Our positive running story this time features a returning focus on on our great friend and colleague, Melody Fairchild. I met Melody more than ten years ago, and was immediately impressed with her calm nature, the way she is able to see things often from a different perspective, and that she can be both a barrel of laughs or a tiger, and sometimes both, when she runs! We have been blessed to have Melody join us for many of our women’s running camps and co-ed trail running camps. She maintains a strong connection to many of those campers that she has met, and has touched many or our campers hearts and minds with her insightful teachings and inspirational positive perspective. We recently caught up with Melody, and this interview is the result.
It’s nearly two years now since your son Dakota arrived in the world. How has being a mother to Dakota changed your running life, and what other developments do you see on the horizon?
The most obvious way that being a mother has changed my running life, is in the amount of time I have for it. Whereas Pre-Dakota I could easily carve out 1-2 hours a day to focus on a run, 30 minutes now feels luxurious. I choose not to pay for child care and I work for myself directing the Boulder Mountain Warriors youth running club, the Boulder women run adult running group, do public speaking, have private clients, and my running camp for middle and high school girls, the Melody Fairchild Running Camp. These are choices which affect my running schedule, and I’m happy with them.
The major “development” I see on the horizon is growing my family with one more child. Stating this is necessary, as I know that what a commitment it is, however I do also have plans to grow Boulder Mountain Warriors with a new North Boulder practice site, and to develop my camp with the fresh ideas of returning staff who also were campers and are now bright College students. I anticipate with great excitement, sinking my body, heart and mind into running goals again, in three or four years. I will enjoy running Masters competitions again and building up my endurance to run the Leadville 100, a dream of 27 years. I have also always wanted to do an Ironman triathlon. I must admit that after recently visiting Hawaii, the big Island in fact, it is a real goal to do that race someday!
You have been a regular, and very popular, coach and guest athlete at many of our women’s running camps since we first met in 2007. What is it you enjoy most about our camps, and what do you learn from the camp experiences?
I most enjoy meeting the fascinating and talented women who attend active at altitude camps. There are many women I have met at these camps over the years who I still think about regularly and who inspire me. Your camps have a way of bringing people together and making them feel safe to share their deepest desires and sometimes their deepest challenges. I have been honored to be a witness and to help create Space for this kind of sharing and a heartfelt experiences leave a deep impression on me. I also relish the opportunity to teach cortical field reeducation classes at camps. It gratifies me to help women find ways to release tension and make the running feel more joyful and become easier.
Your high school girls running camp takes place July 8-13 this year, in Nederland, Colorado. What is the biggest joy for you leading this camp, and how will a female high school runner benefit from attending?
The biggest joy for me leading my girls running camp is knowing that I, along with my wonderful staff of former campers who are now bright collegians, are providing a much needed space for young female distance runners to learn about running in a nonthreatening environment, be challenged in ways they’ve never been challenged, and be given tools for navigating their running careers ahead. There’s so much it is hard to say in a short space, but also something very important to me is that the girls are supported in their dreams and reminded that achieving them is possible and that the key more than pushing through pain is about allowing the time and space for themselves to grow into full adult women with balanced bodies, hearts and minds.
You have shared that you are committed to building a world of healthy, happy women runners. Why is this important to you, and what is your big dream that you would like to achieve for women runners?
This is important to me because I have witnessed over my 35 years of running more attrition in women’s running than is necessary. I feel there is a disconnect in our society and especially in the sports world between the need for young girls to honor the feminine and their need to nurture their competitive striving selves. Usually the ladder gets more attention and girls end up wanting to suppress their feminine need to be patient with their bodies and to honor their feelings as they go through those physical changes. It’s not a popular concept for a girl to take time off when she isn’t feeling up to par but sometimes that’s what her body may need for her overall development and in the big picture taking a day off now and then is not a big deal. My dream for girls is that they will believe in themselves and trust the process, being more gentle with their bodies while feeding that inner tiger who wants to never flinch, in pursuit of her dreams.
You started Boulder Mountain Warriors and the club has grown from strength to strength. What are your future plans for BMW’s, and who are some of the cool running legends that have worked with you on this project?
I started Boulder Mountain Warriors five years ago and we have grown to a family of 50 strong and are looking to grow to another site in North Boulder. We are now a year-round running club with an emphasis on our super fun cross country competitive season in the fall. We have had guest speakers from the local running community such as Scott Jurek, Emma Coburn, and Kara Goucher come to share their stories and teach us some of their training techniques.
Have you seen any positive steps forward in the last couple of years on female body image, and what do you think are the next key steps that need to be taken to effect real change for women, especially young women.
I am not sure that I can say I have seen positive change in the area of female body image on a cultural level. This is one of the biggest reasons I started a running camp for girls. That rate of attrition that I spoke of earlier in female distance runners is largely due to negative body image which leads to eating disorders and tragic amounts of lost energy. I take great comfort in using the body project work created by Dr. Caroline Becker to give me a structure within which I can work to bring the girls at my camp through eight research based program to help change the thinking patterns which contribute to negative body image. I think that the massive amount of media attention and exposure to media in general that women get and have is a large part of the problem. In general I think it’s better if kids can fast from media at least a day a week so that they can stay in touch with themselves. This is a huge issue which deserves much more discussion and ink.
Can you share something about Dakota that no one would know by looking at him?
Dakota is always the first person to notice the moon hanging in the sky.
What are your personal and professional goals for the rest of 2018 and beyond?
I think I have answered these questions in the above. Thank you!!
We wish Melody every success with Boulder Mountain Warriors and her high school girls running camp for 2018 – looking forward to seeing Melody at one of our camps soon!
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