Saturday’s Buntzen Lake orientation run was such a blast!! There will be a post about it coming up, but I’m still trying to re-cap my California vacay! And of course, it’s a super busy time of year for me. Can someone just pay me to blog?? No? Awww.
Anyways, a highlight of Saturday’s runs for me was getting to run with my good friend Nikki!
Nikki at Buntzen on Saturday :
Nikki and I met through the wonderful world of social media, and while we run at totally different paces, and for completely different reasons, we just get each other, and have become very close friends. So not only did I get to run with her, but I also got to hear her tell her “back story” again. Pun intended, as not only is it a story of her background, but also her physical back.
Don’t get it? I’ll let Nikki explain.
1) What brought you to running in the first place?
I ran off and on throughout University but never ran anything longer than a 10k. In 2005 I was in a car accident that broke my back, much of my upper body and collapsed my lungs. I was told I’d never be active or be able to run again because I would always be in too much pain. After not being able to return to work and 2 years of physical therapy, I decided it was time to at least try getting active again. I wanted to learn to run again and with my doctor’s support I joined my first running clinic. Every run was painful but over time I started getting stronger and I noticed my back pain was easier to manage when I was more fit. I kept running and finished my first half marathon in May 2008. Since then I’ve run close to 20 half marathons, 2 full marathons and even an ultra marathon.
Collection of some of Nikki’s medals :
2) What has been your biggest accomplishment since you started running?
My biggest accomplishment is just the simple act of running itself. I was told that I would never be able to run or be active again and it was devastating. I was no elite athlete before the accident but a life on the couch was not acceptable to me. I’m not fast, I’m not graceful, I’ll never win a race or likely even place in my age category but every single time I cover a longer distance or cross a finish line (even when I’m dead last) I feel amazing. Running gave me my confidence back and that by far is the best kind of accomplishment.
Nikki coming into the Cypress 5Peaks finish line with the biggest smile ever!
3) How did you discover trail running?
I discovered trail running through Solana. I never really thought of trying it because it seemed just a little too hardcore for me. I didn’t think I’d be strong enough or tough enough! The 5 Peaks Alice Lake race was my first trail run ever and even though it was hard and I was third from last, I loved it. So much fun.
Nikki & Dianna at Alice Lake – having SO.MUCH.FUN.
4) What do you feel like is different about running on trails than roads?
On roads, I find a rhythm and let it carry me along for long periods of time. I like the solitude of just me and the road. On trails, I love that it’s a more “present” experience. Our trails are so peaceful but they require you to be present and aware of your surroundings and that’s more exciting than road running. I find trails more challenging and it’s a nice change of pace from road running in the summer.
5) Do you have a trail running goal for the future?
My only trail goal at this point is to get more experience on trails and toughen up a little. Next summer instead of trying to fit the trail races in when I can, I’d love to build my summer running schedule around trail races, especially the 5 Peaks series because I only got to do 2 this year!!
Nikki has a wonderful blog, which you can find here, and you can read the long version of her amazing recovery store there as well. Nikki is such an inspiration to myself, and I know to my friends as they meet and get to know her. She thinks that she’s slow, but she’s really becoming quite the runner, and is leaving the slow and steady business in the dust. Now, she’s just steady, and awesome.
Nikki and I after her first ultra, the Run For Water 2013 Ultra in Abbotsford, BC.
I think you can tell from this post what an amazing person Nikki is, but if you can’t quite, I’ll just tell you again, she is motivating, inspiring, thoughtful, giving, super fun, and one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. Other than Bart Yasso (obviously Bart is #1), Nikki is my Twitter to real life BFF.
I’m so proud of her for giving trails a try, even though she was terrified of them, and convinced that her body wouldn’t hold up. Nevertheless, she let me drag her ass out (FOMO, what?), and has been hooked ever since. So, I was right, right?? I’m looking forward to seeing this face at many trail races in the future, including the Baker Lake Party happening in a few weeks!! And because I’m trying to convince BoardShorts to become a last minute entry, I happen to know there’s just 12 spots remaining to join Team FOMO at the Baker Lake Party!! Register here.