Fast and Gracious: Mel the Running Rabbit

{Welcome back my feature series on those who have inspired me on my journey.  Today’s post is about one the fastest, most dedicated athletes I know.  And, everyone loves her because she exudes positivity, encouragement and support.  If you missed Strength and Spirit, My Warrior Friend be sure to check it out!!!}

The other day, as I finished one of my regular, moderate runs, I glanced at my running watch to see that I had accomplished about 5 km in about 34 minutes.  Not bad, fairly consistent – I was happy with that.  As I uploaded my data, I browsed around on Facebook, and came across Melissa’s results for the 10 km race she had just finished that morning.  She had reached her goal, a personal best, and a time of 39:10 for 10 km!!!  Wow, I thought.  How does she do that?

finish-line
Melissa full of winning attitude

I am constantly thinking how does she do that when it comes to Melissa.  It just seems that she is always accomplishing another amazing win!  She has been most known for her running.  She has been competing at many distances for a long time.  Since I have met her, she has continuously expanded her horizons.  She took on the road racing world with a bang.  With only two seasons under her belt, she has already moved up a category and has multiple podium finishes.  She has taken on cross country skiing with zest, and recently entered the world of cross biking.  The whole time, she is chasing down and challenging her equally speedy husband, Reinier, who is clearly the passion of her life.  During a recent foot injury when she could not bike or run, she focused on swimming – something that she knew nothing about.  She simply looks at something, and does it.

Melissa makes her wins looks easy.  She really does.  A whole lot of us watch her in wonder and amazement at how effortless it appears as she wins and wins and wins.  What a lot of people may not fully realize is how much hard work and real commitment Melissa puts into those wins.  It isn’t just the day that she shows up for the race.  It is the days, weeks, and months of hard training and perseverance through illness, injury and anxiety.

Melissa and I both started blogging around the same time.  As I read her posts, I was absolutely touched by how open and real her writing was.  She wasn’t afraid to expose herself, and share in her own challenges and frustrations.  Until then, it would be have been easy to thin that her accomplishments came easy. But that train of thought couldn’t have been more wrong.  Leading up to a half marathon for which she had set an aggressive goal for herself, she suffered from some fairly severe stomach pains.  It took a while to figure out what the problem was.  Despite the pain, Melissa battled through her training sessions, never losing sight of the finish line.  She absolutely deserved that win and the accomplishment of the time she had set for herself.

The most amazing part of all of this is that she a compassionate, supportive, encouraging and positive team player.  She is always there to cheer others on and help them through the challenges.  She is always one of the first to give me kudos on all of my Strava activities.  She was so excited for me when I did my first half marathon, and she was with me the whole time as I could see her in my mind and I could feel her positivity.

Melissa has also been completely open and honest in her writing about her own fears and anxiety.  She always puts on a brave face and goes out there.  But what a lot of us forget, or don’t know, is that just like the rest of us, there are times when she is afraid and anxious.  I felt myself completely connecting with her experiences of anxiety.  She quickly become someone that I could confide in, and we often talk to each other about what we are experiencing.  Regardless of how much faster Melissa is than I am, we are on the same page as humans.  She is down to earth, real, and so genuine.

with-hubby
Melissa with Reinier (husband)

It is no surprise that someone with this much passion and positivity would channel her talents and energy into fundraising.  One the causes she is most dedicated to is Alex’s Lemonade.  Every year, Melissa dedicates her time to clocking up as many miles as she can to raise money for an illness that strikes such young children.  After an aggressive race season, she does not hesitate to put in even more effort to support others.

Recently, Melissa has started to support her step children as they venture into their own running ventures.  When she talks about their accomplishments, she is brimming with pride and excitement.  To them, she is a guide, a teacher, and a coach.  She is showing them how to set goals and achieve them.  She is teaching them how to develop physical and mental strength.

with-son
Melissa pacing her step-son, Keiran, on his first race

When you walk into a room and you see Melissa, you can feel her positive energy infusing you.  She is speedy, she is dedicated and continuously works hard.  Best of all, she shares her passion and positivity with everyone around her.

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8 thoughts on “Fast and Gracious: Mel the Running Rabbit

  1. Can I just say that I am really, really appreciative of your writing style/ability….you really capture and relay the essence of other’s accomplishments…you are very generous. Thanks for sharing (and, I’m following you) 🙂

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    1. Thank you SO much!!! It makes me really happy that you enjoyed this post so much, and that you really feel that I captured the essence of what someone else is about 🙂 This feature series on others who inspire me has been an amazing experience.

      I am caught up in a big project this week, but hope to get back to reading other blogs next week 🙂 Would love to check yours out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand how time can make it hard to read as much as we’d like…I find that goes for posting, as well…initially, I was meeting my goal of posting once a week, but that rarely happens of late…stop by whenever you like/get a chance 🙂

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      2. You and I are on the same page (pardon the pun)…I find that jotting inspirations down through out the week means that I have “sketched out” a theme by the time the weekend comes. That’s when I let spontaneity take over, and I write what comes. If I wait until the weekend to start, that rarely works…I need time, in between sparks of ideas, to let the next inspiration hit me…then, it all comes together however it is meant to when I do the majority of the work on Saturday and Sunday. I will be sure to make a point of looking for you 🙂

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