Friendspiration: Meet Mel!

Friendspiration introduces you to the people who inspire me the most – my friends. Each and every one of them has amazing stories to tell, and have pushed me, in no small way, to be the person that I am today. I hope you enjoy meeting them all as much as I enjoy having them in my life!

Technically speaking, you’ve already met Mel – we ran the St. Jude’s Memphis Half Marathon together last December!

Mel and I were in the same cohort in grad school. While I taught classes in the undergraduate Recreation Studies program as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Mel taught group fitness classes and helped run the fitness program as a campus recreation Graduate Assistant. We became fast friends, studying together, editing each others literature reviews, and blowing off steam at our local brewpub’s irish night.

Once we graduated, life took us in different directions – Mel to Texas, and me back to Columbus. It was only after grad school that we both started running, and it’s been a great way for us to keep in touch. We keep up with each others’ training on Daily Mile, Facebook, and through phone calls and text messages. I loved cheering Mel on in her first marathon a few weeks ago, even it meant obsessively refreshing the results page to get her splits and send her encouraging texts.

I’m so incredibly proud to call Mel my friend. She is one of the strongest, kindest, and most dedicated person I know, and I can’t wait for our 2012 race adventure together, wherever it ends up being!

Introducing Mel:

Name your poison – what’s your activity of choice?

Any kind of movement.  I’m addicted to it. I’ve never been a good athlete but when I started teaching Group Fitness, I found my calling in life. I LOVE working in the fitness industry because everyone can get fit and become a better version of themselves. Helping to get other people moving along with me is what really lights my fire.

What does this activity add to your life?

I think using my love of FUN and movement to help others has given me a purpose in life.  From the very first summer I worked at a weight loss camp I knew… this is what I want to do.  I feel so fulfilled knowing that I’ve had a positive impact on other people.  This doesn’t just extend to my clients or group fitness participants… every time I get a new friend to the start line of a 5K I get a rush of excitment and feeling of accomplishment.

What has challenged you most in your lifetime and how did you tackle it?

My divorce.  I don’t know if I tackled it or if it steamrolled me.  There was alot of crying, some screaming, more crying… I didn’t eat for the first 3 days after my heart got broken.  Then for the next 2 weeks all I could stomach was pasta with butter and cheddar cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I guess you are what you eat and I was empty and hopeless.  But time heals everything. I managed to finish my last semester of grad school and get a job. I moved to a new city and started a whole new life. It still hurts sometimes but all we can do is continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?

I was extremely proud when I finished my Master’s thesis and got my graduate degree.  The process itself is hard enough but I am still shocked that I did it while dealing with the psychological fall-out from my divorce.  I refused to quit… I guess that’s the part I’m the most proud of.

What goals are you currently working toward or would you like to accomplish in your lifetime?

I’m trying to lose weight!  I moved to Houston, TX about 20 months ago.  For the first 16 months I was here I gained about a pound a month despite all of my physical activity. I finally stopped gaining weight while training for the Houston Marathon (my first!) and now it’s time to start moving the number in the opposite direction!

Who or what inspires you the most?

I get inspired by watching or hearing about other people who have surpassed their limits and pushed boundaries.  Ultramarathoners, contestants on the Biggest Loser, friends and family… when I see other people who have achieved the ‘impossible’ it makes me want to join them!

Favorite quote?

“If you’re not prepared to look stupid, nothing truly great is ever going to happen to you.”


2 thoughts on “Friendspiration: Meet Mel!

  1. Pingback: Race Recap: Athens Half Marathon! «

  2. Pingback: Race Recap: Bird-In-Hand Half Marathon… or, the Time I Met Bart Yasso |

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