I first met Mel Lawrence the summer of 2013 when we were looking to start Littlewing in Bend. Greg (her college coach) and Kristin Metcalf (Oiselle Team leader) could not say enough positive things about her. In fact, they were so effusive that I was kind of suspicious! But over the last three years watching and interacting with Mel, I find that I feel the same way. This gal is one in a million!
Mel keeps her fierce competitive spirit tucked away inside, while being a hard worker in the day to day, and a loyal and easy-going teammate. Mel is an animal lover (seriously, there is no animal she doesn't love...right, spiders?) and takes her family life to heart. She is sis to fellow-steepler Collier and her twin John, and keeps her extended family close to her. I interviewed Mel right after her recent season-opener, winning the Indoor 3k at the Husky Invite in 9:14.
SL: Hey Mel, so you just ran a niiice 3K opener for indoors. Tell us about the race!
ML: It was good. Lauren just told me to settle for the first half of the race, and then with 5 laps left [it's a 307m track] to just kind of open up depending on how I felt. I felt good, so just after 5 laps I started to build a little bit.
SL: Awesome. That last 600m you were rolling, and the last 300m was like a clinic. How'd that feel? [She closed in a 4:51 mile]
ML: It felt really good. I felt really strong, which I haven't really felt in awhile. So, that was pretty nice. And obviously when you're off the front, you're just trying to go. You don't know what is happening behind you. So you just try to push yourself based on the unknown behind you.
SL: You have to be the most patient athlete I've ever met. You were 2nd in Foot Locker 3 times in high school. You had an amazing start to your collegiate career [9:40 steeple, 15:50 5K in 2009] and then I think you were injured on and off for about 6 years.
SL: So, how did you have the strength to get to where you are now?
ML: I have no idea, honestly. There were definitely times when I questioned what I was doing and why I was still putting myself out there and setting myself up for disappointment. But, I just didn't believe that it was over. You know I had 2 really good seasons in college. And I just didn't think that that was the only time I was ever going to have as a runner. So I knew it was in there somewhere. Obviously through trials in life it was going to take awhile to get there. But, it finally did.
SL: It is a such a pleasure to watch you out there clearly enjoying yourself. We are so proud of you and love you so much. Keep it rolling!
ML: Thanks! I will.