Pace Per Mile Team

Hey Everyone!!  I am one of the finalists for the Pace Per Mile Team and I would really appreciate your support!!  You can read my bio below and go to and vote for me!  Voting is open until December 3 and you can vote once per day!!


Abbie Nilles- Pace Per Mile

I first began running because a middle aged woman in a van was chasing me. She was my junior high track coach and this was how we practiced.  She would howl at us to run faster while chewing on a donut.  How’s that for motivation?  Despite this haphazard introduction to running, I continued on in high school and joined Cross Country and Track.  During this time as a runner, I found myself at both the back of the pack and the front.  There was even a time in a high school cross country meet when my friend and I finished dead last as the caboose of the race.  Nonetheless, running became a way for me to develop perseverance in my life.  That perseverance pushed me to run harder after college and I began running local races.  With each 5k finish, I wanted to run a little farther and faster; this internal drive is one that brought me to my current goal of finishing a marathon in every state.  I have crossed 6 off my list in the past 13 months and Boston 2016 will be 7.  Running has not only brought perseverance to my life but also adventure.  It has led me to discover the scenery of my hometown along the Mississippi.  It has led me to a bear encounter in the Tetons, where I found myself running away from a mamma and her cub.   And most recently, it has led me to Las Vegas Boulevard, running in gail force winds pressing for the finish.  I love that running provides an opportunity for you to learn a little bit more about yourself.  I have learned that sometimes you can be just as proud of a finish as a medal.  I have learned that runners have an incredible willpower, but that if you don’t test it you will not grow.  I have also learned that I enjoy a beer more after 20 miles than I do after 3!


Bucket List Marathons and Destination Races


It has been a solid week of rain and thunderstorms here.  On weeks like this I need a little inspiration and daydreams to keep me going.  Today Nuun posted on Facebook asking what races were on your bucket list?

After our first marathon last year my husband decided he wanted to do a marathon in each of the 50 states.  I am along for the ride but I actually would prefer making a list of countries to do marathons in.  What better reason to vacation than to race?

So here is my bucket list:

  1. Boston Marathon.  I expect Boston to be on everyone’s list.  The atmosphere, the elite, the excitement.  And qualifying is half the fun! (I am checking this off in 2016)
  2. Great Wall Marathon.  After living in China and running in China (or at least attempting to) I put this marathon near the top.  The view from the Great Wall is incredible.  The culture and people in China are like non-other.  Also, the challenge of running all of those steps- right up my alley!
  3. Athens Marathon.  How great would it feel run where it all began.  I can’t imagine the runner’s high you would get during this race.
  4. Big Sur International Marathon.  I imagine the miles go fly by in this race.  I bet with the majestic views my mind would wander the entire race.
  5. London Marathon.  I love London.  The history, the markets, and the city has this fresh, fun feel.  You will find me in a pub almost immediately after the finish- I guarantee.
  6. Tokyo Marathon.  Tokyo is a city like none other.  It is so lively while still being friendly and polite.  Any excuse to go to Tokyo sign me up!
  7. SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon.  This one I would be running for the people.  I have heard that the locals cheering you on make for a fun and spirited race.
  8. The Big Five Marathon.  I would love to run this for the wildlife alone.  This race gives you the chance to run with antelopes, zebras, and giraffes- and an off chance at running with a lion.
  9. Maratona Caixa da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro.  The hardest part of this race would be not running off onto the beaches.  I imagine lively crowds and an exciting after party!
  10. Midnight Sun Marathon.  One of my good friends lived in Norway and he talks about it as if it is his one true love.  With the sun never setting this night race still allows for great views.

I have so many more as well.  After finishing my top ten I realized I hadn’t included NYC, Rome, or Berlin.  The list could go on and on.

What is on your marathon list?

Stay Positive

Yellow Sneaks

I work in sales and the spring selling season can often seem like a never-ending routine.  It can be monotonous and sometimes the little voice in your head slowly creeps in and speaks pessimistic thoughts.

