I wish the story that I am about to tell you was all butterflies and rainbows – it’s not. I wish that I was able to tell you that after months of DREAMING and training that I had the best day of my life – I won’t. What this recap will say is that my recent post about I AM IN PAIN was almost dead on.

March 4th, 2012 was one of the most painful days of my life. I can think of only three other days more painful and those were the days I went into labor and had my little people.

If you want to run a marathon and want to run one fast [remember your fast is fast – fast is a relative word to yourself] – I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. I’m not going to say you are going to feel good. More than likely there are going to be times when you feel like SH*T for lack of a better word. You will want to quit and not just quit the race but quit running marathons all together. You will tell yourself that this is the LAST time you will put yourself through this.

What this recap is going to say is that you can go to hell and back in a race and still come out on TOP. That the difference between a PR and a crappy race is YOU. Not how your body reacted, not how your stomach felt – but YOU. You control your destiny in the marathon. You decide if the pain is too much and give up because it’s not your day. Or you choose to tell your body – I DON’T FREAKING CARE IF YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP TODAY – you are going to run and you are going to run fast. END.OF.STORY.

Sunday I woke up with an upset stomach – in hindsight I sort of knew it was coming. Last week I decided I have had enough of my *stomach issues* that they can’t all be linked to gluten and to my Gilbert’s Syndrome and made an appointment with a food alergist. I’ve been talking about going to one for years and only now the week before what I wanted to be the fastest marathon of my life did I decide I needed to buck up and go.

Eric and I arrived to the start of the race late. Not late for most people but late for me. I like to get to races 1 to 2 hours before hand to get my game face on, relax and calm myself before asking my body to run fast. We arrived about 30 minutes before the gun went off. The next 25 minutes were spent waiting in bathroom lines – I’d go then get back in line again just in case.

5 minutes before the race was about to start we made our way to the start line and I stood on the line.

My goal for the day was to PR but also to win. In races it doesn’t matter your chip time for the win – who ever crosses the line first wins. I needed to be on the line.

The gun went off and I told myself to relax. It’s very hard to pace your first mile in this race because you take off with the half marathoners. You don’t know what position you are in and because the first mile is flat through neighborhoods it’s easy to go out too fast.

My garmin clicked 7:17 and it scared me a little. That felt easy – but that was fast. I reasoned with myself that it was okay and to just ease up a tiny bit for the next couple of miles to get in a groove.

I didn’t get in a groove. I eased up but it really didn’t feel easy.

I had to have some serious pep talks with myself. I didn’t want to focus on my ever growing belly and think about how my legs just didn’t feel like they had it in them today. This is not how you are supposed to feel at the start of a marathon. I felt great last week – why was this happening to me?

I thought back to my pain post and repeated to myself:




On the downhill portion of mile 7 I counted the men ahead of me with red bibs [marathon] – I saw no women with red bibs. Was it possible? I was in first place? At the turn around not very far behind me I saw my dear friend Meredith.

She yelled to me – one woman ahead of you – PICK HER OFF – PICK HER OFF SLOWLY.

I had thought I was in first so I had no idea who the woman was. I just did what Meredith said and slowly picked off women. Each one I passed, I looked over my shoulder to see if I saw a red bib. I never saw a red bib. [turns out it was under the woman’s shirt and I would have never had known she was running the full if Meredith didn’t tell me]

A sidenote about Meredith – she took 2nd and as you can imagine both of us are competitive girls. We both wanted to run our fastest that day. She could have not been happy for me at the turnarounds or cheered for me or helped me – but she did. She smiled so big every time I saw her – first and second – she would say – first and second – we got this. Of course it’s strange to be racing against your friend like that. You want to win but you also want her to win. I don’t know how she felt but I know how I felt. In my head I said that if we were together at mile 26 I would ask her if she wanted to hold hands and cross the finish line in a tie or duke it out for first. Truth is – if we duked it out for first I don’t know if I would have won – she is a rock star runner and I know that training with her over the years has made me faster. I’d be an idiot not to thank her for being a friend during this race and for also making me run faster through a healthy competitive spirit.

When I got to the top of the hill around mile 7/8ish a man yelled out to me. I heard John 3:16. I thought it was rather bold to randomly yell out a Bible verse to someone you didn’t know. As I started to repeat the Bible verse in my head I started to cry and then feel like I was hyperventilating. My # was 16.

