When I was in elementary school, I was a Camp Fire kid. Probably because I was not cool enough to be a Girl Scout.
I wore my royal blue vest (distinguished from something one would wear to greet customers at Wal-Mart only by the plethora of merit patches stitched on it) to camping trips and baseball games and nursing homes, ostensibly learning to be an Independent Young Woman and a Good Citizen and all of that.
Without a doubt, though, the most exciting thing my Camp Fire troop ever did was to appear on the Ranger Charlie and Roscoe Show.
Unless you grew up in the Seattle area in the late eighties, you are probably like: huh-the-what? It was a locally-produced children’s show featuring a perky, permed “ranger” (Charlie) and a scraggly raccoon puppet (Roscoe). Each episode included a different handful of local kids who would sit on a bench and nod and fake-laugh as Charlie and Roscoe bantered about fire safety or stranger danger or whatever.
(That’s not me, but it could have been. Except that my blue vest had way more merit patches. Photo credit: Seattle P.I.)
Anyway. It was pretty lame, but was I going to turn down a chance to have my smiling face broadcast all over western Washington? No, I most definitely was not.
In fact, I was going to take it one step further.
Before the taping started, the producer asked for volunteers to read the pre-commercial-break script. I nearly jumped out of my blue vest. The camera would be ON ME AND I WOULD BE TALKING. I would practically be a movie star. The producer must have been impressed by my extreme enthusiasm, as another girl and I were selected to do the reading together.
We were given our lines and asked to memorize them. I don’t remember exactly what they were, but it was something like:
Me: “What will Roscoe will do next?”
Other Girl: “We’ll find out after this break!”
Really stupid and simple. But we practiced at least fifty times. By the time the taping started, those lines were running in a continuous loop in my head. I could think of nothing else as Roscoe and the Ranger went through the first segment of the show.
When it was time, Other Girl and I were positioned for our close-up: they sat me right in front of the clubhouse, in the seat usually occupied by the good Ranger herself. My heart was pounding. On cue, I recited my line.
And I nailed it. But then…
I couldn’t stop myself. It just came out. I don’t know if it was nerves or the fact that I’d been internally screaming those two sentences at myself for the last forty-five minutes, but I totally jacked Other Girl’s line. And stupidly answered the stilted question I myself had posed just seconds before.
It was my moment of fame and I had totally fucked it up.
Lucky for me, life gives second chances.
That is the September 2012 issue of Runner’s World magazine, and THAT IS ME. Second one down in the column of screenshots on the left!
Apparently, keeping my cool in a print interview was easier than reciting lines in front of a camera. Many thanks to Jen for including me in her piece!
If you happen to be here from the article: welcome! I will assume you’ve already clicked on that Races tab to figure out where I fall on the speed scale.
A little more about me: I’ve been running more or less continuously since I was 14, which was 18 years ago (yikes) and competed in cross-country and track in both high school and college (DIII). I did my first marathon when I was 20 and have done 10 more since, along with countless half marathons and other road races.
At the moment, I’m on a break between training cycles. I can’t handle big mileage in the southern summer heat, so I’ve been limiting running to 20-25 MPW and focusing on improving my strength and body composition (via boot camp, weightlifting, and changing my diet a little). As soon as September hits, I’ll be increasing mileage in preparation for the Atlanta Half Marathon (on Thanksgiving) and next spring’s Boston Marathon (assuming a six-minute cushion is good enough to get me in).
In addition to running, I like food and beer and wine and blog about those things regularly. (Well…a little less regularly now that I’m not running as much.) I also tell rambly illustrated stories (case in point, above). And sometimes I just write about whatever is going on in my life. Writing is what I do, and I hope to someday do with enough quantity and quality to call it a career. (Although, for me, blogging is just a fun outlet…I don’t make any money for this crap. Obviously.)
Here is an obligatory photo, since the one at the top of the page is kinda old:
The beer definitely wins this photo. Yum, Arctic Panzer Wolf.
I guess I’d better wrap this up before my three minutes of fame are over.
And to Other Girl, my former troop-mate, whoever you were and whatever you are doing now: I’m sorry for stealing your line. Truly, I am. I hope you’ve gotten a second chance at fame too. You deserve it way more than I do.