For the Love of Lacing Up: Leading a Healthy Life One Race at a Time

by Megan Abdelnour

Hey there! My name is Megan Lee, a blogger (Run Like a Grl blog), athlete, pediatric occupational therapist, and NYC native trying to live a healthy life day by day, one small step at a time. A few years ago I had a crazy idea to start running, not knowing where it would take me or what I wanted out of it. But I bought my first pair of shoes, laced up, and started hitting the pavement. And, even though my parents would never have guessed this, I liked it. My journey started with a mile, two miles, five miles, and over the course of a few years grew to 26.2 when I completed my first full marathon at the 2014 NYC Marathon. And during this time I lost a bunch of weight and changed my perspective on how I wanted to live my life, transitioning from leading an unhealthy lifestyle to leading one that embraces fitness, eating clean food, and healthy living!

Megan_with_medal Megan_-_front_medal_shot

This wasn’t always the plan, though. I first began running just for general fitness and to become a healthier person, but pretty soon the deep seeded competitive side of me started to re-surface after being pushed away for so many years. Growing up I played softball and volleyball competitively, and a piece of me had always searched for something to fill that void every since I stopped playing these sports. Although I also enjoy other forms of fitness such as cycling, skiing, swimming, strength training, and boutique fitness classes and appreciate the role they play in a well-balanced exercise routine, running is the one sport I’ve connected with on a deeper level. It has truly become a part of me and has made me a better person in so many ways. Running has allowed me to become focused, set realistic goals for myself and work towards them little by little, and has helped connect me with other like-minded people who share my passions. It also allows me to feel free, have fun, and be at peace.

On the flip side, though, running has also taught me how to deal with negative obstacles and overcome adversity. You see, it hasn’t always been easy this path to fitness, running, and leading a healthy lifestyle that I started on a few years ago. Like so many athletes I’ve experienced my fair share of setbacks that have tested not only my body but my mental strength. Personally, my battle has been with a long history stress fractures and stress reactions that often pop up every now and then. I can’t even count how many I’ve dealt with along the way but off the top of my head I’ve suffered a femoral neck stress fracture, several stress reactions in my metatarsals, and a tibial stress fracture just to name a few. Every time it happened, I felt frustrated. I cried. I felt like no matter what I did these injuries would just keep coming. And I wanted to give up so many times, even considering quitting running altogether. But even with the constant doubts, I always knew deep down that giving up wasn’t an option. Not ever.

The doctors don’t quite know why exactly, but I seem to just be prone to bone and repetitive stress injuries perhaps due to biomechanical alignment issues. But this ongoing issue has led me to make changes in my life in order to be able to continue with the sport I love most. Those changes involve eating better and natural foods, incorporating cross-training consistently, and doing strength workouts. In addition, I’ve made a commitment to taking the right vitamins and minerals to help reduce the risk of injury. Women are more prone to stress fractures than men (see citations below) so for me, using Cal-EZ daily is the most versatile and easy way to ensure I am getting appropriate levels of Calcium and Vitamin D. Since I’ve been consistent with taking Calcium and Vitamin D everyday in addition to other lifestyle changes, I’ve noticed significantly less issues with bone pain and improved //">bone health. I was even able to complete marathon training two seasons in a row without injury (this is HUGE for me!).


So, what’s going on in my running world at the moment? When I train I do it for one race at a time, which is something I recommend to others especially first time runners. Don’t load up your schedule with too much that might distract you you’re your long--term goal! Right now, my long-term goal is running the 2015 Chicago Marathon in the windy city, for which I’m currently finishing my training. It’s been a hot summer with months of sweaty, tough training, and at times I doubted whether I could do it, but the finish line (figuratively and literally) is almost in sight! There’s nothing quite like working towards a goal and completing it, whether that is losing weight, running a race, eating well, or just staying healthy and living without injury.

I am thrilled to become a regular contributor to the Cal-EZ blog team and to share my passion for health and fitness with all of you. I plan to provide advice, training tips, workouts, and stories from my own experiences and, even though I’m primarily a runner, I enjoy all types of fitness that I’ll bring to this blog, too. I’m also excited to get to know YOU—please share your advice, stories, and fitness goals with me so we can motivate each other to lead healthy lives!

Look out for my next post but in the meantime, here is my first bit of advice: Remember, you just have to run to be a runner. It doesn’t matter how far, how fast, or how long. Just lace up, put a smile on, and run!


Disclosure: Cal-EZ has compensated me for this post, but all opinions are my own and always will be my own. I use Cal-EZ daily not because I was asked to or have to, but because I love it. I am happy to be able to share it with you!


Ferber, R.; McClay Davis, I.; Williams Iii, D. S., Gender differences in lower extremity mechanics during running. Clinical Biomechanics 2003, 18 (4), 350-357.

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