Brock on Twitter invited me to a KT Tape Media event at Chelsea Piers. KT Tape helps relieve aches and pains on all parts of your body, and at the same time provides support and functional movement. I've seen runners taped up at multiple races in the past. Apparently, I was considered because of this blog (Other people read it beside you and me! Who knew?). A few Olympians would be there to share their KT Tape experiences and then afterwards they would serve a light lunch. I am always happy to participate in free lunches, but one of the Olympians who would be there happened to be none other than Meb Keflezghi. Yes, the Meb Keflezghi who just qualified for the Olympics (again) at the tender age of 42. Also, the same guy who WON THE BOSTON MARATHON IN 2014! My first Boston which coincidentally was the best marathon EVER. I told Brock that wild horses couldn't drag me away (or something to that effect).
The morning of the event I checked Instagram. Meb posted that he was in New York City doing interviews all day. One of his followers mentioned that he saw Meb running toward Central Park earlier. What an awesome random sighting! I donned my official blue Boston Marathon tech shirt. Pete warned me that it was going to be cool and I should wear a jacket. But I don't want to cover up my Boston shirt! Oh wait, I forgot about my official traffic cone orange Boston Marathon jacket! Each year the jackets come in a different color. Meb will surely recognize 2014!
I took the train and subway down to Chelsea Piers. I was welcomed by a small group of people inside Pier 60. They were very friendly. I signed in, and was handed a strip of red KT Tape, then directed inside a small media room. I was early so I took a seat and waited for everyone else to arrive. There were about 20 of us media folk, as well as a half a dozen cameramen. Then the athletes shuffled in: Tucker Dupree, 3-time Paralympic; Kerri Walsh Jennings, 3-time Olympic volleyball gold medalist; Kerri Strug, retired Olympic gymnast; and last, but certainly not least, Meb Keflezghi, 3-time Olympian and silver medalist! They sat on a panel in the front of the room. As they were getting settled, Meb looked up scanning the audience. He surely noticed my jacket (because I know he has a matching one at home) and gave me a nod and a smile! Wait, wha-?! I couldn't believe it.
An executive from the KT Tape company spoke first and explained all of the different products they had on display. A sports physician spoke next about the product's rehabilitative benefits. Finally, each of the athletes introduced themselves and talked briefly about their experiences with the products. When they were done, we were told to go upstairs in small groups according to the color of our tape strip. We would get an opportunity to meet with each of the athletes and even get taped, if we wanted. This was possibly the only time in my life where I wish I had an injury.
My group was red and we went to Tucker Dupree first. I said hello to the other "mediums". One guy was from Us Weekly, a girl from Pop Sugar, and then one woman introduced herself as Mar. I suddenly recognized her and asked if she was from Pittsburgh. She said yes. I told her I was a fan of her blog, Mar On the Run. It was like another celebrity encounter meeting her in person. She was tinier than I imagined. She was there with another blogger I was familiar with, Lisa Runs For Cupcakes. Tucker Dupree gave us a little background about his blindness. He began losing his sight as a child and is almost completely blind today. He talked about how swimming is second nature to him and how he's able to stay inside his lane and calculate his distance in the pool. As a swimmer, he frequently has shoulder issues. When he wears the tape, it stays on for about a week even with all his time in the water. He had a great personality and sense of humor.
Me and Mar On the Run
Next we chatted with Kerri Walsh Jennings who must have been six feet tall. She was very sweet and just oozes athleticism. She's a mom with young kids who balances family with being the best in the world in her sport. Piece of cake!
(standing off camera. This is
Kerri Walsh Jennings)
Meb was next! I was almost giddy with excitement. He shook everyone's hand and when he got to me he said, "Congratulations." Wait, wha-?! He won the freakin' Boston Marathon, yet he was congratulating me for just finishing. Could he be any more gracious? He talked about his marathon training. He actually cross trains with the ElliptiGO...seriously? He said he runs about 100 miles per week. I asked him if he ran already that day because I was looking for a running partner. He said he already ran 12 miles (probably in the park), but he would run a lap with me around the indoor track. Wait, wha-?! Other people asked some stuff, but I didn't really pay attention. I was going to run with Meb. Technically, it would be my second time running with him. Boston 2014 was the first, but there were about 15,000 people in between us.
Meb! (Me in the Boston jacket!)
"Why is she staring at me like that?"
Kerri Strug was the last athlete we met with. She is a mother now, too. She explained how the tape is so much better than what she had to use 20 years ago when she was competing. After our group was done, I asked Mar if she wanted to run with Meb and me (yeah, already we're "Meb and me"). That was a no-brainer. Of course she and Lisa were going to join us. We had to wait about 20 minutes while Meb was conducting interviews. I noticed this guy who was part of Meb's group wearing a New York City Half Marathon jacket. The race had just taken place that Sunday so I asked if he ran it. He did not, it was Meb's jacket. The guy turned out to be Howie, Meb's brother and manager. He was very friendly and hung out with us and made sure we would get our lap in.
Finally, it was time! Meb, Mar, Lisa, and I lined up on the track. A nice man volunteered to take pictures on my cell phone. There was also a videographer recording us. Ready, set, go! Mar took off like a bat out of hell. Meb was "jogging" at an easy pace and I stayed alongside him with the biggest, goofiest grin I surprisingly maintained the duration of the lap. In a heartbeat, we were already approaching the finish. Meb grabbed Mar and Lisa's hands (uh, this would be a great example of the benefits of a third arm) and we all crossed together. I thanked Meb and he gave me a hug which took my total surprise and I received so awkwardly.
Meb and Me
On your mark...
I wasn't lying about my awkwardness.
I went back downstairs to get my "light lunch" which was shrimp and delicious mini tuna sandwiches. I wolfed them down because I was starving and chugged a Gatorade. I said goodbye to the other bloggers then went off on my merry way...texting, Facebooking, Instagramming, announcing to whoever would listen what just happened to me! Yeah, I just ran with Meb...