In November when I was riding my high from Rock N Roll Vegas Marathon, I decided I was all in for RNR USA 1/2 or marathon {if I was feeling crazy enough to run 3 in the spring}.

A lot has happened since November – big – small – good – bad – great and not so great.

Running has sort of mirrored my life.

10 bliss filled miles yesterday followed by 3 super-sucky-didn’t-think-I-was-going-to-finish miles today.

It is what is and I’m not beating myself up over it. For possibly the first time in my life I’m being really gentle and understanding of myself. I’m not in PR shape or even really following a training plan but that doesn’t mean I am not giving all I have to give to running right now.

Over the past 11 years of running marathons I’ve learned there are seasons of life. It’s really fun when one of those seasons happens to give you PR’s at every race distance you run – but it also can be really fun when you are running for the pure joy and love of the sport. That’s where I am at right now. I know the season will come in the future where I have the time and the energy to kill it and train properly – but for now that is not where I am at. It’s not an excuse or a reason or anything really – it’s just me saying I love running regardless of my fitness level. It’s taken me some years to really fully grasp that running isn’t always about numbers {though don’t get me wrong I do love numbers and I do love PR’s}.

Sadly the doubt voice in my head has been creeping in recently. I’m 4 days out from RNR USA, a half marathon that I had planned to really train for. I wanted to go under 1:30 for the first time and I thought it was a reasonable, possibly even conservative goal. Now it’s neither. Now I need to run the day and be happy to be doing something I love – running a race. That little doubt demon is trying to stop me. I honestly want to skip the race all together. I mean why race if you can’t PR is what the voice says. Do you want to embarrass yourself? Do you want to see people you normally would race fly past you? Do you want to feel defeated at the finish?

For more moments than I’d like to admit I’ve believed this voice and I’ve considered every excuse/reason in the book as to why I can’t run RNR USA on Saturday.

I take issue with that and I’m pissed at that little voice in my head.

I LOVE running races. Big ones, small ones, short ones, long ones – I love them all – why should some wacked out sense of pride about being a little bit slower stop me from doing something I love?

It’s fun getting faster, it is admittedly not as fun sliding back and getting slower, but in the end it’s reminding me that one day I will slow down not because of my circumstances, but because of my age and if I want this relationship with running to stand the test of time and last my whole life then I have to accept an inevitable slow down, even embrace it. I must take the not so great days in order to have the great ones – it’s all part of being a life long runner.

I am remembering the girl who was beaming when she broke 2 hours in her first half marathon – she would be mad if I wasn’t going to do something I love simply because I couldn’t break 1:30.

Do doubt voices or pride stop you from doing things you love?

Look Back

GOOD LUCK to everyone running Rock N Roll USA 1/2 and marathon!!!



  1. this post is something I have been feeling for quite some time! Last year I did set a PR in every distance. I’m in the final 6 weeks of training for my 5th marathon (The NJ Marathon). I ran it last year and PR’ed! I was on such a high. I came in at 4:48 (a whole 9 minutes faster than my prior PR). I registered for it this year the day after I crossed the finish line last year with this goal of shaving 8 more minutes off to come in at 4:40. With each training run I realize that maintaining a 10:40 pace doesn’t seem out of reach but then I remember how I need to walk through water stops and walk a minute here and there and that freaked me out realizing that my pace would really need to be more in the range of 10:15 for most miles to allow me those walk breaks. I immediately threw my hands up and said forget it. I’ll NEVER reach my goal. I also simultanously did the calendar counting to see i’ll probably be in the midst of my period (yikes probably day 1 or 2) and that made me feel the “why bother” aspect even more. But just within the last few days I sorta yelled at myself. I’m running this race because I loved the course last year and I love that my family can see me at a few spots along the course and it’s fairly flat and the race director is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I want to run this race regardless of the outcome. We must always remember we have more than one voice in our head and we have to battle for the strongest one to lead us… Best of luck with your half and enjoy the journey!

  2. It’s hard when you have a goal and then realize you won’t reach it (right NOW). That happened to me when I got injured. I was full on marathon training and making huge progress when BAM I got hit with a stress fracture. I obviously was doing several things wrong, but at the end of the day it was so hard to swallow that I wasn’t going to run the race I wanted and get that PR.

