The Blonde Runs

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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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IMG_1697We celebrated our freedom in one of the most patriotic places in the US that I know.

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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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…One journey’s end

Goodbye

Coming home is a tricky thing.

We are sorting through a lot of feelings and emotions as we leave behind our life in Australia and transition to creating a new normal in the US.

I’m having a hard time properly describing this past AMAZING year in another country; equally struggling to articulate what it feels like to be back “home.”

Being patient as I work through all of this. Knowing it will get easier. Knowing I will never be the same person.

XO,


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…just when I thought I was ready

Just when I thought I was ready to start training, add a little umfph to my workouts, alas, a slight setback.  While I wasn’t really sure what to attribute it to, my right hamstring is feeling rather tight.

Since arriving in Australia a little over three months ago, I’ve played it “safe” with running.  I’ve not been training.  I’ve not ramped up my miles drastically.  I’ve not even done any real speed work.  I’ve only maintained about 30 miles a week that included a weekend long run of about 10-13 miles.  This is nothing I wouldn’t normally do when I’m in my off-season.  So, what gives?

After running a 12 miler over a month ago, in preparation for my 32k relay leg, my right hamstring seized up. There was never any sharp pain, never a time in the run where I could pinpoint that something had happened. It just wouldn’t relax afterward. Then, the following weekend, after actually running the 32k leg of the relay race, I knew I should get some advice on the situation. Especially since I was just beginning to feel a solid routine with my weekly mileage and starting to get the tiniest little niggle of wanting to start training for something. Anything.

After three weeks of PT, I am finally feeling somewhat “better.” The pain has been attributed to my lower back and great pains have been taken to relax it, including dry needling, which is truly a great pain. But I stick with all of my exercises and hope for the best. On a pain scale of 1-10, I’m down to a 3ish on each run. Which is drastically better than what it was even a week ago. I dropped my weekly mileage by about half and eliminated my long runs for the past few weeks. Better to preserve the old bones for November races, and I do have November races. So, now that I’m feeling better, time to slowly, smartly, add a few miles here and there.

What’s hard is that I’m considering myself injured, without having done anything to actually prompt it. I mean, maybe if I had been up to 65 mile weeks, at the peak of training, I could understand aches and pains and pulls and such. But not this.

I suppose, as usual, running is a metaphor for life. When you feel like you’re in a groove, things are smooth, and then…WHAM! Out of nowhere, something happens to shake it up. What’s important is how you react/respond to the situation and keep a good attitude.

Thanks for the “life” reminder, Running…

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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…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

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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)

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December

Club XC Nationals-Bend, Oregon

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Nick and my engagement announcement

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XO,


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Ragnar CO Recap

It’s been crazy around here. And wet. Very, very wet. Thankfully, my house/neighborhood were fine. We are waterlogged and it has been a complete inconvenience to get anywhere due to road closures and detours, but we are well. I had two school days off last week because of the floods and I’ll have another two (so far) this week as well. Before you start getting excited for me, know that I will have to make up at least a few of those days. And probably at the end of the year. But better that and ensure everyone’s safety in travel and work environment.

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Last weekend, I ran Ragnar Colorado. It was an experience unlike any other. And I’m still riding that runners high, days later.

As my first Ragnar and first relay, everything was new to me. But I was ready to take on this intense new challenge. My amazing teammates filled me in on all the ins and outs along the 200 mile course at high elevation.

Lisa, Meghan, Bry, Holly, Vieve, Yours Truly
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We ran this relay as an ultra team (6 people instead of 12). Needless to say, there was very little sleep, but a lot of our favorite thing: running. With beautiful Colorado mountains as our backdrop, and a ton of great sponsors (in a subsequent post), we were set up for success.

