GETTING TO KNOW…..NELL ROJAS

4/3/2020
 


High School you attended?
Boulder High, 2006
 
College you attended?
University of Northern Arizona, 2010
 
Major in College:
Exercise Science
 
Current Occupation (or part time-job):
Strength and Running Coach 
 
Tell us about your Olympic Trials experience in Atlanta:
Atlanta was surreal. Going into it, I hadn't run in that caliber of race before and it was exciting, intimidating, and scary. I had no idea how the race was going to go out and had to be ready for anything. It ended up going out super slow which I was surprised, but also pretty happy about. The front pack broke off at about 8 miles and I found it comfortable to be settled into the middle of that. I felt really good, really relaxed, and just kept telling myself that I wasn't going to be the one to drop off. Classically at mile 20, my whole body instantly ran out of fuel, and I had nothing. A lesson in fueling that I hadn't learned before. I was able to keep moving forward to a top 10 finish. 

The cheers the entire race were piercing, the women that surrounded me have inspired me for years, and the support i had brought me to tears. Definitely a life changing experience.
 
How did you start running?
Growing up my dad had a running group in Boulder. I loved going to his practices because I got to play on the high jump mats. I was very proud of my dad's running accomplishments, well at the time all I knew was that he had won the first BolderBoulder, which to a kid in Boulder may as well be the Olympics. I did all the sports but my favorite sport being basketball. In high school I found a talent and passion in running and the rest was history. 
 
What were your best track times in high school?
800m -  2:16
1600m - 5:16 
5000m - 18:11 
 
#1 High School highlight?
High school was SO long ago! I was a very all around kid in high school. I loved my social life, I played basketball, I traveled during the breaks, and I wasn't as hard core as the kids are now-a-days. I think I only ran DURING the cross country and track seasons haha. So I didn't really have any breakout races or win any big races. I liked marching around with my running friends at meets being weird. 
 
What were your best track times in college?
5000m - 16:28 
3000m Steeplechase - 10:18
 
#1 College highlight?
Making it to nationals in the steeple in 2009.
 
#1 professional highlight?
Well because I don't have one from high school I'll give you three here. 1) Surprising myself in my first marathon and running the Olympic "A" Qualifying Standard. 2) Winning Grandma's Marathon in 2:28:06. 3) Finishing 9th at the Olympic Trials.
 
Something unique about you that we might not know about you?
The #1 reason that keeps me going on the hard days and motivates me to do well, is to inspire athletes of all kinds that they don't need to fit a mold to be successful at whatever it is that the want to do. You can do it your own way.
 
Current Coach?
Ric Rojas, my dad. 
 
Favorite Workout?
I love long runs! 20 mile progression runs, they usually go something like 7 miles easy, 7 miles moderate, and then 6 miles hard. This workout seems to simulate a marathon pretty well especially at altitude.
 
Favorite Place to Train?
Most all of my long runs are done on the dirt roads north of the Boulder Reservoir. Nothing like a good rolling dirt road!  
 
Favorite Food?
All. 
 
Favorite Restaurant?
Fresh Thymes. You feel good when you leave! 
 
Favorite music?
Anything slow and sad. 
 
Favorite TV Shows?
I don't really watch tv! I read and work. Maybe I should watch more shows! 
 
Favorite Author?
Jack Kerouac
 
Favorite Book?
Before the trials I started reading Harry Potter to relax- whoa those are good books to take your mind off of stuff! But I love "On the Road" by Kerouac, and "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.
 
What is your preferred social media? 
Insty
 
If you could have lunch with one person who would it be? 
Marilyn Monroe. Smart and strong lady and had a lot to say. 
 
How about dinner?
Jack Kerouac because he's cray cray. 
 
Over the years who would have you found to be the best training partner? 
I love training by myself! It makes for a more flexible schedule, I can modify based on how I feel, and I can focus on hitting my numbers. But when I was in high school I loved running with my brother, Jess. 
 
Your Role Model?
I'd say if you put my two brothers together, they would be my role models.     They are both different, but truly themselves, think outside the box, and have taught me the best lessons in life. 
 
Favorite Athlete?
There are so many good ones! I like the ones with stories. The ones that had to work for it and that stand for something else other than just their sport. I guess I don't have a very favorite. 
 
What do you foresee yourself doing in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I'd like to continue my marathon career for the next 10 years. In 20 years I'd love to continue to be coaching and creating programs to help and inspire people to be themselves in whatever their endeavor is.

 

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