Name: Melissa Blackmer
Nickname: Mel & Mel-B (Not the Spice Girl)
What’s your running story?
I was never a runner, I actually really disliked running! It was torture as a kid when we would train for basketball and softball and would have to do running drills. In my early 20s I randomly ran a few 5ks, and hated every single minute of it. I remember one year, I signed up to run the Seaway 5k and didn't even start "training" until the week of the race. Needless to say, I did awful and the whole race, I was so mad at myself. Shortly after that I decided that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and get into shape so I slowly worked it into a routine and made small goals along the way.
I didn’t love running until I did it for the right reasons. Accomplishment, mental health, physical health, stress relief and “me” time - as a mother you rarely get those moments! Running became my thing. I started to CRAVE a good run and the sense of accomplishment when you stick to your training schedule to a “T”. Eventually I moved on from 5ks and ran a few 10ks, half marathons, triathlons, a marathon, and a century ride on my road bike. I'm addicted to the endorphine rush you get during races and long training runs with friends!! Running and riding my bike also let's me eat and drink and not feel as guilty!!
My favorite part of MY Running Story is all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way! I'm super thankful for my Run Muskegon friends!
What is your favorite post race food/drink?
Ice cold water and/or coffee. Super boring I know, but since we generally run pretty early on the weekends, I love to sit down and reax after a long run with a big cup of coffee. I recently discovered RumChata mini creamers and I'm obsessed :)
What is your most embarrassing running story?
I would have to say it is from this past summer. I started trail running with the Run Muskegon "Dirty Birds" - a group of them were training for North Country and I decided that I wanted to join in the fun with them and I fell in love with trail running. It's so challenging and such a great workout! The views of the beach from the dunes are amazing! This particular day Alana joined us and we were leading the pack heading towards Coast Guard Park on the trails. As I was trying to keep up with her, I tripped over a dang root and my ankle gave out. It was slow motion as I fell and rolled on the trail. I let out a huge scream with a few choice words and everyone stopped running to make sure I was alright. I instantly knew what I did and was crushed...mind you i'm almost 4 miles deep into the woods, so I was bound and determined to be able to run back. I stood up and knew it was over :( Mark was awesome and said he would walk with me the remaining 1/2 mile to Coast Guard Park as the pack ran ahead. On our way there, I kid you not a huge bug flew into my ear and bit me and as I'm flailing around screaming profanities it then landed on my arm and bit me again! Mark was just staring at me wondering what the heck is wrong with this girl! The whole hobble to the park all I could do was hold back my tears. I then had to sit on the bench at the park alone in the hot sun and wait for the group to run the 4 miles back to Hoffmaster and Ryan was so kind to drive and pick me up. Let's just say I haven't been trail running since!
What’s your favorite running distance?
5 miles for sure! I hate the first 3 miles, it's so hard to warm up. 5-6 miles is my sweet spot!
What is your favorite city to run in?
Muskegon of course! I love that I live so close to Lake Michigan and the bike trail!! You can't beat the smell of beach breeze on a warm summer day on an early morning run!
What is your best running memory?
I've had such great running experiences over the years, but I have to say the best memory to-date would be finishing the Chicago Marathon. Training for it was so mentally and physically difficult. I had to live and breathe my running schedule that summer and fall and I felt like I missed out on a lot. Even if it meant planning a 17 mile long run by myself while on family vacation in an unfamiliar place. The race didn't go as planned, I coudln't find my training partner Jill and ran the whole race solo, I didn't fuel properly and I experienced some crazy foot pain that was hard to push through at the end, but when I crossed that finish line it was the most AMAZING feeling ever! I cried tears of joy! (and pain)
So many emotions that day! I've never felt so strong in my life!
I also had the pleasure of running with "Team Half-Rack & Hot Wings" at the 2016 Michigan Ragnar. What an amazing experience with such great friends! I can't wait to do it again this year!
Favorite Places to Run?
I would have to say early morning summer beach runs. You can't beat the views when running the lakeshore.
Favorite Music to Run to?
I love to listen to rap music when I'm running shorter distances it totally gets me pumped up, but when I run longer distances I love to listen to String Cheese Incident or any jam bands.
Did you run before joining Run Muskegon?
Yes, but it wasn't as much fun :)
Why did you join Run Muskegon?
I wanted to challenge myself and meet new people. Plus Shawn started running with the group and I love that lady! I was excited to run with her and also meet like-minded people who wanted to run as much as I did.
If you had to nominate a runner for us to feature next week, who should we talk to?
It would have to be Ryan - aka Ryno! He's the best and I'm so thankful to call him my friend.
What would you say to anyone looking to run with Run Muskegon?
Come check it out! If you're new to running, experienced, young or old. There is such a great mixture of runners and exprience. You can learn so much from everyone and make friends along the way. Plus we drink some great beer afterwards!!