• Shooting for 2016!

    This Blog will follow me as I try to become a two-time Olympic Trials Qualifier. The 2016 Trials "B" standard is sub 2:43 for women - let's get after it!

  • The 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials

    The best experience, EVER. Go Team Nichole!

  • Thank you!

    I can't thank Jerry enough for believing in me, and for my generous sponsors Brooks, Generation UCAN, Nutrilite, Anytime Fitness, Feetures!, Seven Sundays Muesli, Massage Geek, and Stunt Puppy.

  • Dare to dream

    ...and dare to fail

  • Stay in Contact!

    If you've seen me speak, we've connected at a race, or you just read this blog, feel free to reach out and stay in contact with me. I value my running connections and the personal stories behind them more than you know! Plus, comments here have really helped with my personal journey - so keep 'em coming!


My dear friends at Stunt Puppy would like to give one lucky individual their choice of...

A new Stunt Runner:

My favorite Stunt Runner: the Go Dog Glo Stunt Runner (reflective at night)
Or a new collar:

Any color you'd like! Check out all of their fun options: http://www.stuntpuppy.com/gear/croakies-everyday-collar
Your lucky day!!!!! You all know how much Mesa and I love our Stunt Puppy gear, so I'm ecstatic to be able to host this contest!

[Just browsing their website looking at the options makes me wish I could enter the contest!!! :)]

To enter
1. Comment on this blog post on why you deserve a new leash or collar. 

2. Or, send an email to me (nichole.porath@gmail.com) with a picture of your old leash/collar. Of the entries I receive, one comment and photo (the uglier, the better! Or, a creative "running" leash) will win your choice of either a new leash or new collar!! 

As always, feel free to use coupon codes: MESAMILES for 20% off, or STINKYLEASH for $5 off your order. 

Good luck, my running and furry friends!

~Nichole & Mesa

PS - Email addresses will NOT be shared with anyone!
PPS - If you'd like to be added to my monthly coaching newsletter, you can state that in your email... obviously, not necessary, but thought I'd mention the option!

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Pregnancy Week 13

Week 13 already!

The Great:

Training has gone really well this week. 

Every day that I go out, I'm giving myself the option of two workouts: one short and one long. I'll start with the goal of the short run, and if I'm feeling good, I'll extend it. This is probably what I'll do going forward, since otherwise I would find myself planning for a long run, then feeling crummy and not finishing it (gasp!) or pushing through it and then paying for it later. 

That meant my 5 mile easy run on Monday with Craig turned into a 10.25 miler! I felt great (almost normal!), and decided early on I'd try for the 8 miles that was written for Tuesday. But as we approached that, I was still feeling good... so knocked out my "long" run for the week! 

It was a GREAT run - conversation made the miles fly by, and I followed Craig through the arb for the last few miles, which made those miles go by quickly. I finished and immediately called Nate to tell him about the great run :). 

I used to make those same excited calls after I nailed a long run with hard tempo work in it, but hey -- I'll enjoy that same excitement with an unexpected "feeling good" day now :).

TNC gear is in! It looks great. I'm excited to see the jerseys out on courses this year. Sharon will be wearing hers on the streets of Boston on Monday - woot, woot!!

Everything turned out just awesome!
Men's long sleeve
Next week: Next week is going to be busy! I'm speaking at the Midwest Mountaineering Spring Expo on Friday evening at 8pm (info here). Stop by if you're free on Friday!

Saturday is the Gustavus Alumni Meet. I've always done both the 5k and the Alumni mile here, but this year will just be doing the Alumni mile (and likely, slowly). It should still be a really fun time!

Last, but not least, Sunday is the Maple Syrup Fun Run at the Faribault Nature Center!! Nate, Craig, and I will all be running in it. Mini's first two races, back to back!

The Good:

My stomach is starting to show now! Eeek! 

I felt my stomach "stretching" one night when trying to fall asleep. The next morning I dressed to go out for a run with Nate. He looked at me for a while. 

"I think you're showing more than you have been!", he exclaimed.

Yep, think so... makes me a little scared for the coming weeks, since there is only one way for this baby to find room to grow...

A smaller-ish long sleeve definitely accentuates the stomach. Perhaps to the casual observer it still looks like I just ate too much??

