I’m not a magician. I think the Lord has blessed me with the gift of running but I don’t think it is because I am now a 3:13 marathoner. I think I was blessed when I ran a 4:20, a 4:56. Running is a gift no matter what your pace is.

I share so many of my ups and downs, the mistakes I made and the ones I didn’t make, because I want you to avoid making the same ones. I want you to take what I have learned in the past 8 years over 17 marathons and countless other races and find something that will help you in your running. Maybe that thing helps you get faster. Maybe that is not your goal and something I write about helps you appreciate your gift more. Whatever it is, I find joy in the success’s of other.

I’m a humble person. I don’t like bragging.

I am however unapologetically my biggest cheerleader. If I don’t believe in myself how can anyone else? At mile 22 of a marathon, no one can drag me to the finish except myself. No one can push through the pain for me. If my mind was weak, as it has been in past races, then I crash. When I know in my heart I am worth it – then I can talk myself out of the negativity that arises.

There are years of my life I hated myself. I hated my body. I only saw a fat girl in the mirror. I saw a girl that I felt like no one liked. When I look in the mirror now – I see a girl who is confident, a girl who doesn’t care if people don’t like her. I am breaking the cycle of self loathing. I will be happy for my daughter so she grows up to be confident and strong, loving the body God gave her.

The question I get asked most is how I got faster. It seems logical. One of the many reasons I’m sure people read blogs is to figure out how someone else did something that you want to do.

I don’t think dropping my time from a 4:20 in 2003 to a 3:13 in 2011 was magic. I don’t think I am any more talented than anyone else. You can achieve your goals!

I applied the science and hoped that my fitness level would follow. I believed and I worked hard.

When I was a 4:20 marathoner I said if I ever go under 4:00 hours I will die a happy person. I went under 4. Then I said if I ever Boston Qualify, then I will die a happy person. I BQ’ed. Then I said I wanted to go under 3:30 and I could die a happy runner. I ran 3:21.

I now realize there is no time that will ever be enough. I will always strive for better. Whatever that may be. It may be a faster time. It may mean something else. There is never a point where I will stop having goals.

I had wanted to complete a 1/2 Ironman for my 30th birthday. As I near this birthday I realized that it is not me. I only wanted to do a 1/2 Ironman to say I had done it. My heart wasn’t in it. I cannot swim, I am afraid of the bike. I RUN.

Your heart needs to be in the marathon if you want to improve. It’s okay to do them to say you did them, but if you really want to commit to them you need to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons for you. I’m pretty sure I will never do a 1/2 Ironman. That’s okay. I’m still worth it.

If your heart is in it then apply the science and the times will follow. What works for others may not work for you – you have to figure out how best to apply things to your body. It takes time and patience. That is what the marathon is all about.

Remember at the beginning of the summer how I was scared about how I would train with three kids? Remember when I bought a triple running stroller for $75?

That’s how I got faster. I pushed three kids all summer long. I didn’t make excuses of why I like running alone better. I did what I had to do. By the end of the summer I was hitting my training paces while pushing 130 lbs of stroller and kids. I took the hand that God had dealt me and rather than letting self doubt creep in and make excuses why it was too hard to train for a PR with three kids. I just did it.

I found my strong. It was there all along. Thank you Chloe, Miles and Colton. I am who I am because of you.

Thank you ALL for all your sweet words on my post yesterday! Thank you for cheering me on. Thank you for believing in me. I just can not even begin to explain how thankful I am for this blog and all the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to get to know a little because of it.

Thank you also to Saucony and Nuun. I am honored to represent both of these companies. I believe in them as much as they believe in me.


  1. Aww this is seriously so precious!!! And I totally believe it!!! I was my strongest when I was lifting with a personal trainer and I was probably a better runner then. Unfortunately I haven't been able to fit in strength training lately but you have been doing it on every run- pushing the kids. You are such an inspiration Dorothy! Congrats my love! xo.

  2. Aw. This post made me misty eyed and I don't even have children.

    "Thank you Chloe, Miles and Colton. I am who I am because of you."

    Amazing words of truth not only for the blessing of your family but how they unknowlingly have helped your running.

