Wonder Woman Nicole Shehadi Varnell on Motherhood, Breast Cancer, and Crushing PRs

Wonder Woman Nicole Shehadi Varnell on Motherhood, Breast Cancer, and Crushing PRs


Hey, RaceMob crew on today's episode, we have Wonder Woman, Nicole Shehadi Varnell.

I met this mother of three a year ago at a Hammertime workout, and man, she just crushed me. Little did I know a year later she'd be hitting new PRS, participating in competitive triathlons, and placing in numerous races.

She's also going for the 50 marathons in 50 states challenge, and you'll be able to hear about it in this episode. She thanks Coach "B" for the guidance over the year. But in truth, we know Nicole has a motor that just won't quit.

But we're just so fortunate to really hear Nicole's heroine story. It's certainly an emotional one full of ups and downs, and we're just grateful to get to know her on a more personal level.



Here are videos that are related to this podcast.

Podcast Images

Here are some images from this podcast. Feel free to share them directly to social media.

Ep 64   carousel   nicole   1
Share This Image:
Ep 64   carousel   nicole   2
Share This Image:
Ep 64   carousel   nicole   3
Share This Image:
Ep 64   carousel   nicole   4
Share This Image:
Ep 64   quote   nicole  1
Share This Image:

Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.

[00:00:00] Guest Quote

[00:00:00] Nicole Varnell:
And I just said, you know, I think I'm going to see if I can run farther than a half marathon.

So I just went out and like, if I could do... survive the loss of my mom, I, at a young age, if I could survive a double mastectomy by choice, like who does that? This was before Angelina Jolie did it. So she, you know, I think people know she had that, but I did it before she had it.

And so then I just, I went farther and I felt okay. And then I just kept running and I signed up for the San Francisco marathon in 2014.

[00:00:35] Episode Intro

[00:00:35] Kevin Chang:
Hello and welcome to the RaceMob podcast. This is episode number 64.

I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd. And I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator. The incomparable Bertrand Newson.

[00:00:50] Introducing Nicole Varnell

[00:00:50] Kevin Chang:
Hey, RaceMob crew on today's episode, we have wonder woman, Nicole Shehadi Varnell.

I met this mother of three a year ago at a Hammertime workout, and man, she just crushed me. Little did I know a year later she'd be hitting new PRS, participating in competitive triathlons, and placing in numerous races.

She's also going for the 50 marathons in 50 states challenge, and you'll be able to hear about it in this episode. She thanks Coach "B" for the guidance over the year. But in truth, we know Nicole has a motor that just won't quit.

But we're just so fortunate to really hear Nicole's heroine story. It's certainly an emotional one full of ups and downs, and we're just grateful to get to know her on a more personal level.

You're in for a real treat this episode guys all the show notes can be found online at RaceMob dot com slash podcast and without further ado here's our conversation

[00:01:47] Bertrand Newson:
Hello, RaceMob community. We are in for a real treat today. Nicole Shahani Varnell. We call her wonder woman for many reasons. She's a healthcare professional. She's a mother of three wife and someone who was always finding the time to put in the work and always willing to share her knowledge multiple time, major marathon finisher, Boston qualifier, running in 2022.

[00:01:47] Start of the Interview

[00:02:13] Bertrand Newson:
And she'll share her first Boston marathon experience with us, which is very unique. Welcomed.

[00:02:20] Nicole Varnell:
Thank you.

[00:02:23] Nicole's Origin Story

[00:02:23] Kevin Chang:
Awesome. So, I mean, Nicole, obviously I've known you for about a year now. You know, been hanging out with you at Hammertime. We've obviously been following your long journey, not only in running, but also in triathlons. So tell us a little bit about how you got started in sports. Tell us a little bit about your story.

[00:02:40] Nicole Varnell:
Well so I was never a great athlete or anything like that. So in high school, Just, I never played team sports. As a kid, my parents were much more there were teachers actually, and much more academic focused, so you get to high school and I decided, well, I should play some sports. Cause you know, it's good to do all these things.

And so what can you do when you're not an athlete? You can actually sign up for track because you don't get cut.

So I joined the track team. I actually was on the swim team as well. I did do a little swimming growing up. But. I was never a superstar. I started running hurdles and I ran, you know, different events.

I was, actually wasn't too bad in my freshman year. I went to like the county, the regional finals. I was on the mile relay. I love the 400. But I do remember being there and my parents were very grateful parents, but they weren't there. They didn't come to watch. And my mom had said, well, you better get home in time because you have a chemistry test tomorrow. So we're, you know, pushing the academics, not the athletes.

So did okay. but then after high school, I didn't really focus on any of that. Had probably more of a life, traumatic event. And after that kind of spurred me into running, for probably some therapy. So my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a senior in high school.

Actually I'd had another death when I was 14. A boy I loved he was killed in a car accident.

So kind of been dealing with a lot of grief things along the way. You know, I was transitioning to go off to college. I went to I ended up actually, I was supposed to, I was going to go to UCLA and I ended up changing my plan because my mom was sick.

And so I ended up staying up here in which So I could come home a lot, but then she died while I was in college. So that was a very, you know, difficult time. and for a lot of time after that, I wasn't really exercising during that time, a lot of back and forth home and back and forth and grief. And so after, just sort of fell into running. I did a few 10 Ks met Todd. We were running a little bit, and then we got a flyer for San Jose fit. After we did the mercury news 10 K, which dates me, you know, and we're like, oh, well let's just join because why not? But we won't run a marathon. And we joined and that's where it all started.

[00:05:27] From Coping to Boston

[00:05:27] Kevin Chang:
You mentioned that you used running as kind of a way to either cope or a way to... can you talk a little bit about, you know, what running meant to you? Yeah

[00:05:37] Nicole Varnell:
And I will, you know, I'll say it's something that has evolved with time. I've had probably a lot of life experiences that are a little heavier. so, you know, when my mom was sick I really wasn't doing anything.

And I was just very, you know, grief-stricken trying to keep up with school. I'd come home midweek every weekend, you know to help her be with her and, probably put on a little weight, not bad or anything, but just was not, I didn't feel good. And then she passed away very grief, grief overload.

And running, at that time was just helpful just to get out that fresh air. And it just, I think as I've gotten older, I had to go through other losses. My dad actually died in 2018. And then, and then my mother-in-law died 10 months later. And then my dad's girlfriend of 18 years also died a month after that.

So it's not funny at all, but it was a lot of, of loss and triggering a lot of other, you know, from earlier life. But I do remember, you know, after my, my Jack died, you know, just, I got up and ran 18 miles the next morning. So, you know, it's just by that time, I've been more seasoned runner too, but you know, running, I have done a lot of running alone.

I, I mean, I love Too Legit, of course, and I love when I used to run with San Jose fit, I love groups, but the things you can process when you're running by yourself with your music or wherever your thoughts can take you has really helped me with migrate. So that was part of it.

