Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Author: melissa (page 3 of 38)

River Run 8K

In my effort to get back into running, I have assumed my duties as the Hot Legs back of the pack girl who pads the team total for Grand Prix by running the River Run 8k. This is a race that takes place up and down the Little Rock side of the River Trial near the Big Dam Bridge. It raises funds for Easter Seals.

The race itself took place on May 24, 2014 and it could be considered the first “hot” race of the summer. It was sunny and warm, just like any other Arkansas summer. I hadn’t really trained for this but I knew that i could complete it due to my multiple marathons. 5 miles isn’t fatal. At worst, I would just be really sore. I also tend to be conservative when it comes to pushing myself.

The race course itself was fairly flat since you didn’t actually go over the bridge. I was hot. I realized I didn’t drink enough water pre race and my mouth felt like sand paper. I ended up going a lot slower than I originally planned and ended up walking the last three miles. I wasn’t dead last. WIN!

Melissa 1:33:16.40 18:46/M

The race itself posted photos on their facebook page.

After the storm

Tragedy blows through your life like a tornado, uprooting everything, creating chaos. You wait for the dust to settle and then you choose. You can live in the wreckage and pretend it’s still the mansion you remember, or you can crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild… Because after disaster strikes, the important thing is that you move on. But if you’re like me, you just keep chasing the storm.
Veronica Mars

I have lived in Arkansas for most of my life and as a result, have dealt with tornados for most of my life. I remember having tornado drills in elementary skill. We would leave our classrooms and go into the hall. We would line up against the walls and get on our knees, put our heads on the floor with our hands on the back of our heads. It wasn’t the most comfortable position even for a seven year old and they seemed to last forever.

My first tornado was when I was 10. It was around one in the morning and I was asleep. I remember the loud rumbling that sounds like a train running over your head. I remember the sound of broken glass as the tornado’s change in air pressure formed a vacuum and sucked out one of the windows. (Pro tip: leave a crack in one of the windows of your home to prevent this from happening to you) I remember freaking out and running to my parents’ bedroom only to find my brother had beat me by two seconds. To be fair, it was his bedroom window that was sacrificed to the tornado gods.

This week, a major tornado ripped through my state. It went about twenty miles north of my house and a mile from the home where I used to live. It ravaged the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia. As of today, the number dead is fourteen. I sat on my futon watching Netflix with the television on one of the local television stations. I heard tornado sirens in the background. I had an emergency kit in my first floor bathroom, ready to go if I was in a position where I needed to “take cover.” Fortunately for me, that never happened.

Photo by Forbidden Hillcrest Facebook page.

Photo by Forbidden Hillcrest Facebook page.

My friend Cotton is a storm chaser and managed to get into the thick of it. The tornado picked up his truck and moved it 120 feet. He is okay. ‘

The thing that people who don’t live with tornadoes fail to understand is how sudden they are. Sure, we get the “tornado warning” and the sky gets a certain tell tale shade but the actual tornado is sudden and quick. It sounds like a freight training running you over and the timing and devastation is probably about the same. One second you are driving along. The next you hear a loud noise and then boom. Suddenly it’s all over and everything is ruined.

Things like tornados remind us how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. They remind us of the the power of nature and the randomness of it all. They remind us of how lucky we are to be alive each and every day of our lives.

Valentine’s Day 5K (rescheduled March 16th) recap

The Valentine’s Day 5K, which was originally scheduled on February 8, 2014 and postponed due to ice, was held on March 16, 2014 on the Bona Dea Trails near Russellville, Arkansas. This was two weeks after the EPIC Little Rock Marathon that was rerouted due to the cold and rain. Even though the weather was decidedly springlike in the the weeks prior to the race, we managed to run in the barely above freezing rain yet again. There were bits of sleet mixed in with the rain.

I carpooled up with some of the my running club buddies and the mantra was “anyone can do anything for 3 miles” We all packed an extra change of clothes. This was the first race in my new running shoes. This was the first time I had used this brand. I am usually a Brooks Ariel girl. I wore my usual jogging pants and put a trash bag on top of my shirt.

This race was much harder than the 10k two weeks earlier. My legs felt “heavy.” I am not sure why. Also, the shoe laces kept coming untied. The trail itself was beautiful and winding. This gave the feeling that I was running farther than I was. I also got distracted by the beauty of the trail during some of the walk breaks. Also, the first turn at a “V” in the road wasn’t apparent and I spent a couple of minutes questioning whether or not I made the right turn. I finally finished. That’s how I felt. I finally finished.

Then we changed into dry clothes, drank gas station hot chocolate, and went home.

