The Blonde Runs

an American girl living in Australia


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…a visit to Five More and Sydney

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to take an early peek at a new activewear/lifestyle clothing store opening in the Paddington suburb of Sydney, Australia. Paddington, in and of itself, is chic and trendy, with Victorian-clad shop fronts featuring boutiques, cafes, art galleries, and wine. And its’ bustling Oxford Street is the ideal place for Five More to set up a brick and mortar (originally an online-only store). I met with the lovely Catherine, the brain behind the boutique, as she was putting the final touches on her beautiful space.

Of course, Five More sells a brand that is near and dear to my heart: Oiselle. And I loved hearing Catherine talk about how well this US-based brand is doing in Australia.

Catherine dressed all of her window store-front dollies from head to toe in Oiselle. What a sight!

FiveMore

I am excited for Five More and all of their potential, as well as that of Oiselle in a relatively untapped area.

Afterwards, Nick and I did some Sydney touristy things:

Sydney Opera House
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Sydney Harbour Bridge
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Bondi Beach
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XO,


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…not always a bed of roses

We made it to Australia!

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And it’s winter.  But it’s lovely anyway!

After about 3 weeks of casual non-running, due to race recovery, wedding, honeymoon, and moving internationally, I am finally back at it.  While I’m coming back slow and easy, I’m reminded that running is not always a bed of roses.

I don’t always PR, I don’t always have the greatest of runs, I don’t always want to go for a run.

And even though I’ve missed running, this first week or so “back” has been more like a bed of thorns.  I have felt pain during every run in one shape or form:  upper back, lower back, heels, calves, quads, hip flexors.  Not all of them in one run, but sometimes 1-2 in every run.  I just don’t feel fluid or at ease in running right now.  I don’t like it.

While even these small runs are gratifying and make me realize how much I miss it when I step away for a bit, it’s been a struggle for me to accept that this past week and a half has been so painful and achy.

I feel like I’ve been training a lot in these past 12 months.  I have put in about 10 races in total.  It really isn’t much when you think about it.  Sometimes I run 2 races in a month, and then not race for 2-3 months.  But the quality I am going for in every race is substantial.  Aside from one race (Leadville), I have approached the other 9 races competitively.  At least competing with myself and my own PR’s.  I’ve proudly added a 5k, 10k, and half marathon PR to my stats list this year, and competed in 2 new distances, which automatically allows me 2 new PR’s!  Not to mention experimenting with trail running/racing, which is a totally different ball game.  And when I think about the quality of training that comes with each of those PR’s and each of those new distances, some on new terrain, I know I’ve asked a lot of myself in the past year.

So, perhaps now is my season of rest and enjoyment.  Not to rest from running, but to rest from racing.  Don’t get me wrong, I have several “races” I’m looking at here in the local area between now and December, but I’m not sure I should approach them competitively, backed with intense training.

That’s really hard for me to read back to myself and actually accept!  But I think it’s the right thing for my body.

My goal is to run and be active for as long as I can. Continually training and competitively racing isn’t going to allow for that.

I will know when it’s the right time to switch gears and start training again.  For all I know, it could even be in the next few weeks!  But for now, this is how I’m feeling and this is where I’m at.

XO,


 


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…OUR WEDDING

WE GOT MARRIED!

It all happened a few weeks ago in a small Colorado mountain town. Our family and closest friends, many coming from out-of-state, were in attendance. We were grateful and overjoyed to have so many, come from near and far, to celebrate with us!  It was truly everything we wanted and had hoped for; the perfect day, the perfect weekend.  I am blessed beyond measure and I know I’ll love him until my last breath…

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XO,

 


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…Leadville Trail Marathon

I’m all settled in Canberra now, so it’s high time I get back on this blog-wagon!

I have to play some catch-up with a very real, very serious marathon I ran nearly a month ago…

When I was considering my Colorado race schedule early this year, knowing full well I’d be moving out of the country in June, I had this wild idea to run the Leadville full marathon as my send-off race. I considered it a “goodbye gift” to myself before heading off for foreign lands. Interestingly enough, the majority of my training would fall in the three months Nick would already be in AUS (he had to start work in April) and the marathon would fall the weekend before our wedding.

