Trotter said her career choice is more an offshoot of her passion for social justice, though. Majoring in environmental studies and sociology at Middlebury, she studied under famed environmentalist and author Bill McKibben.

Trotter said the idea of becoming a global activist didn't suit her. She decided instead to try to affect change one person at a time.

"I'm really trying to live by my own values," she said. "I really think that we are deeply alienated from ourselves, from each other, for the most part. That's a lot of what I think about with therapy, that I think we can bear a lot of suffering as long as we don't have to bear it alone."

Trotter mentally collects quotations she finds meaningful, and one of her favorites is from the philosopher and theologian Howard Thurman: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Twelve years ago, Amber Trotter thought the world needed her to run really, really fast, and she obliged. She still loves to run, but can no longer allow it to become a preoccupation. She's too busy coming alive.

(You can reach Staff Writer Phil Barber at 521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com.)