Apparently I eat, train and run like a mountain goat, earning myself the moniker “the Mountain Goat” on Swim Bike Mom’s famed blog. However, as a resident of Midtown Atlanta I am often restricted to a more urban environment. But whether the mountains are pavement or dirt, I keep on trucking.
This goat was an awkward youth, sporting big glasses, a crazy wardrobe, and a full blown mustache and unibrow, enduring taunts due to my “uniqueness.” I misguidedly tried to fit in by trying out for cheerleader and other conventional things that “cool kids” did. After much failure and disappointment, a girl who lived nearby encouraged me to join the cross country team and introduced me to an activity that would make high school bearable; teach me to be comfortable in my own skin; and would come to help me stay true to myself and strive through other tough times in life.
I’ve been running for over 17 years. I was never a very good runner. I was a little chubby and didn’t take it much seriously. I liked running, but not running very hard. It was more about the fun people I met and all the guys on the high school team I could date. Our girls cross country team hadn’t lost a meet in years, and everyone was very serious. There was a lot of pressure, and that sort of atmosphere just didn’t work for me. I think it might have actually made me work less hard. If I wasn’t very good, then I didn’t have to worry about anyone’s expectations. They’d be kept low, and I’d fly under the radar. Regardless, I made great friends running, and those friends taught me a lot about being different and being ok with that. I didn’t have to be a cheerleader or rich kid to be cool. I could just be me. Despite being a bit pudgy (or as one of the other mothers told my mother, “your daughter’s quite sturdy!”) and a just plain awful runner, I found solace on the trails and was embraced by my teammates learning just how awesome runners are and just how life changing a great run can be.
I’ve kept running throughout my life. I ran on my college’s small D3 cross country team. But it got in the way of beer drinking, and was time consuming, so I quit after a couple years. I ran on and off through college, law school, and after, but didn’t race.
About five years ago, I really started to get back into not just running, but racing. My brother-in-law had started med school and was dating a girl who also liked to run. We committed to run a half marathon together. They broke up, and I panicked that I had lost my race partner. But she ran it with me anyways. We got the bug after that, and still race together to this day.
In that first half marathon, I was ill prepared, out of shape and carrying ten extra pounds. Thus, the goal was simple – just finish. As I crossed the finish line at that race, although I hadn’t won, or placed, or even run a respectable time, I was elated. I had an indescribable feeling. I felt proud and accomplished and like – hey, if I can do this, then what can’t I do?
As I signed up for additional races, the goal was always the same – just finish. A funny thing stated happening after I started racing again in adulthood. Every now and then, I would place or win my age group, or run a time that totally surprised me! Once I got the bug, I just couldn’t stop! And so on I will keep going!
What’s up next? Lots of little races, then the big one – the TransRockies in August 2013! And lots of crazy adventures on the way! Go over to Goatly Musings and keep up with the blog!