At the time, all of this seemed SO well planned. I would have uninterrupted training time and I would be in fit shape for the wedding! And yes, I did have uninterrupted training time. But I was so consumed with finalizing wedding plans, finishing my school year, packing up my classroom, packing up our apartment, and preparing to leave the country, that my mind was in a million different places. Constantly. Scattered. And my heart was in Australia with Nick.

Despite all of my distractions, I did stick with my training plan; I just didn’t get the mountain/elevation workouts that I had hoped for. I had run the Heavy Half in 2012, and I knew what would be expected of me. X2. So, I was uncertain how I would fare once on the course. A course that had to be rerouted due to snowpack still on the mountain. A course that once rerouted, increased in difficulty. Good thing I knew about that after-the-fact!

Original course profile:
Leadville-Trail-Marathon-Course-Profile

But, this was a race to be run. Not to be raced.

If you know anything about Leadville, CO, you know that it’s a historic mining town in the Rocky Mountains, that it is the host town of a huge run/bike series in the summer, and that it is situated about about 10,100 feet elevation. And the race course just goes up from there, capping out at just over 13,000 feet. So, I started slow. I paid attention to my body, yet also others around me, getting subconscious tips from them, and stopping at every aid station. I felt that with the elevation, combined with the distance, I needed to ensure that I was fueling, despite the time cost. I race enough with time constraints placed on myself, so this was a nice interruption from my usual MO.

During the first half of the course, I really wasn’t feeling the high elevation. My lungs didn’t feel any different than they normally would when running in the mountains. There was a lot of climbing/hiking, but I took it in stride, knowing that hiking up the mountains was just as efficient as running. Or more. For me.

This was the view on my way up Mosquito Pass (the second and main climb on the profile above):

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A very windy climb to the 13,185 foot summit of Mosquito Pass and despite the smile, I was freezing!

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I felt great on the way back down for my second half of the course. I was still keeping it easy. Drinking a lot of fluid. Eating what I needed to. Taking in the scenery. I was blessed enough to have Nick there, who had arrived into town the night before; he would be there to support me from beginning to end. Oh how I had missed him… Nick and Chase showed up around mile 17. It was so great to see them at that point! When I was tired, the hardest part was done, and I just needed a little boost to get me through the rest of the race.

But those final 9 miles were harder than expected. More climbing, combined with my trashed legs, presented a true challenge. This race was not for the faint of heart. I think I had to dig the deepest in these final miles. Not because I wanted to stop, but because I wanted to finish.

I ran the downhills, hiked the climbs, and cried a few tears as I rounded the corner to 6th street in downtown Leadville, that would take me to my red carpet finish.

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Time: 6:39:15
Overall: 272/435
Female: 57/103
AG: 19/34

It was done. I had earned my mug and medal. But the best part of all, was having Nick back in town to be my cheer squad.

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After this, it was all wedding business.

XO,

 


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…I did it again. (Bolder Boulder 10k recap)

PR’d again, that is!

Sure, it was only by 24 seconds, but a PR is a PR.

I ran my usual 10k. I ran it at the usual last minute. Seriously, there is only ONE other 10k I have EVER run. And I actually love running this one over and over because I can compare my times each year on a solid, consistent course. The only thing that changes is me.

This year, I told myself not to worry too much about the race and my pace. I had signed up a few days prior, not even getting into the wave I qualified for (AA) because those bibs ran out; so I was bumped down a wave (AB). Yes, it’s a talking point. Yes, the wave you run in is a prestigious thing. Probably only to me, though. I had also run a decent hill workout Saturday and a tempo run on Sunday. My legs were mushy. And they HAD been mushy most of the week due to so other hill workouts.

Why all the hill workouts? Training for this itty bitty race in a few weeks.

I met up with Courtney, from Runners Roost, and my Oiselle teammate Laura at the start. As we chatted, I didn’t even have time to overthink the race or get nervous. So, I decided I would attempt the pace I needed to PR for the first couple of miles and go from there.

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Aaaaaaannnnnnnddddddd….it worked. Granted, my legs felt like they wanted to fall off around mile 3.5. The good news was that the couple of hills in this race felt like nothing. Typically, they are impacting enough for me to notice. Not this time!

It was your usual Bolder Boulder. Local bands. Local entertainment. Every kilometer is marked with a huge banner, so I just counted them down to get me through the race. Not that I wanted it to be over, but because I am notorious for counting down to everything!

