When I first starting sharing my running adventures with others {it was pretty much my mom and my mom reading when I first started this blog} I OVER shared about my running, my life, my dreams, and my goals.

This works for some people. It doesn’t work for me.

Keeping my real goals close to my heart helps me achieve them. One of my largest goals I have shared on this blog has been that I one day want to run a sub 3:10 marathon, and I’ve yet to achieve that. In my mind – me sharing it – has made it that much harder for me to turn it into a reality. Yet other dreams, that were or should have been harder, were easier because I talked about them after the fact.

Actions speak louder than words in my mind. Sharing a goal, though helpful for some, is detrimental to me.

One of my goals this fall was to finally run an ultra.

I debated back and forth about sending my check in for JFK50 before leaving for Hood To Coast this past summer. If I ran fast on my three legs, it would be my reward, I could sign up and focus on training for a 50 miler rather than a fast marathon. I told the girls in my van this plan and they talked me out of it. They were all SUPER fast girls {as in my top speed is their easy pace} and asked me some thought provoking questions about what I wanted from running at this stage in my life. I was convinced the 50 miler was not for me. As the summer went on and I felt less and less confident in the amount of work I had done for MCM, I decided to switch my goal to running a 50K. I could run slower – since it was my first it would be ALL about the experience rather than speed. Maybe it was a goal I wanted or maybe it was a cop-out – at this point I don’t even know.

I still had this goal/desire/plan {?} in mind when I ran MCM. MCM was going to be my last long run before the Rosaryville 50K.

I had three goals before MCM – some I shared with you others I didn’t. I wanted to have fun, run the day, and PR my MCM {which meant anything sub 3:17}.

As it turned out I ran the day and on that day I had more to give than I thought. When I realized my legs and body were cooperating and didn’t seem fatigued, I went for what was a fast for me time.

Here I am now 2 days away from what I thought would be my first 50K. I could run it but do I want to run it?

I do and I don’t.

Ultras seem so cool in my eyes. The ultimate dream big RUN LONG event. BUT at this point in my life I think I would just be doing it to say I had done it and that is not a good enough reason in my eyes to actually do it. I don’t think I’m quitting, or failing at a dream because I’m questioning if it was ever really a dream or if I just got sick of saying NO when people ask me if I’ve done an ultra.

I need to remind myself that pushing my own personal limits does not always mean going farther.

The marathon has my heart, so for now I’m sticking with it.

10 days till VEGAS MARATHON.

Vegas 2012 8

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  1. Whether to run a certain distance is indeed the question. I’d have to say that in my running journey thus far, the marathon has also been my favorite distance too. I like the idea of pursuing an ultra, but I believe as well that I should consider the motivation behind it and not simply pursue one for the sake of telling others I’ve run longer distances. I will say that having run a marathon on the trail, the scenery was a wonderful experience to behold – and I believe this may be the great appeal of most ultra marathons – the majority of them are on the road. This past weekend the Pinhoti 100 took place down here in Alabama (I’m a GA resident). This is a daunting distance, but I have no doubt a race like this in the fall foliage of glorious leaves is amazing!


  2. You are the one who knows your body the best! Ultras always have that appeal I think, but sometimes you know what is best for you! Even though it may sound appealing you have to know what your body is ready for. Good luck!! You will do awesome on your next marathon!

  3. Dorothy, sometimes we get so caught up in what sounds cool and what others are doing or talking about, that we overlook what our own priorities, likes and goals are.

    The artificial pressure in the running community to keep doing more and more or go faster and faster seems to be ever-present, whether online or in our local communities, especially when it comes to going beyond the marathon. Supposedly the progression from the marathon to an Ultra is a natural progression – which I do not believe and do not adhere to that logic. The marathon is a huge challenge in and of itself.

    At some point in our running careers, we need to stop and look at we want to accomplish in running, versus what others expect, want or even suggest that we do.

    If you choose to do an Ultra – that is cool, if you choose to stop at the Marathon distance that is cool or if you choose to stop at a shorter distance than that it cool too. It comes down to what “you” want to accomplish in running.

    Running is too personal an activity in my opinion, to do distances that are not for you. Good luck in your next Marathon and go for that sub 3:10 with all your heart and with a lazer-like focus that will take you through to the goal you really want to achieve, not just do. Some day an the Ultra siren’s call might be stronger and be something that you really want to accomplish, until then enjoy doing what you enjoy doing :-).

