D, and then came home and did the prescribed HIIT workout for the week. Tomorrow will most def be a rest day, and then Monday we start again with another one of the StrongHer workouts.

So far so good. I'm hoping to see some (any?) changes and increase in strength over the weeks. If anything, it'll keep me from getting bored right?

Also, I'm working on a little base/strength building before I start training for marathon #2, which is in June.

Yes, I am like Britney.

Whoops, I did it again.


1/2: 8 miles, 9:05 pace
1/3: 3 treadmill miles. Deadlifts and Back Squats. CRIPPLED
1/4: StrongHer bodyweight workout.
1/5: 6 miles, 9:28 pace. Core
1/6: Glorious rest
1/7: 5 easy (no) miles, HIIT workout.
1/8: Rest rest rest

Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's never the end but the journey just continues

*tap tap* 

Is this thing on?

After a summer of a lot to say, there's been winter radio silence. Once I stopped training after Portland, my mind went blank and body relaxed. I stopped even thinking about calculating weekly miles and routes, what fuel I was going to eat pre and post workouts, and I let my gear just gather dust. I don't think I've run even a 20 mile week since October. Actually, remember the times I ran 20 miles in one day? How times change. My longest run since the marathon was 8 miles with friends on the Orting trail, which eally was the best. I've been winging the rest. I took a really long "full stop" break, and barely even worked out in November, and then slowly started to ease back in for December. I'm trying to mix up cross training, weights, and running, all without letting myself stress out about numbers. If all I can fit in is 3 miles, then it's 3 miles. 20 minutes to sweat? Great. Lots of rest days? Well ok then. 

I'm really not mad about it.

I wish I could say I'm one of those runners motivated simply by the Miles but...  I need a dangling carrot to really be disciplined. 

A race, a hard goal. Something concrete. 

Otherwise, I just fit in runs whenever I can, sometimes with purpose but mostly just to clear the headspace. Although, if I am being completely honest, sometimes running serves as the source of my stress rather than relief from it. I constantly am obsessing of ways to fit in a run or workout / before work at 4am? After work while everyone is waiting for me to eat dinner? Should I attempt to run at work, during lunch, where I'll end up sweating through my clothes the rest of the day? When? Where? How? 
I know it's not supposed to be this way, but I've always struggled to find some semblance of balance in my life, whether it is my kids and family time, time for myself, time for me and J.  I imagine it won't get better but perhaps even worse, as the kids get older and busier, J gets busier with work and more work and church obligations, and me continuing to commute and survive. 

Do I hope 2017 will be different? Sure thing. I always hope to evolve and get better, no matter what the circumstance or situation. But this should be a goal for me everyday, not just once a year when the clock strikes midnight and my calendar changes once again. 

This morning I'm up way before the sun, sipping coffee, and preparing to meet JL on the trail for a nice, no reason other than for the love of the run, and for some friend time. I feel zero stress about miles or pace. I look forward to time on my feet, chatting with my friend, and perhaps even freezing my booty off, esp lately since there is more to love. #squats 

I do have goals for 2017 but I haven't quite ironed those out yet. I think it's dangerous to set goals for the sake of goal setting. 2016 was the year of the marathon with friends, as 40th birthday presents to ourselves.

Yes, I know. Runners are weird, and I'm sure people are wondering how on earth that could even be considered a gift. 

Anyways, I have goals to hit simply for the motivation and self improvement. And not just in running, but in life - as a mom, wife, friend, sister, Christian. 

So, to everyone with goals and dreams, let's go chase them! Work hard, and be thankful in the journey.

Here's to the last day of 2016. Make it count, just like every other day.

Happy New Year, everyone!

*Drops mic*

Monday, October 24, 2016

Two weeks post marathon - what now?

Week 1
10/10-10/14: Rest. Chill. Stretch
10/15: 3 sets 10. Push ups/burpees
10/16: 2 miles, planks

Week 2
10/17: Rest
10/18: 2 miles, weights circuits. 
10/19: Rest. So sore from squats.
10/20: Rest. Still sore. 
10/21: Rest
10/22: Circuits, 40 min
10/23: 5 easy with Dani. First outdoor run since the race


Now what. 

I'm nearly two weeks post marathon, and lovin the break. 

Like, LOVING. 

I'm sleeping almost 8 hours at night, my digestion seems to be more settled, i feel lighter, and I'm overall just less agitated at home. 

I knew it was tough the last few months but like whoa. I was a wreck this summer! 

