Category Archives: Reflections

Inspotats – #ForJimmy

I created Inspotats to help inspire people…  to help them remember their WHY…  to help them wear their inspiration on their sleeves… to help them stay motivated doing whatever they are doing.  I want people to look down at their arm or wrist and physically SEE that reminder to KEEP GOING.  That was my vision, that has been my goal.  The stories that have started coming in are incredible, and I wanted to share this one in particular.  

A month or so ago I got an email from Becky who shared her story, and her brother’s story with me and how they wanted to use Inspotats to help honor him.  I’m going to let Becky tell you in her words about her brother Jimmy, about his life, his sacrifice, and her dedication run…

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Earlier this year, we honored our brother, son, friend, teammate Army Staff Sergeant James Moriarty, better known as “Jimmy,” by running Ragnar Luckenbach. This past November, Jimmy, alongside Sergeant First Class Matthew Lewellen and Staff Sergeant Kevin McEnroe, was tragically killed while on active duty in Jordan.

Last year, Jimmy recruited half a Ragnar team, all connected through him in a unique way: a friend from childhood, one from high school, one from college, another from the Army, and one from his family. With Jimmy as the anchor, the entire team meshed seamlessly, despite not knowing each other before. At his memorial service, the team vowed to run Ragnar again #forJimmy. We pulled together a full team of 12 runners and 2 van drivers in record time. Friends and family were more than eager to participate.

 As we relayed our way through 200 miles of the Texas Hill Country, Jimmy continued to be our anchor and inspiration. Despite lost runners, major blisters, sore legs and little sleep, we managed to power through and placed 2nd in the co-ed division and 6th overall! Thanks to Inspotats for the inspiring tattoos, a gentle reminder to us and those around us of what we were running for.

​Born and raised in Houston, Jimmy attended the University of Texas where he majored in economics and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2011, where he successfully made it through Qualification Course to become a Green Beret and member of the elite 5th Special Forces Group, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. An avid runner and Ragnar alum, proud Longhorn and even prouder Army soldier, he is survived by his sisters Rebecca Moriarty and Melissa Moriarty, and his parents, Cindy Moriarty and James R. Moriarty.

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Becky – God bless you and your family.  May Jimmy’s memory continue to live on and inspire many out there.   I am so sorry for your loss, and with deepest sympathy – I thank you, Jimmy, along with many others – for giving the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  

To learn more about Inspotats or order your custom inspirational tats – you can visit our website here – INSPOTATS.  

The Boston Marathon 2017

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26.2 miles.  Sometimes that distance can feel easy and accomplishable, and sometimes that distance can feel like 1,000 miles.  A marathon all comes down to a perfect storm of everything going your way on that particular day.  Even if you’ve trained, put the hours and mileage in – everything can unravel by just one thread. The weather has to be suited for you, you have to have something that settled on your stomach the night before, you have to have enough sleep, the right gear, hydrated, no injuries or flare-ups, your mind has to be in the right place…the list goes on and on.

26.2 miles.  You can learn a lot about yourself in that distance.  You have 3+ hours (give or take an hour or 2) to bargain with yourself, hurt, feel great, want to cry, wonder why you’re doing this, think happy thoughts, soak it in, get a little lost…among a lot of other feels.  It’s amazing what the mind will do in only a few hours.  The power of positive thinking is a real thing, and if you don’t believe that – go run a marathon and then we’ll talk.

26.2 miles  People ask me why I run…. and why do I run marathons? (Answer to follow.) Do marathons hurt?  Yes.  Do you really have to train?  Yes, if you want to somewhat enjoy it.  Do I think YOU could do it?  YES.  So, going back to the first question…why do I run and do marathons in particular. I run because it’s my zen, it’s my “me” time, it’s where I figure things out or catch up with a friend or come up with song ideas.  I run because I feel free.  I run for others.  I run because it’s a privilege.  I run marathons because only 1% of the world’s population will ever run a marathon.  While I’m on this earth – I may not make huge waves, but I want to live an extraordinary life and be an example that you really can accomplish anything if you 1. Want it badly enough and 2. Do it the right way.  That is why I run.

26.2 miles.  Humbles me… Every. Single. Time.  If every race were easy and a good race – then PR’s wouldn’t mean so much…  BQ ing wouldn’t mean so much… You have good days and you have bad days.  Even on the bad days…especially on the bad days – I have to think about how I’ve always been a runner.  If you run – you’re a runner.  I didn’t become serious about trying to improve my time until last year.  I had never even step foot on a track until last year.  So, I went from a track virgin to a Boston qualifier in less than a year. If you’re reading this – let me be living proof that if you want something – really want something – no matter your age – you can do it.  ANYTHING.