When I picked up my number at the expo I thought it was blah – had no meaning. It was my moms favorite number and it was more suiting to Meredith who likes 616 than me. I had never once thought of the Bible verse.

I repeated for God so loved the world…. and found myself feeling appreciative that I was running and running fast. Sure I was having a blah day and didn’t feel great but the truth is that many people would have gladly traded places with me – so I felt appreciative rather than cynical.

Once I regained my composure I realized that man most certainly did not yell out John 3:16. I think he said GO #16. Funny how we hear what we want to hear or in this case what I needed to hear.

I knew Eric was going to be around mile 13/14 so I picked up speed. I knew at this point that I was going to have to push it into the 6’s for many miles to get my sub 3:10 goal.

I pushed – 6:59

I pushed harder – 6:58

I was completely out of water by mile 10 so seeing Eric up ahead was exciting for many reasons – most of all for the fresh water bottle he held.

He snapped pics as I got closer and then threw me my water bottle.

It was full and I had been running fast carrying an empty one. For the first time that I can remember my arm started to cramp from the weight of the bottle. [note to self – it’s time to try out the camelback Eric bought me].

I squeezed out water on to the trail and wondered if I would regret it later.

I met up with Eric again at 17ish and was literally feeling worse than I have ever felt before [or that I remember feeling in a marathon]. I knew I looked like crap because he didn’t ask me how I was feeling – he knew. He gave me another water bottle and I handed him my handheld. I drank that bottle and then tossed it so my arm would get a break. I knew I would be seeing Eric again around mile 22ish and could pick up my bottle then.

By mile 20 I kept telling myself this is your race to loose. You can give up and not PR and not win or you can choose to push through the pain for less than an hour and be excited for forever that you won this marathon and that you ended the day with a PR.


I did some serious thinking about talking the talk and walking the walk.

How can I pass out advice to push through pain if I wimp out? If I talk about DREAMING BIG but don’t act on those dreams?

I said the difference between a PR and falling short would come down to mile 25 and mile 26 and it did.

I don’t wear a pace band anymore – I don’t calculate in my head. I think calculating how much time you have to get to a finish line allows you to ease up on your body. You fall back to your slower goal and say – it’s okay – today is not my day. I’ve done it in many a marathon and only PR’ed by a little because I gave up in the last miles.

At mile 25 I knew that I had less than 15 minutes to get to the finish line sub 3:10. I knew that I had about 18 minutes to get there in sub PR time.

My legs felt like they were going to break. I knew it was because most of my training in the winter has to be on a treadmill. It is what I have to do to fit it all in. I don’t regret that is the way I train in the winter because regrets and looking back are stupid. I look forward. Looking back makes me feel bad. Looking forward makes me excited.

I pushed with all I had. There was no one there cheering me on in those miles. I had no music. It was me and God.

I repeated to myself:




Mile 25: 7:16





Mile 26: 7:13

I turned and saw the finish line up ahead. I saw Eric in the distance – I was so happy knowing this time I would finish and have him to hug.

I pushed with all I had [which turned out to be not much]

I saw them raising the finish line banner and I just said a little thank you to God for getting me through a miserable 26.2.

I raised my hands in the air and tried to smile – but even that was hard.

Mile 26.2: avg 6:59

I did it – PR and a win.

I was only in the moment for a minute before I realized that Meredith hadn’t crossed yet. I tossed Eric my medal and said I have to go cheer her in. I sprinted back to mile 26ish. In my head I questioned how I could still run.

I cheered her in as she finished in a blazing PR time and came in 2nd female.


I loved having friends there and my husband there. I felt so loved and NOT alone.

I was grateful.

Here I am 3 days later and I’m still on cloud nine. I came home and was able to say to my little people YES mommy really did win this one. My name is on www.marathonguide.com as the women’s winner and it says I dropped 10 minutes off my previous time at that race. I’m so proud [in a very humble way] that in 2 years time my body gave me a strong healthy baby boy who has now grown into a super fun toddler and also dropped 10 minutes from my marathon time.

I don’t think what I do is super special. I don’t think I do any more than most people I know [virtually and in real life]. I share my story because I was once that girl who didn’t believe in her dreams.

I thought it was just my luck that for the rest of my life I was going to be unhappy with who I was – that DREAMS were for little kids and not for adults like me.

