The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


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Club XC Nationals – Bend, Oregon

I’m back. Consider this a test for how many people still read my blog. Posting once a quarter is pretty lame and I’d like to think about remedy-ing that. But until I make a decision one way or the other, it’s best if I shared my last weekends runventures.

Last weekend was Club XC Nationals in Bend, Oregon. When one of our Colorado Oiselle girls asked our division if we wanted to form a team, we were in! I had been looking forward to this weekend for several months. We ended up having a huge turnout from Oiselle with 4 teams represented. Wings out!

Nick and I flew into PDX on Thursday night and made the beautiful 3 hour drive to Bend early Friday morning. I wanted to make it to the Oiselle course preview for those who were already in town. It was great to meet and re-meet so many of our girls! The course was another story – hilly, muddy, slanted, snowy. This would not be fast.

Tough Faces/Fierce Lion
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Course preview/All the Oiselle
Why yes, that IS Lauren Fleshman to my left (blue) and Deanna Ardrey to my right (yellow). The only time I’ll be able to say “I ran with them” is at the course preview at a snails pace. I’ll take it!
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Just a little section of that long little hill
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Since it was Nick’s birthday, we made a stop at Deschutes. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY FAVORITE! A must-do because I felt mostly bad about it being his birthday weekend but we were traveling for my running event. I don’t think he really minds. Especially if the travel includes a Jeep rental and a cool town like Bend. We capped off his big day with a visit to 10 Barrel.

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The following morning was go-time. Our Masters Oiselle team ran at 9:45 and watching them was an inspiration and yet a sobering pre-cursor to the reality of this measly 6k.

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Noon. Race time. My Oiselle-CO girls and I grouped up in Box 81 for striders and chants. And then took off uphill (yes, the race started on a short field sprint and then up a nice little hill-not the one in the above picture-a different one) for three 2kish laps. I watched all the girls charge ahead of me, so I tried to remember this race was for the experience only! I mean, some of these girls were NCAA champs of some distance or another. Over and over. And some of these girls were chasing the Olympic standard for the 1/2 and full marathon. So…I had to keep telling myself that during the race; each time I went up that long .3 mile hill (as pictured above); and down that slanted hill where I slipped and fell briefly, just once; and through the dirt/mud; and all the other European XC fun that the RD decided to include on the course. When I saw Nick at the end of the 1st lap I lifted my hands in this “what-the-heck-is-going-on-why-am-I-here-what-am-I-doing” fashion. But with a smile. Or was it a grimace?

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This was tough. A really tough course amongst a really competitive field and I LOVED it.

No, I didn’t place well. No, I didn’t have a super speedy pace. But the camaraderie, opportunity, and experience overshadowed what could have been sheer disappointment, had this been any other race. This race brought back so many memories from my high school Cross Country days of Yore (roughly the late 90’s). I couldn’t have been happier to run and compete with so many dedicated women. It confirmed my already deep passion for the sport and my consistent love for the Oiselle family.

Later that night, we celebrated our accomplishments at the Picky Party. A night that will surely go down in history. Or at least Oiselle/Picky Bar history. Complete with blurry photos, video, commemorative glasses, and all…

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Overall, a birthday, a Oiselle beanie, a PR, a kickin’ party, a lifetime of memories.

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XO,

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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!
Camaraderie

XO,


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…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.

Results
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.

JPandme

Met up with Luke and Courtney.

Candme

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

Lauraandme

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.

XO,


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…Greenland Trail 50k Race Report

The moment you’ve all been waiting for…

Pre-Race
3am-We were up early on Saturday in order to make it to the 7am start area on time. I didn’t want to be there too early, as I wasn’t planning a warm-up. But I needed to get my race packet and didn’t want to feel rushed with any final preparations. The boy and I ate a quick breakfast, packed up the truck and Chase (it would end up being a very long day with a grad party later that night), and made sure all of my race gear was prepped. I was definitely feeling nervous. And I was definitely still coughing and stuffed up.

