From Mel


Who We’re Running the Fiercely United Virtual Run with and Why

Can you feel it? The Fiercely United Virtual Run is almost here!
To celebrate the friendships, the miles and the soon to be consumed post-race victory
cocktails (!) Tori and I decided to share two little vignettes about the BRFs (Best Running Friends) who will be running alongside us come race day.


Mel + Lindsay :: 13.1 BRF Team

She is the text message before a big day or a big moment. IMG_6556She is the ‘just because’ gift you receive because it made her think of you. She runs races with you not for the medal, but for the moments. She gets on an airplane and travels across the country because you need her. She is the friend you want to see truly happy because of all the smiles and generosity she has given you.

She is late nights, glasses of wine, dancing with your hands up and laughing until you cry. She reminds you that you can be carefree and grounded all at the same time. 

I am blessed to have this friendship.


For my girls – 8 reasons why Mommy runs

unnamed-1When I put my running shoes on, my daughters know I’m heading out the door for some miles. They always see me leave, but what I noticed yesterday was what they observed when I returned. I was hot, red-faced and sweaty, but what they saw was completely different.

“Mommy, you look better. You must’ve had a good run.”

What struck me about this comment is I didn’t have to tell them I felt better, they could just feel it. Of course, as a runner of 15+ years, I’ve always felt it, but in that moment I realized they did too. I was lighter, looser, and more at ease. My shoulders were more relaxed, my body language was inviting rather than tired, my mind was clear and my smile was effortless. And despite just running hard for 45 minutes, I felt refreshed and alive. In that moment I was a better me, and ready to step in and be a better mom.

As I sat on our front porch watching my daughters play, I realized I needed to let them know why Mommy runs. I needed to tell them why I leave feeling one way, and come home feeling another. And that while I can do my best to show them the magic of running, the only sure way for them to believe is to do it themselves. To begin the process of stepping into who they truly are, and witnessing their potential through their own actions and dreams.


To Begin… Again.

I’ve been waiting almost a year for this run. It was slow and clunky, and for the first half mile, I seriously felt a bit like an alien occupying someone else’s body. Things were loose and jiggly, but I didn’t care – the freedom trumped everything. You get so accustomed to existing with another human being inside of you that you forget what it feels like to run alone – to BE alone. You forget how your body used to feel when it was just, well, yours.

As beautiful a journey as pregnancy is, I needed THIS back. We can only be pregnant for so long before we start to crave the freedom of just lacing up our shoes, heading out the door and just GOING. Flying as fast as our body will take us, loosening the grip of hard day and just letting our feet pound out the day for us.

Photo Mar 09, 2 19 32 PMWhen I got home, my husband asked me how I felt and all I could say was, “Amazing. And like my uterus has it’s own heartbeat.”


Honor the goal, but do it for the journey.

I can’t stop thinking about this recent message and photo that was posted on our timeline last week. Maybe it’s because I’m a /green/ flower. Maybe it’s because my Declare It Day goal was the exact same as Jen’s – to run a 1 hr 45 min half marathon. Or maybe, if I’m being honest, it’s because my goal truly scared me, and I knew – deep down – there was a good chance I may not reach it. Jen’s message – simple, brave and beautiful – is something we all need to hear:

“Sometimes you just have to have courage to attempt a goal…although I did not achieve my DID goal (1/2 in 1:45) I still crushed my previous PR with a 1:46 finish time. I will take that and celebrate and try again soon.”


Motherhood: Run your race, and nobody else’s.

We’ve all had the ‘Mommy Guilt’ thoughts and struggles, and it’s one thing to wrestle with them internally, but it’s much harder when you’re suddenly forced into conversations about the topic. (For what it’s worth, I loath and despise the term Mommy Guilt, but that is for another time.)

Do I feel guilty.

www.errinhiltbrandphotography.comThat is what was asked of me recently. Amidst starting a business this past year, reshuffling life on the homefront and making choices that look, hmm, let’s say ‘different’ than many others, I’ve been riding this wave for awhile. But always in my own head.

Politely, I replied, “Well, I think Motherhood is a lot like running, and we all run a different race.”


:: Permission to Pause ::

It’s been a long time since I’ve done it.

Given myself permission to wholeheartedly let go and reconnect with myself, my passions and my core desires.

To just be. To feel, unfiltered. To lean in, effortlessly.

Why has it been so long? Oh probably because I’ve been in stealth startup mode for the past two years. Willing a business into existence. Traveling across the country on a mission. Writing copy like a crazy woman. Watching YouTube videos on how to Photoshop like a badass. Sharpening my social media ninja skills. Climbing over roadblocks. Negotiating. Reading about trademarks. Researching the industry, asking questions, and learning, learning, learning.

