Happy National Running Day

The past month Mark and I have been insanely busy! Just like many of you — sometimes life just gets in the way of the things you enjoy. Although Mark and I have been able to keep on top of our training schedule things like my blogs sadly had to pushed aside for a few weeks. Things have finally settled down and are returning to “normal” and I cannot wait to get back to my blogs!

So much happened while I was away the past month or so. Besides work, in late May, Mark and I made a trip to Florida and took five days to see and spend time with our family who lives down there.

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Left: Meghan & Mark with Mark’s sister (Becky), her husband (Kevin) and their daughter (Lauren).         Middle: Meghan & Mark with my Uncle Bob & Aunt Karen. Right: Meghan & Mark with her Grandma Hundley.

While we were in New Port Richey we took the opportunity to run through the James E. Grey Wildlife Preserve.  Although we did not get to see any wildlife (disappointment) it was a beautiful place to run; however, their paths, trails, and maps were not easy to understand nor very runner friendly.  Let me tell you what — running in late May in Florida is no joke!  It was harder to run 3 miles there than it was for Mark and I to do our 8 mile run the Monday after we got back home to Michigan.  This girl just cannot handle the humidity down in there!  (I am so glad that our marathon in Florida is during their “winter” and the weather will be much nicer — otherwise I would be in big trouble!) 

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We stopped and posed for a picture after our 3 mile run through the James E. Grey Wildlife Preserve.

Besides our trip to Florida I have been spending hours outside working in my flower beds, getting all the new plants that we have bought planted.

A portion of the flowers that we bought this year for our flower beds!

A portion of the flowers that we bought this year for our flower beds!

I think as of today we have planted over 25 new plants — along with creating a new flower bed out back with a custom retaining wall!  For those of you who like to work outside in their yard — you know that the work never ends!!!!!

Okay… now onto the topic of today — NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!!!!

According to the official website, National Running Day is held annually on the first Wednesday in June and is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running.  Obviously this is something I can really get behind!!!  I may not be the fastest or the longest runner out there; however, no one can deny that I have a passion for this sport.  Today is a perfect day for me — as I love the idea of celebrating runners of all speeds, distances and abilities. All to often I hear other runners say they are not “real runners” because they are not the faster, strongest, biggest, etc — well today (and EVERY DAY) everyone counts!

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(Create your own badge by visiting: http://www.runningday.org.)

People ask me all the time “why do you run”?  Well, the answer is simple — I run to prove to myself that I can!  Today I am going to head out on my 4 mile training run and today I will be thinking about how much I love run!  

I know you are probably sitting there dying to know how you can get in on all the National Running Day action?!?!  Right??  Well, there are a ton of ways that are easy for you to participate in: 

  • Get offline and go outside for a walk or run! 
  • Head on over to the National Running Day website or their Facebook page to see what they are all about.  Oh, and while you are there — make sure you tell them what running means to you and grab a badge like mine above to share with your friends and family!
  • Join a local running club! Can’t find one? Start one! 
  • Sign up for a race — of any distance! Whether it is a 5k (or longer), the goal of having a race you are registered for will help keep you motivated moving forward. 
  • Help and encourage new runners! (This is my favorite!!!!!) Do you have a friend, family member or neighbor who is thinking about taking up running? Invite them our for a casual walk (or run) around your neighborhood. Don’t worry about your speed or race and while you are walking make sure to find out what their questions and give them advice to get them started in the proper direction!

Just for memories sake — here are a few of my FAVORITE running memories:

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One of my “Finishers” photo from my first marathon – The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. (October 2011).

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One of my “Finishers” photos from my first Half Marathon – the Fort Fort Fitness in Fort Wayne, IN (September 2011).

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One of my “Finishers” photos from my first Sprint Distance Triathlon – the Trek Women’s Series Triathlon in Howell, MI (August 2011) – with my Mom!!!!

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Our “Finishers” photo from the first race I ran with my Husband – the Sham Rock n’ Roll 10k in Plymouth, MI (March 2013).

Running has truly changed my life forever and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me — and Mark — as we continue to push ourselves forward! 

My Second Marathon

Two weeks ago I was sitting in a city council budget workshop meeting (fun, I know!) and an email came through from my Mom.  I opened the email to see: “Look at spacecoastmarathon.com. Coolest medals, we are thinking about doing it. Let me know.”

