Pain free run, swelling free evening. YEAH!!!!


Glad to have such a great team

I am blessed to be working with such bright & caring individuals. I’m not completely over the low quad spasm yet, but it’s getting better quickly.

The worst part of every injury is the “What should I do? How can I get over this the quickest? Is it smart to keep running? If not, how long should I take off?” questioning that goes on. You know what I’m talking about. It’s only been a couple of days, but wow – a injury/setback of any kind almost takes more brain power & energy than training 90+ miles/week!!

I am lucky to be able to fully trust my coach and chiropractor’s advice. I can throw all of these questions at them & trust their answers & guidance on a path forward. It's not easy to find professionals that you can trust like I'm able to.

With that said, if anyone is ever in the Red Wing area & looking for a great sports injury guy, please look up Jim Patterson (chiropractor). He is simply the BEST. Extremely knowledgeable, and an uncanny way of simplifying everything down for you. Plus, just the most worldly thinker. Can’t say enough about him here to even begin to thank him for all he’s done for me.

Going to try a 5-6 miler tonight, hoping there isn’t a flare up or inflammation of any kind afterwards!!


Week In Review - Week 13

Week in Review
Week 13 (to-go!): 71 miles total (recovery!!) vs. plan of 73
One day off
One long run, 21.65 miles (story below)
One hard workout: 14.25 miles total: 3x10 minutes at 6:00 pace, 20 minutes at goal MP (6:09)

The weather has finally turned cooler, which has been great. I’m such a cold-weather runner, it isn’t funny (PLEASE, Houston, make Jan 14th a very, very cold race day!!!). I’ve loved the change. Plus, it gives me the chance to wear more of the awesome CW-X gear that I received earlier this year. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to join their elite athlete team (check it out!), which is beyond cool since I’ve worn their tights for the last 6 of my marathons and think their stuff is great. I’ve always had a hard time with my thighs chaffing (big things, small hips = not fun!). But, I’ve NEVER had any problems chaffing in CW-X, which is why I’m such a huge fan of their products.

This week is a down week (YEAH!!) – 73 planned miles with one planned day off. The last time I’ve taken a day off was on 9/27, which was 24 days and 309 miles ago. Uff. That’s more miles than most high school runners log in a summer! It was probably just a tad too long of a stretch in between days, off, though. I was extremely tight & am now nursing something in my left quad.

I switched my off day to Saturday (vs. scheduled = Thursday) because of a family event. Friday ended up being my long run day, plan of 23 miles. This was the 24th day of running in a row. I did fine through about 16 miles, but then struggled. My right hamstring wasn’t firing and was getting a little worse throughout the run, so stopped several times to stretch it. Hate that old injury. At 19 miles I turned to the left and navigated through some rough ground to avoid being near traffic. I must have strained something in my quad. Ug. I walked/ran the rest of the way home, cutting the scheduled 23 miler to 21.65. It was actually quite painful.

I’m still nursing that quad. Not sure what I did to it, but there’s a sharp pain when I run now. Best to rest it, I’d rather play it safe than sorry.
Lesson learned… do not alter Jerry’s plan to further stretch out my “off” days. There are already very few scheduled, and there’s in there, in a specific spot of the week, FOR A REASON! (Yes, that’s me yelling at myself :))


I made myself better today

I haven’t written much lately… probably because I’ve logged 95 miles each of the last two weeks. Impressive, especially considering I handled them pretty well (all things considered)!

Before Grandma’s, I had one week of 95, but couldn’t do a second. That 95 mile week took everything out of me and I had a hard time recovering. Now, I’m finding myself strong enough to handle mileage like this – and back to back, even!

I still have my tired days, obviously. Friday last week was one of those days.

Because of the timing of the week, my hard days needed to fall on Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesday, I expected to feel terrible. I was in the middle of the 2nd 95 mile week, and was going to try to run 5x1500m repeats with Simone. But, much to my delight, they went really well!! I was faster than Simone on all of them, which REALLY surprised me (last winter/spring I could only keep up for about 85% of her workouts!). Repeats were as fast as 5:19, as slow as 5:24 (done in the Carleton arb, on very wet slick ground). Exhilarating to be able to run fast in the middle of mileage!

Then came Friday. I could tell I had only given my legs a day to recover (and that day was a double of 12 miles… so not exactly the lightest “recovery” day in the world). Workout was supposed to be: 19 miles total: 3 WU, 2x9:30 at tempo, hour easy, 14:15 at tempo, CD for the remainder. It was incredibly windy that day- for the first tempo segment I found myself running a 5:50 first mile and 6:30-6:40 pace for the last .67 or so. I believe the next 9:30 at tempo was around 5:48 and 6:20. My legs were trashed.

I slugged through 7.5 miles, very slowly. Time to start the last tempo segment. Ug. I told Nate that I could commit to doing 9:30 of tempo (workout called for 14:15). He nicely suggested committing to all of it, but I just couldn’t. My legs hurt, I was slow, and quite frankly I just wanted to be done.

BUT, I didn’t give stopping a second thought when I saw 9:30 on my watch. I instead thought: Just 4:45 left, that’s not that bad! I can do anything for 4… then 3… then 2… etc minutes. I imagined bring tough the last ½ mile at the Trials & powered up a hill for the last minute (just makes me stronger! I thought). I stopped at 14:15 and bent over, gasping for air. I looked up at Nate, smiled, and said, “I made myself better today”.

