That time I ran a marathon.

The Boston Marathon Bombings really upset me.

I remember watching it happen on TV and being completely shocked.

How could someone hurt something that I loved so much.

I couldn’t imagine training for so long only to have it ruined by a careless and heartless act.

I really wanted to do something to honor everyone involved in that horrific event.

I remember texting my sister telling her that we had to do something.

We brought up our local marathon, the Portland Marathon in October.

We thought it was crazy.

The furthest we had ever run up until that point was probably 15 miles, how on earth could we do 26.2.

But that didn’t matter.

We wanted to do whatever we could to honor everyone involved at Boston.

So we did it.

We clicked “register” and signed up for our first marathon just 5 months later.

The training started.

It was gradual and then took off.

I got help from an awesome teammate of mine in College, who wrote me a training plan that I religiously followed.

We realized what our end goal was going to be right away.

We wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

The qualifying time for women our age is a 3 hour a 35 minute marathon.

We were going to do it.

We were so freakin excited.

After months of training, training, and more training.

Some of the longest and most challenging months of my life.

The day had come.

God I was so scared.

It was such a scary thing, 26.2 miles, but I knew if I had my sister by my side, I would be okay.

My running partner since birth was going to be with me today and all was fine.

We got up probably around 3:30 or 4 in the morning since we lived about an hour away from the race start.

I remember the butterflies in my stomach on the drive up, hell I can feel them even now four and a half years later.

Listening to my drake playlist over and over again.

Trying to pump myself up for the challenge ahead.

When I got a text from my best friend.

“Give me speed, give me strength, let me fly.”

It reminded me of all of the people I had met along the way.

The support system I had driving up with me to stand around for hours just to watch me run.

We got up to Portland and found our starting area, and most importantly the bathrooms.

My family took pictures as Janelle and I sat and waited.

I remember saying our goodbyes to our parents and my husband, who was just my boyfriend at the time, as the race neared.

It was all starting to feel so real.

Before the race a voice came over the speakers and said that we were going to have a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings along with a tribute.

And next thing we know, Sweet Caroline played through the streets of Portland.

A song sang during Boston Red Soxs games.

My heart was so happy.

Everyone around us sang along, hand in hand with each other.

But that wasn’t the best part.

They were trying to play the national anthem when something went wrong with the speakers, so they suggested we all sing it out loud.

I had never heard anything more beautiful.

Singing the national anthem with strangers who were spread through the city, all with the same goals.

Who were all running for something bigger than ourselves.

It was something that I’ll never forget.

Next thing I knew, the gun was off.

In typical Megan and Janelle fashion, we got out quick.

We had to get into a good spot and get into a good rhythm.

I was surprised with how good I felt.

Step by step.

Mile after Mile.

I felt strong.

We came up along a group of runners who cheered us on and asked if were were twins.

We answered in sync, like we always did.

He called us the “wonder twins” and as silly as that sounds it motivated us that much more.

We felt empowered and strong, because we were.

We were running a marathon.

I remember even seeing my family a couple of times and hearing them shout our names. It reminded me why I was doing this.

For the people that I loved.

And those who lost theirs that last April.

We just kept running, right next to each other, up until the half way mark.

I had written my paces on my arm in sharpie, to make sure I could hit that 3:35 Boston Marathon qualifying time.

I was feeling great, and we were ahead of pace as we approached the arch of balloons letting us know we were at mile 13.

Janelle wasn’t feeling great, and I was.

I kept trying to walk her through getting rid of her side ache and for the most part it was working.

She could tell I was feeling better than she was, so she let me go.

She told me to leave, that she was fine and if I could do it, to go.

We squeezed each others hand and I was off to do the rest by myself.

I still felt good.

I was hitting my paces and breathing just fine.

Until I approached the St. Johns Bridge.

I had been warned about this bridge.

But nothing could have prepared me for it.

The hill leading up to it was huge.

I could barely pick up my legs.

I was trying and trying, giving it everything I had.

I remember someone coming up behind me and telling me to follow him up the hill.

I tried.

Once I got to the top I had a little more energy.

I was told by that after you get over the bridge, that the rest of the course is a gradual downhill.

I wanted that downhill so bad.

I was feeling better.

Getting my stride back.

One foot in front of the other.

That’s what I kept telling myself.

The streets of Portland were flooded with fans.

Pom Poms, huge signs, and voices louder than you could imagine.

It was so encouraging.

Until mile 24.

At mile 24 my vision started to get blurry.

I felt like I couldn’t see my feet hit the ground.

