Here is an article about one of my clients. She is amazing. One of the most determined, willing and committed people I have ever worked with. She has faced some of the toughest obstacles of anyone I've ever coached, and yet she has THE best attitude. She inspires me and makes me want to work harder to reach my goals.
Thanks for writing the fantastic article Crystal, and Melodee- thanks for sharing your story! You are a true Woman of Strength.
Running for the health of itIf you had any doubts running was a mental challenge, then you haven't met new runner Melodee Luka.
Crystal Rhyno – Running with Rhyno
Self-described as queen-sized, Melodee is a thirty-something gal who took up running this past spring.
"I don't run," she says. "I am not built like a runner. When you look at me, runner is not the first word you think of – shot putter maybe, not a runner."
Melodee is getting married this February. When her doctor told her she needed to get on a healthier lifestyle track, Melodee decided to run.
Well, it was either running or ballet, she joked.
"But I don't have the grace for ballet."
Melodee wanted to do something that challenged her mentally, so the physical part wouldn't be so bad.
A tangible goal would be to run a 5K race.
"It was easier to make a lifestyle change by focusing on the 5K race."
After researching and deciding on a training group, she signed up for a learn-to-run program.
"In my head, the hardest part was deciding to go to the class," said Melodee, who is a cost analyst for Conoco Phillips Canada. "And I prepaid the full amount because I am so cheap, I wouldn't want to waste any of my money."
The day before her first class, Melodee was a bucket of nerves. She tossed and turned the entire night.
"I was so nervous about the class," said Melodee. "I am not petite person. I am not a light person. Gravity is not nice to me. I thought I was going to be the worst person in class and I didn't want to die. The whole day I was so nervous."
But as all good stories go, Melodee got over her nerves, and set off on the path leading to her new-found love.
"I am paying a professional," she said. "I will do whatever she tells me to do. And I left everything else at the door. When she said go, I tried. I tried really hard."
At that first class, Melodee knew she had a lot of work ahead of her.
"I couldn't even run for 30 seconds," she said. "I watched the other people break away. I stayed in the back. I had problems with my shins and I had tendinitis in my feet. All I thought was just do what ever you are told."
Through all the ups and painful downs, Melodee pushed through the learn-to-run program.
In June, Melodee entered the Give the Gift of Life Fun Run and Walk for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
"I finished," she said. "I finished. One day, I will be concerned about how fast I go. All I care right now is making it to the finish line."
Next year, Melodee would love to run a 10K and then in a few years do a half-marathon. These days, she's up to running four minutes at a time.
"I'd love to get to the point where I can get to a 20-minute stretch," she said.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Melodee had a running breakthrough while walking her boxer, Presley.
She thought, "I would rather be running."
So she turned around went back into her house and changed into her running gear.
"My limitations are nowhere close to where I thought they were," said Melodee. "I enjoy the outdoors more ever than I have before. I am not going to say I have the 'runner's high' yet. I have the 'oh yeah feeling'. I think the runner's high is coming. It's getting easier. I appreciate more of what it takes to increase your distances and I will get there."
Melodee grew up near Hines Creek and has lived in Grande Prairie for more than 15 years. She's planning on wearing a strapless dress for her wedding in Mexico.
Melodee trained with the Women of Strength (www.womenofstrength.ca) learn-to-run group.