The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


…after the 50k

In my first moments of finishing the 50k, I swore them off. Not for me. Not my cup of tea. I’m not meant to run this far. No way. No how. What was I thinking? Who does this thing anyway? I’ll take anything shorter. I’m probably meant for shorter.

But in these past few weeks, and even as early as a day or two after the race, my tune changed. I chalk it up to forgetting all the pain. But, I started shopping for 50k’s… Am I hooked? Maybe. Could be too soon to tell. But what I am hooked on are trails!

I have loved getting away from pounding the pavement and instead making new discoveries on our beautiful Colorado trails. I’ll admit, it’s certainly easier to find a frequently used bike path or take to the neighborhood sidewalks and streets, but as much as I can, I’ll spend time in the hills. Thankfully, the summer months will afford me the time to continue my exploration and truly be a part of nature.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good road race! I have several on the race schedule in the next few months, even:

Lucky Mile – 5.23.13
Bolder Boulder 10k – 5.27.13
Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon – 7.21.13

And of course, I’m shopping for more trail races in the summer and fall that I can jump into, either here in Colorado or in Minnesota for Nick’s and my trip back at the end of June.

As for that 50k I was shopping for…I’m still looking. And I’m open to locations. I don’t think it will happen this calendar year, but we’ll see where I stand at the beginning of 2014 and where the rest of this year takes me.



…week 1: Greenland Trail 50k Training

The week before training began, I was fortunate to be able to meet up with some of my fellow Oiselle teammates. Some from Colorado, some from out of state. And we all seemed to come from different running backgrounds with different running interests. Steeplechasers, distance runners, and everything in between. I think that’s the beauty of running. Each can find their niche in the extensive realm of running. No one distance/event is better than the other. We all just have this unspoken understanding of the beauty of running. The time on our legs together was refreshing and rejuvenating. It rekindled my passion for running and was a timely reminder of why I love what I do.

Sarah (MT), Amanda (CO), Meggie (NY), Yours Truly (CO), Jess (CO)


In my somewhat extensive research of a 50k training plan, it seemed the same program kept coming up. After much debate and comparison of my previous marathon training plans, I decided to go ahead and use it as an initial guideline, with the flexibility of tweaking it along the way.

This program is different from any other I’ve followed, as it is based on “minutes” vs. “miles.” This will take some mind re-training! In general, the first few weeks look very similar to my past marathon training plans. There is a minute range that I will increase upon gradually. While I won’t follow each workout on the exact day, I will get in each of the runs required for the week.

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Week 1 Total: 41 miles

Monday: 5.22 miles
It’s been cold here in Colorado. A brief deep freeze before we return to our traditional 40’s and 50’s. Erika and I ran a well known trail in 12 degree weather. There just weren’t enough layers!

Tuesday: 5.2 miles
This was supposed to be a hilly run and I’d say the .8 and .7 mile hills on this route were satisfactory. I’ve run this path many times and the hills are long and gradual. The downhill is fast and faster!

Wednesday: 8.5 miles
Finally in the 50’s! This mid-week long(ish) run felt “easy.” Seeing the CU track team on the trail wasn’t so bad either. Made me feel old, though.

Thursday: off

Friday: 5 miles
A quick out and back in VERY windy conditions. This trail by my work is notorious for being windy. It feels like a wind tunnel. Almost as though it has its own weather system! Post run, I joined my staff for a Holiday Happy Hour.

Saturday: 10 miles
I’ve been running 12 mile long runs in my base training, so it was nice to have a little bit of a cut back before the mileage increases over the next 15 weeks. Erika and I ran Coyote Ridge, south of Fort Collins. This is a hilly, rocky trail, but great practice that will only make us stronger!


Sunday: 7.08 miles
The boy and I have just started remodeling the interior of his house. Yesterday and today was primarily spent with paint roller in hand. He was working on taking off the old oak trim, around the floorboards and doors, and replacing them with new white trim.


My run took place after a 2nd coat of paint in the great room. By the time I left, it was warm enough for shorts. Chase was anxious to get out of the house, as he had been secluded to only one room of the house.

Knowing I was SO close to a round number of 41 miles even, I made sure I got the .08 that I needed to make it happen. I’m particular. A little.

I’m happy with week 1. I’m watching my food intake, as far as less junk and more proteins/veggies/fruits. I’m anxious to explore more trails in Colorado, as I want all of my long runs to resemble the race course. And, come payday, I need to register for the race! ūüôā



…2013 Race Schedule (Tentative)

2013 Race Schedule (Tentative)

March 16 – Sharin’ O’ the Green 5k (Fort Collins, CO)
April 6 – Golden Gate Headlands Trail Marathon (Bay Area, CA)
April 13 – Mt. Carbon Trail Half Marathon (Morrision, CO)
April 20 – Step 4 Life 10k (Brighton, CO)
May 4 – Greenland Trail 50k (Larkspur, CO)
July 21 – Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half (Napa, CA)

Looks like I’ll be spending some time in California this year!

While I don’t have anything truly planned until March, I am on the look out for something in February or even late January. ¬†My official training for the 50k starts on January 12th and it will all depend on what fits in best.

After the 50k, I’m tossing around some ideas, but haven’t made any final decisions:

May 27 – Bolder Boulder 10k (Boulder, CO)
June 22 – Grandma’s Marathon (Two Harbors, MN)
June 29 – Leadville Heavy Half (Leadville, CO)
August 24 – Golden Beaver Trail Half (Red Feather Lakes, CO)
September 6-7 – Ragnar Colorado
October 5 – Fall EverGold Trail Race 10 miler (Idledale, CO)

It’s probably safe to say that I won’t be running all of the races I’m “tossing” around. ¬†A lot of it will depend on how my body holds up during the first half of the year. ¬†I certainly don’t want to overrun myself and get reinjured. ¬†I just want to race healthy and smart this year.

