This feature is on New Orleans Rock n Roll Marathon winner, Canadian native, Mississippi State University Alumni, wife/mom and fellow Rod’s Racers teammate, Meggan Franks. I first heard Meggan’s name after I’d finished the Rock n Roll Marathon and had gone back to our hotel. (Meggan was probably already packed up and on her way home by that time, lol!) Imagine our excitement and how proud we were when we heard that someone from our state was the female winner?!
Meggan was gracious enough to answer some questions so we could get to know more about her.
Slow is the New Fast (SITNF): How long have you been running?
Meggan: I have been running since about 1998, I think. One of my friends in high school ran hurdles and I thought she looked beautiful doing it. She was running club track at the time, so I decided to run club track too. I was so shy, it took me almost a month to ask if I could go to practice with her.
SITNF: Your thoughts on being the number 1 rated female marathoner from Canada?
Meggan: Well it was great while it lasted! I survived a few months in the #1 spot. Athletics Canada has me ranked 6th but unofficially, I am not ranked that high. It’s ok though, I’m running a Fall marathon and …if everything goes as planned.. .I will run much faster than I did in the Spring.
SITNF: What brought you to Mississippi from Canada?
Meggan: Running brought me here. I was terrible at running until about 12th grade when I decided I wanted to run in college. I ran twice a day for about a year and contacted Mississippi State University about joining the team. The offered me a scholarship. I packed my bags, jumped on a plane, and started class in August 2001. I have been here ever since.
SITNF: Biggest race to date?
Meggan: I’ve ran a lot of big races but the most memorable one for me was winning the Rock’n’Roll New Orleans Marathon this past February in 2:49:06. Frank Shorter gave me my award….I kept the finish line tape. Every time I drag it out I get excited about running another marathon.
SITNF: Favorite running distance?
Meggan: 26.2 glorious miles!
SITNF: Most exciting running experience?
Meggan: Oh wow….this one is hard. I guess when I won my first marathon – Niagara Falls Marathon in 2011 (2:52:16). I couldn’t believe I was going to win, I was hyperventilating the last mile because I was so excited. There is a picture of me screaming as I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t help it!
SITNF: I’ve only been running since 2010 but I have really struggled with being a faster runner. (Hence the blog name, Slow is the New Fast, lol) Do you have any suggestions for runners wanting to get better/faster?
Meggan: Congrats on sticking with it! I would try to incorporate some speed work, like tempos and intervals. I rarely run on the track, you don’t need a track to get fast. Find a marked loop and run intervals workouts, start short with 4X800m at goal 5k pace, and tempos of 3 miles. Work up to 8x800m and 6-8 miles of tempo. Tempo should be run at 10k-marathon pace depending on the length of the run. Also incorporate strides at the end of your regular distance runs, 4-6X100m at a pace you could hold for about 1 mile.
SITNF: What do you do as a part of Rod’s Racers?
Meggan: I run races as part of the Rod’s Racers team and I try to win as many as I can (haha, kidding). I also take pictures for the Rod’s Racers facebook when I get the chance. I have started the new Rod’s Racers blog. You can visit it at rodsracers.wordpress.com it is a work in progress but it’s going!
SITNF: I know I have certain things I always do before a race and if I don’t, I feel very thrown off. Do you have any pre-race rituals?
Meggan: I usually start my warm-up about 50 minutes before the start. I usually run about 3 miles then stretch, take a GU and some water, then I go to the start line and do strides for about 15 minutes before the race starts. I always eat something the morning of a race, maybe a Luna bar and a banana or something like that.
SITNF: What you eat during the marathon?
Meggan: I am big on GU. I will take about 6-7 Gus during a marathon, I figure we only have 20 miles worth of glycogen so I am not going to hit the wall because I didn’t take in enough fuel! I like Blackberry and Tri-Berry Gu. I take fluid at every stop, too. I also take SaltStick, I take one every 30 minutes or so because I have dealt with cramping in the past. Take the SaltStick with water or you will throw up – just to warn anyone reading this!
SITNF: I have found that it can be hard to train like I need to (especially long distances) and juggle the responsibilities of being a mom. Do you have any difficulties in training for a marathon with a young child/how do you do it?
Meggan: Well, I have a treadmill and I have logged a lot of miles on it…last Saturday I did a 20 miler. It is very hard to balance being a mom and running 80-90 miles a week and working 40+ hours and some weeks I struggle. Running helps me prioritize and I really don’t have any other hobbies…and I love my job. My husband is a track coach at MSU so he travels a lot during the year making it even harder (me and my treadmill get along pretty well). I have a regular sitter on Saturday for my long runs, and I have a group I run with during the week…very early. I sometimes start my runs as early as 4:30am, most of the time at 4:45am. If I have to add miles in the evening I usually take the baby jogger out around the neighborhood. I will say that none of this would be possible if I didn’t have an extremely supportive husband who is also a fabulous father..and coach!
