Michelle Goldberg wasn’t always a passionate ultra runner. Her running journey began in 2013 when she signed up for a 5-mile mud run fundraiser called the Muck Fest to support the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Goldberg managed to convince five other mothers in her neighborhood to join her in doing this unfamiliar, messy challenge. Calling themselves “the Mucktastics,” the moms powered through the course with Powerbars in hand, pushing past nerves and discomfort to ultimately have “the most fun time ever.” This is Michelle’s journey into discovering the mind’s eye and becoming an ultrarunner.
Stepping Way Outside Her Comfort Zone
As a Ph.D. level psychologist, Goldberg had long believed that hard work and stepping outside one’s comfort zone could lead to big payoffs, but her experience with the mud run led her into a whole new physical and mental realm. A couple months later, while attending a work conference in Hawaii, she spontaneously entered a 5K race. As Goldberg ran by the ocean, she had an epiphany: “I actually like this, I could be a runner.” Completing the 5K solidified her new identity; the next morning she went on a solo run, eager to continue on this unfamiliar path. Over the next years Goldberg steadily increased her distances, all the while intrigued by stories she heard of 100-mile ultra marathons.
What it Takes
She wondered if she too had what it takes for such extreme endurance challenges. By early 2020 Goldberg felt ready to test herself. She registered for a virtual 50K race hosted by the Marine Corps Ultra Runners—her first “ultra” event. With parks closed during the emerging pandemic, Goldberg mapped out an out-and-back course from her home, and completed a solo 31.1 mile run around her town.
Fire for Long Distances
Completing that 50K lit Goldberg’s fire for long distances, and in September 2021 she tackled her first 100 mile race. She finished it in less than 24 hours and took 3rd place female that day. It turned out that Goldberg loved going long, whether running through the night under the stars, problem-solving unexpected issues, or just putting one foot in front of the other. She discovered a new type of strength and fortitude she didn’t know she had.
Never Before Thought Was Possible
Now well into her forties, Goldberg has found her niche in the extreme endurance world. She loves pushing limits while reveling in the ultra-community spirit. And she continues upping the ante, eyeing even longer races like 200-milers. Goldberg passionately coaches others now too through Mind’s Eye Endurance, paying forward the gifts of self-confidence, mental toughness and comfort with uncertainty that ultra running has given her. She says her favorite thing is to see someone else going for a new distance for the first time, pushing themselves to accomplish something they never before thought was possible.
Nothing in Life is Guaranteed
When asked if she’ll always be able to run, Goldberg acknowledges nothing in life is guaranteed. But she expects to always continue to find ways to support the ultra running community that’s given her so much joy, whether volunteering, crewing, coaching, or just spreading inspiration. Because Goldberg knows first-hand that big changes happen when you nudge outside your comfort zone, even in the smallest of ways. Michelle discovered the power of the mind’s eye in unlocking one’s potential, and wants to help others to do the same.