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Wendy Saltzman's CBS Atlanta News Web Blog

The Finish Line

On Thanksgiving day I ran the Atlanta marathon.  For some reason every few years I pick something horribly grueling to challenge my mind, body, and spirit.  On my 26th Birthday I ran the Dublin, Ireland Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I said that would be my first and last marathon. My knees are not what they used to be after having two knee surgeries from soccer injuries.

 Wendy Saltzman Marathon

 

Then last year I set my sights on climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, one of the world’s 7 summits. A 9 day trek took me to the top of Africa’s highest mountain top.  The reward was the three day safari in the Serengeti after the climb was done. 

 kilimanjaro

Then this year I got swindled into running the Atlanta marathon by a friend of mine who was running and convinced me to sign up.  Halfway through the training together she got injured and could no longer run.  I was already committed to the marathon, so I was going to either have to train alone or give up.

 

So Thanksgiving day, just hours before I was supposed to board a plane home to spend the holiday with my family in Texas, I found myself lined up at the race’s starting line at Turner Field—26.2 miles and 4 plus hours of running ahead of me before my “holiday” could begin.

 

I spent the last 4 months training for this day.  The first 13 miles I was set to make my 4 hour finishing goal, but 15 miles into the race, the leg cramps set in—a runner’s worst enemy.   And there was not much I could do with 11 miles left to go. My only option was to stop and stretch, drink lots of fluids, and pull every ounce of will power available from every limb in my body, and keep running.

 

Those last 11 miles were grueling, but it was those miles that tested my character and my mind.  It would have been easy enough to stop.  For me, there was no option of giving up. I finished the race under 4 1/2 hours, leg cramps and all.  By no means did I “win” the race, but I was far from last.  I finished the race I was running.

wendy saltzman-marathon 

 

Several years ago my sister coaxed my mother into riding the AIDS ride from Minneapolis to Chicago, a 5 day 500 mile bicycle ride.  My mother will admit she was hardly in the physical shape to complete such a task.  But she has more mental endurance to push through the pains of life than anyone I know. She said each day the SAG truck pulled up behind her to pick up faltering riders, but she refused to give up and get off her bike.

 

To this day I keep a picture of her and my sister on my nightstand from that race.  On her AIDS Ride cycling jersey was a patch—“Never Give UP!”  In the ups and downs, mountains and valleys of that ride, she never gave in.  My marathon finish was a small tribute to my mother.

 

wendy saltzman marathon

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December 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment