Up and Running: The Jami Goldman Story [NOOK Book]

Overview

More than a decade ago, while driving through Arizona, nineteen-year-old Jami and a friend took a wrong turn in their Chevy Mini-Blazer. They spent the next eleven days stranded and fighting for their lives on a logging road that the state had closed--without first being checked for travelers in distress--during a blinding snowstorm.
Here, Jami shares the trauma of those endless days , the miracle of a stunning rescue, the grief over losing her legs, and the strength and ...
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Up and Running: The Jami Goldman Story

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Overview

More than a decade ago, while driving through Arizona, nineteen-year-old Jami and a friend took a wrong turn in their Chevy Mini-Blazer. They spent the next eleven days stranded and fighting for their lives on a logging road that the state had closed--without first being checked for travelers in distress--during a blinding snowstorm.
Here, Jami shares the trauma of those endless days , the miracle of a stunning rescue, the grief over losing her legs, and the strength and courage it has taken not only to walk again but also to run like the wind. Wise, forthright, and astonishing, Up and Running recounts Jami's physical, emotional, and legal battles ( she filed a suit against the state) and shows how she used adversity as a stepping-stone to her recovery while also discovering love and joy beyond her wildest dreams.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Although she lost her legs to frostbite after a devastating accident, Jami Goldman went on to become a world-class runner. Goldman tells her miraculous story, including the details of her accident and her long road to recovery, in this unforgettable memoir.
Publishers Weekly
In 1987, Goldman, a 19-year-old college student, was trapped in her Chevy Blazer with a friend, Lisa Barzano, for 11 days during a blizzard on a deserted Arizona road. They lived to describe this experience only because a man and his son, out snowmobiling, decided to investigate what they thought was an abandoned car. When they were first reported missing, the young women's frantic families urged Arizona law enforcement authorities to launch a statewide search, but officials delayed for a week, insinuating that the two were runaways (they had actually been driving home for Christmas and took a wrong turn). Although Barzano lost several toes, Goldman had to have both legs amputated below the knee. This well-written, inspiring description of Goldman's physical and emotional rehabilitation includes a wealth of information on prosthetic devices. Encouraged by her loving family, Goldman began running competitively against other disabled athletes on "cheetah legs" (specialized running prosthetics). Goldman, writing with Cagan (who has co-authored with Joan Lunden and Grace Slick), effectively makes the point that many amputees end up in wheelchairs because of a health care system that will not pay for state-of-the-art prosthetics. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In 1987, 19-year-old Jami Goldman and a friend were trapped in a blizzard in Arizona. They survived in the back of their SUV without food or heat for 11 days until they were at last rescued on the brink of death, extremely dehydrated and with their feet severely frostbitten. While Goldman's friend lost parts of several toes, Goldman herself had both legs amputated below the knees owing to the onset of gangrene. This book chronicles both that ordeal and her remarkable story of recovery and triumph since. While struggling through multiple surgeries, a progression of prosthetics, and a lengthy court case, she attained two college degrees, became a preschool teacher, and worked as a motivational speaker. Most impressive of all, she became a world-class disabled sprinter who competed for a spot on the 2000 U.S. Paraolympic Team which led not only to her appearing in her own Adidas commercial but also to her performing the role of the Spice Girl Robot in the recent film A.I. This inspiring and moving story serves as a reminder of how much people can accomplish when they push themselves beyond preconceived limits toward a desired goal. Recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/01.] John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743431064
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Andrea Cagan has collaborated on seven bestselling books, four of which were number one.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The Privalege of Running

I stood at the starting line, checking my blocks to make sure they were in exactly the right positions. As naturally as I took to running right from the beginning, those starting blocks were not my friends and they still aren't. Not yet, anyway. I just can't seem to come off them as fast as I need to, but I'm working on it every day. That's what running is all about, practicing your strengths and your weak points over and over, and making every race count.

For a quick moment, I glanced upward into the stands at the immense crowd of people, ablaze in bright summer colors. It made me almost dizzy, there were so many of them. I heard my coach's voice as if she were beside me, reminding me to keep my mind on the race, to breathe, to focus, not to get distracted. I brought my attention back to the track in front of me, a much safer place.

It was midafternoon in July 2000, at the Olympic trials in Sacramento, California. I'd been training and waiting for this day, and now that it was here, I couldn't have been more excited. The buzz of more than twenty-five thousand people, alive with anticipation, was in the air, as they milled around, talking loudly and making predictions, trying to steal a look at their favorite superstar track athletes, who were all gathered in one place to qualify for the upcoming Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.

