Hi and thanks for reading my 'about me' page.
My name is Nicole, I am trained as a nurse but I am now working at home on writing my websites. And I am a runner....
I never thought that I'd be a runner let alone enjoy it, so I am more than surprised that I'm in my mid fifties and I run, compete in races and actually love it.
As a child, try as I did, I never made it onto any sports teams. The closest I got was a reserve in netball or I had to content myself with being the scrawny kid who handed out the orange slices at half time.
Since then I have gone through life not exactly avoiding sport but not pushing myself into it either and just assuming that I didn't have any natural sporting talent.
I was in my forties, married with 3 kids and we were living in Hanoi, Vietnam. We had a small yard garden and we were surrounded by tall, thin 5 story buildings which was kind of claustrophobic at times. Lovely as Hanoi is, I began to feel like I needed space and fresh air.
So one morning I decided to jog down to the lake (Hanoi has lots of lakes) near our house just to get out of the chaos of the city.
It was only about a 20 minute jog but it gave me a sort of high and I loved it. Now I understand the term 'runner's high'. From then on, this 20 minute jog became my twice weekly ritual.
In those early days, it never even occurred to me to think about running kit or other running 'stuff'. I just dressed in what was comfy, laced up my trainers and off I went. Forget a warm up or cool down as those things were just not on my radar.
Three years later we moved to France and have been here for the past 9 years. We currently live on the edge of a small French town and right outside our door are just the most captivating and beautiful vineyards, hills and countryside. It certainly is a change from Hanoi.
For the first year here in France, I continued with my twice weekly jogs (upped to 25 minutes if I felt energetic) and by now I was joined by Bill my husband and our crazy, energetic dog.
We would often see other lone runners or small groups out and about and I enjoyed the friendly nod of the head and was glad they didn't stop to speak as my French then was pretty poor.
One day we however were introduced to a 72 year old Englishman here and we got talking about running. He had taken early retirement and needed something to do so running seemed to be the answer. I was gobsmacked when he said that he started running at the age of 55 and had since run 5 marathons and won numerous trophies.
"Come and join the local French running club, they're a really friendly bunch" he said.
Panic! Run with other people! They'll all be younger than me! I'll be the slowest! I can't possibly run more than 25 minutes! I won't understand them! And what should I wear!
It took me several weeks to pluck up the courage to go to the car park meeting place but my 72 year old friend had assured me he'd be there and that I would be just fine.
And he was right.
The first run I must say was pretty hard as I had never run an hour before. But I was so reassured to see that we were all abilities and all ages and in fact I think nearly half the club members were retired.
Since then, I now run twice a week with the club plus do other runs on my own or with my husband, participate in local races from 5 km upwards and I've done several half marathons and a full marathon. I even came first in my age group. Whoop whoop!
I've run races in France, Spain and the UK and met some wonderful people of all ages. Running seems to gel us together - except when you are racing and then it is everyone for themselves ;-)
I'm fitter than I was in my twenties and I probably weigh about the same weight. Not bad for a 50 something year old I think.
However more miles running meant that suddenly I noticed my trainers gave me sore feet, I froze when the weather was bad, got thirsty when the weather was hot and my knees and Achilles started to get sore and so on.
That was when I realized how you need to respect your sport and to respect your body and to not abuse either of them.
So from my first initial jog in tennis trainers, I now have several pairs of running shoes (of course the ones I want are always the most expensive, hmmm), I have winter and summer running outfits, compression tights and socks, hydration belts, custom shoe liners, GPS running watch and bits and bobs for heeling sore bits, not to mention the strength exercise and training plans and I have a ton of research on 'everything running'.
I do sometimes ask myself if all that paraphernalia is necessary. The straight answer is "NO, not all of it". However not for one minute do I regret my decision to start running. It is a sport that anyone can join in on, no matter what your age, no matter what your fitness level and no matter where you are in the world.
People (old and young) often get nervous about taking up running as they feel that they are not fast enough. For me it is not about being the fastest but about enjoying it and knowing that it is keeping me fit.
I've learnt a huge amount over the past 10 years and my thirst for running knowledge and for encouraging other hesitant older runners, gives me a real buzz.
The reason that I started this website was so that I can share my passion and knowledge with you so that you too can run safely, injury free and get as much enjoyment out of it as I do.
And if you want to know what I get up to on a more personal level then check out my blog GOING PACES.
Thanks for reading :)