The Fine Print


I tend to say yes a lot. This is great for my husband, kids and my clients and horrid for my knees and my canker sores. I say yes before reading the small print. I say yes before asking a ton of questions. I just, you know, like to say yes.

“You want to move to Seattle?” “YES!”

“You think we should by a townhouse that will depreciate in value for the first time in a market since 1984?” “YES!”

“You wanna walk a half marathon with me?” “YES!”


This last one, oy, it’s the biggie.

So without really training, without so much as printing out a map, I joined my friend for a 13.1 mile walk through Seattle. I joined 24,999 other people who were just as crazy (or more so, some of them were doing the full marathon) and we forged together like cattle to the butchers. At least, that’s how I felt.

The thing about doing something so insane is that somewhere in the process, you gain your sanity. During miles 1-3, I pretty much woke up slowly, walking in a haze and meandering between bodies. During miles 4-9 I poured my heart out to Paige telling her everything, in detail, that had been going on for the last, oh, two years? And then around mile 10 we both got it. IT. We realized several things:

1. This is fucking hard.

2. We are going to finish.

3. Leslie’s knees are older than her heart.

4. Much. Older.

5. Mile ten is the longest motherfucking mile in any race ever.

6. There is no mile 11. It’s a cosmic joke.

7. We like wine.

8. We will never do this again.

9. We’re proud of ourselves.

10. We can do it.

Then we hit mile 11 and the gig seemed to be up. My knees gave out and my heart monitor yelled at me for going to slow. Years of running and being active have finally brought me, literally, to my knees. I can no long run, jump, or apparently, walk over 9 miles.

Then fat Eric passed me.

It’s a humiliating experience to watch your body age. To see your boobs sag. To know your waist used to go IN and not OUT. To know you celebrate with a burger or chocolate more often than there are reasons to celebrate.

It’s humbling.

Fat Eric was sort of my inner self. He sort of rose up, having started at the same time we did, a large, powerful 350 pound man. He walked the entire way. He had his name in large print on his shirt. “E-R-I-C” and people cheered, “GOOD JOB ERIC! WAY TO GO ERIC! YOU CAN DO IT!”

And he did. He did it. By god, he did it.

It was about this time that I realized several things: I am not who I used to be. Size does not matter. Fitness is a daily process, not a one time race. And.. most importantly, it’s time I push myself in ways my body can work without breaking down.

I think I’ll try swimming.

Somewhere around mile 10 I realized that sometimes it’s ok to take a minute and consider what you’re saying YES to. Maybe it’s OK to read the fine print, to consider your options, to check your calendar. Maybe it’s ok to say NO sometimes.

But not to this. Not to this. I would’ve said yes and been just as proud as I am today. Because we did it.
Paige and I. Together.


(Two of our college friends ran the half so we got our picture of them at the finish, which was really the only time we saw them. Fasties.)

(More photos here.)

(The top picture is our favorite picture of us. It’s from 1997. God we’re young.)


6 guests here now.


  1. Congrats for finishing! I love the finish line smiles!:)

    By workout mommy on 2009 07 02

  2. Awesome!  I won’t be walking any marathons any time soon.  Or buying any townhomes.  But I would be willing to move to Seattle…

    By Miss Grace on 2009 07 02

  3. Wow, a 1/2 marathon, that’s pretty amazing.  I walked 5 miles for Maddie and the March of Dimes and I thought that was crazy. Not the cause or who I was walking for, but the fact the ME, I was gonna walk 5 miles.

    You are teh AWESOME and I can’t wait to finally meet you in person at a “small” gathering in Chicago.

    By AmazingGreis on 2009 07 02

  4. SO awesome.

    By Maria on 2009 07 02

  5. Wow! That is awesome. Congrats on having the chutzpah to finish it!!

    By Suzy on 2009 07 02

  6. Yay!  Excellent on your half-marathon. I think I would get ADD in the middle of it and not be able to finish or something.

    Also, in the 1997 picture, I love how you’re all reverse matchy matchy. smile

    By Jen on 2009 07 02

  7. Congratulations! And the swimming? It is fabulous. My old-before-their-time knees love it. And my arms look fabulous in tank tops.

    By Clair on 2009 07 02

  8. Haha I never thought saying “yes” could get one into so much trouble! Well done for completing such a long walk though.. It’s a fine achievement for you to have had. I’m planning on doing a city to surf run this spring- hopefully it’ll have less problems for me!

    By Prams and Pushchairs on 2009 07 03

  9. Congratulations for finishing it! I am so impressed that you did a half marathon without any training! Swimming sounds a great next step too.

    By annettek on 2009 07 03

  10. You are so CEWWT! Congrats for finishing the race! What an accomplishment! And…, I’m “TOTES” a Yes Girl, too! I, too, “say yes before reading the small print.”

    By Haley-O on 2009 07 03

  11. SO proud of you!

    and Fat Eric. wink

    By Jamie on 2009 07 03

  12. Go you!  My knees would have given out at mile 1.  Actually, my everything would have given up at mile one. wink

    By Friglet on 2009 07 03

  13. That is SO COOL. Congratulations!

    By maggie, dammit on 2009 07 05

  14. Dude, you are awesome. And you can and should do it, in some form, again. And againg.

    By Amanda Magee on 2009 07 05

  15. Hey Leslie, I am Sarah from the Bothell mom’s.  I ran the Rock n Roll 1/2.  I laughed out loud when you said there is no mile 11, so true!  I was running great until mile 11, then I hit a hard wall and ran in pain for the last 2.  Glad to hear you were there.

    By Sarah on 2009 07 06