Recently, at a work function, it was recommended that we read Seth Godin’s March 29th post about “Self Talk”.  If you don’t already subscribe to his blog I highly recommend it.  (See link to his post below).

Seth talks about the importance of positive self talk.  One portion of his post hit home for me:

“And negative self talk is hungry for external corroboration. One little voice in the ether that agrees with your internal critic is enough to put you in a tailspin.”

I find this so true, not only in the workplace but in running.  How many times have you been racing- maybe pushing up a hill and you overhear someone uttering words like “this hill is endless” or perhaps someone besides you notes the weather “this heat is going to kill me”?  I know this has happened to me.  These small words suddenly corroborate every negative thought I was already having.  Those thoughts now become truths.  Now the hill is impossible and the heat is unbearable.

On the flip side, a few days ago, I was running with my husband and noticed the impact of positivity.  He has been working hard to qualify for Boston 2016 and has come very close multiple times.  Because of this I know he needs to amp up his training, which for me means either I get faster or I lose a running partner.  Our workout on Tuesday was an easy paced 8 mile run which meant that I was going to run at his easy pace.  We were keeping a great pace and holding each other accountable until mile 5.  I started to slow down.  He could tell and instead of going ahead without me he looked over and said something along the lines of “You’re doing great.  You’ve been keeping pace this far- we only have a short stretch left to go.  Let’s do this”.  Such a simple notion and my mind transformed.  I felt confident and we ran the last 3 miles at a faster pace than we had been going.  With positive thoughts I was able to not only keep up but improve upon what I had been doing.

Stay Positive!  The little thoughts can take you a long way! 

Seth Godin’s “Self Talk” from:

The Process

As my husband and I begin training this week for our next marathon I have been reflecting on our past training plans and trying to compile lists of what worked for us and what didn’t.  Upon this reflection I also came to a realization that although, frequently the race is what we strive for, the process itself of getting there is important to acknowledge.

I came across this quote today:

“It’s important to know that, at the end of the day, it’s not medals you remember.  What you remember is the process: what you learn about yourself by challenging yourself, the experiences you share with other people, the honesty the training demands–those are things nobody can take away from you whether you finish twelfth or you’re an Olympic champion.”

-Silken Laumann

I can honestly say that running has not only created friendships for me but renewed old ones as well.  Running has now become more of a way of life for me than just an activity.  I am excited to be able to share my training with my husband and I feel energized every time I talk to my cousins and uncle about their running success and compare training tips.

Here are the improvements I plan to make in this training season:

1.Set a goal that is challenging but achievable.

Before my first marathon I had 3 goal times.  Each depending on how I was feeling.  After beating my fastest of the 3 goal times I realized I may have not set my goals high enough.  However, my next marathon I did the opposite and became over confident- setting the bar too high.  This ended up hurting me overall.  Find a goal that is realistic to your ability but still a challenge and test yourself throughout training.  I love running halfs when I am training for a full.  It is a great way to test your time and prepare you mentally for race day.

2.Create a plan and manage your time.  

With working opposite schedules my husband and I plan out our weekly runs typically on Sunday.  This way we can figure out what days will work best for us to run in the am or in the pm- and we are able to hold each other accountable.  (It helps to have an accountabil-a-buddy!)  My goal this time is to work more on my time management- that means no more snooze button!

3. Be willing to train in any weather.

This one I personally need to work on.  The cold has been getting to me but my husband always says the one thing you cannot control on race day is the weather.  Training in it just means you will be more prepared if the weather is bad on race day.  We ran the Madison Marathon in November and woke up to snow.  I will admit it threw me for a bit of a loop.

4. Don’t be afraid of Resting and Rolling.

I have come full circle on this.  At the start of my training last year I thought when I was feeling good I should continue to push myself.  You will never know unless you test the limits, right?  I am now a number one advocate for rest days and cross training.  I value my cross train days and look forward to them!  And if you don’t own one already go buy a foam roller.  Best investment ever.