I had another situation that kind of threw me back into marathoning. I have a long history of running, but I had a pause and then I came back to it for another reason which I can share if you want.

[00:07:37] Bertrand Newson:
Yes, please do.

[00:07:38] Nicole Varnell:
So, you know, to go back, you know I started marathoning, so John, I got this down as a fit thing. I was doing actually my pharmacy residency, so I was getting my doctor of pharmacy and, as I was doing my residency we decided we would train for a marathon because I had no time. But anyway.

[00:07:59] Kevin Chang:

[00:08:01] Nicole Varnell:
Without a lot of, yeah I, I probably wasn't as focused on my training.

I was very busy with that. But we've finished our first marathon a little bit after I finished my residency, but.

[00:08:11] Kevin Chang:
Which, which marathon?

[00:08:12] Nicole Varnell:
Silicon valley marathon. My first

marathon, it was, I think in 2000. And, it was horrible.

[00:08:20] Kevin Chang:
Why lot was it horrible? What, what happened?

[00:08:27] Nicole Varnell:
Well we signed up thinking, oh yeah, I probably could do a four hour marathon. no, it was actually, you know, add an hour. And I was nauseous. I overdid the goos. I didn't, you know, I didn't train perfectly well, which you know, that's fine. But I remember Todd towards the end, he ran with me and he was like trying to massage my shoulders.

Oh, it's okay. They'll be okay. And I'm like, don't touch me. I hate

You You know, all this stuff.

[00:08:56] Kevin Chang:

[00:08:57] Nicole Varnell:
I mean, it was my, I was the more of the runner. I got him to run. He was a cyclist, but he's there trying to help me. I hated him. And then Tom Kaiser sat, who was the head of San Jose fit, who was also a really great coach had that he would run back and help runners finish.

And he came up to me after I just probably, you know, was really mean to Todd and it's like, oh, I'll help you get in, I'm like, oh, thank you. You're so nice. Oh, you're great. You know?

Yeah. So I got through that. I finished in a 4:59 because I always liked to, you know, beat

that something right. there. Yeah. And then I swore I would never do another marathon again. So then

[00:09:39] Bertrand Newson:
Famous last words.

[00:09:40] Nicole Varnell:
Exactly, exactly. Yeah.

[00:09:43] Kevin Chang:
I think we've all been there too. It's like, oh, never again then. Yeah.

[00:09:48] Nicole Varnell:
Then I think I signed up for one and maybe calendar national, I think a few months

later, a couple months later. And that was even worse. There was like a storm and I ended up getting a little hypothermic and I did worse and who's was just, you know, my second marathon a couple months after Silicon 'valley. And then I swore I would never do it again. And then I did Silicon valley again, I got a little ''better. and then I think I had four under my belt.

Then I had my daughter, Emma and I said, well, I'll do one more. So I did one more after she was born. And then after that,
I swore I would never do them again. And, and then I actually didn't for a long time. So I she was born in 2003, maybe I did it in 2004 and then I just went to half marathon. So I had two more kids working.

My dad was well, he was okay then, but you know, just very busy, but I did a lot of half-marathons. So that was fun. Then you know, this is where you know, a little embarrassed to share maybe or not. I don't know.

You know, my mom died of breast cancer, so that was one thing I just had decided. even before I had kids that I was not going to die of breast cancer she was young, she was premenopausal and she had a more aggressive kind of breast cancer,

you know, it's, you know, a lot of them are treatable, but hers is still more aggressive and a lot of people, they can make it, but some don't survive still.

And so I decided that I would have a double mastectomy before I turned 40. So, you know, I had my kids and I turned 39. I was like, oh crap. I guess I gotta do it. And so I did, I had a double mastectomy and that was in 2012 cause actually on election day. And I don't know if I can get political, but I, I and into surgery and I woke up with like, please like Barack Obama when don't want to die, but I want to wake up knowing he won the election as

though luckily that happened.

But that was a very you know, very difficult thing to do, even

though I knew I had to do it. Cause I knew I couldn't live with myself if something happened and I got breast cancer and you know, just, even if I could treat it, I just couldn't live with it. It would be too hard with kids and everything.

So, so after that that was 2012. I had, a lot of surgeries. It was kind of it was great, but it was. Because I was active and running ahead of some complications and blah, blah, blah.

But in 2000, must have been maybe early 2014. I just was out running one day and it was really rainy. And I just said, you know, I think I'm going to see if I can run farther than a half marathon.

So I just went out and like, if I could do survive the loss of my mom, I, at a young age, if I could survive a double mastectomy by choice, like who does that? This was before Angelina Jolie did it. So she, you know, I think people know she had that, but I did it before she had it.

And so then I just I went farther and I felt okay. And then I just kept running and I signed up for the San Francisco marathon in 2014. And actually my time at that point was I think my PR before was a 4 25 for my marathon. But then I did San Francisco and I did a 4:21. I was

like, oh, I'm a lot older.

And I'm just out here by myself training. And I beat my time for when I was younger. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:13:27] Bertrand Newson:
And, and of course it was very hilly as well.

[00:13:30] Nicole Varnell:
yes, yes. I didn't feel good. I mean, but I got through it, so that was good. I remember some leg cramping on a curve and like seizing up a little bit and going, oh God, how am I ever going to finish this?

But Todd was out there with all the kids. And so I'm like a better finish this. So so then I I think then I decided I would not quit marathoning forever. And I then signed up for, but I waited a whole year, which is not my, you don't know me in doing that Coach, but now I waited a whole

year and I signed up for San Francisco in 2015, and then I got a little faster, not much I was like a four 19.

And then I think I decided to sign up for another one. I kept just getting a little faster. I'm like, Hey, Hey.

And then gotcha. I think Chicago in 2016 and I broke a four-hour marathon. I'm like, wow, wait a minute. How did I go from that to that? I think maybe I could qualify for Boston.

And so that's kind of how I just kept working at it and trying and trying to get faster. But I was not an athlete like to begin with at all. I don't consider myself that at all.

[00:14:46] Results of Trining

[00:14:46] Bertrand Newson:
Nicole. What do you attribute your changes in your training? What were you learning marathon to marathon to marathon? What were you changing? Was it volume? Was it the, the intensity?

[00:14:59] Nicole Varnell:

[00:15:00] Bertrand Newson:
What were something...

[00:15:01] Nicole Varnell:
It was probably everything. I was more consistent. I was I was doing a lot of strength training too, so I was taking some. It was a member of 24 hour fitness. And I did strength training. I have a wonderful instructor, Christina meno, who unfortunately moved to Texas.

But she helped with cardio strength, trained burpees and body combat body pump, body bootcamp, and you know, pushups, pushups, pushups, all these things I incorporated. And I think getting my upper body stronger, getting my all that better.

