The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


…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…


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.


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.


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.




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Aussie East Coast Road Trip: Brisbane, Brissie, Brisvegas?


Nick and I arrived in Brisbane, late on 28 December, coming up from the Gold Coast. We had plans to meet up with some friends who happened to be in town visiting family for the holidays, and they were kind enough to let us stay with their family for a couple of nights on a lasts minutes notice (better then doing all the hostel research, trust me). Gordon and Laura are our Aussie “counterparts,” so to speak, in that Gordon and Nick were the two involved in the work transfer which landed us in Australia, and them in America. It was nice to see some familiar faces as they gave us the grand tour of Brisbane over the next day or so, complete with a riverside picnic…


A visit to the Buffalo Bar, an American-themed bar which offers a mish-mash of fare including Stromboli, a Clam Bake, Wings any which way, Duck and Waffles, Steak, and Hoagies. Totally random. A little bit of this and that. But, it also offers a variety of whiskey US “craft” beers (Coors, Sierra Nevada, Rogue, Big Sky, Founders, and a few others I had never heard of). It was nice to taste a little bit of home in a glass. While I understand that everything is relative, the beer in Australia is different that what we are used to in the States (as is the wine, but that’s for a different post), and I know Nick, in particular, has missed the beer culture in Fort Collins, Colorado, and surrounds.


While I’m still not quite sure why Brisbane is sometimes referred to as “BrisVegas,” and most of my research confirms that no one else really knows why either, I can assure you it is nothing like Las Vegas! So, don’t be fooled. Perhaps just a tongue-and-cheek nickname, as we sometimes give to our American cities (i.e. Chi-town or Bean Town).


The morning of the 30th, I was fortunate enough to be able to run with Tyra, who is part of the Oiselle Running Team. After following her on IG, then finding out we would be moving to Australia, I was determined to find a way to meet our one Aussie teammate, despite the fact she lived 1200km away. It was such a pleasure to chat with Tyra, who made pushing the pram with her little one along the river look effortless. I don’t know how those mama’s do it! This beautiful route gave us a stunning view of the city.


Later that day, we picked up Tia and Jason (Nick’s siblings) from the airport and we readied ourselves for the next part of the trip: flying to Cairns (pronounced CANS) and heading back south. We stayed at a serviced apartment close to the airport on the night of the 30th.


28 December to 31 December
This Stretch – Around Brisbane – Airport, beach, city, etc…but I’m not including that in the overall mileage, because that might be too nit-picky.
Total – ~1370km/851m

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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.


Sharin’ O the Green 5k (2nd AG)



Golden Gate Headlands Trail Marathon (1st)



My first 50k-Greenland Trail



Lake City/Handies Peak





Hired a coach and ran with one of his groups over the Continental Divide



Started my 2nd year with the Oiselle running team


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)



Ragnar CO-Ultra team (1st in all women/3rd overall)

Tears at the Finish

XTerra Trail 1/2 Marathon (where I met Heidi!)



Oiselle Photo Shoot


Aspen & Crested Butte trip with Nick



Oiselle Meet-up for PAC12 XC

(Bret, Shanna, me, Laura)



Club XC Nationals-Bend, Oregon

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Nick and my engagement announcement

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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
Start area

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.

Epic Views

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!



…Bolder Boulder 10k

Holy PR! Yep. I went and spoiled this post with the first sentence. No build up here.

After the 50k, I wasn’t quite sure how to transition into speed work for the Bolder Boulder. I only had three weeks to prepare. At least that’s what I had in my head. In reality, I had really been preparing since January…

A few days after the race, I IG’d Ryan Knapp and asked for advice. He suggested a full week off, followed by some short speed/interval training. Sounded manageable to me. And since I didn’t want to risk injury by switching distances so drastically, I made sure to keep my weekly mileage relatively low. I threw in a couple of tempo runs and mile repeat workouts and before I knew it, the Bolder Boulder was was here.

I was up early on Memorial Day, pre-race routines, blah, blah, blah. I made it into Boulder for packet pick-up around 6:15. My AB wave would begin at 7:02ish. Warm-up, bathroom, friends, etc.

Startline. My goal? To PR, of course! I think 90% of the time that’s always my goal; whether it’s realistic or not. I knew that for this race, I needed to stay sub-7 minute miles to do just that. Like many runners, I figured I would take the first mile to see how I felt and go from there. I truly had no idea what my body would allow given the past few months.

Mile one. 6:46. Okay, the first mile of this race is always fast. I don’t care if they changed the course a few years ago. It’s the hype and the masses and the sheer excitement of starting the race with a bugle horn for every. single. wave. But the pace had me a little nervous. I was running 6:45 mile repeats the previous week and it felt tough. This did not. So I wondered how I would feel in a few miles and if I could really maintain it.

Mile two. 6:50. I guess this is maintaining. Granted, the hills are coming, the hills are coming! I take in all the course entertainment, the foot pounding, and heavy breathing around me. Running with 50,000 people is entertaining in and of itself.

Mile three. 6:57. That one hill. It’s fine really, as long as I stay sub-7. I’m thinking it’s getting pretty hot at this point. The sweat pooling on my forehead is probably a decent indicator.

Mile four. 6:53. That other hill. At the top, there is a sign, indicating it’s the highest point in the race. This certainly isn’t a flat road race. But after you crest Casey Hill, it’s mostly downhill from here. These last couple of miles are my favorite anyway.