Yeah, it’s been busy. And, truthfully, I’ve reveled in every glorious minute of it. Turns out this ‘being in charge of my own destiny’ is totally my thing.

And there’s still so much to do. There is still so much opportunity ahead. The possibilities are palpable, and sometimes, it feels completely overwhelming.


:: Give Your All ::

This morning, I experienced a truly memorable finish line moment. I crossed it with my mom…who turned 62 years young today! As we approached the finish line, I began to sing her a very loud and teary ‘Happy Birthday.’ (I may have also used excessive jazz hands…I can’t be sure.) Many along the sidelines realized what was going on and joined in – it was beautiful and the absolute perfect way to end our 13.1 miles and celebrate her achievement.

More than that, it was a weekend away with my Mom. A precious gift that without a work trip to Iowa, may not have presented itself. And after a long week of keeping the ol’ plates spinning in both life and work, my spirit needed a little shining. My mo-jo needed a lil’ jolt. And my heart needed a little love. 


:: The No Excuses Wake-up Call ::

Who can relate? Please tell me I’m not alone……

My training run didn’t happen yesterday because _________________ (insert laundry list combo of real, valid, lame, exhaustive reasons here.) The later it got in the day, the more I sensed my window of pavement freedom closing. Damn, I did this to myself, I thought.

I was pissed. I let this happen. I didn’t plan. I didn’t ask for what I needed. I didn’t make it a priority. 

Now, a little known fact about me: I hate waking up early. And for that reason, I have always loathed the early morning run. I am eternally jealous of all of you whose ritual it is to get up before the world awakes and knock out your miles. Instead, I usually slog it out in the late afternoon or evening. A night hawk, for sure.

But for as much as I hate early morning runs…I hate missed opportunities even more. My training run didn’t happen because I wasn’t disciplined enough – mentally or logistically – to make it happen.

And so, last night, I placed my /purple/ no excuses flower ON TOP of my phone, which was set for 5:45 AM. I set my alarm to ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey. If I had the ladyballs to ignore my flower and my boy Steve Perry, SHAME ON ME. I laid my clothes out on the edge of my bed (purple sports bra, for good measure.)


What about the Flowers that are broken?

Before our flower unveiling later this evening, we have to go back…to where it all started…..

“What about the Flowers that are broken?”

This…this is the question that started the journey of our new flower. It was asked from a young woman, Mollie, who came into our lives this past February during a visit to Jacksonville, Florida. She asked this question from a place of personal pain and healing, as she had recently experienced a miscarriage, but also from a place of hope and new beginnings.

“People want to rush me through my grief,” she said. “It’s as if they are uncomfortable watching me go through it. But rushing me through it won’t make it go away.”

“I want to feel it. I want to know it. I’m supposed to be here, and I’m okay with that.”

The power of her words – the gravity of them – knocked us over. Immediately, we looked at each other. Teary eyes, we knew. This is how all of the flowers have come to life…and this was to be no different.


:: Calling All Angels ::

Originally written May 26th, 2013. 

AngelsMy husband Jason and I ran the Twilight 10K this evening as part of the Madison Marathon weekend. My legs were tired from being on them all day at the expo, but rarely do we get the opportunity to run a race together through our city. And so, we did.

At mile two, the route took us by the University of Wisconsin Hospital. As we ran by, we saw a med flight chopper leaving from the rooftop – never a good sign. Instantly, it brought us back to when our youngest daughter Allison, at just six weeks old, was brought to this very same hospital, via her own med flight plane. For Jason and I, that experience can seem surreal because Allison, thankfully and miraculously, is now a healthy, happy almost three year-old. But as a parent, you never forget those days and nights in the hospital – desperate for good news, fiercely watching over your child and ignoring the doctors who patiently try to prepare you with percentages and likelihoods of her recovery.

And as the chopper flew over us, Jason and I both looked at each other. No words needed to be said – they were simply felt. 


:: Happy Mother’s Day ::

Meet my amazing mother, Ruth.

She started running at the age of 60, and will cross her first half marathon finish line later this month at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. This photo (given to me last night by our good friends at Artifice Films) was taken last month…seconds after my mom finished her longest race yet – ten miles.

We’re often asked if there is an age requirement for Fellow Flowers…and I often reference my mom as the example of ‘absolutely not.’ There is no age limit on dreams, determination, setting goals and sheer will. But I’ll let her tell that story someday 

She wears the /red/ flower most days, and it fits her perfectly. She’s usually up around 4:30 a.m. (no joke)…and greets the early morning crew at the YMCA before most of us are even awake. She brings it – every. damn. day. No exceptions. Her other favorite color is /yellow/ … running because she gets to…and with deep appreciation…(and in my opinion, because she works her ass off to be able to.)


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