26.2 miles.  BOSTON.  This marathon was a tough one for me.  I started out trying to run the 7:30 pace that my coach wanted me to and couldn’t maneuver around people…so for the first 4-5 miles I was mad and used up a lot of energy that I really needed later.  I felt behind before I could even get ahead. I felt defeated before the race even really started.  By mile 10 I knew I was too far behind to PR or to qualify again.  It was HOT.  It was HILLY.  The medical tents were packed, and I didn’t want to be one that had to stop by one.  At some point, I decided to try to enjoy it.  I texted people, called a couple of people, took pictures, took Instagram stories and videos, and tried my hardest to soak it in.  I knew I’d finish – not with a good time – but I’d finish.  And that’s exactly what I did.

26.2 miles.  Almost there.  I rounded the corner on to Boylston and thought about all of the runners before me and those to come after me… I thought about the moment I qualified for this race… I thought about 2013 and the moment I heard and felt the boom in my chest from the bombs…. I soaked in all of the people on the sidelines yelling for me…. I looked at the man beside me who was injured and hobbling to the finish…  I thought about my WHY.  Did I have a good time?  NO.  Did I have a good run?  YES.  Would I want it any other way?  Of course I’d prefer a better time, but all in all – I soaked it in.  I am honored, I am grateful, I learned something with every mile, and I was reminded that I am STRONG.  I am Boston Strong.

26.2 miles.  BOSTON.  I’ll be back for you again one day…

2015 Client Collage!

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Wow. Goals crushed. Half marathons run. Miles hiked. Babies had. Weddings happened. PRs. Lbs lost. Muscle gained. Bodies rehabbed. Cancer GONE. Sweat dripped. Strength found. Friendships forged. I HAVE THE BEST CLIENTS.

I had SO much fun putting this together and looking back on this amazing year and seeing what YOU accomplished. Thank you to everyone who has walked into my studio or let me be a part of you reaching a goal – it is MY blessing to watch you SHINE. As we wrap up this year – we look towards new goals to reach for… I can’t wait to see what each of your’s is. Here’s to the BEST YEAR YET where we will all GROW and BE BETTER! 

If you’re interested in joining as one of my personal training clients – shoot me an email at meganconner@gmail.com – I have a few slots available as of now.  Happy Almost 2016!!

Gone Gold

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I have been here for almost 10 years and have been in the music business off and on. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done by far in my life. As I have gotten older, I’ve also realized just how hard it is to be a female and try to succeed in this business… But I know that If I died tomorrow I could die knowing that my dreams have come true. I’ve had some songs cut by some really big artists, written with some amazing people, poured my heart into songs, and made some incredible friends along the way.  

I got a call yesterday that I had “something” mailed to me at my old publisher’s office. Today I went to go pick it up, and found that Chris Young‘s album Neon went gold, and I happened to co-write a song with Jon Nite and Ross Copperman called Save Water, Drink Beer that landed on this record.

To some, this is really cool, to some in the biz – it’s not much, but to me – it’s everything. It represents success in my eyes, accomplishment, belief and faith. I don’t have much to show for my musical endeavors, and at times I wonder if all of the work I’ve done for so many years, and so many songs I’ve written – if they have worth – if I have worth as a writer any more. At least I can hang this gold record up knowing that I did and hopefully that I still do.

Thank you Dan Galen Hodges Jr.Eric Beall and The Harters J Michael HarterScott Harter for taking a chance on me and believing in me! (Also my name is totally spelled wrong, but who cares – hahahahahaa!!!)  Also, I had not planned to take a picture and came from a 6 mile run…oh, if only I had taken a shower.  At least I put a fresh shirt on.  You’re welcome.  🙂

From Open Heart Surgery to a Half Marathon – Elyssa Goldstein a True Inspiration!

photo 5-48My friend Elyssa had open heart surgery a little over a year ago, and this weekend I’m going to run the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon with her.  Wow.

I will never forget going to see her in the hospital…and as I walked in, she was in rehab on the treadmill walking about 1mph.  To see her go from being able to sprint 12.5mph at Barry’s Bootcamp to hardly being able to walk on the treadmill – was heartbreaking.  But I told her right then that she would be back to a 12.5 in no time, and believe me – she was.

Elyssa has been a pillar of strength over this last year enduring surgery, rehab, numerous medical visits and a 9 month deployment of her boyfriend Brian.  I have seen her heart sick, her heart broken, and her heart STRONG.  Her strength outweighs all of the others.  To see her in class these days – she is determined. focused and one of THE strongest to finish – Every. Single. Time.  I’m in awe of her strength watching her and seeing how far she’s come!

We won’t be out to break any records on Saturday. Sorry Fleet Feet – I won’t be racing this one… but I will be right beside a gal who has the strongest heart I know!  It will be an honor to cross the finish line with her!!

