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NICHOLS STEPS UP AND WINS

23 September 2016

You mentioned willing to stay in the US to lift off the pressure of traveling far for a big race. For what other reasons did you pick this race?

Earlier in the summer I had a fairly disappointing race at the Broken Arrow Skyrace in Squaw Valley CA. At that point I was still coming back after injury and I felt like I had ran a race that I was not truly prepared to run. When I finished 5th it was a mental set back for me. After that point I decided that I wanted to try something different and the idea of a 100 mile race gave me some new enthusiasm for training. It was really nice to focus on something completely different. Since it was out of my normal comfort zone I felt like there was not so much pressure to perform, which ultimately made it a better race experience for me.alex-nichols

Photo: © Maddy Schmid 

 

First 100 miler, what were your thoughts, motivations, doubts coming into it?

Because I have never run anything close to this distance I was in constant doubt of my training. I never knew how hard I should be training or how much I should be resting. I also had major doubts about my diet during the race and how that would compare to a 50 or 80 kilometer race. There were so many unknown factors with the distance it was really hard for me to feel confident leading up to the race. In the days leading up to the start my main goal was just to finish because I really had no idea if I could actually run for so long.alex-nichols

Photo: © Maddy Schmid

 

You ran about half the race on your own before crossing the finish line in 1st place. Beside loneliness, what feelings did you experience? How did you manage them?

I took the lead at just about 50k into the race, but my original plan was to wait until the race was 3/4th complete before I tried anything.alex-nichols

Photo: © Joe Grant

 

When I suddenly found myself in the lead at such an early point I actually was hoping that someone would come back to me. The prospect of running 70 miles alone did not sound fun and I would much rather have some company. Once I realized that I was on my own I spent the next few hours getting really worried that someone would come rushing past me, so I ran in fear.alex-nichols

Photo: © Joe Grant

 

I think that fear helped me build up an ever bigger lead on second place. The fear of losing the lead never really left however. Even in the last 10 kilometers I was looking back to make sure I was alone.alex-nichols

Photo: © Tim Bergsten - Pikespeaksports.us

 

Probably still too early, but the question has to be asked. You nailed your first 100 mile race. Is this distance still appealing to you? Which other one would you be interested in giving a shot?

Looking back on it now I think I would like to run another long race like this. I have always been a patient runner and these distances definitely reward the patient. To me this was a good introduction to the distance because it was not extremely fast or extremely steep. In the future I would like to see how I fare in a steeper 100 mile race possibly the Hardrock 100 or UTMB.

 

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