Why I TRI! By Megan Heyer

If you told me fifteen years ago that I would run Broad Street, a half marathon, or a triathlon, I would have laughed at you. I ran to two places…Macy’s and Happy hour. I played soccer and field hockey for the social aspect. My friend suggested or rather challenged me to train for the Broad Street Run in 2007. Ten miles seemed so daunting. It could not have come at a better time. I was struggling with the sudden death of my dad and my husband and I were discussing having a fourth child or not. When my husband told me he was happy having three (which we had in three years). I was hoping he would have felt differently but after much discussion we were done. After he “sealed the deal”, I knew this was a chapter of my life that was over. This was harder to handle than I thought. There was an emptiness that was not going to be filled. This made me sad if not depressed. I was focusing on what I didn’t have…another child.

Running gave me a place to be alone in my head. It was my therapy. I could be angry, cry, or say things that I felt better after they were said. It was cleansing, safe, and positive, just what I needed. My friend and I trained diligently. I could feel myself getting stronger physically and mentally.

 Two months before the race she got injured. She was getting physical therapy in the hopes she would be able to run Broad Street. The night before the race she called me sadly to tell me that it wasn’t going to happen. I was looking forward to finishing with her. The morning of the race I had my husband write her initials on my right shoulder so that I had her with me. The weather was perfect. It was a great race. The feeling of crossing that finish line was very emotional. I was hooked. One day I over heard two women at the gym on the treadmill chatting about an upcoming triathlon. My interest was peaked: run a 5k, swim ¼ mile, and bike 10miles. Hmmmm!  I was ready for another challenge. So I nonchalantly started to ride a stationary bike and swim some laps. It was OK. My decision was made. A sprint triathlon was the goal. After searching online, I found Parvin State Park which was a sprint triathlon.  The morning of the race I thought to myself “What did I do?” The drive to the race alone felt like the first day of school. Would I know anyone? Would I look like a geek setting up my stuff? Oh well…there goes nothing. As I crossed the finish line, there was my husband and kids jumping up and down waving. The thought still puts a lump in my throat.

Running evolved into triathlons. This had helped me through a challenging time. Participating in these races has brought nothing but positive things: a piece of mind, better health, and showing my children the importance of setting goals and meeting them.

This is why I TRI!

Hi everyone,

I am going to start at the very beginning.  The reason this has come up is because my daughter Chloe will be running Cross Country for Clearview Middle School in the fall.  She asked me why I started running. Hmmmmm….well after careful thought, here is my story.  Before the triathlon club, before the triathlons, the marathons, before my daughters, my husband and way before college,  I became a runner.  The reason I decided to run wasn’t because of any natural talent or  physical gift that I had.  It wasn’t my love of running or a super competitive side of me that needed to win.  The reason I became a runner is simple.  I liked a boy.. maybe I loved this boy and my goal was to make him notice me.

I was  5’9″ and skinny as a straw, the summer of  “Sun In”  just a bad hair summer. I was 13 (soon to be 14) years old and a freshman in high school.   He was 5’3″ 15 years old and the best runner in school.  He was on the cross country team, I was on the cross country team.  It was destiny.  I knew what had to be done.  I had to be the best female runner he has even seen!  Bang- off  goes the gun.

Cross country in the fall where one mile became 3 miles and turned into 6 miles.  Track in the spring where speed work became a part of my life, 220’s, 440′, 800’s.  I was doing the 1/2 mile, mile and 2 mile at every track meet.  I went to cross country camp and I pushed myself day after day.   I earned the right to start running with him (be still my beating heart).  By the time I was a sophomore  in 1985, I was placing 1st or 2nd in most races.  A flashing smile from him or a pat on the back would carry me for days. He was captain of the boys team and I was captain of the girls team.  It was all falling into place, I knew our friendship was going to turn into something more and then IT happened.  I turned the hallway and right in front of me I saw  him holding hands with another girl in school. My loud gasp, quiet tears and the furious scratching of all the hearts on my book cover followed.  I remember saying to my friends over and over “she doesn’t even run, she isn’t even athletic, she can’t run a mile”.    Two hours later we had a track meet and it was that fateful day that I  blew away the school record for the 1 mile.  New school record: 1985/ 1 mile:  5:50.   Onward and upward to taller men!

So that is how it all began and of course my dramatic love story didn’t affect my passion for running.  I continued to run cross country and track but the  addition of boobs and hips my junior year didn’t really help me break any more school records.  I made life long girlfriends by running cross country and track.  All of them were in my wedding and we are all still friends today.  I have a quote painted in my exercise room “Runs end, Running doesn’t” which I find very true.  When I run in the fall I always think of those cross country days, the smell of the leaves and the air.  I  always get a smile on my face when I see a cross country team out on the road.  Often when I run, I fall back on those elemental running techniques I learned it high school.  Lean into the  hills, hold the potato chip, head up, chest out, breathe.  After I had  my kids I added distance to my running resume.  The Broad Street Run  turned into 1/2 marathons which turned into full marathons.  Marathons became boring so they turned into triathlons.  Triathlons were fun.. the more the merrier and we have ourselves a club- but it did all start with cross country.

After thinking about this, I guess a thank you is order.  Jeff Evans, wherever you are.. thank you, it all worked out 🙂