My time: 50:45.8 16:22/M

Little Rock Marathon…er… 10K… 2014 Recap

My first “big race” was the Little Rock Half marathon in 2009. Out of a sense of tradition, I have run this race every year since. One year, I ran the 10k because the half was sold out by the time I signed up. This year, I signed up for the 10k due to the fact that I hadn’t run more than 3 miles since June of 2013. My performance at the One Hour Track Run indicated this would be a good idea. Theoretically, I could have finished the half. In fact, I finished the 2010 half with little training and a back spasm during the race. I was dead fucking last and I was incredibly sore for over a week. I didn’t want to put myself through that again. I signed up for Grand Prix this year. I have five more races to run.

The Little Rock Marathon is known for having a great route with some challenging hills, great support, and the biggest medal in racing. This year the theme was EPIC!

About a week before the race, the weather gurus on the television started murmuring about a “winter storm” and “sleet” that may come through on race day. This sounded almost magical since the temperature was sunny and in the sixties but this is Arkansas and I know better. All the runners sat glued to the TV and social media wondering “should I go?” “What should I wear?” “Is it going to sleet during the race? NO?”

This seemed to be the prevailing wisdom. Based on my calculations, I was running the 10k. The 10k starts at 8 a.m. I should be done before anything bad. It will be cold. It was cold last year. I can do this. I have gloves, ear warmers, and a trash bag. I am going.

It started raining as I was walking to my car from my apartment. It was cold. It continued to rain as I walked from my parking space to the starting spot. It may have stopped for a little while. I went to the “perks pavillon” and warmed up by one of the heaters. I saw a running friend who was doing the marathon. I saw many of my friends as I walked to my corral. Then it started raining again.

In an effort to control the crowd the race itself started in waves. I didn’t officially start until some 8:40. Standing outside for 45 minutes in that weather was one of the more miserable experiences in my life. I was questioning my sanity. Then I quit questioning my sanity and came to the realization that “yes Melissa, you are indeed crazy.” Then it was time to actually run.

My medal and my time. BOOM!

My medal and my time. BOOM!

As far as the race itself, I felt good. I had low expectations for my pace and “ran” it via the Galloway method with 1:05 splits. I didn’t feel tired and didn’t seem to be overexerting myself. I warmed up enough after I ran that I almost took off the trash bag. Then the wind started to blow and I was glad I kept it on. Due to the weather, there weren’t nearly as many volunteers and spectators cheering us on but we the runners were cheering each other on. My quads did cry uncle when I attempted to run up the Broadway bridge on the return trip to Little Rock (around mile 5) and so I walked it. Then when it came time to go back down, I started the running again. I slowed down to pick up my lip gloss and I finished. I felt good. I smiled a lot near the end. I was glad to finish and it felt surprisingly uneventful.

I got a printout of my “tentative finish time” and went to get my massage. I always get the “perks” and one of those perks is a massage. The other perk is that I have access to these outdoor heaters. Seriously, if you sign up for the Little Rock Marathon, pay for the perks. The perks are better finisher food, heaters, portapotties, and massages. You want this folks.

It wasn’t until I got home and had time to think that I realized that my pace for this race was a good 2 minutes per mile faster than the One hour track run and 30 seconds faster than anything I had “run” in months. Considering that I hadn’t run more than 3 miles in a long ass time, I think this is one of my better races.

But seriously, that is the limit of the bad weather I am willing to take to win a medal. That was horrible: wet AND cold.

In fact, the weather was so bad that about an hour after I finished, the race directors rerouted the race and cut it short. People were picked up on busses and taken to the finish line. A storm was coming complete with lightning. We ended up having sleet and schools were closed the next day. It was indeed an EPIC experience. Thanks Little Rock marathon for an experience I will never forget.

Valentine’s Day

I was fortunate (or not) to have some ridiculously bad Lifetime movie of the week relationships early in my youth. So while I endured an high level of pain and heartbreak, I also learned early on that a bad relationship is far much worse than no relationship at all.

So I bought myself my own Valentine’s Day gift.

That’s right folks. It’s a purse shaped like a chicken. I love the mess out of this thing. It is a constant source of laughter. I love it to pieces.

I got it at the Esse Purse Museum gift shop.

Valentine’s Day 5K

This was supposed to be in Russellville on Saturday February 8, 2014.

Arkansas is never ready for this "jelly"

Arkansas is never ready for this “jelly”

Valentine’s Day 5k is postponed till March 16. First heat at 2:00 pm.

Please help spread the word.