Time: 42:09
AG Place: 6th out of 591
Female Place: 98 out of 24778
Overall Place: 825 out of 52000(ish)

And here are some other fun facts, provided by my brother’s wife’s sister.
Top 1.8% of all runners
Top .3% of all female runners
Top 1% of my division

After the race, I met up with my Oiselle teammates (there were 4 of us who raced) for some photos, expoing, and viewing the elite race. I realized this would be my last team race where the CO Oiselle girls and I would be meeting up. It made me sad to say goodbye to them, but I know I will see them all again!

Laura, Me, Lisa
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Bret, Me, Jess, Laura, Lisa
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Shalane Flanigan, pushing to the finish (she was 2nd)
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Overall a good race, a good day.

Is this the year of the PR?! At least for the 5k, 10k, and half it is! I am not holding my breath for the Leadville Marathon… :)

XO,

 


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…Horsetooth Half Marathon Recap

So, I ran this on Sunday:

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I don’t know why I choose these types of races and expect to PR, but that’s exactly what I expected. And I expected it in the minutes. Might have been a little lofty but I didn’t realize it or accept it until around mile 10.

We have been blessed here in Colorado with some beautiful weather in the 60′s and 70′s. We’ve even hit 80 a couple of time in the past two weeks. But typical of Colorado’s bipolar spring weather, we were hit with a nasty little storm late Saturday and all day Sunday. Perfect for race day, I did not say. Temps in the mid-20′s, wind that dropped that temp even lower, and a snow/sleet mix that surely left a burn on my sweets cheeks. I was not excited for that headwind.

I jogged a great warmup with some striders so that my HR was up a bit right from the start. Didn’t want to start this race on an uphill at a resting HR! Thanks, Coach Ryan! I owe you on this one. I knew I wanted to play the hills conservatively and just push on the downhill and flats; despite that blowing snow/sleet headwind…

Mile 1 (8:23)
Mile 2 (8:15)
These two miles were all uphill, as clearly seen in the profile pic above. And not a pretty uphill. Despite all that upness, I was happy that I didn’t feel like I was overdoing it and I felt great when I hit the top and started the downhill.

Mile 3 (6:42)
Mile 4 (7:10)
DOWNHILL. That downhill was nice. I felt like I was floating. Aside from the wind and the cold and the snow and sleet which made me feel very much like I was on the ground. A few rollers in between those hills but I was feeling strong. Tried to just remember to take it “easy” on the ups.

Mile 5 (7:12)
Mile 6 (6:45)
Another big up. At least it was short. I noticed that when someone passed me on the beginning of the uphills, or pulled away from me if they were ahead of me, that by the time we would reach the top, I had caught them again. I’m not sure what this means, really, but it did make me feel like I was tackling the hills “smartly.” Starting the hills conservatively, but still having umph at the end when I crest the hill and make my way over.

Mile 7 (7:00)
Mile 8 (7:27)
The final two hills. And although they were both short, they both fell in mile 8, and I know this is what made my legs finally feel shattered. At least looking back. In the midst of it, I was just clicking off the miles in my head, happy to be 5 miles away from the start. I was still feeling really good.

Mile 9 (7:02)
Mile 10 (6:59)
And these were my last miles of feeling good. While this was a flat, even slightly downhill section, I don’t remember much from it, aside from being in a zone and being so excited about hitting mile 10 and having merely 3 to go.

Mile 11 (7:22)
Mile 12 (7:41)
I don’t know why I’m so prone to nausea lately while running, but once again it reared it’s ugly head. Almost exactly at mile 10. I didn’t see this coming at all! I never do. It just starts deep in my stomach and refuses to go away. And I did everything I could to fight through it and keep going. I know this caused me to slow down. That and the extremely slick 200 meter wooden bridge. I probably caught myself 4-5 times from falling. And this is when that hope of a big PR felt lofty.

Mile 13 (7:44)
Mile .1 (1:29)
And the final push. Ouch. The legs were pretty trashed at this point too. Almost forgot to mention that, I was so overwhelmed with the nausea. But, I’ll have you all know that I did NOT stop for a good puke sesh at anytime during those final 3.1 miles. No matter how much I was trying to talk myself into it.

