Motivation, TwentySixTwo, Uncategorized

Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do

This post was originally published on! I am super excited to get to be a contributing blogger to the up and coming running site!

“Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do”


“Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do” is, and forever will be, my daily motto. (In case you’re not familiar, Leslie Knope is the annoyingly cheerful, energetic, hardworking, and determined heroine of the show Parks and Recreation,sadly now off air). Yes, my role model is definitely a TV show character but for good reason! She appreciates the small stuff, loves her friends to death, and always works her butt off even for the most seemingly mundane tasks.

And of course, I 100% apply that motto to running. But let me clarify: trying to have an unwavering sense of cheer and being hardworking does not equal perfection at all times. Quite on the contrary. Because like every human that ever human-ed, there are days that I really just want to sit on the couch with a pint of ice cream and binge watch some Netflix. I think it’s only natural to lose motivation every now and again.

The key is to not let “every now and again” turn into “every single day”. Which is easier said than done, especially with full days of work combined with a social life and general adult commitments (because groceries unfortunately won’t buy themselves).

How is this even possible, you ask?

1. Have a routine

Having a set list of things to do before running is so helpful. Are you a morning runner? Maybe you need a few extra minutes to drink coffee first. Are you an afternoon runner? If your commute stinks, try listening to fun podcasts to keep you motivated and energized on the way home. Example: I’ve been working early mornings lately so I’ve been an afternoon/evening runner on weekdays. When I get home, I change straight from my scrubs into running clothes before I literally do anything else. I know if I sit down or put on comfy clothes, it’s game over. The hardest thing for me is jumping over that “I’m so tired” hurdle so I bypass it completely.

2. Have a relaxation ritual

Not sleeping well at night? That can totally impact any desire to run, morning or evening. Being tired makes it hard enough to make it through the day, let alone log miles or train hard. Even if you can’t completely detach from electronics at night, find *something* that helps get you in the sleepy time zone. Get cozy. I’m talking fluffy robe and warm socks cozy. Tea + turning off my computer + watching mindless TV

3. Don’t get discouraged

Literally everyone has off days. I’m not even close to pro, but I’m sure that even professional runners have days where their legs feel like cinder blocks and they just feel like crud during their whole run. One bad run does NOT mean that you are a bad runner. Heck, just lacing up and running around the block proves that you are an awesome runner.

4. Have a goal

No matter what the goal is, I strongly believe it’s important to have a goal. Whether it’s to finish a race or be able to run ‘x’ miles, adding a purpose to all of the miles helps tremendously. On the days when I don’t want to lace up, I remind myself WHY I’m lacing up and even if I still don’t want to hit the road I know I’m doing it for a reason. Write it on a sticky note, make yourself a phone background, find a way to always remind yourself WHY.

5. Create a social environment

Running alone all the time can get, well, lonely. Join a running group or find a friend to share some miles. Not only will you have a reason to show up to the run (so you don’t stand up your friend/friends!), but you will also have the opportunity to build a friendship with people who love running as much as you and will help push you to the next level! My personal favorite is a morning weekend run followed by bRUNch!

6. Eat well & stay hydrated

Kind of in the same vein as finding a way to relax, I know if I’m dehydrated or haven’t eaten “well” I will have no desire or energy to run. So, easy healthy snacks have become my bestie and I carry a huge water bottle with me at all times. This definitely takes planning but it’s so worth it…I’m sure anyone who has skipped lunch or hasn’t had water for hours can attest to this.

Bonus: Have fun!

Love what you do and do what you love. If something isn’t working for you (i.e. running on the treadmill) find a way to make it work (create a new playlist, listen to a podcast, run outside if your schedule allows). Run with friends! Run to brunch! Get joy from whatever goal your are working towards. Find a way to make even the lamest treadmill run or hardest hilly run work for YOU.

And always remind yourself to be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do!

♥ Nicole


Team for Kids, Training Logs

Running recap: Base building week 3 and an auction!







Week 3 of base building is in the books!!! This brings us to the final week of March, how did this even happen? It was literally just February. Today, I’m linking up with HoHo Runs, MissSippiPiddlin, and Eat, Pray, Run DC!

Check out Marathons and Motivation’s blog too!

Quick recap:

  • On Friday, we found out that my husband got selected in the Peachtree Road Race lottery so we will be running the race together on the 4th of July!
  • Superhero muffins made. Yep, I baked on a Saturday night because I’m officially 80 years old.
  • I officially am addicted to This Is Us. I didn’t watch it while it was airing on TV but thanks to Hulu I’m almost through the season… #hydratingforthetears

Running, March 20-26

Monday, 3/20: Much needed rest day

Tuesday, 3/21: 3 HOT, HILLY miles @ 10:05 pace. This run marked the first 80+ degree run of 2017. Not going to lie, it was total misery and my shorts refused to stop riding up but I survived. And then chugged the biggest glass of Gatorade.


