OBSTACLES ARE FOR OVERCOMING
Marathoners know how to handle obstacles and setbacks. That
collapsed lung, blown-out Achilles tendon, torn meniscus or shat-tered
femur might seem career-ending, but, somehow, with time
and determination, even devastating injuries and illnesses can be
Sometimes the race itself becomes the obstacle, as was the case
with Maltby’s first marathon.
“I was not mentally prepared for the long miles and I gave that
marathon a half-hearted attempt,” she says. “Between injury and
burnout, my longest training run was 14 miles and it showed on
race day. The first half of the race felt great and I thought, ‘This
marathon business is no big deal.’ Then, I hit the wall. My body and
spirit broken, I was sobbing with 9 miles to go. It was hot and I was
miserable. I just wanted it to be over.”
Despite the disappointment, Maltby finished that marathon
and proved to herself that she could perform in less-than-ideal
“When thinking of hurdles or obstacles, I can’t say that I have
any,” says Chitty. “After beating heart disease, everything else is cake.
Balancing family, work, coaching and training is my greatest chal-lenge,
but I just get up earlier in the day and I can get it all done.”
DEDICATION, DEVOTION, DISCIPLINE
Self-discipline forms the heart of the marathoner. Exemplifing
this trait, Dieffenbauch has successfully managed her
lung condition, improving her breathing with every mile she
“I’m getting faster and my hard work is paying off,” she says.
Her 40-mile training weeks include 18-mile long runs, hill repeats,
track intervals and strength sessions. Each week includes a rest day
to minimize chances of injury and burnout.
Half-marathon races are popular locally. They are effective train-ing
tools for marathoners. The race environment enables athletes
to push themselves over longer distances at paces otherwise hard to
achieve in training, and the half marathon taxes the body far less
than does the marathon.
“But marathon training is not simply double half-marathon
training,” Maltby says. Increased mileage, lonely long runs which
often exceed 20 miles, strength training, cross-training, dietary and
other lifestyle restrictions are integral to success.
The marathon demands time and patience from runners’ fami-lies,
who must pull double-duty while spending hours apart from
their loved ones in training. Dieffenbauch describes her husband
as an angel.