So you want me to run for no reason... you must be crazy..
Updated: Jun 20, 2019
Awwww yes some of the things I hear the most when I tell people I like (ok love) to run is why would you run , are you being chased because that is the only reason I would run, your realize I don't even drive that far... and most of the time I just smile and nod. Believe me I was one of those people who would say the same things to my family and friends and even random strangers I would meet at different places including bathrooms (yesssss that is another story but I tend to meet new people everywhere I go LOL). So what changed for me.. what made me this crazy unicorn runner girl.. what made me become the girl that owns more shoes (ok they are running shoes) than I can count.. what made me become one bad mother runner..
I guess starting from the beginning is the best place to start.. once upon a time there was a boy and there was a girl and they had a daughter they named Melissa... LOL don't worry I won't go that far back but as a young kid I loved being outside and running around and jumping ramps and getting dirty and pretty much doing anything the boys could do but even better, so you could say I was a tomboy.. the one girly thing about me was I did ballet for a long time when I was little and loved it so much..loved feeling graceful and light on my feet. Fast forward to middle school and in enters soccer and I was hooked. I didn't like the running part but man could I kick and wasn't afraid to attack someone coming at me with a ball. The last time I played on a soccer league was at 21 years old and I found out I was pregnant with my first son. Soon after that my life revolved around my baby Cameron.. to keep myself active I started taking aerobic classes because I loved to workout and step and kick boxing were life! Then Baby #2 came along and up till the end of my pregnancy I was still working out and then entered Hunter into my world! Life was active and moving fast. Before I knew it I was turning THIRTY!!
My dad who was a crazy runner (I didn't get it but he seemed happy) decided to give me a entry for the Disney Half Marathon for my Birthday gift.. I thought he had lost his mind and was going crazy, because uhhh hellllo Dad anything would have been better then that so I thought. I was like ok I have a few months to get ready.. I'm in shape and healthy so this shouldn't be that hard. So being the awesome person I was (procrastinator) I never trained and before I knew it was Jan and time to go. Drive to Orlando and wake up at some godly early time to get there to stand around and wait for the start. I remember looking around and thinking these people are nuts, but dang the energy was amazing!!! I remember that start thinking I was a freaking Olympic runner and this was going to be a piece of cake since I'm sure I ran like a 7 min mile so i'll be done before I knew it. Welllllll the wheels fell off pretty quick lol. Mile 4-5 I was like WTF am I doing out here.. but then your running through the park and its all magical and I forget about the pain i'm starting to feel until yeah that magic disappears pretty quick. I'll never forget thinking to myself those last few miles that this is the dumbest thing someone could do and why would someone pay to do this. Welllllll how easily you forget all of that when you cross the finish line and they hand you a pretty Donald Duck medal for all your hard work and you feel like a rock start!!! So yep I signed up for the next year right away but said I would totally do it different next year. But guess what ... yep it wasn't done different , if anything almost worse because I had been in the hospital the week before the race, and at mile 10 I took biofreeze to rub on my knee (that was swollen 10 million times larger then my leg when I finished) and forgot about said biofreeze on my hand and wiped my eyes and mouth. Yep don't suggest trying that one at home friends lol. Crossing that finish line there was no joy or elation.. there was just the realization that running was not my thing.
Fast forward to 37 year old Melissa..
I got remarried and was going in for a hysterectomy (more on allll of that later, I promise!) and guess what .. I'm pregnant the Dr tells me.. I can't be pregnant I think, they made a mistake.. maybe my blood work is just off or switched because I can't have kids anymore and I'm the healthiest I've ever been after finishing two rounds of Insanity Workout (yes my love aerobics is strong , and why I loved being an instructor back in the day!!) so yep surely they made a mistake. Don't get me wrong it wasn't that I wasn't happy, I just had a hard time wrapping my head around it all at first and a complete 180 from what I thought and my boys were 15 & 13 and we were entering those fun years (aka they are little more self reliant which equals mommy freedom LOL).
I worked out during my pregnancy and remember watching my girlfriend Nikki Martel always posting about her new love of running. She looked like she was having the same type of fun my dad always looked like he was having (even though I still thought the two of them were crazy). September comes and my life is blessed with baby #3.. Ian..the light of all our lives.
But I fell into a really bad post partum depression that I never spoke to anyone about. I felt like I was losing myself again after finally finding myself years ago (yep that is a whole blog post on its own lol) and didn't know what to do. So when Ian was 6 months old I met a awesome girl on Facebook and we become friends. Stephanie Pniewski was a Beachbody coach and I already knew I loved BeachBody because of my Insanity workout days!! A new program came out called 21 Day Fix and with Stephanie's help I decided to do it and it was finally what I needed to lose that baby weight that was hanging on. Being 38 wasn't like when I was 22 and 24 having babies lol! Well then I was like hmmm I need something more. Nikki's post made me want to get out there and run. Her posts made me want to find a group of friends like she had that motivated each other, supported each other and just had a good time together. So I laced up my shoes and could barely make it down the block with out wanting to die. It wasn't that I wasn't in shape, because I worked out, but holy hell this was a different endurance that was needed and I was missing it.
So I decided I needed a plan, a race, a purpose, something for me to focus on. As you will learn if you don't already know me I'm kinda a spaz and have to have something to push me and challenge me or I'll get bored. So obviously the only thing I could think of was its time to really do my first half marathon since in my mind the first 2 totally didn't count!! I found a training plan (good ole Hal Higdon) and helped start a running club in my neighborhood to bring other crazies along on my adventure. That summer we trained...through heat, through rain, through humidty, through more heat , and did I mention the rain!!!
Before I knew it I was at the start line of the Marine Corp Half Marathon in my hometown (Jacksonville, Florida) with two of my dearest running buddies and we were ready to go! To say this one had a better outcome would be a understatement because this one is when I knew I was hooked and couldn't wait to do it again!!
Nikki and I finally got to do a race together.. Divas Half Marathon in St. Augustine Florida.. this made me so happy to share the road with one of the people who inspired me...one of the people who showed me it was ok to take a chance and you never know you might end up loving it.. one of the people who helped put me on the path of finding myself again thanks to running!
Over the next year and half I would go on to do a lot more half marathons and make tons of amazing new friends along the way and would always tell Nikki that YAY I'm finally like you girl, having fun and always tell my dad that I get it, I get why you love this! And during my recovery of my hysterectomy is when I decided that it was time to tackle the marathon. And what better place to do it but the place that I first thought running was not for me.. Disney! After that the most logical thinking was hmm I need to go further.. why not do my first Ultra (yep you guessed it more on that later!) on my 40th Birthday weekend... because isn't that what normal people do.. and aren't I the most normal person you know.....