The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


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…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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

XO,

 

 

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10 Comments

…Leadville Trail Marathon

I’m all settled in Canberra now, so it’s high time I get back on this blog-wagon!

I have to play some catch-up with a very real, very serious marathon I ran nearly a month ago…

When I was considering my Colorado race schedule early this year, knowing full well I’d be moving out of the country in June, I had this wild idea to run the Leadville full marathon as my send-off race. I considered it a “goodbye gift” to myself before heading off for foreign lands. Interestingly enough, the majority of my training would fall in the three months Nick would already be in AUS (he had to start work in April) and the marathon would fall the weekend before our wedding.

At the time, all of this seemed SO well planned. I would have uninterrupted training time and I would be in fit shape for the wedding! And yes, I did have uninterrupted training time. But I was so consumed with finalizing wedding plans, finishing my school year, packing up my classroom, packing up our apartment, and preparing to leave the country, that my mind was in a million different places. Constantly. Scattered. And my heart was in Australia with Nick.

Despite all of my distractions, I did stick with my training plan; I just didn’t get the mountain/elevation workouts that I had hoped for. I had run the Heavy Half in 2012, and I knew what would be expected of me. X2. So, I was uncertain how I would fare once on the course. A course that had to be rerouted due to snowpack still on the mountain. A course that once rerouted, increased in difficulty. Good thing I knew about that after-the-fact!

Original course profile:
Leadville-Trail-Marathon-Course-Profile

But, this was a race to be run. Not to be raced.

If you know anything about Leadville, CO, you know that it’s a historic mining town in the Rocky Mountains, that it is the host town of a huge run/bike series in the summer, and that it is situated about about 10,100 feet elevation. And the race course just goes up from there, capping out at just over 13,000 feet. So, I started slow. I paid attention to my body, yet also others around me, getting subconscious tips from them, and stopping at every aid station. I felt that with the elevation, combined with the distance, I needed to ensure that I was fueling, despite the time cost. I race enough with time constraints placed on myself, so this was a nice interruption from my usual MO.

During the first half of the course, I really wasn’t feeling the high elevation. My lungs didn’t feel any different than they normally would when running in the mountains. There was a lot of climbing/hiking, but I took it in stride, knowing that hiking up the mountains was just as efficient as running. Or more. For me.

This was the view on my way up Mosquito Pass (the second and main climb on the profile above):

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A very windy climb to the 13,185 foot summit of Mosquito Pass and despite the smile, I was freezing!

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I felt great on the way back down for my second half of the course. I was still keeping it easy. Drinking a lot of fluid. Eating what I needed to. Taking in the scenery. I was blessed enough to have Nick there, who had arrived into town the night before; he would be there to support me from beginning to end. Oh how I had missed him… Nick and Chase showed up around mile 17. It was so great to see them at that point! When I was tired, the hardest part was done, and I just needed a little boost to get me through the rest of the race.

But those final 9 miles were harder than expected. More climbing, combined with my trashed legs, presented a true challenge. This race was not for the faint of heart. I think I had to dig the deepest in these final miles. Not because I wanted to stop, but because I wanted to finish.

I ran the downhills, hiked the climbs, and cried a few tears as I rounded the corner to 6th street in downtown Leadville, that would take me to my red carpet finish.

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Time: 6:39:15
Overall: 272/435
Female: 57/103
AG: 19/34

It was done. I had earned my mug and medal. But the best part of all, was having Nick back in town to be my cheer squad.

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After this, it was all wedding business.

XO,

 


10 Comments

…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,


2 Comments

…week 12: Greenland Trail 50k Training

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Total Miles: 61.03 miles

Monday: 6.48 miles
Intended to run for an hour, but cut it short by about 6 minutes or so due to tummy issues. Honestly, I blame introducing chocolate back into my diet. Seriously! Oh, and some foot/calf pain.

Tuesday: 11 miles
Took Chase for a spin around the neighborhood. More tummy issues. Chocolate. I know, because I remember what I had during the day. Chocolate. Foot still hurts but foaming and rolling it a lot.

Wednesday: 11.2 miles
Held off on the chocolate because I knew I had 10x600m hill repeats. Faired pretty well, except was a little slower than normal. Wanted to be cautious with any pain. I was ready to throw in the towel if I felt any sharp pain in my calf. I didn’t. 2:50, 2:43, 2:47, 2:52, 2:45, 2:46, 2:44, 2:37, 2:37, 2:36

Thursday: off

Friday: 4.15 miles
A little shake-out run and pretty sluggish. Hoping to feel fine for my training run the next day.

Saturday: 24.2 miles
Golden Gate Headlands Trail Marathon. I needed a 26 mile trail training run, and there weren’t any in Colorado, so I found this race in March and decided to run it. Not race it. It went pretty well. See the race report here. And yes, that is correct: 24.2. The course was 2 miles short. But I decided to not make those 2 miles up after the race. 😉

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Sunday: 4 miles
Not running, but walking around San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, Presidio Park, and Sausalito. Probably way to sore for actual running, but the walking helped to stay loose. At least until I sat down at the airport that night! Yikes!