So, I proceed to check out their website and started the internal debate with myself on whether or not I wanted to run an other marathon and whether or not I was going to sweet talk my husband into running it with me.  I sat there debating back and forth. I checked  out their finisher’s medals (AWESOME) — and then I heard my phone vibrate with another email from my Mom: “Dad keeps going on. He said look at the finisher’s certificates. Plus it includes a pancake breakfast and a TOWEL!” 

I could not contain myself and instantly laughed out loud in the middle of the meeting.  There has always been a standing joke in our family about infomercials. At the end of the infomercial you always you have the sales person go, “But wait, if you act now you will get three times the amount!” My Dad and I always joke how the “but wait” is cheesy, but wonder how many people fall for it, pick up the phone, and order the product! I knew instantly that my Mom’s last email sold me. I instantly hit the reply button and responded with: “OMG, A TOWEL!!! HOW COULD WE PASS THIS RACE UP????????? WE ALL NEED TO REGISTER NOW!!!!!!”

I then turned back to the computer and continued to check out the race website. I learned that this year is the first year of their 5 year long Big Bang Series. Runners who finish a Space Coast Marathon in the next five years will get a finisher’s medal commemorating one of the space shuttles –and runners who finish three marathons will get an additional 3 Year Milky Way Finisher’s Medal — and runners who run all five years will get an additional 5 Year Intergalactic Medal. 

The Big Bang Series Finisher's Medal for the Space Coast Marathon along with the bonus medals!

The Big Bang Series Finisher’s Medal for the Space Coast Marathon along with the bonus medals!

Okay, let’s be honest! After looking through the website and reading about the medals — not only did I know we were going to sign up for this year’s marathon, Mark and I have made it our goal to at least get the 3 Year Milky Way Finisher’s Medal; and we are going to try to get the 5 Year Intergalactic Finisher’s Medal as well!

For those who are just starting to run one thing you will learn — and for those already running you already know — just how expensive running, more specifically racing, can be.  Entry in smaller 5k’s and 10k’s can range any where from $15-$50, where entries into half marathons and marathons can range from $50-$300+.  One of the biggest reason I choose not to sign up for the 2013 Chicago Marathon is 1) the medals are not that cool and 2) it is expensive, plus travelling and staying in Chicago during race week is not cheap either! Just like most American families, here in our household we have a race/golf budget. (Well, it used to be racing for me and golfing for Mark; however, now it’s racing and golfing for both of us!) This includes everything it will cost us to run the race from the entry fee to what our travel will cost us, if travel is necessary. There are hundreds of races I wish we could run every year, so how do I decide in the end which races we will actually enter?

Well #1- they must have cool finisher’s medals!  I am not going to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles for a cheesy medal; #2- they must offer the runners a technical shirt and not just a t-shirt; and #3- I have to be drawn to the race because of it’s location, race theme or route.  If you look back at my last few races you can see races like the Flying Pirate Half Marathon and the Martian Invasion 10k. So, how fitting is the Space Coast Marathon! 

Most of the volunteers for the Space Coast Marathon dress in a spaced theme costume!

Most of the volunteers for the Space Coast Marathon dress in a spaced theme costume!

Surprisingly, when I told Mark about the race he was excited. I couldn’t believe how excited he was to sign up for his first marathon and then it hit me — the long training runs of 16, 18 and 20 miles and then race day. The day where you push your body further than you ever thought you could. I almost think Mark will have an easier time running his first marathon than I will running my second.  Why? Because I know what lays ahead of us — whereas he is clueless!

This race is going to be very different from my first marathon experience and there is a part of me that is bummed that Mark’s first experience won’t be like mine was. The Marine Corps Marathon is an amazing race with over 25,000 runners!  The maximum number of runners who can register for the Space Coast Marathon is 4,000.  There is a huge difference between a race with 25,000 runners and one with 4,000.  Although it can be a little intimidating, I really enjoyed running my marathon with thousands of other runners. (Don’t worry — Mark and I are both people who like to push ourselves. I have a big feeling this will not be the last marathon the Reckling’s run together! Now if I could just get him into triathlons with me — although he has never learned how to swim so that’s a BIG up hill battle for me!)

