Introduce Yourself!

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teej'sters's picture
Introduce Yourself!

New to the forum? Veteran GOAT? Come and introduce yourself to your fellow GOATz!

I'll start with a snippet about myself:

Born during the popularity crux of a TV show called Dallas, my hipster parents thought it would be cool to have a child with initials for a name. Consequently, the name "TJ" WAS intentional and it stands for Thomas John. I've been running since my sophomore year in college, which seems to be the exact same point in time many others answer the call to start running. Only difference was, my freshman 15 was more like a freshman 50. My running career peaked a year later when I recorded my one and only overall race victory during a fraternity sponsored Turkey Trot. I was excited for the win, since it basically proved I was the fastest among all my grilled cheese eating, beer drinking friends. The prize for my chivalry? A 12 lb turkey, which I never claimed, for fear it would compromise my amateur status...

Comment, reply, tell us some fun facts about yourself!

Good Idea TJ (Thomas John)

My name is Scott Giddings and I'm an al..., I mean run..., er, jogg..., uh, just a doofus who likes to be outside and experiencing nature in new a different places. The GOATz thing all started with some off the cuff comments wondering how many more of "us" were wandering around Omaha. Come to find out, there are quite a few doofus's running around out there.  I've tried to be fast, I've tried to run long, but one thing that has been a constant since I started running some 8 years ago, is that I love it no matter what speed or distance I am doing. I can't see that changing.

Jenni (not verified)
Introducing . . . Me.

Hope I'm doing this right.  That's pretty much my mantra.  I've been running since March of 2009, about 7 months after our third child was born.  At that time, I topped the scales at 225 lbs.  I had been trying to lose weight but I'm not very good at restricting calories.  I knew I had to do something.   So, I started running.  Just around our little Southwest Iowa farm town of 450 people, at first.  There was a 5k in the next town in June, so I decided to register.  I was scared to death.  I came in dead last, but I did it.  That was the beginning.  For a long time, I hated running.  Hated it.  But I kept at it because I knew it was my way out of my fat prison.  Then, my husband read Ultra Marathon Man.  That was it.  He ran the Omaha Marathon in Sept of 2009 and I was intrigued.  In March of 2010, he signed up for a 50 miler in Mississippi.  I ran the "easy" 20k on trails in Mississippi.  It took me 3 hours and 45 minutes.  But I finished it.  I loved trail running after that.  I've run a few half marathons and attempted the full Lincoln marathon last spring.  We run trails locally and just try to stay active.  We want to be good examples for our kids.  We had always wondered if there were other runners in the area like us and Chris wondered if anyone else ran ultras.  Thanks to the Scott for telling us about the GOATZ page, because we found what we've been looking for.  At first, we weren't sure how we'd fit in.  But, we've found our place and are so grateful we have.  I've never been so happy while running.  I am enjoying pushing myself and running without my friends just isn't the same.  Looking forward to many more years of GOATz runs ahead.  And after I conquer the 50k in October, who knows what's next?

Paul Troupe (not verified)
Paully T

So I may not be a resident of Omaha all the time, but I'm born Red, Corn Fed, and love to run. I ran track for just one year, 7th grade, and was not even thinking about running until 2 weeks before the season started my freshmen year (2006) of high school. Yes, that makes me young (and how old does that make you all feel :p ). I ran XC all four years, running at state each year and medaling my senior year. Now, I'm a student at Iowa State, majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Due to the business of my major, I don't run as much as I would like, but I get some in every once in a while.
I love sports, and will talk all day long about them. Just wish my major wasn't so time demanding so I could run more. I feel fat not running for a week or two at a time!