Reflection:
I didn’t cut back this week on miles just because of the marathon. Since it was a training run, I kept all of my workouts the same. This was to be my last big week before taper anyway. I guess for a 50k, you start to taper 4 weeks before, not 3. Things you learn…

XO,


19 Comments

…Golden Gate Headlands Trail Marathon Race Report

I needed a 26 mile run the first weekend of April to fit into my 50k training. Instead of just any old 26 mile run on my own, I started searching for a trail marathon. I mean, if I’m already going to run 26 miles, why not an extra .2?! Unfortunately, there were no trail marathons in Colorado that particular weekend, so I started looking for a destination race. The boy and I are always looking for excuses to go to California, so I was excited to find one just outside of San Francisco in the Marin Headlands: Golden Gate Headlands Trail Marathon. Many a blogger have posted photos of their views in this area, so I found it to be an incredible opportunity to get a glimpse of what some of my fellow runners see.

Keep in mind, this was a training run. It was for the sole purpose of practicing fueling and pacing. I didn’t expect it to end the way it did.

You can scroll down now if you’d like to see the results…

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The boy and I arrived at the start area about an hour before the festivities began. As many other small races, and I can assume other trail races go, this was a casual gathering of fellow lovers of running. Not a huge crowd. Not a lot of pomp and circumstance. I totally appreciate this!

It was overcast with low hanging clouds, and then it started drizzling. I stayed in the warm car as long as possible before meeting up with Paulette, a fellow Oiselle team runner.

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We were able to chat for a bit at the start before I realized the marathon group was starting. I was in the back of the crowd of runners and couldn’t hear the RD announce which group was starting first (no megaphone). Oops! I abruptly left the conversation and caught up with the small group of marathoners.

I told myself to just have fun, talk to some people, take some pictures, and take the pressure off! My main focus was to practice for the 50k.

There is a 2 mile climb right away. Being as I was at the back of the pack, I was getting a little boxed in on those single-track trails and stairs. I was finally able to pass some runners and be on my merry way. Since I would run this lap 2x, I wanted to take it all in and decide where I wanted to stop and take pictures on the 2nd lap. That’s where my Type-A comes in…

Around mile 3, I ran with a group of 3, one of which was a 65 year old ultra marathoner. I chatted him up about ultras as we cruised down the muddy trails. About a mile and a half later, the half-marathon leaders started passing us. No worries, I told myself, you still have another lap to do! At this point, there was another 2 mile climb. I considered hiking it, because I know I need to be okay with this. But I really wanted to run as much of the course as I could. Especially on the first lap. So, I kept trudging on. All the while being passed incessantly by half-marathoners. This is also where I pulled away from my group of 3 running buddies. Around mile 8, when everything began to even out on the trails, I found myself running completely alone. The fog was so thick, I couldn’t see more than a 100 yards or so ahead of me. Totally unfamiliar with the area and the course, I only hoped I was moving in the right direction. Orange flags. Orange flags. A couple of times, I really questioned myself on the trails because I hadn’t seen any. Then, I’d see them waving in the wind. A final half mile ascent and then, views of the finish at Rodeo Beach. As we come down from the Headlands, the final push is running through the sand on the beach. A complete shock to your leg muscles!

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As I finished the first lap, I was feeling good. Feeling great! I was soaking wet from the rain, muddy from the trails, but incredibly happy. This was awesome!! I glanced at my watch. Just around 12 miles. Hmmmm….Did I really cut the tangents that well? Like, a mile well?! I checked at the aid station, the boy fed me potatoes and snapped a million pictures of me eating, and I was off again for lap 2. Here’s were the pictures come in.

Stair climb in the first 2 miles
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A big, squishy puddle
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The trails were much worse on the 2nd lap. A combination of continued rain and all of the 7 milers and half-marathoners that had come through, the trails were just a mess. There were many time I wasn’t able to get traction either going up or going down. A lot of slipping and sliding. At each aid station, I checked in with my bib number and chatted with the volunteers.

This beautiful sight was a “must capture” for lap 2
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After running the two 2-mile hills on the 2nd lap, I was definitely starting to feel it in my legs! On that 2nd hill, I did power walk and jog it, off and on. I would only give myself a certain amount of time or a certain distance to hike, and then started running again. But I was constantly moving. I was doing a great job of fueling and wasn’t nauseous at all (something I struggle with from time to time). I was still cruising on the downhills at about an 8:30 pace. I wondered if I was pushing it too much, but I felt good and, overall, was maintaining a pace I typically did on my trail runs.

At the top of the final hill, you overlook Rodeo Beach and the finish
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I ran down the hill, tears in my eyes, happy that I had completed another marathon in such a beautiful location, feeling amazing throughout, and having the boy there with me.

The run across the beach was lonely as most other runners had left, due to the weather. As I approached the finish, the boy said, “I think you were 10th.” Some bundled up girls were cheering me on from the side. And at the finish, the timers said, “You’re the first woman!” What?! No, I’m not! “Yes! You get the chicken purse!”

I was shocked. I’ve never been first female. Ever. I had no idea that the whole 2nd lap, when I was running solo, that I was actually vying for a Female Win. I’m still in awe.

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Time: 4:13:53
Gender: 1st
AG: 1st
Overall: 10th

My Garmin 610 read 24.2 miles. I was half tempted to run another 1.8 miles to give me 26, but I was done when I crossed that finish line. I don’t think missing those 2 miles will make or break my 50k race. At least I hope.

XO,

As an aside, the boy realized there was a 7 mile race option and he registered within 10 minutes of the start. He hasn’t run in months. That’s how he rolls. Naturally, he killed it couch-to-7mile. I heart him.

Time: 1:05
Gender: 12th
AG: 2nd
Overall: 17th


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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,