Meg’s Goal is 50 Marathons in 50 States

Running a marathon in all 50 states is an incredible accomplishment and something that was high on Meg’s bucket list. She was well on her way, having completed a race in 16 different states when pain set in and had her wondering if she’d ever run a marathon again, let alone 34 more.

Meg’s pain developed in her pubic bone while she was training for the Missoula Marathon. She started stretching prior to each run, but the only thing that eased the pain was to walk, not run. As race time approached Meg could only run one mile before the pain took it’s toll. She considered skipping the race all together but her family had already made plans to make the trek to Montana with her and she didn’t want to let them down. Meg continued her training, knowing she would have to walk quite a bit, and this wouldn’t be her best marathon, but at least she’d be able to cross one more state off her list.

On July 10, 2016 Meg completed the Missoula Marathon, but it was the most painful race she’d ever experienced and she did more walking and thinking in that 26.2 miles than she ever had before. It crossed her mind that this might be the last marathon she’d ever run. The pain didn’t go away after the race like it had while training. In fact, the pain was so severe that she had to lift her leg up with her hands just to get into the car. Feeling down, Meg took a month off from running, thinking maybe the pain would subside with some rest. That first run back proved to be equally as painful after only 100 yards.

meg_welch4Meg’s daughter is her biggest supporter

At this point Meg came to Northern to see if physical therapy could help with her pubic pain. She combined her physical therapy treatments with a visit to a sports doctor who conducted an MRI. Ultimately she discovered she was suffering from inflammation of her pubic area, tendonitis of the groin, and she had a small hernia forming. She had a cortisone shot to relieve her pubic bone pain and took a boot camp classes to strengthen her core. In addition, Meg had a gait analysis done by one of our therapists where she learned to adjust her stride when running. All these parts of the puzzle combined to reduce Meg’s pain and teach her how to potentially avoid a flare up in the future.

While Meg is still in the healing process, she’s pretty confident that she will be able to continue her goal of running a marathon in each state. Because it may take her some time to get there, she’s set her sights on a more achievable goal for the near future – to be fit and fabulous at the age of 50 (which she turned this spring), and able to run 4-5 miles pain free.

meg_welch2Meg’s family came to Montana to cheer her on

At the end of the day it was Meg’s positive attitude that got her through this process. Her ultimate goal still remains getting back to running marathons, but it could take a good year before she can train the way she needs to again. She’s set goals for herself to get stronger and fitter without worrying about the running, and that’s paid off. She can feel a difference in the little bit of running that she is doing because of her improved strength and gait.

Running a marathon is difficult. We’re so happy that Meg didn’t let the pain stop her. She understood there was an underlying problem and through physical therapy, a fitness program, and help from her sports doctor she began the process of healing. When Meg crosses the finish line of her 17th marathon (which we know she will), we’re going to be her #1 supporters, cheering her on the entire way!

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