I wanted Elyssa to tell us a little more about her story, surgery, recovery and how fitness has played a role in how far she has come. She is now a Beachbody coach, and is continually inspiring others out there.  I know she’s inspired ME in a huge way.  Elyssa, I can’t wait to cross that finish line with you!  Seeing you come this far has been an incredible blessing!

I sent her some questions and here is what she had to say…

-Tell me about your sickness – how you felt, how you were diagnosed, and your surgery

 Its kind of crazy because I had felt a little sick for a few days before things drastically changed…I had been yawning a lot, not because I was tired, but more because I need more oxygen. It was bizarre and I didn’t think anything of it. I had also had a cough for about two weeks. I went to Barry’s on wednesday and noticed I had a harder time running than usual. I just chalked that up to my kind of cold symptoms. On Thursday morning when I went in to work I had the occupational health nurse take a look at my because I was having right sided chest/side pain. She said my lungs sounded clear, and that I might have pulled a muscle in my chest/side (which made sense after some of the moves we had done for chest day at Barry’s the day before) and she told me if my cough continued to come back and see her on MondayOn Thursday evening when I went to bed everything hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t lay flat. It literally felt like I had a ton of bricks on my chest. I couldn’t breath. So I propped myself up to sleep semi upright. When I woke up Friday morning it was worse. I couldn’t even take 3 steps without getting short of breath. I was breathing so heavy. I didn’t really want to go to the doctor but my friend insisted that we go. All that was done was a chest x-ray and I was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent home with antibiotics. Saturday I did not feel any better and was so upset because if you know me, you know I LOVE Keith Urban! He was playing at the Bridgestone Arena and I had had tickets for months (floor seats too!). I really just wanted to find a wheel chair and go (haha) but I knew I would be miserable and not able to enjoy it anyway. That night I coughed up blood as well. That scared me. I did some research and saw that it could be a symptom of pneumonia. So then I didn’t really think much else of it. Sunday morning…after two days of antibiotics, I woke up feeling worse, not better. I knew that something was wrong and that the antibiotics should have been working by now. I called my parents and talked to them for a bit about what to do…we decided I would go to the Vanderbilt ER. As soon as I got in the door and they did an EKG, saw how low my oxygen level was (it was in the low 80s for all of your medical people), and my heart rate was high. The EKG confirmed their suspisions for a pulmonary embolism (or PE) but they wanted to do a Cat Scan to be sure and see the size of it. Now I am a Cat Scan tech and we scan a bunch of these tests a day…usually about 3% are positive…As soon as I was back in the room from my scan the doctor was waiting for me to confirm the CT showed a massive PE. I asked him to show me and sure enough I saw it with my own eyes. I have been doing Cat Scans for 4 years and I had never seen a PE that big!! They began their workup and prepped me for the OR. I didn’t even know that going in and physically removing the clots was even an option when a PE was this bad. They informed me I would have to have open heart surgery (yes my heart was stopped and it is scary to even think about) and I was put on a by-pass machine. Within the hour I was up in the OR and undergoing the surgery. I remember the doctor calling my parents to let them know what was going on. I vaguely remember the disbelief as the doctor had to repeat to them over and over what was about to happen and what they had to do to save my life. My parents hopped in their car and left Pennsylvania that night and headed down to Nashville.  The surgery took about 4 hours. I am so thankful my sister was there with me every step of the way. I remember waking up after surgery, still intubated (had a breathing tube down my throat)…and the Super Bowl was on. I was trying to spell/sign to her “score” with my fingers…I wanted to know who was winning! Haha! Shortly after I woke up they pulled the breathing tube out. I do not remember much of the next 12-24 hours because of the heavy drugs they had me on, but I was transferred out of the ICU and to a step down room for the rest of my recovery in the hospital.

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-How did you feel after your surgery?

Surprisingly, while I was in the hospital it was not that bad, but they kept me pretty comfortable with medication. The day after surgery they try to get you up and moving to start inpatient cardiac rehab which consists of walking slowly on a treadmill with my chest tube still attached. Getting on that treadmill was harder on me emotionally than physically. 4 days because this surgery I was running a 6 and a half min mile and sprinting at a 12.5 on an incline (I was in the best running shape of my life)…now I was walking at a 0.8!! As I was stepping on the treadmill though with my back to the door I heard someone say that I had a visitor…I turn around and there stands Megan Conner…go figure my trainer would perfectly time her visit as I am getting on the treadmill!!! What are the odds?!