I crossed the finish with a nice little grimace. Laura and Gordon (our Aussie counterparts) were there as my “Nick” to cheer for me. And I faked this little smile for them:

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Time: 1:37:36
Overall: 62/1091
Female: 15/???
AG: 3/109

My previous half marathon was 1:39:02 and this race allowed me a minute and a half PR!! While deep down I was shooting for 1:35, I hate to be disappointed and get PR greedy on such a tough course. Given the hills and the elements, I will take this little PR and be happy with it. For now…

XO,

 


9 Comments

…the BIG news!!!

Well, I’ve waited long enough. I’m so excited, I could burst!  After alluding to the fact that big changes were coming Nick’s and my way, it’s finally time to share our excitement with all of you!

WE’RE MOVING TO AUSTRALIA!

Australia pic

This was a big decision for us, but ended up coming at an opportune time in our lives and after much thought and consideration, we can’t say no! Nick’s work has a reseller in Canberra, and it was suggested last year that they do an “employee swap” with someone from both companies. After much back and forth, hearing nothing, then hearing some things, hearing it had potential, then that it was an 80% chance, but don’t-put-your-whole-life-on-hold-yet, and on a non-stop emotional roller coaster, it all became officially official at the end of February. Visa official. With Nick’s start date. Which ended up being 12 weeks before the wedding…

When this proposition became serious last fall, Nick and I were already planning our Colorado June wedding. Depending on the timeliness of the Visa process we knew there was potential for Nick to start as early as January. But, we decided no matter his start date, I would stay in Colorado with Chase, finish my school year with the students, and finalize wedding plans. So when he agreed on a start date at the beginning of April, we were SO grateful that it took a bit longer than expected and we were allowed a few extra months together. 12 weeks apart is hard enough, much less had it been 16+. But we are successfully 1 week in, and a mere 11 weeks to go until the wedding!  Needless to say, that goodbye last weekend was the worst.  So.  Difficult.  And part of us was criticizing the “younger” us who thought it was a great idea, last fall, to move internationally at separate times.  But we made the best decision we could at the time, and we both know this is going to be worth it in the end!

We are so excited to begin this amazing adventure as a newly married couple! Nick just gets a little bit of head start.  ;)  But I’ll be returning with him to Australia after the wedding for a 1-2 year stint.  We have been plotting and planning our minutes while there! Travel is a huge passion of ours, and although we will make our home in Canberra, and will love settling in, we can’t wait to explore!

I know the next 11 weeks will be hard without Nick and I plan to keep myself as busy as possible. With the upcoming wedding, my running, races, Chase, all the packing, friends, and family, I will have plenty to do. And of course the prospect of moving to a new country with my favorite person has me ridiculously excited! I think the separation from Nick will make the wedding so much more special. And it will all be worth it in the end.

Not much will change around here.  I’ll still be running on the Oiselle team, I’ll still promise to blog often, and barely eek out one post every few months.  You know, the usual.  But my pictures might change!  I’ll miss the mountains, wildlife, and old trails dreadfully, but they will be replaced with the outback, kangaroos, and new trails.  And you can’t beat that!

Thanks readers for all of your support!  I can’t wait to share in this new journey with all of you!

XO,

 


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…Sharin’ O The Green 5k Recap

This recap is two weeks old, but I think it’s worth the read:

There is a certain number I’m associated with that has been haunting me for years.

It isn’t my weight. I actually don’t weigh myself or even have a scale in my house.

It isn’t my age. That number seems to keep increasing, no matter how often I truly keep forgetting the correct number.

It’s my 5k time. 20:10. And it’s been a limit, a boundary, for the past 15 years. Since then, I have felt self-induced pressure to break my high school 5k Cross Country PR set at the age of 17 (If you did the math, you know I’m 32).

Yes, it sounds ridiculous. But I have always felt, deep down in my running soul, that I was capable of breaking the 20 minute barrier.

To be honest, I did think it would happen WAY before I was 32! Yet, this also feels like the perfect time in my life to break down barriers and push limits.

So now you know that I’ve PR’d, I guess you don’t need to keep reading! I’ll keep it short and sweet, which is easy since it was only a 5k:

I ran the Sharin’ O The Green 5k last year where I got close to my PR. So, I knew this was a flat, fast course with great potential. What I didn’t know was how freaking windy it was going to be! Like, 19 mph winds and 40 mph gusts.

