Melissa McConnell: Rediscovering Grit

This is part of the Arete Community Series leading up to our 2018 team launch.

We will be featuring Arete members from various chapter on the blog and social media in the next two weeks. Our teammates join us for various reasons: to chase personal best times, reignite their passion for running, or to lean into the challenge and satisfaction of racing. Although each of us show up for Arete for real life running community connection, each running story is different, authentic and inspiring.

In our lead up to announcing our 2018 chapter launch locations and dates, may these stories of our teammates inspire and excite us in our running and beyond.

Melissa McConnell is an engineer, Mom to two young children, & one of the first members of the newest chapter: Arete Sacramento. She was a believer from the start!

Tell us a little bit about who you are and your running history.

Hello! I am Melissa McConnell, and I have been running for about 8 years now. I started running as an adult after having an appendectomy and feeling like I needed to do something get my strength back after surgery.  What started as a slow jog around the block got longer and longer until one day a friend suggested I sign up for a race.  My first race was a half marathon and I did surprisingly well, placing second in my age group.  It felt like it was meant to be!  I have a naturally competitive spirit and I love training.  I seriously love checking off the miles on a training plan every week — it always makes me feel so accomplished. I joined a racing team five years ago, and it was the best thing I ever did for my running. Working hard towards goals with friends who are doing the same thing is priceless.  I absolutely love cheering for my friends and watching them hit their goals, too!

Why did you join team Arete?

I joined team Arete after Tamara threw around the idea of forming this new Sacramento chapter with some of our friends.  I really liked the idea of a strong, all women’s team.  I have two young kids and I was looking to feel more supported and understood in my training.  And that’s kind of a big deal – so much changes after having a baby.  After researching Arete and Coach Mary, I knew in my heart this was going to be a good fit!  So far, I love it!  The team vibe is exactly what I was looking for, and I’m surrounded by women who just GET IT.

How has being a part of this team impacted your relationship with running?

Being on this team really reignited my excitement, joy, and confidence in running.  For the last two years, I’ve been bogged down with asthma (a gift I received after my first pregnancy) and feeling really uncertain about running.  Team Arete is filled with so much positivity and I am feeling so much more confident.  I can’t always hit all of the miles and I’m constantly adapting my training plan, but on this team I feel like Good Enough is truly good enough.

What is your best Arete memory so far?

My best Arete memory so far was the Urban Cow Half! It was exciting to meet all of the new team members and enjoy a fun post-race brunch with everyone!  It also helped that I had a solid performance (and no asthma!) that day.   I look forward to CIM this year, 2018 and beyond, and many, many more miles with these ladies!

Thanks for sharing, Melissa! We look forward to sharing the miles with you as you continue to crush it.

Find out next week how you can join Arete Sacramento or an Arete chapter near you for the chance to share miles with the many awesome women, like Melissa.

Melissa McConnell
Melissa in route to a solid 1:34:07 performance at Urban Cow Half Marathon.

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