Here at Running Mums Australia we are blessed to have some pretty special members. One of our amazing members is Nicole, Running girl from Brisbane in QLD. Here in this interview Nicole shares with us her passion for running and why she has chosen to run the Boston Marathon this year.
Who are you and when did you start running?
Hi my name is Nicole and I am 43 years old married to Wayne and we have two boys Jacob 15 and Lochie 12 who are the most amazing kids in the world (yes I know every Mum thinks that). I live in Forest Lake, Brisbane. I absolutely love where I live and I think Brisbane has an amazing running community that just continues to grow from strength to strength, largely I am sure due to the start of Parkrun. I am a Medical Typist and work for Qscan Radiology. I work three days a week and have the best job as they have set me up to type from home so I never have to go into the office. This certainly helps with me finding time to train!
What or who inspires you the most in your running?
This is a really tough one to answer. There are many every day people, family, friends etc. that inspire me with what they are achieving with their running. A lot of people have a pivotal moment or a pivotal person that got them started with running but I don’t really have that. I just feel like I have always been a runner. As a little kid I loved running and being outside and I was always racing my friends down at the park. Then in high school I represented the school in 400m and cross country. I am proud of the fact that I won every 400m race through high school that I was in. I represented the school at State level. The funny thing was I never trained for running back then. Sports day or cross country day would come around and off I would go. Once on the cross country team we had training after school one day a week for about 6 weeks leading up to the zone, regionals and state but that was it! I did play netball throughout high school so I had fitness from that. I still remember in high school the greatest days of the year were sports day and cross country day I just loved it and that is why I love race day so much now that I am older, it brings back those feelings! I remember in high school not being able to sleep and I would go and buy pretty ribbons for my hair to match my house colours, I still approach race day in much the same way all these years later. I love running clothes and accessories, I know they aren’t important but bright colours and cool outfits just make me smile 🙂
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for a marathon?
I would say don’t get too caught up in your training times. You are constantly fatigued and your times will suffer. I actually find when I am marathon training that my 5k and 10k times are never at their best. You start to worry about how you will go on race day and think you are going backwards but DO NOT worry, you are putting all those kilometres in the bank and when you taper something will happen and come race day if everything goes to plan the magic will happen. Also find time to sleep, nap during the day and get to bed early. It is the only way your body will cope with the demands you put on it.
What has been your biggest running goal to date?
I have two, my first being my first (and only to date) full marathon at the Sunshine Coast in August last year. When I first decided to do it my plan was that this would be a practice marathon before aiming for a Boston Qualifying time which for my age group was sub 3.45, but then I realised I could possibly achieve it so I went for it and ran 3.37. I didn’t have the greatest of races as I hit the wall big time at 30k, I just struggled with my nutrition during the race and actually threw up but I kept going and got there in the end. Also I still love my 10k PB at Noosa where I ran 42.09.
What was your most memorable run?
Unfortunately my most memorable race is for all the wrong reasons. Last year I competed in the Twilight Half Marathon in March in Brisbane. It was hit by a freak storm. It really was so scary. For me the storm hit while I was at the 11k mark and where I was running the road was lined with gum trees and branches and debris were flying everywhere. There was no where to seek shelter except to keep running. The wind was so strong it almost blew me off my feet. There was a man running about 20 metres in front of me, due to the rain and the darkness it was I didn’t see it happen but I heard a big branch fall. This happened right in front of a drink station and as I ran up I could hear people yelling asking if anyone was a doctor and luckily I believe there was doctor and nurse there as a man was trapped under the tree branch. As the man was being attended to the volunteers told us to keep running which felt like such a strange thing to do but in hindsight there were people there to help the man and to stay there would have created more danger and chaos. So keep running we did until they sent people to pull everyone off the course, due to the number of people we had to find our way back to the finishing stadium. My husband and boys were sitting in the stadium really worried for my safety as the rain and wind was insane and you could hear sirens trying to get to injured people on the course. I also had friends running in the same race so it was a relief to see them all back safely. Sadly the man that was hit by the tree branch passed away. This race is coming up again in two weeks and I will be back for it. I have read that there will be something done in honour of him on the day.
Why get up and run? what motivates you? especially as a running mum?
Motivation is something I never struggle with my alarm goes off and I am up out of bed and running. I just love to run and can’t wait to get out the door. It makes me happy and helps release any worries I may have! I think I always have a goal to work towards so I know the training has to be done if I want to achieve those goals.
