I found an old newspaper clipping that represents one of my all-time favorite pictures of “runner Megan.” (In case it’s not obvious, I’m the runner in the middle of the photo. Dark hair in a ponytail, “36” visible on my bib number.)
I know this is from my senior year of high school. I know it’s at the state track meet, where I ran the 2-mile, 4×800, and mile. I remember that this meet was disappointing for me — I was 5th in the 2-mile (I had won the previous year) and did not medal in either of the other events. I did run my season best in the 2-mile, so I guess the field was extra deep that year.
I’m not sure which of the two individual events this is. My guess is that it is the 2-mile. First, because I have this look of determination on my face that I associate with running the longer distance. It was my stronger event, and I had more confidence in it. I read a little, “this is my race, and I’m going to track you down” in my face that I cannot fathom being there for any other event. Second, you can tell that the stands are only partway full. The 2-mile was the first event of the meet back then and typically drew a smaller crowd. Also, I believe the legs and torso you can see at the right edge of the photo belong to my college teammate Stephanie. She’s a long distance beast like me, and I don’t even know if she was in the mile.
Then again, that look on my face could be, “holy moly, I’ve never run 3 races at state track before. Keep it together, Megan! Don’t let ’em see how tired you are.” Determination and desperation are hard to distinguish in a grainy newspaper photo.
What I love about this photo is my long stride. Nice work, Megan. I didn’t even know you could stride out like that! My freakin’ muscular arm. Look at that arm! For a scrawny distance runner, I’ve got GUNS! High five to you, high school Megan. I predict that you will have a reasonably successful college running career.