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I could regale you with dozens of stories from the last 9 months of training for my first ever marathon. There has been humor and pain, success and failure, rain, sleet, snow, heat, and humidity. I have studied about things like VO2 max, fartlek’s, intervals, LSD (that’s long, slow, distance), metabolic efficiency (yes, I’m a geek), heart rate training zones, diet, nutrition, and so much more. I’ve shared conversations with Boston marathoners, ultra-marathoners, beginning runners, friends, supporters, naysayers, coaches, and chiropractors. I’ve spent miles running and praying and thinking and more miles running and not thinking and just, well, running.
Last night, during marathon training mile 926, I had a brief conversation that really captured my heart. I was running along the Cherry Creek Trail and more focused on getting the training run finished and beating the rain than anything else. A man was running towards me. I had seen him on the trail before. Much like me, he doesn’t have a runner’s body. I like to call us sturdy! As he approached, I could see a serious look of determination on his face. His breathing was labored and sweat was dripping down his cheek. We shared only a quick wave as we passed each other. A few minutes later, I got to my turn around point and headed for home. The man that I had seen earlier had slowed his run to a walk. I came up beside him and matched his pace. He removed his headphones as I got his attention. As I have done many times before during short running conversations and encounters, I asked him what he was training for. His answer caught me off guard. Matter of factly he said,