Thursday, January 29, 2004

Mountain man
As with my former descriptions of my athletic prowess, you have to take this one with a grain of salt....

I used to go running with my buddies at work. And one of them, a very tall, hairy fellow, is also very nice and likable. Anyway, he is an extreme long-distance runner. I am a short-distance runner. More of a casual jogger, really, but I am pretty much built for running, so as with a lot of long-distance runners, I found my tall, hairy friend had a very slow pace. I had to struggle sometimes to slow down enough to match his pace. He was training for this astounding 100-mile run. I know you don't believe it, but people actually do this. All in one 24-hour period. No lie. Anyway, he was training for this 100-mile run. So I forgave him for being slow. His pace was the right thing for the event. So he completed the run and we all congratulated him. Then the next year he wanted to do it again. And the same thing happened, where he was usually pretty slow during our jogs, or slow to moderate. Then he completed that run, in June or July of 2003. I noticed that his running was getting stronger. When I ran with him, he was running at a good pace. I was impressed. After a while, I realized I could not keep up with him, even on the moderate runs we used to love so much. True, there were other things going on, like, we had a small baby at home, I had gotten sick from time to time, etc.

But I just remember this one day when we ran up our favorite hill (such a beautiful hill!), and I was bogging down below him, and he just kept going up and up. Stronger and faster. Tall. His back straight. From down below, it looked to me like he was riding up on an escalator. And I thought, "Wow, that 100-mile run really changed him; he has moved up to a whole new level." And that was probably true. But now, in my mind, it also marks the point where, because of my neuromuscular condition, I had moved down to a whole new level. And I just didn't know it yet.
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