The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


…week 6: Boston Training

I was bound and determined to get my 65 miles in for last week. I knew what I was up against, what with two nights of parent teacher conferences and one night of a birthday celebration. So, I had scheduled out all of my runs, and at what time they would be completed, for each day during the week. Most of these required a 4am wake-up call. I braced myself for a long week and started looking forward to Saturday right away. But I was going to do it. I’m too stubborn not to, so says the boy. So, I planned it all out while I was watching this little on Sunday night: my 1 1/2 year old niece Juliet.

Week 6: Boston
Goal: 65 miles
Actual: 65.25 miles

Monday: 7.1 miles/8:58 pace
Woke up at 4am to start my week off with a decent run. Right after work, the boy and I would be heading down to Morrison, CO (southern foothills) for dinner at The Fort for my dad’s 59th birthday. The Fort is a fancy place that I can’t afford. However, for two weeks in March, Denver has what is called 5280 Week(s), or Denver Restaurant Week(s). During this time, hundreds of restaurants in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and everywhere in between, offer a pre fixe menu that costs $52.80 for a couple. The menu will typically have a minimum of 3 courses. It’s a great way to try new restaurants or try restaurants you don’t normally go to. This time, dad’s birthday fell over 5280 Week, so we went to his favorite place.

Tuesday: 7 miles/4×1200 at 6:40 pace
4am for speedwork on the dreadmill. It’s hard enough to do speedwork, much less when you do it so early in the morning. I knew it would be a long day, as I would be at school until 8pm that night talking to parents. I was expecting to hit a wall around 2pm, desperate for a coffee IV, but it didn’t come. Conferences went great and I was in bed very soon after getting home.

Wednesday: 15 miles/8:33 pace
“Slept” in today until 6:30. I suppose that 9 hours of sleep was essential in the middle of the week. Right after school, I met up with Erika in south Boulder at a trail we frequent. She only needed 5, and I was going to push for all 15. After a short out and back with her, I made a loop around the South Boulder Creek Trail, which put me just under 12. I did another out and back, finishing up just as it was getting dark.

Thursday: 4 miles/10:24 pace
4:30am came early after being so tired from the long run yesterday. But I got up, ran a painfully slow 4 mile recovery run, and prepared myself for another long day. I was a little stressed and overwhelmed that morning. The thought of what I still had left to do that day (late night) coupled with the fact that I was really only 1/2 way through the number of miles I needed/wanted for the week, sort of got to me. But I rallied. I was getting it done. The work week was almost over. I was definitely tired mid-afternoon and I know my eyes were mostly blood-shot during conferences.

Friday: 10 miles/6 miles-am/8:37 pace and 4.15 miles-pm/8:35 pace
Today was a double day. 4:30 wasn’t so bad, just knowing it was the last day this week where I would have to get up so early. I decided to run my longer run in the morning and finish the day with an easy run. I finished the morning run at sunrise. Beautiful. My afternoon run of 4 miles was great! I was breaking in my new shoes: Mizuno Inspire’s. It’s amazing how a new pair of shoes can make you feel so much better! Both runs ended up being very similar pace-wise.

Saturday: 18 miles/8:43 pace
My brother, Matt, is training for his first marathon in May. He had 16 miles on his schedule and he asked if I could join him for part or all of it. When I found out he was starting at 6, I choked. I had been looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday! I asked if we could start later, but he had things he needed to do. I compromised a little and said I would meet him at 7:30, at his half way turn around point. This ended up working well. We ran back to his start point (8 miles) and then I ran back to where I had started, adding the extra mileage on the end. The run back was really hard, as I was now running west and into the wind. It had decided to kick up this morning to 30+mph winds. I’m so tired of the wind. It slowed my overall pace down a bit, as the first 8 were around an 8:35 pace. I was lucky to have Chase with me for all 18 again! What an animal! Literally! He was sleepy afterwards…

Sunday: 4 miles/8:30 pace
My sleep-in day! I was so excited! Even though it was only until 7 or so, I was glad to have it! I ran sometime that afternoon in the warm sun. The boy and I finished the day at another 5280 restaurant participant: Vesta Dipping Grill. Mahi mahi was so tasty, but I was also so tired…

So proud of my accomplishment! I made my goal and worked long hours too. I love when it comes together and I can make it happen. I blame my grandmother for my stubbornness. Thanks, Mimi!


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…and buys new shoes

I suddenly feel as though I have a lot to blog about! I suppose this is good, since I have been known to go weeks without blogging, either due to time or content. But hey, I’m less than 6 weeks from Boston #2, I’ve been connecting with some great runners in the Boulder area, and Spring is around the corner! One thing at a time, though…

I love new shoes. Boots, heels, flats, sandals, and of course new running shoes! Lately, the boy and I have been purchasing our running gear at Road Runner Sports. A huge reason is because my favorite running store, Solpepper (Alan Culpepper’s store), was sold to a chain running company. Nothing against chain running stores, but this particular one I don’t care for. And the other local running store in Boulder I avoid at all costs. Can’t remember the last time I set foot in there, and I’m fine with that. Why, you ask? I’d rather not defame or name them on the interwebs, but let’s just say that customers aren’t always treated with respect there. And I’m not the only one to notice this.