My fellow disabled runners and I were there too, but for us, this was an exhibition race, not a qualifier. For me, personally, I hadn't been lucky enough to nab one of the seventy-one slots that were available for U.S. disabled athletes to compete in the Paralympics in Sydney. I had trained reallyhard and could have gotten a slot if the other double below-the-knee (BK) amputees and I had been given our own races. But because there weren't enough of us, I was up against people who were missing only one leg. I can't beat an elite runner with one leg, and it's not fair to expect me to, but fairness is not the theme of this book or of my life. I've learned not to think in those terms. It's much more about rising to meet your circumstances, overcoming adversity, and appreciating yourself exactly as you are, along with the gifts that life keeps offering you.

This was not my first exhibition race, but it was definitely the most exciting. The sheer number of spectators and the importance of what the greatest athletes in the world were here to do reverberated all over the stands and on the track. Runners in warm-up clothes pretended to ignore probing television cameras while they stretched and jumped around, partly to keep their muscles supple and warm, partly to control the adrenaline that was shooting through their bodies. The great female athlete Marion Jones was running in the next qualifier. I couldn't see her yet, but she was probably on the sidelines somewhere warming up. With her extraordinary talent, her impeccable work ethic, her speed, and her determination, she was a modern-day hero to all women runners. I could hardly believe that when my race was over, I would get to watch her qualify for the hundred-meter sprint, the same distance I was about to run. Her goal was to win five gold medals in the Olympic games; mine was to finish this exhibition race in a strong time and to get through the rest of my life.

Butterflies danced in my stomach, bumping into my bladder over and over again. I felt like I had to pee, even though I'd done it five minutes before. That always happens to me right before a race starts, whether my intention is to improve my time, set a world record, win a gold medal, or run an exhibition race in front of an Olympic audience. The feeling that my stomach is about to splatter just seems to come with the territory, whether I'm competing against myself or other runners. Whatever race I'm in, whether I expect to come in first or last, competing always feels important to me, just because I'm able to play the game at all. I derive immense satisfaction from knowing that I've conquered some really tough obstacles in my life to get me to the starting line. Win or lose (I've done both), competing is a huge privilege, finishing is its own reward, and winning is icing on the cake.

I crouched down in the blocks, looked at the ground, and did a few practice starts. I looked across the line at eight other women, all pretty revved up. doing the same thing. I knew these women really well; I knew their idiosyncrasies, their strengths and weaknesses, and their best times for the different distances, just as they knew mine. It's part of our training to study each other, to know who we're running against, what shape everybody else is in and what they're capable of, so we can determine where we're likely to place on any given day. I watched them with affection as they jogged in place, breathing and trying to calm their nerves. We were all amputees and we had such a tight bond, although only five of us were serious runners who had been competing internationally for the last year and a half. The other three women were just starting to train, but although this was their first time running in front of people and they were here for the fun and excitement, we all needed each other. If even one of us had been missing, there would have been no exhibition race. The Olympic committee felt that only filling all eight lanes would create a strong enough showing to make an exhibition race worthwhile.

I jumped up and down on my "cheetah legs," my carbon flex sprinting prosthetics made by Flex-Foot, the most innovative prosthetic company in the world. When I wear them, especially when I run, they make me feel more like a robot than a human being. Going into this exhibition race, the silicone sleeves felt good and tight over my sockets, my limbs were sunken down perfectly into their socks, and the new cleats on the bottom of the cheetah feet were sharp and ready to dig into the earth.

"Runners to your marks!" I heard the voice boom over the loudspeaker.

I walked over to lane eight, the outside lane I'd been assigned. It's not considered a great lane, but at least there would be nobody on one side of me for this hundred meter sprint. Most runners feel more control in the middle of the pack, where they can keep an eye on everyone else. I generally do too, but I don't mind the outside for the hundred meters, since it's a clean straightaway. For the two hundred-meters, location matters more. You have to start out low and stay that way, rising gradually, working the curve by leaning into the lane. It's hard to execute that balancing technique in the two hundred meters, to keep that lean on, especially on cheetah legs. But this was not the two hundred meters.

