I would like to introduce everyone to Meghan. [applause]. I met this firecracker at work a few months ago, and when I happened to notice a race ticker stuck to her laces, we sparked a conversation. Since, we’ve been swapping stories and running/workout tips. Meghan is someone you instantly look at and feel motivated. I am most jealous about the fact that she knows how to swim, competes in triathlons, etc. but I digress. I’ve invited Meghan on over to talk to us about running, because nobody should take 26.2 miles lightly.
Meghan really lives and breathes running, and she’ll tell you nonchalantly that you too can run a marathon.
Likes: Running. Manis/Pedis. Coffee. Her outdoorsy boyfriend.
Dislikes: Bike racks. Cytomax. Gum.
Meghan and I recently ran the Nashville Country Music Marathon, well she did the proper marathon. I wanted her to share her side of the running road story to provide another perspective on how everybody’s running approach and reasons for the love of the run differs.
WARNING! This is serious running sh**.
I am a runner, not someone who happens to run. It’s the first thing I want to do when I wake up in the morning and if my schedule allows it – it’s how I want to end my day. I love meeting other running enthusiasts, so I was pumped when I found a fellow runner in my co-worker Nichole (and equally pumped when she invited me to write a post for her blog).
I could go on for hours about the sport of running, but it hasn’t always been that way. I started swimming competitively at the age of three and swam all through college. In the off-season I turned to running as a way to stay in shape. My runs usually ended after a few short miles and left me feeling frustrated and defeated. I wanted to be a runner – but it didn’t come naturally at first.
After college I moved to the the Big Apple to start my career in public relations. Like so many recent graduates I felt lost and struggled to define who I was post-college and swimming. I was working long hours and started to feel drained and unfulfilled. I loved my career choice – but swimming was gone and with it a little bit of my identity. On a brisk November morning I stepped outside my Upper East Side apartment and it was like the skies opened and everything became clear as I watched the lead runners in the ING New York City Marathon race down 1st Ave. The next day I signed up for my first marathon and from that day on I have been a runner.
With my new goal, I slowly worked my way up from three miles to six, and then six to nine and so on. I fell in love with my runs along the East River and through Central Park. I found that morning runs made me more successful at work and happier in my relationships. I knew I had a friend in running for life.
In the Spring of 2009 I crossed the finish line at the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. My only goal going into this race: not to walk. I crushed that goal and made a new one at the 13.1 mile mark when I said to myself, “Oh my gosh I could do this thing in under four hours”. With the help of my older sister (who snuck in half way and ran with me for a few miles) I finished in three hours and 53 minutes. I can’t put into words the feeling I had when I crossed that finish line with my family and friends watching. I had competed at some of the biggest swimming events in the country, been a part of winning relay teams and stood on podiums before. Nothing compared to this – I could not stop the tears streaming down my face as I crossed that line and realized what I had just accomplished. This goal was mine and mine alone. No coach made me do those long training runs to prepare, I didn’t have teammates relying on me or a college scholarship on the line. I did it all for me – with the love and support of family and friends. That feeling is why I run everyday, rain or shine.
People often ask me “Why marathons?”. My answer: It’s unrealistic for anyone to say they want to win an Olympic gold, but anyone (with the right attitude and determination) can run a marathon. And if you take the plunge and sign up for one you’ll show up surrounded by 30,000 strangers and cross the line with 30,000 friends and supporters that helped you accomplish your goal. The running community is an amazing thing – and something I’m proud to be a part of.
I attempted my third 26.2 at the Country Music Marathon with Nichole last weekend – unfortunately the weather gave out at mile 22ish and I was forced to stop (lightening, and cops were forcing runners off the course), but even that can’t shake a runner’s high. If anything being forced to stop only gave me more motivation in my training to tackle another race soon. Miami 26.2 anyone?
I’ll take “goosebumps” for $500! That should be enough motivation to get y’all through the week, or at least a good long run. Appreciate your thoughts and sharing your experience with us Meghan.
Want to hear more from Meghan? Follow her on Twitter (if you can)! I’ll be getting the scoop from her on triathlon training, expect to hear more.