Cherkolicious's picture
Cherko de Mainelli

I was born and raised in South Omaha and I freaking love Omaha. It's cheesy, and I've travelled a lot of places, but I think Omaha is the greatest. I went to UNO and got my degree in biology and psychology and thought I was going to get my PhD in animal behavior. That definitely did not happen, but I do get to use my biology knowledge on a regular basis for work so that keeps me happy. Birds are my thing, so if you run with me, know that I'll likely point out birds I'm seeing or hearing. My momma wanted to name me Marg as an acronym for Mexican, Amercian, Russian, German (I'm actually  partly Ukrainian, but you know, close enough) but I'm pretty glad dad told her hell no. 
Running has always been a part of my life. My poppa was a road racer back when I was younger and ran every day of his life until his hip decided to say otherwise. I "ran" a season of XC my senior year but didn't really try and was really glad when I broke a toe and could sit out a few races. In college, I ran occassionally, more or less around the block at my parents house, while listening to No Doubt really loudly and thinking I was as ripped as Gwen Stefani. I finally manned up and got serious about running when I got a desk job. I felt like poop after sitting for 8+ hours a day and knew I needed something. I trained for the Corporate Cup in 2009 and never looked back. I started running trails when I learned that we had actual ones I could run on. I love being outside and in the trees/tall grass and I'll pick the ticks off a stranger's legs any time. 

Vanessa Urbach (not verified)

Girl, Grandpa will be so mad when I tell him you're telling people you're Russian again. And I think you should add in how you broke your toe. Great story.

Chris J (not verified)
Misplaced goat.

I guess the "Greater Omaha Area" extends into Kansas for me. I still consider myself an Omahan even though I currently live 200 miles away. I ran when I was in the military because I had to, but Started back a year and a half ago to get back into shape. I was introduced to trail running when I was looking for a tune up race for my first half marathon and have been obsessed with it ever since!

MamaJode's picture
Jody with a Y, Green like the Color

I don't have much to say about myself (Amy should write my introduction).
I'm probably one of the easier GOATz to pick ou of the flockt:  I'm the Can-Asian female with big calves and long socks. I'm usually late, always fluttered, and talking to someone. My Canadian accent only comes out when I'm drunk, but you may hear an "out or about" every now and then...depends on how long we run.
Like Scott, I don't consider myself much of a runner, but I try to maintain a certain level of fitness so that I can sign up (late) for any distance. My injury of 2011 was literally a pain in my ass, but months of not being able to run, left me with a brand new perspective and zest for trail running. My goal is run without regret. So regardless of where and who I'm running with, I am present in the moment, likely suffering, sweating profusely, but loving that I get to live this life. 
Scott asked me to write a piece for the blog a few months ago ( that may have exhausted all my literary skills. So that's all I have. Please say "Hi" and introduce yourself to me on the trails.  

Toby (not verified)
Interesting to hear people's

Interesting to hear people's stories ....
I was a sprinter/jumper in junior high and high school track.  After that I joined the Army and learned how to "run" with a pack on my back and a rifle in my hands.  While I was in the Army, I ran a few 10K's - some of which were on some pretty cool trails (like the one up the mountain to Frankenstein Castle just south of Darmstadt).  Before I got out of the Army, I was diagnosed with inflamed knee joints and informed that the cartilage in my knees was deteriorating and would soon be virtually non-existent.
I was pretty sure that was the end of my running career.  On the bright side, I discovered mountain biking and pursued that until my knees couldn't take the abuse any longer.
Last fall, I read a book called Born to Run.  If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it.  After reading the book, I began to change the mechanics of my running.  My background in sprinting didn't translate to mid-distance running and I was heel-striking, transmitting the shock to my cartilage-less knees.  Once I read about forefoot striking, I began the journey to change my stride.  It took most of the fall and winter, and a lot of mistakes, to make the change.  Now that the change is complete, I run relatively pain free and enjoy almost every mile.

mkellogg67's picture
It's me

Hi my name is Mark Kellogg and I started running again last April. I ran for several years while I was in the Navy because I had to and my first sanctioned race was the Carlsbad 5000, the fastest 5K in the world. The course is mainly flat with a nice gradual downhill to the finish line, unfortunately for me it is my 5K PR, 24:39, I am currently conditioned to run no where near that. I got into trail running because of the Exterra BOLT which is a Triathlon based on MTB and Trail running, funnest tri ever for me and I have not looked back from the trails. I ran my first 10K, Half marathon on the trails, and am planning to attempt my first Ultra also on the trails here in Omaha on October 28 at the GOATZ 50K. You can find me running near the back of the pack as one of the course sweepers talking and laughing and having fun just being out there. I am usually wearing a bright yellow shirt just so people can see me when I tumble and fall as I usually do because I am to busy taking in what God has laid out for us to enjoy. I am so glad that this group got started by our Poppa Goat Scott Giddings. Come out and enjoy a group run with us and haver a few laughs the whole group is very welcoming and easy to get along with.