In addition to consistency with, you know, running and doing more, probably not sleep, I didn't sleep better. That's bad. But, the other thing is putting in a lot of the work and I never missed, you know, I mentioned I had this double mastectomy one day after my surgery, one of my multiple surgeries, I had drains. Cause you can fill the fluid and I was running the next day.

[00:16:00] Kevin Chang:

[00:16:01] Nicole Varnell:
Yeah, I was at her class the next day. People didn't know this, but I just was like, it's part of what I have to do. And I think just not, I have really no reasons not to go unless maybe I was vomiting or something. But I, I never missed a day.

[00:16:19] Training to Return

[00:16:19] Kevin Chang:
I mean, it talks to us a little bit. I, you know, there's, there's so many people that say, yeah, I'm never going to do that again. I'm never going to do the marathon again. And then actually getting back into shape and...

And from a half marathon to a marathon, it's a, it's a pretty big jump. I mean, it's not, it's, it's, it's definitely not like just going a little bit, you know, further or whatnot. Those last 10 K of a marathon can be, can be pretty grueling.

So I guess, how did you train for that first marathon back? Did you have a training program for it?

[00:16:50] Nicole Varnell:
No, I think I just use my experience with San Jose fit and, you know, part of the problem. Like I was, I would have stayed with that group. It was a great, you know, marathon training group, but with three kids they're just, I could, and they are all. Busy kids like soccer, basketball, every, every sport.

And then there's three of them. And I have no really parents to help me. You know, my dad was declining and no mom, my mother-in-law also had pulmonary fibrosis. So, you know. I mean there, I mean, don't get me wrong. They were, they would help in certain ways. But I can't just, Hey, can you help me this? Can you take the kids? Can you do this?

So, and I'm a working mom and so I don't want to miss all their stuff. So if they have a tournament at, you know, starts early somewhere, I have to fit my run in. So I have to go at, I mean, I was known to circle my block for 12 miles starting at 3:30 in the morning.

[00:17:47] Kevin Chang:
Wow. Wow. Yeah.

[00:17:50] Nicole Varnell:
so there's no groups at that time, Santa Fe Fit, it does not need at 3:30 in the morning. So so a lot was on my own. I did have a friend my friend, Heather, and I ran also with some neighborhood people, but no one was marathon training. So my friend Heather would sometimes meet me for part of the run which was helpful and keeps you accountable.

But a lot of it's just getting up early and just knowing that's what I wanted to do. So sticking with it.

[00:18:23] Balancing Life Aspects

[00:18:23] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, marathon training is, I mean, you have to be dedicated for sure.

And you gotta hit your long runs. You gotta hit the multiple runs in between in order to make race day you know, doable. Oh yeah. I mean, I guess that was one of the questions that I was going to ask you is just like with mother of three kids, how did you actually find time to do the training?

And it sounds like. I mean, just you're you are a motivated, driven able to do what it takes time. And, and coach B is, is nodding. I mean, our audience can't see.

[00:18:57] Nicole Varnell:

[00:18:58] Bertrand Newson:
I mean the drive and that's what it is. I mean, one to have an incredibly supportive family and

[00:19:05] Nicole Varnell:
Todd is great. Yes. Yes. He couldn't do it. I mean, I couldn't have left kids in home sleeping. Well, I might've. Cause I was circling the. So that was okay. I could probably cut a fire or something if there.

But, but then other times I started venturing out as I got more confident, I would just kind of not be afraid to run in the dark, which I really am happy about. I never, would've gotten to Boston if I wasn't afraid to run in the dark by myself. That's for sure.

But yeah, definitely had Todd supportive. We used to run with jogger strollers too back in the earlier days. But that was more with a half marathon tightening, but I think just having Todd available, you know, being willing to, you know.

I would take the mornings, I would get up early and he would, you know, help get them ready if you know, cause then I'd have to rush to work, so there wasn't always a lot of time, but that's basically early mornings, not enough sleep.

[00:19:59] The Chicago Marathon

[00:19:59] Kevin Chang:
We definitely want to get to the stories on both the marathon majors and then qualifying for Boston. So I'm not sure which happened first. You mentioned Chicago is one of those

early races that you did. So I'm a walk us through some of those.

[00:20:14] Nicole Varnell:
yeah. Chicago 2016, in fact, Todd was running at the time. I think we had friends watching our kids. We flew out to Chicago for a weekend because that's how it rolls when you have kids and work. And we literally fly out, you know I think for that one probably Friday and then came back Sunday.

but, that was one of my favorite marathons
because we're both running since then. Todd has heard as me and everything, but anyway that was where I broke a four-hour marathon. And I just think that was like one of my best moments. I got a 3:55

[00:20:47] Bertrand Newson:

[00:20:48] Nicole Varnell:
And it just was where I was like, wow, how did this slow it, nothing wrong with slow, but you know, 4:59, 5 plus hour for my second marathon, how did I get better and I actually broke a four-hour marathon?

I think it was shocking to me that I could do that. Cause I don't, I did not consider myself a runner at that time. I

just, I just looked like someone doing it or whatever. And that sounds silly because of course I'm running a marathon and so in the runner, but, you know, I never thought of myself as an athlete, a good athlete.

So I think when I broke the four hour, just it, I was so happy. In fact, I wore my medal home on the airplane, which,

[00:21:33] Bertrand Newson:
That's the way to do

[00:21:34] Nicole Varnell:
yes, yes. Which now I have done ever since. And the

reason I love this is because someone yeah. So we had all this flight trouble or fight the engine, died on the ground, on the ground, but then we're panicking.

Like the kids have school tomorrow having to go home. eventually got home that night. We got the plane that fixed or whatever. And but I had my metal on and some lady came up to me. She like, are you an Olympian?

And I, I wish I would have said yes, but I did not. I'm like, no, I just ran a marathon, nothing special. Like I didn't win, but I'm so excited. And so now I wear it every time after a race on my flight home whenever I'm flying somewhere.

[00:22:19] Kevin Chang:
That's awesome. That's it?

[00:22:21] Nicole Varnell:
So about one day I wear it.

[00:22:24] Bertrand Newson:
And Chicago, what a great place to PR that course, the city, the crowd support. Talk about that. It's just different.

It is. I mean, you've run New York,

[00:22:33] Nicole Varnell:
Yes. I've run New York, Chicago. Everyone is so friendly. There's someone on every, every second of the way cheering you on you know, trapping signs for power. It's a beautiful course. It was a beautiful day. It's flat, you know, it's so it's all these wonderful things, but I think the spirit of Chicago is just so, so friendly and everyone's so happy.

And so then you feel happy and then you run better. So that was one of my favorites. In fact, I was supposed to do it somehow. So then you get to my advanced years and I'm signing up all the time for marathons.

And I didn't even know that I didn't even remember signing up for the Chicago lottery. I must've just done it on a whim one morning and probably was asleep, running or something. And and then I got an email that I got in I'm like, what?