Like I was moving but I wasn’t.

If that makes any sense.

Looking at my watch I noticed that my pace was starting to slip just a little.

I couldn’t have that.

I had one goal, and I was going to achieve that goal.

Janelle passed me at mile 25 as we crossed the Broadway Bridge.

She told me good job.

I tried to mutter “you too” but just a bunch of sounds came out of my mouth.

I was slowly losing it.

I was so close though.

So close that I could hear the crowd at the finish line.

The finish line that I wanted so badly.

I turned onto Naito Parkway, which meant that I only had about a half mile or so left.

And then it happened.

I fell.

Maybe I wasn’t picking my feet up or something.

But I fell.

Right on my knees in front of everyone watching.

I remember this sweet woman in a pink shirt stopped and grabbed me as she called for the medics.

People in white shirts came running from the sidewalk.

My knee was cut up pretty badly and they wanted to take me off the course.

I told them no.

That I had to finish.

I was only two minutes away from finishing and I needed to finish.

They let me go, and the sweet woman in the pink shirt agreed to run right next to me as we finished, in case I fell again.

I turned the corner to the finish.

And don’t remember anything after that.

Except getting placed down on a bed under a medical tent.

I woke up to an IV getting stuck in my arm.

I freaked out.

Instantly I looked down around my neck searching for my finishers medal.

I found it.

Thank god.

I had finished.

But I didn’t know how.

I blacked out and didn’t remember any of it as I took that final turn.

I had been training my butt off all spring and summer for this race.

But I didn’t remember finishing.

I looked back at pictures of other people finishing.

There were smiles, and hands tossed in the air with the look of pure joy on their faces.

Whereas I, from what I heard from my family, crossed the finish line with a blank stare on my face and instantly dropped.

I found pictures of myself in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk.

I still ran an amazing time.

I ran a 3:42:59.

I missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 8 minutes.

That was it.

Do you know how it feels to want something so bad.

To the point where it’s all you think about?

That you consume your life with it.

To get so close to finishing and not even remembering it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly proud of myself, and always be.

To be a 23 year old and miss qualifying for the Boston Marathon by only 8 minutes during your first ever marathon?

But I didn’t get my moment.

I didn’t cross the finish line feeling like I was on top of the world.

I didn’t have that moment that I can look back at and remember with pure happiness.

I don’t remember it.

It’s almost like I left it unfinished.

I’m surprised sitting here today, four and a half years later.

It still gets to me.

Crying as I write these words down for everyone to see.

To see that I wanted something so bad and was so close to getting it.

That I blacked out at the end and don’t even remember finishing.

Some people would use that to quit.

Some people would take that moment and never do it again.

They would be embarrassed or say that it wasn’t meant to be.

They would be discouraged.

But not me.

I’ll always have that drive.

That motivation that one day I will remember finishing a marathon.

That I still have so many years to reach my goal.

There will always be this fire under me, reminding me of what I still have to do.

I was and still am so incredibly proud of myself.

I know that one day, I’ll do it.

I’ll run those 26.2 miles and have my moment.

I’ll cross the finish line with the biggest smile imaginable.

And I’ll do it.

One day.

Just watch.

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I like to chase things.

It’s true.

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I like to chase things.

I realized this on my run this morning.

I had stopped for a minute to catch my breath and another runner came running up by me.

I decided to give him a few seconds to get a head start.

And in my head it was a race.

I pushed myself a little more, to try and get him.

I had no idea who he was or why he was running.

But for this moment, he was my motivation.

You see, I’m easily motivated by chasing people or things.

If I have this goal that I can see, I want to do everything in my power to get it.

When I was younger and running club track, I use to get so excited by medals or t shirts.

If the top finishers of a race got a medal or t shirt I would push myself harder than I thought I could, just to get that prize.

Things.

They give me a reason to try hard, something to try and obtain.

Growing up I had this built in competition.

Even though I can only count on one hand how many times I’ve beaten her head to head, she’s my motivation.

Most of the time I don’t beat her.

And that’s ok.

I would be in the middle of the race and I could see her in front of me.

It would help me keep my eyes up and focused.

I wanted nothing more than to get her.

People.

Giving me someone to chase down, a reason to push myself.

I realized on my run today that I am easily motivated by people or things.

By the art of chasing them down.

Pushing myself harder than imaginable to try and get them.

It’s a challenge.

And I love that.

Maybe that’s why I love running.

It’s a challenge every time.

Even when you’re running by yourself, if you come up on some innocent runners, try to pass them.

