Meeting the Mentor

It was crazy. Insane even.

Although I had physically prepared myself for races much longer than this one, I was not mentally prepared for my first Disney race last weekend. Not prepared to run in the middle of such a mass of humanity. It was NUTS. And yet somehow, it was fun.

I’ll write about the race soon, but first I must confess to being a serious dork (surprising, I know). The day before race day, when Lee and I pulled into Orlando, our first stop was the packet pickup at the Wide World of Sports. We got my race packet, my bib, my commemorative pin and relay baton, and then headed over to the expo for more swag.

And some stalking.

I had already stalked the website of Jeff Galloway, the trainer whose program I’ve been following, and knew he was scheduled to be there. For some time I’ve been listening to the Galloway Edition of the Extra Mile Podcast during my runs, in which the host and Galloway discuss training and racing strategy. Galloway has been in my ear, coaching me along on every one of my long runs, and I really wanted to meet the man.

We picked up my free race t-shirt, rounded another corner and there he was. In all his skinny glory.

I wanted to join the line of people waiting to meet him, but they all seemed to be buying his books and getting them signed. What would I say when I got to the front of the line? The penny-pinching truth? “Hi Mr. Galloway. I really enjoyed checking your book out at my local library!”

I hemmed. I hawed. I stalled. Eventually, the line was down to one person and I knew I’d regret not saying hello, so I approached. While his partner at the booth was busy selling a run/walk timer to the person in front of me, Jeff turned my way and asked, encouragingly, “What’s your question?”

Question? Oh crap! I didn’t have a question! Was I supposed to have a question? I have disappointed Jeff Galloway with my lack of questions!

I finally blurted out something about how I didn’t have a question (or a book to sign) but that I just wanted to meet him. I explained that I’d just started running this year using his program, and he broke into a big smile, pointed his finger at my chest and said, “Good for you!” Like he meant it. Like I wasn’t the 500th person that day who’d told him the same thing.

I thanked him for his program, told him I was enjoying the podcast, and then in a final burst of dorkiness, I asked for a photograph. He said ok, but then he turned and walked away.

Oh no. He walked away. He did not want a photograph? I must purchase a book first?

“How about here, in front of the sign?” he said, waving me over closer to the Run Disney banner behind his booth. Oh thank goodness. Not a rejection.


Jeff GallowayAnd then I scurried away before I could say something ridiculous, gushing one last “Thank you!” over my shoulder and thinking that he couldn’t have been nicer.

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