The Bad:

Food doesn't sound appetizing or taste the same. By the time I'm done making an evening meal for Nate and I, I'm very much over the meal.

I've also been pretty tired lately. I sleep a lot in the evenings and then find myself trying to stay awake in the afternoons (I don't try too hard... usually I give in and lie down for a nap). 

Weight: 119.0
Training weight: +6
Getting pregnant weight: -1

Mileage: 40 this week with 2 days off. Felt so much better this week!

Obligatory side-shot. This was at the start of 13 weeks.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream Bars


Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream Bars

adapted from here 
*Not the healthiest, but amazing, so thought I'd share :)

Photo credits: bakingblonde.wordpress.com


1 cup melted butter 
1 cup brown sugar (or a combination of brown sugar and a sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups Quick Cooking oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2  cup creamy peanut butter 
1 can low fat sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

*You can also add 1/2 cup of M&Ms to the topping


Preheat oven to 350.

Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil and spray lighlty with PAM.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together melted butter, sugar, soda, oatmeal, flour & salt until it’s crumbly.
Set aside about 1 cup or a little more.

Press the rest of the crust into prepared pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes.

May 118
While crust is cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk.

Once crust has baked, evenly pour and spread peanut butter filling over the baked crust.Be gentle so you don’t pull up the warm crust while you spread the filling.  

Evenly sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top of the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk mixture. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle the chopped candy bars and chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to oven to bake for another 5-10 minutes or until topping is light golden brown and candy bars/chips are melting. 

Allow to cool to make cutting and serving easier. 


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Pregnancy Weeks 11-12

The great:

My blog WON the 2014 Best Women's Running Blog competition!! Thank you to EVERYONE who voted! It's a huge honor (and a huge surprise!)!

I went in for a massage with Lynn at Massage Geek this week. It was painful, but amazing. I'm trying to get at that pesky hip/hamstring issue so that it's more healed by the time I can start training hard again. If you've been looking for a deep tissue massage therapist, check her out. Don't check her out if you're looking for a foo-foo feels-great massage :)

It was a busy coaching week, as I was able to meet up with one of my athletes at a coffee shop early in the week, run with another on Thursday in Northfield, and coach yet another on the track on Friday! I LOVE MY JOB!!!

Craig, Jeff, and Nate last week (no more snow this week!). All three of these guys are getting ready for Grandma's marathon, so I play the role of coach/cheerleader during their track sessions while I'm running around the outside lanes putting in easy mileage. It at least makes me *feel* like I'm part of the track-work bandwagon! :)
The bad:

Week 11 of pregnancy started out with me throwing up at least once daily. So much for my post from week 10 that said I was feeling great, eh?

Nate made sure I was trying to get some sort of food down. "Yes, I know you don't feel well. But you HAVE to at least eat a couple of crackers each hour," he'd insist. It was tough to know what to do: if I got too hungry, I'd feel nauseated and dry heave. If I ate before I became hungry, I felt like puking (or did puke). Catch 22. Suck.

He kept the house stocked with ginger ale and came home from the grocery store one evening with a couple of bags of foods he thought I might like/be able to keep down. So nice to feel taken care of!!

Luckily, though, it lasted just 5-6 days, and now I'm back to it and feeling a ton better!

The other "not so hot" things these last two weeks:

7th grade acne. Seriously?!? Please leave...

The heat also affects me a lot more when working out. Nothing really "bad"; it's just something I need to be mindful of when running now, especially as Spring and Summer approach.

Again, not really "bad", but I've noticed my easy pace has now dropped to 8:50s. That's just interesting... why is that? It's not like I'm bigger or heavier yet...

The good:

Again, feeling good again! Running has felt better again as well (minus a couple of runs in the heat), YEAH! This week I'll hit ~42 miles with one day off. 

My stomach looks just a little pudgy. At first, I hated that (and wore my bigger training shirts)... but now I've embraced it and don't care. It'll likely just be a cute little "bump" (not really a bump yet... I just look like I ate a lot) for a little while, so I'll take advantage of it while it's still somewhat cute :)

Start of week 11

Mesa is concerned... as she should be :)

Start of week 12

Weight: 118.4
down 4 pounds from week 10 (hmm..)
up 5.4 pounds from training weight
up 10 pounds from racing weight

Easy run pace: ~8:50

Mileage: at a comfortable 40-50 miles/week for now!