So I was supposed to do it in 20 whatever 20, 20. Of course it was canceled. So now it's now this week, or this year, it's the same weekend as Boston, which I'll be doing in October.

So now I'll do it in 2022, I guess. So I was able to defer, so I'll go back. So that was my first major.

[00:23:40] Qualifying for Boston

[00:23:40] Kevin Chang:
That's awesome. And then from 3:55 marathon, or how, how fast do you need to go to qualify for Boston?

[00:23:47] Nicole Varnell:
So I needed to do a 3:45. So that was, you know, October of 2016, then I did California international in December and then. Drop more time. And then I did Phoenix. And I was like, I, I think it was just above a 3:45.

And so I was like, oh wow, I'm going to, you know, I could do this. And then in Phoenix, the 2000 17th of February, that's where I did a three 40 and I qualified for Boston. Yeah. So I was, I was ecstatic.

I'd also done big Sur at some point along the way. And I broke a four hour marathon probably after Chicago.

[00:24:26] Kevin Chang:
In that


[00:24:28] Bertrand Newson:

[00:24:29] Nicole Varnell:
I think it was in April. That was

a confidence booster.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I was feeling pretty like, oh, I'm, I'm, I'm so old. I mean, not that old, but I was in my mid forties at this point, you know, and I was getting faster than when I was in my thirties or, you know, or 20 late twenties and.

So just goes to show, like it's not all about, you know, age it's how much work you put in. and what your, I mean, I know at some point I will not be running assassin. I will, I am going to be but yeah, so that's where Phoenix is where I qualified for Boston. In fact, I have a Phoenix tattoo on my wrist for many reasons. One of them is because that's where I qualified for Boston.

[00:25:16] Tips for the Audience

[00:25:16] Kevin Chang:
Share some tips with our audience, because we know, you know, you got faster during that time period, probably training changed quite a bit. Maybe diet change, maybe recovery changed.

And I think that you continue to get faster because I've seen, I've seen some really, really fast times in the last year or so.

So share some, of those performance tips with our audience.

[00:25:35] Nicole Varnell:
Yeah. So, you know, just also working in healthcare, I work in our heart failure clinic at Kaiser and I do also like diabetes management. So I see a lot of the other side of... And it's not only for diet, obviously, you know, heart disease can be from multiple things, diabetes too.

But I see a lot of obesity. I see inactivity having my mom die young, and working in cardiology, diet became a big, important thing. Obviously we can't control everything in life that happens to us, but I can control somewhat of my diet and I can control my exercise. And trying to just stay healthy as best I can.

So I did end up for a while, just I was part of this complimentary alternative medicine group where we talked a lot about plant-based diet. And so I really got into plant-based diet, not vegan. That's a little too much having kids and too hard. People do it, but I, I was not able to do that and, and I didn't really want to.

but, the plant-based I really thought into that more. I eat a lot of vegetables. I really think that helped me with good energy. The better you eat, the more energy you have.

I do now incorporate a little more fish rarely chicken, but a little more fish. But I'm pretty try to eat a very " healthy diet". I have my moments and I have my drinks here and there and all these things, but that was one thing that I think helped.

And then of course I started with, you know, two legit. I got to do the track workout. I had done the year before with San Jose fit. They had a evening track workout but evenings are just a little bit harder.

So I was looking for something in the morning and I found it. I think Kate LaBarbera she would post about it on her social media. And I was like, what's this too legit. I really think I should look into that.

And then I think it was like November or December, I saw there was a website and I looked into it and saw the track workout. And then I joined in January and... and then the pandemic hit.

But, oh, well. But I got a few months of running the track workout in the morning, which was great. I loved the 5:30 time. And all that speed work is really also, I think has helped my times. I mean, I was, I will say I was fast. I say fast because I still have a hard time saying I'm fast and...

[00:28:08] Bertrand Newson:
You were fast. me make, let me clarify for the audience.

[00:28:11] Kevin Chang:

[00:28:11] Nicole Varnell:
No, I mean...

[00:28:13] Bertrand Newson:
In January or February? You were coming off of, I believe a 5k PR in the Campbell, right? The Valentine's day run. Right. So yeah, you came in with some momentum.

[00:28:22] Nicole Varnell:
I did, like if I had, I had done the hot chocolate, the Kaiser 10K and I got all my fastest times right there.

So it wasn't that I, and I say again, I, it's hard for me to say it. I never was fast. And then I thought faster and it's all relative. I mean, I'm not an Olympian unfor.... I mean, even though one person thinks I am in Chicago, but, you know for my age I feel pretty good.

And but the track workout is so much fun and I love just going out there and pushing myself every Wednesday. I know it's not a race. I know it's not a competition. It's not any of that, but for me, it's where I can go and push myself and, and see what I can do for my own personal reasons. I, a lot of it is of course from, you know.

I go back to my mom dying, you know, I was back in school right after she died. I had, I had to take a couple of incompletes, but I ended up finishing that semester. You know, one of the things my mom had said, don't fall apart when I die, you know, she knew she was dying. Of course.

So I was back then, you know, dealing with loss and I kept going and, you know, that's kind of the only choices you have.

And so to me to go out to the track, it's just, I've been doing this so long. Just keep going, you just push. And so I love going out there on Wednesday morning. Even sometimes like yesterday, I thought I was going to throw up at one, point but...

But I still like it.

[00:29:51] Kevin Chang:
I think that's a great tip for our audience, you know even if the majority of your runs are by yourself or individual, or, you know, you enjoy the long runs on your own finding one group and even one workout a week, those people can push you. It can be a little bit more fun, a little bit more challenging.

You know, if you can find a track group or a run group all the better, if you can't find one, there are bootcamps or other things that you may be able to supplement your workout a little bit. And, you know, just having that little push I think is really nice.

[00:30:22] Nicole Varnell:
It really is. And you know, as much as I like to run by myself, I, I love this group. You know, go now on Thursdays, Raj and arena and Selma. And John, you know, there's a bunch of people who do a little
hill run.

I try to make some of the weekend runs. It's sometimes harder. Even though my kids are older, I am trying to be, you know, not gone just because I'm already working and all these things.

So but anyway yeah, I love the group, so thank you. Wow.

[00:30:49] Kevin Chang:
If you like our podcast then sign up for our newsletter, where we give you weekly tips on how to run your best race and have fun in the process.

Just go to RaceMob.com and sign up today.

[00:31:01] Coaching and Community

[00:31:01] Bertrand Newson:
Nicole you've been a, as much as you know, I may be Coach "B", but you were a coach as well, Right. You, you were a coach. We both, you and Todd paid it forward. As much as that San Jose fit help form you, you know, and, and, and as a runner also, you paid it forward and was a mentor to others, as well as a coach

[00:31:20] Nicole Varnell:
Yes. I definitely was not a good coach like you are.