Race review: One Hour Track Run

Yes it is that time of year. The Arkansas Chapter of the Road Runners Clubs of America has launched its Arkansas Grand Prix Race Series with the One Hour Track Run at Danville High School in Danville, Arkansas. The Grand Prix Race Series is a good-natured competition and motivational program that gives runners a year’s worth of races to run and a point system to encourage performance and good sportsmanship. Participants must be a member of a Road Runners Clubs of America Running Club and sign up for Grand Prix as a member of said club. Participants are separated into age groups and gender and points are rewarded for various achievements including finishing the race, winning the race, fastest times per age group, etc. If you live in Arkansas and want more information, check the link right here. It can get rather confusing and the website explains it better than I can.

The one hour track run is a unique race in that it is literally what its name suggests: participants run for an hour around a track and the distance is measured as opposed to time. In order to control crowds, there are two separate races with participants running faster than an 8:30 mile running at a different time than the slower folks.

I did this race last year with a sore calf and managed to squeak out 3. I managed to “fall off the wagon” on my running the second half of last year. My runs were sporadic and none of them were more than two miles. I use the runkeeper app that tracks my runs on my cell phone. I have documentation, folks. As a result, my only goal at the start of the race was to finish faster than I did the previous year. I figured that sore-free legs would ensure a faster time.

I had car trouble and the President of Hot Legs, the running club that has the MOST FUN! in Arkansas and running club of yours truly, picked me up to take me to the “meeting place” where six of us got into a big ole SUV to ride to Danville. It was a complete gabfest on the way.

This year was significantly warmer than last year. Also, this warm weather was an extreme change of pace from the polar vortex chill that we had earlier in the month. In fact, the temperature was significantly warmer than what we were experiencing earlier in the week. Each season has its own challenges when it comes to running and there is always an adjustment period when the seasons change. These wonky temperature changes really mess with me.

The race itself was fine but challenging. I set up my app for one minute intervals alternating running with walking. I managed to complete the entire race with this system. I started out fast and felling great. I ended up running the first mile a good minute and thirty seconds faster than my usual pace. Of course, this caught up with me for the rest of the race with my mouth feeling very dry and my head had a slight dizzy feeling which is consistent with slight dehydration. (oops) I took a walking break for two laps and then got back to the “slow and low that is the tempo” business. The last twenty minutes, I was tired. I finished. According to my app, I completed 3.4 miles.

My official Results
98 Melissa Sawyer 12 973 3.1669 18:56.8

After the race, the Hot Legs had cookies and cupcakes because BIRTHDAY! We posed for pictures. I forgot to actually take any. (oops) Then we piled into the SUV and stopped by Feltner’s Whattaburger for burgers. No, this is not part of the chain. This is a local legend that has been around forEVER! According to urban legend (or what I’ve heard but am too lazy to actually look up), the Whataburger chain attempted to sue the Russellville Arkansas burger joint but realized that the local place was there first. The result was both parties agreed to leave things be. AH America. The last time I ate at Whattaburger was when I was in college on a road trip to the Buffalo River so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the burgers and fries were just a good as I remember them.

Overall, I had a blast. The race itself was a wake up call in terms of my fitness level but it is nothing that I can’t fix. I look forward to the rest of the year.

2013 in review

I can’t lie. This year was hard for me personally and professionally.

The perfect metaphor for my year could be the story of my cellphones

First, I proved to the world that I could not be trusted to talk on the phone and pump my gas at the same time. I ended up leaving my phone on the trunk and drove off. The phone didn’t fall off the car until I was on the road and managed to get run over by many cars in the process. It turned out that I was eligible for an upgrade anyway so I got a replacement phone.

PHONE TWO: I got mugged within two weeks of having the replacement phone. I got insurance to send a replacement for that phone.

PHONE THREE: The phone store didn’t have an otter box for it at the time. My cat decided that he needed to be snugged RIGHT NOW and jumped on my shoulder as I was talking on the phone. I dropped the phone. It managed to shatter in a way that I couldn’t even turn it off. Somehow the second number on my account (and the phone my mother uses since she never actually talks that much or uses “smart phone” technology”) was eligible for an upgrade.

PHONE FOUR: That is the phone I have now. I got the biggest most bodacious Otter Box on this thing altogether.

So yeah I got knocked around a lot but ultimately nothing permanent.

I managed to go to a dinner party that turned into an urban legend– complete with its own entry in

I completed the Little Rock half marathon again.

I managed to start up the Arkansas Governor’s School Alumni association. I got people to be on the board. I got Doug Shipman to come speak to the current AGS class.

But yeah I am ready for a new year. Come on 2014. I am waiting to see what’s in store.

