Dorothy From Del Rey Oaks

This story may sound familiar; it’s the story of a lady we know. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call her Dorothy, who lives in Del Rey Oaks.

Dorothy was approaching middle-age and had just been through a messy divorce. Her self esteem was extremely low. She had gained weight over the years and felt depressed all the time. She had no close friends to talk to other than her dear Aunt Emily.

Her only enjoyment came from walking her little dog Bobo around Roberts Lake in the morning before work. She would sometimes get lost in thought on her walks, and gradually started walking longer and longer distances.

One morning during her walk, Bobo broke loose from his leash. Dorothy ran to chase him, and made it halfway around the lake before a jogger helped out by scooping Bobo up and waiting for Dorothy. Dorothy could barely thank the man because she was so winded from the running, but afterward she felt exhilarated from the chase.

The next day Dorothy and Bobo saw the man again. She didn’t want to slow him down, so she tried jogging alongside him so they could talk. His name was Scott, and he worked as a night watchman. Scott said he wanted a better job, but his opportunities were limited because he dropped out of high school. He thought if he was only a little smarter, he could finish his education someday to advance his career.

Dorothy enjoyed the conversation and didn’t even realize she had jogged for about 20 minutes.

Scott and Dorothy began jogging together other every other day. They even ventured out on the recreation trail toward Monterey. One morning in Monterey they came across a runner who seemed injured because of his stiff-legged stride. He wasn’t really hurt and he asked if he could run with them for a bit.

He said his name was Tim, but in high school, his track teammates called him “Tim the Man” because he used to be so fast. Tim explained that his joints occasionally felt stiff at the beginning of a run, but after he warmed up he would be fine. Dorothy noticed that he seemed to take in a lot of fluids when he ran.

Tim became a running partner of Scott and Dorothy. Tim had a sensitive side to him, and explained that he also had gone through a bad breakup. Sometimes he felt like his heart had been ripped right out of his body.

The group began meeting on weekends to run longer distances together. One Saturday, they ran all the way to Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove and stopped to look at the view. Bobo walked over to a man sitting in the grass, who started yelling profanities at the dog. Dorothy confronted the man, who apologized and began to cry.

His name was Leon, and he had just settled in Pacific Grove after living for a while in Africa. He said he had a job as a safari guide, but failed miserably after realizing that he was terrified of almost all animals – even little dogs. Leon had lashed out at Bobo so he wouldn’t appear too cowardly.

Dorothy, Scott, and Tim asked Leon to join them on next weekend’s run. The four became close friends and running partners.

One January morning, Dorothy showed up with entry blanks for the Big Sur Marathon at the end of April. Her three partners had the following reactions:

Scott said, “I’m not smart enough to train correctly.”

Tim the Man said: “I don’t know if my heart is strong enough to do it.”

Leon said, “I’m scared that I might not finish.”

Dorothy said, “I hear that the Chairman of the Board, Hugo Ferlito, has run all 21 Big Sur Marathons. He stands at the finish line and helps hand out medals. The guy’s some kind of running wizard. We can probably learn something from him.” Finally her partners agreed to enter the race.

Scott did some research and mapped out a training plan, even getting advice from some of those small, skinny runners he knew from the local running guild. He realized the group had to increase their training right away to have enough time to prepare.

They ran together for the next three months, and when the training miles got difficult, they came up with a mantra to help them continue: “Follow the hilly black road! Follow the hilly black road!”

Finally, marathon day arrived, and it was one of the worst weather days in Bug Sur history. The wind seemed strong enough to make houses fly. It was like a tornado out there! Dorothy commented, “Bobo - We’re not in Del Rey Oaks anymore.” It looked to be a real witch of a day.

But Dorothy and her friends persevered and finished the race. Scott had a smart race strategy of running easy in the early miles. Tim used a heart rate monitor to ensure a solid effort throughout the race. Leon showed great courage to battle through “the wall” at mile 22.

They all finished with their hands in the air and big smiles on their faces. And Hugo Ferlito, the wonderful wizard they heard about, handed each of them a finisher’s medal.

After the race, Dorothy realized that she had lost 25 pounds and regained her self esteem. Tim the Man felt like he was falling in love again. Scott returned to school, passed his high school equivalency exam, and enrolled in classes at MPC. Leon took a job working with sharks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Later that summer, they saw Hugo the Wizard running on the Rec Trail. They all graciously thanked him for the gifts they received.

And the wizard told them, “I didn’t give you anything that you didn’t already have inside you. It just took you 26.2 miles to find it.”

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