That’s all you can ask of yourself, right? Take each day and make yourself better/faster/stronger than the last :).


Made me smile :)

I've done a couple of talks this fall to different teams/groups. It is so rewarding to influence others to believe in themselves, have that 'go get 'em' attitude, and chase goals they're passionate about.

After one talk at a high school, I got the nicest note. Hope they don't mind me reposting here, it really made my day:

"Just to let you know, I was at grocery store this pm and a parent of varsity member on the girls team said after your talk all she could talk about was you, running and setting her sights high to run CC in college. This parent thought that her daughter's confidence has shot up tremendously in the last few weeks and felt that your presentation was a significant part of it going up.Having one student/athlete feel this way, I'm sure there are others and that it will be contagious."



99 days and counting...

We're within 100 days of the Trials... that's scary...

A quick mid-week update: I've been running a little tired lately, as evidenced by my TC 10 performance. It's hard to know what to do (since I'm relatively new to marathoning and mileage). I think I'm feeling this way because there have been so many changes to my training plan: I'm following the elite Daniels plan, which has much longer tempo and MP workouts in them (uff, I thought the regular plan was hard!!); Mileage is up (For Grandma's, I hit 95 miles once, 92 miles another week... for Houston I have 7 weeks above 95 miles planned (3 of which are 105)), and paces are being challenged.

Perhaps it'll just take a while to get used to all of this? Or perhaps I should back off the paces a little bit? During my MP workout yesterday, it was relatively comfortable to hit 6:16s -- I had to really work to bring that to 6:10s, which is my new goal. Question is: do you push for sub 6:10s, and eventually that becomes easier? Or do you go at what "feels" like MP and that pace will come down gradually as the training plan progresses & I become stronger & more fit?

On another note, I'm doing really well with my weight and nutrition (well, I should clarify: really well in comparison to what I used to be doing, my goals are still to do much better :)). I've held my weight at 107.4 this week, which is relatively light for me. I was down to 106.0 for Grandma's, and my goal will be to get there again within the next 3 weeks. Fun to think I can be there so early in the training cycle! The goal will be to be even lighter than that for Houston - a weight yet to be determined (with the help of a body fat test - hoping someone can point me to a "number" to shoot for). I just don't want to be carrying around anything I don't NEED at Houston. Based on how out of place I felt at TC 10 vs. the extremely fit/lean US Championship women, I have a bit on me that I don't need :)

Part of it has been the change in the foods that I eat: I'm now eating a TON of healthy foods. I haven't allowed myself to buy anything packaged or bad for you in the last 3 weeks, and instead have snacked on greek yogurt, organic bread with PB, etc. Sometimes I find myself staring longingly into our pantry or fridge, wishing there were packaged cookies, chocolate bars, pop tarts, or anything else to "satisfy" me. [Apples just don't fill you like a heavy, unhealthy, sugar/fat filled snack :)] Ohh, just writing about those things makes me crave them...

I do allow myself to cheat when the "bad" food is being provided (i.e. snacks left out at work, goodies made by mother-in-law, etc). There's probably a little more cheating than I should have, but at least this method limits it :)

My body/stomach have had a hard time getting used to this. Seriously. I'm guessing it's just because my diet now has a ton more fiber, and I'm eating a lot more (you can eat so much more when everything is healthy!).

That's all for now... plugging away, one day at a time (with only 99 more to go!). Yikes!!


Week 16 in review

67 miles (down week)
15 mile hard tempo workout
TC 10 mile, 1:02.40
1 day off (YEAH!)

I purposefully had a down week this week to accommodate the 10 mile. Last week had been such a great training week that I thought big things might be in store.

I started in the US championship wave for the first time, which was really fun. You were supposed to have a PR of 58 minutes or less to qualify – apparently they thought my marathon time equated to that (perhaps it does?). I was excited to be able to race alongside some really fast women. But my legs had other plans. The race was torturous – my legs wouldn’t move! My legs were heavy & it felt weird to try to get them to move. Ug. At mile 3, I knew there was no hope. I stayed positive throughout (nothing I can do now except try to push as hard as I can & enjoy the day), but it was a little tough… I was fighting to last place in my wave L. At mile 7, I thought to myself that I wasn’t hardly using my lungs. You have to be able to get your legs to move faster than this, Nichole – you have to at least TRY to tax your lungs! But, I couldn’t. I seriously could not turn my legs over any faster or drive forward with any power.

Pictures of the race show just look odd – I’m sort of driving with my knees, but it’s an awkward angle (something only I pick out, probably), not efficient & not a natural gait at all. So I’m not kidding when I say my legs just weren’t working properly.

I reflected on the race afterwards and came to some good conclusions:
Even though this week was a “down” week, it takes me much longer to feel recovered than it used to. I usually don’t feel a down week until a week and a half later. If I’m really going to “taper” for something, I think it needs to start the week before the race.

This down week had one day off and one day of 5 miles – meaning that the other 62 miles were in 5 days, without a long run – that’s still a bit.

Last, Wednesday’s run of 14.5 miles had 45 minutes of tempo in it, and I completely drained myself during the workout (I struggled to maintain 6:30s at the end of the last 10 minute session… completely dehydrated & legs not working). To set myself up for a weekend race, I should probably have done some short speed or a shorter, quicker tempo run. Not something that made me feel completely drained & sick afterwards.

So, ug. Guess you just chalk it up to experience & move on!!