I have been coaching Meagan for the last 10 months and am blown away by her tenacity and talent. When she came back from a devastating Boston Marathon last year she wanted and needed a break. I kept hounding her to sign up for Boston again for redemption but she resisted. Have you ever had the worse race of your life, only to sign up to do it again? I am sure you have but taking the plunge is not an easy feat. Eventually, she did.
Physically and mentally she wasn’t ready to train again. Each run she struggled and ran slower than she had in years. I watched her go through this for months as self doubt started to sink in. She went through tests with her doctor to check for everything under the sun. What was wrong? Why couldn’t she run like she used to? We tried adjusting her goals, tried not wearing a watch, and tried different workouts. Slowly, her persistence paid off and she once again started having good runs and workouts. She stayed the course, all while balancing work, family, and her passion for weight lifting. And now, she’s ready for redemption!
When and why did you start running? I started running 6 years to lose weight. I had to do the whole walk/run combo on the treadmill at first, but got to where I could run 2-3 continuous miles and started running outdoors. I had never run a 5k, 10k, or half when I signed up for my first full marathon…perhaps not the smartest decision, but I’ve been hooked on distance running every since.
Describe your first race experience. My first race was the Frankenthon Monster Marathon. I trained for it on my own and didn’t know what I was doing. The course was 3 loops and I smacked the wall pretty hard on the 3rd loop. Thankfully my best friend jumped in and ran some legs of it with me, and pulled me through the final 3 miles. 4 hours and 18 minutes later…I was exhausted, but I felt the greatest sense of accomplishment too and knew I’d race another one.
What has been your biggest running-related challenge? This past year of training has been my biggest struggle. I had a tough race in Boston last year. I fell into a slump for a while after and really struggled both physically and mentally to get my body to respond and do what I know it’s capable of doing. It took a lot patience and consistency to get back to where I am now. But I know I wouldn’t be Boston bound again without the constant support of my Team Rogue Cedar Park teammates and coach. They kept believing in me and encouraging me, even when I felt defeated.
What has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment? I’d have to say earning my first BQ at the Chicago Marathon. Everything came together perfectly that day and I had an amazing race and I had my fan base there with me. So many of us spend so much time literally chasing down that BQ. When the dream finally becomes a reality, it’s a pretty sweet feeling.
What’s next? Hard to say right now. At the moment, I am solely focused on Boston and don’t have another race on the horizon. But long term, I think I would ultimately like to knock out all the majors. I have 2 of the 6, so it’s a start.
People often ask me, “Why do you run?” and I respond with “Why don’t you run?” In many ways, running has always been a big part of my life. When I was in high school, I was always seen as a “fast” kid. I was on the cross-country, track, and soccer teams. In my junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. What did I do when I first heard this? I asked my parents to drop me off at the track and I ran until I couldn’t anymore. After undergoing treatment and brain surgery, I was told there was a great possibility that I would never be normal again.
My recovery was a rough year, I couldn’t do things I once took for granted. I couldn’t walk, was bound to a wheelchair for six months, had aggressive physical therapy, and was trying to retrain my brain to move my legs again. In addition to my walking abilities, there were other things I couldn’t do like button my shirt, speak properly, or remember things. I worked tirelessly to build up the strength to stand and then to walk around for a couple of seconds before my legs would give out. After a year of recovery, I tried to run again. I’ll never forget this particular run because I made it halfway down the block, felt like everything was loose in my brain, and started vomiting.
Many years have passed since that first run post brain surgery and I have since encountered others who have inspired me, motivated me, and shared my enthusiasm for running. Last year, I found myself once again motivated to go beyond what seems possible by one of my patients, Sharon. After talking for a while, she encouraged me to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Most people don’t understand what a “BQ” is or why “I must run Boston.” In my clinical experience, I have encountered patients who had the same diagnosis as me but their story did not end like mine. They are not by societies standards “healthy and normal.” They are in a wheelchair with a trachea tube, have an abnormal gait, or slur their speech. God has obviously guided me for a greater purpose. I promised myself if I were healthy enough to run, I would run with the best at the Boston Marathon.
To achieve my goal of qualifying for Boston, I joined Rogue and started running with Coach Larry’s group. Coach Larry suggested I train for the Houston Marathon to achieve my “BQ”. It was here that I bonded with fellow runners over long runs and happy hours. The miles just pass when you’re having a good time with friends! And then there’s Eddie, my best friend that I’m fortunate enough to call my husband. Eddie has always supported my crazy decisions, and is the only person who has patience for my stubbornness. Anyone who has met Eddie knows he hates running, yet he has completed two marathons and helped pace me during our runs.
On January 15th, 2017, the Houston Marathon had arrived. The start was 67 degrees with 97% humidity with mention that the temperature was expected to escalate into the 70s. I had trained in the humidity and heat before, so I thought I was ready to embark on this journey. I told myself that I would aim for my original goal, which was to get my “BQ” and run a 3:35 marathon. I would start off running negative splits and then pick up the pace as the race went on. The first two miles were fun and crowded; there were so many people, it was like a herd of cattle trying to get through a corral. I was on target with paces until mile 16 on Memorial Drive. Eddie told me that if I wanted to keep my initial goal, I would have to pick up the pace. It was at this point I was feeling lightheaded, my legs felt weaker, and my heart felt a little faster than usual. I almost gave up.