Wednesday, 3/22: 4 comfortable miles @ 9:36 pace. Done on the treadmill because I just wanted to be in a temperature controlled room with my Spotify playlists after the heated mess that was Tuesday’s run.

Thursday, 3/23: Yoga! 1 hour of glorious stretching.

Friday, 3/24: 3 easy TGIF miles @ 10:00 pace. My legs totally did not want to run but it was another one of those “I got it done” days. Friday was the first day I took the bus to work, which meant more time on my feet before and after work…plus work was BONKERS and I was running around the clinic like a crazy person. Hence the totally did not want to run feeling.

Saturday, 3/25: 4.6 bRUNch miles!!! @ 10:00 pace. The route was much hillier than I expected but it was so. worth. it. As soon as we arrived, I found myself a bubble tea and chased that with a pimento cheese club (the best sourdough in the world + pimento cheese, bacon, fried green tomatoes, roasted poblano peppers, and spicy mayo).


Sunday, 3/26: 3.7 easy miles @ 10:00 pace. Fueled by a Superhero muffin for breakfast and leftover brunch sandwich for lunch. #winning

Total mileage: 18.3 miles

Notes: I feel like I finally settled into my allergy control routine (knock on wood), which made running much easier. My legs felt pretty tired this week but the fact that I got through all of my runs mostly comfortable makes me feel like I’m making some good progress.

Yoga classes: 1

Goals for the week: Just run. I’m expecting this week to be slightly lower mileage because I’m traveling next weekend, so I’ll just call it a “cut back week”. Plus 1 yoga class!

And now for something entirely different…a charity auction! Why? As I’m sure you may have realized, I am fundraising for Team for Kids. So why not raffle off cool things and also raise money for a great cause?

I’m working on gathering items now and hopefully the auction will go live in the next few weeks. Items that I have so far include a gift card “package” (1 Starbucks giftcard – $15 and 1 ULTA giftcard – $25 for a total $40 retail value). More details to come!

So…get pumped!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in donating you can visit my Team For Kids fundraising page

♥ Nicole


Friday Five – TGIF y’all!!!

IT IS FRIDAY!!!! I can’t even. Today I am linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy! This week’s theme is: food.


1. Like I mentioned yesterday, I am running to BRUNCH tomorrow! To a place called the Krog Street Market. It’s a totally hoppin’ place in Atlanta with so many options. Chicken & waffles? They’ve got it. Bubble tea? Yep. BBQ? Oh yeah. They also have sushi, smoothies, and so much more. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of happiness.


2. If you’ve never made Superhero Muffins from Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s cookbook, you are seriously. missing. out. I’m 100% making a gigantic batch of these this weekend because they make great portable breakfasts or snacks. And they’re just freaking delicious/actually filling which is so important when I’m on the go.

c/o Run Fast Eat Slow blog

3. Ok, I’m divulging this “secret” to training: Fig Newtons. Yep. Those weird hybrid cookies/dried fruit things that you probably ate in elementary school. I bring them with me on all my long runs and they are the perfect combination of carbs and sugar and don’t lead to any sort of GI distress. Fig Newtons + Swedish fish have gotten me through many a long run.

4. This isn’t running related but it’s so newsworthy. Atlanta’s first cat cafe is opening soon! I am a self professed cat lady so it will not shock me if I come home with a cat. Or two. Or three. Literally, coffee & cats are two of my favorite things in the WORLD! And the owner has an awesome Instagram feed full of adorable cat photos.

5. And finally, some thoughts about running + food. Because sometimes trying to eat healthy + have balance + also run can get complicated. It’s taken me quite a while to find some sort of balance and I toe that line between completely not caring and caring too much far often that I’d like to admit. So instead of being obsessive, I relax and eat to fuel my running vs running to eat. It’s a weird/different mindset from where I started off but it’s been such a good change.


Let me just say it again, TGIF!!!

What fun weekend plans do you have?

30 day writing challenge: Day 12


Thinking Out Loud

Today I am linking up with Amanda over at Running with Spoons!!!

1. Happy Freaking Thursday!!! Can we just talk about how READY I am for weekend? I have my “dream run” planned for Saturday, which is to run from my apartment to brunch. And I’m totally going to make it happen. Brunch sounds so appealing right now…

Run, Self, Repeat

2. Ok, let’s talk about fundraising thank you gifts/prizes. I’m brainstorming awesome things to give people for donating. My latest thought is: gift cards and/or mugs, t-shirts, etc from my favorite running accessory store: Sarah Marie Design Studio. What type of prizes would motivate YOU to donate?

Awesome thank you gift? Yay or nay?

3. I LOVED this post on Salty Running about running addiction. I think it is *totally* possible to have a running addiction. I know when I don’t run for an extended period of time (and not because I’m injured or because I’m sick) I feel miserable. Gotta run those miles! But it may also just be that I’m addicted to running with my friends and without it, I feel “off”.