Immediately following the marathon (like, hours following), I was already plotting my adventure. I was ready to run again! Another marathon! Let's do it! 

And then, I proceeded to not even think about running for the next five days. 

I managed a couple of slow treadmill miles the first weekend, and then incorporated some strength training. My right arm is still not fully healed so I don't quite have full range of motion but in any case, it felt good to get sweating and get my heart rate up in a different way. 

Also. Burpees. Kiiilllll me. 

So now we're at week too. J and I squeezed in a quick workout on Tuesday, which left me slightly debilitated the rest of the week. 
FYI - lots of squats during marathon recovery- just... no. #cowboystrut 
But otherwise,  It's been nice having no set plans or schedules to heed but I also know Me. I need a dangling carrot in order to keep myself myself motivated. I need goals!

In 2017 I already know we have our annual Rainier to Ruston relay, and J and I spontaneously signed up for the rock and roll full in June, which will be his first marathon, and you know, my second.  But for the near future, I have loose plans- shorter, faster runs with an emphasis on strength. I lost a lot of muscle from my arm injury, and just being too damn tired to lift weights during training. 

For now I'll enjoy the slowdown, and relax a little before my life is taken over once again. 


Ok, confession. I can't wait to get back to it. 

I'll never understand runners... 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Week 20. My first marathon - Portland Marathon 2016 Race Recap. Not Spoiler - I DID IT.

10/3 - Rest
10/4 - Rest
10/5 - 3 miles, treadmill
10/6 - 2 miles. Nope. Rest
10/7 - 2 miles, treadmill.
10/8 - Rest
10/9 - 26.7!

Totals -
Miles: 31.7
Rest: 3


5 months.
20 weeks.
140 days.

It's a long time to dedicate to one specific event, and I spent the last 5 months of my life preparing for just one day. 

On a blustery and rainy Sunday morning, I ran my first ever full marathon in Portland, Oregon. Despite having run 6 half marathons, 5 team relay races, and hundreds and hundreds of miles on the streets of my the greater Seattle area, I still did not know what to expect for all the 26.2 miles. I'll do my best to recap each mile, but even though it's only been less than a week, some of the more specific memories are beginning to fade. 

So, ready? Ok

After a semi restless nights sleep, I woke up to my alarm at 4:05 am. I padded quietly out of the hotel room, and into the living room area, where I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and then popped into the hotel lobby for a couple of small cups of to-go coffee. Once back in the room, I sipped my coffee, surfed the web, and ate my sweet potato with sunbutter and granola. I barely had an appetite but I knew I needed to eat, so I choked down what I could and decided to save the banana muffin for later, about an hour before the start. 

At 5:20, John and I left the hotel to pick up Macalla on the way into the city. Our plan was to meet Heidi at one of the many Starbucks near the starting line. We arrived into the city just as streets were being closed off, so John dropped us off a couple of blocks away from the Starbucks, and we sloshed our way in the rain to meet Heidi. Once united, we hung out inside for about 25 minutes, I ate my muffin, and then we decided to slowly make our way to the corrals. I was assigned in corral E, but both M and H were in corral F, so I decided to just stay with them so we could start together! After what felt like decades, the first wave was off, and then slowly each subsequent wave was sent off. We reluctantly toss our old sweatshirts on the sidewalk, and got ready to rumble. Finally, about 7:15-ish, wave F was sent on our merry way. 

Mile 1 - 10:37
The three of us try to stay together as long as we can, but it is crowded and immediately people are walking. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. MOVE TO THE RIGHT, for SIRENS AND BITCHES. Wait, no. That's not how the saying goes....

I notice my watch has already buzzed for the mile marker, but we're still about .35 miles away from the 1 mile race marker.

As we are chugging along nicely, Heidi mentions that she thought the course went a different way but that she must have read the map wrong.

I also notice a group of runners coming out of a side street and merging with us as we round a bend.



Mile 2 - 10:11
The miles are feeling easy, and it's a good warm up. Being in this corral with walkers is actually forcing me to take it easy and not go out too fast, especially since I'm being blocked in by shufflers. 
I mean, trust me - I have nothing against walking but seriously, the race just started.
i do see a girl wearing a shirt that says "Interval Runner. Please be mindful of walking", which I thought was actually a very thoughtful thing for the runners behind her.

Mile 3 - 10:21
Well. so much for that negative split. This mile is uphill. Like, already? FINE.
At this point we've lost Heidi. :(

Pop in a chew and let it dissolve in my mouth.

