In the last 16 months, you have taken up running, how has that changed your life?
I am in the best shape I have ever been in my life. For the first time in 10 years, I am off blood pressure medicine. I have met and become friends with some of the most amazing people you could hope to meet. Just 16 months ago, I couldn't run across the parking lot to get out of the rain -- for free pizza. Now, at age 54 I have run two full marathons. I have a new take on life.
I routinely tell people now, come go run with me, it's fun!
Two marathons in a month's time? How did that happen?
You see, what had happened was, I watched my then 9-year-old daughter run a 2-mile race with older kids and place. I knew then I needed to run. I downloaded "C5K" to my phone, bought a pair of real running shoes from Big Dog and started with a goal of 3 miles, three times a week.
That quickly turned into 4 and 5 miles, five days a week. Then, I signed up with the Galloway Marathon Training program with the larger-than-life goal of running the Soldier Marathon. One of the ladies in our training group had signed up for the 7 Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga (Tenn.) and was lamenting on our training run how she would miss our support on the run the next week.
A week later eight of us were running the marathon with her in Chattanooga. A sign of support for a fellow runner turned what would have been a routine training run into a full-blown marathon. Three weeks later, I was running the most amazing race I have ever seen -- The Soldier Marathon.
You work in the public defender's office representing those charged with crimes who can't afford an attorney. What is the biggest challenge of your job?
Perspective. Trying to get the client, their family, the witnesses or victims and the prosecutor and, finally, the judge to see the individual aspect of each case. No one is going to be happy with the outcome, and finding ways to reach meaningful resolutions requires getting everyone to see the case from all sides. Cases are deeply personal for all those involved, and it can be hard to set aside those raw emotions.
It is hard some days to watch promising young people ruin their lives over stupid decisions.
And managing lawyers is a lot like herding cats. It is, well, interesting.
Has the running helped you with your work and the rest of your life?
Yes, it reinforces the need for goals and commitment and hard work.
Running a marathon will make you dig down deep, face yourself like you never have before. I am more focused, less stressed and a little proud.
A good run lets you think through issues and find solutions to problems that you can't find sitting at a desk or in the recliner. It is one thing to see a sunset or a sunrise. It is another to run with the sunrise and watch the morning fog lift off the river.
It has helped me slow down and enjoy the moment and more fully embrace the biggest race of all -- living the life I have.
What is the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
The incredible generosity, caring and volunteering of the local running community.