To The Mountains | Sarah Attar
Olympian Sarah Attar joined us this past April. Since then, she's made a decision to take her training to the next level. With a big move to Mammoth, CA, she is now training with Coach Andrew Kastor and the Mammoth Track Club. It's not only an amazing running community, it's a runners paradise. Hear the latest from Sarah...
When you first enter the town of Mammoth Lakes, you are greeted with a “Welcome” sign that also includes one of John Muir’s most beloved quotes, “The Mountains are Calling…” I haven’t spent much time in the Eastern Sierras before, though after reading anything by John Muir, and admiring Ansel Adam’s photographs, it was easy to be infatuated with this area before even visiting. There’s a certain magic to these mountains and I’m grateful that I now get to fully experience this place.
My first experience of Mammoth was back in 2008 for high school cross-country camp. I had just joined the track team the season prior, and was officially planning to join the cross-country team in the fall of my upcoming junior year. It seems almost poetic that I am now back in Mammoth to train full time, where I initially got my first real taste of a running lifestyle.
Little did I know at the time that seven years later running would come to be such an important part of my life, and really the main focus, bringing me back to Mammoth to train. Even in the beginning of this year I didn’t know that this would be the path, but I am so thankful for opportunities that have come about, allowing me to pursue this passion.
In the beginning of this year I began to look at the possibility of making a move to train full time. While navigating the typical transitions and explorations after graduating in April 2014, this was a constant, making its way to the forefront of my thoughts and begging the question, “what if?” Of course, there were a lot of factors that would need to come together to make this a feasible option, but regardless, I began to pursue it. Initially I reached out to some friends in the running community, explaining my pursuit and goals, and asking for recommendations on coaches and training groups.
In steps Coach Andrew Kastor and the Mammoth Track Club. From my first conversation with Andrew I could tell that I wanted to pursue a training program with him. He was passionate and genuine, as well as someone who would be invested in the unique path that I seem to be on. In May, after a few more conversations, a visit to Mammoth was set up. Everything about it felt like the place for me to be right now. It all fell into place, a dream come true really.
The Mammoth Track Club is a very strong established running group that got its start back in 2001 with Coach Vigil and Coach Larsen as Team Running USA Californian. It then morphed into a track club with Terrance Mahon, and in 2012 Andrew and Deena Kastor took on the club. They are passionate about sharing their years of experience and knowledge of professional athletics, and I am so grateful that the opportunity arose for me to live and train under the guidance of such powerful and positive guiding figures.
Is it just a coincidence that I am taking on full time training about a year out from the 2016 Olympic games? No, but I have no answer as to whether I will be competing for Saudi Arabia again or not. As you may have read before it was a last minute decision to send Wojdan and myself in 2012, and I don’t know what the plan is for 2016. However, I do know that I am insanely passionate about this sport and I want to find out what I am capable of in the marathon. So that is what I am here to do. I have some big dreams, and I am controlling every variable that I can to make those a reality. If the opportunity comes up to represent Saudi Arabia that would be awesome, and I am doing what I can do be ready.
Next on my calendar is Chicago marathon in October, with a tune-up half marathon in August. This is the first time in the past four years and seven marathons worth of training that running is able to be my main focus, and also my first time training at altitude, besides that week in high school of course. I’ve just barely scratched the surface in my running, but I am excited to see where this path continues to take me, it’s already been pretty wild, and I feel like I’m just getting started.