Motivation, TwentySixTwo, Uncategorized

Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do

This post was originally published on TwentySixTwo.com! 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”

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“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

 

Uncategorized

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Let me just say it again, TGIF!!!

What fun weekend plans do you have?

30 day writing challenge: Day 12

Uncategorized

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…

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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?

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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…

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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!

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Happy pre-Friday!

♥ Nicole

30 day writing challenge: Day 30

Uncategorized

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

Uncategorized

Wednesday coffee date

I definitely spent all of yesterday 100% convinced that it was Wednesday. Nope, just Tuesday. Coffee is so needed this week. Daylight Savings has been so rude to me!

53BEC281-BEDD-4D75-802E-7B53B21B6DFD-5495-0000035C1DC99AD0_tmpWhich brings me to today’s virtual coffee date. Because what’s a conversation without caffeine, especially on hump day?! Grab your morning coffee (or other beverage of choice) and join in!

If we were having coffee I’d tell you:

I LOVE my new job. I love working with babies and ensuring that their little lives start off well and with lots of support. I love feeling appreciated and useful. I also love getting to wear scrubs and all of the free t-shirts the hospital gives employees

If we were having coffee I’d tell you:

It is so great to love running again  It’s exciting to be able to look forward to training and finding fun races to run. It’s been so long since I’ve had that “fire”

If we were having coffee I’d tell you:

The hardest part about moving is finding a new friend family. I miss my besties at home so much (and of course no one will ever replace them) but I can’t let myself wallow in any loneliness. Yoga definitely helps.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you:

I secretly love cold weather. I love bundling up, drinking tea, and lots of blankets. I think every other person in Atlanta would disagree!

I’d also want to tell you all of my current loves!

Current book: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Current go-to breakfast: Kind Peanut Butter granola with a mix of almond/coconut milk

Current feelings: homesick…my social media feed is blowing up with winter storm Stella pics and I miss the snow so much!

Current (non-caffeinated) drink: DRY cucumber sparkling water, OMG refreshing

Current running music: I am all about Spotify but I’ve discovered freaking love Ali on the Run’s podcast. A close second (ok a tie…) is still I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein

Current motto: Definitely got this from Ali on the Run’s interview with Emily Halnon (Sweat Once A Day) and adapted it to my own life. Marathoning: just a long day of sports with snacks 

Current zen: Thursday night yoga classes. My hip flexors and stress hormones thank me.

Current guilty pleasure: The Bachelor. No explanation needed.

Current excitement: So many cool races coming up! Peachtree Road Race in July and the NYC Marathon in November. I also found a super cool half marathon in September…there’s beer at the end y’all. Totally going to be registering for the Atlanta Craft Classic

Current love: All of the therapy dogs at work. I literally cannot even contain myself when I see them in the hall.

What would you want to talk about on a coffee date?!

💗 Nicole

30 day writing challenge: Day 3

Running, Uncategorized

To run commute or not to run commute

That is the question.

My morning usually goes like this:

  • Between 5:15-5:45 (depending on my schedule at the hospital) – drag myself out of bed
  • Spend 45 minutes to 1 hr drinking coffee/having breakfast/catching up on the news/blogging and getting ready
  • 20-25 minute drive to hospital staff parking lot
  • 5-15 minute wait on shuttle (they depart every 15 minutes so depending on when I show up, I have varying wait times)
  • 15-20 minute shuttle ride to hospital

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All in all, my daily commute can take almost an hour. Mostly because I have to drive past the hospital to get to the parking lot and then backtrack on the shuttle. There is a closer lot but since I’m a newbie I unfortunately don’t have authorization to park there. However…the closer lot is only 2.5 miles away from my apartment.

Which, when I’m sitting in parking lot traffic in the evening, makes run commuting super duper appealing.

Run commuting is exactly what it sounds like. Running to and from work rather than relying on a car, bike, or public transit.