Starting outpatient rehab after I was discharged was difficult for me too. I cried the first time I stepped foot in that gym and had to discuss everything with the therapist. But I had faith that with time I could get back to where I was before  my surgery. Thankfully I met an amazing man, Brian Rulison, who helped me to push through rehab every day and was my biggest supporter! He came to rehab and doctors appointments with me. He met me in probably the worst time of my list and could have easily walked away because I just had so much going on and was not healthy to be able to go on “normal dates” and so on. But he stuck by me, supported me, and helped me through it every step of the way. Having him come into my lift when I needed him most was the biggest blessing I have ever experienced!photo 4-75

The physical pain I had after the surgery consisted of not being able to lay flat for a good two months after. And even once I started to lay flat it uncomfortable for while. I also lost all range of motion in my arms. For 8 weeks after surgery I could not lift more than 10lb. Every week after that I could add another 10lbs. But I could hardly raise my arms past my shoulders for the longest time.

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-What were your goals after surgery?

My goals after surgery were to get back into the shape I was in before surgery. I was in the best shape of my life before surgery and I wanted to get back there again! I also had a goal of running a half marathon in the fall. That ended up not happening. It took me longer than I had imagined or would have liked to fully recover, but I am doing a half marathon a little over a year later to celebrate how far I have come!

-How has fitness played a part in your life and through all of this?

Honestly, if I was not in good shape physically when I got sick I probably would have died. All of the doctors and nurses told me over and over again how lucky I am to have survived this. PE’s, especially of this magnitude are usually fatal. Had I been overweight, out of shape, and my heart not strong enough to handle the amount of physical strain that is endured for so long I probably would have had a different outcome.

-What are the most positive things that you’ve learned through all you’ve been through? 

So along with getting back in shape physically, I also knew that I was going to have to be really mindful of my diet and eating. I wasn’t going to be able to eat like I use to since my workouts were not as hard and I really needed to focus on portion control. I found a great program called the 21 day fix from Beachbody. It uses portion control containers that you use to mix and match and create meals. I fell in love with this program. After discovering this program and going through everything that I had I wanted to pay it forward and help other people. I did not want someone else to have a different outcome or be unable to undergo a life saving surgery because of their poor health. So I signed up to be a BeachBody coach. It has been the most positive and best decision of my life! I am surrounded my positive, like-minded people and I get to help people every day live happier and healthier lives. Nothing makes me happier than having a challenger message me their before and after pictures and results. Or telling me they are down X about of pounds or have lost X amount of inches! Seeing these peoples lives change for the better and they become more happy and confident in themselves in the most rewarding thing! I love that I have found a way to turn what happened to me in to something positive to help others! Being a coach as also helped me to hold myself accountable for getting back into the shape I was before surgery. It took about 12 months but by February/March 2015 I finally felt that I had gotten back in to that shape again! If anything I feel that I am actually stronger and faster now!

This is Megan again… 🙂  I just wanted to finish by saying –

I’m so grateful for this girl and her inspiration, her support while my boyfriend is overseas as well, her love and support that are just continuous and selfless.  Elyssa – here’s to many more years of 12.5’s, half marathons and more!!  

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My One Year Anniversary

One year ago today I opened my little personal training studio. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year! Thank you to everyone who has stepped foot into this little magical place, and to everyone who has trusted me to help them.  Every person that has been here has changed my life and for that I am eternally grateful.  Thank you for making this little dream become a reality! Here’s to many more dreams, sweaty towels, laughs, tears, more adventures, goals met, pounds lost, muscles built, great workouts and lives changed.

 

Happy 9 Years, Nashville

9 years ago today I rolled into this town. I slept on an air mattress in an apartment off of Briley Parkway until I could get a bed delivered that my mom and aunt had pitched in to buy for me. Never did I imagine that I would be where I am today. Where is that? I’m still not sure, but I like it, and I’m thankful.

I came to Nashville to be a part of a crazy, messed up, alcohol driven, glorious, hateful, unforgiving, amazing, and most beautiful business. I’ve written songs, had some sung by famous people, had some sung by not-so-famous people, and I’ve poured my heart into each one knowing that they will live a life much longer than my own. 

I’ve lived the hardest and best years of my life in this town. Times where I didn’t know how I would pay my rent the next month. Times when friends brought over cleaning supplies and necessities because I needed them. I shed a lot of tears, battled depression, and had a lot of doubts. I’ve also met people who have changed my life for the better, people who have left a mark on me in ways that define what being a good human is really about. I’ve sung songs, I’ve traveled the world (a few places), I’ve had ideas, dreams come true, I’ve become a part of something bigger than me, I made the best friends, and I’ve learned who I am and who I’m becoming.

I’ve also learned that this life and this time on earth isn’t about what we have, but it’s about who we are and what we do for others. It’s not about how many songs are cut or if I get a check in the mail. It’s not about the car I drive or the house I live in. It’s about the person from a class, from a training session, a person who hears one of my songs, it’s about the person who walks away from me and takes something good with them. That’s what it’s about.

So, if you asked me 9 years ago where I thought I’d be today, it certainly wouldn’t be here. And where am I exactly? Again, I don’t know, but I’m happy, and I’m thankful, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Happy 9 Years, Nashville.