Chris Hug (not verified)

Hi-I am a new member of the tribe. I am 40-something, have two teenagers, am an educator, and I run for exercise, stress relief, and so I can eat! Just ran the inaugural Wabash Trace Half Marathon (right now thinking I may tackle their full next year since it's so flat!) and I am trying to change things up a bit to keep things interesting. Saw the GOATz on FB-maybe on the Omaha Running Club page? Based on what everyone has written already, I'm going to predict that I will be in the back of the pack on trail runs-slow, but I won't give up! Hoping I can join in on a few runs and see if trail running will be a new direction for me, or if it will complement what I want to accomplish on the road. Looking forward to getting a couple runs with the GOATz under my belt this fall and meeting everyone!

Paul Crisman (not verified)
I played soccer my senior

I played soccer my senior year in High School (1989).  I liked everything about it (yes I had a mullet, it was the 80's, everybody on the team did) except the running. Our coach made us run alot, and I did not like it. Throughout college I stayed active playing intramural sports, Flag football, raquetball, golf, sand volleyball and hockey. After college I knew  I wanted to challenge myself, but at that point I didn't know how.  Over the next 10 years I got married and had three incredibly awesome kids. I continued to play golf, never got any better and wasn't having fun anymore. Time for something new. 
My Dad has always been a runner.  My brother and I used to go to local road races on the weekends with him when we were kids in the late 70's early 80's. The snacks were great.  (ahhh..memories)   He took a break from running somewhere in the 90's.  He was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 or 2? And was told he might not run again.  He went in to remission and started running again.  In 2003 I started working for the family business.  My Dad was running and doing triathlons on weekends and in  2007 I was inspired to join him!  I ran my first 10 miler on October 23 2007.  Inspired to run a marathon my challenge was revealed.  In 2009, I talked him into running the Lincoln Marathon with me. It had been 25 years since his last one.  He qualified for Boston, I finished 15 minutes after him. We have done over a dozen triathlons together, and many road races.  My brother and sisters have also joined the running scene. You can see us at the Beer and Bagel run. We have been the last to leave three years in a row! (Mom is our designated driver)
In September 2010, I got a new neighbor.  He introduced me to trail running.  I didn't even know I had miles of trails so close to my house!  I was hooked and have been running those trails since. Thanks Dave! 
Last Spring I met Bruce Barnhart at Lifetime fitness in the pool.  He told me about the trails around  the Z.  I was intrigued and went looking for them! With alot of trail and error I found a new trail to run. Thanks Bruce!  He also mentioned the GOATz and I wanted to see what it was all about.  I was amazed to see how incredible everybody was.  What an awesome group.  The accomplishments of this group has inspired me to challenge myself again. I signed up for the 50k on October 28.  I can't wait!

Steve S (not verified)

Hey folks,  Looks like a good thing you have going here.  My wife and I are new to Omaha (We moved from Duluth, MN on July 9)  and have jumped into the running scene over the past 24 months.  Story goes my niece Lindsey asked us to run the Whistle Stop Half Marathon with her in Oct 2010 and being new empty nesters we said sure.  Needed something to fill the time.  Started out racing a 5k each month, a bunch of other family members joined in, created our own race in February (the Sorenson Stampede) when we couldn't find one in Northern, MN and eventually 6 of us completed the 1/2 Marathon in Oct 2011.  Well... we had so much fun we had to keep going.... Grandma's Marathon here we come... and... My wife and I decided we should take a shot at Qualifying for Boston.  We both managed to hit our marks and get into Boston a few weeks back..In the meantime, all that training around Duluth and the trails of Jay Cooke State Park made me realize time on the trails can be the best time at all.  Toss in a couple books like Scott Jurek's Eat and Run and time for the next goal.  Voyageur 50 Mile Ultra 2013... Here we come.  Hope the body holds up and hope to meet a few Omaha folks who can introduce me to the area trails.  Just found your site.  Sounds like you have a good thing going!  Cheers


