Running was my world.
It was the one thing that wouldn’t let me down or hurt me.
It was always there for me no matter what.
It was the one thing that made me feel like I could do anything I ever imagined.
Running made me feel like I had super powers.
I started running track when I was 12, but it wasn’t until the next year when I started running the 800 that I would fall in love with the sport.
Every time I ran a new PR I felt like I was unstoppable.
And it felt so great.
Putting in the work and trying your best during a race, and watching it pay off with a new PR.
Nothing could beat that feeling.
Or the feeling or nerves in your stomach the day of the race, the twitching of your leg on the starting line a race ready to go at any moment. The burning in your lungs after you’ve given everything you have, to the feeling of pure joy when you take first place.
Running has taught me so much in life.
- To give everything you do your whole heart. No matter what I did in running, I always saw my best results when I gave everything my whole heart. When I remembered why I ran, who I ran for, and how much the sport meant to me. Give heart to everything you do.
- To try new things. Running led me to coaching, and it’s by far the best thing I’ve gotten from running. In the middle of my coaching career I was asked to coach something that I knew little about, hurdles. Coaching hurdles gave me the opportunity to learn so much about the sport and to coach some of the best athletes I know. Those kids continue to make me a better coach every single day.
- Value your friendships. I met my best friend late in life while running. I was entering in my senior year in college and she was starting out on the team as a freshman. We quickly bonded over the way she said “crick” and me dragging her across the football field. I soon realized that she would be the best friend I needed. She helped me through so much that year, and continues to do so.
- Your family is always there for you. My parents went everywhere for our races. If we were there, they would be too. I don’t know if I’ve ever told them this, but if I was in the middle of a race in the middle of a race I would sometimes tell myself out loud “you got this Megan” or “were so proud of you” as if I were them. Their words of encouragement always got me through hard times.
- Things just won’t happen, you have to work for them. This one speaks for itself, but I always got great success from running when I gave it my all. The winter before my senior track season, my coach decided to have me do daily doubles. Nothing crazy, but I would just do three to four miles in the morning and our regular afternoon practice on top of that. That track season after my doubles was by far my best season. Putting in that small amount of extra work in the mornings while everyone else wasn’t, made me so much better. If you put in the work, you will get results.
- Don’t be afraid. Some of my best races came from not being afraid. Where I didn’t let the fear of someone beating me, or the fear of the pain from pushing myself get in the way of my success. Where I just took a deep breath, and let my legs take me to the finish line. Don’t let any fear hold you back from accomplishing what you’ve worked so hard for.
- You’ll never please everyone. This one was hard for me. I found myself in college trying to make everyone like me. My biggest fear was the girls on the team not wanting to be my friend or thinking I was weird. It wasn’t until one day when a girl on my team told me she would never like me or be my friend, where I finally realized that people won’t like you, and that’s ok. It’s not your job to please everyone.
- You have to fall to get back up. Some of the most memorable races for me were races where I ran bad. Races where I literally fell or didn’t even try. I can remember those races vividly. I can remember everything I did wrong and how I felt at that very moment. But if it wasn’t for those races I would have never had the good ones. I would have never known what to do to be better, or what failure feels like. Failures nice, it’s good to feel failure, everyone should feel like a failure. It makes you stronger, it makes you never want to experience it again. It makes you better.
- Sometimes you have to put other people first. My entire junior year in track was dedicated to putting my sister first. My coach had me rabbit most of our races, meaning my whole purpose was to get her faster. It was hard. Our entire track career she was faster than I was. I only had a few times where I actually beat her, so having to swallow my pride and solely run to get her faster, it was hard. But it was also so rewarding. In doing that, I qualified for the conference indoor and outdoor meet that year in the 800, an event that wasn’t mine, it was the event I would rabbit Janelle in. In rabbiting for my sister, I bettered myself. I even got pretty good at it. I ran a lifetime PR in the 400 while rabbiting her to a spot at Nationals. It’s very rewarding to help others succeed.
- You have to be your number 1 fan. I got super confident my senior year in high school, I kind of had to. I was coming back from my worst season ever and had to pump myself up any way that I could. I got super into rap music that year, Lil Wayne to be specific. I would put on my headphones and go into my own little world where I was unstoppable. It carried into my freshman year in College for Cross Country, and kind of took a break through the middle of my college career. It wasn’t until my senior year where I found it again and never let it go. You have to pump yourself up. You have to be your number one fan and hype yourself up. Be there for yourself. Give yourself the confidence you deserve.
I will forever be grateful for running. It gave me so many memories and gave me experiences that I will always treasure. And I’m so thankful that I get to now coach and teach these lessons to some extremely deserving kids. It’s the best thing I got from running.