Hi I’m Melanie.  I work full time as a pharmacist and am an avid runner.  I started MommySTRONG the spring of 2008.  I really didn’t know what to expect.  At that time, it took me awhile to warm up to people. I didn’t know Karla until I showed up at the informational meeting.  The group was full of mothers and I was not one.  Definitely intimidating.

I injured my lower back (L5-S1), my SI joint and left hip in 2003 on a training run. Since I had no clue the depth of my injury, I decided to run my 15K two weeks later.  I had gotten into running in college and loved it.  I was in so much pain, but I discovered that it hurt more to walk than to run, so I kept going.  Afterwards, I met up with my sister and brother-in-law and was in tears because I hurt so badly.  I couldn’t feel anything at all on my left side from waist down.  After hummin’ and ho’in I decided to go to a doctor.  MRI showed I tore part of my spine and had bulging discs and my hips were out of alignment.  Through that year I went through 6 months of physical therapy and steroid injections.   I was told to never run again.  YIKES!!!  As a result, I gained about 25 lbs.  I had been an eating machine and really didn’t exercise anymore even though my sister gave me an elliptical trainer.  Really, the elliptical isn’t the same as running, at least to me.

With MommySTRONG, I was able to get stronger all over, but especially in my hips, hip-flexors, lower back and abs.  I learned how to eat better and more frequently.  After the first 12 weeks, I could feel how strong I was.  I decided to give running competitively (kind of) another try and finished my first ½ marathon the fall after completing both spring and summer sessions.  Now, I’m back to running.  I have run a marathon and done several ½ marathons and 5ks since.

MommySTRONG is not just a workout group.  It really is a complete transformation.  Not only does your body change, your mind and spirit do also.  People often don’t recognize the whole person once completing this program because you are a bit smaller, you seem more cheery and have confidence.Through the years of doing MommySTRONG, I have been blessed to meet a group of wonderfully diverse women.  It’s been an awesome experience that I am proud to a part of.