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Of course the pride of contributing to the teams Roadkillz was exciting!
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An encouraging van driver is essential. Especially one who gets into the spirit of things by embracing our theme. Nuun Ned/Papa Ned took great care of all of the girls in the van, never bothering with sleep himself either.
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Mood lighting for the night legs; which were only a little unnerving…
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And a division WIN never hurt anyone. 28:49:10 was also good for a 3rd place finish amongst all ultra teams (mens, womens, mixed), as well as coming out on top amongst the women’s 12-person teams.
Tears at the Finish

Needless to say, I was ridiculously exhausted at the end. But the fullness in my heart for my team and our accomplishment overcame all of that. I can’t wait to run another ultra relay with these girls!
Camaraderie

XO,


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…dealing with race disappointment

I’m not talking about a PR you were chasing and didn’t catch. I’m talking about the race that you registered for that you couldn’t compete in because life got in the way. Oh, that…

napatosonomaThis is only the second time it’s happened, but I was tearfully crushed over this one. Nick and I were supposed to be running the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half this past Sunday. A delightful little half marathon whose route meanders around the local vineyards, that offers a half-way wine “aid” station, and is complete with a wine tasting finish line. In a word, they are FUN. And this would have been my third of the California races in the series. Check out the entire series here.

Since the beginning of the year, our focus has been the house, and prepping it to sell. Fixing it up, making this, adding that. I’ve painted nearly every square inch of wall space in the house. I kid you not. This includes, but is not limited to: cabinet doors, closet doors, bedroom doors, bathroom doors, front and back doors, wall trim, door surrounds, and of course walls. My hand seems to be in a permanent cramped holding-a-paintbrush position.

All of that to say, that when we registered for this race at the beginning of the year, we had no idea that we would STILL be a living DIY show 5 months later. And while we may be in the final throes of piecing it all together, leaving for a weekend in Napa (of all expensive places) would have been a most irresponsible decision.

Trust me, I wanted to be irresponsible. But maybe now at the ripe age of 32, I know better. Sometimes.

I suppose the bright side is that we’ve accomplished SO much on the house in the past two weeks/ends and it will be listed tomorrow! We are beyond excited to leave this little house project behind and move on to some FUN adventures in the next 12 months. So, we take one step at a time to get there.

Praying it sells fast!

XO,


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…on Boston

I have wanted to write about the Boston tragedy since I found out that Monday afternoon, nearly two weeks ago. Anything that I came up with was a muddled mess in my head, and seemed so insignificant to what others have written. But I also didn’t feel as though I could say nothing. Letting this awful event fade away without sharing how heartbroken I am. Especially since the Boston Marathon has been a huge part of my life on two separate occasions.

I don’t think you need to have run Boston, or even be a runner, to have felt an overwhelming sadness for what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. You just need to be human.

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I was shocked when during my lunch hour I pulled up the news, innocently checking the snowy Colorado weather forecast, to see that two bombs had gone off at the Boston Marathon finish line. I wasn’t able to research much, as I was on my way to pick up my littles from Music and follow up with an afternoon of Math and Social Studies. My thoughts were jumbled, thinking of what possibly could have happened, and of the 10+ people I knew (either personally or through blogging/Twitter/IG) were okay. I couldn’t think straight and quite possibly was the worst teacher ever that afternoon. For the rest of the afternoon/evening, I was overwhelmed with text messages, emails, phone calls, and PM’s of people who felt prompted to check on my well-being.

Tell me you aren’t in Boston…
I saw what happened. Are you okay?
I’m so glad you didn’t run Boston this year.

See, last year was “Hot Boston.” The high was around 90 with humidity around 80%. All runners were allowed to defer to 2013 if we chose to not take on the heat. I went through with the race (more of a hassle to cancel flights, hotels, family spectators, training, etc) and ended up running my worst and slowest marathon. While I am, now, so grateful that I ran Hot Boston, I know that what I suffered through pales in comparison to what so many suffered through (and are still suffering through) due to the events of this years race. Mentally, physically, emotionally. And of course I wondered how many took BAA’s offer to defer and were running the race this year, instead of last…

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I have been deeply heartbroken by the bombings. Such an innocent event that celebrates hard work and dedication was marred by hatred and selfishness. But the runners, the heart of all of this, have shown true resiliency. While I didn’t think for a moment that this would get us down, the confirmation came from within, in these past two weeks. The runners. The meet ups. The #runforboston jaunts. Short and long. The yellow, the blue, and the rainbow of others colors representing Boston race years.