    Just like you said – go out there and enjoy the race! Enjoy everything about it. You may not PR and that’s okay – there is joy in every journey! :)

  3. This rings SO TRUE to me as I try to return to racing after some time away due to life circumstances and then a chronic IT band injury. Part of me hates the idea of someone googling my name and seeing a race time that I don’t feel is indicative of my abilities…but that’s kind of silly, since that is not why I run in the first place! I really enjoyed Kristen Armstrong’s Mile Markers post from January titled “Pin it On,” which speaks to the issue of racing in the setting of less-than-optimal training. Very inspiring!

  4. Great post!!! Love running for the way it makes you feel, the health it gives you, the example to your kids and to others that it makes you. Enjoy the PR’s when they come, but it is not all about PR’s. I hear ya, they are great…an accomplishment, but I will say that finishing with pride in what you accomplished is also an accomplishment! Go out there and do what you love!!!!! :)

  5. Awesomely said! I’m not someone who ever cares about my time, but being part of the online running community makes me feel more pressure for sure. So many people waiting to hear your results! I hope you get out there and thoroughly enjoy your day!!

  6. I can’t agree more with this post! In listening to the voice of doubt in my head, I almost sabotaged myself from being able to run (or finish in 4 hours) my first half this weekend. Ironically, it is Rock & Roll DC! I wanted so badly to do a half marathon for years, and then signed up and almost seemed to panic. It was almost like I was afraid I would fail, so I set myself up to fail. Thankfully, I think the training I was able to to do after I told that little voice in my head to get the heck away will allow me to finish in the time limit allowed. I’ll say hello to you if I see you at the race! Ahalf marathon is a half marathon no matter how long it takes us to do it, right?! I am trying so hard to put it all in perspective, and just enjoy running the race because I love running (something I truly never thought I would say!) Good luck and know that you are strong, powerful and capable. I can’t wait to read all about it! <3

  7. This winter has been brutal for training. I signed up for B&A and was ready to go after a disastrous Richmond Marathon. Then winter happened. And so did a kitchen renovation. Now, I’ve dropped down to the B&A half and my longest run to date has been 8 miles. Racing is not an option at this point. I’m going to go out, have fun, laugh with friends, and try to convince people we should make this sucker into a beer run (gluten free of course!).

  8. I am so glad that you posted this. I am training for my first marathon, and I am having issues trying to allow myself to do it in what ever time my body allows. My husband has been frustrated with me because sometimes I finish too quickly. He thinks we need to allow our bodies to get used to it before we try to KILL it our first time out. He doesn’t think there is a point to try and run it quickly, when it is our first marathon.
    I am learning what my body can do, and sometimes it can go fast! Sometimes I want it to go fast (well, most times I do, but I know I probably will injure myself if I do it).
    You are someone who is very inspiring, and hearing you say that, “IT IS OKAY,” to listen to your body, to be slow sometimes…is reassuring, especially since I am basically just a beginner anyway.
    Thank you for this.

  9. I can’t tell you how true this is for me RIGHT NOW. I just had to drop out of my very first marathon. Winter has kicked my ass and I have been sucked into a legit stage of depression over it. Thank you for the encouraging words!

  10. This post means so much to me right now. I am signed up for the full and having to drop down to the half. I have recently wrote about my reasons why on my blog. I almost gave up on my love, running, all together just because it is HARD now. But that is ridiculous. Would I give up on a friendship or my marriage when it gets hard?! NO!
    I hope to see you at the race : )

  11. Great post. I often feel the same way about racing (part of the reason I don’t do it so much, finances aside). Then I find myself worrying that I’ll fall out of love with running when my days of PRing are over for good. RIDICULOUS.
    But life has it’s ups and downs. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be life – it would be a boring existence.
    Have fun in at the race and enjoy what you don’t get to the other times when you’re reaching for a PR (for me that’s seeing the actual sites on the course) :)

  12. I am having the same feelings! Like you said just because I’m not in PR shape or in full on training mode doesn’t mean I’m not committed to running. In fact, I am looking at the season of running as something I need to actually make my running BETTER. I would like to run another full in the fall and I’m trying to use this time to prepare… not only running but trying to get my household organized and prepared for a mama in full on training mode!