4am-We left our house (north Fort Collins) to make the two hour drive to Larkspur and Greenland Trail Open Space, which is south of Denver by about 45 minutes. I tried to sleep, or at least rest my eyes, on the drive. We made a couple of stops along the way and still made it to the race start a little before 6am, thanks to the early hours and no traffic.

6am-Arrived to a cool mid-30’s race area. I was able to quickly pick up my bib, t-shirt, and race packet; not just because I was there earlier than expected but because it was a smaller race that was well-organized. I’m tending to like these types of races that aren’t driven by pomp and circumstance, but instead by the pure love of running. I’m not saying I don’t have a love for the big races (Hello, Boston!!) but I feel a little more comfortable in these locally organized, mom-and-pop type races. I took the next hour to finalize my gear and get my fuel bag ready for the boy to have at each loop.

I found it a bit ironic that I was bib #1. I know it’s sometimes based on last name, and most assuredly in this case. However, the irony comes when I recalled that I was also bib #1 in the marathon where I said I wanted to run a 50k. And now at that 50k, bib #1…

greenlandtrailbib

The Race
7am-The start of the 50k! The cooler temps at the start was refreshing, as I know this race is “iffy” when it comes to the weather. I knew it would only get up to the low 50’s at most, throughout the race. I donned my Oiselle arm warmers which would not only be great for the temps, but would also serve me well throughout the race for things entirely different than warmth.

greenlandtrailstart

The course would be 4 lollipops in the open space. Each would be roughly 7.8 miles, with a final .25 (or so) to the finish. At each turn-around point, the spectators gathered. I knew the boy and Chase would be there for me to support my fueling or whatever I needed. I was actually happy to have a course that I would be able to see him a little more often. I would certainly give me something to look forward to during each lap. Especially when the going got tough.

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Lap 1-7.8 miles
I started the race at a mostly conservative 9:30 pace. I was feeling really good, despite the constant snot rockets and spitting. The arm warmers were perfect for quick wipe-ups of the nose. πŸ˜‰ I felt badly for those around me who probably thought I had a real problem. I guess I kind of did. I think it was just more annoying than anything.

The miles were ticking off quickly as the pack of runners was tight and I was listening to their chatting and banter. I decided to run sans-music and just enjoy the race. It was a good plan. I like being available to chat with people and make short-term friends. It’s a good support and I find I learn a lot from them. I met a man named Pete who hadn’t raced since the early 80’s. He had been focusing on mountain bike races. Nice come-back with a 50k…

There was a well-stocked aid station at mile 3.5, but I kept going, as I had what I needed for now in my fuel pack. There were some loooong gradual hills throughout the course, and after this aid station was the 2nd one. I trudged up the hill, running as much as possible (though slowing down on the uphill) for as long as I could. Some short rolling up and downs along the saddle and then another loooong gradual uphill before the final downhill mile into the turn-around point. I fueled as normal with a few Clif Blocks at the hour mark. I completed the first loop in about 1:14. Definitely faster than I had predicted, but I was feeling SO good! Would this contribute to my demise? I kissed the boy, petted Chase, and continued on my way for lap 2.

greenlandtraillap1

Lap 2-15.6 miles
Knowing what to expect, my plan was to keep my pace as best I could and continue fueling as normal. The course was pretty busy at this point, now that the 25k runners AND the 8 milers were also on the same loop. I enjoyed seeing so many people and having the 25kers passing me! I knew my friend, Libby, was running the 8 miler and hoped to see her out on the course.

I was still feeling great. My running nose was constant and still annoying, but I was taking care of it as best I could. I continued to ease up on the gradual ascents, and kept my eyes up to propel me to the tops of each. The miles were still flying by. I couldn’t believe how quickly, actually. I fueled again with some Sport Beans at one of the hilltops and kept a steady pace on the downhill and back into the turn-around.

greenlandtraillap2

I was at about 2:22 when I finished the 2nd lap, so I stopped and chatted with the boy for a few minutes, taking in some salty potato wedges I had prepared early this morning. It seemed to be just what I needed. I was still running faster than I wanted, but was still happy that I felt so good.

