Life updates – It's been a while!

I am still alive and well, believe it or not :).

Where to begin? Perhaps the more interesting life-type updates?

Goodbye Saturn, hello… being car-less (for now):

My dearest Saturn died two weeks ago. I was a little emotional about it. I had always (stubbornly) said that I was going to run it until it died. No one really liked the vehicle except me; we bought it from Nate’s mom, who hated it from the time she bought it (plastic and cheap were adjectives used, I think).

Mine was not nearly this clean. Or in this good of condition.

 I’m not sure why – it was the perfect size: small enough so I could SEE around it, yet we could fit skis and a dog kennel if we needed to make a trip. Good gas mileage (~35-40 mpg, not bad for a 2002 car!). It was showing its age, though. It ran really LOUD lately, and someone also ran into it in a parking lot, busting two panels. 225,000 miles as well.

Yes, I realize I’m grieving it’s loss like I would a person’s, practically, but I’m okay with being emotional about it.

I’ve also never pictured myself
driving something nice. It’d be one thing if Nate was buying this for
himself, but it just feels “wrong” not to be driving an old,
not-worth-anything car (since I always have, even since high school).

Since it’s been an epic 2 weeks of ski racing and training for Nate, we literally have only been able to get out one evening to test drive cars. Our first choice was a Prius, so to a Toyota lot it was!

Tonight we’ll hit up the Ford dealer in Northfield just to compare models. Models on the list: Focus, Fusion Hybrid, and Fiesta.

It might be fun to have something sporty-looking, a fun color?

So, the last two weeks I’ve tried to be creative and “run” all of my errands :). Boxes to the post office? Check. Books/movies to the library? Check. Bank stuff? Check. I’ve also been really creative with online meetings. 2 local companies have arranged Skype or FaceTime meetings with me for this week/beginning of next.

At first it was “adventurous”. Have to say, though, it’s getting a little old. Doesn’t help that it’s sub zero out!

And sorry, Dad, I’m NOT going to buy a Buick LeSabre or anything else even close to that size. Dear goodness. You tried to have me buy one in high school (because it was BIGGER than the Buick Century or whatever one else we finally “compromised” on). I *think* I’m okay in something a little smaller. Or cooler. Do they even make these anymore? Maybe Shaq drives one.

Which I still cannot picture, btw.

Coaching updates:

I’ve been super busy with coaching lately! I now have a team of 11, potentially 12!

I’m trying to make our “team” a little different than other online coaches out there. At first, I coached exactly like Jerry and Chris. Send a plan out, wait for athlete to email in. Sometimes respond, sometimes not. Jerry would sometimes get back to me 2 weeks later. Chris is about ~1 week. I tried to be a little different by being more responsive, getting to know them personally, being more responsive with edits, etc. But heck, that’s not THAT much fun, is it?

Wouldn’t it be fun to have an actual “team” vs. just athletes/clients to coach? I already felt very strongly about getting to know them really well, communicating often, creating a strong relationship between coach/athlete, but after I thought about it, I thought: gosh, wouldn’t it be cool if we could ALL be working together, get to know each other, and work as a TEAM to reach our potential?

First, I decided on a team name. It was hard! We threw around everything from nDuro (playing off the N in my name), nCourage, Brown Dog Racing, a spin on “distance project” or “performance project”… but decided that “Team Nichole Coaching” fit best. Team Nichole has stuck with me since the ’12 Trials. Plus, one of my athletes emailed in to say, “I like this one. We’re all part of a team, and that’s what I like”. Ahh. 🙂

Once the name was decided, Derek Wallen turned his creative genius on to create a logo, business cards, and a website (to be published soon). Wow.

Then a flurry of brainstorming happened. I started a monthly newsletter for the team (and team followers – let me know if you want to be on the email list!). I highlight workouts and races for current athletes, sometimes a running tip, sometimes just team updates, and always dedicate a lot of it for “Fun Communication” (need a better title – help!). That way, the rest of the team can take joy in reading the mostly funny, sometimes crazy, sometimes epic, and sometimes just delirious notes that athletes are writing me with :). It’s also made for a little more colorful updates in my inbox!

I thought a team Biff Pot would also be fun. $1/fall outside while running. $.50/fall while skiing (I am going to go broke…). $2 for a fall of a TREADMILL (RR, here’s looking at you!). As long as we’re braving running in this crappy weather winter, we may as well have a little fun at our expense. I was the very first contributor. Go figure. Kudos to Sharon for her acrobatic/dance like saves, which has saved her from contributing so far :). Not sure what we will do with the contributions. Chocolate, dessert, cheeseburgers and/or wine post race? Or team cow suits? Or??