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My Voice of Reason

Yesterday Nate and I met up with Craig for a long run. They were going to do 17 as they have Grandma's marathon coming up in 11 short weeks.

I waffled between going with them for a part of it, or doing my own run with Mesa. I had been throwing up again the night before and my stomach wasn't 100%.

But, I decided that company makes everything better, so laced up and ran out the door with them.

Immediately, I could tell that this was harder than normal. Ug. What is this? I looked down and saw we were running at ~8 min pace. Could that be it? I know my "easy" pace is now 8:30s, so that could definitely be it. I sent a silent message to Mesa to "Pull!!" :)

Practicing for the Fast and the Furry 5k at the end of May! Mesa will definitely need all of her strength/pulling abilities then
Another picture from the Fast and the Furry. I just love how proud Mesa looks :)
 At 3 miles, my HR spiked to 185 while running up a hill with them. I was out of breath & just WORKING. I told them that I'd just drop back at that point, but they were okay slowing down the pace as well.

They kept me talking through 5 miles, which kept my mind off my nauseated-feeling self (and also my mind off of my effort...). At 5, I decided to turn around to head back for home, even though I wanted to go longer - 10 used to be a walk in the park! - I figured it had been a few weeks since I had done something long. Better to error on the side of short vs. long.

The 5 miles back seemed to take forever. I slowed the pace to 8:35s, and still my HR hoovered around 180. At mile 8, I noticed I was running 9:00 miles with my HR still in the low 180s. What?!?

I made it home, drank a ton (it was warm out!), and then felt the need to crawl into bed. I was cold, and my brain just wanted to shut off.

Nate got me up ~20 mins later when he returned. He looked at me quizzically.

Q: Why did I feel the need to go 10 today? A: The plan was 8-10, and honestly, I felt like a complete cop-out not at least doing double digits when you guys were doing 17. Definitely pride. Definitely ego.

His response: do you think either I, or Craig, cares how far or how fast you're going now? Or anybody? I know you feel the need to prove you can still do this, still want to work hard, but you are PREGNANT.

Q: Did you consider slowing down even further at the end? Walking? A: [pause] Actually, no, I didn't... guess I've conditioned myself to think 9:00 miles should be "slow enough"

His response: Maybe next time when you see your HR climbing so high, you could take a 1-2 minute walk break. Or just slow your pace down even further?

Then he talked for a long time. He reminded me that even though "I used" to be able to run ~17-20/day, that running "used" to come easy, and that 9:00 miles "used" to be considered too slow, that things have changed. My body is slightly different, and my physiology is different. I will handle heat differently (probably a BIG factor during that run, I am guessing). I have never been pregnant before, so I am NOT allowed to compare myself to pre-pregnancy distances or times.

And most of all, I need to listen to my body more.

Thanks, Nate, for being the best voice of reason. Seriously, I don't know what I would do without you!

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Perhaps spoke too soon...

I may have jinxed myself when I said I have been feeling great.

Week 11 has started off a little rough. First, food has sounded completely unappetizing.

Nate was wonderful and brought home a chocolate pastry and two containers of ice cream last night. "You need to be eating more!" was his decree.

Can't remember the last time I've had a pastry AND chocolate ice cream in the house at the same time!
I started to make dinner, but then all of a sudden I needed to lay down. Fast forward a couple hours, trips to several stores by Nate to find ginger ale, and I found myself ending the night throwing up into a garbage can while trying to fall asleep.

I don't think I've thrown up in a LONG time.

Today was more of the same. *Sigh* I tried to eat lunch, but that came right up. Along with the 4 strawberries I choked down for breakfast. Throwing up when you don't have anything in your stomach is NOT pleasant. I'd forgotten that feeling.

I also checked my weight, and I'm down ~3 pounds (now below pre-pregnancy weight). Here's hoping it's just the flu and not the start of morning sickness. That shouldn't start at 11 weeks, right?!?

Thinking positive! I'm hoping to be feeling better and be out on the roads ASAP!

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Pregnancy - Week 10

This week: a temporary no-running order (although feeling great!), buying new running bras, and some general life updates!

