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What a hard training day! After five miles in the rain last week, I think six miles should be a cake walk, but no…something seizes up in my right hip around mile three or four. People keep giving me hip stretches so, at every stop light, I am leaning into this stretch or that, to no avail. I am getting slower and slower. I send Gayle on without me and struggle slowly, limping, the last two miles or so. I finally start to stretch my hamstrings instead of my hip, and that helps, but I’m still stopping to stretch at every stop light. I think I am one of the last people to hobble back.

American Stroke AssociationI had a big lesson in judging people, though. There’s a woman I met the day of the Marathon Information Meeting. She’s a little loud and hyper in her energy level, too amped, too eager, and it turned me off. She completed the marathon last year and was helping mentor, but hadn’t been around much. Anyway, as I’m limping up Bundy with Gayle, this woman is standing in the median strip, yelling and cheering like a kid on chocolate, but I bristle at the thought that she might join us. I’m already in pain; I don’t have patience for this kind of pitch right now. Leave me to my slow, quiet stumble. (I wonder if I’m less tolerant because I’ve been her…as college friends can verify…)

Of course she joins us. Gayle pulls ahead, and this woman, bless her, turns out to be a kind and mellow companion. She keeps me talking, asking about my work, telling me about hers. Every time I stop to stretch, she stops. And she refuses to leave me behind. She sticks with me until my last frustrated limp into the park. It’s good to get your bias busted.

Marathon Trivia
The average runner uses 2,600 calories to run a marathon, but 500,000 to train for one.

That night is my aunt’s last night in LA before going back toIsrael. I get to dinner bummed out from limping in last.

“But you finished,” my brother points out. “You didn’t quit.”

Still, Monday finds me crying at the chiropractor’s office, scared that I’ve hit my limit, that I won’t be able to do this. And I really want to do this.

Jeff, always kind, says, “You are doing this, Deb. This is part of doing it.”

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In 2005, I stunned myself by signing up to walk the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon on behalf of the American Stroke Association. This post is one of a series of reflections and Training Tales from that time. The whole series begins here.