The Marathon: is it the ultimate runner’s goal?

I pose this question because for several years it has been my goal. After I ran my first half I thought, I could do a full. I didn’t set it as a goal at the time but it was in the back of my head as something I wanted to do. I ran three more half marathons and then set my sights on a marathon.


Bundle up to run long in Wisconsin

I started planning to run a marathon in January 2015. I had run my best half, shaved nearly 10 minutes off my last PR, and felt really confident in my running. In the fall I began training but struggled to get runs in, weekdays and long runs and eventually dropped down to the half in November. When I went to the expo in January 2016 I signed up for the marathon again for 2017.

I started getting into the swing of marathon training during the summer. I wanted to get into a routine and make sure I was prepared. My “official” plan started on August 31st. I worked my butt off during the summer/fall when Phoenix was having highs off 115+. I dragged my butt out of bed at 4 am to beat the heat.

I ran through the “winter” here and even put in my longest run on Christmas eve in Wisconsin. I had to wear my trail shoes because of ice and snow. I was bundled up in many layers. I put in my time. I put in the effort, for six plus months. I was determined. I was going to finish this marathon, even if it took me forever.

Then I got sick.

I came home from Christmas in Wisconsin with a cold, which turned into a sinus infection. I had hopes of still running the marathon, though. I had about 15 days to recover and get better. By the time the marathon date came, I was feeling better. The nose was feeling good, the cough was better, and I could sleep through the night.

So I went out for a test run.

And I got dizzy. At around the two-mile mark, the world started to look like I was in a funhouse mirror situation. Trees were getting bigger and smaller. The ground was going up and down. I stopped running and tried to walk but I was all over the sidewalk. People driving by probably thought I was drunk. I couldn’t walk in a straight line so I stopped. I sat. I waited until I felt better and walked home. I wasn’t pushing myself. I wasn’t trying too hard. I was actually going slow to test my breathing and cough.

I think, so this isn’t a usual issue, that it has to do with my cold and sinus infection. I have always had a lot of inner ear problems so I am guessing it is something like this. Because it feels like vertigo when it’s happening. I also made sure I’ve been well hydrated and fed before heading out (trying to eat pretty nutritious foods). My heart rate wasn’t super high, in my normal run range. I don’t feel any strain in my heart or lungs. It all seems to be in m head, literally and figuratively?

I waited a few days and tried again. The exact same thing happened. This was just days before the marathon.

I didn’t run my marathon.

And I am depressed. I put in so much work towards a goal and couldn’t complete the goal. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know if I will ever reach my goal of running a marathon. I haven’t run in about two weeks. I am afraid I won’t ever be able to run again. I haven’t been able to bring myself to run again. I am afraid it will keep happening. I have been able to do other cardio and strength training without issue.

Next week. I will try again next week.

Tell me about a goal you feel you might never reach and what you are doing (did) about it.


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.