The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


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Making adjustments

“You’ll need to cut back on your mileage.”

A heartbreaking thing for any runner to hear. And I wasn’t even injured.

So when my conservative fertility doctor told me this mere weeks before my 50 miler in 2016, I was beyond crushed. Nick and I were a few years into the process of trying to start a family, it wasn’t going the way we thought it might (1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility), and we were willing to do almost anything; but these aren’t necessarily words you expect to hear, or want to hear.

I always had somewhat naive expectations that I would be running strong leading up to, and during pregnancy. But that’s not how my story would unfold. I would learn that pregnancy is different for everybody and every body. That in pregnancy, it’s okay to let go of expectations and slow down. And how “listen to your body” would take on a whole new meaning. I discovered the many adjustments that needed to be made throughout, how to embrace them, and just enjoy the love of the run with a new running partner.   

Needless to say, I approached that 50 miler (RRR50) with a mixed bag of emotions. I was grateful for the solid training I had for a new distance, relieved the way everything lined up for the “perfect” race (weather, fueling, body cooperation) and a bit mournful knowing that it would be my last big run/training cycle indefinitely. Could I equate this to an injury? Slow down. Cut back. Modify.

After the 50, I did adjust my typical running plans and expectations for myself. This was hard for a Type A gal like myself! I like having a plan, I like seeing my coach’s training schedule pop up in Training Peaks, and I like striving for goals. But I cut back, I slowed down, and I modified. I opted out of any speedwork and didn’t add any massive long runs. I didn’t follow my doctor’s orders to a T (I can’t be the only one who allows for some flexibility here!) but I found what I felt was a good compromise between what I had been doing leading up to this point and what I still felt I “needed” to do to stay sane and still feel that runner’s high. It took some time, and letting go of race FOMO (I always have a short/long list of races I want to do!), but I was able to alter expectations of myself and just run for fun. It was just for a season, after all. I just didn’t realize how long of a season that would be.

After more than a year of those altered expectations and casual running, months of testing and fertility treatments, emotional high and lows, Nick and I finally got the news we had been waiting for! We were beyond nervous and utterly happy. And all that casual running with no goals and no plans suddenly didn’t matter anymore. I was just happy to still be running at all. I had come to terms with the fact that my story wouldn’t allow for half marathons and long trail adventures during pregnancy. But it didn’t change the fact that I still saw myself as a runner. A part of my identity that’s important to me.

And then, all of a sudden, casual running was too much and I made adjustments and altered expectations again. At 26 weeks, pelvic pain caused me to modify my running to a run/walk combo. I didn’t even know this type of pain existed! With a ton of pelvic floor exercises and a support belt, I could still get out and get moving with minimal pain. Looking back, I guess I just wasn’t ready to let running go completely, even if only doing it at a minimum. Each time out varied, but I listened to my body and did whatever felt right without pushing it too hard. I had no idea how much longer this new modification would last, but I planned to enjoy it with my mini me while it did.

Around 33 weeks, I made the hard but necessary decision to stop running for the rest of my pregnancy. Between the increased pelvic pain that suddenly decided to hang around all the time, the general discomfort during and after running, and the recovery following each run (I’m no spring chicken and pregnancy was requiring a lot more rest time!), this was definitely the best choice for me. And bless the women who can run until the day they give birth! For whatever reason, I was finally in a good place to just let it go. Perhaps I was hanging onto pregnancy running for too long anyway. Perhaps I knew that pushing through any ache or pain at that point wouldn’t be worth it in the long run. I wasn’t training. I didn’t need to push. I want a running lifestyle, not to just say I ran for X number of weeks while pregnant. My greatest reward, my medal (if you’re into that) would be Baby L. Perhaps I had finally reached the “acceptance” stage.

I’ve remained active with walking, lifting, yoga, and prenatal workouts. These things feel good and they meet my needs at this time. But the many adjustments and altered expectations of myself in the past two years have reminded me of something I have really known all along. That things sometimes don’t (rarely?) go as planned and to embrace your story, letting it unfold as it may. I’m no less of a person/athlete than I was before this all started. What’s right for one person might not be right for another. Do what’s right for you. “Do you,” as Steph Bruce says. And that while I may be talking about “pregnancy,” this concept can actually be transferred to many of life’s seasons.