Um, So I

started off, well.

[00:31:28] Kevin Chang:
You know.

[00:31:29] Nicole Varnell:
I probably didn't know what I was talking about. I think became an assistant coach my second year with San Jose fit. And basically you would just you got your pace group and you would lead them. So it sounds as if it was a big group and everyone had different abilities, different levels. We had red, yellow, green, and blue groups and you know, some people would run block.

But we brought in our pace group and we would just run up and down that Creek trail every Saturday morning at 8:00 AM And so I did lead a group and really enjoyed it just to have people who'd never run before and they would start and all these things, and then they would do their marathon.

And then I became actually one of the head coaches actually for the media, like the yellow group. So I did that for a couple of years and it's really, I was just like running with them really and having conversations.

So I was not great. I probably told them my own tips that I thought were the, which are probably bad now with more experience, but it was fun.

I enjoyed it.

[00:32:30] Kevin Chang:
And that's, you know, what most people need is just. Comradery, some of that motivation, some of that accountability just some of that conversation and, and community. And so, I mean, that is incredible. And, you know, I think a lot of us have tips that we've picked up over the years. And sometimes as a little bit later, we realize, oh, well maybe it wasn't, you know, it wasn't the best.

There's, there's a lot of noise to swim through. And that's part of the reason why we started this podcast is because we're trying to understand everybody's perspectives, everybody's tips and you know, some things and certain things work for certain people that don't work for others. And we just want to have some of those perspectives.

So, I mean, this is, this is great and fantastic.

Talk to us about Boston. So you had, you had, yeah. Yeah. I think, I think Coach B had alluded to something happening in Boston. So talk to us about

[00:33:09] The Boston Marathon

[00:33:18] Nicole Varnell:
God. Yeah. So of course, you know, I'm so excited. I wasn't sure if I would actually make it in. I was only five minutes under my qualifying time at that time. And lo and behold, I got in, I was so happy. Honestly, and this is a little sad, but you know, my dad was really going downhill at that time.

And this was in 2018 April. And he had been in and out of the hospital and I would have to drop everything go fall. I don't mean it to sound like it was a burden. I just meant that, you know, I had a lot of responsibility with that, but he died in two, in September, 2018. And I went in April, 2018, so it was close, but I went going like, you know what?

I am going no matter what. And you know, I, I don't want to not be there if he dies. I was with my mom. But this went so much to me, which sounds really selfish I'm sure. But I just knew I was going to go and I told my sister, if something happens, just don't tell me until I get back. That sounds terrible.

I've already been through loss. So, you know, take it how you want to, but this is where I was in my life. I then so of course I get there. We actually, it was my kid's spring break. We made a week vacation. We did we went to Boston first and then we went to, I should have been doing all my estates then. Gosh, my 50 state marathon challenge.

But we went to Maine and New hampshire. We just drove through the corner of New Hampshire and Massachusetts or Connecticut. I forget all the states now, but all those States that they're Vermont. And then it was, you know, cold, nice weather. Okay. Then the night before the marathon, it's really getting cold.

And the forecast for Monday, the Patriot's day was rain and cold and horribleness. I get there, my shoes or you know, you take a bus, you go to the waiting station. It is mud only mud it's all mud and snow and snow. There was snow, it was snowing. was nowhere to stand. I was standing in mud. My shoes were sopping wet.

Luckily, Todd, thank God for Todd. He gave me a shower cap from the hotel. So I put on the shower cap from my marathon and I wore a garbage bag and I ran in a shower cap and a garbage bag. Yeah, the start was like, so

[00:35:44] Kevin Chang:
The whole marathon, you ran

[00:35:45] Nicole Varnell:
I ran in the whole way.

[00:35:47] Kevin Chang:

[00:35:48] Nicole Varnell:
a yes, yes, yes. Until the end, because I was going to take a picture without a shower cap and a

[00:35:58] Bertrand Newson:
Have to share that those photos with our

[00:36:00] Nicole Varnell:
Oh, oh yeah. Oh, there are photos. There are, it was really, you know, I was so ecstatic to be there. You know, I was so happy. I mean, I have this video I took of myself. I mean, the start wasn't even like the start, you just basically back to the start and you just started running because it was such bad.

It was a one point hailing. I mean,

people were dropping out. The elite, people were

dropping out left and right, because of hypothermia. So thank God for the shower cap. I think it helped keep my and I got a baseball cap or a running cap too, but I was like giddy with excitement just to be there because I never, never until maybe, you know, whatever the year or two before I could be there.

Never did. I think it not, that's not why I got back to marathoning because I, I didn't even know really what it was. So anyway, I'm so excited, but in mile into it, I met somebody I'll share the video. I'm just like, I sound like an idiot. But then my inserts on my shoes were rock solid. It was so cold. So I, I sat down after a mile, I took my shoes off and I was like, wait, do I take the inserts out?

What do I do? I don't even know what to do. So I decided I better leave them in. Maybe they'll warm up. And so then I just ran, I put my shoes back on, started running again. And I did decide I didn't care what my time was because I'm here. This is for the experience. And unfortunately the experience was a little bit different there weren't all the girls, you know, the kissing, whatever.

I don't even know what a normal one is supposed to be, but, and now with COVID, there's no more kissing. So I guess I'll never know. But but there was still a good amount of people in there. And you know, just when it started hailing on me I was a little bit like, oh God,

[00:37:45] Bertrand Newson:
you've shared with our audience. I. mean, quite openly dealing with life adversity. And the race of a lifetime one you look forward to one you thought you would never get into and you're there and you're dealing with that. We're able to use your life perspective to kind of put things together for you or did you...

[00:37:45] Boston - Anxiety and Anticipation

[00:38:03] Nicole Varnell:
So. Yeah. I think, you know I did have a nightmare the week before that no one was going to be out there watching. And I was the only one running the Boston marathon. Anyway. But when I got out there, you know. When you go through the loss of your mother, when you're a young, I mean, essentially I was in high school when she, it became about death and sickness and all this stuff.

Not a lot bothers you after that, you know, you know, we talk about the pandemic and how that changed for so many. I'm like, it was great, like. Granted, not people dying. And I worked at Kaiser and I was scared and all this stuff, but to me, you know, cause I didn't have any deaths, personal death or sickness even, or it was fine.

It was, you know, you work, you do this, I've already been through one of the worst things I could ever be through. And so this is it's inconvenient and I don't want people to die of course, but wasn't that life changing. So to go out and at that time, you'd run the marathon in this weather. I was just so grateful to be there.

So I, I felt like, you know, people get through a lot worse than this. I have my garbage bag on. I'm not, you know,

my shower cap. I have run a marathon before other, you know, I, I know I can get through this. So just take one step at a time.

