The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


…Round 2 as Auntie

My great news was followed by more great news! I was gifted with a nephew this week!

Bridger McKinley was born on 9.12.12 weighing in at 8lb 11oz and 21″ long

Of course big sister, Juliet, is delighted. For now…

So, I guess it’s been a pretty happy week around here.

And did I mention that the leaves are changing and Colorado is simply beautiful right now? Fall running is my fave.



…out of summer

Today is my last day of summer. Academically speaking, that is. Tomorrow, I report with the masses of teachers in my district to get re-aquainted with our buildings, teammates, and how best to educate our youth. New year, new philosophies.

Gone are the days of sleeping until my body feels like waking up. Gone are the days of getting up at 5am for a run to beat the heat, because I want to, and I can always go back to sleep after. Gone are the days of late morning coffee dates. Gone are the days of early afternoon happy hours. Gone are my “summer problems” that weren’t really problems at all. Gone are the days of forgetting WHAT day it is.

I’m not really gripping. Because as much as I enjoy the summer break from the stresses of teaching (I know we all have work stress), I also enjoy starting again. See, I’m type A-(yes, that’s a minus), so a good schedule or routine or PLAN is kind of great for me (fitting, that the runner thing worked out for me too). But, I think I’m flexible enough to stray from the plans/schedules/routines when needed. Hey, I’m a teacher. We stray and improvise all the time! Yet, it’s the plan that drives me though. And it drives the boy cray-zay.

And the boy will have his hands full come the end of August. Because not only is this month the start of the school year, but it’s also the start of the next step for “us.” I’m moving in! We’re so excited! And you ladies know what this means! *wink, wink* That’s right…divvying up the household jobs. I don’t have to do everything for myself anymore! ūüėČ

The new living situation will take me farther north, so I’ll be leaving the Boulder area. Instead, I’ll be in another great outdoor/active/college community that I love: Fort Collins. Oh, I’ll still be close to the mountains with tons of trails and a fun downtown. And I’ll still be in the Boulder area every day, because my job takes me just outside of the town. But, that means a bit of a commute. At least temporarily. The boy and I love the Boulder area and hope to be back down this direction in the next year. Just need to put a pesky little house on the market at the beginning of the year and sell.

This month will be a busy one, but a rewarding one, too.

Oh yeah, and I mentioned something about fall running goals. That post will be up shortly.



…in the summer

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or just don’t watch TV (no judgement here; I don’t have TV), Colorado has had some strange occurences lately. Wildfires, extreme heat (nationwide, really), mudslides, and flash flooding. And it’s only the beginning of July! And unfortunately for me, it’s already the beginning of July! This marks about half way through my summer vacation, and no, I’m not ready to go back to teaching! Thank goodness there is still a lot of fun planned over the next few weeks.

I think I’m accomplishing what I wanted out of running for these 10 weeks or so: slow it down, have fun, trail run, altitude train, half marathons. Overall, I wanted to take a step back from longer distance training and re-evaulate my goals. While there are a few things going through my head for the rest of the year, I won’t be setting anything in stone yet. The beginning of the school year is generally a good time for me to set professional goals, and this year, I’ll be taking that time to re-plan the remainder of the year, and potentially into the spring.

I’d been having some hip issues, beginning at the end of Rim Rock training and even through Boston. I was getting a pretty good handle on it until last weekend’s double header. Now it feels like I’ve taken a step back. So, I’m back to rehabbing the hip. This may or may not affect the remainder of 2012’s plans. Hopefully, I can get back to where I was a couple weeks ago.

For now, I’ll enjoy a trip to Whistler, via Seattle, where I’ll get to see these two. The boy will be in mountain bike heaven, and I’ll be hitting some trails for running!

The boy has a mountain bike race the following week in one of our favorite Colorado locations: Steamboat Springs.

Then, Telluride with my family!

Before you know it, July is over. Sad face. But at least there are some fun changes coming up for me in August. And I couldn’t be happier about them!


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…the Front Range Sprint Relay

This was the race that wasn’t. Or couldn’t. Because of this. The High Park Fire.

Early Saturday morning, a small fire broke out just 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colorado; the check-in and start area for the 1st Annual Front Range Sprint Relay. At the time, a 2 acre wildfire didn’t seem much of an imposition. But when it had dramatically exploded to a few thousand acres around noon, everyone started to pay attention.

The plume was very noticeable from where the boy and I were, 50 miles south in Boulder, so I wasn’t surprised when an email from Paul (Timberline Events Race Director) popped up in my inbox.

…As of now, the race is on and will go. As you know, fires are a fluid situation so much could be different by later today and tomorrow morning…There may be air quality issues on the first legs but south of the fire right now is fine as the wind is blowing northeast…

We continued to go about our day, making last minute preparations for the race. And occasionally, we’d check the news too. By that Saturday evening, the fire had grown to 8,000 acres with 0% containment.