Lap 3-23.4 miles
I knew this would be the hardest lap. Just like the 3rd lap in the mile (thanks, Erika!). At the aid station, I made a quick pit-stop (now that there was no line) and grabbed a few potato chips. Not long after (around mile 19), on that loooong gradual uphill, I started to feel the beginning signs of upset stomach. Just the smallest niggle in my tummy. But I wanted to take care of it right away. I took out some crystallized ginger that I had in my pack and started to suck on it as I continued to run. An ultrarunner friend of mine suggested this about a month or so ago when I asked for advice about the sometimes-quesy-long-run-stomach-I-get-at-the-most-random-times-and-I-can’t-pinpoint-why issue that I have. Honestly, it worked! Or at least postponed the inevitable. I rallied. I power-walked the hills, hoping that slowing down would settle my stomach. And then I fueled again with more Sport Beans/Clif Blocks. But as I started that descent into the final turn-around, my stomach was not feeling 100% and I was nervous for what it meant.

Pete caught up with me in those final few yards into the turn-around and our chatting got my mind off of my stomach. I was also distracted by my supporters who came out to the course to see me complete my first ultra. Two of my co-workers, a couple friend of the boy and I (and their daughter), and Libby (who ran the 8 miler) stayed around the cheer me as well. Of course, I had to stop and give hugs to everyone for coming out! I stopped to chat with the boy, to tell him how I was feeling, to tell him how I was off my pace now.

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Lap 4-31.06 miles
I was nervous starting this lap. I knew it would be my slowest, based on how my stomach was feeling. The next few miles out to the aid station were slow. Occasionally, someone would pass me, or miraculously, I’d pass them. I remembered to take a photo of the course on this lap.

greenlandtrail

It was starting to warm up (upper 40’s/low 50’s-BEATING sun) and I thought it best to ditch the arm warmers, despite that constant flowing nose. I didn’t want to risk over heating (Hello, Hot Boston!) and I had a fleeting thought that maybe I was already too warm, which may have been contributing to the upset stomach. I took them off at the aid station, had a volunteer shove them into my pack, and continued on my way. But when I started to power walk that hill, I felt lightheaded and the queasy stomach was persistent. I tried another piece of ginger. But, I knew what I really had to do in order to finish those final 5 miles. I had to “fertilize the bushes.” I got off the trail, turned away, put my finger down my throat, and took care of business. Luckily, the runners were so far apart that only a few passed me at this point.

I text the boy to let him know what happened and hoped he would get what I was implying-that I wouldn’t be at the finish any time soon. When I was ready to start again, I realized I was at 26.5 miles. Hmmm…was this my bodies humorous way of telling me it didn’t want to do more than the marathon distance? I actually felt much better after that little episode, but it was really hard to get back into a decent pace that late in the game. I still kept a slow running pace and was actually back in the 9:30 range in the last mile or two.

When I passed the turn-around point to continue on the trail into the finish, I started to tear up. I was so happy to have completed the race, even if it didn’t end exactly how it seemed to be going initially. My whole goal was to finish anyway, and I met that goal. But I was also disappointed that I had tummy issues. I have so many thoughts around this (again) that will be addressed later. I really think that running heightens my emotions, and I also think I’ve cried in almost every race I’ve run. They are mostly happy tears! I teared up even more when I saw the boy, he joined me on the trail, and ran with me for a few strides before jumping off the trail so I could enter the finish chute solo. He teased me, “Are you crying?!” Yes!

greenlandtrailfinish

Total Time: 5:30:44

greenlandtrailmedal

This race might not have been pretty, it might not have been perfect, but it was a PR! I am so happy to have completed a new distance. Once again, I learned so much about myself from this race. I learned so much about the distance too. At the time, I had no desire to run another 50k. I think I needed to forget about the race, the pain, the puke. Today, a different story. I’m on board for another 50k! But probably not this year… πŸ˜‰

XO,


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…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…

GGHstartfinish

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.

GGHpaulette

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!

GGHbeachlap1

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
GGHstairs

A big, squishy puddle
GGHpuddle

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
GGHtrees

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
GGHfinish

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.

