Author Archives: The Blonde

…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:


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…



…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!


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!



…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.


…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…


…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.


Sharin’ O the Green 5k (2nd AG)



Golden Gate Headlands Trail Marathon (1st)



My first 50k-Greenland Trail



Lake City/Handies Peak





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



Started my 2nd year with the Oiselle running team


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)



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

Tears at the Finish

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



Oiselle Photo Shoot


Aspen & Crested Butte trip with Nick



Oiselle Meet-up for PAC12 XC

(Bret, Shanna, me, Laura)



Club XC Nationals-Bend, Oregon

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Nick and my engagement announcement

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…a Very Merry Christmas!

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Our Christmas card was an announcement!

We are SO excited!

Merry Christmas from us to you!


Club XC Nationals – Bend, Oregon

I’m back. Consider this a test for how many people still read my blog. Posting once a quarter is pretty lame and I’d like to think about remedy-ing that. But until I make a decision one way or the other, it’s best if I shared my last weekends runventures.

Last weekend was Club XC Nationals in Bend, Oregon. When one of our Colorado Oiselle girls asked our division if we wanted to form a team, we were in! I had been looking forward to this weekend for several months. We ended up having a huge turnout from Oiselle with 4 teams represented. Wings out!

Nick and I flew into PDX on Thursday night and made the beautiful 3 hour drive to Bend early Friday morning. I wanted to make it to the Oiselle course preview for those who were already in town. It was great to meet and re-meet so many of our girls! The course was another story – hilly, muddy, slanted, snowy. This would not be fast.

Tough Faces/Fierce Lion
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Course preview/All the Oiselle
Why yes, that IS Lauren Fleshman to my left (blue) and Deanna Ardrey to my right (yellow). The only time I’ll be able to say “I ran with them” is at the course preview at a snails pace. I’ll take it!
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Just a little section of that long little hill
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Since it was Nick’s birthday, we made a stop at Deschutes. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY FAVORITE! A must-do because I felt mostly bad about it being his birthday weekend but we were traveling for my running event. I don’t think he really minds. Especially if the travel includes a Jeep rental and a cool town like Bend. We capped off his big day with a visit to 10 Barrel.

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The following morning was go-time. Our Masters Oiselle team ran at 9:45 and watching them was an inspiration and yet a sobering pre-cursor to the reality of this measly 6k.

photo 1

Noon. Race time. My Oiselle-CO girls and I grouped up in Box 81 for striders and chants. And then took off uphill (yes, the race started on a short field sprint and then up a nice little hill-not the one in the above picture-a different one) for three 2kish laps. I watched all the girls charge ahead of me, so I tried to remember this race was for the experience only! I mean, some of these girls were NCAA champs of some distance or another. Over and over. And some of these girls were chasing the Olympic standard for the 1/2 and full marathon. So…I had to keep telling myself that during the race; each time I went up that long .3 mile hill (as pictured above); and down that slanted hill where I slipped and fell briefly, just once; and through the dirt/mud; and all the other European XC fun that the RD decided to include on the course. When I saw Nick at the end of the 1st lap I lifted my hands in this “what-the-heck-is-going-on-why-am-I-here-what-am-I-doing” fashion. But with a smile. Or was it a grimace?

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This was tough. A really tough course amongst a really competitive field and I LOVED it.

No, I didn’t place well. No, I didn’t have a super speedy pace. But the camaraderie, opportunity, and experience overshadowed what could have been sheer disappointment, had this been any other race. This race brought back so many memories from my high school Cross Country days of Yore (roughly the late 90′s). I couldn’t have been happier to run and compete with so many dedicated women. It confirmed my already deep passion for the sport and my consistent love for the Oiselle family.

Later that night, we celebrated our accomplishments at the Picky Party. A night that will surely go down in history. Or at least Oiselle/Picky Bar history. Complete with blurry photos, video, commemorative glasses, and all…

photo 1

photo 2

Overall, a birthday, a Oiselle beanie, a PR, a kickin’ party, a lifetime of memories.

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…Oiselle Photo Shoot Sneak Peek

I am so excited to be a part of something Oiselle has up its sleeve! The Colorado chapter was asked to do a photo shoot for a little project they are working on. Of course I recruited my usual photographer, Nick, to take some shots while we were in Aspen and Crested Butte a couple of weekends ago. He took so many great ones (which is funny to me since I loathe pictures of myself) that I had a hard time narrowing it down! I sent my best off to Oiselle, but here a just a few for you…





We also saw 3 moose hanging out together!


