Hope you’re enjoying the series this month! Check out all the 31 Inspirational Women here!
It is my honor to introduce you all today to my friend, and an amazing woman! Meghan Fillnow is an “elite amateur athlete” for the Timex elite team. (She was also a Lululemon ambassador, of which I am insanely jealous.)
When I first met Meghan, she was a teacher at the Christian school where I taught. She basically realized that she was incredibly gifted as an athlete, and could make that a career. So why not! She stumbled into running later in life in grad school, when she ran a marathon for the first time, qualified for the Boston Marathon, did it again, met her personal goal, and decided she needed a new challenge.
So she decided to try a triathlon, and then an Iron Man Triathlon. Which is – wait for it – a 2.4 mile swim (I would be dead), a 112 mile bike ride, and then a marathon at the end (26.2 mile run). Just for the heck of it, you know?
In her first one of these crazy things, she finished second and qualified for the World Ironman Championship in Hawaii. And by the way, she trained for this WHILE TEACHING THIRD GRADE. (How? just how?) And I haven’t even started on how amazing her calf muscles look. Ha!
So, obviously this is a super-impressive list, but let’s be real – there are thousands of professional athletes out there. What makes Meghan special?
There are a few things that truly inspire me about Meghan.
- Her work ethic. When I am running my two-mile (okay, some days, one mile) loop, pushing a stroller, tempted to quit, I do often picture Meghan, digging deep to find strength to RUN THAT MARATHON at the end of an Iron Man. I asked her how she does it. How does she keep going? Here’s what she said:
When a workout is challenging and I am tempted to quit, I think about my long-term goals and that relentless drive keeps me going…Whatever I do, I want to do it whole-heartedly. When I am having a tough race and negative thoughts pop into my mind, I aim to revamp my mindset and weed out the negativity.
These qualities Meghan has developed – self-discipline, inner strength, seeing an end goal – what a gift these are and will be in all of life. As a mother, these are all traits I can use more of.
We all know physical fitness is so important to our health. I wanted to share this tangible example of someone pushing through the pain and difficulty to reach a goal. Can I get an “amen”?
- As her friend, the most profound quality I love is her humility. It’s not a fake, showy kind of humility. It is real. I talked about my (incredibly pathetic) workouts with her a few times, and she would say, “Wow! That’s great that you’re running when you have a baby! That must be really hard!” And you feel like she really means it. Meghan has an identical twin sister, who is a professional triathlete. Imagine all the opportunities for competition and jealousy! Ha! Yet I see them often praising one another, cheering each other on, and bragging on one another.
Meghan has every excuse to think she is really something! But she fights the temptation to be a self-centered, proud person, and to instead serve others and the Lord.
I think the hardest part of being a Christian in the endurance sports world is that it can be a selfish sport. It takes a lot of dedication, so I have to make sure I have my priorities in order. Ultimately, it’s a blessing as I race for a Higher purpose. Through my sport adventures, I learn so much about depending on the Lord for strength, trusting that all will be well no matter the outcome, edifying my character, and that my worth is not based on my results.
Since drafting this post, Meghan competed in another World Championship Iron Man and finished 2nd American, and 7th in the world in her age group (!!). Here she is doing her traditional finish: a cartwheel. Ha! Meghan says, “”I learned many life lessons such as being brave, remaining calm through adversity, staying consistent, and enjoying each moment!”
Meghan, you’re one of my heroes. I want to be more like you!
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