Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Runner in the Spotlight: Meagan Nedlo

Meagan Nedlo broke into the Charlotte road racing scene earlier this year with her win at the Great Harvest 5k. Even though she was running competitively for Queens University for the first half of this year (which forced her out of some races), she's one of the top five women in the Grand Prix Series and has been a dominant force on the roads since. Meagan is best known in the club for being Jordan Kinley's girlfriend, having an awesome blog, and her everlasting love for breakfast food. Also worthy to note: Meagan recently became a cat person when she saw her cat Weezy drink water from a cup by dipping her paw into the water, pulling her paw out, and licking the water from her paw.

Where do you work?
At Run For Your Life in Dilworth. I'm also finishing up a graduate degree in communication so I've considered that to be somewhat of an occupation for the past year and a half.

What's your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?
I could do an entire interview about food! But to be brief, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I'm partial to Flying Biscuit. On a completely different note, I also dig Selwyn Pub's fried pickles.

How long have you lived in Charlotte?
I moved here in January 2009 for graduate school. However I wasn't here from May until August of last year, so I guess that totals just under a year and a half.

When and why did you start running?
I started running in middle school because it was one of the million sports I played. In 7th grade track I was undefeated in the unlikely combo of 100-meter hurdles and the mile, and I also ran on the 4x100 meter relay. As you can imagine, my fast-twitch muscle fibers worked quite a bit better then than they do now. I joined the cross-county team my freshman year of high school and continued to run xc and track until I graduated. I was pretty good for small town East Texas, but I didn't attract much attention from college coaches. I went on to attend Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!) on an academic scholarship and didn't give collegiate running a second thought over the next four years.

What do you love about running?
Didn't you read my answer to the food question?? I run so I can eat flapjacks and fried pickles! (But not together.) I also love being able to spend time with important people in my life--friends, my boyfriend and my dad--while doing something we enjoy.

You were an All American for Queens in both the 10k and the 5k. Can you share a little bit about that experience?
So, to pick off where we left off with my nonexistent collegiate career, in 2008 I was living in Atlanta and being coached for a marathon by Jeff Gaudette, a friend and former teammate of my boyfriend. At the time Jeff was the assistant coach at Queens University, a small school in Charlotte that I'd never heard of before. In the course of writing my workouts he realized that a) I wasn't terrible; and b) I still had NCAA eligibility, so one day he called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to quit my job and move to Charlotte and let Queens pay for my graduate degree. It was such a surprising and unexpected offer that I thought, "Why not?" A few months later my bags were packed and I was off to the Queen City.

With that said, my first track season at Queens was pretty unremarkable. I ran 17:27 and 36:11 but then hurt my foot and, to add insult to injury, was the second person cut from qualifying for Nationals in the 10k. After that I vowed that this year would be different. In my first indoor race at the Armory in NYC I ran a new 5k PR of 16:54 and qualified for Indoor Nationals, then ended up placing 5th at Nationals a month later (top 8 make All-American). In my first outdoor 10k I shattered my PR from last year and ran 34:38, which at the time was the fastest D2 mark in the country (that is, until my teammate Tanya destroyed that time and very nearly took down the all-time D2 record six weeks later). I also qualified for Nationals in the 5k, but going in I knew that the 10k was my top priority. I ended up placing 3rd in the 10k and 6th in the 5k, due in no small part to the attendance and support of many of my CRC friends! (editor's note: 15 CRC members showed up to cheer Meagan on!)

Rumor has it that you helped Ben Hovis put together a solid women’s team (Megan Hovis, Tanya Zeferjan, Stephanie Pezzullo, Caitlin Chrisman, Kelly Fillnow, Jenna Scott and yourself) for the USA Club XC Championships that are being held at McAlpine in December. What are your goals for that race both individually and as a team?
Shhhh! I don't want the competition to know our entire roster! But seriously, I think with that lineup we have a chance to place top 3 as a team. Since I essentially forfeited my entire 2009 xc season due to injury, I'm super excited about this race. I'd love to place top 10 individually, but I'm definitely going into it hoping that our team will put CRC on the map as a force to be reckoned with.

Théoden Janes posted on his facebook page that you and Jordan Kinley are now the fastest couple in Charlotte after the two of you won the Great Harvest 5k. How do the two of you plan to build upon this title?
We plan to host a couples' race in which we compete against the Hovises in a series of events: 5k, potato sack race, javelin throw and long jump. Bonus points for juggling while doing any of the above. At that point the winning couple can truly solidify their standing as the fastest couple in Charlotte.

What’s the funniest/strangest/worst thing that has ever happened to you on a run?
I'm glad you asked. Earlier this month I was finishing up a run with John Compton, a fellow CRC Runner in the Spotlight. We were crossing the street in front of his apartment complex when he stepped in a hole, face planted and skidded across the grass slip 'n slide style. Once I ascertained that he wasn't seriously injured I couldn't stop laughing. I'm sure all the passing motorists shared my sentiments.

What's your most memorable race and why?
The 10k at Nationals, but not for the reason you'd think. It's pretty much burned in my memory because with 600 meters to go I was in second place with a chance of catching the leader (my teammate Tanya), but after what can only be described as a crazy last lap I wound up in third. I've replayed that scenario in my head at least 50 times since then.

Favorite Charlotte race?
I'm just now beginning to do Charlotte road races since I've run out of collegiate eligibility. So, ask me again in a year. But I will say that the aprons, chefs hats, fresh-baked cookies and loaves of bread that Jordan and I picked up for winning the Great Harvest 5k were pretty sweet.

Favorite distance? PR?
On the track, the 5k. 16:35.

What’s next on your race calendar?
I'm doing the Grand Prix series so I'll line up for the Blue Points 5k.

How did you get involved with the Charlotte Running Club?
CRC Vice President Caitlin Chrisman realized how awesome I am and kept begging me to join until I finally acquiesced.

What’s your favorite CRC group run to join?
Apparently it's turning into the 5:45am Wednesday morning workout at McAlpine. I've also been known to turn up at a 6am Dowd run on occasion.

What do you love most about the Charlotte Running Club?
Mostly the social events involving food and alcohol. Oh, and the people are pretty cool too.

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