DREAMS are for everyone and if you want them bad enough you will make them happen. If you don’t try to make them happen then maybe consider how bad you want them. I want my dream of going sub 3:10 one day BAD. I want it so bad that I’m already dreaming bigger of a sub 3:05 and a sub 3:00. I will make it happen because I BELIEVE in the beauty of my dreams and want them bad enough to live the lifestyle that is going to make them happen.

 Here is the split comparison break down. More on my pacing, etc coming this week. Have questions? Ask away.

2010 vs 2012


  1. Awesome race recap!! I think the best lesson I’ve learned from running is that it’s not always easy and you could give up, but it’s so much more gratifying to push through the tough, crappy spots and do more than you thought you could. Congratulations again on a great race and I hope to meet you at the Marine Corps Marathon!! =)

  2. So inspiring!! And, I love that you heard what you needed to hear at miles 7/8. Well done & congratulations!

  3. Wow…thanks for sharing your journey, Dorothy – I loved this race recap and was captivated the whole time! I loved hearing about “John 3:16” or “Go # 16!” – that’s neat God met you there in your own way and encouraged you with his truth! Keep running happy, and thanks for allowing us a glimpse of it!

  4. Congrats! What an inspiring post :)

  5. I love this! You did amazing and inspire me! Congratulations!

  6. Beautiful race recap. Just beautiful.

  7. I am still in awe of all of your accomplishments, especially in the marathon. Thank you for being so inspiring and making me want to DREAM BIG.

  8. You are AMAZING! Not many people can feel like crud and finish FIRST and with a great PR. you rock, Dorothy. When I do my first marathon I will be thinking back to this exact post and I WILL get it done :)

  9. You’re a beast!

  10. Awesome recap. Thank you! And someday I want to have your attitude, I wouldn’t have tried to run for a PR under these circumstances. Not if I didn’t feel good, but what you did there is fabulous!

  11. DOROTHY, you are my idol. I LOVE YOU!

  12. Dorothy – you are such an inspiration to me not because you make it look so easy, all sunshine and rainbows, but because you tell me how bad it hurts and how you pushed through. I love how you do everything that you can to train and prepare your body and mind and then turn it over to God. There were tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat as I read your post today and I know that I will file it away in my brain and pull it out when the going is tough for me. And I also love your tank!

  13. Congrats on the PR and win! I truly admire your determination and drive. You are a huge inspiration to me and so many others!

  14. This is the best recap I’ve ever read. In addition to your win and PR; you noted that once you were the girl that didn’t dream big – that resonates with me every time you mention it!!

    You dug deep; your hard work and determination paid off big time. I’m so proud of you, Dorothy!!!

    PS – I love your outift!!!

  15. You are truly inspirational!!

  16. You’re the only person (even though I’ve never met you, and you know nothing about me)that has me even thinking that maybe I could live to see my dream come true! I’m my own worst enemy and it takes all that I have each and every day to shut out the negative talk. I’ve never ran a marathon, or ever trained hard for anything. I want so badly to be proud of myself and say that I “did it!” I’m looking ahead and trying to get all my ducks in a row to get to that point. Not sure how I’ll get there, but I’m gonna try!
    I’m a little older than you and have questioned my physical ability. Then I stop myself and say don’t worry about the physical muscle, worry about that mental muscle! I’m going to DREAM BIG. I have a long way to go, but it’s now or never!

  17. You are awesome! I was crying while reading this post.

  18. AAAAMAZING. I really don’t have a better way to sum things up!

    I thought of you on Sunday (even though we’ve never met). After I took a tumble in my first marathon at mile 3 (yes, MILE 3) I got back up and kept on going. No broken bones, no concussion, just some badly scraped up knees. It took some time to get my head back in the game but I did it and I finished. Thank you for the inspiration!

  19. Mile Posts By Dorothy Beal says:

    Anyone – even YOU can have their DREAMS come true. I’ve doubted myself more than I’ve believed in myself and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t doubt myself every week in what I am doing and what I want to do. Sometimes I pump myself up and other times I ask myself who am I kidding. In terms of age :) it’s NEVER ever too late to start anything. My mom started running when I was in college – she ran her first marathon before I did and qualified for Boston before I did. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought half of what happens in my life would or could come true. It’s hard to see it when you are in the questioning phase but I like to ask myself this – If YOU don’t believe in yourself how can anyone else? You are truly capabable of more than you know! DREAM BIG :) xoxoxo

  20. Girl you are awesome! The marathon is no easy feat, and has kicked my ass every time that I’ve given it the chance. You are so right though, we make the choice of how we want to proceed…and you my dear are an inspiration to all to continue to press hard when the road is challenging.