  3. Rachel McPhillips says:

    Your story is what gives me hope in my training. You haven't ran all your life and you had to work for what you do. It's amazing and I am in awe of you. SO many people (myself included) would let training with 3 children get the best of them and quit. You rock it and you deserve every bit of the glory you have received. :)

  4. Wow…thanks for this amazing post! I think you offer so much tangible, honest inspiration and motivation to others. I love the idea of not being arrogant and staying humble, pointing to God, and yet un-apologetically being your best cheerleader too – that line about mile 22 and getting to the finish is so true. Great work on improving your times and doing it with 3 kids!

  5. lifeisarun says:

    Running is a gift no matter what your pace is. <— LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Great post Dorothy! You are an inspiration!

  6. This is a great post! I think sometimes people are looking for a training secret but when it comes down to it, running is all about doing the work and putting the miles in. You don't make any excuses for yourself and find a way to accomplish your goals. I know many women look up to the elites, but honestly, you are a much realer running role model to me because you are able to achieve your goals, all the while dealing with the reality of kids, family, husbands schedules, etc. Congrats to you!!!

  7. Amazing, what a perfect post!

  8. What a great post! Just when I start to doubt myself I read this and it makes me feel better to continue on with my training. You also inspire because just the other day I was thinking about when we have our second and how am I going to continue running so I know it can be done!!

  9. {lifeasa}RunningMom says:

    Thanks for sharing your post and past marathon times.

    Yes, the jogging stroller, especially a triple, does make you stronger! I see my jogging stroller runs as a good training opportunity and am working on up'ing my pace. I was always afraid of going too fast for my little one but I think I was just finding the easy way out. Thanks for pushing me to see what my true goals and desires are and for giving me the confidence to reach them.

  10. Clare@peak313 says:

    I just found your blog and you and I have a lot in common! Well, except you are super fast and love running way more than me!! LOL!!

    Keep pressing on sister! Love it!

    p.s. I ran Columbus half marathon (my 2nd!) too!

  11. thethinksicanthink says:

    First of all, your kids are adorable. I love their names, too.

    Second, I like how you wrote that your are your own biggest cheerleader. I think one of my "runner faults" is that I need too much reassurance and pats on the back from other people, rather than giving them to myself. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. You are right when people read other people's blogs it's to figure out how someone else did something that you want to do. I have a goal and that is to become a better runner (faster, more efficient, ect..). The mental muscle you talk about it is a big one. If you don't have that built up strong enough, it's difficult for the body to pick up the rest of the slack. I have 2 little ones ages 2 and 3 and another one due in January. I've mentioned I've been running since day 1 of this pregnancy and continue to for as long as my body allows me. I have plans for myself after baby to get strong and improve. Like you said, I will apply the science and put in the hard work. I have always been a lone runner and am glad that I have been. I don't need a partner or a group to help motivate me. I will however start running with all my kiddos I think. I hope to find a triple stroller and see if they like going with me. I will continue reading your blog because you help with that extra push I need now and then. You have great advice and I look forward to your posts.

  13. Stephanie says:

    I love love love this. You are soo wise. Your strength, courage, and wisdom, and writing abilities all come out in this post and calm me down. I don't even know what to comment on in this post. I am at a loss for words. Well besides the fact that your kids are tooo cute. Congrats again!

  14. Megan @ On The Road Again says:

    This post is so full of bad-ass awesomeness (sorry for the swearing, but this post so totally deserves it)! Another blog friend and I were actually discussing you today – how you started out in the 4-hour mark and worked your butt off to get down to the low 3's. That's such an amazing accomplishment, and I LOVE how you say in this post that it didn't just "happen", but that you had to put some serious effort in to it.

  15. Kristin Miller says:

    Fantastic post. I love your writing style and thoughts. You make me think how my training could be, should be, and will be.

  16. LOVE that last picture. Amazing how our children help make us stronger than we ever thought possible. You are truly an inspiration. I enjoy following your journey. All the best to you.

  17. Racingtales - Alison Gittelman says:

    Inspiring post! I didn't know about the 1/2 Ironman. You know, I couldn't swim 3 years ago. 😉

    I will be taking some of your inspirational words with me to Austin this weekend…for the 1/2 Ironman I certainly never thought I'd be doing. :)

  18. Just found your blog, and i have a feeling i'll be sticking around for awhile! i just finished my first marathon in September in just over 6 hours – seeing your marathon progress gives me hope that i will someday BQ, too! I amaze myself with how much progress I've made in my first year of running & racing, and so excited to see how much more I progress in the next few years! :) thanks for such inspiring posts!


  1. […] also came across this post by Dorothy as inspiration, where she references using the McMillan Running Calculator and how slower long runs […]

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