Last night I felt sick to my stomach.

I was silent. This doesn’t often happen.

My husband asked me over and over again what was wrong.


You are deep in thought about something. Tell me.


*you could get used to me being silent right?*

The reality was nothing was wrong – but my mind was a mess.

Why do I put this intense pressure on myself when it comes to the marathon distance? Why do I run them for speed [a relative term to the individual] – always trying to improve on my time?

I can not even count the amount of times I have told myself I could die happy once I had a certain time.

If you beat Oprah’s marathon time you will be happy.

If you beat P. Diddy’s marathon time you will be happy.

If you go under 4 you will be happy.

If you qualify for Boston you will  be happy.

If you go under 3:30 you will be happy.

If you win a marathon you will be happy.

If you run under 3:20 you will be happy.

If you run under 3:15 you will be happy.

And now…..IF you run under 3:10 you will be happy.


It gets harder and harder each year to knock off chunks of time in the marathon distance.

I run for time because it only seems logical to me. I find out who I am and what I am made of when I push myself faster than I dream possible.

But those DREAMS come at a price – a price paid for with countless hours and endless miles. All of which I love.

Those DREAMS are also paid for with nerves and those I do not love.

Last night I went to bed telling myself that I no longer cared about a fast marathon and don’t know why I even bother trying to get faster each year. What a waste of time.


This morning my alarm went off and I didn’t want to run. Why run – I mean who am I kidding? Myself was the answer.

I hit snooze and thought of the different ways I could get in a run later.

I could…..get both boys ready and push them on a stroller run after I get Chloe on the bus. Then I told myself that you don’t want to push a double stroller full of boys and snacks when you are tapering for a marathon. I told myself I could wait till I dropped Miles off at preschool after lunch and push Colton for a run in the single. I told myself I wouldn’t do it – I would come up with a reason as to why I should just run when Eric gets home from work. I knew inside that I wouldn’t be motivated enough to run when Eric got home from work so I begrudgingly got up and dressed.


I stepped outside and didn’t click my garmin on.

I ran garmin-less for the first time in a VERY long time.

I wanted to feel good about the run and didn’t want that feeling to be tied to how fast or slow I was running.


6 glorious miles later my nerves are gone. If only for the day.

I run marathons because I love them.

I run marathons because they teach me.

I run marathons because with out them I don’t know who I am.

I run marathons because when I run for 26.2 miles I find myself.


Am I happier now than I was when I first started running marathons? YES. That isn’t however because the time on the clock has gotten faster. Those races miles and all the miles in between have molded and shaped my personality and my life.


Turns out I’m not kidding anyone. I AM A RUNNER.

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  1. Staying motivated when it’s cold and dark is SO hard. When you have to hit the alarm off button it is difficult to remember WHY we do this. We love running but not always the circumstances around it. Very excited to see what you do in NYC! Your hardwork is paying off!

  2. Great post! Its nice to know I’m not the only person who asks why. The hardest step is the first one out of bed!

  3. I beat Oprah on my first marathon! I didn’t even know what P. Diddy ran until I just looked it up. I want to go sub 4 hours Sunday at Marine Corps and that will have me beat Sarah Palin.

    However, this nasty cold i woke up with yesterday seems to have other thoughts! Lots of hydrating for me this week.

  4. You are a pretty fabulous runner too! I often feel the same way that you do about getting up and running in the morning. I try to come up with a million excuses of how I can skip my run and do it later. I wished that I had your willpower!

  5. nicematters says:

    I ran Columbus on Sunday. Leading up to the day I was asking the same questions. Why do this?? For me it is knowing that I can something big. Something that seems impossible. Something that isn’t easy but feels incredible when you finish.
    Your 26.2 Bible Verses For Running & Racing went with me, and mile by mile, I worked at praising God. And I was amazed to feel His Power.

