The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


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…Sydney 1/2 Marathon (aka 21k)

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Well, this is the start of the Sydney Running Festival…who wouldn’t want to run in this race, just based on the backdrop?! Whether for pleasure or for pain?!

While originally planning to run with Nick, he had to pull out due to some nasty shin splints. No one wants to run a 1/2 marathon on that sort of pain. Luckily, I had a new running friend, Amanda, who wanted to take the trip to Sydney with us. I was happy to have a race partner! I would also be representing fivemore, who had Oiselle tanks designed with the FiveMore running logo.

The Start
As seen above, the start, in and of itself, is amazing. I have only dreamed of running in such spectacular places with iconic locations as my background. I know people probably say the same things about cities in the US, but when you are actually there, you just can’t really believe it! Once you get over the sheer awe of where you are, you realize this is a pretty big race. 3,200 for the full, 7,800 for the 1/2; not to mention the 11,900 running the 9k and the 5,000 for the 3.5k fun run. Those are decent numbers. A lot can go wrong when organizing a race event for that amount of people. A lot can go wrong for races of a much smaller number. We’ve all seen those failures. But not this one! Organized, easy to figure out where you need to be, and given the world “issues” leading up to this race (even in the very city I was racing), I felt very safe. My mother wanted to know. ūüôā

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The Course
The course is truly beautiful, taking you almost immediately over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is closed down from 4am-11am. From there, you weave around the sights of Sydney, with either the Opera House or the Bridge in nearly every view. I wanted to keep my head up, eyes up, for this one. When I’m too focused on a time or a pace, I tend to miss so much around me. Let’s be honest, I tend to miss a lot around me when I’m NOT racing at all! So, I kept in my conscious to just take it all in and enjoy this course. The course was predominately made up of out-and-backs with hairpin u-turns, but I think that was sort of the point so you could remain in the heart of Sydney. It lightly rained off and on during the first half of the course and remained overcast and cool for the rest of the race.

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The Finish
The final quarter mile or so, has the runners on the harbour boardwalk and finishing at the steps of the Opera House. Ah-may-zing. Amanda and I crossed the finish together, holding hands, and with our arms lifted high. Okay, not really…
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The finish line festivities were a bit spread out to get everyone moving and prevent any clustering. Catherine had a delicious spread in a nearby pergola, for those on the fivemore running team, including coconut water, fruit, and energy bars. And with another Opera House backdrop, pictures couldn’t be denied.
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So, you pretty much have to put this race on your wish list.

XO,

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…Horsetooth Half Marathon Recap

So, I ran this on Sunday:

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I don’t know why I choose these types of races and expect to PR, but that’s exactly what I expected. And I expected it in the minutes. Might have been a little lofty but I didn’t realize it or accept it until around mile 10.

We have been blessed here in Colorado with some beautiful weather in the 60’s and 70’s. We’ve even hit 80 a couple of time in the past two weeks. But typical of Colorado’s bipolar spring weather, we were hit with a nasty little storm late Saturday and all day Sunday. Perfect for race day, I did not say. Temps in the mid-20’s, wind that dropped that temp even lower, and a snow/sleet mix that surely left a burn on my sweets cheeks. I was not excited for that headwind.

I jogged a great warmup with some striders so that my HR was up a bit right from the start. Didn’t want to start this race on an uphill at a resting HR! Thanks, Coach Ryan! I owe you on this one. I knew I wanted to play the hills conservatively and just push on the downhill and flats; despite that blowing snow/sleet headwind…

Mile 1 (8:23)
Mile 2 (8:15)
These two miles were all uphill, as clearly seen in the profile pic above. And not a pretty uphill. Despite all that upness, I was happy that I didn’t feel like I was overdoing it and I felt great when I hit the top and started the downhill.

Mile 3 (6:42)
Mile 4 (7:10)
DOWNHILL. That downhill was nice. I felt like I was floating. Aside from the wind and the cold and the snow and sleet which made me feel very much like I was on the ground. A few rollers in between those hills but I was feeling strong. Tried to just remember to take it “easy” on the ups.

Mile 5 (7:12)
Mile 6 (6:45)
Another big up. At least it was short. I noticed that when someone passed me on the beginning of the uphills, or pulled away from me if they were ahead of me, that by the time we would reach the top, I had caught them again. I’m not sure what this means, really, but it did make me feel like I was tackling the hills “smartly.” Starting the hills conservatively, but still having umph at the end when I crest the hill and make my way over.

Mile 7 (7:00)
Mile 8 (7:27)
The final two hills. And although they were both short, they both fell in mile 8, and I know this is what made my legs finally feel shattered. At least looking back. In the midst of it, I was just clicking off the miles in my head, happy to be 5 miles away from the start. I was still feeling really good.