I stepped in front of my blocks, jumped up and down twice, and did a few stretches. That's the extent of my rituals before I begin; I have no talismans, charms or strange routines I perform, but I've found that jumping and stretching are good psychological tools to keep me from getting into the blocks too early. For a runner with both legs intact, relaxing your body while you tighten your muscles to stay steady in the blocks is tough enough. With prosthetics, it's almost impossible, and you end up wasting energy and strength that should be conserved for running. It's best to wait until the last possible moment. The idea is not to crouch all the way to the ground when I start, the way an able-bodied athlete would. I have discovered, as have other double BKs like myself, that if I put my hands on the ground and try to start from there, I can lose a good second and a half getting up on my legs, balancing, and then taking off. That's an eternity in a fifteen- to seventeen-second race, the difference between winning and losing. The only way to save time is to start low, go out at an angle like an ascending airplane, and come up gradually as I move forward.

I crouched one last time and exhaled. Everybody down the line did the same thing. Nobody was moving.

"Set!"

Although there is no predetermined amount of time after the starter calls out "Set," it takes from two to four seconds for the gun to go off. In fact, every starter's timing is different, so a huge part of the training is mastering the takeoff. On that day, I anticipated the gun. An instant before I heard it, I moved. False start — a runner's nightmare. I apologized to the other women while we all jogged forward for ten to twenty meters, turned around, and headed back to the blocks. If you get a sense you're about to flinch or move before the gun goes off, you're supposed to raise your hand. They stop the race, call everyone up, and you get another chance with no penalties. But a runner isn't always in control enough to raise her hand and avoid false starting, which is irritating to everyone, both psychologically as well as physically. It takes a lot of practice to sync it all together, to have your body trained so automatically that there's no thought. The ideal timing is that when the gun goes off, you're moving — not before, not after, but at the same exact time. That takes mastery.

I looked down the line of women, preparing to start again. Nobody was pissed off at me; anticipating the gun happens to everybody and we're trained to move right on. I cleared my head, waited until the last possible moment, and crouched down again, determined not to move early. One more false start and I'd be disqualified; wait too long for the gun and I'd lose time. I was not about to let either of those things happen — not in a race this crucial.

I looked down at the ground in front of me, completely focused, waiting for the cracking sound that would start my legs moving and send me flying across the field. I had images of my training, my coach clapping her hands suddenly behind my head to help me get familiar with the gun. My cheetah legs were in position, I could hear my own breath, I could smell the track. Thirteen years ago I was stranded on a lonely, deserted back road in Arizona in the middle of a blizzard; who could ever have predicted that I would be here today, able to walk, able to run, able to compete fiercely in an athletic event? When you consider the way circumstances unfolded, the fact that I'm alive at all is a miracle in itself....

Copyright © 2001 by Jami Goldman and Andrea Cagan

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First Chapter

Chapter One: The Privilege of Running

I stood at the starting line, checking my blocks to make sure they were in exactly the right positions. As naturally as I took to running right from the beginning, those starting blocks were not my friends and they still aren't. Not yet, anyway. I just can't seem to come off them as fast as I need to, but I'm working on it every day. That's what running is all about, practicing your strengths and your weak points over and over, and making every race count.

For a quick moment, I glanced upward into the stands at the immense crowd of people, ablaze in bright summer colors. It made me almost dizzy, there were so many of them. I heard my coach's voice as if she were beside me, reminding me to keep my mind on the race, to breathe, to focus, not to get distracted. I brought my attention back to the track in front of me, a much safer place.

It was midafternoon in July 2000, at the Olympic trials in Sacramento, California. I'd been training and waiting for this day, and now that it was here, I couldn't have been more excited. The buzz of more than twenty-five thousand people, alive with anticipation, was in the air, as they milled around, talking loudly and making predictions, trying to steal a look at their favorite superstar track athletes, who were all gathered in one place to qualify for the upcoming Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.

My fellow disabled runners and I were there too, but for us, this was an exhibition race, not a qualifier. For me, personally, I hadn't been lucky enough to nab one of the seventy-one slots that were available for U.S. disabled athletes to compete in the Paralympics in Sydney. I had trained really hard and could have gotten a slot if the other double below-the-knee (BK) amputees and I had been given our own races. But because there weren't enough of us, I was up against people who were missing only one leg. I can't beat an elite runner with one leg, and it's not fair to expect me to, but fairness is not the theme of this book or of my life. I've learned not to think in those terms. It's much more about rising to meet your circumstances, overcoming adversity, and appreciating yourself exactly as you are, along with the gifts that life keeps offering you.