5. Diet

My last improvement is to improve my diet.  People always comment about how healthy my diet must be since I am a runner.  However, it is quite the opposite.  During the week I do well but I have been known to indulge in some horrifying foods after my long runs.  I love the satisfying taste of a beer and pizza after a long run- but maybe I should limit it to one beer.

Perhaps someone should have mentioned to Allen Iverson how important practice is in preparing for your games or races, in my case.  Because even if we are only talkin bout practice- often practice is the most important part.

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Joel and I after a half marathon we used as a “practice race” during training for the Madison Marathon

Beating the Bleh

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Today I am struggling with the bleh.

This is a feeling that most of us know all too well.

I typically plan my workouts based on my schedule and try to figure out early in the week what days I will do workouts, cross training, or my long run.

But what do you do when it doesn’t go according to plan?  This winter has been bitterly cold in Iowa and hasn’t allowed for much outdoor running.  I try my best to go for at least one to two outdoor runs a week.  However, when I arrive home after work, running in the dark cold is often the last thing I want to do.  So, I usually head to my local YMCA to do my assigned treadmill workout.

Last night we got about 4 inches of snow and my day feels especially sluggish.  On these days I try my best to fight the battle of the bleh.

My Advice to Beat the Bleh.

1.  An afternoon healthy snack.  When my day is dragging and I am not in the mood for work or my workout I will have a small afternoon snack.  A few of my pre-workout favorites are almonds, blueberries, or a rice cake with peanut butter.  A small snack is a great way to boost the energy levels.

2. Listening to TSwift Shake it off.  Everyone has a pump up song right?

3. A cute gym outfit.  I have read that wearing heels in the office can make for a more productive day.  Sometimes a cute gym outfit can be what it takes to get you out of the door.  Don’t underestimate the power of dressing for the part.

4. My workout buddy!  I love having someone to run with.  In the winter we may not actually be running together per say, but having someone to hold me accountable can make a huge difference.

5. If all else fails I switch up my days and try a different workout.  Get yourself to do something else-if your planned workout is just not going to happen then try one of your alternates!  (When I am not in the mood for running my go to is yoga)

What do you do to beat the bleh?

Lessons Learned from Running

half mar

I wrote this post last year on National Running Day and wanted to revisit it here.

In the spirit of National Running Day (June 4, 2014) runners around the world are being asked to create badges stating why they run. While I enjoy reading the stories of inspiration, to me there is no short answer to this question. The easiest response for me, may in fact be another, “Why don’t you?”

Training for my fall marathon started this week and as my runs continue to be longer and more challenging it is imperative that I stay focused. On today’s run I began thinking about the characteristics of runners and how running influences not only who we are as a person but how efficient we are in the workplace. These are a few of the lessons running has taught me.

Attitude is Everything

There will always be rainy days- or days when you wake up with no motivation to get out of bed. Everyone has these days- the best way to get through them is to stay focused and smile. A positive attitude can transform not only your workout but your workday. It’s contagious and people around you will take note.

Test Yourself

Races help me to gauge my progress and motivate me during practice. It’s amazing what a record time at a race can do for your weekly workouts or how slower races increase your determination. I recently started working in sales and a general notion I have seen on a daily basis is to keep moving things forward. I love this- without pushing our limits and testing ourselves we would never improve.

The Importance of Rest

Just as important as testing yourself it is also vital to know when it’s time for you to rest. Take a night to yourself, relax, and regroup. Without rest comes injury and injury keeps us from performing to the best of our ability.

The 3 D’s

Discipline, dedication, and determination.

These three words fit together so well. Running has forced me to be more disciplined, dedicated, and determined in all that I do. Jesse Owens said it well, “We all have dreams, in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”

There is an internal drive in each of us- find yours, use it, and run with it.