I met Melissa in 2014 at the Canada Ultraman, where she was a competitor and I was crew for another athlete (the first double-amputee to complete the distance). She is from Australia and did not look like a typical ultra athlete; a bit stocky, red long beautiful hair and glasses. More of a librarian look you might say. What struck me about her was her absolute fearless tenacity to finish the distance each day, in spite of the many tribulations she had (not being able to keep food down, mechanical problems, being a bit overweight, not feeling well). At the speech every athlete gives, post-race celebration, she said, “Im not an athlete, like the rest of you.” And yet, she had just completed a 320-mile, 3-day triathlon. One of the toughest ultra races in the world.

Shift to 2017 and I see her on facebook all the time, completing races in Australia, and placing well in her age group. She is around age 30. She is also now happily married. Melissa said in her Ultraman speech that she wanted to do something BIG, which is how she came to choose the race. And once she trained to start the race, that in and of itself was a BIG accomplishment, showing her what she was capable of and providing a vehicle to realizing it. Completing the race became a doorway to the size of life she is meant to live and is now experiencing. She is also now a healthy weight and whole-heartedly embraces the moniker of “athlete.”

What is your doorway?

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