4. Another thing I may be addicted to? Stretching my hip flexors. Lately I have had so much tightness in my hips and sinking into pigeon pose hurts so good. But, while searching for new stretches to try, I stumbled upon this article about how hip flexor soreness may be coming from weakness somewhere else. The takeaway? Maybe I should be doing plank more often…

Ah yes, #tbt to those Ryan Gosling memes

5. And last, but certainly not least, Peachtree Road Race lottery results will be out soon! I had a guaranteed entry thanks to Atlanta Track Club membership but my husband entered the lottery. Let the countdown to finding out if we’ll be able to run together begin!


Happy pre-Friday!

♥ Nicole

30 day writing challenge: Day 30

Motivation, Rando

Hummmppp Dayyyy

Ok, so I totally slacked on my 10th consecutive day of posting…but for good reason! I will share soon but for now I’ll just leave my favorite picture ever here.


Happy Wednesday folks, we’re officially over the hump!

💗 Nicole

30 day writing challenge: day 10


Giving Tuesday: My NYC Story

  • “Running gets my heart rate going, and it gets me enthusiastic about exercise in general. I get to be with my friends and have fun while I’m getting healthier.” – Aidan, 10

A lot of people assume that I’m fundraising just to get a bib. So that I don’t have to qualify or chance the lottery. But I’ve found myself looking at those people straight in the eye and saying, “If you think fundraising is the easy way out, you are so so wrong!”.

Like I’ve said before, fundraising is hard. Not for the faint of heart. I’m definitely a little faint of heart, ha.

But in reality, having the chance to run the New York City Marathon is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Because I’m running it with my best friend!

I remember the night it happened: we were sitting on our yoga mats, waiting for class to start. I ran my first marathon with this friend, I’ll call her C, and we somehow got on the topic of whether or not we’d ever run another marathon.

The answer was a resounding “meh”. At the time, C and I had just finished a half marathon together and were feeling pretty burned out re: the whole training thing. And then C said the words that launched this whole saga, “but I’d run the New York City Marathon if we could run it together.”

The rest was history, folks. We chose to raise money for charity because we desperately wanted to experience the race together. Being able to run such a legendary race together, especially now that we live hundreds of miles apart, means more to me than I can even put into words.

And we chose Team for Kids because it completely embodies our friendship. C and I met in middle school in science class and proceeded to run cross-country & track together until college. Running literally built our friendship. And having the support of a team taught us that, as teammates, we didn’t need to compete but we DID need to build each other up and work together to reach a goal.

  • “When I came in second, I congratulated the first place winner. That’s what sportsmanship is all about.” – Andy, 11

I know it sounds mushy, but I so would love to be able to give other children the opportunity to build strong connections and learn how to build up their teammates instead of constant competition. C and I started our friendship in the 7th grade…and now we’re 28 you guys. This is a lifelong friendship. Thanks to RUNNING! And I’d like to think that, although we’re both super driven people, having such a strong friendship and such a healthy outlook on life helped shape our future careers.

The number 1 rule of fundraising is to choose a cause you believe in. And I 100% believe in building friendships and lives through running.

So, this is why I’m offering fundraising prizes. Not because I simply need to reach a number, but because every single dollar will go towards helping children out there make a friend like I have in C…someone who will be there forever, no matter what!

How to donate

Where your donation goes-IMG_0354

♥ Nicole

PS I’m linking up with Marcia today!

30 day writing challenge: Day 9

Team for Kids, Training Logs

Running recap: Base building week 2 & donation prizes!


Another week of base building in the books! I’m still in the endurance phase and so far (knock on wood) everything has been smooth sailing.

March 13-19 2017

  • 3/13- rest day, I was freaking exhausted after getting less than 5 hours of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings Time
  • 3/14- 4 miles, 9:35 pace. Still tired, but glad this run happened
  • 3/15- 3 mile tempo run, 8:57 pace. Best run I’ve had in a while. My legs felt fan-freaking-tastic.
  • 3/16- restorative yoga
  • 3/17- 3 miles easy, 10:00 pace. Super tired TGIF run. Followed by an amaze balls burger and a gigantic Guinness.
  • 3/18- 4 hilly miles, 10:00 pace
  • 3/19- 3.7 miles, 9:52 pace…hilly again but the weather was perfect! Followed by squats and walking lunges

Total mileage: 18 miles

Notes: The theme of this week was definitely “exhaustion”. Starting a Monday with a sleep deficit is ROUGH. 

Yoga classes: 1

Goals for the week: stay the course. Last week I talked about keeping my mileage at 17-18 miles and had major success, so I’m hoping to get another strong week like this in the books before adding more mileage again. And uh, I’d like to be more rested this week so-sleep and yoga. 

And one more thing guys…fundraising prizes are here (and I’m 100% open to any suggestions!). My goal is to raise $1500 for Team For Kids by the end of April!


💗 Nicole

30 day writing challenge: day 8 

I’m linking up with HoHo Runs and Eat Pray Run DC