Boston Marathon 2013: What’s your passion?

UH OptiWeight Blogger Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

April 30th, 2013

Nothing worth achieving is ever easy. Theodore Roosevelt said it even better, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

On April 25, 2012, I had reconstructive surgery on both of my big toes and subsequently spent four weeks on the couch (plus six months of rehab) reflecting on life, my passions, emotions, and how much I had taken my mobility and athletic ability for granted. In just two days, I went from placing in a local half marathon to needing full assistance to use the bathroom. I felt desperate, helpless, out of control, and terribly unfulfilled. Unfortunately, we often do not truly appreciate what we have until it is taken away. It took this invasive surgery and a complete 180 to teach me what motivates and inspires me in life. It took this major setback to give me the courage and strength to look inside myself and truly learn what “makes Meghann tick.”

There are a few things I learned that have helped me in my journey (and I hope will help you all too):

  • Celebrate the small milestones. However insignificant you may view them at the time, these itty-bitty milestones add up to you reaching your ultimate goal. Focusing on these small milestones gives you the positive feedback that is completely necessary to continue on.
  • Bad days happen. Do NOT allow yourself to dwell on these days. This only sets you up for failure. Tomorrow is a new day.
  • Learn from your mistakes. There is a lesson to be learned from everything that happens in life. Briefly focus on why the mistake happened. Accept it. Then, come up with the plan to avoid this in the future. Our mistakes make us stronger in the end!
  • A strong support system is imperative. No matter how strong we are (physically and mentally) we need others to help us. Ideally, this person (or people) should know your ultimate goal, understand the importance/magnitude of the goal, and know YOU very well!

Now, I look at every run I am able to complete as a gift. I look at it as a blessing, an opportunity to seize life and tackle whatever it may throw my way. My clearest moments and most motivating thoughts always come to me on a run. Running is my happy place! Find your happy place.

Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD - Boston Marathon 2013

On April 15, 2013, I stood in Hopkinton at the starting line of the Boston Marathon ready to complete the lofty goal I set the day I had my bilateral foot surgery almost a year prior. Fighting off tears, I started the race reflecting on the tumultuous last year and how utterly and overwhelmingly grateful I was to even be running America’s greatest and longest athletic legacy, The Boston Marathon. Throughout the 26.2 miles, I plodded through the race with a wickedly goofy foot plant to save my big toes from undue stress. This foot plant plus the hill-laden race route left my quadriceps screaming at me to stop and walk. It took all my mental strength and thoughts of all my UH OptiWeight participants, family, friends, and coworkers who were tracking me at home to keep on keeping on. Weekly, I tell you all to never give up on your goals. Who am I to give up and walk at the Boston Marathon!? You all kept me running. As I made the famous left turn onto Boylston Street, the finish line was in my sight. I will never forget the surge of emotions as I threw my arms in the air and the uncontrollable tears rolling down my cheeks. I did it. I completed my goal, set just one year ago. As they placed the medal around my neck, I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride that I have never felt before.

Unfortunately, these incredible feelings of accomplishment, pride, and utter elation quickly turned to terror, concern, and sadness. I want to thank you all for being an integral part of my support system and giving me the courage and motivation to continue running when physically I didn’t know if I could continue. Because of you all, I kept running. Because of you all, my parents were not standing at the first bomb site any longer. If I would have stopped and walked, my parents would have been in the midst of the first explosion. It brings tears back to my eyes and chills to my soul re-thinking these events. To you all, I am forever grateful. The support system that we have created through UH OptiWeight is stronger than I could ever have wished, hoped, or dreamed. I cannot wait to see what our “support system” accomplishes next!

Nothing worth achieving is ever easy. Keep that ultimate goal in sight and never give up on your dreams!

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here.

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