(Melanie is currently on the Anchor house 500 mile bike ride this week)
What event(s) are you currently training for and what does that include?
I am currently training for the Anchor House Ride for Runaways. This is a 500 mile cycling event, over seven days. The average mileage per day is 75. Its over moderately difficult terrain. The Anchor House is a charity in Trenton, NJ that provides services to youth who are unable to stay with their families, because of abuse or crisis situations. The Anchor House works to reunite youth with their families or assist in exploring adoption and foster situations.
I am also training for an Olympic distance triathlon at the end of July, and numerous 5k's, 10k's and half marathons thrown in there to keep things exciting.
What are your personal fitness goals for this year?
In the past I would be able to rattle off a long list of goals. However, this is a year of rebuilding. Last year, at this exact time I was at peak fitness. I was really happy with my fitness level, how I was riding and running. Then, my cycling partner was involved in a serious accident. He had multiple trauma that kept him out of action for almost nine months. It was startling because neither of us had ever taken that long off from fitness and activities. We were "brought to our knees" by this accident and the follow up care that was needed. As a gesture of solidarity to him during his recovery, I opted to hold off on running and riding until he was ready to come back.
Therefore, this year is a year of rebuilding. I lament the fitness that I lost, and all this comes full circle when I see how slow I am now at running and riding. I used to do yoga several times a week , now I can see my flexibility really took a hit. It's funny how long it takes to build things up, but it takes very little time to lose it all. Now that I am back on the bike (which was especially hard for my cycle partner after the accident), I am focusing on getting my pace per mile to drop. I will get there, but this time off taught me never to take my fitness for granted!
What do you think is the most difficult part about training and doing an endurance event?
Staying focused. We are not a society that is used to waiting. We want and can get things now. Endurance events teach me patience. I have to think in advance about my goals, then I have to map out my training, and then go for it! I've trained for many marathons and long distance cycling events, and you cannot start a month before the event to train. You must gradually build up endurance. That takes time. It takes focus. It takes discipline. Things our current society isn’t used to doing.
What benefits/rewards do you get from competing?
Confidence! There is nothing like finishing an event, a training ride, a long run and feeling like there isn‘t anything I cant do. I think sports has the ability to build confidence.
What advice would you give someone looking to compete?
Say to yourself “You can do it!” My 72 year old mom finished her first 5k a few years ago. She said my running pursuits inspired her and she wanted to be part of the fun. So she signed up the whole family, from her 5 year old grandson, to my 70 year old dad and all ages of family members in between. We all competed in the 5k (I did the half marathon). I just remember thinking as she crossed the finish line, "she didn't over think this, she decided she wanted to do it, and she did it". I was extremely proud of my mom. Recently, my 89 year old neighbor started walking around the block and now goes four times around (it's a very big block) and decided to sign up for a 5 mile race. When I hear someone say, "I can't do a 5k etc.” I think you can do it! As athletes, we should never forget how much what we do inspires others. We may not think we are very fast, talented or even worthy of being called anAthlete but what we do inspires others. That is the best reward I get from competing.
If you are an endurance athlete I would love to hear from you! Please email three photos and the answers to these questions. Along with your name, age, occupation and city to firstname.lastname@example.org! Happy training