  4. To run an ultra and really get the full experience, you have to want to do it. I have done 2 50Ks, and I have loved both of them, but I really, really wanted to run long. I dream of running a 100 miler because I like the feeling of pushing my body to see how far and how long I can run. For me there’s nothing more thrilling than to be out on the trails for hours, maybe in the dark, fighting with the part of you that wants to quit. I’m not a fast runner, and I’ll be lucky if I ever even get a sub-4 marathon so running more and more marathons doesn’t excite me. Going super long does. All of that is to say that different runners like different things. It doesn’t make you any less of a runner if you never do an ultra just like I’m no less of a runner if I never have a fast marathon time. It’s all about what distance and goals make us personally happy in our journey.

  5. A few of my nutty Annapolis Strider friends are doing the Rosaryville 50K. They’re NUTS! No, only kidding. But training for a marathon this summer was tough enough in the heat and to see those ultra peeps run before and after group runs to tack on additional mileage pulled me through some of my own difficult runs. I would like to think that a 50k will happen sometime in my future, just not right now. My heart isn’t there yet and if your heart isn’t fully committed then wait until your heart is in it.


  6. I think I always think {ha – does that even make sense} that my heart is in to it, but it’s seriously NOT. I think maybe one day when my kids are grown then running for hours in the woods will be realistic and something I WANT to do….for now I’m going to stick to the roads! Have a great day girl!

  7. Love all of this for so many reasons and it’s so true. I also like to think that LONG is relative since I still feel like 26.2 miles is a long way to go for me :) 100 miles sounds INSANE and awesome too me – I hope you get there one day!!

  8. Thanks for the comment Harold! I took get sucked in to the – it’s a natural progression thing – but it’s not for me. Maybe in ten years, but for now I really just love running marathons and would rather run MORE marathons than jump up to the ultra distance. Though if there was an ultra on the roads I’d be there tomorrow with bells and whistles on :) Have a great weekend!

  9. Focus on your sub 3:10….the marathon is where you are meant to be. It’s your here and now. Forget what everyone else is doing or thinks you should do or has asked what you’ve done. Stay loyal and faithful to what you love- the 26.2. The 3:10 is within you reach, you just need to focus on it. xoxo

  10. Personally, I think I enjoy slow trail running more than fast road running :) Maybe check out the Annapolis Striders 6-Hour run next summer. It’s on a paved trail so it’s not too far out of your road-running comfort zone, though you will have to slow down a bit to run for twice the time!

    ps if you haven’t already, let the Rosaryville race directors know you’re not running … they have a wait list!

  11. True about long being relative since 18 months ago I thought 10 miles was long and marathons are definitely long. I just enjoy the insanity of really long. :)

  12. Already did and they already wrote me back :) :) and I will check out that 6 hour run for sure!!!! Thanks for the suggestion :)

  13. I too have a 50K on the schedule in a few weeks and I’m struggling to decide if I should run it or not. I enjoy trail running but hate going so slow. But I feel like I’ve achieved what I could in other distances. I just have no idea what my goals should be. I’m glad you were able to come to your conclusion. Hopefully I can have some clarity soon too.

  14. I think it is wise of you to be truly honest with yourself about your goals and intentions. That is sometimes hard to realize and even harder to stick to — especially when you have tons of people looking to you for inspiration. You are an amazing athlete and there isn’t a doubt in my mind you will hit your marathon goal.

  15. So many great comments – they are all spot on. Running is like life – there are so many BAD reasons to do something, yet we often end up doing things for those reasons when the potential GOOD reasons all tell us to NOT do it.

    I remember before we had kids my wife and I had reserved a very expensive vacation, then her car died and we needed to replace it and we bought our house … and yet we were still considering putting ourselves massively into debt for a vacation we could no longer avoid. Why? To avoid losing the $300 deposit! haha!

    I know runner friends who have done stupid things because they already paid the entry fee … it just isn’t worth it. An ultra is a significant body commitment, and like anything else poses a risk-reward question. If the reward isn’t anything but ticking a check-box, why take the risk?

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  17. Lisa Johnston says:

    So refreshing to read this! I ran the Potomac River Run Marathon last spring as a training run for a 50k. I ran a 44 minute PR – a 3:18, and was so satisfied with it that by the time the 50k rolled around my heart wasn’t in it, and I wasn’t feeling great. I made it through 13 miles and quit! There is something about running slowly on a trail for 5 or 6 plus hours that just doesn’t work for me right now too. Maybe one day, and I would join you on the road 50k. You are making the right decision :) I’m so happy to see that I’m not the only one who feels this way about ultras. I’ll check that off the list one day!

  18. love what you wrote about goals. i think in the future i’m keeping my real running goals to myself. sometimes sharing them sets me up for a really bad mindset. great post!

  19. Good for you. Your decisions should be about YOU :)

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