The course runs as a lollipop, and luckily, the main out/back portion was only a sidewind. It was the middle loop that was a real struggle to maintain pace.

Mile 1: Everyone went out really fast. Or, at least I went out really fast. I tried to keep remembering that this wasn’t a race with anyone but myself. And if I wanted to PR, I needed to be smart about this pacing. So I evened out to a pace I felt I could manage for 3.1. I was still pushing it though.

Mile 2: Always my slowest mile in a 3.1. Always. The wind was awful but I put my head down a bit and was determined to just get through it knowing it would be a sidewind again soon. My pace slowed, but I felt I was still doing well, save that feeling of wanting to puke. Seriously. Badly.

Mile 3: One mile straight back to the finish. It’s amazing how much you can be hurting in a 5k at this point. Lungs, stomach, quads, feet. And I still wanted to puke. But I still wanted to PR and I pushed hard. Hard enough to pass a leprechaun in the last quarter mile. And that felt great.

Mile .1: As I glanced at my watch in the final turn of the course, I was ecstatic to see my time and quickly calculated my potential finish time. I crossed in 19:27. A 43 second PR, dating back nearly 15 years! And I still just wanted to puke.

When that sensation passed, I could truly celebrate my accomplishment, albeit solo. I smiled from ear-to-ear during that cold, windy cool down and I felt like skipping the entire time. Elated. Bursting. Relieved. So many exciting emotions were running through me.

Time: 19:27
Overall: 32/2071
Female: 8/????
AG: 2/436

I have no pictures to document this moment, but I have a memory of that time I broke through limits and boundaries and answered the “what if” question. And that will last a lifetime.

XO,


7 Comments

…2014 intentions

I had intended to blog more consistently this year.  Look where that got me.  Guess I’m holding true to my commitment of keeping it at a new post every quarter.

January 1 hit and I have just been swamped with life.  And when I do sit down and consider writing up a post about the goings-on of said life, I choose instead to  have a glass of wine and do nothing for those sparse, fleeting moments.  You know how it is.

There are plenty of things to write about, and some really exciting changes (besides getting married in June) coming my way that I can’t wait to share, but for now let’s stick with my intentions.  Running intentions.  Race intentions.

March 15 – Sharin O’ The Green (registered)
April 13 – Horsetooth Half
April 26 – Cheyenne Mountain Trail Half
May 17 – Sageburner 50k
May 26 – Bolder Boulder 10k
June 14 – Leadville Marathon (registered)

To say that 2013 was great is a ridiculous understatement.  I pushed and challenged myself in ways I didn’t think I could.  I met and reacquainted myself with runners all across the US.  I tried new distances and I ran a bunch of miles (1665 to be exact, or 2679.5 km for my “not in Amurica” readers). Thus, I’m thrilled to see what will come my way in the running community in 2014.

Be looking for some exciting news I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks!  Plus, those race recaps and some awesome Oiselle items that landed and will be landing…

XO,


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…2013 highlights

2013 was a big year for me, not only in the running world, but personally as well.  Sure there were some major disappointments to learn from, but overall, I had a full, rich year with new challenges and big leaps.  I certainly stepped out of my running comfort zone, and in doing so, have met some amazing people and opened myself up to untapped opportunities.  Below are some of the highlights of the year; moments that will be remembered forever.

March

Sharin’ O the Green 5k (2nd AG)

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April

Golden Gate Headlands Trail Marathon (1st)

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May

My first 50k-Greenland Trail

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June

Lake City/Handies Peak

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Minnesota

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July

Hired a coach and ran with one of his groups over the Continental Divide

CD

August

Started my 2nd year with the Oiselle running team

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Bellingham/Victoria with this sweet gal

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Golden Beaver Trail 1/2 Marathon (blonde nav. was tricky and I got lost;
but the knee deep water crossing was a part of the actual course)

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September

Ragnar CO-Ultra team (1st in all women/3rd overall)

Tears at the Finish

XTerra Trail 1/2 Marathon (where I met Heidi!)

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October

Oiselle Photo Shoot

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Aspen & Crested Butte trip with Nick

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November

Oiselle Meet-up for PAC12 XC

(Bret, Shanna, me, Laura)

Pac12

December

Club XC Nationals-Bend, Oregon

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Nick and my engagement announcement

Processed with VSCOcam

XO,

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