It might sound mean, but it’s not intended to be.

It’s just a form of motivation.

In anything you do, it’s important to find something that motivates you.

A person, thing, or goal, anything that will make you want to push yourself that much more.

Motivation is key if you want to get anything done.

It’s that simple.

If you want to lose 10 pounds but have zero motivation to go to the gym or start eating healthy, it just won’t happen.

That might be harsh but it won’t.

It’s so important to find one thing that motivates you, just one thing to get yourself that much closer to your goal.

For me, it’s people or things.

Something that can get me instant satisfaction.

That’s how I am, I have to get things instantly.

Zero patience.

But I’m working on that. 

It’ll be different for everyone.

Free t shirts and passing people motivates me when it comes to running but it might not do the trick for you.

That’s when you need to sit and think.

What do I want from this?

What will make me run that much faster?

What is my goal?

It can be something so simple as you just want to be better.

That’s how I see it.

Pushing myself to catch people or things, will make me better in the end.

If I pushed myself to get top three in a race so that I could get a medal, I usually ran a fast time.

If I focused on beating my sister in a race but didn’t end up catching her, I usually still had a great race because I focused on moving up and running faster.

Find that thing that motivates you.

Or if you know what it is, embrace it.

I realized on my run today that I love chasing people.

I love actually having something in front of me to try and get.

A person.

A thing.

Something that pushes me that much harder.

That ignites the fire inside of me.

You fall, you get back up.

Oh how I love Sunday’s.

Mine are usually very simple.

I don’t set my alarm and let Ian decide when it’s time to get up.

Make a cup of coffee.

Or two.

Ian eats.

We plan dinners for the week.

I tidy up the house.

We do laundry.

Get stuff ready for lunches during the week.

And watch football if it’s on.

But my absolute favorite part about Sunday’s are my runs.

Jason is a champ and always volunteers to take Ian with him to go grocery shopping so I can get a run in.

I drive to my favorite spot and lace up my shoes for a run.

I’ve been doing Sunday runs every Sunday for a few months straight and it’s something I really look forward to.

It’s my little bit of time that I get to just do what I love doing.

However today was different.

It was unlike any Sunday run I’ve had.

I ran at my usual spot and decided to take a different route.

I was cruising down the pavement about a mile in when I saw a familiar looking path.

It wasn’t too muddy so I decided to venture towards it.

After a few minutes I quickly realized that I was wrong about the “wasn’t too muddy” part.

I kept having to switch to different sides of the path.

Whichever side seemed to have less mud.

Every step I took I went deeper and deeper into this little mud pit.

I had to shorten my stride to limit my risk of falling.

Every new path I approached I had to ask myself..

Will this path be easier?

Will this lead me back to the pavement I wanted so badly to reach?

Finally I got to this spot that looked like it was going to clear up.

I came up on a friendly man and his dog, and as I passed him he told me to have fun.

I didn’t really think anything of it but thanked him for his advice,

Next thing I know I’m taking this extremely sharp turn and land flat on my right side.

Phone in hand.

Hand straight in a pile of the thickest mud.

I just sat there in the mud for a moment to take in my embarrassment when I realized where my phone was.

I grabbed it and jumped right up.

Don’t worry it was fine.

I stood there and just looked at myself.

I could have been mad at myself, or sad that I just fell full speed in the biggest mud pit I’ve ever seen.

Not literally but you try falling in mud and not thinking it’s the biggest mud pile ever.

As I paused my watch I noticed my friend with the dog from earlier was taking the turn.

He asked if I was alright.

I just kind of laughed and answered with a yes.

I told him I didn’t do a very good job of avoiding the mud and was off.

I still killed my run.

I wasn’t bleeding and nothing hurt.

Yes I was covered in mud.

But it was kind of funny.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Falling in the mud is hilarious.

And when it happens to you, you can’t help but to pull a tswift and shake it off.

If you fall, you get back up.

It’s as simple as that.

I’m taking this lesson and bringing it into my week.

I know it’s going to be a busy week for me at work, and that’s ok.

If anything goes wrong.

If anything is hard.

If anything just brings me down.

I’m going to put a big fat smile on my face and get back up.

I go on a run every Sunday.

This has never happened so far.

But it did today, and that’s ok.

I fell but I got back up.

I’ve found that I’m a creature of habit.

I can hear my husbands laugh from here as he reads this.

If something goes wrong or doesn’t happen the way it’s supposed to, I’ve been known to let it get to me.

But today I didn’t.

And I was so proud of myself.