  6. Wonderful post and so true. We run because we believe in ourselves. Deep down inside we want to see how much we are capable of. We want to push and push because we know we are strong. In return we set a big example for our children. We show them that any dream/goal is possible to reach with a bit of hard work and effort. I think that is important for children to see. It is a lesson my father taught me. I was always told that very few people have things just fall in their laps. That to succeed and reach the goals I want to I would have to work hard and put in a solid effort. Running shows us how true that is. It shows us that it may take baby steps, but the effort will be worth it. Great job getting out there!!!

  7. This. Exactly and totally This.
    I get it.

  8. The nerves are because you care. You put so much heart and effort into training and you TRULY care about the results…so it is natural to be nervous and have anxiety about it. If you weren’t, you might question how much it means to you. You have BIG dreams and BIG goals and those are scary and puts a lot of pressure on yourself to do well. Go back and read some of your old posts before and after big races…you probably felt the same way, but in the end, you believed in yourself and each time you have done AMAZING things!

  9. Thank you for this Corey – made me teary eyed :) xoxo

  10. Ah so glad I am not the only person that feels this way :)

  11. Jolene you are going to do AWESOME on Sunday – can’t wait to read your recap of the race!

  12. My goal for my only marathon was to beat Oprah…not so much! Next time I’m all over that!!! My nerves always get to me but you are a runner…it gets inside you and lights you up! I agree with Corey…if you didn’t treasure your dreams they wouldn’t make you nervous!

  13. Dorothy, this is such a wonderful post!! As a newer runner with not a whole lot of talent, I can tell you that the pressure I put on myself is enormous. I remember the first time I got sub2 half marathon, shaved 6 minutes off my time, I was on cloud 9. My friend, ironically is also a runner asked me why I’m putting so much work into just shaving a few minutes, no one will care. Well, I do. (do ultra runners not care about their time or something??) I trained harder, run more challenging courses to continue to chase the PR, I love the challenge, but I hate the pressure. Like from your last post, I’m wanting to just not tell people about the races so no one will ask about goals etc. I’m debating on training for a spring marathon and I may employ your tactic of secret races!!

  14. I needed to read this post today. My mind is all over the place too, but for me it’s the half. I’ve been working my butt off (literally – I’ve dropped 5 pounds) and trying to improve my half time by a huge margin. Fast for me would be incredibly slow for you, but pushing for this time goal is taking the fun out of running. I’m supposed to do a 6 mile tempo run today and I want nothing to do with it and that makes me so sad. I think I need to leave the watch at home today, too, and just enjoy the fall air and run. Now, if only the weather would cooperate and not storm this afternoon, then I might be able to actually do it.

  15. The marathon here has their pace teams labeled by famous people – the Oprah pace group, the P.Diddy pace group. George W’s running mates. You get the idea. I tried to keep up with the Oprah group on my leg of the relay this weekend and I couldn’t catch her. In my one marathon, she beat me by an hour – but I didn’t have a team of nutritionists and trainers working with me for months and months. Remember – we aren’t famous people with teams behind us. We’re just us.

  16. I love this post Dorothy! It is so easy to try to set goals and stress over them and forget WHY you are doing what you are doing in the first place (that make sense?). Meaning most of us started running and continued with it because we LOVED it. For me, it’s my time to myself. it’s my time to de-stress. it’s my time to be reflective and figure things out in my life. When I’m stressing about a goal, it takes away from the real reason I love running. Good for you for getting up and going! I’m so glad it brought you back to your happy place:) You’re going to kick butt in NYC!

