I was very fortunate to run into a lady at my local running store who would end up being my mentor and coach through several marathons. Her name is Cathy Meyers and she will be running her 56th marathon this Sunday. The The Wellstone Dallas White Rock Marathon,Texas, also marks her 10-year anniversary of running. Cathy’s marathoning advertures have taken her around the globe to locations such as Antarctica, Italy and New Zealand.
While being active most of her life, Cathy didn’t start out running. She grew up in West Africa, where she learned to play not only flag-football, basketball and track, but also field hockey and soccer. When she returned to the United Stated to attend Auburn University, soccer remained her favorite sport. Believing she was fit, Cathy accepted an offer from a teammate to go for a run. After one mile, Cathy slowed to a walk. She was determined not to let this happen again.
Throughout the years Cathy’s knowledge of running has grown, and she now has extensive experience as a runner and in coaching and race directing. She has worked with John “The Penguin” Bingham, co-presented at seminars and helped him to develop networking and group events, such as the Penguin World Conference and Team Penguin. Cathy has also worked with Jeff Galloway and was Dallas/Ft. Worth Galloway Training Program Coach and Director. And if that isn’t impressive enough, Cathy was a contributing writer to Runner’s World, and was a pace leader for many marathons when they were still sponsoring pace groups.
I was able to sit down with Cathy yesterday and ask her a few questions about her decade of marathoning.
RS: You’ve run 55 marathons: What is the key to not getting injured?
CM: Being prepared and well-trained. I am committed to running most of my marathons at training pace and selecting only a few per year to run at race pace. I also make sure my marathons are at least 3 weeks apart.
RS: If someone wanted to run their first marathon, how would you recommend they get started?
CM: You need to realize that every body type is different. While the muscles and cardiovascular systems will develop quickly, tendons and ligaments take at least a year to adapt to endurance training. To get started, you need to set realistic goals and allow the body and mind to adapt at a reasonable pace, preventing injury and burn out.
RS: What is your favorite marathon course?
CM: Florence, Italy. I’ve run it two times and I’m in love with the beauty and history of the city. I also enjoy the Cowtown marathon in Forth Worth, Texas, for its familiarity and gentle up and down hills. The rolling hills allow for the use of different muscle groups so you don’t get as tired.
RS: Do you have any role models?
CM: I admire many runners for different reasons. Galloway for his range of pace, Bingham for his focus on running as fitness and not just for competing, and I admire Lynn Jennings because she sincerely accepted that she had a genetic gift and worked very hard to develop it.
RS: What inspires you to keep running?
CM: How my body and mind feel when I run. I feel my best when I’m 12-20 miles into my runs. I usually don’t get tired until after mile 20. I’ve actually finished many marathons feeling better than when I started. That’s a great feeling.
You can read more about Cathy Myers on her site Feet In Motion.