By Tori Wittenbrock
GREEN BAY – Nicole Fadroski, 42, said that she is anxiously looking forward to competing in her first full marathon, the Community First Fox Cities Marathon on Sept. 17, because of the dedication and hard works she has put into her training, but also because of the way it will allow her to keep her father’s memory alive.
“This will be my first full marathon, and I am currently training for it. It has been really tough, but I am working hard at it and just keep going,” said Nicole.
Fadroski said that although she hardly knew her father because she was only 11 months old when he died, she knows from stories that she has heard through her siblings and mother, that he was a very important person in their family.
In 1982, while her father was out for a run, he was struck and killed by a drunk driver in their hometown of Algoma.
“He was a marine and he liked to run, and I have heard many stories about him, even though I don’t have many memories of him,” said Fadroski.
“When I was born, he would put me in a little carrier and run with me on his back.”
This is a special year for Fadroski to be at a point in her life when she is ready to run a full marathon for her father.
“His death inspired me to start running as well. He was 42 when he was killed, and I’m 42 now, so I decided this would be a good time to try to run a full marathon.”
“Turning 42 was a huge motivator for me,” said Fadroski. “My co-worker, Maggie Herald, said to me, ‘Your dad was 42, and now you’re 42. This is your year to do it!’ So now that I have the time — but maybe not always the motivation — I decided that maybe this is my year.”
Fadroski said that her father was always very passionate about running — something she never fully understood until later in her life.
“When I was younger I played volleyball and softball, and was — for the most part — pretty athletic, but I could never see myself going out on a run for my own enjoyment,” said Fadroski.
“I started running on and off in 2009 just trying to get healthier, and I signed up for the Bellin run. I did that and then I thought I would try a half marathon. I did the Door County Half Marathon, the Cellcom Half Marathon and then did a bunch of 5ks and 10ks, throughout the years. I’ve always wanted to do a full marathon, but I wanted to make sure I had the proper time to do the training,” said Fadroski.
“Now that my daughter has her license, that has given me more time to train since I’m not driving her all over the place anymore,” joked Fadroski.
Although she has trained hard to get to where she is today, Fadroski said that she is pretty sure that this marathon will be her first and last.
“I started training in April, not really on a schedule. I was just easing back into running, doing about three miles here and there. Then in May I started an actual program and got an app on my phone. I run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and do cross training on Tuesdays and Fridays. Saturdays are my long runs and Sundays are rest days — which I love!” said Fadroski.
“I’m not sure that I will do another marathon in the future. This is kind of a check-it-off-my-bucket list kind of thing. I will probably do other shorter runs in the future, but I can’t say for sure. This has been really hard though. I do like shorter distance running — three to five miles is pretty great — but now that I have been running sixteen to eighteen miles, that can be a lot.”
Through doing her part in memorializing her father and honoring his passion for running, Fadroski said that she knows the rest of her family is proud of her and that she has a strong support system all around her.
“My husband, Mike, is not a runner, but I have been able to talk him into doing a couple of runs with me. He has done a couple of 5ks and 10ks with me. I can’t say that he enjoys it, but he will do it just to be able to do something with me, which makes me happy,” said Fadroski.
“My daughter Danielle is a senior in high school and is a dancer through both her high school and studio dance. She has also joined me in a couple of races over the years. None of the long ones, but a couple of 5ks. She also doesn’t enjoy it as much as I do, but I can talk her into it once in a while. We have done one 5k together as a family last May.”
Each of her family members is very proud of her accomplishments and dedication to their family, according to Fadroski.
“It happened so long ago, and I am just trying to find a way to keep his memory alive by doing something positive that I know he loved,” said Fadroski.
“My brothers were all teenagers when he passed away, so they were far more affected by it than me at the time. My mom was 40 when my dad was killed, and she was a school teacher in Algoma,” said Fadroski.
“She had a new baby and three teenagers. It impacted them a lot, but they have all told me that they are very proud of me and what I am doing.”
It has been a long journey for her, but Fadroski said she is extremely proud of how far she has come.
“My first run was the Bellin Run 10k. I really had no idea what races were all about, but it was very motivating having all of the people around, crossing the finish line, the adrenaline, the atmosphere. Everyone was so pumped up, and that really got me pumped up.”
“At that time in my life, I was just happy I crossed the finish line. I’ve never really gone for a specific time. Just being there in the moment, knowing that I can do it is motivation enough and makes myself proud of how far I have come.”