…As of right now, the race is on with no changes necessary. The fire is northeast of the route and the wind is blowing away from where we’ll be…Obviously, if the wind changes direction, we’ll have to make changes. Worst case scenario is the air quality of the first legs would be so smokey, running through it would not be good for your health. We’ll make adjustments on the fly tomorrow morning if need be…

With a 4:30 am wake-up call, we headed to bed early. But when we woke, there had been an effecting turn of events.

Winds had shifted. The fire had grown. And an email was waiting.

…Conditions have changed dramatically. Winds have moved the smoke and there is a haze from the start to at least South of Loveland. My fear is that the smoke is probably sitting along the foothills for the entire course…We are at the start and it is uncomfortable to breathe. We cant, in good faith, ask people to run in this smoke. So it is with a heavy heart that the only smart but difficult decision, is to cancel the race…

Paul continued to state that he and his crew were at the start if anyone wanted to venture out, pick up the race shirts, and lament over a canceled race. The boy and I immediately headed up.

The wall of smoke as we entered Fort Collins

The race start: Hughes Stadium (about 15 miles from the origination area of the fire). Paul said he couldn’t even see the stadium when he had arrived a little before 5am that morning.

Although we weren’t outside for long, just to pick up the packet and chat for a few minutes, my hair smelled like a campfire.

We then drove the first few legs of the course.

While a some of the smoke had certainly burned off from the sun (no pun intended), the haze was still thick and my eyes began to burn just a little while we were driving in the area.

No doubt, this was not the day to be a race director.

In a post-race email, Paul expressed his sorrow, and also the fact that the race could not be rescheduled. Sadly, one of the team captains, as well as one of the race coordinators, ended up having to evacuate their homes that very day.

As of now, over 36,000 acres are burning in that area. There is still 0% containment. Much focus is going into effectively evacuating families/animals from the area (there is a Wolf Habitat that has had to evacuate also). 36 straight hours of evacuations. No one knows yet how the fire was stared.

Pray for safety and a change in the weather.



…at thirty-one

I turned 31 today. And I did the best thing I knew to start the day. I ran.

I don’t mind getting older. In a way, I like it. At least as long as I continue to be mistaken for a twenty-six year old. True story(ies).

Here’s to a happy year of running!



…after 9 days

I’ve been out of commission the past 9 days.

After a great 10 miler on Mags (~8,000 feet elevation), I was immediately put on a diet of Ricola cough drops and hot tea. Much to my chagrin, the “plague” stayed respiratory, which meant no running. Typically, I’m fine running with a head cold, but anything in my chest and my lungs are pleading for air. I tried a couple of games of tag with my students, but no luck. Every day that went by was a knife digging a little bit deeper.

I’ve grown ridiculously antsy. While my weekends are typically spent on a long run, on a trail, this one was spent on the couch. It wasn’t fun. And, naturally, I haven’t felt much like writing.

So, finally, after 9 long days without running, I went for an easy 4 miler yesterday.

It’s amazing how much you loose in 9 days. I don’t know if the fact that I’m not fully recovered is playing into this feeling of loss, but I was not breathing normally. It may take some time to get back into it. Here it goes…



…not nearly enough

The last two weeks have been slow.  At least in the running sense.  There has been so much going on at work, as we wrap up the school year.   Assessments, grading, report cards, end-of -year events, budget cuts, do-I-have-a-job-next-year-fears, yes-and-you-will-move-to-3rd-grade-excitement, etc.  Not to mention the several social engagements last week that sort of got in the way of running.  But they were worth it.  Stress relievers.

This week, I’ve been sick. ¬†Not “puking my brains out” sick, but “coughing up a lung” sick. ¬†Since Sunday, I’ve been on a steady diet of cough drops and hot tea. ¬†And that’s really about it. ¬†Not much of an appetite for anything. ¬†So, even if I could run, I have no energy to. ¬†I’ve pretty much lost my voice completely, which the boy says is always good news. ¬†And my students like it because that means they get to play teacher and do all the read-alouds for the rest of the class. ¬†And I like it because my class is quiet all day so they can hear me whispering directions. ¬†It’s pretty much the best way to end a school year.

But, like any runner who isn’t running, I’m antsy. ¬†I just want to run. ¬†Especially with all the races I have coming up (see that right sidebar). ¬†I’m feeling behind in training! ¬†In just a few weeks, I’ll be racing a sprint relay from Fort Collins to Boulder with 4 others. ¬†I’m so excited to race this one! ¬†Each leg is only 1.5-3 miles each, so the turnover will be quick. ¬†But I think 2 Dicks and 3 Janes is going to do well!

For now, I rest. ¬†Soon enough, I’ll be back to the trails and the planning and the long runs.