I write and re-write blogs posts in my head every day. Sometimes I get a chance to type them up – others are lost forever because I can not find the time to put the words down. Still others I start remain drafts for various reasons.

Yesterday in the car I started this post. I made it to mile 16 and I started to get a lump in my throat. I fought off tears. at.a.stop.light.

I stopped at mile 26 never finishing the race in my head. While I have confidence going into this race I do not know what the outcome will be and part of loving a perfectly imperfect race is being OK if nothing goes as plan and I don’t hit any of my goals.

Eric [hubby] is coming with me to the race. I’m excited about this because he has a calming *tell it like it is way* about him in the last miles of marathons he helps me get through. He doesn’t tell me it will be easy. He tells me to breathe, not talk, be calm, run fast, push through the pain – but most of all he tells me it’s GOING TO HURT – and not to back off the pace when it does.

Even thinking about this now is making me feel excited and scared and YEP the LUMP IN MY THROAT IS BACK.

Pre-Race Sunday: I’m going to be excited. Nervous but really excited and ready to start running. I will be quiet and focused – not really talking.

Race Line: I will say a little prayer to God and it will include asking him to help me to soar on wings like eagles during this race, to run and not grow weary. [Isaiah 40:31]

Miles 1 – 4: Will mostly be a blur – I will be slightly stressed about making sure I am running slow. I will be fighting the itch to run fast and try to settle into a comfortable groove. I will repeat to myself that the race does not start till mile 21. It’s just a 10K at the end of a 20 mile run.

Miles 6 – 10: I will settle in a good pace and be thinking about how wonderfully empty the race is going to be once the 1/2 marathoners finish and are off the course. I’m going to think about how much I love marathons and how in a couple of short miles I will be half way through.

Miles 10 – 13.1: I’m going to start thinking about my kids and then wonder why when I am away from them, getting a break, all I can do is think about how wonderful they are and how happy they make me. This will lead me to thinking about God and how blessed I am. My life has turned out NOTHING like I planned it to. What is wonderful about HIS plan is that it’s always better than mine.

Miles 13.1 – 16: I will focus on how far I have come in my life.

I will think about how sad I was in college – how I masked this with alcohol. How uncomfortable I felt in my own skin when I was overweight. I will think about all the BLAH things that have happened in my life that could have kept me down. I will think about the time I weighed myself and the scale was over 25+ lbs higher than I had been less than two years before – I will remember collapsing down crying on that scale.

I will remember my mom telling me that anything to do with running – she would pay for – this was her way of helping me not make excuses of why I couldn’t afford to run.  I will think about when I was told I would never have 6 pack abs[I had a small spare tire at the time] – that I would never look at good as Britney Spears and to give up trying – I will laugh in my head.

I will think about how I used to be a bad person and I will forgive myself for the 1,000th time knowing that this will not be the last time I will ask myself for forgiveness for the mistakes I have made.

I will think about how I never dreamed I would one day be considered an athlete. I will remember wondering if I would ever fit in with other runners. I will remember how I felt the day I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. I will start to get chocked up.

Emotions and thoughts will flood my mind and I will tell myself to stop. I can’t hyperventilate in a marathon. I need to stop thinking. I need to get my game face on and race like I’ve never raced before.

Miles 16 – 20: I will be looking forward to seeing Eric and having him tell me that the real pain is about to begin. I will remember that the race starts after mile 20 – a 10K at the end of a marathon. I will get my game face on and I will sing in my head. I will calmly listen to Eric tell me not to back off the pace – to embrace the pain. I will feel happy he is next to me and wish that he could be with me till the end.

Miles 21 – 22: The pain will start. I will embrace it. I will start to talk to God more. I will tell HIM I need HIS type of strength to endure this race.

Miles 23 – 24: The doubt demons will arrive. They will make me question why I run the marathon distance. They will tell me the pain is too much and to give up. They will tell me I am not enough. I will remember them. I know they come from the Devil and he will not get the best of me today. He will not tell me I am not worth it – I KNOW I AM.

Mile 25:  I will want to cry from the pain. I will know that the more pain I am in the faster I am running – the faster I am running the faster I get to the finish line. I will know that Mile 25 & Mile 26 can make or break me – they are the difference between a PR and a decent marathon time.

Mile 26: I will soar on wings like EAGLES – I will praise God for my legs – my lungs – I WILL FIGHT. I will not be beaten. I am in pain will run through my head but out loud I will say YOU GOT THIS GIRL. YOU GOT THIS GIRL.

