PowerBar Team Elite

I remember when I was a kid my dad would get ready for work in the morning and he always seemed to have it so together. I’d watch him tie his tie and get ready for the day, and I knew that his white lab coat was an indicator of his brilliant mind. There were lots of other things that signaled my dad’s genius (an M.D./Ph.D. from the University of Chicago would give it away to most), but for some reason, the lab coat was what made it real to me.

When I started running I befriended Rich, who took on the role of mostly friend with a little coach. The thing that, to me, indicated Rich’s greatness as an athlete was that he was sponsored by PowerBar. Whoa. I could barely run, I wasn’t sure if I could do a marathon and here was a guy who was willing to run with me who wasn’t just sponsored, but was sponsored by such a big name in sports. Even as a newbie athlete, I knew PowerBar and turned to them when I needed my first gels. PowerBar gels got me through my first several marathons and it was PowerBar who I turned to when I needed to take my own fuel to Antarctica.

When Rich encouraged me to apply for PowerBar’s Team Elite 2010-2011 cycle, I balked. Sure, I’ve come a long way in the last few years, running not just one marathon, but 9 around the world, and pushing myself in ultramarathons and triathlons; I’ve become involved in the running community, hosting this blog, coaching Girls on the Run, and being on the advisory board for impossible2Possible. But in my head PowerBar sponsorship was a big deal and I had my doubts. Maybe because it is a big deal. Maybe because even though I love running and do lots of it, I’m still used to being a “brain” and not a “jock.” So you can imagine my shock, confusion, delight and finally elation when I found out that PowerBar had accepted my Team Elite application. Mine and Josh Cox’s and a few Olympians and Meb. No biggie.

But it is.

As someone who continues to struggle with her identity as a scholar-athlete, this was a big week for me- not only being sponsored by PowerBar, but also winning an award for my research. I always wonder if I’m doing this right- devoting the “right” amount of time to school versus training and wondering which pursuit is going to allow me to really make a difference in the world. I’d like to thank PowerBar for seeing that even though I’m not breaking world records, I’m still an athlete who is making a difference, and supporting me in that venture. I’d also like to thank all the people who supported me, even before I knew of what I was capable.

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