By Melissa Hocking,
Special to the Independent
Running hasn’t always been a fun hobby for me. It used to be a tedious extra-curricular activity that I did to build my competitive spirit and my college resume. I left running far behind after competing at UC Davis and dabbled in it again in 2001 when I ran my first marathon with my parents. For me running has always been a fun activity to enjoy but somehow I always managed to turn it into a competitive and stressful event by pushing myself to hit aggressive paces and splits. This past year I made an agreement with my best friend, my mom, Kathie Mendoza from Anaheim Hills, to help me find the joy of running again and to complete the Surf City half marathon in 1:45.
My Mom is an avid runner, who has been running and training for races since I was a little girl. She has always been so slim and in shape and the envy of most with her rockin’ body. She’s been asking me for some time to get back into running competitively and I didn’t want to put the stress back on myself like I did in high school and college. If I made the decision to get back into it, then my expectation would be to finish among the best. I decided it was time to get back into the game with my Mom; I wanted the great bod that she has and could also use the stress relief now that I’m a sales director for a large company.
I called her and told her I was in and she quickly forwarded me the training schedule and off we went. We met every Saturday at the Back Bay and ran our 10-plus miles together. I had a weekly schedule of hitting Coast Highway in Laguna Beach at 5:30 a.m. to run my six to seven miles on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. We completed our first race together a few months ago in Long Beach running it together in 1:53. As we approached the finish line, I told her “we can’t let the guy in the orange shirt beat us, let’s pass him!” and off we went and crossed the finish line just ahead of him. We are a great team.
My Mom has a role in our training to slow me down, otherwise I take off ahead and hit the wall a few miles later. She’s has helped me find my passion for running again. Before this, I can’t remember the last time I ran carefree for fun. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with looking at my watch every second I can get to make sure I am on pace but the difference is that my pace is slower and I can run and look around at the beauty in Laguna Beach and actually enjoy myself. It is memorable to spend hours upon hours training with my best friend and mom. We get to share all the drama from the week and talk about our future. It is a very empowering time.
My goal is to finish the Surf City Half Marathon in 1:45 with a grin on my face and my mom by my side. Who could ask for a more memorable morning on Super Bowl Sunday?
Melissa and her mom finished the race together at 1:50.