My body will scream out to stop – my body will try to tell my mind what to do. I RUN THIS BODY – not the other way around. I tell my body to run fast – it does not tell me to stop.

Mile 26.2: Pure elation mixed with some of the worst pain I have ever experienced – it will equal bliss as I am now a marathoner x 19.


Are you racing this weekend? Visualize the pain – see yourself overcoming it – embracing it. Push when you have nothing left and remember as the saying goes PAIN IS TEMPORARY BUT PRIDE IS FORFREAK*NGEVER

DREAM BIG my friends…..Dream BIG


  1. Thank you for allowing us inside your mind during a marathon. I love that you recognize that doubt is the Devil and nothing more. I was meant to read this today. I will NOT doubt myself.

  2. Oh, honey…I read every word with so much emotion. Thanks for letting us in.

  3. This post is AWESOME!! I’m bookmarking this and I’ll read it again before this weekend’s race. Especially this: “I RUN THIS BODY – not the other way around. I tell my body to run fast – it does not tell me to stop.”

    And the reminder to talk to God when the going gets tough – that’s a great reminder!

    Good luck this weekend!

  4. “I RUN THIS BODY”. Fantastic!!

    Thank you so very much for those words, this post, and your blog.

    Can’t wait to read about your PR on Sunday!

  5. Wow! I have chills all over my body reading this post. This is awesome and makes me want to GO RUN! Good luck! I can’t wait to hear about how awesome the race goes! You have worked hard and you will achieve your goals!

  6. Go get ’em Dorothy!

  7. your posts never cease to inspire me!! i hope that someday soon i am able to look back on what i’ve accomplished and share it to inspire people the way you do!

  8. I like that point of visualizing or what you will do when the pain sets in. A lot of times, when we’re in pain, we feel like we are no longer in control. Making a plan before the race gives you a least peace of mind that you will have a plan to then regain control. The hardest part for me for the marathon is that I get very overwhelmed. I never know if I’m working too hard too early or if it’s ok. Maybe it’s an experience thing.

  9. And you wonder if you inspire others… Yes, you do. :)

  10. Wishing you the best! You are ready for anything!

  11. This post is so helpful as I train for my third marathon. So far I have run weak 10Ks at the end of my marathons. I’d really like to change this. Thanks for your inspiration Dorothy. You really do inspire me to dream big. Someday I will take the time to send you a note and tell you more about how you’ve impacted my running story. God bless you and have a wonderful race!

  12. I had tears by mile 16 too. Thank you for this wonderful post. I am a few weeks into training for a spring race and have been really pushing myself to be more than the status quo this time around. I’ve booked marked this to re-read as a pep talk for race day…and any other day I might need it. All the best to you in your upcoming marathon!

  13. I love this!! I only wish to experience it through your eyes and hey, maybe some day I will have a race like this of my own. Good luck!!!

  14. Thanks for sharing what is on your mind. You DO got this, girl! I will be cheering for you this weekend =)

  15. Thank you for letting us into your head and your heart! This post brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. What an inspiration you are!

  16. It’s really encouraging to read your experience of miles 20-26 and know that the pain, self-doubt, etc is normal and not a sign that I didn’t prepare well enough! Will be thinking of you in this race… you’ve done the work, you can pull through and do it!

  17. Well said! I can’t get over how much you inspire me! You have me so excited to run my next marathon in April. It will only be my 4th, but I am already contemplating signing up for my 5th this fall. That would make Boston lucky #6 in 2013. :-)

  18. What a wonderful and motivating post once again. Good luck!

  19. It’s a little scary how your final 10K mile descriptions were dead-on how I felt in my last marathon!! What in the world! I’m sure I will be repeating, “I RUN THIS BODY” several times Sunday morning while I’m running LRM.

  20. Awesome Post!! I know you will do great and may God Bless you in your race!! :)

  21. Melissa (@StatOfLims) says:

    Isn’t it amazing the amount of introspection and the variety of emotions a marathon can put you through??? I ran a marathon a couple weekends ago and had many similar thoughts. Miles of feeling sad for my former self, miles of feeling excited about my future self, and miles of being proud of where I am now. Miles of looking forward to seeing familiar faces, miles of wondering why I didn’t do this sooner, and miles of focusing on pace and pain. Sometimes all of these things in a single mile!

