When I first moved to Leesburg I called the local high school to ask for permission to run on their track. In the early morning hours the track was locked. I needed the code.

The lock was the obstacle.

Unlike when we lived in Reston where the South Lakes {my old high school!} track felt like it was always open, this track seemed locked every single time I tried to go run there.

When I called, I got the run around on who to ask for permission to use it. I was finally was given an email address I could write. I wrote. I heard nothing. I called again. I heard nothing.

In a moment of desperation last week I decided heck, let’s drive to the track and see if it’s unlocked. Nothing to lose everything to gain.

Even though the track was unlocked part of me felt like a high school kid sneaking in to a pool late night with my friends {I never did that}. When the groundskeepers drove past in their little cart my heart skipped a beat. Was I going to get kicked off the track? Aren’t you allowed to use the track during the summer when it’s unlocked? Thoughts swirled in my head. What are you so worried about Dorothy? Who cares if they ask you to leave.

Really though….it’s all good….I ran today ? #irunthisbody

A photo posted by Dorothy Beal ♡ I Run This Body (@mileposts) on

Much to my surprise no one came and kicked us off. While we were there others showed up and began their runs, in the heat, around the oval office.

The Obstacle In Running Is Your Mind @mileposts

When it comes to big things that fear should keep me from doing, I dive right in, but those small things, like worrying about someone kicking me off a track…those things have kept me from doing the small things that add up to even bigger things. Still with me?

I’ve been feeling a bit down and out about my running. I wrongly assumed that as my kids got older training would be easier. While yes it is easier during the school year, summer is making it feel impossible.

I’m not worried about pace or place, it’s simply about running. I enjoy running and like the way it makes me feel for the rest of the day. When I can’t run as much as I want to run, or it’s constantly stressful figuring out how I’m going to run, that’s what I take issue with.

Something is holding me back.

The first step to change, whether it’s returning to how I was previously or going somewhere new, is writing out my thoughts. Thoughts that seem reasonable and completely not dramatic in my head, when written, are easier for me to say – okay Dorothy – buck up – you have done this before, stop complaining and figure out a way. You are being dramatic.

Step 1: Write out thoughts, complaints, concerns

Step 2: Figure out what’s holding me back

I’ve had a couple of scary experiences while out running. It’s one thing to feel worried during the day, like I was on this RUN. It’s another thing to feel uncomfortable and worried when it’s 4 something in the morning and it’s dark. My overactive mind is making me worry more than I need to.

Related: I Was Chased Down By A Car While Running

Knuckle Lights was kind enough to send me a pair of their new rechargeable lights. Being able to see in sections that aren’t well-lit will give me a sense of security that I feel I’m lacking now.

Step 3: Set an alarm, get out of bed without hitting snooze

Last night I headed to bed before 9. I tossed and turned and didn’t fall asleep right away. When my husband was leaving at 5 something this morning he woke me up {at my request} and told me it was time to get up. I wanted to keep sleeping. I know however, that getting up early becomes EASY when you are so tired at the end of the night that you can’t keep your eyes open even if you wanted to. Getting up early is the key to being able to go to bed early.

Step 4: Fall asleep early from exhaustion, making getting out of bed easier and easier

Step 5: Believe that I’m the obstacle

Related: How To Stay Safe On A Morning Run

Every single summer I fall in to a trap of feeling like the obstacles that are in my way are new. The obstacle is my mind. Once I get that in check, nothing will stop me.

The Obstacle In Running Is Your Mind @mileposts

How do you make time to run during busy times of the year? Is your mind an obstacle?


  1. LindseyRae says:

    I have had that exact same ‘Oh my, they’re going to come kick me out!’ panicked moment… and I work at the school! (But we’re still not given full access – long story: small town, football, etc) My mind definitely is the biggest obstacle I face daily – I’m always looking for ways to get it under control and lose the fear that seems to accompany the goals I set for myself!

  2. That’s so funny. I am totally annoyed by schools that lock up the playgrounds and the tracks. I think of it as a community resource but sadly I’m not in charge. So, I’m one month out from my next Ironman (Ironman Boulder) that’s what motivates me to get out of bed. in fact this morning I was totally going to go back to sleep and then I thought … holy crap this race is one month away. GET UP. So I did. And the water was really cold too which was rough. I’m in Miami cold water is super unusual.

  3. Great post =) Thanks for the motivation. As they say that doubts in your mind are a much greater roadblock than in your journey.

  4. My mind is DEFINITELY my biggest obstacle in running! I just said it the other day on FB – running untangles the thoughts in my head. Well, that’s true if I give it permission to! So often I’m struggling to keep pressing on, trying to increase my speed so I can BQ. I’m a 44 yr old mother of 4 who has only been running 5 years…who am I kidding?? It’s those kinds of thoughts that I need to throw out the window. This morning on my run as I was thinking about my pace I adjusted my thinking from HOW (am I ever going to run fast enough to BQ) to WHEN? It gave me the slightest boost that my persistence will one day prevail. I LOVE running because it’s helping me shed my old skin and grow into a woman of strength and determination;-)

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  6. Great read. I have a full time job, and 2 part time jobs, plus karate training that keep me busy all week. I try to find at least 3 run days per week, but sometimes it near impossible and end up bunching all the runs from Thursday to Sunday. So yes, the mind, my mind is always an obstacle. I can get up at 5 am and do a long run a few times per week, but I dont. I hate mornings, rather run at night. I guess I need to train my brain.

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