Monday, October 26, 2015

What do YOU do?

I've had people ask me for years, “Why don't you start a blog?”

I've always been a little baffled by this. I've read many blogs over the years. Some of them belonged to my close friends. Others belonged to complete strangers. Why would anyone want to read about my life?

Well. Here we are. I'm givin' 'er a go.

Let's start with the basics, shall we?

“Megan, what is it that you DO?”

Funny you might ask. Because right now is what I consider the offseason. Which means plenty of time to eat lots of vegetables

I grew up in a small country town. My family lived on 10 acres of land. My mom would use a dinner bell to call my brother and myself in to eat every evening. We didn't know what it was like to sit and watch TV during the summer, play on iPads, or spend countless hours playing on a computer (which were barely making a debut in family homes at the time). We had the outside. We had our bikes. I had my running shoes. In 1998 as I was about to enter 5th grade, we made the move from rural country life to Suburbia just outside of Chicago due to my Dad's business. At the time, it was a tragedy. But like all things, we moved on and started a new chapter.

When we moved I had few friends and needed a way to keep active. I would give my mom a very detailed 1 mile route and go running. Since I was a 10 year old, 100%, country girl running around suburbia, she would get in the car and come look for me if I wasn't home within 10 minutes. 

Running has always came a little more natural to me than the rest of the kids in school. I was the kid who looked forward to running the mile for Presidential Fitness because I always wanted to try and run faster than the previous year. I was NOT the fastest runner. Not even close to it. (I went to school with the fastest runner and she's still the fastest. More on that later.) I always had this urge to compete against myself. The older I got, the stronger that urge became. I ran track and field throughout Junior High and High School. Never setting any special record. Never making the local paper. Just being apart of the team and competing against myself. And most importantly, having fun.

During college I did what a lot of kids do. Ummm... I went to the library. Right. But I never stopped running. I'd close a bar ...ummm I mean the library... at 2a.m. And be wide awake by 7am and ready to run. I would grab my shoes for a run around campus and would find myself pounding down the door of the bar by 10am because I needed some water. Their faces were priceless, “Didn't you just leave this place a few hours ago?”


I was never very fast. I just had to keep running.

My senior year of college I decided I was going to graduate and run a marathon within 2 weeks of each other. Everyone thought I was nuts. Every spare second of your 2nd semester Senior year is supposed to be devoted to going out with friends to the library. But I made it work. I arranged my classes so that 1 day a week were practically completely wide open. I'd run my long runs on that day while everyone was in class to guarantee that I wouldn't miss any of the fun.

And I did just that.

I finished my first marathon.

On the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL

And then I graduated 2 weeks later 

And then shit got real.

College life went away. Work replaced it.

“And you stopped running too, right?”

Nope. My mileage increased. I even got a little more serious about it. I trained to run specific times during certain distances. I found a whole new group of friends. I didn't know it, but my running career was only just beginning.

I'll spare you every detail. But here's where my running has taken me over the years: 

Illinois Marathon weekend 5 years in a row with the best group a friends a girl could ask for.

Illinois Marathon relay 2009 
"The 3 Cocksmen and a Pretty Cool Chick" (plus Brian)

Mile 1 of my first marathon
Illinois Marathon 2010

Illinois Marathon 2011

Illinois Half Marathon 2012
Running with my other half!

Illinois Marathon Relay 2013
"3 Spry and an Old Guy"

Disney World Marathon and Disney Land Half Marathon.
All within the same year.

Post Race in Epcot with my college roommate
January 2011

My #1 fan in the most magical place on Earth!
January 2011

Very important to hydrate Post-Race while visiting all the countries of Epcot
January 2011

DisneyLand Half marathon with Hrabe Baby 
September 2011

Chicago Marathon. October 2011. Best city in the world. 

With the best friends in the world.

Omaha Marathon. September 2012. Omaha, Nebraska. Where 2 of my biggest cheerleaders reside. I decided to make their travel to the race site minimal this time around.

Pops, Me, Mom, Aunt Bev, Uncle JB

The most he's run in his adult life.
Omaha Marathon 2012

Sacramento, California. California International Marathon 2012. In a monsoon. It didn't stop raining the entire 72 hours I was in California. 

No photos of me because, well, it was actually a monsoon. 
This is what we ran through for the entire marathon.

Nashville, Tennessee. Where my college and high school lives collide. And Broadway is our finish line and watering hole all in the same day ;)

Nashville Marathon 2013

Nashville Half Marathon 2014 
Running with the LITTLE brother

Knoxville, Tennessee. Where my college roommate is pursuing her PHD in lots of Science. I ventured down South to help her escape her lab. 

And we're the 3 best friends that anyone could have :)
Knoxville Half Marathon 2013

She needed a bottle of red wine to celebrate!
Knoxville Half Marathon 2014

Kenosha, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Marathon 2013. Exactly 3 weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing, I had the honor of finishing yet another marathon. 

Did I happen to mention I had full blown bronchitis at the time?
Wisconsin Marathon 2013

Big Sur Marathon - Big Sur, California. April 2014. Just, wow.

We drove the course the day before the race, and this was my favorite shot of the day
Big Sur International Marathon 2014

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Marathon of the Treasure Coast. March 2015. Because who doesn't want to run away from Chicago winter to hang out with your favorite cousin post-race and get silly on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic?

Recovery in the middle of the Atlantic with my pit crew

Seriously, why do people run anywhere else?

Now this is where the story gets interesting. Somewhere in the middle of all of that non-sense I bought a road bike to mix up the workouts. To be able to ride my bike to certain places in the summer instead of drive.


Until those runner friends of mine put a bug in my ear. And started talking about triathlons. And I told them they were nuts. And then I got in the pool and was gassed after swimming one lap. I told them no. Don't ask again. And they didn't

But – Remember gym class? When I always had to do better than before? Well. The same thing happened in the pool.

I went to bed that night and thought “That was pathetic! You couldn't even swim 1 lap. You can do better than that. You will do better than that.”

I spent more time than I cared for in the pool. I finally made it 2 laps. 5 laps. The day I hit 10 laps without stopping I thought the world was gonna end. I ate more food that day than ever before. (more on my appetite later)

Only days before the 2013 Bigfoot Beach Triathlon I had gained enough confidence to sign up for the sprint. THINGS TO BE AWARE OF:
  1. I had never swam in open water.
  2. I didn't own bike shoes.
  3. I didn't own bike shorts.
  4. I didn't own a wet suit.
I just did it. In a swim suit. And I swam in a borrowed wet suit that had seen better days. And that's where my love affair with triathlons began.

Purple swim cap. 

Notice the running shoes and swim suit. 

It wasn't pretty, but I did it.

So to answer your, “what do you do?” question.

I TRI.