Then we saw them a little closer. They came up by the road, we did not go down to them! Moose rules…

It was the perfect weekend to be up in the mountains to see the changing colors with a gorgeous white-peaked backdrop.




…the best of the best from Ragnar CO

You guys. Where has the time gone?! It is nearing the end of October and I haven’t blogged in…a long time. The start of the school year has had me completely preoccupied. But with a few moments to spare between my 6am MSP>DEN flight and returning to work for the afternoon, I give you The Best of the Best from Ragnar CO sponsors!

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A brand new running “accessory” for me. And now one of my favorites! This well-made wristband fits perfectly on either wrist, allowing for most of my unsightly running secretions to be swabbed, dabbed, or completely wiped away. We don’t need to talk about those “others.” But with Handana, no more wiping my nose, eyes, forehead, mouth, etc., with the back of my hands, fingers, or the sleeve of my shirt. And after the run, throw it in the wash to be used again and again. I desperately need several so I can rotate through, and hey, a girl’s gotta have some color in her running wardrobe!!

When I ran my first leg, I wasn’t sure how it would feel. Would it be too hot? Would I notice it? Would I get annoyed with it? Let me tell you, it completely surpassed my expectations! It sits low enough on the wrist so as not to interfere with my Garmin. And while it was a little warm at first, I soon forgot about it (as you would ANY new product you might be using for the first time until you get used to it), except for its great benefits!

HANDs down, I would recommend this product for sopping up all of your workout facial secretions. I just wouldn’t volunteer to go anywhere near it after your 6th leg in a Ragnar Relay…

Sweaty Bands
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I reviewed Sweaty Bands several years ago, as I have so much love for this company and their product. So when I asked if they would sponsor our Ragnar team, I was SO excited that they agreed. And of course, they supported our country High Nuun theme with cowboy inspired headbands.

They are the only headband I wear when running, working out, hanging out because they are the only headband that actually stays put and never slips on my head. I love that they offer so many options within their store: band widths, patterns, solids, textures, custom designs. Anyone could find what they are looking for by perusing their online store. Or, simply search for local stores in your area that carry Sweaty Bands. They are found in the smallest of athletic stores (No Name local stores) to the largest of department stores (Nordstrom).

Sweaty Bands retail in stores across all 50 states, as well as 11 countries. Truth: I bought one in Victoria, Canada. Plus, they are Made in the USA!

They have even been featured on the Today Show and in O Magazine.

I also highly recommend this product! Go buy! Now!

Since this post was about ‘bands, I should have titled this one Best of the Bands. Or Battle of the Bands. Or something like that.


High Nuun Sponsors

As previously mentioned, my Ragnar team, High Nuun, had some incredible support for our 28 hour relay adventure through the Colorado mountains. I wanted to put out a post that referenced them all, though I will be doing some individual posts in the coming weeks.

Ragnar-Officially sponsored our team after winning the Wasatch Back a few months ago. I was not a part of the team when they made their debut, but was thankful to be included for Colorado.

Nuun-Officially sponsored as their name is in our team name: High Nuun. We were well hydrated and I discovered some new flavors I love!
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Kate Farms-Supplied us with delicious Komplete Meal Replacement Shakes
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Got Chocolate Milk-For our refueling purposes.
Start area

Wild Friends Nut Butter-Opened up our world to the most amazing peanut and nut butters out there! Can’t wait to buy a case of Chocolate Coconut!

Kind Bars-An assortment of their bars.

Energy Bits-An algae based energy tablet for extra boost.

Veggie-Go’s-Fruit and veggie strips consisting of ingredients not seen together before! Yum!
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Square Bar-The most flavorful organic, GF, DF, SF bars on the market. Tastes like dessert.

Positive Energy-Like Sunny D with a kick!

Sweaty Bands-Can’t say enough GREAT things about this company and their product. They only headbands I wear! They sent us a pattern to match our theme…
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Handana-Holy Awesome! My new favorite running accessory! Collecting all of my facial secretions like a boss. Bry sports the black one here.
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Endorphin Warriors-Beautiful, simple bracelets with a message to get you motivated. Perfect to run with!
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Roll Recovery-The latest massage roller for better recovery. Easy to use with great effects!

KT Tape-Great for targeting pain relief!

Scott James Jewelry-Sport specific jewelry to commemorate a race or distance. Easy to wear while training or competing.

Smith Optics-Because sometimes you just need sunglasses.

Surprised, blessed, and thankful for ALL the sponsors that contributed great and small for our relay! We appreciate each of you and couldn’t have run this race without your support.



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