A year ago I launched my first Going the Distance interview with my friend, Troy Brady, and today I’m celebrating my 10th runner profile. In the year of talking to runners, I’ve learned everyone has a story to share that can inspire and challenge us in and out of our running shoes.
Mile after mile, as runners we overcome obstacles, gain courage, and ignite our passions—and it’s these forces that have translated so well in each interview. I’m grateful for those who have shared their story with such honesty, humility, and even humor. I encourage you to read through each interview—inspiration guaranteed.
I couldn’t have asked for a better runner than Meaghan to profile for my series milestone. While she may not know it, she’s been a virtual coach for me—a personal cheerleader. I’ve been in a slump recently and after getting to know Meaghan, I have a fresh perspective on running. She’s determined. She’s spirited. She’s confident. She loves running—and now her positive attitude is rubbing off on me and getting me back out on the trails. And something tells me you’ll find encouragement in her words, too.
Where do you live and train?
Right now Portland is my home base, but I love exploring our region and all the elements. We’re lucky to live in a place where it’s pretty even on the dreariest of days.
How long have you been running?
My mom and I joke I was running before birth—she was pregnant with me when she placed 5th at the Pac-10 Championships in 1987. I really started running in grade school and fell in love with it when I was 16. My high school coach (who happened to be my mom) challenged us to run for 80 minutes—no stopping! And so we went to Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA and ran around in the forest for 80 whole minutes. It was the best feeling to run with my teammates and to conquer such an obstacle.
How did you get interested in running?
To be quite honest, I joined my high school cross country team so I could see my mom everyday. She was my high school coach and she is my hero, my best friend, my everything. I found a passion and love for running and coaching from her.
What about running do you love?
Everything and nothing all at once? Ha. I love the simplicity: Get up, put on your shoes, get out the door, and go do it. I love being in the moment. I’ve lost that for a long time and am finally finding it again. The elements, obstacles, hardships, tough miles can all add up—what your body and mind are capable of is just absolutely incredible to me.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever run?
The coolest place…WOW! I don’t know if I could pick just one. A lot of my places are more circumstantial—it was mostly about who I was with during these time that really made it special—I’ve run in Hyde Park at sunrise and I’ve run on the PCT in Washington in the pouring rain and dead of night.
What was the last race you did?
I ran the Elks-Kings Traverse 50k last October. It runs along the Wilson River Trail in the Tillamook Forest. It went REALLY well. I had had to drop out of a race last fall and really wanted a confidence boost type of race. I finished fully within myself. No lows. And an amazing support crew at the aid stations. Didn’t fall, didn’t throw up, and I loved absolutely every step of that 31 miles.
What are your running goals for 2016?
I’ve been trying to sit down and write them. I’m starting the year with an injury, so that’s always tough. My goal is to strive for being more intentional with my running. I don’t want to limit myself or my abilities. I know I can work hard, I just have to slip the shoes on and go do it. I would really like to adventure as much as possible. I want to go to mountains. I want to write a book. I want to delve deeper into my faith. Intentions for the year, for sure.
Best running moment?
Best running moment in my life so far…Running one of my favorite runs along the PCT in Washington at 3 am. I was with people I love and care about and who love me back just the same. We were tired and giggly, covered in glowsticks and head lamps. It was fantastic listening to wildlife in the trees and getting to the end to see Mt. Rainier in silhouette was worth the trudge back to our beds and only two hours of sleep.
Do you have any pre-race rituals?
I would say I “used” to be superstitious, but I still am. I keep all my “race” clothes together. I try to eat the same things that worked on previous hard workouts or long runs. I write my mantra on my arm, so when I’m getting down, I can look at it and be reminded why I do this crazy thing called running. I also take the last few minutes before the race starts as reflection and prayer. Just getting to a sort of calm moment before the craziness of the day. Oh and like two cups of coffee—definitely need the coffee.
What’s your mantra?
Positive, Positive (stay smiling). Moment, Moment (stay in the moment). Super Day!
Who or what motivates you to run?
Running has always been a thing I could do any time, anywhere. I could find new adventures, new people, new sights. And looking at that it sounds cliche. But I love putting my feet to use. I love telling my story through the scars on my legs and feet. I feel bad because I don’t talk a lot when I’m running in a group. Not for lack of want, but I just am a quiet person. Sometimes, running is my time and place to be with God. Prayer, reflection, contemplation. I’ve written novels in my head on long runs. If only I could remember them when I walked back in the door.
If you’re not running, what keeps you busy?
I love reading and writing. I also love working with people, so when I’m not running or working, I’m tutoring or recently I’ve been reading to people. I volunteer at a senior center and get to listen to amazing stories—so then I have stories to write too! I always joke I became a writer because I am a runner. And I became a runner because I am a writer.
What’s the best piece of training or racing advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I’ve ever received is to keep smiling. Smiling through the pain, through the joy, through the everything. As long as I finish a run smiling, it has been a good day. Smiles change you.
Favorite post-run snack or beverage?
Ice cream is my staple after long runs and races.
What’s one thing that would surprise us about you?
I’m extremely shy and I’m sweating just thinking about people reading this! I’m quiet and oftentimes reserved, but I love to laugh. And get to know people. I love hearing about people’s passions and stories. You can see when someone is talking about something they truly love or are passionate about, their eyes glitter and sparkle. It’s truly awe-inspiring.
If you would like to be featured in Going the Distance or know someone who should, please drop me a note.