  13. You have to go and run that race, because you are going to be so disappointed at yourself if you don’t. It doesn’t matter that you don’t PR, or if you take the longest time to cross the finish line.
    In the end what matters is doing something you love, having a good time, and being satisfied with where you are right now. It may be not as good as it was, but it’s now.

  14. I’m running the same race and have been struggling with similar feelings. I was on track to run a new PR then got the flue followed by a hamstring injury and lost the last 3.5 weeks of training right before the race. On Monday I decided I wasn’t going to race because I wasn’t going to come anywhere close to my original goal. Reading this post + getting an ok to run from my PT pushed me to run this Saturday.
    Thank you.

  15. Krystin C. says:

    You get put there and go what you love Dorothy! its hard to not see a faster pace but for the love of running it is exciting & you will do great! You readers support you, your family supports you & your runner community supports you no matter your pace!
    I ran the same 1/2 four times in order to break the 2 hour mark my times varied by less than 30 seconds! But I finally did it & haven’t ran that 1/2 since;) running is a game and you are doing great to win your game on that given race day!

  16. I needed to read this!! I’ve been so bummed since I haven’t broken 2 hours on a half.. I’ve been chasing that goal the past 4 half marathons, almost a year. I am coming back from injury and it’s been super hard. I’ve honestly been thinking to myself that maybe I should give up the goal, that maybe I will never break it. Falling apart mentally during a race sucks the fun out of it.. I miss last year when I PRd all over the place. :)

  17. What a great post! I can really relate to your feelings about not racing because you don’t feel you’re “up to speed” right now. That aging thing you mentioned? That’s where I am now. In my 30’s and early 40’s I could do a 5k in 21:00 (not fast for some people, but it is for me). Now I consider 23:30 spectacular. I still hesitate to register for the shorter distance races, since that’s where I was always fastest. I don’t want to feel like a failure at something I love so much, so I’m working on redefining success. It can’t always be about my finish time, that’s for sure.

  18. You are SUCH an inspiration! Don’t let those little daemons get to you :) I hope I am as fast as you on your slowest day…one day! My goal is a 2:30 1/2 because I keep falling in at 2:45 with leg cramps in the last 2 miles…gonna change that this year!

  19. Many kinds of weights, Gymbal, barbells, dumbbells and fitness ball from stock fast and easy ordering, delivery 1 business day!

  20. Hey Dorothy, this post really resonates with me. I totally understand it. And as much as we know, logically, that running is about WAY more than a number/time, sometimes it’s just tough to get out of that mindset. I understand the internal battle of wanting to just enjoy it, but also being kinda bummed that you aren’t at your best. I am really proud of how you are handling this and that you are sharing these feelings with your readers.

  21. Thank you for saying this “out loud”. I have definitely felt this – and not just with running. I have not done something out of fear that I won’t do it “perfectly”. And I hate that. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who fights that voice.

  22. Wow! This was like reading my own blog — thank you for this!! I’ve been struggling these past few weeks for Boston and I’m feeling so stuck and deflated. Now hit with a cold at a very critical time. It always feel good to remember and read reinforcing info that it’s not about the time or pace, it’s about the love of running and the ability to do it. Thank you!

  23. Hey you!! I always love when you comment :) Hope you are doing well! xo

  24. It’s really exactly like you put it “there are seasons of life”. Probably the biggest struggles in life are the ones we have with ourselves, but that’s also the source of the biggest ‘win feelings’ and there’s no joy like the joy we can do for ourselves.
    Stay strong!

  25. This is a great thought. I’m in the place right now where I also am pursuing running for the simple joy it brings. I decided to skip a trail marathon back in February due to what I believe was a mild case of patellar tendinitis in my left knee. The knee has improved, and though I was disappointed at not racing, I’m enjoying the simplicity of simply going out for a run and not caring too much about the time it takes to finish a few miles. Running helps me focus my life and think about all that is good: being married for a little over a year now, being employed, having a roof over my head, and too many other blessings to list here. Suffice it to say that running should always be grounded in the joy of just doing it for no other reason but love.

  26. really inspiring.. even i dnt want to stop .. i want to fall , get up again and run… running help to make me fit..

  27. I am so glad that you posted this. I am training for my first marathon, but my body is not supporting me just few Gltches i know then i will overcome.But with these Highs and Lows i know somehow im gonna make it.
    Great post and nice article


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