Well, there you go. ¬†I’ve set my race intentions for the year.

Now, let’s get to it!



…the Resolution Run 5k 2012

On a whim, I decided to run a 5k to end 2012.  I have never run a Resolution Run, but have wanted to for several years.  So, when we realized we would be home for New Years, I started shopping for a local race.  I found a 6pm race on the 31st to be run through the CSU campus.  Good enough for me.

I haven’t run a 5k in nearly two years. ¬†From what I remembered from that experience, as well as all of those 5k’s in high school cross country, is that they are fast and they hurt. ¬†I was expecting the same from this one.

So, I was nervous.  I was nervous about the short distance.  I was nervous about the hamstring.  I was nervous about not having done speedwork in months.

But when I toed the line, I put it all behind me and just focused on flying through the next 3.1.

The race would be two small laps around the interior of campus along with a short out and back. ¬†It was dark and cold. ¬†15 degrees or so. ¬†And I would soon find out that about 1/3 of the course was snowpacked and icy. ¬†My plan was consistency. ¬†Especially in mile 2. ¬†My all time worst mile in a 5k. ¬†I know many of you can agree with me! ¬†I wasn’t sure what my time goal was going to be. ¬†It all depended on how the first mile went and felt.

The group of us (a few hundred) gathered at the informal start line.  At the countdown, we were off.

Mile 1-6:53

We immediately started on snowpack and ice. ¬†I saw a group take off and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. ¬†Instead, I weaved through a few, found a pace and held through a handful of left turns. ¬†The course was marked fairly well with an arch of orange cones at each turn, along with a few volunteers waving flashlights. ¬†I’d never raced at night, though I have run many time after dark. ¬†I wasn’t sure how the experience would be and considered wearing a headlamp. ¬†I could have gone either way.

Mile 2-6:54

During another snow/ice section, I was seriously wondering if it was worth it to try to keep a sub 7 pace. ¬†I mean, it was just a 5k. ¬†Just a 5k I randomly registered for. ¬†Just a 5k I hadn’t trained for. ¬†Maybe this breathing hard thing wasn’t all that fun. ¬†Oh yeah, back to the 5k’s-are-fast-and-they-hurt bit. ¬†I figured I may as well stick with it through mile 2 and see about that last mile.

Mile 3-6:59

Fell off the pace a bit here. ¬†Don’t really recall why. ¬†I kept my eyes up to catch a few people. ¬†And I did. ¬†That’s always fun. ¬†I was looking forward to wrapping this little race up so I could take a hot shower. ¬†It was cold.

Time:  21:34
Overall place:  30th
Female place:  5th
Division place:  1st

I was surprised at my placing, but super happy with the result, despite the not-so-fast time. ¬†I can’t wait to run another few 5k’s this year, hopefully with a little more training!

This race put me at 1337 miles for the year.  As I embark on a new challenge this year, I am excited for healthy running and many more miles for 2013.




…a 2012 wrap up in pictures (mostly)

My little running world has definitely been full of ups and downs in 2012.  Each has been a memorable learning experience and I know they will propel me toward my next goals.

Here is a photo-doc of 2012 with only a smattering of words.

Boston Marathon-April

While this 2nd running of Boston was less than thrilling, due to the heat wave (~90 degrees), I endured and finished with a PW.


Leadville Heavy Half-June

I had always wanted to run in the Leadville Series, so I hit the trails/mountains during the summer and geared up for the Leadville Heavy Half (15.4 miles) with my friend Danielle.  The twist, I would run another half marathon the next day.


Steamboat Springs Half-July

The day after running Leadville, I drove to Steamboat Springs for another half with my friend Erika.  I was really excited to attempt back-to-back halves, but I crashed and burned on this 2nd race.  The last 5 miles were painful.  I am happy with my attempt but would train differently next time.


Great Urban Race-August

The boy’s brother came into town and wanted to run the Great Urban Race in Denver. ¬†It’s a mix of running, puzzles, and challenges. ¬†Surprisingly, we landed a 6th place finish!


Redline Turkey Day 10k-November

All that running in 2012, coupled with a late 2011 marathon caused some scar tissue in my left hamstring. After a few rounds of PT in September, along with some build up in October/November, I felt ready to get back out for a race. This first race as a Oiselle ambassador was run with Erika and my brother on a cold, windy, Thanksgiving morning.  I loved getting out there!



This year, I was also able to run/hike some 14ers this past summer.  Some old, some new.

Grays and Torreys-May



Mt. Elbert-June


Mt. Sneffels-August



I met some fabulous, inspirational people.

Scott Jurek

Courtney C


Bridger (my new nephew)-Juliet (my niece)



I’ve done a little bit of travel.







Telluride, CO-August and September (2 trips)


Minnesota-March and December (2 trips)




And of course, my proudest accomplishment was being accepted as a Oiselle ambassador-September

Oiselle Team Badge


To finalize 2012, I have one more race to run. ¬†Tonight, a local Resolution 5k at 6pm. ¬†It’s the best way I know to end a year and start a new one; with a run. ¬†Nothing¬†amazing, just something fun, light, and a reminder of why I do what I do. ¬†My love for running has carried me for over 20 years. ¬†It has brought about new distances I never knew I’d attempt, new friends I never knew I’d make, to new places I never knew I’d travel. ¬†Running helps define me.

I am a runner.  



…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…