Hi friends! I am incredibly excited to introduce a new guest series- “The Many Faces of Running.” Since becoming a runner, I have been amazed by the variety and sheer number of persons I have encountered in this little huge community. Heck, I got smoked by a 79 year old man (literally, I may or may not have specifically looked at the race results to check) on my last 5k. This is what I love about running. It brings people into your life that you otherwise may not have had the pleasure to encounter.
With that, I am honored to introduce you to Nicki. Some of you may already know her; if not, I encourage you to go check out her blog. I can barely keep my running schedule together and I have just myself to take care of, where Nicki makes running look effortless while caring for six children. Now that is amazing!
I have said it again and again. I didn’t ever intend to run a race. I started running, if you could even call it that when I first started, to hopefully outrun all that heredity was trying to give me. I had had six children in ten years, watched my marriage dissolve, and watched the “baby” weight not go away. I decided, as my parents were diagnosed with more and more health issues, that I was not going to accept these things. I was going to fight back. That was Labor Day weekend of 2007.
Even last summer, logging at least 25 miles a week, I didn’t consider myself a runner. When a good friend introduced me to his mom, he said “and she’s a runner like me.” Now, he is a Boston qualifier and has run multiple marathons. I had to correct him. I still had no intentions of ever running a race.
Then, I went as my friend’s support team to a marathon. I loved it! I loved the camaraderie! I loved everything about the race. I knew I had to try a race so I started looking for a fall 5K. I found one but then kid things – this is a Mom phrase which means something you probably should be at, if possible – came up and I kept looking. I found one in Seneca Falls, NY. It was the “It’s a Wonderful 5K”in conjunction with the town’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”weekend. Now, I was a runner.
The holidays came and went. I was talking to a friend who does mentoring for Team in Training. I told her I thought I wanted to try a half marathon. She asked me a bunch of questions and then told me her sister is a race director for one in Sullivan County. The Celebrate Life Half Marathon was approximately nine weeks away so I had to start training.
I took to the internet with a renewed passion. I printed off all kinds of training plans. I decided on a Hal Higdon novice training plan for my first half marathon. I needed to do this right because as soon as I had registered for the Celebrate Life, I turned around and registered for a half that was closer to home and three weeks after the first, the Skunk Cabbage.
What played into my choice of training plans? I needed one that had some flexibility in it. I did not run the planned races at the planned times. I never ran a 10K prior to my half but I did run one more 5K. I also wanted one that the number of runs per week were five. I knew my body. I knew that I needed two days off each week. Cross training could take part on one of those days but I would also, on occasion, throw in a second rest day.
I have to be honest. I am not a two mile or three mile runner. I don’t like 5Ks because they are not long enough. I have discovered I am a distance runner. My half marathon training was runs I liked the distance off each week with the exception of the long run. I always ran the long run distance.
When I decided in July that I was going to run an October marathon, I again started looking at training plans. They were all 18 to 20 weeks. I had 12 weeks to train. The good news was I was already logging between 25 and 35 miles a week. I took an 18 week training plan and started at week six. This training plan, unlike the one I chose in January, was an intermediate plan. It was tough and intense but it was doable. The only deviations I have made from this plan is to switch around the days runs take place on to fit into my life.
Even as an intermediate plan, I know there are things missing from this current plan. I need to add speed work into my next training plan. I need to add weights, at least upper body, into my next training plan. I have used this plan to test all kinds of things: gels, bloks, beans. I have tested drinks and strengths of the drinks. This is what training is for – to get you ready for the real event. I will run, not even a full year after my first race ever and just slightly over a year from attending my first race ever, a marathon in October.
Nicki Conroy is a freelance writer and single mom. You can read more from her at Nicki’s Nook. While still not sure she is a runner, she has run ten races this year through the end of August.
Nicki, thank you so much for sharing your story! You are truly an inspiring woman and I know you will rock your first marathon. 🙂
If you’re interested in being featured as one of the many faces of running, please send me an email at FitToWed at gmail dot com.
Thank you for reading and enjoy your day!