melissa gacek

elite Member Since: 2012

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born 5/7/1976
current residence white bear lake, minnesota




Do you have a quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training/racing/life?
"Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself." - Robert Collier

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you want something done, give it to a busy person.

What is your favorite post-race meal?
Salt! Mexican for sure, make that chips and guacamole and a salt-lined margarita!

What is your must-have piece of running gear?
My plain old Timex watch and my duct-taped covered orthotics.

Do you have a training philosophy?
I like having a structure, for me having a coach keeps me from going overboard and racing every weekend. Having balance being a working mom and a competitive runner for many years now, I've learned to not stress about missing workouts here and there. The magic happens when you run at what I call the "butt-crack" of dawn (anytime before 5:30am) or at 9pm at night. The treadmill is a great way to catch up on TV shows or a book while running speed work, long runs or bonus miles, so kiddos can sleep or play. If I give up my life for running I'd be missing out, so I find balance of both.

What is your favorite place to run?
Parkside XC course in Kenosha, WI, by my parents' house, or basically anywhere I'm traveling. Running is a great way to sight-see: I've run in the Carribean, the top of Jost Van Dyke is sweet, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe and Canada. I've seen some amazing sites.

Why do you run?
Running is cheaper than therapy. Meeting awesome people; running partners make lifelong friends. The ability to "play" as adults. The challenge to see what you are made of. The adrenaline and the thinking time, and yeah, I love the look of running muscles!

What animal do you most resemble in your racing and why?
One of my old nick-names was Flipper...?

What is your favorite activity, when not running?
Travel, reading, watercolor painting, singing, jewelry work, social media, design.

Complete the sentence: If I was stranded in a hotel room with one movie and one book, they would be…
Footloose and Yoga for Runners.

personal bests

Half-Marathon 1:18:58
Full Marathon 2:44:10
10k 36:06
5k 17:25





racing highlights

US Track and Field Athlete of the Year - Minnesota 2013
4th place USATF 5k Championship Minnesota  2013
1st place & Course Record Midsummer Mile 2013
49th place USA Half Marathon Championship 2013
Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier 2008
8th place, Grandma's Marathon 2007
1st place Wisconsin Marathon 2007
5th place, Houston Marathon 2004
Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier 2004
2nd place, 10,000 Conference Champion 1998
2nd place, Regional Championship and Conference Championship 1996
All American for XC 1996