Mile 9 (7:02)
Mile 10 (6:59)
And these were my last miles of feeling good. While this was a flat, even slightly downhill section, I don’t remember much from it, aside from being in a zone and being so excited about hitting mile 10 and having merely 3 to go.

Mile 11 (7:22)
Mile 12 (7:41)
I don’t know why I’m so prone to nausea lately while running, but once again it reared it’s ugly head. Almost exactly at mile 10. I didn’t see this coming at all! I never do. It just starts deep in my stomach and refuses to go away. And I did everything I could to fight through it and keep going. I know this caused me to slow down. That and the extremely slick 200 meter wooden bridge. I probably caught myself 4-5 times from falling. And this is when that hope of a big PR felt lofty.

Mile 13 (7:44)
Mile .1 (1:29)
And the final push. Ouch. The legs were pretty trashed at this point too. Almost forgot to mention that, I was so overwhelmed with the nausea. But, I’ll have you all know that I did NOT stop for a good puke sesh at anytime during those final 3.1 miles. No matter how much I was trying to talk myself into it.

I crossed the finish with a nice little grimace. Laura and Gordon (our Aussie counterparts) were there as my “Nick” to cheer for me. And I faked this little smile for them:

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Time: 1:37:36
Overall: 62/1091
Female: 15/???
AG: 3/109

My previous half marathon was 1:39:02 and this race allowed me a minute and a half PR!! While deep down I was shooting for 1:35, I hate to be disappointed and get PR greedy on such a tough course. Given the hills and the elements, I will take this little PR and be happy with it. For now…

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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…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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

Grays and Torreys-May

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Mt. Elbert-June

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Mt. Sneffels-August

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I met some fabulous, inspirational people.

Scott Jurek
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Courtney C

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

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I’ve done a little bit of travel.

Hawaii-January/February

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Boston-April

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Whistler-July

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Telluride, CO-August and September (2 trips)

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Minnesota-March and December (2 trips)

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

Oiselle Team Badge

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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.  

XO,


6 Comments

…the Steamboat Mountain Madness Half

Erika and I woke up early on Sunday and prepped for our half marathon. We made it into town around 7am for packet pickup. This was a small, grassroots race that was very informal and without chip timing. Honestly, it was just perfect for my 2nd race of the weekend. I didn’t need any pomp and circumstance. I just needed to get through 13.1.

My legs were like jelly from the get-go. And sore. The middle of my back was hurting too from my hydration pack rubbing me the day before. And it was hot. I pushed my complaints aside and just told myself to keep moving and get through each mile.

I was hanging around an 8:30 pace, chatting with a woman from Utah, and enjoying the beauty of Steamboat. We ran along the very low Yampa River, through some gorgeous neighborhoods, and along the county roads. I plugged up that hill from mile 2.5-3.8 and was very grateful for some downhill and flat afterwards. However, the rest of the course was rolling hills and it eventually took its toll.

Around mile 8, we hit a turn around point. From here on, we would run directly on River Road all the way back to the finish. This is where I bonk! I had been moving at a pretty respectable pace, considering how I felt, but then that queasy feeling came back. What in the world is going on?! I tried to think about anything except making a pavement pizza. I slowed way down. I lost a pretty decent placement in the pack. I clicked off each final mile…

I was never so happy to hit mile 13 and know that I was so close to the finish. Erika was back on the course cheering me in. She had finished long before I had, because she is a smarter racer!

At the finish, I found some shade and laid down. For a while. I’m happy to report there was no chunder from down under that made its way up. But it took quite a while for that queasy feeling to leave. Erika and I stayed and relaxed under a tent, all the way through awards. We don’t typically stay at a race for so long, but it was such a small event that staying a bit longer just felt right. We loved the 10 year old who was announcing all the runners as they rounded the corner to the finish line! She was a Race Director in training! She even announced all the awards and the over abundance of free prizes that were given away. Overall, I would certainly recommend this race! It was beautiful, it was a great rolling hills course, and the informality of it was a nice change to some big races I’ve run. I would love to run it again, as a single weekend event!

Stats:
Time- 2:03:24
Pace- 9:24
Overall- 31/52
Women- 18/34
AG (30-39)- 8/10

So there is my bonk! I guess it doesn’t really matter. After all, this weekend wasn’t about placement or time. It was about taking on a new challenge. See what I could do. I’m very proud of myself and this little accomplishment! ūüôā

Needless to say, I haven’t run since the weekend. I think giving my body a break for a few days is perfectly fine!

Now to plan my back-to-back marathon weekend….

Just kidding.

Happy 4th! The boy and I are off to a BBQ on the lake!

XO,