GGH1st

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


3 Comments

…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…

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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.

candl

meandc

Reflection:
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…

XO,


7 Comments

…Sharin’ O The Green 5k

I don’t know what it is about me and signing up last minute for 5k’s. But I did it again.

I had originally put this race on my radar at the beginning of the year. Then, all of a sudden March was here and I actually had to recall what I said I was going to race this month!

When I saw that I had chosen a 5k, I was less than thrilled. Those things hurt!! So, I put off making a decision. Finally, late Thursday night, I pulled out the ol’ debit card and registered. Good thing too, since they sold out and weren’t accepting registrants on race day.

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I’m finding that the longer distances I run, the longer it takes me to “warm up.” I decided on an easy, slow 5 mile warm up. This may seem like a lot to you! And I think so too. But, I was hoping to get a total of 16 for the day, so I figured an easy 5 prior to a fast 3 wouldn’t hurt. Literally and figuratively.

Since I’m throwing this race into the middle of my 50k training, I didn’t expect my legs to feel fresh. And they didn’t. In fact, they felt pretty brick-ish during the warm up. I guess I’d have to see what happened at the race.

The course was a flat lollipop through the downtown neighborhoods of Fort Collins. The current fire blazing up our trails to the west of town caused poor air quality and high smoke clouds, but I couldn’t smell a thing. Instead, everyone was dressed up in their St. Patty’s day best! A sea of green.

Mile 1-6:43
I didn’t really know what my goal pace should be. It’s “only” 3 miles so I figured I would go hard and hope mile 2 wasn’t as awful as most mile 2’s are for me. This part of the course was completely straight. No turns at all. I kind of liked the view of seeing everyone pull away. I started to practice “eyes up”; my biggest downfall in running. I channeled my high school racing days and picked someone’s back who was ahead of me. My goal was the pass that person.

Mile 2-6:44
This mile was a the lollipop. We did a quick mile around the High School and the Flower Garden. This mile is always my toughest. But later, I was happy to see I was only 1 second off of my first mile’s pace. I kept the same plan, keep my eyes up and pick people off. It worked well in the first mile. I could see a woman in green (duh!) that I’d been eyeing the first mile and I was slowly drawing her in. I hoped to catch her in mile 3.

Mile 3-6:22
Off of the lollipop, I knew it was a straight away to the finish. I was breathing hard, working hard, and now it was time to turn on anything I had left. The woman in green was getting closer. I was passing a few other people, but I wanted her! Finally, at 2.5 I passed an older man who whispered, “Get her.” Of course, I knew this was said in the friendliest of manners, as we all have an appreciation for catching and passing the person in front of us! πŸ™‚ When I caught up to her at 2.6, I told her to “stay with me.” We pushed each other (hard!) for the next quarter mile. I barely pulled ahead at the 3 mile mark where I sprinted past another runner right before the finish.

I made sure to congratulate the few I had just passed, including the woman in green.

Results
Official Time: 20:24
Place: 47/2342
Female 6/???
AG 2/545

As I was walking away from the finish, the woman in green asked if I’d ever like to go for a run with her! Later, Monica and I exchanged information and chatted about running. I love these connections!

In a beer town, the typical prize is a pint glass from a local brewery.

Odellspint

I was certainly tired afterward, but as usual, I wonder what I could have done differently in miles 1-2 since I had a 20 second deficit in that final mile. Could I have pushed harder in the first 2 miles? Would pushing harder at the beginning have made my final mile a little slower, resulting in a similar overall time? Does it really matter since I didn’t train for this distance?

It’s safe to say that all this 50k training doesn’t hurt the 5k distance.

This is actually my PR as an adult. I can’t compare my 5k times when I was 17 years old, right?! But, I AM close to breaking my high school time too. Hmmm….Am I in my prime?!

XO,

PS-I didn’t complete the full 16 for the day. After waiting around for the awards ceremony, I was freezing. I contemplated going home to get Chase to finish my final 8, but once I got home, I just wanted a shower. So I did. πŸ˜‰