    Wish you lived in Chicago, you would be the perfect training partner! Congrats again, you have so much to be proud of.

  21. You are absolutely incredible. Thank you for the much needed inspiration!!!


  23. Wow! This is such an inspiring story. I want so desperately to be faster. I am faster in my head, I just need to tell my body that. You rock!

  24. You are so inspiring. I have a huge smile on my face & am going to bookmark this to read the week before my marathon. I am blown away! You go girl! And congrats to your friend as well!!

  25. I have a question, which is pace related so maybe you’ll answer it in the next post: I was wondering why you chose to push for the sub 7min/mile in your 12 and 13 mile and not later on?

  26. I told you I was looking forward to your race recap and you didn’t disappoint! I think this will be very helpful for other marathoners to read and realize that achievement doesn’t come easy, you really have to fight for it. Your honesty is what makes it so special. Great job on gutting it out!

  27. Mile Posts By Dorothy Beal says:

    @ Racingtales – Alison Gittelman:
    Thanks Alison :) :) :) p.s. that other race you liked the picture of was Riley’s Rumble – if you want a challenge then run it :)

  28. Wow! What a race. It was so cool reading about what was going on in your head throughout it. It looks so easy on the outside, but it doesn’t happen without hard work. Congratulations!

  29. A wonderful race recap – really inspiring!

  30. Congratulations, once again! Not only are you speedy, but you also speak words of wisdom.

    I’m new to your blog, but your most recent posts have been beyond inspiring. I know when I need a little kick in the behind I’ll be coming back here to read these same posts again. Thank you for the inspiration!

  31. Dorothy, this was my favorite post that you have ever written! I loved it and loved reading every single word. I was almost anxious with anticipation of what was going to happen next. I love that you share your entire heart on your blog and hold nothing back. Congratulations on your big win!!

  32. I am really impressed with your last two miles. I ran in a marathon on Sunday as well and I REALLY struggled at the very end. I just didn’t have anything left. I did think of your “I am in Pain” post and it actually helped a lot beforehand when I was envisioning where I would be in each phase.
    Just wondering- when you are having stomach issues like that in a race, how does fuel during a race affect your stomach? Does it help or hurt the situation?

  33. What an amazing recap of a well-fought race. While you weren’t dueling with another runner, you were battling and triumphing internally…the mark of a true champion. Well-done, Dorothy! Beautiful :)

  34. Anonymous says:

    Awesome. I can’t imagine how hard that was for you not feeling your best but what an inspiration for all of us who have those days in races. Motivation for us all to keep going and pushing no matter what. You have inspired me! This morning John 3:16 kept coming to my head and then I sat down to read your post…. amazing. Thank you for sharing and taking the time to write these for us all!

  35. This was such a fun race report to read! I love your honesty, that running your best is going to be hard, but you were still able to push through. Congrats again on a new pr and a win!! Such a tremendous accomplishment.

  36. Michelle says:

    Love it!!! xoxox

  37. Best recap ever. Girl, you have NO idea how much you just inspired me! <3 A huge congrats!

  38. SO happy for you! Congrats congrats CONGRATULATIONS! It’s a good reminder that running my best will probably never feel good!

  39. Wow!! Awesome recap Dorothy!! I love how you pushed it when you felt like you couldn’t, I’m inspired! I’m going to DREAM BIG for my first Full marathon in October and I was going to run to finish but I think a goal should be set. When I ran my first half marathon I had a goal of sub 2, even though I trained without a Garmin and did speedwork on the treadmill and my longest run pre race was 10 miles a week before, I ran hard and hit a wall at mile 11 and since I didn’t have a watch I didn’t know if I would make it, when I came around the corner to the finish line and saw the clock under 2 hours I sprinted to the finish. Finished in 1:54:43! One of the most amazing feelings ever!! I think when the race is tough the reward is greater :) Awesome race Dorothy, thanks for helping me DREAM BIG!! :)

  40. Gosh, I am SO thrilled for you! I love the how smiley you are in all of your photos after the race! Sheer joy! But more than anything, I LOVE how honest you were in this post. This story gave me chills! Your blog is my absolutely favorite and your stories give me the hope that I need to dream my big running dreams! I want sub 3:20 so bad I can taste it, and I want sub 3:10 just as much! I know I will get there one day. Bask in this glory girl, you totally deserve it! Oh! I almost forgot, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you thought that man shouted 3:16. God is amazing like that! :) I REALLY hope you decided to run Columbus again this fall, I want to meet you on the start line!!!