I felt like a cloud slowly drifted away and I cried a little. Memorial Drive was never ending. When we reached mile 23, Eddie told me he needed a break but for me to keep going. I guess that gave me some adrenaline, so I kept moving forward. Ironically, I clocked my fastest mile at mile 26, when I felt like I had nothing else left. I’m a strong believer and have a lot of faith…as soon as I crossed the finish line, the sky broke open and rain started pouring down.
It was a sign from above. God was telling me you didn’t meet your goal but you’ve completed this chapter. Not all stories have a perfect ending. Sometimes we must fall before we can learn to walk again. If we never challenge ourselves how will we know what we are capable of accomplishing?
If you don’t use it, then you will lose it. This applies to using your body and your mind. It is always easier to stay in shape, than to get back into shape. Always. It is even truer the older you get.
I truly believe that running has given me so much more than I could ever give back to the sport. By being fit and active I have seen so many places around the world that were only possible because I was a runner.
My mantra is “Focus Up!” This is a mental as well as physical philosophy. Focus Up reminds me to keep my head up (good form) and to mentally stay positive!
Running everyday keeps me healthy and injury free but it takes discipline to remind yourself that you can’t have 2 hard days in a row. When it is an easy/recovery day then no matter how good you feel you must not run hard/fast. I have 2 long running streaks of running at least 25 minutes every day. The first was 13 years, 2 months, and 3 days long and my current started on Oct 16, 2011.
Some of my best workouts are ones that I almost didn’t start.
The hardest part of the workout is the first step out the door.
If every run was great then they would all be average.
The bad runs make the good ones even better.
Bill has been running since 1974 (from the 300m low hurdles to the 50K and everything in between) and coaching for 35 years! He currently coaches The Jets, a year-round group in Cedar Park that welcome runners of all levels.
We are excited to announce our Fall Marathon and Half Marathon destination race. After 4 years away, we are headed back to the Philadelphia Marathon & Half Marathon on November 18th and 19th 2017. Here are 10 reasons to join us there!
- Distances for everyone. The marathoners in the group don’t get to have all of the fun. Philly has an 8K and Half Marathon on Saturday, November 18th and then the full marathon on Sunday the 19th. In 2016, the 8K had 3,000 finishers while the half marathon and marathon had 13,000 and 10,000 respectively. Those are all great field sizes – not too big or too small!
- The City of Brotherly Love. Why is this the nickname for Philadelphia? Because that’s what the name literally means. William Penn, founder of the city, named it using a combination of greek words, phileo meaning love and adelphos meaning brother. Penn’s vision was to create a city with large squares and wide boulevards to promote stronger community bonds. The result over 300 years later is a beautiful city with great history and plenty of things to do and eat pre and post race.
- Direct flights from Austin. Great city with easy access. Check. American Airlines currently offers 4 daily non-stop flights straight to Philadelphia. And if you prefer the budget friendly Southwest, you can get to Philly on a single stop through Dallas, Atlanta, Baltimore, or Chicago.
- Marathon weather. After this past weekend in Austin, you know you need it. Since it’s later in the fall season, you are almost guaranteed to get good weather for this race. The average start time temperature for the last 5 years is a brisk 43 degrees. That’s what we call perfect marathon weather – cold enough for gloves but warm enough to stick with a singlet and shorts once the gun goes off. Yes, please.
- Fewer summer blues? With the race date 5-6 weeks after early fall races such as Twin Cities and Chicago, your hardest workouts and long runs come in September and early October instead of August. You might even get a 20-miler in sub 60 degree weather vs. the typical 70-80 degree summer days. And after the summer we had last year, you know we need any relief we can get from global warming…
- Run through history on a beautiful course. You start at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and run the opening miles through historic Philadelphia as you cruise by Independence Hall and the home of the Liberty Bell. Mid-race, you run through Drexel University and by the Philadelphia Zoo before finishing with an out and back along the beautiful Schuykill River, where you can watch the morning crew boats race you back into the city.
- Spectators rejoice. Spectators can easily see half marathoners 3 times and marathoners 4 times with just a little bit of walking between cheer spots from the start line. The ambitious spectator can run the 8K or half on Saturday and save some energy to cheer on the marathoners on Sunday.
- The perfect holiday season appetizer. Since the race is the weekend before Thanksgiving, you can run on Sunday and then kickoff a season of guilt-free gluttony once you cross the finish line. Why? Because you earned it!
- Fast course with a history of strong Rogue performances. When we chose this race as the fall destination race in 2013, Rogues came back with a slew of PRs. The race isn’t Chicago-flat, but it isn’t too far off. You have some rollers between 7 and 10 to keep things interesting, but otherwise the course is flat and fast. I raced Philly in 2010 and ran my 4th fastest marathon there (out of 15).
- Eye of the Tiger. The finish line is in the shadow of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which boasts a statue of Rocky at the base of the steps, commemorating the moment from the original Rocky where Sylvester Stallone’s character climbed the 72 steps in triumph at the end of a hard workout. So cue up Eye of the Tiger on your playlist and be prepared for your moment of triumph in Philadelphia on November 19th!
Registration for the race opens on April 1st. Check out more details at philadelphiamarathon.com.
Training starts with us on Saturday, May 6th. You can find more details on our fall marathon training programs here. If you can’t make Philly, that’s ok. We have training options for Chicago, Twin Cities, Portland, Marine Corps, NYC, and all major marathons in September, October, or November. Come run with us!
Note: A previous version of this blog mistakenly stated that the half marathon was on Sunday. It is on Saturday, November 18th and the marathon is on Sunday, November 19th.
Consistency trumps Intensity: