You might remember that we introduced Meg Fisher back in December when we announced our series of LeadBoat stories. Meg’s astounding story of overcoming the loss of a limb and a partner in a tragic car accident to become a paralympic gold medalist and successful physical therapist, resonated through our endurance community.
As Meg continued to train through a Montana winter, competing in the Leadville Trail 100 and SBT GRVL races was still her number one target. She even added the gravel behemoth, Dirty Kanza 200, for good measure.
Fast forward a few months and enter a global pandemic, and life looks a little different for Meg. Circumstances have changed drastically, but her motivation to train and stay focused hasn’t wavered.
We recently touched base with Meg to see how her training has been going and learned that her story of perseverance and resilience is more relevant than ever.
How have you been keeping busy during all of the craziness the world has thrown our way?
I’m a physical therapist, and like many Americans, I’ve been temporarily laid off. Time out of the clinic has given me a greater perspective as well as more time to ride. I’ve also had to balance the challenges of caring for my mom who’s been sick and supporting my local community where I can. It’s given me more time to ride, but also requires me to balance the discomforts along the way.
This is a trying time, but It’s important to remember that we’re all capable of more than we know. Finding out what we’re made of and how far we can go, is always uncomfortable. When training for LeadBoat you’re going to be uncomfortable in countless ways, but once you’ve done it, it’ll be worth it.
Put yourself out there and try it and I think you’ll surprise yourself as to what you’re capable of.
They say it’s all about balance, right?
What’s keeping you motivated right now?
I have more energy than I know what to do with, but I get down. No one can run at 100% all the time. It’s okay to not be motivated, and fall out of passion. The bike needs to be a place of solace and release. It should not become work, and it’s okay to back things down right now. If you want to do it, you know you can, but if you don’t, don’t do it. Listen to your body and your mind.
But there are so many good things that come from a bike – dopamine and endorphins. Find a coach, find a virtual community, find external motivation. You may not be driving towards a finish line right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t set quality goals. Put something on the calendar. Find some wind to fill your sails.
Regardless of the decision or the direction, there is a certain level of peace, calm and certainty when you make the choice to move forward.
Don’t forget to have a little fun along the way
What’s one life lesson that you’ve learned from your past that is helping you not lose sight of the big picture?
I remember laying in a hospital bed when I had all of my physical abilities taken away. Other people were feeding me and I couldn’t stand, let alone sit at the edge of the bed. I was told I’d never walk again, but here I am. My physical ability comes and goes, like last summer I was struggling to walk and we couldn’t figure out why, but I got through it and now I’m training for all these crazy races. I guess the takeaway is that nothing is permanent. This will all pass and we will have new challenges and opportunities.
Time is precious, as is our physical ability. We will never be younger than we are today. We might never be more able than we are today, unless we make intentional decisions to be stronger, fitter, and smarter. In many ways, we’re all turning to jerky. We aren’t going to be any stronger or more supple than we are today so we gotta work at it. It’s so hard to gain fitness, and we need to be thankful for the opportunity each and every day to go after our dreams. Be stronger. Be fitter. Be smarter. Stretch, drink water, don’t turn to jerky any sooner than you have to.
What’s one obscure thing you’ve done for training during the COVID pandemic:
I walked a 5k in my house. Someone asked me to do it and it was crazy, but I did it. I’ve also ridden 2 centuries so far, which I would have never done at this point in the year.
Helping people in the PT clinic makes me so happy, and I can’t do that right now, so I’ve been working on developing an online coaching platform, with respect to social distancing, and that’s been keeping me motivated!
Putting the time in on the bike
Any other advice for LeadBoat athletes out there right now?
Don’t lose your community. To lose community aspect or physical proximity is devastating in its own way. The cycling community comes together in tough times and It’s all about supporting each other and seeing one another to the finish.
I won’t win anymore. Very few people will. Most of us will spend time together and not do it for any glory but for the internal pleasure that brings community, forges new friendships, relationships and partners together.
Don’t lose perspective on why you ride a bike, and remember, there is no change without challenge.
2020 will be Meg’s 3rd attempt to start the Leadville Trail 100. In 2018 she had to unexpectedly leave the race due to a sudden death in the family. In 2019, the airlines lost her bike on her way to Colorado and didn’t deliver it in time for the race. Now, there’s a global pandemic and Meg is determined as ever to join us at the LT100 and SBT GRVL. Fingers crossed!