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Since meditating was not his thing, Chadwick decided to get into a macho trip. Instead of stopping, he would just keep jogging farther than anyone else. Maybe the Iron Maiden would notice. He was on about his fourth circuit when he first heard it, but he did not believe it. He decided to listen carefully the next time around.
"Hup, two, three, four," said a girl lying on a towel on the grass. "Hup, two, three, four." It was the same chant onlookers mocked him with whenever he ran in Central Park.
That evening, after the class had viewed several films, one of which showed Cerutty illustrating the disadvantages of the bent elbow, Chadwick headed down to the baths. He had to drive to San Francisco that night for his race the next morning and thought it might be cool to relax and rap a little. No one was around except a man and a woman sitting in a tub. The man was staring soulfully into the woman's eyes.
"This is the one spot, the one place in the world where I feel like my inner self is at peace," he said.
"Oh, really?" she answered.
Chadwick fidgeted before the start of the race, trying to stay mellow. It was Sunday morning. The event was being held in Woodside, on the peninsula below San Francisco. It had been organized by a group of pro football players. As everyone milled around before the start, Chadwick got high on all the energy. He felt some good vibes, like he had just watched a great instant replay.
But a mile or so into the race, the feeling had left. Chadwick felt drained, ready to quit. He was either running at a "good swing" or a "fast shuffle"—he could not remember which. Suddenly he became aware of a huffing sound. Directly in front of him was a large man of the dimensions appropriate for pro football. His breaths were exploding in bursts. Chadwick thought that the big man sounded just like a locomotive.
He decided to hook up with him. He imagined a large hand in his back pushing him along, with the locomotive in front pulling him. He started to get into it. His body felt lighter. The theme from Rocky started playing in his head. He liked the space he was getting into.
When it was all over, Chadwick slumped against a car. The finish had come quicker than he had expected. Suddenly it was there. Chadwick half-expected something awful to happen. He thought of that dog in Tennessee. But he had made it. Easily, in fact. Then he went off to organize his feelings.
He had completed his first race. The first day of the rest of his life. He was really together. He finally had found something he truly could get behind.