Our positive running story this time is on our great friend and colleague Melody Fairchild. Melody is based in Boulder, Colorado, where she grew up and became a nationally recognized high school athlete. We have had the great fortune to work with Melody on a number of projects, including our women’s running camps and trail running camps, and we have also hosted one of her high school girls running camps here in Estes Park. Her mellow character conceals a fiery passionate runner who always runs with a grin! Her CFR (Cortical Field Re-education) floor sessions have been extremely popular with everyone, and have helped athletes center and be more aware of their posture, and their bones!
Melody recently won the National Masters XC Championship in Bend – we caught up with her and had the opportunity to ask her some questions on her athletic life, what she enjoys now as a masters athlete, and her goals for 2017. Here is the result of that interview:
Many experts recognize you as the best female high school athlete that the US has ever produced. What was life like for you as a high school athlete?
Life was very “focused,” once I took 2nd in my first year of HS I realized that my potential to be a great runner was not only a hope, but a reality. I raced sparingly, but when I did, I raced not only to win, but to break records. I trained with laser-like focus, making two hard workouts / week count (they were tough), and running in the water the days the days after, to recover from those intense efforts. Unlike my school mates, I had the good fortune (earned myself the opportunity), to travel internationally. I raced twice in Europe for the World XC champs, and twice in Japan, for the Chiba International XC race.
Fast forward to 2017, and you recently won the National Masters XC Championship in Bend. How does running as a competitive athlete now compare to your high school days?
I am wiser, more relaxed, more confident and I smile a whole lot more! I don’t take myself so seriously and I trust my talents.
My greatest joys doing BMWs is seeing relationships develop among team members and confidence to train on one’s own grow in kids, as each year passes. I love seeing the passion for running take hold and knowing I helped provide a fertile ground for joy to take root and be the original reason kids run.
You used visualization techniques a great deal as a high school athlete. Do you still use visualization for your training and racing, and do you see any differences in your techniques as a masters athlete now?
In HS I used George Winston’s “December” a piano piece, to visualize myself floating and surging through a XC course – and winning. I don’t use music now, but do chant to myself, tapping into Sanskrit mantras. My visualizations in HS were very detailed and precise. As a Masters athlete, they are more general, but I believe employ more “sophisticated” thought forms which demand spontaneity and presence -which help me get into the Zone.
You are one of three top US elite athletes that have endorsed activacuity, the first guided imagery app for athletes. What do you like best about the app, and why would you recommend it to an athlete looking for help with guided imagery or visualization?
I like the focus the app provides for the athlete serious about giving as much attention to his/her mental game as the one on the field. We all show up for practice each day and would not think of missing a good, sweat producing training session. And with the help of activacuity, one can train the mind with the same dedication; I love that the mental “coach” is right there in your pocket.
Body image for young female athletes has become a central part of your teachings at your high school girls running camps. Why is this important to you, and can you share a little about Body Project and how you see it helping the girls that you work with?
Teaching girls how to develop a positive body image is important to me because in my 43 years, I have seen an incredible amount of wasted potential among women. I want to see the energy many women put into trying to achieve the “thin ideal of female beauty,” something created by society and subtle form of oppression, go into realizing their highest potential as human beings. The Body Project is a system designed by Dr. Caroline Becker, to change negative self-talk into positive, using cognitive dissonance in a six week process.
I am a mix of “ruggedly independent” and willingly vulnerable, as I value the latter, for personal growth.
What was the high point of your 2016 season, and what was your low point, and what teaching moments did both give you?
The high point of 2016 was giving birth to my son, Dakota, on 3/20/16. The low point was being told by medical people that I had to be induced, there by not allowing my body – and baby Dakota – to progress in birth 100% naturally.
What are your goals for the rest of 2017, both professionally and personally?
Thank you Melody, we wish you success with all your goals and dreams, congratulations on Dakota’s first birthday arriving very soon, and thank you for your support!
Terry Chiplin, the visionary behind activacuity, provides positive coaching sessions for clients, working with athletes to enable a positive focus on their status and goals. He can also create personalized guided imagery sessions for clients, delivered as an mp3 audio file that you can listen to on multiple devices.activacuity provides a daily dose of positive guided imagery or visualization sessions. Find out what you can do when you make that mind-body connection – check out our subscription options here.
Our goal is to raise $5000 for the Society over the partnership period.