I love to run. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it sucks but even when it sucks I love it. This blog is written based purely on my experience of that love, nothing more and nothing less. I don’t have a degree in physical anything. I have a law degree, a psychology degree, and a general studies associates. So why am I qualified to write this blog? Because I run, a lot, and I love each and every moment of it. I’ve run races from 5k to 100 miles. I’ve done relays and obstacle courses. I’ve even done 100 mile cycling events, I know not running. I’ve coached many runners and offered up advice and thoughts to others. I’ve written hundreds of training programs. I think everyone should run. Sometimes, my enthusiasm is annoying.
I am a middle of the pack runner and I am okay with this. I don’t need to be first, I only need to have a great time and do my best. Of course, my best depends on the race conditions and how my training is structured. My best changes with each year and each race. I set a goal that is challenging and I set a secondary goal in case something happens that day and my primary goal flies out the window. I always win, because I compete with myself and with the course. Sometimes I use other runners as motivation to push a little harder up a hill or to go a little faster so that the twelve year olds and seventy-two year’s old don’t beat me.
I have not always been a runner. In fact, I was not very athletic as a child at all. I didn’t participate in sports during jr. high or high school. I did take Jazz, Tap and Ballet dance classes during elementary school and played softball. That was the extent of my athleticism. This is hard to believe when you find out how much training I do now. But I’ve had lots of false starts. I’ve changed sports. I’ve been inconsistent. I’ve even taken years off. I’ve been over weight especially after the birth of my first son. I had about 40 extra pounds on at that point and it wasn’t muscle.
I am not a particularly fast runner. I could be faster, but I don’t like speed work which is when you focus on running fast for a certain distance. I like to run long. I am able to maintain a 9-9:30 min/mile on all my runs. Right now, twenty five miles is my favorite distance to run. I can really get into my grove and open up to the experience of running. It takes about three miles for my body to warm up and fall into its rhythm. Sometimes I entertain the idea of seeing just how fast I can be. I think to myself, “next training season I will do my speed work once a week and keep my miles on the weekend lower.” I have yet to truly commit to becoming a speed demon. I have pushed it on some races and placed second or third in my age group at the 5k and half marathon distance. Then I find another ultra-marathon that I want to do and all the thoughts of getting fast, evaporate. Speed work increases injury risk because you are pushing your body hard. It takes a longer time for your body to recover from speed work. Runs longer than 20 miles also push your body and take time to recover from. So in order to reduce my injury risk I have chosen to run long more than run fast.
When I started running, I had no clue what an ultra-marathon was. It was 2010, when I first read about the Wasatch 100 in Runner’s World Magazine. It was February, I was training for my fourth marathon and my first Wasatch Back Relay race. I was sitting in my office reading the magazine and turned the page revealing the article on the Wasatch 100. The elevation map was printed along with the elevation of the Boston Marathon. My eyes bulged out of my head, Heartbreak hill is nothing compared to the climbs of the Wasatch 100. As I read the article and looked at the maps I thought, “It is beautiful. I have to do this race. I don’t care if it takes me 10 years to get to it.” The comparison between the two races put it in perspective well and blew me away. Boston being the end all and be all of marathon racing is insignificant when compared to Wasatch 100. I closed the magazine pulled on my jacket and walked over to my friend Jeff’s office. I plopped in a child size chair (Jeff is an attorney for children) and laid the magazine on the floor. “Jeff, this is my race. One day, I’m going to run this thing and I want you to be my crew chief.” Jeff looked at the elevation and distance smiled and said, “Giddy-up.”
Please know that all my posts and pages are protected by the copy write laws. Please use the training programs and pass them to friends and family, but don’t copy and reuse claiming it as your own. As I noted above, I don’t have a degree in sports training, medicine or any other related degree. Everything I post is based upon my personal experience. In other words, if you decide to follow my advice and experiences you do so at your own risk.
Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments (or you can just leave them in the comments of the blog roll). My email is Nicole@ultrarunningmom.com I usually respond within 48 hours. Thanks