About Me

Hi, I'm Nicole. *wave*

I started this blog in 2012 after making a new commitment to enjoy my running journey, no matter how slow. Each year of my running since then has had a different theme or intention:
2012 - Enjoy the Journey
2013 - Rebuild (post-surgery)
2014 - How Far Can I Go?
2015 - How Fast Can I Go?

The basics: I'm in my early 30s, wife to J and mom to Princess A (now age 7), I work full time, and I started my running journey in earnest in 2009. In 2012, my average pace for a short training run was anywhere from 12-13 minute miles, with long runs being about a minute slower. Currently my shorter training runs are 10-11 minute miles, with spadework faster and long runs slower.

Like many adult-onset runners, I could never run as a child or teen. Despite being a good athlete in gymnastics and softball, the only year I passed the Presidential Fitness Test in the mile was 1st grade. With allergies and exercise-induced asthma, and sprinting like I was being chased by a rhinoceros (no understanding of pacing!), it's no wonder I was not successful at running. I chose to play tennis in high school because I knew I couldn't survive the amount of running they did for all the other team sports. In college I dabbled in occasional runs - I even read running magazines!- but didn't stick with it.

Fast forward through getting a job, getting married, buying a house, having a baby... In early 2009, I joined a health and fitness forum on an online Disney message board that I was already a member of (click to visit The DISboards). Inspired by runners I met there and Tara from The Biggest Loser TV show, plus a desire to run a Disney race, I started training. I began the Couch to 5k program, which was a fabulous way to start (click to visit Cool Running C25k). After I graduated that program, I kept at it until I could run a little over 4 miles without stopping. I switched to run/walk intervals for half marathon training. In March 2010, I completed the Disney Princess Half. I absolutely loved it!

The runner's high from my first big race didn't last long. I was plagued with minor to moderate injuries: foot pain, IT band, knee pain, hip issues. So throughout 2010 and 2011 I tried time off, chiropractors, manual therapy, the foam roller, new shoes, another pair of new shoes, custom insoles, slow motion form analysis, and physical therapy. Everything healed, except the knee pain. I would finish nearly all my medium and long training runs grumpy - both with the knee pain and my pace. With my physical therapist's blessing I ran the 2011 Wine & Dine Half in Walt Disney World. At times it was a difficult slog, but I finished.

I started 2012 with a new philosophy - enjoying the journey. I wanted to keep training and racing, but I knew I needed to be more positive about it and try to avoid the knee pain. I experimented with race walking. I experimented with extremely short but frequent run/walk intervals. I experimented with tweaks to my form. With less time running versus walking, I was able to increase the number of pain-free miles my knee could do. After several months of successful training runs, and the lure of a special 20th anniversary Disney race, I signed up for my first full marathon: the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon.

I hope to spread the message that at any speed and whatever the obstacles, achieving your fitness goals is possible.

Thanks for reading!

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