Hi everyone! My name is Laura and I recently moved to Omaha. I love to run and spend time outdoors. I have run a couple of marathons and plan to run St. Louis in April. I look forward to meeting everyone and going on some runs!!

willturner's picture
Intro: Will Turner

Hi runners!  My name is Will Turner.  I’ve met my closest friends in this group (The GOATZ) and look forward to meeting and running with you too.  I’m an enthusiastically curious extrovert with a passion for people and adventure.   
I’m a newbie runner (started in 2011) that lacks speed, fitness and flexibility but my optimism has me consistently signing up for races I have no business running.  I run slow, love walking/talking breaks and don’t like to be out of breath…and that’s why I like running trails and ultras.  I mean no disrespect to my speedy friends but If you add enough distance people stop asking you how long it took you and I think that is kind of cool.  If you sign up for an ultra or a high altitude race its expected you’ll run slow and may even walk and I think that is really cool.  I’m always in a hurry to run slow.
Hope to see you on the trails soon!

redricker's picture
I'm just me....

I'm a bullheaded Sweed and a stubborn Irish drunk.  Don't dangle temptation in front of me and expect me not to jump on it :-) Running gives me a whole new confidence in myself I never knew I had.  I may not be ready for any running challenge today.....but some day I'll attempt it.  The physical challenge that lies with running, thru wooded areas, hills, mountains, lacking oxygen, climbing boulders, temperature change, fatigue, feeling on top of the world......then add what running alone brings!  I'm a parent of two young beautiful girls and train rather minimally.  I started running mid 2007, started with a 5 mile race, then 7 mile cross country and the spring 2008 my first half.  Since I made my brother run the 7 mile cross country, cold, wet, muddy, cold, snowing, cold run with me our agreement was that he'd get to choose the next race. 
This is where Leanhorse was introduced to me.  After running a half marathon I was signed up for Leanhorse 100 in August 2008.  And yes I went.  It was miserable, I had no clue about anything of anything other than I go 50 miles out and 50 miles back.  19:15 hours later at 1:15am mile 70 I dropped out.  My only DNF to date.  Ask me some time, I'll show you how I walked and slid up and down stairs for almost a week.  I had no ankles for 3 days and didn't wear shoes for almost 4 days.  Miserable, funny but extremely terrifying.  Due to the experience and eye opening....WOWZA of it, I psyched myself out and convinced myself I could never ever be ready to attempt anything like that again.  The day I learned about ultra running I was hooked.  It's challenging, difficult, terrifying at first and extremely overwhelming but that's what got me.  I've dreamed of doing ultra marathons for 4 years, telling myself I could I'd never be able to. Finally, this year my dream has been coming true
The aches and pains I feel after running a half marathon on the pavement is what made me lack any ambition EVER to run a road marathon.  I couldn't comprehend doubling the pain and distance.  Here's where the GOATz come in.  I hit the trails and wow I casually ran 15 miles!!!  Who am I all of a sudden?!?! Try this again!  Few "long" runs with the GOATz I get ambitious to run my first marathon on the trail in Kansas.  Needless did I know, with a little persuasion and nudging, this would turn into my first completed ultra. 40 miles baby!!!  2 ultras attempted, 1 completed, 0 marathons! 
I am a trail runner.  It took me many years to find my calling, my comfort, my confidence, my real ability and am now in love with trying to find my limit.  I can't say any of this last year has been "easy" but it's been the easiest, most acceptable pain I could imagine taking on intentially.  Thanks to the direction this group has lead me, support, encouragement, self motiating, the desire and drive, 2012 I completed 5 ultras and finally my first marathon in Leadville.  This is only the beginning of my dream.......

