COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family we’re following up on our last story that Paralympian and Para-thriathlete Melissa Stockwell is running in Monday's Boston Marathon.
So what does she expect of herself in the race?
After being wounded in Iraq, Melissa says athletics have become a cornerstone of Melissa's life and a force that keeps her centered. “I Do you think once an athlete always an athlete. I swam the 2008 Paralympic games and then after that I knew I was done just swimming. Then I tried triathlon and so that athlete mindset is that you’re always looking for the next thing. But it’s also become a lifestyle. When you have these big things you’re training for, like a marathon or a Paralympic games my days revolve around training which can take a lot out of you, and it’s hard. It’s a lot of hours, but fitness to me has also become a lifestyle. If I don’t do any sort of work out throughout the day, if I don’t swim, bike, run, whatever it just feels like I’m missing something. Some people think it’s crazy that I run as much as I do, I always have to get up and get a workout in - but it’s I just do and it just kind of makes sense.”
While some might look at training for a marathon, or even consistently exercising just to stay fit and healthy as a burden, Melissa says for her it's also something that keeps her mentally balanced. “There’s always so much going on, from getting into the pool, getting out on my bike, or the monotony of that step over step with my running leg, it helps me. That is my time and when I’m out there exercising that’s what fuels me to continue my day, or to come back home and be mom. I need that in my life for me to be sane. If I have a hard day my husband will be like, ‘Go for a run.’ It’s amazing how that can turn the whole day around.”
So, what does a successful run in the Boston Marathon look like for this para-triathlete who is used to swimming biking and running? The first things that came to Melissa’s mind when I asked where, “When I signed up for Boston I just said I want to enjoy it. I get to have what’s called a support runner, which basically means I get to have somebody run with me, and so my best friend Kari is running with me. So how great is that to run the Boston marathon with your best friend? We have a slogan, smile every mile. It’s kind of cheesy but fits right in with my life. We are raising money for Dare2ti, a nonprofit that we started in Chicago.”
But I had a feeling, there was more to the answer to that question. Melissa also said, “Of course as an athlete you start training and you’re like, ‘Oh I do have a time goal.’ It used to be that I wanted to go sub five hours. Now I would be thrilled if I go sub four hours and thirty minutes. A lot of that will depend on the weather. With my prosthetic leg I have to take my leg off and actually wipe the sweat off and put it back on, and the hooter it is the more often I have to do that. Obviously there’s a bunch of hills in Boston so no one really goes there to set a personal record. So yeah I would say anything under four hours and thirty minutes I would be thrilled with, if I’m at five hours - honestly as long as I really enjoy it I’ll be happy.”
Good luck Melissa, Monday we’ll be cheering you on here in Colorado Springs!
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