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Pros:

  • More mileage, which will be useful during marathon training
  • Less frustration with traffic in the afternoon
  • Save money on gas!
  • Eliminate having to backtrack during my commute
  • Endorphins

Cons:

  • I live in Atlanta…sweat will happen. Not a big deal in the afternoon but not ideal before morning patients
  • Weather. Again, not a big deal in the afternoon but not ideal in the morning
  • What if I’m sick or extra exhausted/have a super early morning?
  • Limits to what I can carry. Most days I carry lunch, water, coffee, paperwork, etc. That would probably need to be pared down.
  • Traffic

Some run commute resources:

Basically, the articles boil down to a few key points. 1) It’s all about planning. Planning your route, planning your outfit, planning to leave dry clothes at work. 2) You probably won’t look perfect when you arrive…own it. 3) Invest in a good backpack and good dry shampoo.

My favorite suggestion was to take public transit to work in the morning (possible for me, may just take some experimentation) and run home in the afternoon when it doesn’t matter how nasty/sweaty you get.

Will I ever run commute? In an ideal world, I would love to. Realistically, I’m not 100% convinced yet. It’ll take some weekend practice, lots of planning, and some chutzpah for me to get up the nerve to actually run commute.

Would you ever consider run commuting? Why or why not?

♥ Nicole

 

Racing and training, Running, Uncategorized

Now that I care about running again…

…I guess I can think about some serious base training.

And by serious, I mean run more than 15 miles in a week.

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I spent quite a bit of time browsing McMillan Running and, while I currently have NO idea which plan I’ll ultimately use for marathon training, I was drawn to the logical breakdown of how to determine what base training should look like.

Part I

Step 1: Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses

  • Tortoise vs hare: Definitely a tortoise. I much prefer Long Slow Distance to repeats on the track (although I do love me a good tempo run now and then)
  • Major weakness: I don’t stretch enough and I hate doing repeats on a track.
  • Strength: All about lots of comfy miles
  • Considerations for base training: I want to rebuild endurance without burning myself out

Step 2: Evaluate Your Race Distance

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McMillan Running: Evaluate Your Race Distance

Although I am running a 10k in July, my ultimate goal is a marathon in November. If I had to, I’d say the marathon is my “A” race while the 10k is my “B” race that I’m pretty much running for funsies.

Step 3: Evaluate Your Goal

In an ideal world, I’d beat my previous marathon time of 4:55. But I want to balance that goal with the fact that I’m running New York with my best friend and I want to be able to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience with her without stressing to much about time or pace. I know we’ll want to take in the sights and enjoy the NYC vibe. With that being said, I want to be prepared so I don’t hit the wall and end up hating every mile.

Part II

Step 1: How Long Until Race Day?

A freaking long time. More specifically, 8 months. McMillan recommends at least 12 weeks of base training and, considering that I’ll be starting marathon training at the beginning of July, I have a good 16 weeks to focus on endurance and building mileage healthily.

Step 2: Assigning phases to each week

  • Weeks 1-8: Endurance
  • Weeks 8-12: Stamina
  • Weeks 12-13: Speed
  • Weeks 14-16: Peak (aka cutting back before Peachtree/giving myself a little break before marathon training begins)
  • Note to self: These aren’t strict…if I feel like doing a tempo run or repeats during weeks 1-8 I’m not going to stop myself. But it gives me a good training backbone

Step 3: Weekly Mileage

  • 2-3 “up weeks”
  • 1 “down week”
  • McMillan recommends regular races during down weeks but as of right now, I don’t have any races planned until July

Step 4: The Long Run

  • At least 1 run a week that lasts between 1:45-2:30 hours
  • “Two hours is better and should be the rule during the base-building weeks prior to beginning the specific training part of your program”

Step 5: The Primary Workout

  • Should coincide with the phase of base building, ex: “If the phase is Speed, then the primary workout will be a Speed workout”

Full disclosure, there are steps 6-8 listed on McMillan’s article. But going along with my strong desire to not get burned out before an actual training cycle even starts I decided to draw the line at step 5. I also plan on re-reading my Hansons books and just overall immersing myself in some good ole running love over the next 16 weeks. The more fun, the better…amiright?!

Oh and…TGIF!!!

♥ Nicole