While I know I’ll have to change my expectations yet again postpartum, I know my story is just that. MY story. All mine. Unique to me and quite possibly perfectly different than someone else’s. I know I’ll carry these reminders with me as my new normal unfolds into motherhood and as I teach my daughter respect for herself and to embrace her own story, whatever it may be.

Whatever your story may be (pregnancy, injury, new life season), it isn’t like anyone else’s. And it shouldn’t be. That’s what makes it unique and special.  Embrace your story, adjust as needed, listen to your body, and get comfortable with altering your expectations. It might not be for long. And it doesn’t make you any less than what you were before. It doesn’t make you less of a runner. Just “do you.”

That being said, I will be using this major life change to make other adjustments and alter expectations for myself in other areas. I will be stepping down from leadership with the CO Volee team at the end of this season so I can continue to focus on my story. The last three years of leadership have been so much fun and I’m confident in the leaders who will remain and in those whose time it is to step up. I’m certain I’ll run into many of you out on the trails and at future meet ups.

Happy trails,

Rebekah + Baby Leoni (due any day)

*I’ve been careful not to say “lower expectations” of myself. I don’t consider my expectations to have lowered since becoming pregnant. They are altered, because I’m pregnant, to accommodate the many changes that are going on in my body and the really cool thing that is happening (making a human).


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…Oiselle Window Tights Review

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Oiselle asked for the #straightscoop on the Window Tights.  Honestly, it seems I’m always looking for an excuse to wear these pretties!

  • Function: I’ve put these beauties through the test with yoga, hill sprints, and a middle-distance run. They were perfect for every workout! The hidden back pocket is also a necessity for me.
  • Fit: Let’s face it–not all tights are created equal. What a boring world that would be. But these tights, even without a drawcord, don’t budge! There is a bit of give (not bunching) in the Nyelle leg fabric, especially in the back of the knee, so if you want a snug fit, size down.
  • Style: Holy gorgeous! The waistband and ankle prints are fem fierce, the lateral ankle curve/zipper and mesh panels are flirty, without sacrificing overall function.

*I am also wearing the Wazzie Wool Tank which is amazing! 90 minute yoga and not a bit of sweat on my torso. Longer bodice covers the hips comfortably. I’m thinking a perfect addition to my summer mountain running wardrobe.

Buy them at Oiselle!  Window Tights Wazzie Wool Tank

XO,


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Bird Camp Colorado Partners

COSIt’s no secret that I’ve been running for Oiselle since 2012. In that time, I have seen the company evolve in so many way and it’s been exciting to be a part of that growth. Upon our return to Colorado last fall, I was asked to co-lead the Colorado regional team, as Oiselle had just recently expanded to include nearly 1700 team members world-wide. With over 50 girls representing Oiselle in Colorado, Lisa and I have had the opportunity to organize meet-ups, cowbell corners, and generally get to know some pretty amazing women.

At the end of 2015, Oiselle suggested regional running camps to those leaders who might want to provide a running-specific weekend for the gals in the local areas. Lisa and I were in, straight away!

We’ve been busy planning and promoting our Colorado Springs camp, that will be held next weekend! One of the most exciting bits of the planning process has been reaching out the local, and some not-so-local companies, asking for their partnership.  I find it amazing, the generosity of SO many companies and their founders.  Never underestimate the human hear.

This post is actually a shout-out to those companies for their support of our #BirdCampCO next weekend.  We are so very thankful for their generosity!  We will also be chatting about them over the next couple of weeks on Facebook, IG, and Twitter. Clickity-click on the images to head to their websites!

 

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XO,


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…Oiselle Izumo SS Review

I was contacted by Oiselle to give a #straightscoop review on a few of the new S16 styles that have recently been released.

Izumo Short Sleeve

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I took the Izumo out on its inaugural run as a layering piece when I was visiting a friend in Washington last week.  It worked beautifully, but I was interested to see how it would hold up solo.  And so, I threw a 6×1 minute hill sprint at an 8%+ grade at it and the results were amazing.

