If you saw my Dallas Half Marathon Recap, then you know I got to meet running royalty – Olympic Silver Medalist and Boston & New York Marathon Champion, Meb Keflezighi!
I actually got to run into him three times. First was in the race corral, second was on the course when he was high-fiving the runners, and third was at a special meet n greet I was fortunate to be invited to.
After the meet n greet, he did a Q n A. This is where I learned a lot of stuff, but I gotta say, all three run-ins taught me stuff.
So for everyone that couldn’t be in Dallas this weekend, here is what I learned from Meb:
1. He’s a great ambassador for our sport. He was so giving of his time to be on the course high-fiving runners, then hand out medals at the finish, then do a meet n greet with fans.
2. He’s very nice and sincere. When I got his autograph, I thanked him for the high fives. Later during his Q n A, he remembered that and actually mentioned my by name in his talk!!! Meb remembered me!
3. He really believes in his sponsors. He called them partners. I had no idea UCAN was originally created to help a child with a rare illness stay alive.
4. His motto is “race to win”. He wrote that on every autograph. You may not win each race (or any race), but you should give it your all no matter what.
5. He’s very quiet and humble, but also funny. They had a moderator leading the Q n A. His job was to get Meb to open up, and he did! He has some great stories!
6. He’s training the next wave of super runners. He has little daughters at home who ask to go on runs with him, and he takes them on them. Look out Boston 2036!
7. He runs smart. He was the 15th fastest person in the field at Boston, but finished 1st. He did so by following a good race strategy. We should all do the same.
8. He has bad days too. He said there’s days when he doesn’t want to run, but does it any way. Make it a habit and have an accountability partner, was his advice.
9. He’s had injuries too. But unlike most of us who get things like IT Band pain or plantar fasciitis, his were more severe. And they came from pushing too hard. Like so hard that he tore his leg muscles.
10. He loves being American. He said during Boston that he couldn’t help but chant along with the crowd at times, “USA, USA, USA!”
11. Boston was personal for him. He said the year before, he left the finish area 5 minutes before the bombing. He wanted to win for America and the victims. He even had the names of the victims who died in the attacks written on his race bib. That’s awesome.
12. He works really hard, like totally super outrageously hard. This is what stuck out most to me. He said during the last few miles of Boston, he was pushing himself so hard that he started vomiting. He didn’t want his competitors to know this, so he covered his mouth with his hand and kept running hard. Wow.
I will take these lessons with me. I mean, if he can win the Boston Marathon while puking at the same time, I can surely suck it up and skip a walk break on one of my little runs.
One thing I’ve thought for a while now, Meb was the ultimate storybook story hero for the Boston Marathon 2014. Nobody else should have won that race. And nobody else did. As I kept yelling at the TV during the Marathon broadcast back in April, “Go Meb Go!”
How bout you? Someone inspiring that you’ve met? What’s the hardest you’ve pushed yourself in a run? Do my friends and I take too many selfies?