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Cover Model: Dorothy Beal

After hundreds of entries and a ton of votes, you chose the champion for our Reader Cover Model Contest! Find out about this mom of three...

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After hundreds of entries and a ton of votes, you chose the champion for our Skechers GORun Reader Cover Model Contest! Find out about this mom of three…

DOROTHY BEAL
MOM, BLOGGER & WRITER
LEESBURG, VA
AGE: 30

If you told me when I was in college that I’d one day be on the cover of a running magazine, I would have thought you were crazy. In college, I was not a healthy person by any standards. I took the limitless freedom I found living away from home and used that as an excuse to make bad decisions. I started over-eating, drinking and smoking. My self-esteem took a dive, and the drinking only propelled feelings of sadness.

My sophomore year, I went home to visit my mom after gaining 25 pounds in a short period of time. I had hit rock bottom. My mom, a marathon runner, told me she would pay for my race registrations, shoes and clothes if I took up running. I was desperate so I agreed to run a 10k with her. I look back on the race and laugh because just about the only thing I did to “train” was to cut back on smoking. My mom helped me run/walk very slowly to the finish line.

I didn’t like running at first, but as I started to run more, I noticed my attitude improving. Slowly the weight started to fall off as I began to channel my energy into something positive. The summer before my senior year, my mom and I ran together every morning. The following semester, I decided to join my college’s cross-country team. Running became a fundamental part of my life at school.

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When I graduated, my mom presented me with a new challenge: to run a marathon. She helped me train, and the following fall, I finished the Marine Corps Marathon successfully. The experience gave me an incredible boost of self-esteem. From that moment, I was hooked. Ten years after I started running, I have finished 20 marathons and learned something new about myself during every race. I ran my first marathon in 4:20 and my slowest in nearly five hours. Over time, however, I’ve grown faster. Last year, I came in first place at the B&A Trail Marathon with a time of 3:11. I’m living proof that you don’t need to be genetically gifted to be a runner. I’m not a natural athlete, but by working toward my goals, I was able to transition from an overweight girl to a marathon winner. You really can achieve anything you put your mind to.

My mom continues to be a positive force in my life, and now I have three children of my own. It’s important to me that my kids have a healthy mother, and I work hard to stay fit every day. I ran through all of my pregnancies. I’ve found that by working out while pregnant, it doesn’t take me too long to get back to shape after giving birth.

Now that I have a family, I’ve had to adjust my training. Since my children are all young, I like to push all three in a triple jogging stroller. The stroller full of kids now weighs more than I do. It’s definitely a full-body workout. For the first time in my life, I have definition in my abs—all thanks to stroller running!

I used to feel guilty for asking my children to sit in a stroller while I ran. One day, I apologized to my daughter, and she was confused. “We love being outside, Mommy!” she said. I cherish the time we’re able to spend together as a family on “our” runs and we talk the whole way—except when I’m pushing them up a hill!

When I run alone, I have to wake up very early to make sure I’m home before my husband leaves for work. A friend of mine has helped me to transition into a 4 a.m. runner by meeting me a few days a week to keep me motivated. It’s never fun to hear the alarm go off. I want to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep but I know I’ll feel terrible if I do. It’s important to me, so I make it happen. It’s in these moments of running, training and pushing through miles that I gain inspiration, sanity and strength.

Want more Dorothy? Head over to her blog, mile-posts.com, to learn about her daily workouts and top training tips!