What is your favourite distance?
You know I am still not sure! I have run halves and a full marathon and loved both of them but I still think I love a fast 5k or 10k better. This answer could be slightly skewed because I am currently so tired from marathon training and long long long boring runs lol. I do love to run fast though. I think if I had to pick I would probably say 5k.
Why are you running Boston?
I think for most people that have been running for a few years you hear about Boston and the prestige of it and the history of it. I always thought in the back of my mind wow that would be amazing to run one day but I never thought of myself as a marathon runner. I was always a 5k or 10k runner and to be honest anything over 10k was too far for me. But then the seed was planted and it started to grow. I started to think maybe I can run a marathon and I looked up the qualifying times and thought well that is within reach. Then last year I remember watching on in shock when the bombing happened and my initial thought was I won’t do that now but then time passed and to see the way people reacted and how runners stood strong and would not be intimidated by this act of terrorism it made me want to get there even more. My initial plan was to run it in 2015 I was hoping to qualify at Gold Coast this year but then I did my marathon and the rest is history! It really will be the adventure of a lifetime and while it has been stressful planning an overseas holiday on a short time frame with the costs involved it is too good an opportunity to pass up so we have made it happen and in less than 6 weeks my dream will come true!
What are you looking forward to most about Boston?
Well it will be my first time to America so that alone is beyond exciting. I am just so excited about the buzz around the marathon that will be in Boston. It is going to be epic this year and I get to be a part of it. It really is like the ultimate race day. I am going to take every bit of it in from the race expo, to meeting runners I have connected with online, to the actual race day. I am not going into it with a time goal I am going to enjoy every step along that course and be thankful that I have the opportunity to run such an amazing race. I think it will be unlike any race I have ever done before!
What have been the highlights in your training?
Every run is a highlight for me, but to have my coach Jackie (Fit Sparrow) guiding me and helping me has been amazing. Plus all the encouragement and support I have had from my family, friends and people on Facebook who are there behind me 100% wanting me to succeed it has been humbling.
What have been the struggles?
I actually have had a few injury problems from a minor calf tear, minor hamstring tear to a broken sewing needle in my foot that have made me miss a few training runs (well the needle didn’t make me miss training but it hurt a bit) which does my head in totally. I never will just miss a run but I have had enforced breaks from running that have been tough to deal with in this build up. Also I have allowed myself to feel a bit of pressure, the guilt of spending so much money on a holiday for me to run a marathon and a bit of weight of expectation from people following my journey. I have managed to keep the negative thoughts to a minimum though and I know I can only give my best on the day and whatever my best is will be enough.
As a mum how do you find time to run?
My boys are a bit older so it is not so hard in recent years to find the time, they are rarely out of bed before I get home! I am one of these crazy people who if I have family or social commitments on I will get up at whatever time it takes to fit it all in! I think the earliest start for a run in this marathon training has been 3.50am! You don’t see many people out on the streets at that time of the morning 🙂
What is the best advice you have had from anyone to do with running?
To run your long run at an easy pace, I used to try and race every training run hard. Your long runs need to be at that slower pace as each different type of training run has a part in adapting a different area for improvement in your running. So save the fast work for speed days and tempo runs and make sure you do the easy days as easy days! Sometimes your Garmin can be your worst enemy…. in saying that I will never run without mine.
If you could sum up running in one word what would it be?
What do you love about Running Mums Australia?
I don’t always find the time to contribute to the group as much as I would like, especially of late with my own page and other commitments but whenever I pop in and read posts and have something to contribute it is always welcomed. The support the ladies all give each other is amazing. I think we have all come across people in our every day lives that don’t understand our passion for running and to be able to connect with like minded, supportive people is just amazing.
What are your goals for the future with running?
Well after Boston I am at this stage thinking of running the full marathon at Gold Coast, this will depend on my recovery though as I really struggled after my first marathon. If I can’t run the full I will do the 10k on the Saturday and the Half Marathon on the Sunday there. For the second half of the year I am determined to get my sub 20 min 5k, it will happen and I am going to work so hard towards it. I am sure you will hear me screaming it from the roof tops when I achieve that!
You can find Nicole on her Facebook page Running girl here
where you can continue to follow her amazing story. Thanks Nicole for being part of our amazing community here at Running Mums Australia. We wish you all the best this year and in the years ahead with your running!