As a retired nurse of 41 years, St. Cloud (MN) Moms on the Run member Melanie Neubauer has spent her life helping others. This year has been no exception. Consumed with caring for her in-laws after medical emergencies in Arizona and now in Montana, Melanie has stayed committed to running — and her St. Cloud Moms on the Run team — despite the distance.
Snowbirds from Minnesota, Melanie and her husband, along with her in-laws, spend their winters in Arizona. In January, her St. Cloud team traveled to Arizona to run a race with her. Typically, she'd be back in Minnesota for the start of spring/summer season to run with her group in April. This year, of course, has been different. In addition to a pandemic, her father-in-law was hospitalized twice, her mother-in-law has Alzheimer's — and both required long-term care that changed their plans to get home.
However, according to Tami Huberty, owner of St. Cloud Moms on the Run, that didn't stop Melanie from joining MOTR and keeping up with her team virtually.
"Her life was consumed with caring for her in-laws so she couldn't check in via Zoom, but she would take pictures and send us text messages on how she was doing and with getting her runs in," Tami shared. "After leaving Arizona, Melanie and her family traveled to Montana to help her in-laws back home find a new place to live due to their changing health conditions. Even though we haven't physically seen Melanie since January she has been on our hearts and minds! She checks in with us to let us know how she is doing. She has even signed up for the virtual TCM 10 miler with us all and we are still hoping that she'll be able to be back home with us for the run on Oct. 24. Melanie isn't just a member of Moms on the Run, she is like family! She has inspired us all with her motivation to stay on track with her health while being consumed with caring for others."
We asked Melanie to share a little with us about how she got involved in Moms on the Run and what has kept her motivated. Here's a bit of our conversation.
Q: You have been a member since 2017. Tell us how you got involved and what led you to stick around.
A: I went to a MOTR meeting because I wanted to continue running. I felt so welcome and knew I would have others to support me in mind, body, friendship and much laughter!
Q: Your St. Cloud team traveled to run She Power with you. How fun! Please share a favorite story about that.
A: Since I was wintering in Arizona I signed up for a 5K She Power. Soon after, my St. Cloud MOTR group signed up for the half. We had a great race, after finishing the race we were given our beautiful medal, a rose and a piece of cake! When we were ready to leave they were giving away these large cakes. How could we refuse? We took it to the VRBO to celebrate!
Q: You were planning on returning to MN for spring season and then Covid hit. Shortly after, your father-in-law experienced some big health issues. (I’m so sorry to hear!) Can you share a little about that and the things you’ve done to stay connected with your team remotely?
A: My husband Kim and I winter in Mesa, AZ. When Covid hit, we were still in Arizona keeping an eye on my in-laws until they were ready to go home to Montana. Soon everything where we were staying was limited, then my father-in-law was hospitalized twice. While he was hospitalized, we stayed with my mother-in-law who has Alzheimer's. Twice a day for 42 days, we infused him with antibiotics. Finally, we all went to our home in Minnesota until we could get them into a care facility; unfortunately that didn’t happen because their son passed away in Montana. We were home only 12 days this year in Minnesota and continue to be here in Montana getting them situated in the nursing home while we’re cleaning out their home of 70 years. While all this was going on, I faithfully checked in with MOTR St Cloud, posting pictures to report in about my workouts.
Q: How has being a runner and a part of Moms on the Run helped you through this time?
A: Running has helped me with anxiety and I feel better, I tried to follow the training schedule to be accountable.
Q: A little more about your personally (Retirement? Hobbies? Family?)
A: October 2016 I retired from nursing after 41 years. I worked at hospitals in Montana and 21 years at the Centracare Clinic in Saint Joseph, MN. My hobbies are quilting, cooking, gardening, cross stitching, knitting and of course running! I've been married to my husband Kim for 44 years; we have three sons, one daughter and one grandchild, Rosalie. My father is 92, my mom is 89 and they live in their own home, so if I keep up the fitness pace, I have quite a few years left to run!
Q: Anything else you want to add?
A: Moms on the Run is a great group of ladies of all ages. I’ve learned a lot about running and having support is the best!