It’s those small wins.

So take this as a reminder that whatever might happen this week, if you fall, get back up.

Keep on going and don’t let it get to you.

Shake it off.

 

Run with heart.

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Running is and was everything to me.

Running has taught me so many lessons that no one else can teach me.

Running made me feel strong when I felt like I was at my worst.

Running gave me the courage to go for my craziest dreams.

Running helped me figure out what I was going to do with my life.

I have so many stories from my running career. That time Janelle and I almost missed the bus at our first out of state cross country meet..or that time we thought a cat was following us to our hotel room when it turned out to be a skunk.

This story is one of my favorites.

My freshman year cross country season was one of my best. I thought I was doing everything right, I thought I knew everything there was about running. I was running the best times in my life, beating my sister (sorry Janelle) and I was the number one girl on my team. I had it all.

It was our team dinner the night before we were going to leave for our conference meet. My coach thought of this idea to have giant pieces of paper with all of our names on them and have each other write something encouraging on it.
You know the usual stuff..

“Girl you’re so fast, go out there and kill it this weekend!”

“Make us proud!”

“Go out there and get to nationals!”

All of these encouraging words made me feel better than I already was.

Then I saw it, in the bottom corner of my paper..

“You’re a fast runner but you need more heart.”

I was pissed.

Seriously.

So incredibly pissed.

Someone vandalized my paper with this ridiculous claim that I had no heart.
It haunted me, it was all I could think about during the 4 hour drive to Seattle the next day.

I have heart! I love running! I love my family! How dare someone say that I didn’t have heart!

It was anonymous too. No one would claim responsibility for this insanity.
I looked around at all of my teammates furious at the thought that it could be any one of them. Instead of trying to understand the message I spent the entire bus ride wondering who would insult me like that.

It didn’t hit me like some things do.

It took quite a bit of internal dialogue to solve this one.

I started thinking of my favorite race in high school when I won the 3000 at my district meet. The feeling of pure joy that I felt at that very moment.

I started thinking of my awesome teammates that I missed so much.

I started thinking about my parents and how they spent the night driving to Seattle just to watch me run, and all of the time and money they put into me chasing my dream.

The joy I feel while running, my friends, my family, those were some of the reasons I ran.

Those were the reasons that I got up early in the morning to run ten miles, the reasons I pushed myself in races even though I felt like death.

Those things filled my heart and helped push me.

I was supposed to run for those things, I was supposed to take those things and let them fuel the fire inside of me and push me to go further.

Heart.

I have told so many of my athletes to “run with heart.”

I know that it’s reached one person in specifically.

She draws a heart on her hand between her index finger and thumb, exactly where I use to draw mine.

Sophomore year at Western I was in a slump in running, I didn’t have the fire like I use to. I remember on the way back from a meet my anonymous piece of advice and I knew what I was missing.

Heart.

I was forgetting those things I loved. The people that helped me with my dreams, the feeling I got after a huge PR, the goals I had as a twelve year old deciding to run track for the first time.

I took out a sharpie and drew that heart on my hand, right where I could see it. That way whenever I needed to I could look down and remind myself to remember why I do it.
Remember everything that running has put into my heart and use that to push myself towards what I wanted.

That could be said about so many things though, not just running.

Work can get so incredibly draining, and you could feel like quitting..but how hard did you work to get that job? How hard did you study in school? You earned that. Go to work every day with that drive you had when you were applying for jobs left and right.

School can get tough, especially at the end of the year. It’s hard to find any motivation to even go to class. But did you seriously waste so many years of waking up before the sun came up to quit? All of those sleepless nights working on never ending homework assignments just to stop trying and float by through the end of the year?

Life gets tough. We all have those days where all we want to do is sleep and forget about whatever might be troubling us at that moment in time. But we can’t. We can’t sit there and just skate through life not making the best out of every day. We have to put passion in everything, because you get what you put into things. We can’t stop trying because we feel bad. We have to remember every moment like this in the past and how we battled through it stronger than the first time.

We have to have heart.

We have to remember why we started.

Who pushed us to do more.

Who gave us what we needed to go for our dreams.

We have to remember what we wanted growing up. 

Everything that you have.

Everything saved up stays in your heart, and you use it to go for the unknown. You use it to fuel your fire.

So give everything that you do in life heart. Never just give anything you do in life the bare minimum, you’re selling yourself short.

Instead, do great things.

Push till you can’t anymore and dream those dreams that seem out of this world.

Live with purpose.

Love with passion.

Run with heart.