And I have had my terrible marathon experiences. So I know you know, I, I think, I don't remember what number I was on at that point, but I know I can get through it, so I'm just going to enjoy it, and you know what, I'm going to have a great story to tell.

Because not that many people could, you know, run that marathon. So that's kinda just I think getting through the loss of my mom, making the decision to have a double mastectomy by choice. Even though it didn't necessarily feel like a choice, it was, I didn't have to do it.

I can get through a marathon that's, you know, whatever four hours of my full or whatever, three, five, or whatever hours of my life I could do it. Yeah,

[00:40:05] Bertrand Newson:
And here you are. What 40, 41 marathons and counting

[00:40:09] Nicole Varnell:
41 marathons. Yeah,
somewhat virtual doing so I don't know if those count, count, but I count them.

[00:40:15] Bertrand Newson:
And in the midst of a quest of running a marathon in all 50 states, how many states have you run a marathon in.

[00:40:21] Nicole Varnell:
I think only nine. So, I mean, even though I've done 41 marathons, I've only, I have a lot more states to go. So some will be just like, I'm going to go on vacation. I'll be in another state. I'm just going to do a virtual marathon while I'm there. Maybe, hopefully, maybe not. If, if I don't, I don't and that's okay.

But that's the plan, but plans change too sometimes. So

[00:40:44] Bertrand Newson:
And you were just recapping your very first major marathon in Boston. How many majors have you

[00:40:50] Nicole Varnell:
I've done four. I did New York actually That was a very hard one for me. That was actually right after my dad died. And he of course I had tried for years, a few years to get in it, but deny, deny, deny. And then of course I got into it for November of 2018. He had just died in September.

He was, he grew up in Brooklyn. So there was a little bit of an emotional thing there. But Todd also ran that one.

So we went out there for another weekend, a quick weekend. and, we, we, we ran it, but it was really tough. I, I funny, you know. it was super cold. I ended up buying this went to a, like a thrift store and bought this, tried to find something warm to wear for the beginning because I didn't have throwaway clothes. Cause you would actually throw them away.

You didn't have a bag. I think I ended up getting something at the end, but I needed something more I could throw away. And I was probably to attach to the sweatshirt I had. So I bought, I was in. from beauty and the beast, you know, the beast. I was in like a giant Wednesday of the beast.

That's all I could find.

[00:41:51] Kevin Chang:
That's awesome. That's awesome.

[00:41:55] Nicole Varnell:
So that one, I mean, I look like an idiot to start.

[00:41:59] Bertrand Newson:
In New York,

probably people that even better, I though, you know, they're like, all right, she's just, Yeah.

[00:42:04] Nicole Varnell:
Then you get to the start. You have to, we took an Uber. Then you take a ferry, you have to get to Staten island. Then you take a bus. And by the time the race starts, you know, it's several hours into the day and you've been up a long time.

My nutrition was terrible. I didn't know how to even eat. Just start later, I'm used to starting early. I ended up wearing like, Sleeves. Cause I thought it would be cold. Well, when you're running with 50,000 people in a small city, narrow streets with high, it gets warm really fast.

So I really overheated, I ended up throwing away my arm sleeves that I loved and I, you know, I didn't want to tuck them in cause I didn't want to wear them for so long.

Or, I ended up running off the course because I was so nauseous. I think I was maybe at mile 19 and I ran into a store and I yelled or I said, oh, I need to buy a soda. And they're like, well, we don't take a credit card. I'm like, oh my God, I only had a credit card. And so I yelled, can someone buy me a soda? And someone did it.

So that was nice. And I felt a little better, but then my legs seized up in the last six miles somewhere along the way. I mean, I was like hobbling, but then I just tried to stretch it out and I was able to finish before Todd, sorry, Chad.

[00:43:23] Bertrand Newson:
So you guys chose to run, you guys chose to run your own race.

[00:43:27] Nicole Varnell:
yes, yes.

You know, that's cause I was and always a quest to get to another bar. Yeah. I was always in a quest to do more, even in Chicago, we ran our own race because I'd been back a little longer from running than he had. Wasn't his bowl. So we didn't always know we didn't run together.

but we had a good time and I, I waited at the finish for him. Oh, edit that part out. So, but yeah, that was one Berlin. I did Berlin.

[00:44:03] Kevin Chang:
Wow. Wow.

[00:44:04] Nicole Varnell:
Which was, you know, probably one of my very favorite marathons. My daughter was a junior at the time and, you know, here she was trying to get into UCLA and she's like, I'm not taking a week off of school to go anywhere. I got too many classes, all this.

but I made her go and she got her study. She was studying on the plane, all this stuff, but I mean, what a phenomenal city you know, we went to the Holocaust museum, you know, we went to one of the concentration camps. We got to do all those things in in Germany and the race itself, it was raining.

Another rainy one,

[00:44:38] Kevin Chang:
So, so lesson is never go to a major

[00:44:42] Nicole Varnell:
Hmm. Yeah, I know, you know, I've had even just regular California, internationals rained on me many, two times I've had all the weather experiences. But heat I've had heat I've had back, but that was so I just loved it so much. So many people again, all the cheering I just being in Berlin was exciting.

And so then I of course came home. I'm like, I'm going to sign up again. And you know, we can't all go, it's too expensive, but I'll just go by myself for, you know, 72 hours, whatever, I'll figure it out. Then pandemic. And then, then I thought I missed the time to resign up, but then I got an email just more recently saying, oh, you should.

Signed up for 2021. I'm like, oh my God, I can still sign up. So now I'm signed up for 20, 21.

I'm not sure I'll go. But we'll see. I would go for again, 72 hours. So that's, it's kind of a lot including flying time.

[00:45:40] Kevin Chang:
Yeah, I

know that's quite a bit of playing time.

[00:45:45] Nicole, the Triathlete

[00:45:45] Bertrand Newson:
we spent some a good amount of time talking about your, your marathon marathoning. But you're also an accomplished triathlete. In fact you completed it probably a couple of triathlons in 2020 that allows you to qualify for a national championship event in Milwaukee next month, to talk a little bit about that.

And then as Kevin had alluded to earlier, our audience really looking for tips, takeaways, and learnings from the Cole as well. So.

[00:46:10] Nicole Varnell:
Yeah. I had done a few. Like sprint triathlons in the mermaid in Santa Cruz or Capitola. And you know, I had a major fear of sharks, but I, you know, of got an ocean and did that in a way. So after I'd done a couple of sprint triathlons, which is the shortest distance, I decided I would sign up for a half iron man.

So there's one learning. I don't recommend just jumping. It probably is good to do some other ones in between. But I think I actually did try to sign up for a Olympic distance marathon. When I was already signed up for the half iron man, which ended up being canceled and defer to defer. So I signed up for one in shaver lake.

