I must admit I stole this from my running buddy Beth. I am sitting in my hotel room (just outside NYC!) having just finished my second workout of the day (something Beth would totally do) and knew I needed to work on a blog post. My blog planner is sitting on the coffee table at home and when I saw her post I thought “That is a great idea!”
I’ve been running and racing for just over 5 years, so I thought picking my top five most memorable race moments would be perfect and super easy – not so much. I’ve completed 13 half marathons over those 5 years and countless other races, but each race is wonderful (or awful) in its own right. So after a bit of thought and some picking around, here and my top five most memorable race moments.
1. The one where I finished my first half marathon. Back in 2010 I was in the midst of my divorce and definitely not a happy Meghan. I knew I needed to make some changes in my life and I was looking for something positive to do just for me. My bestie Karen was running a lot at the time and suggested I do a half marathon. Excuse me? I’d never run a day in my life! After a couple days of chatting about it I finally decided to sign up for the DIsney Princess half marathon… which was barely 3 months away. My training didn’t go as planned and I was slower than a turtle in peanut butter, but I finished that race! I was so proud of myself that I burst into tears as I crossed the finish line. I thought it would be a “one and done” but 9 months later I did half #2 🙂
2. The one where I ran from Napa to Sonoma. Two years after I started running, and three half marathons later, I made the decision to join Team Challenge and run the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon. I’d heard a lot about Team Challenge and when I went to an informational meeting I just fell in love! Over the next 5 months I trained with an amazing group of people, raised a LOT of money, traveled to California, ran across the Golden Gate Bridge, and had an all around amazing journey. I would recommend running a race for charity to ANYONE, regardless of your running abilities. Its amazing!
3. The one where I met the most amazing Amy ever. In February of 2014 I ran my first half marathon with Best Damn Race. I decided to try a pace group again (2:45) and see how it went. My previous 1/2 marathon was just SO bad for me and I really wanted this one to go better. I found my way to the group and decided to stay with them for as long as I could. They were running straight through and only walking through water stops. I usually do intervals so I wasn’t sure how it would work for me. Worst case, I would take off on my own doing my intervals and as long as the pace group was behind me I would be fine. The pace group would take me to a PR and that was what was important. I stayed with the group for about the first 4 miles. Their pace was a little slow for me since I’m used to running faster and then walking a bit. After the first 4 miles I decided to go on my own. It went great and for most of the race I was ahead of them. Around mile 11 I hit a great big wall. I mean a HUGE one.
Around the last water stop the 2:45 pace group caught up with me. Around mile 12 I asked if they were ahead of schedule. They were, but I didn’t ask by how much. I was pretty certain that as long as I could still see them during that last mile I would still PR. But it was rough. I would run a little bit and then walk. I was in a lot of pain, but most of my problem was mental. Amy, one of the pacers, realized this and refused to let me fall behind. During that last mile she pushed me and helped me get out of my head. Amy gave me one final “You got this!” and I took off for the finish line. Everything hurt and I just wanted to cry, but I knew how close the finish line was. And possibly that PR I was hoping for. That day I ended up with over a 5 minute PR and it was all thanks to Amy. We are still friends and she is a wonderful inspiration to me each and every day.
4. The one where I tried to keep up with Andrea. Ha ha, well that was a dumb idea. My friend Andrea is WAY speedier than me. But when we both signed up for the Gingerbread Run 5k I decided that I was going to do my best to keep up with her. I told her not to wait for me and just do her thing, but I was going to do my best to keep up. I stuck with her for the first mile and then finally had to give in. I’d run the first mile straight without stopping and had to switch to my intervals. I didn’t mind too much because the next mile of the race with through the Give Kids the World Village and I wanted to be able to take it all in. Well guess what? I ran that first mile in about 10:30 minutes and ended up with a 5k PR! Thanks for being so speedy Andrea 🙂
5. The one where I inspired someone with my socks! During my first year of running I participated in the Catch Me If You Can 5k. The ladies get a head start and then the guys have to catch up. It was a little chilly that day so I decided to wear some knee socks to help stay warm. Unfortunately the only ones I had at the time were holiday socks – black with glittery red and green stripes. Whatever works right? So I finished the race and sat near the finish line with some friends while we waited for another friend to finish. Next thing I know this lady is thanking me. Huh? She told me that I’d been running in front of her the whole race and she had told herself that she just needed to make sure that she could always see my socks. Ha ha, too funny huh?