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Flash Back: Me about .25 miles from the finish line at the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon, my first marathon!

Registering for the full marathon this time around was scarier than the first time I registered.  I am excited but I am also extremely nervous! Why? Well, this time I have expectations that are a little higher than “just crossing the finish line”. I have been working extremely hard the past couple of months on speed. I know I can run faster than what I do — I usually just choose to go low n’ slow. This time, I have a time goal — and I will be pretty disappointed with myself if I do not achieve my goal.

Although I have goals of my own and this will not be my first marathon — this marathon will be one of the favorite marathons I run, and a race I will remember forever. Why? It is the first marathon my husband and I will run together!!! This past weekend, when talking about the Boston Marathon and racers, Mark asked me why I get emotional watching runners cross the finish line. I simply looked at him and responded with, “Trust me honey, on December 1st you will learn why first hand!” There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment and pride which swells inside of you and you push yourself those last few steps and cross the finish line of your first marathon!

So now… let the training begin!!!

Running For Boston

Yesterday when I heard the news about the Boston Marathon I broke down in tears. Knowing that those who had worked so hard to achieve such an accomplishment and those there cheering them on — in moments – – had their hopes and dreams ripped apart.  

I remembered back when I signed up for my first marathon. I was terrified. There was no way that I — someone who the year before was 140 pounds heavier — would be able to run 26.2 miles.  I sat at my computer the morning that registration opened for the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon in D.C., took a deep breath, filled out the registration page, entered my payment information and clicked submit! Then it hit me — I was going to push myself harder and further, both physically and mentally then I ever had pushed before. 

Training for the marathon takes weeks, no months! And then race day comes. I remember the excitement of that morning — waking up at 4:00 a.m., having breakfast, getting on the Metro and heading to downtown Washington D.C. We waited in line at our starting corals with the other 25,000 runners for what seemed like ages and then it begun — the event which would change my life forever!

The starting gates for the Marine Corps Marathon, Washington D.C.

The starting gates for the Marine Corps Marathon, Washington D.C.

Running a marathon is hard. Those who run a marathon to do for themselves — to prove that they have control over their bodies and their minds — and that they can push themselves further than they ever thought was possible. Every marathon runner will have that point throughout the race in which their mind or body just says “stop” — and the hardest part is pushing past that “stop” and getting to the “I can do this!” 

One of the greatest parts about running a marathon is the spectators. Complete strangers there cheering on others, giving them hope, inspiration, and the encouragement needed to get across the finish line!

Signs held by spectators throughout marathon races!

Signs held by spectators throughout marathon races!

Until last year I never attended a race where I was not participating as a runner. The experience of being a spectator was amazing! As a runner it is such an awesome feeling to have complete strangers cheering you on throughout the course and especially at the finish line. As a spectator I have teared up watching men and women of all ages cross the finish line. Some have tears in their eyes and all of them are beaming with pride from ear to ear. It is so amazing to watch all of the different types of people out there running, pushing themselves to do the unbelievable!  

As a runner – I remember crossing the finish line of my first marathon and there I was, surrounded by strangers, crying! I could not believe that I had done it. Although I had family and friends at the race — it was the strangers around me giving me hugs, high fives, and pats on the back that made me feel the greatest! Even though spectators do not know a runner personally — they know what an accomplishment it is running a marathon! 

I wanted to do something for those who were killed and injured in Boston yesterday! My husband, Mom, Dad and I are all currently training to run our next marathon and I wanted to get something that I could wearing showing my support for runners all over the world! I put together these shirts cannot wait to wear mine while training over the upcoming months, and this will probably be the shirt I wear when I run the Space Coast Marathon this December in Florida. 

Running For Boston

The Boston Marathon is the Holy Grail of marathons. People try for years — some for 20+ years — to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I would never qualify to run in the Boston Marathon because I am too slow, but I am a runner! There is not much any of us can do for the victims and their family and friends expect for pray. I usually run to clear my mind, so tonight I will run to do just that. I will run for everyone who was impacted by the tragedy yesterday. I run for those who died. I run for those who were injured and for those that were not able to finish the race. Tonight, I will run 3 miles for everyone in Boston. I want to do something, so I will do what I can, I will run.