Hi! I’m Nicole. I’m originally from Atlanta and lived in Georgia for 23 years of my life (so basically any weather under 50 degrees is considered cold to me). After graduating from North Gwinnett High School, I transitioned into life at The University of Georgia. After graduating UGA and receiving a degree in marketing I moved into the pro running world. I now live in the small town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina and train with ZAP Fitness.
How I got into running:
As a little girl I was into figure skating. My American Girl Doll and I had matching dresses and skates and that’s all I really cared about. One day I didn’t graduate my figure skating class to the next level. I convinced myself the teacher was wrong, I ditched the sport, and moved onto tennis. I was able to stick to with tennis for a few years. Unfortunately since I was abnormally tall, lanky, and uncoordinated neither of those dreams worked out for me.
While I was in my own world of figure skating and tennis, my dad trained for marathons. I didn’t really understand what he was doing (or why) but I saw how much he loved it. He got up early every morning and would come back mid morning sweaty and smelly, but he always seemed so happy. I was curious as to what was so great about running, so around age 14 I decided to go on a few runs with him. Long story short, I did NOT find what was so fantastic about running in those few runs. As far as I could tell, my entire body hurt, my lungs burned, and I was sweating profusely. However, I kept going on runs with my dad because my dad is my favorite person and it was something we got to do together.
As time went on I realized I didn’t hate everything about running. What I did like about running was the more I ran, the more I could run. It seemed like almost instant results! One day I could run 5 minutes at a time, the next week I could run 7 minutes in a row. Coming from the figure skating and tennis worlds where I would practice technique for hours and only slightly improve, this was an amazing discovery for me.
My of my absolute favorite thing about running was that my satisfaction was entirely personal. Sure, my dad could run a 6 minute mile and I could run a 10 minute mile, but my 10 minute mile was the best I could do, and that 10 minute mile was much better than my 15 minute mile when I first started. This is still my favorite thing about running. Even though there are people out there who have much faster PRs than mine, I know I am still improving AND I have improved so much from where I began.
How I got into professional running:
My entrance into the running world was relatively unplanned. UGA is a big Division 1 school, and between studying, social life, and running I was burned out. I was ready to grab my degree and dive head first into the marketing world. I received my degree in May of 2014, but I still had the SEC championships coming up in a couple of weeks. I would be running both the 10k and 5k and I was honestly looking forward to my last steps as a high performance runner.
In the weeks leading up to the championships the pressures of classes, tests, and meetings was lifted off of me. I had time to focus on running and nothing but running. I was able to take time and enjoy my runs instead of squeezing them in between classes, papers, and meetings.
Fast forward to the SEC championships. I toed the line for the 10k and I was ready to go. I ended up PRing by 30 whole seconds. I couldn’t believe it! I was on cloud 9. I wanted to end my running career with a bang, so I considered not running the 5k coming up in a few days. I weighed the pros and cons of running the 5k – I could PR BUT I was also tired from the 10k so I might not run as fast as I want. I remembered my dad telling me that not running in college was one of the biggest regrets he has in life, so I decided to go for it. I put everything into the race and ended up PRing by 15 seconds! Right then I knew there was more in the tank, and I wasn’t quite ready to hang up my running shoes.
PRs & recent notable performances
1:13.15 – Shamrock Half Marathon (2018)
2:36.01 – California International Marathon (2017)
5th – Boston Marathon (2018)
9th (2nd American) – BIX 7 mile (2018)
1st – Shamrock Half Marathon (2018)
11th (2nd American) – B.A.A. 10k (2018)
1st – Richmond Half Marathon (2017)