Vanessa Urbach (not verified)
Intro: Kid sister GOAT Vanessa Urbach

Don't know if I can truly express how awesome the GOATZ are. I have always felt like a part of this amazing group/family of runners, I've never felt judged, I've always received overwhelming support, and no matter how often I get to run with the GOATZ, I ALWAYS feel welcome.
That being said- a/s/l= 25/f/omaha-I'm Vanessa Urbach and my big sister is kind of a big deal (at least to me), you may know her- Amy Cherko. And she is the reason why I'm on this page writing my intro. If it weren't for my sister, I would have never found my love for running, would probably still be 27lbs heavier, and would not be who I am today. Warning-- this may turn into a giant thank you to my sister.
But truly, Amy started harping on me about just giving running a try. It was the winter of 2010 (when I also started working a desk job-at the same corporation as big sis), and I thought, whatevs I'll give it a shot. She made me a personalized "couch to 5k" program to run my first 5k May of 2011 (the Cinco de Mayo 5k). I followed my personalized program all winter, joined the "Step Into Running" program with Bea Sides, and started seeing why people love running. This January, 2013, it will be 2 years since I've really started running; in those 2 years I've lost 27lbs, ran 30 races, and have met some of the BEST friends I could EVER EVER EVER ask for. One of the most important things I have gained from running- the unreal bond with my sister. Whenever I am struggling, I think of her, standing on the side of the trail yelling at me that "YOU GOT THIS", I think of her telling me over and over "YOU CAN DO THIS", I see her standing at the top of the awful hill on Grover, clapping her hands telling me I'm almost there. "Just watch my feet" she would tell me. My greatest memory of running with her to date is having her run me to the finish of my first half marathon, and having her at the finish line, crossing it in just 1 minute over my goal time, falling into her arms and just crying.
Running has given me this sense of pride I have never really felt. I ran mid-distance track in high school, but only because my basketball coach said I had to. I was decent, but I didn't LOVE it. I was not passionate about it like I am now. I love running because I love bettering myself. I love running as hard as I can, pushing myself until I feel like (or do) puke, or worse. Running gave me the confidence I had been lacking for so long. It gave me the fire to become passionate about my health and wellness that had dimmed over the years.
I could probably copy-paste this into the "Why do you run" forum.. so I guess I will just kill 2 birds with one stone. Now that I have made myself cry by writing this, I should wrap it up so I don't make it any longer. Thank you GOATZ for allowing this little kid sister GOAT to tag along and slowly but surely catch up. You are amazing and I look forward to many more runs with you all!

goat_to_get_running's picture
just plugging along

     Isn't it amazing how you can meet someone new who shares the same passion and you are instantly friends?  That's how it felt when I first ran with the GOATZ.  I think my first true run with the group was the 50k.  I knew many of the people there through the ORC and from other races, but it still amazes me how it seems like I knew people there who I actually had never met.  I wonder if it's like that for other hobbies/lifestyles....
     Anyhow, I've been "running" for most of my life.  Growing up I spent a bunch of years running around while my friends were on their bikes.  It was just more fun to be on my feet than to be on a bike.  In junior high and high school I was a 100 and 200 meter sprinter.  Anything longer than that and I was dragging a gigantic plow behind me.  Then headed I off to college and did a lot of pizza eating.  One day I decided I should be active and headed out for a run, 12 miles later I was back at the dorms.  Then nothing for a week or two followed by another long run.  So much for being a sprinter!  Never really did any shorter runs until I entered the military a few years later and then they forced me to run every other day but only a couple miles at a time.  After basic training I promptly gained 35 pounds over the span of 3 months.  Woke up one day and realized my body was not the way I remembered it so I started working out for real.  A couple months later I was back down in weight (oh youth!) and was moving pretty fast.  A friend brought up the idea of running a marthon and I said "Sure."  We all thought we would be fine because we could run 10 miles at one go, so we started our EIGHT week training plan and all got injured.  Young and dumb!
     A few months later got moved to Offutt AFB and signed up for a local 7 mile race.  That brought me to the ORC which increased my understanding of training and running in general.  And just recently it also led me to the GOATz.  Now I've completed 8 full marathons, 10 halves, a bunch of other distances, and 2  50k races.  This April I'll be doing my first 50 miler thanks to the suggestion of a couple infuential GOATz by the names of Troy and Jamie.  I've come to realize that I have a problem: if you suggest a race to me and logistically it is possible, then I'll more than likely going to run it.  If I'm out for a 12 mile run, and you aks me to run 20 with you instead, I'll end up running 20.  If you walk up and tell me that I should run the Leadville 100, don't be surprised if my name is on the registration list!  That said, I certainly don't feel like I'm any good at running.  I'm pretty sure my form is horrible, I never do the things I know I should be doing, and my plans almost always get majorly tweaked, BUT I'm out there running and loving it!  And I'm thrilled to have found a group of individuals who love running as much as I do.  A few might even have the same issues about signing up for races.

