• Dr. Sondra Joyce

A First Personal Marathon

Updated: May 23, 2019

A First Personal Marathon Challenge -- Body and Soul are Inseparable

What makes you decide to do something you’ve never done before? What would get you moving out of your comfort zone to stretch mentally, emotionally and spiritually? What change in your brain chemistry resulting from doing something totally different would catapult you into a new and vibrant self? What is a first you’ve been thirsting to create in your life? Let’s call it your first personal marathon -- a reach into the unknown.

“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Paul Hebrews 12:1-2

Your marathon doesn’t need to be about running, although this is the example for this article. I was turning 50 and wanted to do something I had never done before. I was a runner in my 30s but hadn’t been since, and decided I would run a marathon (26.2 miles) at an elevation of 6,400'. I was 20 pounds heavier and 20 years older than my running days. I had to let go of my runner image -- a svelte woman with 15% body fat, strong legs and no cellulite.

I started to prepare 6 months in advance by running 3 minutes and walking 2, while continually increasing the amount of time each run would take. What was of tremendous value was experiencing this with a group of people, all different ages and shapes. Following the Jeff Galloway method, we met Saturday mornings for our run, starting with 3 miles and ending up at 21 miles two weeks before the marathon with the goal of running around Vallecito Lake, near Durango. That day was miserable as it started to rain and then pour. Sticks and ashes and debris were coming down the mountain and onto the road. My feet were covered up to my ankles in freezing water and post-wildfire runoff. I was cold and miserable but determined. With every step I kept chanting “I can do this” along with my favorite motto, “never say never.” I also sang “I Will Survive” by Whitney Houston. I completed the run, but was shaking, cold and exhausted. At times, tears were streaming down my cheeks.

Fast-forward to race day, and I had a blast. There was an energy coursing through my body that was exciting and anticipatory. The energy turned into a deep giggle and I found myself laughing my way through the race. My friend Ronda and my sister Wendy met me at the 24.2-mile mark and ran the last 2 miles with me. Toward the end, people lined the streets and were exuberantly cheering on the runners. I crossed that finish line triumphant and exhilarated and have never ran over 3 miles since! I even averaged 12.3-minute miles!

What was so fascinating to me at the end was the experience of my soul leaving my body for a moment as I sat panting on the ground. My luminous me. A larger sense of why I exist was vibrating above me at a high rate. I felt invincible. I know I am invincible. I know you are, too.

From the marathon challenge, I learned:

  • Personal, physical, professional and spiritual transformation are all intertwined.

  • We all need cheerleaders or advocates excited and supportive about our success. In turn, we offer to step into that role with heart and soul to those who are striding out into a new challenge. This is best served by a highly motivated group of people who 100% have each other’s back, a configuration of people who are ALL IN.

  • There are many avenues to invest in the realm of all possibilities, and experience transformation, fearlessness, and unlimited ability.

What are you "firsting" and thirsting to do? Please leave a comment or contact me at

Sondra@sondrajoyce.com or (970) 749-6120.

Durango, CO 
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