  • Wicking:  Even though we have a dry climate here in Colorado, don’t underestimate the ability to still sweat it out.  The Izumo wicked and had a “barely-there” feel throughout the warm up, workout, and cool down.
  • Seamless:  The Izumo is part of Oiselle’s seamless collection, so there are no annoying seams which means no annoying chaffing.  While I’m not prone to chaffing, I can be just as bothered by seams as the next gal.  These tops are cut from tubes.
  • Versatile:  I loved the subtle, delicate detailing on the sides of this top.  You can see a bit of it in the photo above.  One of my favorite things about Oiselle is that the clothes are so versatile.  Even the smallest detailing allows me to wear their tops from day, to run, to night.
  • Fabric: If you’re familiar with Oiselle, you are familiar with the legitimate hype behind the Lux fabric. Those who love it would gladly make their everyday “live-in” fabric.  Well, the Arque Nyelle fabric is so butter soft, that I’d suggest it to be the Lux’s sweet little cousin.

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I absolutely loved this top.  Not only for the above mentioned reasons, but I really liked the color, too!

Buy it now through Oiselle!

XO,


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…the briefest summary

Oh hey.  Perhaps this unintentional hiatus was more a Freudian slip for allowing myself to just be.

Be back in Colorado.

Be back with our dog.

Be back to classroom teaching.

Be back around family.

Just be.

So, while 9 months has felt like a long time to not write down a single thing here about what it’s like to be back in Colorado and back in the States and back to old places and faces, it’s actually gone quite quickly. And as spring so often brings that feeling of renewal,  perhaps this is the perfect season of renewal here at TBR. Let’s cut right to the chase and talk running the past 9 months.  In brief, of course…

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In the best kind of news, running news, I was able to finally do something this past autumn that I have always wanted to do:  CREW/PACE

In August, I crewed for Courtney at Leadville 100. It was one of the most inspiring events I have ever been a part of.  If there was any bit of me that was somewhat considering an ultra longer than 50k, this weekend would certainly cause those feelings to multiply.

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In October, I crewed and paced for Gina at Javelina Jundred. Another awe-inspiring weekend that left me craving more. More of that high, more lack of sleep, and more of being surrounded by amazing trail and ultra runners. And maybe that little niggle of wanting more than just a 50k for myself grew into an absolute scratch. More on this later.

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In January, I met my Aussie mate, Amanda, in Florida for the Goofy Challenge. 1/2 marathon on Saturday, full marathon on Sunday.  And they were both my tenth, to boot. We had an absolute blast meeting all of the best princesses and walking around all of the parks.

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And now, I’m just training. Back to miles of trials, trials of miles; for a fairly packed summer and autumn of running. Pretty excited to share all of those plans in the coming weeks.

See, you didn’t miss out on all that much in my little running sphere.

XO,

 

 


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…Limbo in Minnesota

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Since returning to the States, Nick and I have spent the last couple of months in Minnesota with his family.  It’s been a transition time for us in order to get our bearings, sort out some life things, make some adult decisions, and generally to just be in a state of limbo before moving back to Colorado (as we didn’t really need to rush back). You can scroll to the bottom for a bit more insight into how we feel about being back.  This should be a proper post at some point.

In the time that we’ve spent here, we’ve done everything and nothing.

We reconnected with our beloved dog, Chase.

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I ran some 5k’s and placed 2nd female in both, albeit no PR (I was WAY off on that!).

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We saw beautiful sunsets.

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We spent time on the lake(s) via boat, jetski, and SUP.

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We made plenty of bonfires.

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I turned 34.

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We celebrated our 1st anniversary in Chicago.

View More: http://megandaasphoto.pass.us/nick-and-rebekah--wedding

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And we bought one of the most stereotypical Colorado vehicles that we possibly could.

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But between all of those photo opportunities, we have been overwhelmed with transitioning back to the States.  In a word, it’s been hard.  We mourn for the simple life we had in Australia.  We desperately refuse to fall back into the same patterns, the same routines, because we have changed, in some ways.  And we are holding on tightly to the epiphanies we had while away, the dreams that came into focus, our hopes that have renewed life. We’ve been stressed with the decisions we’ve had to make thus far, and pray that those we’ve made are right for us in this moment.  And now we are nervous for yet another transition as we return to Colorado this weekend.  I know it will go better and more smoothly than I have conjured up in my head; afterall, we’ll finally be amongst the mountains again.  And through all of our transitions (past, present, and future) I can be confident that “home” is really wherever Nick is, and he’s the most important thing to me.

XO,


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…New Zealand, the North Island

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After a glorious week on the South Island, we continued our brief tour of New Zealand on the North Island.  Yes, two weeks is brief, should you be planning your next holiday there. To be consistent, this will primarily be a “postcard post” with captions as needed. Sunrise ferry from Picton (South Island) to Wellington (North Island).  Also top photo.

