Thursday, December 5, 2013

Runners Spotlight, Let Me Introduce Nick

Today is Spotlight Thursday

This week I'd like to introduce Nick
I asked Nick several questions, to tell part of his story and introduce you all to him. 


Nick Blogs at
What distances you like to run? 

So far, in my training runs I am most comfortable with five miles; for races, I would vote 10K...5K just barely gets me warmed up :)  

How long have you been running?  Or at what age did you start running? 

I started running New Year's Eve 2012, so right at 10 months now...and just before I turned 45. 
What made you want to become a runner?  What is it that keeps you at it? 

I was a lifetime cigarette smoker, over 30 years, and always told myself that when I quit, I would spend a year training, and then run a marathon to celebrate a year of freedom...and that is still always in the back of my mind, at least until I get past the first one!  

What is the furthest distance or race you have ever run? 
  
My longest race is the half-marathon, done that twice; longest run is 15 miles, done once with another coming up this weekend.  

What has been your favorite race and distance you have run?  Tell us why? 

Favorite race is still South Padre Half-Marathon, for several reasons: first vacation with my wife after she finished cancer treatment; longest run to date at that time; raced on the beach - I love the ocean!; first time to place in my age group (1st place at that); first inaugural race, I love the idea of helping to promote running in a "new" locale.  

If you could run any race in the entire world, where would it be and why? 

Of course, everyone wants to run Boston, because BOSTON...but I think it would be great to run the Maui Marathon - who wouldn't want to run in paradise?  

Do you run for fun?  Or run to compete?  Both? 

I run for the love of it, but I am a competitive person by nature, so I enjoy racing against myself, my past performances; and I would be lying if I didn't admit I get a thrill when I pass another runner in a race!  

Have you ever won a race or placed in your age group? 

Yes, see #5 above - sad that it was a tiny race (only 88 finishers total), with no AG medals or special swag, and the most generic finisher's medal I have ever seen...but if they do it again, I will go back! 

Have you experienced any trials/injuries/health issues that you have had to overcome?  Tell us about them. 

I thought the smoking would really hold me back, but my wind seemed to return fairly quickly. I did injure myself by adding mileage too quickly before my first half - I went from 10 miles/wk to 30, within less than a month, on my own homemade training plan I also made a spontaneous decision to run barefoot on the sand...felt great until 10 miles then the ankles really began to throb. Took me out of serious running for about two months, and still gives me problems at times. Learned a lot about recovery, and listening to your body! And my ongoing issue is my weight - but not like many others; I am very thin,130 lbs at 5'-10", and cannot seem to gain no matter what I do...I have a metabolic rate that shames hummingbirds. This has me really concerned about whether I will be able to last the whole 26.2, because I don't know if I can actually carry enough calories, or eat enough along the way...but that is not going to stop my from trying!  

Tell me what crossing the finish line feels like to you. 

The finish line - WOOO! I am mixed when I cross the line - one part "Yay! I'm done!", one part "Aww, I'm done!"; one part "I'm never doing this again!", and one part "How soon is the next one!" I want to see my results, but at the same time I don't care...because I already know if I did my best or not; the clock is not the whole story.  

Do you have a specific distance and PR that you are proud of?  Tell me about it. 

See #5 above. (With a short career, this is an easy question to answer!)  

Have you ever ran a race in costume?  Would you?   

No, but I might, for Halloween or a zombie run, or something fun like that.  

Do you have a funny running story to share?  Or what is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while out on a run? 

Getting attacked by a pit bull while on a training run - and winning! I own a pit, so they don't scare me...I waited until she got close, turned around suddenly, grabbed one of her ears and slapped her across the other side of her head; she was so surprised she fell down trying to turn and run! The snort of shock was priceless, I laughed for the next five minutes...but I kept running, too!  

When someone asks you why you run, what do you tell them? 

I point at my physique, and ask them, "Look at me, what else could I do?"  

Do you hope to be a lifelong runner? 

Oh, yeah, I am hooked through the gills :) I cannot imagine going back to the lifestyle I lived before.
  
What is your dream or biggest goals? 

I just updated my goals, beyond "run a marathon"; now the list includes earning a Spartan Race Trifecta (finishing all three levels within a race year) and becoming a Certified Half-Maniac (by running 10 half's in 12 months).  

What states/Countries have you run races in?  Share a few or your favorites?

All my racing has occurred in Texas, all but one in Houston.  

What is your favorite kind of running, solo running or running with a friend or group? 

I belong to a running club, but I generally prefer to run alone.  

Have you ever run a relay race? 

Not yet; I signed up for one with the club, but my team got scratched because they didn't all show up for the meet :(  

Do you listen to music while you run?  Give me the top 2 running songs on your playlist. 
    
    Almost always - current faves are "Royals" by Lorde, and "Guerrilla Radio" by RATM.  

Do you cross train?  What types? 

     Not enough, but when I do it is weight training, both free weight and machines; this will increase when      I get past the marathon and crank up more CrossFit, to prep for Spartan races.  

When your not out on a run, What other hobbies/sports do you do? 

I spend a lot of time reading and writing - both for my running blog, my (sadly neglected) Christian blog, and the book I am slowly writing - a study guide to the Gospel of John, aimed at those with little to no previous knowledge of Scripture.  

What type of things motivate you and push you towards success?   

I am motivated by my own progress, by stories of others who have overcome greater obstacles than mine and achieved awesomeness; and by the feedback i receive from those who care about me, like my wife and kids, my friends, and my Internet running community.  

What is your must have running accessory? 

The right shoes is obvious; I prefer a GPS, currently using Nike+ on my phone, and I prefer music, also on my phone - but I can go "naked", and sometimes I do!  

Favorite pre and post run food? 

Pre-run is oatmeal with honey and PB, sometimes adding a banana; post-run is a protein shake, followed by ALL THE FOOD - don't really care what, but I do enjoy breakfast foods: a 3-egg omelet with avocado and tomato, bacon, hash browns, and a waffle is a good bet!  

Water or Sports drink? 

Both - I carry Nuun electrolyte (love the caffeinated cherry-limeade) on training runs, most sports drinks have way too much sugar, and I try to drink 70 oz. of water per day - I read that "half your body weight" is a good rule of thumb, better than an arbitrary number.  

What do you do with your race t-shirts and medals? 

I wear the t-shirts as casual wear - gives me an excuse to talk running! The medals are in a box, until I get around to making a display - I can build as nice as I can buy, and it will be all ME!  

Tell us something unique about you. 

Twice a year, I spend one week inside a maximum security prison on Central Texas, doing evangelism retreats with the inmates - and some of those men are now my best friends and greatest Christian brothers.  

What are your tips to someone who is looking to start running? 

Focus more on spending time on your feet than pace or distance - I used a free Couch-to-5K app, and it really helped get me started and build my self-confidence, and learning what my body could do.  





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2 comments :

  1. I LOVE this idea of featuring another blogger on your site. Great job on kicking the smoking habit Nick and doing something great for your health!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Sara! It has not been easy, but then how many worthwhile things ever are? I am so grateful that running has led me to challenge myself in other ways, and also for the fantastic community I have discovered, both online and in real life.

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