This was not my first exhibition race, but it was definitely the most exciting. The sheer number of spectators and the importance of what the greatest athletes in the world were here to do reverberated all over the stands and on the track. Runners in warm-up clothes pretended to ignore probing television cameras while they stretched and jumped around, partly to keep their muscles supple and warm, partly to control the adrenaline that was shooting through their bodies. The great female athlete Marion Jones was running in the next qualifier. I couldn't see her yet, but she was probably on the sidelines somewhere warming up. With her extraordinary talent, her impeccable work ethic, her speed, and her determination, she was a modern-day hero to all women runners. I could hardly believe that when my race was over, I would get to watch her qualify for the hundred-meter sprint, the same distance I was about to run. Her goal was to win five gold medals in the Olympic games; mine was to finish this exhibition race in a strong time and to get through the rest of my life.

Butterflies danced in my stomach, bumping into my bladder over and over again. I felt like I had to pee, even though I'd done it five minutes before. That always happens to me right before a race starts, whether my intention is to improve my time, set a world record, win a gold medal, or run an exhibition race in front of an Olympic audience. The feeling that my stomach is about to splatter just seems to come with the territory, whether I'm competing against myself or other runners. Whatever race I'm in, whether I expect to come in first or last, competing always feels important to me, just because I'm able to play the game at all. I derive immense satisfaction from knowing that I've conquered some really tough obstacles in my life to get me to the starting line. Win or lose (I've done both), competing is a huge privilege, finishing is its own reward, and winning is icing on the cake.

I crouched down in the blocks, looked at the ground, and did a few practice starts. I looked across the line at eight other women, all pretty revved up. doing the same thing. I knew these women really well; I knew their idiosyncrasies, their strengths and weaknesses, and their best times for the different distances, just as they knew mine. It's part of our training to study each other, to know who we're running against, what shape everybody else is in and what they're capable of, so we can determine where we're likely to place on any given day. I watched them with affection as they jogged in place, breathing and trying to calm their nerves. We were all amputees and we had such a tight bond, although only five of us were serious runners who had been competing internationally for the last year and a half. The other three women were just starting to train, but although this was their first time running in front of people and they were here for the fun and excitement, we all needed each other. If even one of us had been missing, there would have been no exhibition race. The Olympic committee felt that only filling all eight lanes would create a strong enough showing to make an exhibition race worthwhile.

I jumped up and down on my "cheetah legs," my carbon flex sprinting prosthetics made by Flex-Foot, the most innovative prosthetic company in the world. When I wear them, especially when I run, they make me feel more like a robot than a human being. Going into this exhibition race, the silicone sleeves felt good and tight over my sockets, my limbs were sunken down perfectly into their socks, and the new cleats on the bottom of the cheetah feet were sharp and ready to dig into the earth.

"Runners to your marks!" I heard the voice boom over the loudspeaker.

I walked over to lane eight, the outside lane I'd been assigned. It's not considered a great lane, but at least there would be nobody on one side of me for this hundred meter sprint. Most runners feel more control in the middle of the pack, where they can keep an eye on everyone else. I generally do too, but I don't mind the outside for the hundred meters, since it's a clean straightaway. For the two hundred-meters, location matters more. You have to start out low and stay that way, rising gradually, working the curve by leaning into the lane. It's hard to execute that balancing technique in the two hundred meters, to keep that lean on, especially on cheetah legs. But this was not the two hundred meters.

I stepped in front of my blocks, jumped up and down twice, and did a few stretches. That's the extent of my rituals before I begin; I have no talismans, charms or strange routines I perform, but I've found that jumping and stretching are good psychological tools to keep me from getting into the blocks too early. For a runner with both legs intact, relaxing your body while you tighten your muscles to stay steady in the blocks is tough enough. With prosthetics, it's almost impossible, and you end up wasting energy and strength that should be conserved for running. It's best to wait until the last possible moment. The idea is not to crouch all the way to the ground when I start, the way an able-bodied athlete would. I have discovered, as have other double BKs like myself, that if I put my hands on the ground and try to start from there, I can lose a good second and a half getting up on my legs, balancing, and then taking off. That's an eternity in a fifteen- to seventeen-second race, the difference between winning and losing. The only way to save time is to start low, go out at an angle like an ascending airplane, and come up gradually as I move forward.

I crouched one last time and exhaled. Everybody down the line did the same thing. Nobody was moving.

"Set!"

