Friday, August 10, 2012

Featured Runner Friday: Meet Nicole

Every runner has a story... 
At Sexy Mother Runner we believe that sharing those stories is a great way to share the gift of running while helping to motivate others. Today's featured runner is Nicole. She doesn't mention it in her story but she's an animal lover as well as a runner. Nicole is also known as Dr. Nikki, a veterinarian. Sexy and smart, she's really just an all around great person as you will see from her story. Enjoy!

Meet Dr. Nikki 

Why do I run????? Is it because I'm crazy and enjoy torturing myself?? Is it because I enjoy the quiet and peace of mind I get when I am out and about? I get asked this question by so many people. The short answer is......I run because I can. But there are many diverse reasons why I run.

I'd say it all started when I returned back to my hometown of Pekin, IL. My husband at the time was getting deployed to Iraq again and our son was 2&1/2 years old so we thought it would help to be back home and have the help of my family and friends. We were living with my parents....always a fun time right?!?! So this gave me the opportunity to get up early and workout while my mom was home getting ready for work and could be with my son. So the beginning of 2009 I started getting up before the sun came up and was hitting the gym. By April that year I was starting to walk/jog a little. I was feeling pretty good and that summer decided to join the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Program. I jumped right in and decided to do a half marathon and set my sights for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Phoenix, AZ in Jan 2010. Allowing myself plenty of time to train with the group.

Nikki (lower right corner, yellow shirt) with her team.

I began training and ran my first 5K August 2009, half marathon relay Sept 2009 and many other small runs in the area including the Farmdale Trail Run which was at the time 8 miles. I found with each race I could push myself further distances and thought just maybe I could make it through the half. Well the Half Marathon came and I finished in 1:59 and a few seconds!!! I couldn't believe it. During all of this training I had also dropped a load of baby weight totaling.....40 lbs!!!! I was feeling amazing. I continued training and entered my second half marathon in Champaign/Urbana, IL in May 2010. I finished in 2:03.....not too bad I thought.

Nikki before her Half in Arizona.

Then about 3-4 days after that.....ohhhhhh the pain!!!!! I developed Bursitis in my left hip. It was the most excruciating pain I'd ever experienced......and I've been through childbirth.....I had to literally drag myself to work after almost falling out of bed the pain was so bad. My doctor looked at me when I went in and actually told me...”you run too much”. I had blisters on my feet from the half I had just run a few days ago......obviously this was NOT the physician for me. He gave me nothing to go on but the diagnosis and some NSAIDS for pain. being the person that I am...I was not satisfied with that. Called up a friend who was a physical therapist and had him give me some PT exercises to get me back on track. I also contacted my TNT coach and had him give me some strength training exercises to strengthen my hip once I was back to running. I was off running for a total of 5 just about killed me!!! I found other activities to keep me busy though....the bike became my friend after a few weeks when I was allowed some exercise again. I was back to running by Steamboat time and signed up for the 4 miler. Did the IVS Half Marathon in September......but my ultimate goal was to be able to go to the Chicago Marathon that I had already signed up for that February!!!

Oh and did I mention through the fall of 2009 I went through a divorce??? Yep forgot to mention that. So for 2010 I was doing all of this as a single mother with the help of a lot of family and friends and a new boyfriend.

Being a single mom presented some challenges while training for a marathon. Mainly when it came to my long distance runs. I adapted and had to pound it out on the treadmill, running 6 miles then do a load of laundry, run another 6 miles and do the dishes etc. My son at the time was 4 so I couldn't exactly go for a 4 hour run and leave him alone and felt guilty asking my folks to watch him after they had just had him all morning on a Saturday while I had been at work. So I made it work. I was still getting some runs outdoors on my lunch breaks but they were much shorter distances during the week, 3-5 miles at best. What I discovered was that made a big difference come marathon time. I started Chicago Marathon on 10-10-10!!! By mile 8 I discovered what pain an IT Band can cause. I suffered through it until mile 21 where I was forced to walk due to the pain. I mustered up the gumption to hobble through a painful jog the last 0.2 miles to actually finish at a jogging pace. I finished in about 5:30. It was brutal. I learned a tough lesson......treadmills are great for short training workouts like hills, and short tempo runs, etc. But you gotta hit the pavement for the long runs. The treadmill absorbs too much shock so your joints, tendons and ligaments do not get as strong as they need to be for the long runs.

After another recovery I was back at it. This time facing another challenge. While standing at the start for the marathon, I thought what do I do now once I accomplish this feat?? And my answer came from a man standing in the crowd on the sidelines cheering on the runners. He was holding a Tremont Triathlon Team banner......and I thought....”Why not?” So I joined and realized, didn't actually know how to swim and rhythmically breathe. So when I signed up my son for his normal swimming lessons....I signed up too. With my previous injuries at the back of my mind I was worried what I might further injure. But I received a gift certificate from my ex-husband for a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes. They have made all the difference to me. I began training in them in January 2011 and by May was running half marathons again without any fear or worry of any flare-ups of previous injuries. June 2011 I accomplished my first Sprint Triathlon in Tremont.

As I have continued to run, my son has picked it up as well. Having run the 2010 Peoria Zoo Run Run Kid's Run and the 2011 and 2012 Christie Clinic Kid's run, he is always asking when he can race again!! He is now training for his first kid's mini triathlon.

In 2012, I chose to take my running to a new level. I slowed down on races (but still managed to pound out a few and another sprint triathlon) and concentrated on my main goal which was to run the St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Run!!! I am pleased to say that it went better than I could have ever imagined. The running was the easy part. It's the lack of sleep that gets you!! We covered 465 miles as a team. Each of us running whatever we can to help each other and raised over $820,000. My life forever changed after this run and I look forward to repeating this in the future.

So I repeat the question.....”Why do I run?” and here's the long version!!!
  1. Because I still can!!!
  2. To be a role model for my son and keep him active and healthy
  3. To keep myself active and healthy
  4. To keep myself sane
  5. To run for those who cannot
  6. To push myself to higher limits in all aspects of my life
  7. For the Children of St. Jude
  8. For Breast Cancer Awareness
  9. To inspire others to do the same
  10. So I can eat!!!

Feel free to leave a comment encouraging Nikki on her running journey! 
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  1. Wow! What an awesome journey. I love your story and the fact that you made it happen through all of the obstacles that could have stopped the average person. You're an inspiration. :)

  2. Awesome story! I agree with Patty! You are suchh an inspiration!