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The Timekeeper

Waggoner handles it in stride, though. She knows it's worth the effort to pursue a sport that has been fulfilling as other forms of exercise have not. She tried Pilates and yoga, but dismissed them both. "I'm sitting on a hard wood floor and they're telling me to relax," she says. The logistics of running with children were much more manageable.

With a husband who travels often, Waggoner's watch stops and starts with her children. So her goal is less about winning and more about finishing, she says, and thinking about the others in her group, adds, "Most of them just want to do the same thing."

"A lot of mothers, by the end of the day, they just don't have time to pack it up and go to the gym," she says. "It's a time thing. You just don't have the time for it."

Waggoner is the opposite extreme of the evolution of the sport from its bearded days, the answer to the question of the fate of the stopwatch in the world of running. Where once the tick of fractions of a second at the finish line defined the success of a runner, now the clocks are embedded in lunch schedules, naptimes, fund-raising recommitment dates, the interval between margarita breaks, the sweet moments of flight between the brush of shoe against ground, the time it takes to decide to jump naked into icy water. S

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