Joshua Ruckman
Joshua Ruckman's picture
Where there is a a will

Good Morning,
My name is Joshua and I like many of you live in Omaha. My progression into the world of running was born from another sport. Until 07 I competed in MMA where running was done at a much higher intensity for shorter distances designed for anaerobic purposes. It was in early 07, after my wife informed me that I was soon to become a father I decided that I should pursue other lucrative avenues such as higher education and perhaps a different career path, so MMA went to the wayside. I continued to run to keep fit and simply because I enjoyed it, naturally the miles progressively grew and grew and one day I decided to enter a competitive race, so I signed up for  my first one, a marathon. I competed, and fell in love. Well six marathons later and a PR of 3:25 and I have decided that running marathon distances isn’t as much as a challenge for me as it was in the beginning. Sure I can train to run faster but I really have no desire to do so and also my years of fighting have left my knees in a “not so quick to recover” state so the countless hours of hard sustained impact on the road is beginning to have an effect.  So I have opted to increase the mileage and take my runs off road. Loving a good challenge I have signed up for my first race beyond 26.2, the Leadville 50SR this July. My game plan is to complete at least three 50 milers in 2013 and proceed to the 100s by 2014. I have absolutely no knowledge about trail running in regards to anything, but I do know that I have a Camelbak, two good legs, motivation, and a need to challenge myself that doesn’t seem to end. I hope to learn a few things, make a few friends, and add another great chapter to my life.

Di Liska
Di Liska's picture
Cow-GOATz hybrid

G'day, my name is Di. I am a girlie-girl who enjoys nature. Started running late 2012 and am grateful to have found GOATz mentors along the way.  I enjoy a good adventure and choose to get lost often because you never know who you might meet when asking for directions. I also believe in the goodness of the human condition and that we are stronger running along the path together...  
I tend not to talk shop too much, but if interested here is my bio. -
Basics: 38 years young in May 2013, Aussie Born, Czech Husband, 2 American Girlies, Prefer Cider to Beer. Always up for a run and a challenge. It's going to be a beautiful day; let's go have an adventure!
Cheers, Di

vwaldoguy's picture
Never Give Up!

I'm Van, or Waldo for short.  I'm an introverted runner. And maybe that's why I find running very enjoyable, it's a solitary activity. But, I also enjoy running with a good group of friends who all share the same passion.  But, l really do the bulk of my running by myself.  A few years ago, I was overweight and very unactive.  I lost about 50 pounds, and THEN started running to help support my wife run her first half marathon, which was her running goal. I fell in love with the sport, and never looked back.  I soon realized I was an average middle of the pack runner at best and found out that guys my age are extremely competitve.  My new mantra became "Completing but not Competing" and accepted the fact that I had endurance, but not a lot of speed.  At that point, I decided my goal wold be to run a marathon or ultra in every state.  As of this writing, I'm half way there, and hope to finish this goal, some year well into the future, but it gives me something to keep pushing for.  I've done just about every kind of race out there, from roads to trails, from small marathons with only 30 people, to huge mega events with 40,000 runners.  I've done a couple of 24 hour running events, have run races in the pouring rain, have walked a 50k to pace a friend, and am training for a 48 hour running event in May.  I'm a lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service, so you may see me giving weather forecasts for various running events. I work rotating shifts, so my runs are at all different times of day. Married to my college sweet heart, have a teenage daughter in high school, and was born and raised on a small farm in southeat Nebraska, but am a city man now.  I hope to continue to enjoy the trails and roads well into the future as running has become my main hobby, and one of my true passions.

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