Although there is no predetermined amount of time after the starter calls out "Set," it takes from two to four seconds for the gun to go off. In fact, every starter's timing is different, so a huge part of the training is mastering the takeoff. On that day, I anticipated the gun. An instant before I heard it, I moved. False start -- a runner's nightmare. I apologized to the other women while we all jogged forward for ten to twenty meters, turned around, and headed back to the blocks. If you get a sense you're about to flinch or move before the gun goes off, you're supposed to raise your hand. They stop the race, call everyone up, and you get another chance with no penalties. But a runner isn't always in control enough to raise her hand and avoid false starting, which is irritating to everyone, both psychologically as well as physically. It takes a lot of practice to sync it all together, to have your body trained so automatically that there's no thought. The ideal timing is that when the gun goes off, you're moving -- not before, not after, but at the same exact time. That takes mastery.

I looked down the line of women, preparing to start again. Nobody was pissed off at me; anticipating the gun happens to everybody and we're trained to move right on. I cleared my head, waited until the last possible moment, and crouched down again, determined not to move early. One more false start and I'd be disqualified; wait too long for the gun and I'd lose time. I was not about to let either of those things happen -- not in a race this crucial.

I looked down at the ground in front of me, completely focused, waiting for the cracking sound that would start my legs moving and send me flying across the field. I had images of my training, my coach clapping her hands suddenly behind my head to help me get familiar with the gun. My cheetah legs were in position, I could hear my own breath, I could smell the track. Thirteen years ago I was stranded on a lonely, deserted back road in Arizona in the middle of a blizzard; who could ever have predicted that I would be here today, able to walk, able to run, able to compete fiercely in an athletic event? When you consider the way circumstances unfolded, the fact that I'm alive at all is a miracle in itself....

Copyright © 2001 by Jami Goldman and Andrea Cagan

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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay
In January 1988, after being stuck in a Chevy Blazer for 11 days during a freezing blizzard, I was forced to have both legs amputated below the knee. I was 19 years old. The issue of body image was in my face as I struggled for the courage to reenter society as a whole woman. Today, not only do I feel blessed simply to be alive; I have also become a champion athlete. I'm happily married, and I'm confident about myself, even as an amputee. But believe me, it didn't happen overnight.

For a long time after the surgery, I did everything I could to disguise what I considered my disability beneath cosmetically perfect prosthetics. It wasn't until I started running and saw other amputee athletes walking around in shorts like it was no big deal that I believed it myself. This positive attitude was clinched when I shot an Adidas commercial in which I ran along a track, my prosthetics exposed for all the world to see. The response was so fantastic; suddenly I viewed my "bionic legs" as a gift -- something I could wear with pride. People's stares no longer upset me because being different had become a good thing, a signal that I was special. I finally realized that although I could never change what had happened, if I felt good about the way I looked, other people would too. I'm happy to say I was right!

Body image is a huge issue today as women starve themselves, literally to death, and we pick ourselves apart -- if only I were taller, shorter, thinner, fatter, smarter, prettier, the list goes on and on. What about accepting yourself and who you are? It's not that I walk into a grocery store in shorts and go unnoticed. People stare, that's human nature, but they stare at a beautiful model, too, because she's different. It took me nine years to learn that I was okay, just as I was. Perhaps with the help of my book, you can get there faster.

If this book does nothing else, I want it to show people what I've proved to myself: that once you truly accept yourself, you can do anything in this life. If nature had intended for us to be clones of each other, we would all look the same. And we don't. The truth is that you may not like what you see in the mirror, but that doesn't mean you can't learn to accept yourself anyway. Over time, I have seen that a healthy body image starts on the inside, the same place where true happiness lies, and they both flow outward from there. Going deep inside yourself takes courage, intention, and focus, but I know for sure that it's worth it. When we learn to appreciate life from the inside and stop resenting our differences, then inner peace, self-acceptance, and happiness will follow. In this way, we're all the same. (Jami Goldman)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Goldenstar

    Gets borage

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2008

    Great survivor story!

    I met Jami Goldman during my recovery after also becoming a bi-lateral BK amputee. She spoke with me during an office visit where she had given me words of encouragement and hope. I can appreciate all she has gone through, and apply her experiences to my recovery that still continues on a daily basis. Jami is a true survivor who turned a horrible experience into a way to continue at her best, to go on and move forward. By speaking to others and showing her undaunted ability to overcome the obstacles she has shown me that there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us. I am glad she was able to share her story. I recommend her book to anyone trying to manage the struggle of life through whatever situation they face.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2001

    Interesting and Inspirational

    I loved the book. It was to me, part suspenseful novel and part personal journal. Anyway it held my interest and made me grateful to be alive and thankful the author and her friend made it too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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