Mile five. 6:45. Hey, downhill! Turns out, I am feeling okay with this pace at the end of the race. Running through downtown Boulder, directly into the sun, in the early morning hours, is the best part of the race. I don’t know if it’s because I’m so close to the finish. Or because it’s such a difference from how I normally view downtown Boulder. Either way, I know I’ve picked up the pace a little and it feels just fine. If “fine” feels like heavy breathing with a scrunched up face and fighting back puking.

Mile six.two. 6:54. It’s the final push and a long stretch down Folsom and into the stadium for a dramatic finish. I’m certain now of my PR, but don’t know for sure how much time I’ve shaved off my 10k time, until I cross the finish line.

Time: 42:33
Pace: 6:51
AG: 9th out of 599
Gender: 115th out of 23,273
Overall: 926 out of 48,741

After I cross the finish, someone asks, “Are you @theblonderuns?” It’s Jessica! I’m so thrilled to finally meet her, after following her on IG and Twitter! Not as creepy as it sounds while typing this. I promise.


Met up with Luke and Courtney.


Finally met Laura, my Oiselle teammate, and her new little.


This Bolder Boulder felt like a meet and greet! I loved every moment. And with a 1:45 minute PR, I was definitely satisfied with the day.



…week 9: Greenland Trail 50k Training

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Total Miles: 45.31

Monday: 6.46 miles
Easy run to start the week. Took to a Boulder path that ran west. Great views and lots of sun!

Tuesday: 8.5 miles
The boy was out of town this week and the few doggy daycares I called were full, so I rushed home today so I could run with Chase. I was supposed to make this one a hilly 65 minute run, but I made up for it with a faster pace: 7:40.

How can I say “no” to this face…


Wednesday: 10.5 miles
Sunny and warm on the Boulder Creek Path. So many people were out enjoying the break in the weather. 85 minutes and felt great!

Thursday: 4.75 miles
Rushed home again to take Chase out for a quick jaunt. I didn’t want to overdo it but my pace kept settling around 8-flat. I like some variety in my runs so I had to keep slowing myself down. That’s a good problem, I suppose. Later that night, I signed up for a 5k on Saturday. It’s a good thing too, because they filled up and weren’t taking race-day registration.

Friday: off

Saturday: 8.1 miles
Ran a 5 mile warm-up before running my adult PR at the local St. Patrick’s Day 5k! Yes, an adult PR is a big deal. I haven’t been this fast in over 14 years. I love being in my 30’s…Race report here!

Sunday: 7 miles
Took Chase out for another run through Fort Collins. Took to a popular paved path for an hour. Sunny and hot! Finished before the wind picked up. I was still on a PR high from the day before.

Later that night my favorite running couple come through Fort Collins on their way back into the mountains. Dinner and running conversations always make me happy! Luke and Courtney are so genuine and I just love spending time with them.



I guess 50k training does make one faster! Even though I’m not doing traditional repeats (800’s or mile repeats), I am doing hill repeats and many of my runs include hills. And according to Luke, that translates to speedwork. Hey, if it means 5k PR’s, I’ll take it. Is it too crazy for me to want to throw one more 5k into my training and hope for a LIFETIME PR? I’ll have to consider it…



…week 8: Greenland Trail 50k Training

I’m a smidge behind on my weekly reports. I’ll be catching everyone up this week with some boring updates. Yawn.

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Week 8 Total: 60.18 miles

Monday: 6.38 miles
In true Colorado spirit, today’s run was sunny and warm (shorts and t-shirt) after a weekend of snow. I have a feeling spring is around the corner, but the back and forth with cold and warm will stay for a bit. Erika joined me for this run and it was nice to catch up and start the week with a friend.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: 9.8 miles
My last night of parent/teacher conferences was Tuesday and it kind of messed up my running schedule for the week. I rearranged as best I could to at least get all my runs in by the time Sunday rolled around. I hit “my” hill for 8x600m repeats. I was feeling sluggish, but my splits were consistent with previous weeks: 2:39, 2:36, 2:37, 2:39, 2:36, 2:37, 2:31, 2:39.

Thursday: 4.75 miles
Met Erika at her house, as she was expecting a delivery. We ran a familiar loop and were able to snap a few #oisellelookbook photos. You’ll see those in a different post! 😉

Friday: 22 miles
I had planned to take Friday off work, and use it to complete my long run. We had another storm approaching Friday afternoon and I had some things around the house to do with the boy over the weekend (remember that demo we are doing?). I ran a rocky, hilly trail in Lyons, CO that consisted of 2 lollipops, each about 11 miles. The first I completed solo, but Erika met me for my 2nd lollipop. I got a little sloppy with my running around mile 17. I fell at one point and rolled my ankle at another point. I was tired and nauseous by the end, but I got it done just as the new “storm” was coming!

Saturday: 7.05 miles
Pretty tight from yesterday’s run! Took Chase around the town anyway. 24mph winds. Yuck. A supposed “storm” was predicted to have started dumping snow sometime overnight but there was nothing where I live (north of Fort Collins). I could have sworn I saw some flurries as I ran, but…

Sunday: 10.2 miles
Still no snow. I think the boy and I live in a bubble. Not he and I in particular, but our home, neighborhood, town, etc. It seems we never get the snow that people even 10 miles south of us do get. {crossed arms} {hmph}. Finished up the week with what should have been my mid-week “long” run. Had to adjust so much with Tuesday as my off day and Friday as my long run day. Oh well.

Sometimes, you just have to adjust your schedule in order to meet your needs personally and professionally. It’s flexibility that counts.