Mile 4 - 9:47

Mile 5 - 9:44
Feeling the groove as we make our way back through the city. I think M and I both step in puddles. At this point it is raining steadily and we are already pretty wet.

Mile 6 - 10:00
Wind in face. Rain in face. Everything in da face. Slowly suck on a Gu at this point. I don't look to see what I grab. It's Tri-Berry. SIGH. Oh fine. I sip water out of my bottle, but try to take water at the stations so I can ration what I have.

We begin a long stretch of out and back in an industrial part of town.

I must be saying something to Mac?

Mile 7 - 10:03
Mac mentions she needs to use the restroom. I suggest she just pee in her pants, who would even know the difference?! We are soaked from the rain. The port-o-potties we pass all have long lines, so we continue on.

Mile 8 - 9:47
My earbuds, which have been precariously dangling around, are annoying me so I tuck them in my ears and turn on some music for background. Even though Mac and I are running together, we're not really talking much. I think we're both saving our energy for breathing.

In this mile is also where we spot some relatively free port-o-potties. Mac says she needs to stop, and tells me to keep going. We split up at this point, and as I continue on my self, I feel a wave of sadness come over me, and I find myself holding back tears. I hadn't expected to split up so early in the race, and I'm devastated that we're not going to be running together. 

Mile 9 - 9:50
At the end of the road we turn around to go back, and I scan the crowd to see if I can spot Mac. I look for her yellow shirt, but she is lost in a sea of wet bodies and flailing limbs. I continue to scan for maybe some familiar faces, and I see Heidi's bright pink shirt and huge smile. I wave and yell as we pass each other, and feel a surge of happiness at seeing her. I'm still sad about missing M, but I keep chugging along.

Pop in another chew. 

Mile 10 - 9:44
Seriously. Still so wet. I have to dodge puddles as I pass groups of runners. Luckily the road widens slightly at this point so I am able to find my groove.

Mile 11 - 9:41
This is where the half marathoners and full marathoners split. The half runners continue straight back into the city but the full marathoners veer right into a neighborhood that will take us to the industrial area. I round the corner, and hear a familiar voice calling my name. I turn around and see Jacob, Heidi's husband, holding a camera and umbrella, waving madly. I wave back happily, and continue on. A couple of people see my name on my bib and yell encouragement as I pass. 

Towards the end of this mile I take another GU. This one is Vanilla Bean. Better.

Mile 12 - 9:45
We weave slightly through industrial streets and a neighborhood. Uneventful.

Mile 13 - 9:47
We turn onto St Helen's Road, which is basically a relatively straight, flat 3 miles to the bridge. At this point I'm still feeling pretty solid, albiet a tiny lonely and a LOT wet. My shorts have become diapers, suctioned to my thighs, and I feel my shirt glued to my body. My hat is dripping and my hands are so slippery I've had to rip my GU open with my teeth.

Take another chew. Pink Lemonade Honey Stinger. I'm not mad about it.

Mile 14 - 9:42
Trying to focus on one mile at a time. I see people around me struggling, but I find myself passing runner after runner. I'm trying to remain steady and not think too much about the next mile, although at this point I am just anticipating the end of this road, because this section is long, and a little boring. I have music to keep me company but at this point it's just background noise.

Throughout the race I find myself randomly overcome with waves of emotion. A few times I tear up because I'm so happy to be out there, running, and finally seeing all the hard work of training come to fruition. I see a sign that says "You GET to do this" and I resist to urge to do "Two snaps in a Z formation". That's right, I DO get to do this, and I'm doing it! 

Mile 15 - 9:42
We make a slight left and there is more straight away. It's hard to see the bridge through the fog and rain, but I know it's coming up.

Mile 16 - 9:39
I spot a check point area, complete with National Guard, and threatening looking signs that state that all runners must have a visible bib number. 

And then we begin the uphill climb to the top, to the beginning of the St John's Bridge

Mile 17 - 10:11
I will myself to run up the entire hill, and again I find myself passing runner after runner who have decided to walk up the hill. I keep pace with another girl who is steadily running up the hill and another guy who has been running near me for the last couple of miles. I suck another GU - Salted Caramel, my favorite - and I focus on the road right in front of my feet, and pump my arms slow and steady. Before I know it, I've crested the hill and find myself taking a left onto the bridge. I am proud of myself for running up the entire thing.

