The greatest of all time
Who do you think of when you hear The GOAT?
Simone Biles is the first person I think of when I hear this. In my mind, she truly is the best athlete ever. She makes the sport of artistic gymnastics look easy, but the sport in this day and age is super complex and dangerous! It requires great stamina, strength, and kinesthetic awareness. (I was a gymnast in a past life, so I understand how difficult and complex a sport it is!)
As an adult, I’ve taken up running as my fitness addiction. It’s been a productive way to blow off steam and stay relatively healthy. Unfortunately, I’m what most refer to as a “back of the pack” runner. I’ll never qualify for Boston, that’s for sure. But I am persistent.
Despite my speed most likely being inspired by turtles, I’ve managed to run 15 official half marathons and 10 full marathons over my brief career in this sport.
Endurance running has opened so many doors for me. I have a great circle of friends. I help coach a novice marathon training team. And I serve on the executive board and as assistant editor of the magazine of my local run club.
Running has also taught me so much about myself. It has changed me for the better, both in realizing that I can do hard things and in being a part of a community devoted to this sport.
I’m running a race this spring that uses the acronym The GOAT as its theme.
The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon has been dubbed America’s Toughest Road Race. Why did it earn this title? Because the total elevation of the course is 7,430 ft. If you run it, you’re the GOAT. Last year’s shirt even had a beloved goat on it, much like Simone Biles’ leos.
I’ve run the half marathon twice, climbing two mountains, one of which is so steep, you can lean forward and touch the road in front of you. (I wish I was kidding!) And the full adds an extra mountain.
What’s one more mountain? I keep asking myself.
Will I make it to the top of Peakwood mountain in time to get the champagne and strawberries? Will there be any beer left at the finish party? All questions I will have to wait until race day to answer.
Will I be able to run fast enough to meet the time cutoff? The perpetual question of a back of the packer.
If I finish, does this mean that I will join the ranks of Simone? Eh… maybe not. But it will certainly be one of the biggest athletic endeavors I will have ever accomplished. Likely more challenging (and more scenic) than the 50k I ran in Farmville in 2021 that was on a flat rail trail.
The thing is, our goals should scare us a little bit. And this marathon definitely does.
For those who are running the double marathon (yes, that means running the course twice!), you have my utmost respect. I don’t think I could do it! But let me run the marathon course once before I make a final call on running that!
Even if we can’t be the best in the world at something, we can still strive to do our very best at the challenge before us. I think that’s what being The GOAT is all about.
Am I crazy for running this race? Maybe. But that’s OK, because I will have company in my insanity. I’m running the race with two of my friends. What are some of your lofty goals? I’d love to hear about it!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.