I met this weeks Friday Featured Friend about 2 1/2 years ago (give or take).  I had just entered the "very interesting" world of cycling through a design job I had accepted.  I heard about this guy who worked on the second floor and was really into running but didn't train for his runs.

I thought. . .Huh? What?. . .Who does that?. . .
entering the design room. . .Jeffery Heard.  LOL!

We quickly became friends and I had to let him know he was doing it ALL wrong!  I knew I had scared him away because I can be loud and direct. . .Jeffery, not so much.  Jeffery is quiet, soft spoken at times but has a great presence and people love to be around him!  We both ran the AFC 1/2 in 2009 but not together.  When we hit the dreadful hill I hear this very loud and deep voice yell, "NICOL. . .DON'T STOP!".

What the? Who the?. . .I look to the side of me and it's Jeffery!. . .let's just say, I finished that hill (I was scared, LOL!) and we have been running partners ever since. Here is his story. Get started and find your own running partner! HA!
I’m a runner at heart and I have been that way since I can remember. Eight year ago, I took it to the next level. While cheering friend along at Carlsbad Marathon I watched as a group of special need runners/walkers passed, I said if they can do this, I could too. At that time, I could only run 3 miles. Training for a ½ marathon would require a little more effort than that. Luckily I had a friend who said she would train with me to run the Disneyland ½ Marathon. Well as training reached the 6 mile mark she informed me she and her husband were expecting their first child. Great news for the. . .bad news for me, I had to now train solo. 

Race day comes around, my first 1/2 and I’m running with over 14,000 people. I find my way through the masses of people to my corral at 5am. I’m not a morning person but with all the excitement of the crowd, I was pumped. As I paced there in the corral nervously stretching, I start chatting with another runner who was in the same predicament. As we crossed the start line, we promised we would stick together and keep each other motivated. Running through the course was AWESOME until around mile nine, the “wall”. At that point our short walk break became longer and longer. Then we re-entered the park, the second wind kicked in and we were running again. The only thing I remember after that was the smell of the cookies baking in the shops of Disneyland, heaven and hell all in one sniff. First half completed not with the best time in the world but I was hooked. That started my love affair with ½ marathons.

During that time, I was working for a cycling apparel company and found myself in another affair. . .you guessed it, cycling! In the beginning, I was less graceful on the bike than I was in my running shoes and hills were my enemy! But with time, a few bumps and bruises I conquered the bike and have been riding for over 3 years now. October 2012 I will be riding in my first long distant cycling event.  The Bike MS Bayto Bay Tour which is a 150 mile bike tour spread over two days. 

Adding cycling to my workout mix has definitely improved my race times and I enjoy hills (I am trying not to laugh right now). I now find myself in a battle between cycling and running.

As I have gotten older, I have pushed myself to be a better runner and cyclist. That has included connecting with likeminded people to push and motivate me. It’s great to share information and tips with people you love the sport as more as you do. Also setting time goals for different races have kept me focused on my training. My competitive side will not let me settle for anything less than my best. My inspiration is those 60+ year old runners who are still out there running and have faster time than I do. I want to be like them when I grow up!
Jeffery runs for cupcakes!
Advice I would give anyone taking on a 5k, 10k, ½ or a full marathon is to commit to a training plan and stick with it no matter what. My first few races I just ran with no plan and I struggled.  I would not recommend that to anyone. Also, pace yourself, it takes time to build endurance and speed. Finally, have fun. Find joy in running and it will reward you in so many ways.

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Posted on September 7, 2012 .