It was supposed to be last year, but then the fires hit, so that got canceled. So, lo and behold, I had signed up for the quarter lane, half Ironman canceled, signed up for one in Washington canceled, then signed up for one in Texas canceled. And then I found one in Arizona, like two weeks before.

And I emailed and they said, oh yeah, you could do it. And so I did that in October of 2021, I guess. So that was good because I, because of the pandemic like you mentioned, I had more time to train cycling. I didn't even know how to clip into a bike. Even though I'd done some sprint triathlons I just use pedals.

And so I've learned, you can learn about anything if you just put a few little bit of time, like don't I think my tip is don't doubt yourself that you can't learn to do something. I was about 45. I don't even remember. Probably I learned how to clip into my bike at 46 47. Like probably six months before I did a half Ironman.

I learned how to clip in so you can learn new things. And if you just trust yourself and put the time in. and so cycling was never my strong point. And just adding that into the mix and more swimming which was nice to kind of take a break for your whole, you know, pounding away on your body.

And then I did a half Ironman doing, yeah. Doing backstroke.

[00:48:19] Kevin Chang:
I love that. I love that. And you qualified for this big event in Milwaukee.

[00:48:23] Nicole Varnell:
So they actually went back through 2019. So I'm not even really sure how I qualified. I'm definitely the strongest in my running. And so that always helps my time. But so it's the age group, national race. And I'll be doing the Olympic distance in the first weekend of August. And you know, I, I thought, oh, I don't want to go it's in Milwaukee, but Todd encouraged, like, you gotta just take this opportunity and do it.

So we'll go out there and do it.

[00:48:50] Bertrand Newson:
Time out everybody time out. Nicole is not just going to go out and participate in this particular national championship age group. Triathlon. Since she's in a different state, she's going to look to run a marathon while she's out there as well.

[00:49:08] Nicole Varnell:
That's the, that's the current plan, but you know, like I said, plans can change. I'm okay. I, I have learned also it's okay. If your plans deviate from what you think you could do, you know, some days you have a bad day, if it's a hundred degrees, maybe I won't do it. I have a very small window to do it. I'm really only there taking the red eye out midnight Friday, we'll get there at nine 30 Friday morning.

The race is Saturday, and then we leave Sunday morning at like to be at the airport at six 30 in the morning. So I can either

do it Friday before I do the race or Saturday, I may just do the it's a 10 K. I might just keep running. I'm not sure. So I but I know I can do it too. In the sense that. All my training all the time I put in all the things I've done. I do trust myself now. Like I know what I can handle. Even when it sounds.


[00:50:15] Working with Bertrand

[00:50:15] Kevin Chang:
a little bit about, I mean, the, the coaching, you know, and I know that you've had Coach "B" as your, as your coach since September now. So, I mean, talk to us a little bit about yeah. What, how that works and

[00:50:27] Bertrand Newson:
Kevin our first client, by the

[00:50:28] Nicole Varnell:
yeah. Yes. I was thrilled when I heard you were doing this. So I had, at one point in my solo training, I had wanted to get a coach, but, you know, I just didn't have the time with everything happening. You know, we had to take care of a lot of the house stuff when everyone was dying and yeah.

Just all that. But, so you came out to track one day, Coach "B" and said he was starting to do coaching. And I was like, oh, this is it. I've been waiting for this. So I think I probably, like, I don't know if I hyperventilated there or, you know, called you right away or message you, like, I'll be, I'll sign up and you probably were even like, you don't need a coach.

What do you, you know, but,

[00:51:13] Bertrand Newson:
That's exactly. Yeah, you're a coach. You are a coach. You could, you, you should Coach.

[00:51:19] Nicole Varnell:
yeah, well I know, but I, you know, I do know a lot. I know how to kind of monitor myself, but I also am terrible or especially was terrible. I'm better at self care. The stretching, the I espouse, which I have done now, which I, you know, don't prefer, but I have done them drinking more water. I'm better about it.

I have my moments, but I have coach VO is in my mind like, oh, I need to drink more water. I need to do the warmup. I never would warm up before ever. I would just bring out the door. And, so I've gotten much better about that. I mean, I don't necessarily need the motivation to Bo like I have that. But I'd need the motivation to, to take the time.

I never put the time in, cause I, I really didn't have time. I mean, I, you say you don't have time, but I, I didn't have time. I would run before work, but to work, I didn't have time to stretch or do all these things. So now, you know, cause things are different a little bit. I, I put the time in and I can work from home part of the time, so I have more time to do things like that.

And, and having someone tell me, and even though he has to sometimes like beat it into my thick skull I am listening. And when he gives talks at track about over-training, cause I think I would fall into that category. I am listening and I, I am been trying to cut back a little bit and have easier days and you know, rest dish days,

[00:52:52] Bertrand Newson:
Yes. Yes. Yes.

[00:52:56] Kevin Chang:
And it's paying off. Right? I mean,

[00:52:58] Nicole's PRs

[00:52:58] Kevin Chang:
I've heard, I've heard some PRS and stuff. Do you want to share with our audience some, some PRS, what you, what you've been hearing?

[00:53:05] Nicole Varnell:
definitely think, you know, because of Coach "B", you know, I had signed up for, there was a marathon in Nevada in November I had signed it, it was a rebel. So it is a different course, you know, more downhill. And you know, I don't like to take a day off. I don't, I signed it.

I do so many marathons. Like I can't take her, I'd

be tapering every day. And that sounds stupid, but it's, you know, when you're doing that, but you said like you were paying all this money to go out there. And at that time I was also hoping to qualify for another Boston. I, you know, there weren't many races at that point, any so you said you, why are you paying all this money to go out there and, you know, not do your best?

And so I actually tapered. And I and even though it's a downhill, downhill is, is tough in its own way. It's not as maybe cardiovascular, but this one was a pretty significant downhill. Your legs can be destroyed. And actually after it, I could barely walk for a few days, but I learned from I tapered, I got, you know, probably was more rested and I didn't start out too fast.

So I kinda heard him telling me don't, you know, pace yourself. You want a negative split? I think I actually close to having that, even though the downhill was really in the beginning half, like a sharp downhill, but I held back, in fact, people pass me and I just said, don't let it bother me. Just go slow, take it easy.

And then, because it was a small race, I saw all those people as I pass them in the second half. So, you know, I held it at the end. Didn't blow up. And that was, you know, another wonderful, like, and I got a 3 27, which

[00:54:53] Kevin Chang:

[00:54:55] Nicole Varnell:
well, it was downhill, so it is a little different, easier, but you

okay? I

said it can be bad too.

So that was great. yeah, those were fun.

[00:55:06] Bertrand Newson:
Yeah, very proud of you. And there's something to say. I mean, there's never a question with you, Nicole, and this is for all of us. The most important things you had to put in the work you have to put in the work in order to be best prepared for race day. And yes, rest is important, but the athlete knows their body better than everyone, anyone else?