Week 10 started off great. I ran 7 miles Monday, easy, and 11 miles Tuesday with Rael and Craig (workout was to do some rolling hills, and luckily, Craig and Rael proposed running the roads around St. Olaf!). 

The only problem was that I had started spotting Sunday. I called Tuesday and they brought me in immediately for an ultrasound. Luckily, Nate was able to re-arrange his schedule to be there, as we were a little surprised at what we found :). 

Along with finding out I was 10 weeks along, we also found out that there was a sub-chorionic hemorrhage. Basically, it's a blood clot or pool of blood that has developed and causes baby to separate from the uterus (not a good thing).

So... that meant a doctor's orders of NO RUNNING. Wait, just not "no running", but no exercise.

I was bummed for a brief second, but then accepted the order completely. Heck, if I need to sit on my bum for the remainder of these 7 months to make sure this little person is healthy, develops well, etc, then that is what I'll do! I could busy myself with other things, right? (I cringe thinking of trying to fill 7 months of things other than training/running/being active...)

... coaching, gardening, quilting, finishing the Xmas stocking below... I'm sure there are other fun projects, right?!?

I went back for a second ultrasound that Friday to find that the hemorrhage was much smaller. So, if symptoms stopped for a couple of days, I was okay to start running again. YAAAHHH!!!!!!

I immediately emailed Chris, my coach :)

I noticed for the first time on my run yesterday that my stomach just looked a little "pudgy". No bump yet, I just look a little chubby :)

Beginning of week 10. Just looks like I ate a big evening meal :)
Oh, and I've had to buy new running bras. Sigh. PLEASE, someone tell me this is temporary and that I'll be able to use my collection of XS running bras again... Or is this a permanent thing???

Mediums now... sigh...

122 this morning (end of week 10). I'm up 2 pounds over "getting pregnant weight", up 10 pounds over training weight, and up 15 pounds over racing weight.

Beginning of week 10
General Life Updates:
Stocking: I was able to make great progress on baby's Xmas stocking during our road trip to Indiana. This might actually be done by baby's first Christmas!
About 1/3 complete! The name will have to wait :)
Yes, this makes me a nerd... I've made counted cross-stitch stockings for both Nate and I.

Baby's room: We listed our office set on Craigslist, assuming it would take months to sell. It was a HUGE set. Amazingly, it sold in 3 days. So... now we have an empty room... does that mean I can start shopping for a crib/baby room furniture? I'm all for buying used, so have a CL search up.

The grocery game: Now I've moved on to our freezer, trying to use up the things we've had in there for the better part of a year. This week I tackled:

A chicken!!

photo credit: cookthink.com. Because, obviously, mine did not look this pretty :). But, it turned out moist and flavorful, which is a huge win!
Yep, that's right :) It's actually not as hard as it seems.

Plus, it made for a great chicken noodle soup the next day. We were also able to make a LOT of chicken stock to freeze.

On the subject of food: Food has just not tasted the same this last month. It's not like I have food aversions, but things just don't look or sound as good as they used to. I'm hoping that changes...

2014 Best Women's Running Blog: You've probably seen this on FB already, but in case you haven't, I've been nominated to compete for the title of 2014 Best Women's Blog. So far, with the help of YOU, I've made it into the ELITE 8!! Holy cow!!

There may be many more solicitations for votes in the near future, and I assure you, I appreciate EVERY SINGLE ONE! This is a dream come true to be one of the top 8 running blogs in the country. I can only hope we can make it further!!!

If you're reading and haven't voted, PLEASE consider voting. It just takes a second!!! http://www.saltyrunning.com/2014/04/01/greatest-womens-running-blog-elite-eight/

Let's make it to the Final Four!!! :)

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Nominated, But Need Your HELP!

I've been nominated to compete for the title of "2014 Greatest Women's Running Blog". It's set up like the NCAA Basketball tournament, so I need to make it past the first round to move on.

The only problem with that is that I'm up again Camille Herron's blog. Nothing like competing against the big dogs!!! :)

If you could vote for my blog here, I would REALLY appreciate it! For those of you that have already voted, THANK YOU!

Let's make this the Cinderella story of the tournament :)


(I'm at the bottom of the voting list)

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