Mile 18 - 9:47
I make it to the middle of the bridge and then cruise the slight down hill to the end. It's here I spot another familiar face. I see Macalla's husband Jimmy! I wave madly and then turn the corner to see his kids hovering under an umbrella waiting for their mom. I wave happily and continue on. We run up and down some rolling streets and then hook a left, and immediately spot a familar red hat under a big tree. It's my husband and kids! They're holding Neon signs that say "GO LINDA" and "GO MOMMY". I had no idea they'd made signs and I'm so elated to see them I nearly sprint to where they are. I stop to give everyone hugs and kisses, and I throw my arms around John for a huge hug before continuing on. Everyone offers words of encouragement as they send me off. Seeing them has given me a second wind, and I'm SO SO happy.

Mile 19 - 9:43
Oof. Honestly, this part was a little boring. The roads were flat and curvy and seemed to never end. We passed some interesting entertainment in the form of some belly dancing and some bad singing, but nevertheless, it helped distract me.

Mile 20 - 9:50
This is where they say runners hit the wall, right? As I near the 20 mile marker sign, I realize that not once have I felt like I was going to die, or that I was not enjoying myself. Not once did I say I would never do this again. I was actually enjoying myself! Wall? What wall?? PFFFT. 

However, this is where I do start to get even more bored. I round every curve, hoping for some terrain change, some reprieve from the flat but no. Flat flat flat.

More chews. 

Mile 21 - 9:42
Surprise visit from the pregnant one, Angela! I had forgotten she would be waiting to cheer me on, and I run to give her a hug but she insists on running with me. She is also 39+ weeks pregnant and looking adorable but manages to jog next to me for a few seconds, and then her and her husband send me off with well wishes and offers of beer. Such a wonderful surprise.

Mile 22 - 9:57
I'm getting bored. like, seriously. The turns are all starting to look the same, like some sort of cruel corn maze. I think I reluctantly take another GU at this point but I am just very very sick of anything sugary. I pass the offers of gummy bears and pretzels because I can't bear the thought of eating anything else. Or anymore GU, like ever. Ever.

Oh and I see my husband and kids here too! I didn't realize they'd try and find me one more time, and I'm even happier than I was the first time I spotted them. Everyone looks cold and tired but so proud of me. They offer more hugs and encouragement and send me on my way. John tells me I'm almost there!

Mile 23 - 9:22
YAY. Finally the downhill I have been waiting for! It's a long sloping downhill section that takes us back towards the city. Many people are walking at this point but I happily glide past everyone, letting my body relax a bit as I cruise down the hill.

Mile 24 - 9:50
And it's flat again. I take one more chew and then decide I just. cannot eat anymore. I have run out of water but am able to get some water from the water stations. 

I think this is where I see Jimmy and his kids again. Lots of mad waving as I pass.

Please note - this entire time it has steadily rained and I am thoroughly soaked to the bone.

Mile 25 - 10:00
Not sure what happened here but I find myself slowing a bit. I'm still feeling in positive spirits but my legs are getting a little tired.

We have to run up one mini hill to get over the last bridge, and I slow every so slightly as I make my way up. I find a small surge of energy as I make my way onto the bridge and again find myself passing more runners. I'm filled with a resurgence of energy as I make my way off the bridge. I even have the energy to wave to the camera guy!

Also to note - see? Smiling?! Who IS THAT PERSON??

Mile 26 - 9:05
This is it! Almost to the end. I'm doing it! I'm SO CLOSE.
I surge past tons of runners as we make our way down the last street before the turn to the finish. The only thought that keeps running in my head is that, I did it. I'm doing it. I am running a MARATHON TODAY.

Mile .7 - 9:04
My watch has been nearly .5 miles ahead of the mile markers, so I hit the 26.2 mark well before the finish line, but at this point I do not care. I see the Portland Marathon signs and I surge forward and veer right towards the finish line. I pass the announcer calling people's names from our bibs, and he shouts encouragement as I sprint past. One more left turn and I see the finish chute. It's RIGHT THERE. and I'm RIGHT HERE. I pump my arms as hard as I can as I sprint to the finish with a smile on my face.

I've done it. I just ran my very first marathon. 

I'm a Marathoner.

                                                                 Official time. 4:17:51

*The course ended up being .5 too long because of a wrong turn taken by a handful of the corrals, due to no volunteer being stationed at this particular corner. The Portland Marathon officials later adjusted the times of the runners in these corrals to account for the extra mileage.