May as well start here.
I remember the day well. Four female teenagers in a too-small rented house, with my mom who had virtually been abandoned by my well-meaning father. He was living a few hours away while working on his PhD so that he could eventually work at the local college and provide us with that higher education he cherished so much.
My mom was not extremely happy. She couldn’t keep us from hanging out with undesirables who smoked and drank after school, made out at the end of dark dirt roads, but she washed dogs so that we could have material to sew prom dresses and kilts for homecoming. She took control over her life somewhat by learning about health foods and subscribing to “Prevention” magazine. She introduced us to wheat germ and we grew our own vegetables in the summer. At a very young age I became aware of what was healthy to put in my body and what was not. And although I loved my mom’s macaroni salad and lemon bars, I decided at 15 I was going to live differently than most of my friends.
I don’t know what guided me. It could have been because it was the late 60s and women were crying out for equality in everything. It could have been that I read an article in Sports Illustrated, in my high school library about Gayle Barron or Bill Rogers. It could have been just watching the guys on the cross country team take off one fine fall day into the orange-gold leaves in the woods behind the school that made me say to myself “I want to do that”.
So I started running. After school. With the “boys”.
To be continued….