When should a dream bloom to a goal?

Jun 13

A few days ago, I went for an early morning beach run, and I was doing my usual running-praying-thinking thing.  I was reminded of a journal question that I came across several months ago: what would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Isn’t that a great question?

What is something I would do if I knew I could not fail?

What is something you would do if you knew you could not fail?

My first answer to that question was, “Nothing!”  There is nothing I don’t do out of fear of failure.  I’m pretty darn intentional about going for it–whatever “it” might be.

Later, the next thing that came to mind was “run a marathon.”


And with that thought came the nervousness in the pit of my stomach, the doubts in my brain, the fear of the what ifs, and the wiggley sense of joy as I anticipated what accomplishing it would feel like.  That’s a whole lot of feelings to process, right?

I think I would sign up for a marathon if I knew I could not fail.  And that seems like a good reason to do it.  Press into fear: that’s what I do.  Should I turn my dream into a goal?  Is that crazytown given everything else I have going on in my life?


I’m going to think about it.  Thinking about stretch goals and big dreams are good for my brain.  It’s outrageously optimistic to think that this might be something I could accomplish.  My oncologist, Dr. Wonderful, will just shake his head at me as I continue to defy the expectations for cancer patients.  I’m “allowed” if I think I can do it.

I need to research a good entry marathon.  I need to run more to see if I can push my body harder.  I need to visit a local running store and get fitted for some serious mileage shoes instead of buying whatever is on sale.  I need to fix my phone situation so I can track my runs via GPS.  I need to see if I can carve out the time and energy to actually train.  I need to get over my fear.  I need my past shin splints, stress fractures, and general aches and pains to be kept at bay.  I need my body to be strong and healthy.  I need to see if I can include my family so that this is not a Jen-centric activity.  I need to believe in myself.  I need to be okay with failing.

I’m not committing, but I am going to think about it and pray about it.  I’m going to see if it’s a dream or a goal–both are good things.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  — 2 Timothy 1:7



  1. Jane Powell /

    She amazes me.
    She. amazes. me.
    You go girl!

  2. Michelle /

    Definitely think about it! And what about this dream/ goal… Marathon in Paris next April??

  3. peggy /

    What a fabulous dream/goal! There are gym trainers dedicated to marathon training. And why stop at entering a marathon when you could actually create and organize a marathon to meet the needs/dreams of others in your situation…one that includes entire families? Set those goals…dream outside the box…keep amazing us! Because you do, you know. ♥p

  4. Carli /

    I love waking up and reading your posts. I’m reminded of a Maya Angelou quote that perfectly sums it all up. “When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.” Thanking the universe every day for you.



  5. Kris S. /

    You can do it! Stop by Tri-State Running Company — they are awesome! Flat marathon coming up in the fall are in Columbus and Indianapolis. Once you’ve trained in Northern Kentucky, what they consider hills are laughable 😉

  6. Lisa Smith /

    I have been wanting to run a marathon also! I would love to run with you! Please keep me posted on this decision. FOR REAL. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  7. Amanda /

    Look into Livestrong in your area. Free twelve weeks of personal trainers for cancer patients. Awesome experience. Usually at a local YMCA. Start with a family 5k and work you way up.

  8. Neecie /

    You are so powerful to yourself, your family and your friends. Think – and enjoy yourself in the land of “cannot fail”
    love Neecie

  9. Marathon wow! Chicago was fun for sure and so many fans the whole way! And relatively flat…..also love Peggy’s idea of your own marathon!

  10. You don’t know me. I found your blog through another blog I follow a few years back and I occasionally check in on you. I don’t typically comment on the sites of people I don’t personally know, but your blog struck a chord with me today. A little background though — In 1999 I started having random lung collapses. I’ve had a number of lung surgeries and let’s just say that your experiences with with the leaks and chest tubes a while back was VERY familiar. In 2003, I was diagnosed with a condition called LAM — it is a progressive lung disease. It is not cancer, but it can be fatal and a diagnosis like that at age 29 makes one think. It makes one think about things like “what would I do if I could not fail?” Your blog today spoke to me because one of the things I did as an act of defiance to my leaky lungs was to start running. For me, running a marathon was a “what if” that became a goal that became a reality. Take That Leaky Lungs!! I’ve run a number of marathons since then — not as many since kids, but conquering that distance gave me confidence to believe I could conquer a lot of other things, including LAM. So far, so good.

    Anyway, thanks for this blog. Keep up the fight. You inspire so many! You inspire me.