Enter Road Runner Sports. Based in San Diego, they are beginning to branch out to multiple states. Colorado being one of them. While there is only one location in CO, lucky for me it’s only a short 15 minute drive. Road Runner Sports has a large selection of shoes for every type of runner. They also have apparel, gear, and nutrition. And for just $25, you can be VIP which guarantees you 10% off of everything, and several other perks. The staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. This latest experience stands out as one of those.

I went on Friday to purchase new shoes. Something I knew I wanted, but the latest aches and pains insisted that I needed them. Javier fit me into my favorites, Mizuno Nirvana’s, but sold me on the slightly lighter Mizuno Inspire’s. As we were talking running, saucy Javier spilled the truth about being an ultra runner. My ears perked up. As someone who has run marathons for several years, I have been considering a 50k for the fall, but I don’t personally know any ultra runners in Colorado. He’s run the Leadville 50, and a ton of other races that I can’t even recall. I picked his brain about a CO 50k for me and asked about one race in particular: The Bear Chase. He was able to give me some good insight into it (i.e. the creek crossings, multiple times…). I was glad to have found a good resource in the area.

Then, Javier began to tell me about a race that he and a friend are hosting through their blog Higher Running: The Golden Beaver Trail Half Marathon/10k in Red Feather Lakes, CO. Elevation 8342. I would be completely remiss if I didn’t promote this 1st year race. If you are in the CO area, or are looking for a beautiful destination-at-elevation 13.1 or 6.2 at the end of August, perhaps this is something to consider. Red Feather Lakes is just west of Fort Collins, CO, an historic college town with great restaurants and great breweries (they say it’s the Napa Valley of breweries…). August 25, 2012. I’m not sure yet if I will be racing vs. running, or simply volunteering; something I’ve always wanted to do for a race. Needless to say, I’ll definitely be promoting it when I can.



…reviving the Vibrams

They’ve been sitting around. Or at least tucked away securely in their box, keeping their beautiful white hue. A hue that has stayed around for nearly a year and a half, thanks to being hidden in that box, not seeing much light, or mud. I’ve brought them out to play a time or two; albeit, not for very long. And they’ve remained in their box, in the closet, next to a gazillion other shoes, mostly forgotten.

But then I started training for that marathon. And then I started getting tight in my left IT, hip, glute. Then I read Born to Run.

All that left side pain didn’t seem to effect the marathon. I think the marathon effected the pain. Afterwards, I cut back on mileage to heal up before starting Boston training. I ran what I wanted, when I wanted, and however slow I wanted. It didn’t add up to many miles. As I inched toward the end of my “off” season, I was realizing the pain was not subsiding. So I started to stretch more. And foam roll. And even iced.

Then, I remembered Born to Run.

It’s chock full of running tidbits that will make you rethink everything you thought you already knew about running (this from a runner of 19 years!). But as I battled the tightness on my left side, I began to recall particular things. Things about running in your shoes until they literally fall apart, things about minimalist footwear, things about barefoot running. And all the benefits! Running as nature intended us to run, not as nurture has coddled and cushioned us via brand names and marketing.

Now, don’t me wrong! I love to be coddled and cushioned by brand names and marketing! A lot! But just for a moment, I wondered…

If minimalist and barefoot running was so beneficial to athletes, namely in the way of preventing injury, why not attempt to run more in my Vibrams? I already have them. No purchase necessary. Can’t hurt. Well, maybe initially until my feet and calves get used to it.

I was always the skeptically one when it came to barefoot running and minimalist footwear. Oh sure, I had read all the articles I could find on the interwebs, in magazines, in books, etc., but I wasn’t sure what it meant to me.

Until I read Born to Run. Until I started feeling…injured?

I decided to unbox them a few days ago. Give them a little love on an easy 4 miler with my lululemon run club. It felt pretty good. Not a “the-pain-totally-went-away-and-these-Vibrams-are-the-CURE-ALL-for-running-injuries-and-world-peace” type of good, but a “delayed pain” sort of good. While my leg would typically start hurting right away when starting a run, this time the pain didn’t start until about 2 miles in. Don’t jump to conclusions, I told myself. Could be a coincidence.

The next day I ran 5 in those coddled, cushioned, brand name shoes, followed by an hour of yoga (yeah, I’m on that train). And today, I ran another easy 3.5 miles in my Vibrams. Not much pain at all. Hmmmm…

While each day this week I’ve been consistent about foam rolling and stretching, part of me really feels like the Vibrams are helping. Perhaps it’s because I run differently in them. You can’t help but run differently in them!

My goal now is to continue running my easy miles in them. Build up my calf muscles and my feet. Taking the leap into barefoot running?! NOT HARDLY. I know I don’t have the prettiest feet, thanks to several years of distance running, and the accompanying toenail loss, but I’m slightly too vain to get on board with that one! Have you seen their feet?! But I do want to see if I can avoid an injury by using minimalists. For research purposes, of course.