    You’re a true inspiration. I’ll be thinking of you this weekend, wishing you well, and hoping your “big dreams” come true :)

  22. I’ve got my first ultra marathon this weekend. My two goals: don’t get lost in a national forest and to finish. No matter what, keep moving. You can deal with the pain AFTER the race! Good luck! I hope your race exceeds your expectations!

  23. What an amazing post and wonderful journey. I will need to remember to equate pain to the devil in the future. You are so right!

  24. Love this post! Good luck this weekend, you are awesome!

  25. What an amazing post! Everyday your blog inspires me to push harder and I love reading about your runs! Thanks for even more motivation!

  26. Great post! During my four half marathons I usually set a goal of thinking about a different person who’s helped me on my journey each mile. Dedicating a person per mile really adds meaning every time you run! Glad I found you – I’ll be a regular reader!

  27. Love this. Awesome post, really well done!! Thanks for sharing!

  28. U love it! Remember Jesus is with u at the starting line, at the halfway point, and until you cross the finish. It may hurt, but he will carry ya and give u strength. Phil 4:23. U r going to do awesome!!

  29. Wow this is an amazing post! I feel that a lot of us (at least I can speak for myself) have most of those thoughts when we are running….Not feeling good enough, and trying to forgive ourself for past mistakes.

    You will be WONDERFUL!! I believe in you!

  30. Your post is exactly why I love to run and workout. We all have a past, we all have a story and its amazing when we can use our past as STRENGTH and FUEL to becoming stronger, faster, better! You’re an inspiration and I hope one day that I can be a strong runner like you!

  31. This post both scares and inspires me for when I run my first marathon this year. I’m going to remember what you said “I run this body” and hopefully it will guide me through.

    Thanks for such a great post!

  32. This an AWESOME post!!!! Thank you for the inspiration. This will be something for me to visualize, actually getting stronger at mile 20…now that’s a switch…and treating it like a 10K. I can’t wait to share our stories!

  33. Mile Posts By Dorothy Beal says:

    Once you get to mile 20 start over counting. Mile 21 one to me is mile 1 – it helps me when I don’t look at the marathon as one giant race but as smaller ones. :)

  34. Mile Posts By Dorothy Beal says:

    Thanks Joc :) I can’t wait to virtually cheer you on when you go sub 4!!!

  35. Just read this post again. Racing this morning. Thanks for these words Dorothy.

  36. Good luck Jayme!

  37. NiceMatters says:

    Coming up on the Columbus Marathon. This will be 14 or 15. Love your plan for taking charge and hitting the pain where it hurts. I will be putting this into play in just a few weeks. Give God the glory for getting us through it!
    P.S. I will forever admire you for the long runs with the triple stroller. You have redefined the role of woman/mom/athlete!!

  38. Thank you for this post. I know it was almost a year ago and I read it a few months ago, but I wanted to tell you how much this post helped me. I was training for a half marathon, ran in October, and during my long training runs around 2-3 miles I would have to start talking myself up. Once I get past 3 miles I’m good and I feel great and I rarely need to talk myself up, but those first couple miles are killer for me. I read this post and it changed everything. I started telling myself that “I am in control of my body” “I set a goal for X miles and I will complete it!” “If I quit, how can I teach my kids not to?” I was saying all that one time as I passed a bunch of construction workers and they gave me some really funny looks, haha. Anyway, thank you. :) I won’t ever be able to run the way you do, but I’m running and it’s even more enjoyable now that I’ve found my self control and motivation. :)

  39. stephanie says:

    Thanks for sharing in this post. I’ve been needing some inspiration lately and your interpretation of suffering is just what I needed to hear.

    I’ve been progressing my mileage and pace for a while now (slowly and carefully) and my body is telling my consciousness that the challenge is getting intense (which is actually a good sign), and it means that I need to have acute perspective and a more indomitable will.

    There’s very few things in this world as cathartic as suffering. Everything shifts into place and what’s important is so clear and tangible. Thanks for the reminder and I might keep this blog close by to reference as needed.

  40. WOW this really helped me!! I’m running the Disney Marathon this weekend!!!! very nervous, excited. all of the above!!!

  41. Terry O’Brien of Back Trouble UK says “While 80 percent of the population are likely to experience low back pain at some stage in their life, there is a worrying trend in the amount of back pain experienced by teenagers. Likewise, where you have your computer monitor, the height of your keyboard and your arm placement will cause neck and shoulder pain. I have written this article to explain why they say to do this and I why I don’t agree and why I believe there is a better option.


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