A pot my high school XC coach made for me when I graduated. Seems appropriate, right?
$2/ treadmill fall. “Sure-footed and stable as a mountain goat” Jeff owes the most, I think.

I also ordered a small warehouse worth of Brooks gear. We’re going to screen some cool gear to race in this year.  Just need to strap on my “fashion designer” hat and pick out the pieces, then send out an order form!

Yep. That’s what ordering late at night and thinking: “free returns! I’ll just get everything here and then decide!” gets you.

Oh goodness, so many fun things and fun colors to choose from!

Plus, BRIGHT pink arm warmers. Even our male members were willing to partake in those.

Brighter in person. Trust me. I might order a few more just to have on-hand for any new athletes. Perhaps our “thing”?

I’m also going to try to host a training camp weekend for active TNC athletes sometime in April/May. Need to send out a survey on dates to the team soon! Think I might bring my coaching whistle from my Holy Angels High School XC coaching days with me. Beware, athletes! 🙂


Other fun thoughts were monthly or bi-monthly competitions, common workouts, etc. Plus, hopefully we can get a lot of people together after Grandma’s, since that seems to be the race so many are targeting!

I also have some fun team sponsorship opportunities, but I’ll save that for a team email this weekend before I divulge the details!

(BTW, AK, thank you for starting this :))

Wow… that was a long post for just two life updates! I’ll have to get back at this tomorrow :). Maybe then I can actually get to a running-related update!

Any recommendations on cars? Cars you’ve had bad luck with (or heard bad things about)?

I can’t think of anything creative to call our “Fun Communication” corner of the newsletter. Ideas?

Biff Pot purchase ideas?

Anything else that a team might have fun with? 🙂

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  1. Thanks for the update, great to hear from you again! I'm excited to try out the pink arm warmers and see how the gear looks with the TNC logo on it. How about "Fun on the Run", or maybe "Teammate Tidbits" for your fun/random communication sections. Neither are great, but maybe they will spark a better idea from someone.

  2. I only waited 2 weeks when it was something you needed to work thru for yourself. And yes, I am still keeping track of you.

    1. JERRY!!!!!!!! (Or do you have just one R and I have spelled it incorrectly for 3 years?!? My gosh, I hope not…) I have actually missed you, a lot!!!! A long email to you shortly!! I have been so neglectful :).

      And yes, there was a lot that I sent you that was just junk/ramblings that you SHOULDN'T have responded to :). I knew that. I also knew that when I didn't get a note from you that I should just buck up, shut up, and run :). Seriously. It was actually "our way" of communicating (without you telling me that I was crazy). So it was a good thing :).

      Ok, email draft now before I write WAY to much as a comment!

  3. I can totally relate to your feelings on saying goodbye to your car! I had a little Mitsubishi Mirage that I drove around for the better part of a decade. When it finally died, I cried. I couldn't be there when they took it away. 🙂 I went through a lot of life changes with that thing – I bought it on my own (used) in college, started my career, got married, had my first baby, etc – all while driving that car. It felt like saying goodbye to a good friend. 🙂 I still miss it!

    Also wanted to say I am SO JEALOUS on all the fun team communications/gear/ideas you have for your team. That would be so cool! I love the idea of your athletes being able to really feel like a team. And I'd certainly wear some gear sporting that cool logo at races!! (Derek did a really nice job) I just need to figure out how to trim some money from our budget so I can convince my husband that we can afford for me to join your team! 🙂 Sounds like things are going really well for you – that's awesome!

    Not sure what to use your "biff pot" money for – maybe a pizza or treat when you guys are all together at your team training camp? Or if you guys ever did a relay or race as a team you could use it to help offset the entry fee?

  4. I'm a member of TNC and can attest to Nichole's enthusiasm for her athletes. I am getting much more from her than just a schedule of workouts. She answers my questions and gives me feedback promptly, and keeps me motivated and excited about my running. Money well spent, as far as I'm concerned. Can't wait to purchase some TNC gear–hope you ordered some bun shorts! -AO

  5. First off, the green car looks fun! I hope you find something that suits you.
    Secondly, I'm excited for you and your new team. As you may already know, I'm a huge fan of pink and Brooks is a wonderful company. I look forward to the continuing journey for you and your athletes. I'd like to join you and your team for a training run or two when my fitness level improves if that's Ok. Good luck TNC!

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