An active life

A story of the evolving nature of athleticism throughout the life span

By Pam Eveland (North Carolina, USA)


I am a lifelong exerciser. I began at age 13, playing three sports every year and dancing in a high school show year-round.  Whether it was field hockey, soccer, cross country skiing or track and field I competed fiercely, loving the feeling of pushing myself and a winning result. As captain of all three sports in high school, I believe I was looked up to for my toughness and quiet competitiveness. I continued to play soccer in college and throughout my 20s.


I have always loved to run. I participated in many 10Ks and continued to run nearly every day into my 40s. Then I ran my first and only marathon. I rode a bike, lifted weights, did aerobics classes, and taught spin classes for many, many years. When I competed, the desire to do my best and be pleased with my results came from within, but competing was also about winning. A friend I used to run with teased me that I was always one stride in front of her ( which was true). I love moving my body and the feeling it gives me both emotionally and physically.


I am now in my late 50s and have had to slow down due to severe arthritis. I’m told that is not uncommon in people who have challenged their bodies and sustained trauma over the years. If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change my past. I gained so much confidence and self esteem from exercise and athletic competition. It has been a big part of my identity and I have had a blast. I still exercise nearly every day and love it when my body lets me do what I want to do.


I now live in the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina. I ride an e-bike, hike, walk, and sometimes jog a little on good days. I don’t feel that need to compete any longer. I want to take care of my body and not cause any further trauma or injury. Sometimes I cry from pain if I went at it too hard or if I trip and fall from the rough terrain of the trails, but I try to take care that it doesn’t happen. I listen to my body and treat it with kindness.


I still love the feeling I get from exercising, but instead of the thrill of winning, I embrace the thrill of climbing a mountain and the fantastic views of our Blue Ridge landscape. I am especially grateful to able to enjoy this amazing landscape with the companionship of friends, family and our mountain-loving dog, Pepper. I plan to keep on moving throughout my lifetime while enjoying the views and the companionship along the trail.


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