A Christmas Eve Miracle

2013 has not been a good year for me and the experience had left me quite morose and misanthropic. This Christmas snuck up on me like a viper. I ended up buying all my gifts on December 23rd. I still haven’t sent out Christmas cards and my apartment was a complete mess when I finally cleaned up enough not to create a biohazard in my absence on the 24th. I left the house around 3 p.m. and this was after a phone call from my mother around noon asking where I was.

It is a tradition at my Grandma’s house to eat ham sandwiches. The ham is homemade cooked ham and not deli meat. It is usually served with white bread and pimento and cheese. I am not a fan of pimento and cheese but it is always there. We also open presents on the 24th. This is a leftover tradition from the days when Santa still loved us: we would open our gifts from the family on Christmas eve in order to make room under the tree for Santa to do this jolly good thing.

Now with all this tradition, my leaving at three meant that I was not meant to arrive at my Grandma’s house until 6 or so. I called the cell and told my Dad I was leaving. He was grumpy but he told me not to speed because the police were out.

About an hour into my trip, I heard this thud and them this “whomp whomp whomp” with my car slowing down at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, I had heard this sound before and knew what it meant: a blow out.I wasn’t near an exit with a service station and I wasn’t quite near an actual town. By this point, my parents were over 100 miles away from my car.

I managed to pull over on the shoulder and it is sunset so there is still light but it is fading fast. I call my parents to let them know that I will be even later due to the car that misogyny bought. My Dad gets on the phone and reminds me why we have the terse relationship that we do and I hung up the phone in tears. I knew my Dad was calling the State Police for them to do something. I contemplated not even going to my grandmother’s house.

I have an autoclub membership but it is pretty slow and I was dreading how slow it was going to be on Christmas Eve when I heard a tap on my passenger side window. There was a 30something woman on the other side,”Are you alright? Do you have someone helping you?” I tell her my story and by this point, a man had stepped up beside her. He asked if I had a spare and yes, yes I did. Unfortunately, the car that misogyny bought did not have the jack. Oh the I told you so’s on this one. Fortunately the man had a jack in his car and he managed to unload what must have been Santa’s stash to get to it. There was a bunch of stuff on the ground. That is all I am going to say. And before I could say, “well now that I have a jack….” He was carrying that tire to the front of the car and unscrewing those leg nuts. [Do you unscrew lug nuts?]

I talked with the lady. She was a middle school teacher. She taught sixth grade and they were going to be having a quiet dinner with a Christmas celebration later.

And then it was done. My car was fixed by these strangers who just saw a car on the side of the road near Christmas time. They didn’t know me. They did, however, know the State Trooper who finally pulled over about the time the tire was completely changed. It turned out he and I shared the exact same birth date. I thanked them profusely and was on my way.

After having time to inspect the tire itself, I am surprised that I didn’t lose control of the car. I am also surprised that no one hit me. There were a lot of people making a mad last minute dash for Christmas. I am also surprised that I wasn’t on the side of the road for 10 minutes before someone pulled over. I know from past experience that the autoclub would have least taken an hour even on a good day. For the first time in an awfully long time, I smiled and believed in people. It was a Christmas miracle indeed.


“Anne, I don’t want to live. . . . Now listen, life is lovely, but I Can’t Live It. I can’t even explain. I know how silly it sounds . . . but if you knew how it Felt. To be alive, yes, alive, but not be able to live it. Ay that’s the rub. I am like a stone that lives . . . locked outside of all that’s real. . . . Anne, do you know of such things, can you hear???? I wish, or think I wish, that I were dying of something for then I could be brave, but to be not dying, and yet . . . and yet to [be] behind a wall, watching everyone fit in where I can’t, to talk behind a gray foggy wall, to live but to not reach or to reach wrong . . . to do it all wrong . . . believe me, (can you?) . . . what’s wrong. I want to belong. I’m like a jew who ends up in the wrong country. I’m not a part. I’m not a member. I’m frozen.”

? Anne Sexton, Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters

Roy Lichtenstein - Hopeless, Pop Woman Crying - Online Art Gallery -...

As hard as I try, I can’t seem to shake the malaise. It is stuck to me like tar, burning my skin. I scream and no one hears. I know I won’t be the same after this. It seems so all encompassing. I am forgotten. Somewhere there is a me who knows how to handle everything– Who feels young and smart. Maybe she’s a figment of my imagination. Maybe I am too broken to be repaired. I don’t want to burden anyone with my incessant whining over insignificant things. People want fun and positivity and I am not that person anymore. I may not have been that person ever.

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