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Tori and Mel: mother runners, friends, and business partners.
Tori and Mel: mother runners, friends, and business partners.

Midwestern mother runners Mel Charbonneau and Tori Sager live five hours apart—Mel is in McFarland, Wis., Tori in Marquette, Mich.—but these longtime friends not only cheer on each other’s running adventures, they also operate the business and online community Fellow Flowers which helps women transform their lives through friendship and running. Mel, 33, is mom to Alexis, 6, and Allison, 3. Tori has three children: Lincoln, 11, Kyler, 7, and Addison, 5.

Best recent run

MEL: I’d have to say my half-marathon this past October in Grand Rapids, Mich. I had set a goal for 1 hour 55 minutes, which scared the crap out of me because it was completely out of my comfort zone. But I worked really hard for three months and incorporated interval training, hills, and speed work. I came across the finish line at 1:48 with my husband and two young girls cheering me on. It was an overwhelmingly emotional and powerful moment that I’ll never forget.

TORI: Mine was a recent 5-mile training run. It was one of those where I felt like I could have ran forever. Pain-free, cool temps, clear roads, and in the evening (my favorite time to run). Believe me, this feeling doesn’t happen very often, so when it does, I’m instantly reminded of all the reasons I absolutely love to run. I felt like my feet were floating across the pavement instead of hitting it. I took it as an opportunity to push as hard as I could and that’s exactly what I did.

Mel and Tori savor the times they can run together.
Mel and Tori savor the times they can run together.

Treadmill or outside all winter long? The Midwest winters can be brutal, but if the roads are bare, we’re outside – for sure.

Foam roll or stretch? Foam roll. And it hurts. We both can admit that we don’t stretch nearly as much we should. Hence the foam roll always hurting.

Commando or underwear? Ha! We laugh about this all the time. Put it this way, one of us has a panty line and the other one doesn’t.

13.1 or 26.2? 13.1. The Fellow Flowers journey started with 14 women training for a half-marathon, so beyond being a great distance that any woman can train for and achieve, it also represents much more than just miles to us.

Our secret indulgence: We both love key lime pie. There is nothing more amazing than made-from-scratch key lime pie.

What I will think about on today's run:

TORI: I’m hoping the run will help me organize my thoughts and lengthy holiday to-do list. I’m quite certain it’s going to take numerous miles to accomplish this.

Race day cheering, Fellow Flower-style.
Race day cheering, Fellow Flower-style.

Lowest running moment (and why):

MEL: My 16-mile training run for the Chicago Marathon in 2012. I’ll never forget it. The night before, I decided that hydrating with margaritas was more important than drinking water. I didn’t take care of myself, and at about mile 10 of my run (in 80 degree heat) I had to stop. I walked the last six miles amidst the occasional dry heave. I was SO pissed at myself, but I also learned a lot from the experience. It was a humble reminder that we are not bigger than our miles and that we never outgrow the necessity of preparation and hard work.

TORI: This one is very fresh. After struggling through my marathon training for the 2013 Chicago full in October, I came out of that race refocused and ready to train hard for one final race of the year. I was determined to end it on a good note. I worked my ass off for six weeks in preparation to run and PR the St. Jude Half Marathon on Dec. 7. I was all in. I committed to my training, the fund-raising, and was honored to be a part of a race that was about so much more than just the miles themselves. I haven’t been as ready for, or as excited about a race in several years. Due to weather, the race was cancelled the night before. I completely understood how difficult of a decision it was for them to make, but I was simply just saddened that I didn’t get to finish what I had started. However, I was instantly reminded of the bigger reason, the bigger cause and was hit with numerous doses of perspective in realizing that this race was never really about me. There’s always a silver lining and I’m looking forward to yet another race, where I can run it in honor of the children of St. Jude.

My running, in three words:

MEL: Meditative, liberating, freeing

TORI: Cleansing, centering, mindful

Follow These Mother on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and at Fellow FlowersThe Anthem Blog.




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