  17. Katie @ msfitrunner says:

    I have run more without my garmin this past ray raining cycle than I ever have before – and I LOVE every one of those garmin less runs. I was out early this morning, and it was TOUGH! You are at the end of a long cycle, it’s only natural to ask why? as your goals get tougher and the training gets more intense. I’m in the same position as it gets harder and more “unknown” as to whether or not I have what it takes to accomplish what I want. And I have had a MAJOR attitude change with my running because otherwise I would simply crush and defeat myself with the immense pressure I put on myself for a time goal, before I even start the race. So I run. Just to run and give it all I have on that day – knowing that sometimes it may not be my best time, but it will be my best that day. It has saved me. And as much as I want a stellar NYCM, I’m just going to run my best. Keep it up, you run because you have a lot of heart and a lot of strength. and you are darn good at it;-)

  18. There are some things, though not many, that can’t be improved by going for a run.

  19. I am so glad I am not alone in struggling with early morning motivation right now. The darkness is lulling me to stay in bed and I know I need to bite the bullet, get up, and run! Because you are right, the runs you do later in the day are never quite the same.

  20. Well written. I think you speak for a lot of us. Keep up the good work.


  21. I love that you were able to sort through your thoughts and rediscover why you run. You are truly a running inspiration and that may not be a reason you run (although I am sure it makes you happy to know), but add that to the list, you inspire others to run further or faster than they thought they could and to push themselves.

  22. “I run marathons because I love them… I run marathons because with out them I don’t know who I am.”

    Thank you. Thank you. Always remember that even on the tough days, you have hundreds of people out here who support you and believe in you and whom you inspire. You, Dorothy, are an amazing person, regardless of any number on a clock.

  23. You are so fucking whiny. Whi are you so worried about it and not thankful to just be able to run? It’s not like you’ll EVER be elite…so just enjoy it. Damn girl.

  24. Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl says:

    This is the exact reason why I stopped training with my garmin after my marathon fail last fall. Races should be fun and that time pressure that we all put on ourselves is hard to fight when the stats are there staring at us every time we run. But if it didn’t scare you and make you doubt yourself, than it wouldn’t be worth it! Nothing in life that is ever worth anything will come without a struggle.

    Believe in yourself and your dream 😉

  25. I enjoyed your post today…one of my favorite sayings about running is …”Running gives freedom. When you run you can determine your own tempo. You can choose your own course and think whatever you want. Nobody tells you what to do.” Have a great race this weekend and thanks for all the coaching.

  26. I just had a similar conversation with my trainer last night. I asked her straight out, “will I ever be happy? How much more weight do I have to lose to feel happy? Why does my “high” after weigh-in only last about a day, then I’m back to stressing about every single thing I eat?” So we had a heart-to-heart about being fit vs. being thin. At some point, you have to find some enjoyment in what you’re doing… or else it does become a daily slog you don’t want to go thru anymore. I enjoyed your post because I’m clearly going thru a similar thing… glad to see I’m not the only one out there who “knows” what is right but still struggles sometimes. :)

  27. Why are you so hateful Karin? If you feel that she is whiny, then why in the world do you visit her blog to begin with? Stop being an internet bully and stop visiting Dorothy’s blog.

  28. I have a similar problem but mine has more to do with weight. Since developing an eating disorder my idea of happiness is to lose more weight and when i hit a certain number i will be happier (but i never am). Today, after class, I really did not want to run. lately I feel like I have only been running for the calories I burn, i strap on my heart rate monitor and garmin and the minute I am done I look at how many calories I burned. I was so close to not running today but then I remembered this post and I thought “Dorothea pulled herself out of bed and on to the road” and so thats what I did. I pulled myself (out of my car) and onto the road. No garmin. No heart rate monitor. Just me and a the colors of fall and lots of hills (the are inescapable in Syracuse). I felt amazing, no knee pain, had not idea how fast i was going, the time, or the distance. When I got back to my dorm I realized i had been out for an hour and ran a little over 7 miles! thank you for the inspiration and never keep fighting!

  29. Why are you so hateful Karin? If you feel that she is whiny, then why in the world do you visit her blog to begin with? Stop hiding behind comments and being an internet bully. What an incredibly negative person you are.

  30. Dorothy, I’m the same way. To me no chance of PR means I’m not sure what I’m racing for. i totally understand.


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