  41. What a fantastic race report. Sorry it was such a tough one for you, and I admire your perseverance. You make some great points about not making excuses and pushing through.

  42. WAY TO GO!!! That is beyond awesome.

  43. This post gave me chills! So happy for you!!

  44. Ahh so awesome! Loved this recap. It’s great to follow you through your journey and it is so motivational!! I really appreciated your words on pushing through the difficulty- I’ve always believed the mental battles are some of the hardest so it’s great to read how you push through. Congrats again!! Enjoy your deserved rest :)

  45. Congrats, Dorothy!!! I love your race report! I got choked up where you talked about Meredith and your want for her to win. There is nothing better than having a friend that means that much to you, especially one that loves the same thing you love!

    Running is such a strange thing though, isn’t it? Sometimes our body decides that today is the day and sometimes it doesn’t. But I can definitely take some lessons from you in the mental part of the run!

  46. you are so amazing! thank you for your honesty about how tough the race was! its incredible to read how tough and mentally strong you are. what a blessing to hear what you needed and have faith in the Lord during such a test of strength. you did it!! Congrats again!! i hope youre recovering well

  47. wow, mega-congratulations Dorothy — brava!! ((I was in same race and managed to PR also, but almost an hour behind you))

  48. Congratulations!!! That is amazing!! All your hard work paid off! :)

  49. Oh Dorothy. I have been behind on blog reading (I started a new job-full time!) and I sit here with tears streaming down my face. I am SO proud of you. Since starting full time, I haven’t had near as much time to run and train, and I have the DC half coming up this weekend. I’ve been worried on how I was going to make it- I have a time goal of a sub 2:30-this is an amazing testament that I will continue to remind myself of this weekend. Thank you, for being you!

  50. You are an amazing runner and a true inspiration for runner’s everywhere! I hope you can come out and join us on the trail’s one Wednesday evening over at Difficult Run.

    Stay strong!!

    Rick Amernick

  51. Way to go, Dorothy! Amazing race recap

  52. Thanks for your inspiration. dreamingbigbook.com

  53. Thanks!

  54. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful information particularly the remaining section :) I handle such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  55. I just read this post from your link on the ‘Ramblings About Negative Blog Comments’ article, and I wish you would keep on being as honest and forthright as you are here. I have never enjoyed reading a race recap so much. I loved the integrity of your words and the strength with which your raw feelings came through. Don’t be put off by some sad, hateful people who are unable to cope with the fact that you are a darn fast runner. I’ve had similar reactions to posts where I’ve called myself slow or a distance easy, and nothing brings out people’s jealously and insecurity like discussion of relative running paces and/or mileage. It’s a reflection on them, not on you. For what it’s worth, I am slower than you but I find your viewpoint inspiring, and I have no inclination towards bitterness about it.

    You’re obviously an incredibly strong and smart woman (and runner). Don’t let these people grind you down.


  1. […] I've come up with various (unscientific) reasons why moms are the ones who win races (never mind the fact that most women are mothers, just humor […]

  2. […] this weekend? Oh, by the by, once again I’d like to congratulate my friend, Dorothy who WON THE B & A MARATHON LAST WEEKEND. Yes, she won it. Way to go, Dorothy. I’m inspired by your […]

  3. […] is where I started hurting. I told myself that it was too early to be hurting already and stole Dorothy’s mantra and reminded myself that I RUN THIS BODY and I didn’t give it permission to give in yet. I […]

  4. […] any more negative thoughts in my head for the rest of the race. Something Dorothy said in one of her marathon race recaps (she won the race, by the way) has really stuck with me: It's my choice to run well. I could get in […]

  5. […] This is why I’ve been sharing less and less my feelings and my thoughts on my races. When I write these posts they are really personal to me…..they are posts I read over and over again because they mean something. So I’ve been moving my race thoughts/feelings/emotions to my journal rather than putting them online. I like it that way.  Recaps and reviews will still appear, but I’m not likely to write a post like this for awhile….if ever again…. http://www.mile-posts.com/b-and-a-trail-marathon/b-a-marathon-2012-race-recap.html […]

  6. […] that are there. One of the hardest emotional things for me in life is being nice to myself inside. I have run B & A three times. The first two times I won {I’m going to stop giving the disclaimer it was small – yes […]

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