Because we won’t stop running. We won’t stop doing what we love.

I am proud of us.

XO,


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…week 7: Greenland Trail 50k Training

This was the week I almost quit.

Luckily, it didn’t happen until right before my long run, so I only had to deal with this feeling for a few days. And, since this was over a week ago, I’m totally okay talking about this now.

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This was a cut-back week, and I ended up taking a little bit more advantage of this because of parent/teacher conferences, report cards, and my dad’s 60th birthday bash.

Monday: off day
Conference prep

Tuesday: off day
Conferences

Wednesday: 7 miles
Just a little run, not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to. Looking back, I guess my “I quit” feelings started here.

Thursday: off day
Dad’s 60th birthday party

Friday: 5.35 miles
Really frustrated with this run. Was going for a trail but turned around after .25 miles when I realized it was all going to be a slushy, icy, snowy, muddy, wet mess of a run. I stuck to clear sidewalks instead.

Saturday: 16 miles
This is when it hit the fan; that “I quit” feeling. I was dreading this run…A) the trails were still a mess from the off and on storms we’ve had B) this was the 2nd long run in a row where I couldn’t hit the trails C) I felt guilty for not being gung-ho about toughing it out and trudging through the slush, icy, snow, mud, and wet messy trails D) I didn’t want to run city bike paths E) I felt guilty for not running much during the week F) I am so tired of running in the WIND G) I just wanted to stay home because working 75 minutes from home and training for a 50k was slowly catching up with me.

Trials of Miles, Miles of Trials…

This was also the day I actually/finally REGISTERED for the 50k. So, I think I was just overcome with a ton of stress on a ton of different levels. But, I ran anyway. Because I refused to give in. Did I cry during the run? You bet I did. Was it probably because I was listening to Country music? I’d like to think so. Did I cry in the shower after my run? Absolutely. Was it probably because I was listening to Country music in the bathroom? Absolutely not. No, seriously, I wasn’t listening to Country music then. A few hours later, I was over it.

Sunday: 7.4 miles
After a downer of a Saturday, I was feeling much more positive about my training and my choice to attempt a new distance. I actually saw a photo on IG, posted by Jay_Funkysocks, that said “Remember why you started!” As simple as it was, and as silly as it sounds, it was just what I needed at just the right time. I know that in the fall of 2011, I ran a marathon that inspired me to run a 50k. Circumstances prevented me from attempting that in 2012 and this is the right time for it. If I don’t do it now, I may never do it.

Reflection:
I’m halfway through training, and I’m not throwing in the towel. So, there…

XO,


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…in the clear

I’ve taken these past 6 weeks to visit with a fantastic PT, an in-tune sports massage therapist, and increase my mileage. This from 6 weeks of nothing. But I’m definitely feeling better than I have, well, all year! In retrospect, it’s somewhat a shame I put off seeking “professional help” until recently. However, like any season of running, I’ve learned from this too.

While it can take up to 18 weeks to fully heal the remains of scar tissue, and I should continue to heat before EVERY run during that time, I can run and add simple speedwork as normal.

Despite the hurts-so-good excruciating pain during PT sessions, I realize in these past few weeks that I’d almost forgotten what it was like to run pain free. But I want to continue to run pain free. Or at least, as best I can.

So, how will I know, next time, when to run through pain and when to seek help?

I asked this exact question of Heather. She said there was no definitive answer, but to follow these steps:

1.  See a massage therapist to work out the top layers
2.  Notice whether or not the pain subsides over the next week
3.  Cut back on distance and speed, giving the injury time to heal itself
4.  Finally, if there is still pain or the pain increases, see a PT

Seems pretty reasonable to me. And since I plan to run FOREVER, I need to follow these steps to a tee.

So, now, I continue to build up mileage and increase my long runs.  I’m voraciously shopping for a Turkey Trot.  I was advised that it must be a 10k or longer; any shorter and it will take longer for my hamstring to heal.  I’m not hoping for a PR or anything.  Just the feeling of flying again…

XO,