Winner by default

Wow! For the first time in my life — ever — I’ve won an award for an athletic endeavor and one, I might add, in which I would never consider myself very good: Running!! I apparently won second place for the 30-34 age category in the Run for Grace & Andy at Hiram. Let us not forget that I won this award merely because there were only three 30-34 year old women running. But, I was the *senior citizen* at the age of 32; the other girls were both 30. I was 49 seconds behind the first place girl; I was a whole 6 minutes and 6 seconds ahead of the last place girl.

If only my elementary school gym teacher, Mrs. Meers, could see me now. She used to tell my mom how nonathletic I was. Apparently, I am the opposite of pigeon-toed when I walk and run — my feet swing outward awkwardly. Other people in my life have pointed out that I look a little “different” when I run (though they are kind enough to not specify how). Mrs. Meers was convinced I’d never get anywhere athletically unless my legs were broken and reset so that I could run “normally.” Luckily for me, my mom was a “neglectful parent” and she let me go out into the world, athletically challenged as I was.

Funny thing is, my life has been nothing but athletic. I graduated from elementary school to play soccer throughout middle and high school. I’ve successfully climbed several mountains. I’ve cycled 2600+ miles this year (maybe some 5000+ total since I became a bike freak several years ago). I learned to downhill ski without formal lessons, I never fell much while learning, and I’m still pretty decent. I’ve run more 5Ks than I care to remember. Someday, I’d like to do a triathlon. I’ve done all this with my apparent anti-pigeon-toed disability.

So… I will cherish the plaque I receive for this one run, for it is doubtful it will ever happen again. I dedicate this success to my dad from whom I probably inherited my endurance abilities (since we seem to share the same tenacity to these sorts of sports). And to Mrs. Meers — who, by the way, was overweight and smoked, so she’s probably died of a heart attack or lung cancer by now — :P on you! I’m a winner, imperfect legs and all! =)

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