But to have a coach's voice there as well, to look at the bigger picture and the goals, when we identify what are the primary races on someone's calendar and are we running just to get to the finish line or running with the time in mind and for running with the time in mind. And there are some, some particulars that need to happen in order to make sure that the athlete is in the best position to, to draw on their cardio and endurance fitness and not let it go by the wayside.

Abandoning a hydration strategy by abandoning or not having a nutrition strategy or not tapering or not knowing, you know, when to take in that pre-race morning mil, you know, two and a half to three hours before the gun goes off. And when to take that gel, you know, 15 to 20 minutes before the gun goes off and then how to replenish during the race, doing the study, work about the course weather conditions, shoe gear and then having the, the toughness between the ears, having a good mental game plan will help you get to that finish line in, in a better position.

So you're able to put it all together, which you've done time and time again.

[00:56:28] Nicole Varnell:
But you've helped me do it a little better. And so now I, I think I, I try like, so I'm, I'm pretty good. I'll drink at all the aid stations, but I wouldn't always maybe take a same tea, you know, eat a little bit. I would wait too long. So now I hear you saying you don't wait so long. And I have been able to finish all my marathons, not hitting the wall.

I don't, I don't hit a wall anymore. Now I have a lot under my belt. So obviously I had hit the wall. Many times. I hit the wall at mile nine of one of my marathons. That's terrible time to hit a wall.

[00:57:03] Bertrand Newson:
done it at mile

[00:57:03] Nicole Varnell:
yeah. Yeah,

[00:57:04] Bertrand Newson:
Let it at mile three, its aims. I don't feel so bad at mile three. So hit the wall at mile three and I'll just say one word tequila and I'll leave it at that.

[00:57:12] Nicole Varnell:

[00:57:15] Bertrand Newson:
moving on that? Wasn't my hydration choice of the race the night before probably. But anyway, learn, learn from your

[00:57:21] Nicole Varnell:
Yeah. I learn a lot of lessons along the way. I have a lot of miles. I've learned a lot of lists.

[00:57:25] Bertrand Newson:

[00:57:28] Nicole Varnell:
Oh my God. Hysterical.

[00:57:30] Looking Forward

[00:57:30] Kevin Chang:
So Nicole, what are you training for now? So we know that you have the Milwaukee race. Anything beyond that, anything else that you're training for?

[00:57:36] Nicole Varnell:
Do you really want me to answer that?

So what's actually on my schedule right now that I've actually submitted money for so Milwaukee and then I have a 5k. I signed up. There's a one for I think Jody

and Becky. Yes. The healthcare workers.

So I'm just gonna do the 5k which I'm actually very excited.

I would like to kind of go out and do well at that. I'm doing The double Dipsy at the end of August. So I signed up for that. And then in that's August, September, if I do Berlin, I'll go to Berlin at the end of September. That's still kind of up in the air. My daughter moves for college, like just like the week before.

So that's, that's good in a way. Maybe I need to go and cry it out, out there. No Boston October 11th. Then I, I think with all my half Ironman deferrals, somehow I must have paid for it twice. I don't know. So they said it was time for me to sign up for Waco, the Texas, the one I'd signed up for, so I was already paid for it.

So I signed up for that at the end of October. And then I have the LA marathon because I signed up for that thinking, well, maybe Emma will get into UCLA and I'll visit her and that's in November. So I have that. And then I have California international marathon and a hot chocolate and a Kaiser 10 K, but that's later in the year.

[00:58:56] Kevin Chang:
Wow. Wow. Wow.


[00:58:59] Nicole Varnell:
kind of

[00:58:59] Kevin Chang:
guess if, if you were to pick an, a race, do you have one or two that you're, that you're gunning for? Or do you have, are you looking for a PR at this point in time? Is

[00:59:09] Nicole Varnell:
yeah, I'm always looking for a PR. I realize I will not always get a PR and that's okay. But why not try? So I, you know, maybe I don't know that I will actually PR this year, if I do all that, like, that's kind of, you know, kind of maybe. Maybe in California or national, cause I would have a month after LA, but all those other ones would be really tight to really have a good thing.

I'm also signed up probably for Phoenix, cause that was the first so in February. So maybe that would be another option too. So I wouldn't mind another PR

[00:59:47] Bertrand Newson:
And you have other shorter distances, Nicole, as well, that might, you might
be able to, you know, outside of the marathon cause you, you know, that three 20 and change was fantastic. But the key is staying healthy through, through your your training journey and navigating these big distances. And you've been very good at being a, being able to do that.

And when you have been maybe a, a hamstring strain, being able to do the necessary rehab and to stay active while you're recovering where you had did it, didn't have to shut it down and be able to rally on those race days and still get to the finish line.

[01:00:19] Social Media & Conclusion

[01:00:19] Kevin Chang:
Where can our audience find you? I know that you're on Instagram, you post some great pictures and everything work, work in our audience. Find you.

[01:00:27] Nicole Varnell:
So, yeah, I'm on Instagram coli cat. That is my Colacap three. Ah, okay. I don't even know. and, I have a running RX, mom of three on Instagram. I have my Facebook, Nicole shoddy Barnett, but I also, you recently started a Facebook page. It's called uplifted running and it's for I was thinking about it a lot, just going through my grief and how my grief really propelled a lot of my running and you know, all this.

So I start it's for people who've gone through some kind of grief and just to, how do we can uplift each other and turn to running versus other things that can be a little more detrimental to us and when your grief is a long journey. So, I wanted to give that a try just to support other people in their grief and their running and kind of a positive place to do that.

[01:01:19] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. Is incredible. That is incredible. Thank you so much. And thank you so much for paying for it, paying it for it to the whole running community. I mean, I know that we're all so much more enriched for hearing your story and and for getting to know you, so thank you so much for jumping on the podcast.


has been incredible.

[01:01:38] Nicole Varnell:
I really appreciate both of you and that you do this. I love listening to you and wish you so much success and get to be a parent. Kevin. I'm so happy for that.

[01:01:47] Kevin Chang:
Yeah. I'm so excited. Yeah.

[01:01:49] Nicole Varnell:
yes. And thank you, Coach "B" for, for becoming a coach and you've made my day when that happened. So thank you my

year, my life.

[01:01:57] Bertrand Newson:
thank you. Yeah, it somethings are just meant to happen. I mean, now, you know, I've been coached before a while, but to kind of go all of it, it does not feel work working with you and our other teammates and athletes that we have here locally and, you know, coast to coast. And, you know, you believed, he believed in, in, in this coach here, that's given other people, the, the, the, the credit me, the credibility, and again, we're, I'm I'm grateful and Kevin are very appreciative.

[01:02:24] Nicole Varnell:
I'm grateful too, so, oh, thank you. Great. Thank you.

[01:02:29] Kevin Chang:
Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at RaceMob dot com. Please subscribe to us on apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time.

Keep on moving.