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Wellington is infamous for the gale force winds that blow through thanks to the Cook Strait, but it wasn’t too terrible that particular morning.  The city is trendy and a haven for foodies and the artsy type.  We loved it.

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From Wellington, we drove north to one of New Zealand’s better known wine regions:  Hawke’s Bay.  Below is Mission Estate Winery, NZed’s oldest winery with some pretty amazing wines.

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The nearby coastal town of Napier boasts black sand beaches. Camping there, listening to the crashing waves as we fell asleep and awoke, was bar none.

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At the recommendation of a sommelier, we opted for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing; a 19k trek that traverses three volcanic peaks in New Zealand’s oldest national park. Certainly a different look and feel from the South Island.  It was a little bit cold, a little bit hot, and the trek ended with views of volcanic vents before ending in rainforest terrain.  It’s a point-to-point trek, but you can arrange with various bus companies to pick you up at the car park finish (where you’ve dropped your car) and take you to the car park start, all before beginning the trek.  Convenient.

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Seeing as we were in natural hot spring territory, it made sense to end the day by sitting in one. While there are plenty of pay-to-get-in options, we wanted a more authentic, raw experience.  After a little bit of research we found a gem.  And we enjoyed some Colorado beer that had been sitting in our Aussie fridge since Christmas, that had also traveled in our bags all this way until a divine opportunity presented itself so they could be consumed.

If there were ever a perfect moment in time that you’d want to pause, this was ours.

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We hit some rain the following day, so we headed to Auckland where we spent a couple of days before heading back to the States, and ending one amazing year.

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Below is our route.

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And there you have it.  Some of the most gorgeous, diverse landscape I have ever seen.  Certainly one of our favorite places to have ever visited!  After exploring a tiny bit of both islands, we have a better idea of where we would want to go/what we would want to do if we are lucky enough to travel to New Zealand again.  Which we hope we are!  And next time, we will give ourselves more than just two weeks.

XO,


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…New Zealand, the South Island

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I’m going to continue living in the past, as I take you on our little journey through New Zealand this past April…

After departing Hobart, Tasmania, Nick and I flew to Christchurch, New Zealand and picked up our home on wheels (above). It would take us snugly around both islands for a couple of weeks. Note that two weeks is NOT enough time.  We could easily spend a month on each island.

Amazing. Stunning. Gorgeous. Any other broadly descriptive adjective can be used to reference New Zealand. It was scenery overload at ever turn. We stopped constantly for photos. I have thousands! And even though I whittled them down for TBR, you will be scrolling. A lot. I’m sorry.

I could easily give a good commentary on every photo you’re about to see, but honestly, it would mostly consist of the location followed by, “ISN’T IT BEAUTIFUL?”  “IT’S BEAUTIFUL!” “I TURNED AROUND AND SAW THIS!” “THIS IS AWESOME” “GORGEOUS!” “WOWZERS!” “JUST STUNNING!” And the like…

So, instead, I’m just going to tell you to GO!  My lousy comments should not convince you.  My lousy photos should. Because New Zealand’s scenery makes any level photographer a “grood” (good and great) photographer.

Lake Tekapo sunset

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So many fluffy low hanging clouds!  Everywhere!

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Lake Pukaki-The lakes have this amazing turquoise tint to them.  So hard to capture on camera, looks unnatural, but it was just beautiful.

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Hooker Valley Trail-Mueller Glacier (Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park)

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Hooker River (Aoraki/Mt Cook)

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Aoraki/Mt Cook, Hooker Glacier, Southern Alps

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Tasman Glacier/Blue Lakes Trail

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Classic NZ trail companions (Devils Creek Trail-Queenstown)

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Queenstown (Southern Alps in background)

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17km kayak tour of Milford Sound

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Sunning fur seals

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Sammy the baby fur seal

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Wanaka (Aoraki/Mt Cook)

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Track to Fox Glacier

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West Coast views

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Marlborough Sound-Drive to Picton ferry terminal

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Dun Mountain Trail-Views of Tasman Bay

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Sunrise ferry to the North Island

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Here is the route:

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Of course, if you have any questions about our adventure on the South Island, ask away.

Next up, the North Island!

XO,