A strong race to ninth place in the Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday clearly energized Dot McMahan, who called it a break-through run during an interview for the Flotrack web site.
McMahan, who ran at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, joked about making the "mommy Olympics" by finishing third behind Kara Goucher and Deena Kastor in the group of mothers who raced. She was serious about the thrill of "racing" a marathon for 26.2 miles.
Instead of settling in and relaxing at various times, McMahan, 35, said she "was pressing the whole way," and "running with the big dogs."
"I've never raced a marathon from start to finish before and that made me so happy," she said. "I feel like I'm a different runner now.
"I'm so excited about what the future holds."
Motherhood served as motivation for McMahan when her quads started to feel heavy, with five miles left to go in Houston.
"I go to that one place I have to go, 'I want to make my daughter proud, and that pushes me to the finish."
McMahan gave birth to Elizabeth about two years after she finished a surprising eighth in the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston. She ran roughly three minutes faster as a mom.
Check out the online interview below.