Friday, January 22, 2010

Won't You Be My Neighbor, Nicki?

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Nicki of Nicki's Nook, my first guest poster here at Motherese, and the first neighbor I've invited in for a chat as part of the Won't You Be My Neighbor series at The Never-True Tales.

I admire Nicki for many reasons: her commitment to writing, her level-headed perspective on raising children (six of them, in her case!), her honesty, and her generosity of spirit.  Her post today gives us  insight into yet another admirable quality: her dedication to creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Thanks, Nicki, for guest blogging here today!

I have written several different blog entries about my journey to a healthy lifestyle. The biggest part of this journey has been running. I swore I would never been a runner. I did not run as a teenager or while in college. I started running in 2007. At that time, I was about to turn 46.

I would get questions from friends all the time about this new “thing” of mine. My younger sister told me over and over that running was not good for me. I just laughed these concerns off as I kept going. It started with daily walking in the summer of 2007. By Labor Day, I was running and walking, my own form of interval training.

When questioned why I did this to myself, why I ran, I would say I was outrunning the heredity my parents were trying to give to me. While I may not totally outrun the high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses my parents have had, I am keeping them at bay. The side effect, and not the main reason for my running, is that I am losing weight. My goal was to be fit. I can easily say that I am probably in close to the best shape of my life. I am definitely in the best shape I have been in since my two years at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks.

I kept running, swearing I was not a runner. Then, a change came. I met and became friends with a runner, a runner who had started his journey later in his life and was now running marathons. I went to a marathon. I experienced the camaraderie of runners at an event. I ran my first race. I was hooked. Running had me in its grasps!

Now I am laying out plans for a year’s worth of running. I am going to finally hit that goal of running 1000 miles in a year. I have made this goal two years in a row and fallen short both years. This year I have a new approach. I am going to be a runner. I am going to run races – something I never thought I would do in my life. I am taking January and February of 2010 to train and build up my distance. I am going to run a race every month this year. I am going to run a half marathon. I am going to run a 10K and a 15K. I am going to run a 5K. I am going to run.

Below are the races I know I am going to run this year. I will add others as I find them but there will be at least one a month.

March – Celebrate Life Half Marathon – Rock Hill, NY
April – Ithaca Skunk Cabbage Race – Ithaca, NY
May – Mountain Goat Run – Syracuse, NY
June –
July – Utica’s Boilermaker – Utica, NY
August –
September –
October –
November – I have a couple here depending on the distance I want to run.
December – It’s a Wonderful Run - Seneca Falls, NY

All you runners out there, where are you running this year? You can follow my training on Facebook (Nicki Wright Conroy) or on Twitter.


  1. I don't know how you do it, Nicki. But I certainly admire it.

  2. Nicki, you put me to shame. I always derail my own running efforts - sometimes through injury, but more often through laziness - and wish I had some more of your stick-to-it-iveness!

  3. @BLW - Thanks! I have found that I love to run. It is not anything I thought I would love but I do.

    @Kristen - I have run through injury and have had weeks in the past where I have taken off more than my fair share of days. I am determined to meet my goals this year - at least the 1000 miles if not the race a month starting in March.

  4. Wow, I'm 48, and I love stories like this, of women finding out things about themselves that we had no idea were hiding within us.

  5. @Maureen - Thanks! And, you are right. I never knew. I did have some great recent inspiration in the person a male friend who started a similar journey some years back. He is running Boston in April so I know running is possible!

  6. What a great goal! I love reading about the "runner" identity crisis that people go through. It seems to transcend ability and completely be about your mindset, and I'm glad to read that you're embracing it.

    I love that you picked the half to be your first race this year! Although I bet after that, the 5 and 10K's aren't going to do it for you...I predict more halfs (halves?) in your 2010 :)

  7. Matt - thanks for coming by and commenting. Maybe, by the October after I turn 50 which is 2011, I will be up for Wineglass. Who knows?

  8. You're such an inspiration Nicki! Last year about this time I was doing the Couch to 5K program, and then got sidetracked with cold and flu season and never started again... I give runners so much credit. I hear it's addicting, but I've never been able to get excited about it :)

  9. You're so inspiring! I just wrote about running myself, after finishing a marathon relay (I did 1/3 of it). Now I want to do a half! It's addicting, isn't it? I love what you say about outrunning the health threats that hover.

  10. @Corinne - Thanks! I don't know that some of my runs are inspirational but I do it and have come to love it. I swore I would never say this but I am a runner.

    @Amy - I love the story of your marathon relay. I would love to do one of those also.

  11. I also love running. I am easing myself into it again. After injuries and having babies, I am ready to give it a go.

    Good for you in your race decision! I have heard about the adrenaline and excitement associated with racing. Perhaps I will sign myself up for one? I will have to consider that one...

  12. Nicki, Congratulations on discovering, as I did, that fitness does not end at a certain age. I'm turning 50 in a few weeks and am in the best shape of my life. Age and atrophy are not synonymous!
    I enjoyed your post!

  13. @Ambrosia - I swore I would never run a race but once I ran that 5K in December, there was no turning back. I will always try to go to that race as I loved it.

    @Linda - You are so right! Fitness does not end at a certain age. As I said to Matt up above, I may be ready to run a marathon in 2011 and if I am, it will be one nearby that is a month after my 50th birthday. Here is a link to a similar story about the guy that has really inspired me on this journey -

  14. That looks like a really ambitious plan! I haven't thought beyond my half marathon, but maybe I'll sketch out a plan of my own!

  15. Congrats Nicki! That's awesome! :-) It's not easy to commit to road races. I've ran two half marathons, a 10K, a 4mile, and several 5Ks. I loved it! I broke my wrist last year and got out of the habit. Would love to get back into it. Thanks for the inspiration in your dedication!

  16. @Jen - it is ambitious but that is the way I am. It is never a halfway thing. LOL!

    @Angelia - Thanks, Angelia! I know for a fact some of the runs I have on here will be difficult. Both the 10K Skunk Cabbage (and there is a half at the same time but I am not sure on that right yet) and the 10 mile Mountain Goat are both hills but that is where I train most of the time so...

  17. Hey, thank you for coming to visit me at boingerhead!

    I was reading an article about the Olympic swimmer who is doing so well later in life? I think she's in her forties, too? Anyway, she thinks she is doing so much better than other women younger than she because she doesn't have decades of stress on her body.

    So, it makes sense that your body would be just fine for running if you've never run before. You runner, you. ;)

  18. @natalie - Dara Torres! I have read a lot about her and have taken one big thing from all of it - lots of stretching and recovery time when needed.

    I love boingerhead!

  19. @Nicki: Stay tuned, then, because Natalie @ Boingerhead is going to guest post for me soon. You're a trendsetter!

  20. That is so exciting, Kristen!!!

  21. Hi Kristen, I'm new here. Nice site!

    Nicki, you are an inspiration! I love how you talk about making that switch to calling yourself a runner after you made friends with another runner. We tend to look for validation from others when we're feeling as though we're on the outside looking in. But often, these seemingly elite circles are quite accepting and we're reminded that people are wired to relate and connect.

  22. Belinda - Connectedness is so important. It is hard for me, still, to say outloud I am a runner but it is coming easier every time I say it.


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