SITNF: Did you run while you were expecting?
Meggan: Yes I ran till the very end…except for the week 40 (I was overdue). I think it helped keep me strong and I was able to get back to running PRs in about 6 months. I was very careful not to run in hot weather and I took a lot of walking breaks. I also tried to keep things interesting by riding the trainer and power walking. I made sure I got an hour of activity every day.
SITNF: What are your goals/aspirations?
Meggan: I would like to run under 2:40 for the marathon someday. I want to run a big marathon like Chicago or Boston, too.
SITNF: Little known facts about you that you’d like to share?
Meggan: I have an addiction to Dove chocolate. When I am logging lots of miles I can go through 3-4 bags in a week. I can’t help it!
SITNF: What shoes do you wear for training and are they the same ones you race in?
SITNF: You are an inspiration to many of us runners. Do you have someone that you look to as your inspiration?
Meggan: I have a high school friend from Canada that I follow, she is my inspiration! I also follow most of the top Americans, and I have many friends through blogging that are much faster than I am, they help keep me training hard!
SITNF: I have to have music when I run. Do you ever use an Ipod? If so, what do you listen to?
Meggan: I have a Sony MP3 player that is wireless. I love it, I only paid $49 for it. I can’t stand cords. I need music too when I am running on the treadmill. I usually just listen to pop music or anything with a nice beat.
SITNF: What do you do when you aren’t running? (ex: family, church, work, volunteer work)
Meggan: Well I oversee the Maroon Volunteer Center at Mississippi State University, so yes you can say I take part in a lot of volunteering and volunteer projects! I also support my Track and Field Dawgs whenever I can!
SITNF: I clearly remember my first real run. (Mainly because it wasn’t that long ago, lol) What was your first running experience?
Meggan: I ran in my schools cross-country race in 5th grade without shoes. I ran without shoes when we ran during gym class in Elementary School. I think the race was 1 kilometer.
SITNF: What got you into running?
Meggan: When I started running club track in high school I was last in a lot of track races. I was determined to get faster and to stick with it.
SITNF: Where do you train (indoor/outdoors) and how often?
Meggan: I try to vary my hard sessions between the treadmill and a few hilly road loops. I only run inside if I don’t have a sitter or my husband is traveling. I run between 80-90 miles a week, mostly in 1 run per day. That means most mornings I log about 12 miles. My long run is usually between 16-21 miles. I also run with Boardtown runners (boardtownrunners.org) on Saturday…which is good because after my long runs I am hungry!
SITNF: Personally, I have a horrible time running here in the summer. I feel like I can’t breathe, so the winter is my favorite time to train. How has the Mississippi heat affected your training, if it has?
Meggan: Oh gosh, I know what you mean! It took me years to get used to it and I will always struggle, too. On long runs I usually take fluid every 3 miles and I take SaltStick too. These things help! I try not to run between the hours of 8:00AM and 6:00PM. My husband runs in the heat of the day and I tell him he is crazy!
SITNF: Do you have any suggestions for new runners?
Meggan: Keep running, no matter how slow you are or how out of shape you think you are. Join a running group if you can so that you have others to push you and share in your pain and suffering on the hard days.
Here are some of Meggan’s stats:
-1/2 Marathon: 1:19:01 (2012)-Marathon: 2:49:06 (2012)-3000m Steeple Chase: 10:46 (2005)-5000m: 16:59 (2003)-5k road: 17:26 (2012)
-Niagara Falls International Marathon Women’s Champion 2011 (2:52:16)
-Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon Women’s Champion 2012 (2:49:06)
-6th at Canadian Half-Marathon Championships, 2012 (1:19:01)
-State of Mississippi Record Holder in the 5KM, 10KM, and Half-Marathon
4.) Rock ‘n’ Rock New Orleans Marathon (1st) 2:49:06
5.) Killer Kudzo 5km: 18:01 (1st)
6.) Canadian Half-Marathon Champs: 1:19:01 (6th)
7.) Gum Tree 10k: 37:10 (8th)
8.) Red Hills Festival 5km: 17:26 (1st)
1.)Frostbite Half Marathon: 1:27:29 (1st) (14 weeks postpartum)
2.) Germantown Half Marathon: 1:23:40 (1st) (5 months p.p.)
9.) Niagara Falls International Marathon (1st) 2:52:16 (1 year P.P)
Thanks again to Meggan for taking time to answer these questions for us!
If you’d like to keep up with what’s going on with Meggan and racing, you can follow her blog – Mom Against the Marathon.