When You Accomplish a Goal – Part 2

I mentioned in Part 1 that I decided over 15 years ago that I would like to run a marathon. While spending this month discussing goals – and this week, discussing the “physical” dimension of that I thought I would share more about what it took to accomplish this particular goal of running a marathon.

And maybe I will share some of the lessons this 15+ year goal taught me.

In January of 2022, I read several social media posts from a friend who had just completed a running challenge at Walt Disney World…specifically “The Dopey Challenge”.

The Dopey Challenge involves running 4 races on four consecutive days. A 5k on Thursday; a 10K on Friday; a half marathon on Saturday; and finally, a marathon on Sunday.

I am not sure why, but it was then that I decided that I would take on this challenge for January of 2023.

For whatever reason, running a marathon has been on my “Bucket List” of things to achieve for a very long time.

I first decided to tackle this goal in 2010. I would be turning 40 years old and that seemed like a great time to “celebrate” by running a marathon.

I knew nothing of running marathons or even how to find a race to run other than the St. George Marathon which is run the first week of October each year, so that’s what I decided I would do.


It was as good as done!

I started running in late December 2009, slowly, using the C25K app. One minute running, 90 seconds walking, repeating these intervals for 20 minutes. The app schedule was to do this 3 days a week.

Historically I have always felt the need to do more.

More days, more intervals, a faster pace, more intense…that had to be better and would surely help me achieve my goal.

What it actually did was cause me to push my body too hard and too far. By mid-summer, I was running about 15 miles each weekend on my long runs. But I had no idea about recovery and rest. I was running 6 days a week. I was having back pain and foot problems. I had lost a lot of weight because I wasn’t mindful of my nutrition.

The St George marathon was a lottery draw. And it wasn’t until later in the year that I didn’t get in the race.

After a run with another running friend, I felt as though I wasn’t as fast as I “thought” I was and I couldn’t run the race anyway so eventually I gave up the idea. I convinced myself that this was further evidence that I was not a distance runner.

In 2011, according to my Nike Run Club app, I ran a total of 5.3 miles for the year.

But the marathon goal would pop up occasionally. More often than not I would tell myself that time had passed.

In 2013 and 2015 I ran the Ragnar relay with friends and picked the shorter legs for my runs. I still wasn’t a distance runner in my mind. Even if the distance I ran/walked was 6 or 8 miles.

In 2017 and 2018 I was running with my youngest daughter and a couple of her friends 3 days a week. We ran some 5k races together for fun.

I really loved that time together. I loved having someone to share it with.

In 2019 life got busy and we stopped running for the most part. It was back to sporadic running at best. 2020 didn’t get much better.

In 2021 I was mostly walking for my exercise but still increasing my mileage for the year.

Then came 2022. My friend’s post. My determination that I could complete the Dopey Challenge. Not getting into the Dopey Challenge and “settling” for the marathon.

But this time I wanted to do it differently. I had a training schedule. I wouldn’t do more or go faster than I had planned. I didn’t need to over do it to reach my goal.

I first decided to tackle this goal in 2010. I would be turning 40 years old and that seemed like a great time to “celebrate” by running a marathon.


It was as good as done!

Hello Friends!

I’m Michelle. I am learning how to minimize my overwhelm, perfectionism, and people-pleasing and I am ready to help you do the same. I’m a certified Life Coach and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Come with me and learn how.

I believe wholeheartedly that if I can do this, anyone can do this. It really is true that the hard part isn’t getting your body in shape. The hard part is getting your mind in shape.

I started with C25K once again. But this time I got the right shoes. I didn’t add on the extra days or intervals like I had in the past. I just did what it said.

Rather than running everyday, I would cross-train using my bike two or three days a week.

I would follow the distance recommendations on the training schedule put out by Walt Disney World. It would take me the entire year and that was exactly my plan.

I talked about this goal in my post back on January 17, 2022. I noted that the physical portion of the goal would be one challenge but the real challenge would be the internal personal work of showing up for myself lovingly and compassionately.

So what are the biggest lessons I learned while working towards this physical goal?

Here are just a few things:

  • Having a plan is great…..but you also need to make time to execute the plan
  • I don’t have to do more than what I planned
  • I get to define what success looks like for me
  • The results may not always look the way you anticipated
  • Some things along the way will hurt and that’s okay too
  • You can adjust the plan without abandoning it
  • Listening to what your body needs is the most effective way to reach your goal
  • I can share my goals with others
  • …… and I can have goals that I don’t share with others too!

There were times I wanted to cry during this marathon run. But the tears were from feelings of pride in myself and what I now knew I was capable of. They were tears of amazement at what my body was actually able to accomplish. They were tears of recognition of the changes in my mental strength and capacity. They were tears of acknowledging the person that I had become since I first decided on this goal all those years ago. I had become a distance runner.

I believe wholeheartedly that if I can do this, anyone can do this. It really is true that the hard part isn’t getting your body in shape. The hard part is getting your mind in shape.

At the finish, part of me wanted to cry from all those feelings…..and as silly as it may sound, I knew they were taking pictures of all the finishers and I wanted to remember the feelings of triumph and achievement. So that is the feeling I created for myself at the finish line. And that’s why I used the same picture again!

I can still allow the tears of pride as well.

Now, at 52 years old, not only am I a distance runner but I am a marathon runner. There is a chance that I will never run another marathon. But there is a better chance that one day I will. And even if I don’t, I am a marathon runner.

“It’s ALL good…. in the end. If it’s not good it’s not the end.”

In the end, my phone was dead and I wasn’t sure how I would find all of my family. I hadn’t been in contact with any of them since mile 23 when my phone gave out. I did see my 6′ 4″ son-in-law at the finish line because he was taller than everyone else, but I had no idea there was such a long corral of stops after the actual finish.

You get “Finisher” Mickey ears, a cooling towel, a drink, a snack box, and a medal…..It seemed like a long way back to the participant area. And the participant area was not that close to the finish line where the rest of my cheering squad was.

I hoped that if I stayed in the participant area long enough I would find one of my kids eventually. But how long would that take?

My knee was not feeling great, but I was expecting that. I had felt that before and was ready to feel it this time. I visited the medical tent to get ice for my knee and another runner graciously shared her charger with me while we both received treatments.

It really was ALL good in the end!!! I reconnected with my family. We all finished the race! We took lots of pictures! And then we went back to our Air BnB to sit in the hot tub for a really long time! 🙂

“It’s ALL good…. in the end. If it’s not good it’s not the end.”

That is STILL true of a marathon and each day I find new ways to use the lessons I learned in so many other areas of my life.

And I have a new goal!! We will see how it goes but….Dopey Challenge 2025!!

So remember…..It’s ALL good!!

Published by mrkeil

I help women face the overwhelm of parenting, family and multiple schedules, let go of the shame and people-pleasing perfectionism they place on themselves as women of faith, and create a life they love with intention and purpose. I can help you find your own answers for any problem, reach for any goal, and discover how to be more of yourself as you learn tools to use your own gifts to strengthen yourself emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. In choosing to design your life and live into compassion and lessen the guilt and judgment, you can teach your family to do the same. Find the real you by showing up authentically for yourself and the ones you love. And remember... It's ALL good!!!

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