The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


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…a visit to Five More and Sydney

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to take an early peek at a new activewear/lifestyle clothing store opening in the Paddington suburb of Sydney, Australia. Paddington, in and of itself, is chic and trendy, with Victorian-clad shop fronts featuring boutiques, cafes, art galleries, and wine. And its’ bustling Oxford Street is the ideal place for Five More to set up a brick and mortar (originally an online-only store). I met with the lovely Catherine, the brain behind the boutique, as she was putting the final touches on her beautiful space.

Of course, Five More sells a brand that is near and dear to my heart: Oiselle. And I loved hearing Catherine talk about how well this US-based brand is doing in Australia.

Catherine dressed all of her window store-front dollies from head to toe in Oiselle. What a sight!

FiveMore

I am excited for Five More and all of their potential, as well as that of Oiselle in a relatively untapped area.

Afterwards, Nick and I did some Sydney touristy things:

Sydney Opera House
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Sydney Harbour Bridge
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Bondi Beach
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XO,

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9 Comments

…the BIG news!!!

Well, I’ve waited long enough. I’m so excited, I could burst!  After alluding to the fact that big changes were coming Nick’s and my way, it’s finally time to share our excitement with all of you!

WE’RE MOVING TO AUSTRALIA!

Australia pic

This was a big decision for us, but ended up coming at an opportune time in our lives and after much thought and consideration, we can’t say no! Nick’s work has a reseller in Canberra, and it was suggested last year that they do an “employee swap” with someone from both companies. After much back and forth, hearing nothing, then hearing some things, hearing it had potential, then that it was an 80% chance, but don’t-put-your-whole-life-on-hold-yet, and on a non-stop emotional roller coaster, it all became officially official at the end of February. Visa official. With Nick’s start date. Which ended up being 12 weeks before the wedding…

When this proposition became serious last fall, Nick and I were already planning our Colorado June wedding. Depending on the timeliness of the Visa process we knew there was potential for Nick to start as early as January. But, we decided no matter his start date, I would stay in Colorado with Chase, finish my school year with the students, and finalize wedding plans. So when he agreed on a start date at the beginning of April, we were SO grateful that it took a bit longer than expected and we were allowed a few extra months together. 12 weeks apart is hard enough, much less had it been 16+. But we are successfully 1 week in, and a mere 11 weeks to go until the wedding!  Needless to say, that goodbye last weekend was the worst.  So.  Difficult.  And part of us was criticizing the “younger” us who thought it was a great idea, last fall, to move internationally at separate times.  But we made the best decision we could at the time, and we both know this is going to be worth it in the end!

We are so excited to begin this amazing adventure as a newly married couple! Nick just gets a little bit of head start.  😉  But I’ll be returning with him to Australia after the wedding for a 1-2 year stint.  We have been plotting and planning our minutes while there! Travel is a huge passion of ours, and although we will make our home in Canberra, and will love settling in, we can’t wait to explore!

I know the next 11 weeks will be hard without Nick and I plan to keep myself as busy as possible. With the upcoming wedding, my running, races, Chase, all the packing, friends, and family, I will have plenty to do. And of course the prospect of moving to a new country with my favorite person has me ridiculously excited! I think the separation from Nick will make the wedding so much more special. And it will all be worth it in the end.

Not much will change around here.  I’ll still be running on the Oiselle team, I’ll still promise to blog often, and barely eek out one post every few months.  You know, the usual.  But my pictures might change!  I’ll miss the mountains, wildlife, and old trails dreadfully, but they will be replaced with the outback, kangaroos, and new trails.  And you can’t beat that!

Thanks readers for all of your support!  I can’t wait to share in this new journey with all of you!

XO,

 


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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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…a Oiselle giveaway!

As many of you know, I’ve been on the Oiselle racing team this past year. It has been one of the most positive experiences for me! Not only has it given me reason to push myself just a little bit harder, but I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most fantastic women. Their encouragement and support, both near and far, known and unknown, have warmed my heart and boosted my spirit. There is certainly something to be said about the running community. But certainly something extra special about the women who find themselves in the sport, are running and racing their hearts out, and want to see the same fire in others.

I am so very excited to announce that I was renewed for another year with Oiselle! While the team names have changed (Oiselle Haute Volée-sponsored elites, and Oiselle Volée-ambassadors) to reflect the companies French name, the concept remains the same. Run well, build community, race clean and with fire. The entire manifesto is here.

My recent trip to Washington, to see Gina, coincided with the announcements and I was thrilled that she was willing to take me to meet the entire Oiselle team at HQ last week.

A #runch around Green Lake with KMet and Lauren followed by coffee with JJ and Julie!
OiselleRunUp

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    To celebrate, I’m doing a Oiselle giveaway!
    Package includes:
    One Medium Start Line 50/50 Tee
    One Medium Rundelicious LS Running Top
    Random goodies I throw in

OiselleGiveaway

I have both of these tops and they are awesome! Perfect for running or lounging. Or both.

    To enter:
    Leave a comment below
    For an extra entry, Tweet about it!
    For an extra extra entry, blog about it!
    For an extra extra extra entry, IG about it!

Open to US residents only. 😦
The giveaway will close on Friday, August 9th at midnight
Winner announced on Monday, August 12th during the day

Best of luck! This is a good one!
XO,


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…Winona, MN

Not to be confused with the Winona tank from Oiselle. Though I did wear the Winona in Winona…

After the awesome weekend that was Grandma’s Marathon and the USATF Half Champs, Nick and I headed south for Winona, Minnesota. He had a project there to work on for the week, which left me to my own demises during the day. I took full advantage of the running trails in the area, promoted by my friend Erika who went to school at beautiful SMU. After spending a few days exploring on foot, I can honestly say that this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever run!

SMU
Winona is nestled between the Mighty Mississip’ and picturesque bluffs. And all you have to do when you get to SMU is start running toward those bluffs, trails appearing out of nowhere. They double as ski trails in the winter, so they get plenty of use year round from the college kids (Yes, I’m now at the age where I can call them “kids”). It’s a mini-labyrinth of paths encased in lush, green foliage making it feel like you’re a million miles away from anyone and anything. Cue the photos:

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Lake Park
Approximately 5 miles of blacktop around Lake Winona (consisting of 2 lakes). Complete with a beach, water sport rentals, rose garden, gazebo, bandshell, etc. Nick and I ran this route a couple of times in the mornings before he’d go to work.

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LakePark2

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Holzinger Trail
Seemingly endless trails in the bluffs for amazing single track riding/running. Lush, quiet, serene. Nick brought his bike, so at least we could both enjoy what we love. This was one of those runs where I felt I could have gone on forever. Swatting bugs and dripping sweat, aside…

Holzinger1

Holzinger2

Clearly, a beautiful week of running in Winona! As much as I love Colorado, it certainly made me a little envious to be running on such green trails.:)

XO,


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…USATF Half Marathon Championships

Somewhere in the middle of our long drive to Minnesota, I hopped on Twitter and followed the Oiselle excitement of the USATF Outdoor Championship where our very own birds, Kate Grace, Kara Millhouse, and Collier Lawrence, were racing with wings out. I was only mostly disappointed that we hadn’t planned our trip a little more carefully since we drove right through Des Moines, where the meet was taking place, and right about the time Kate Grace was running her 800 semi-final. But there was a glimmer of hope when I almost immediately started noting the Twitter references to the USATF Half Marathon Champs in Duluth that next day. Grandma’s Marathon was hosting.

It’s at this point that I’d like to play the “blonde card” for not realizing my good fortune until this moment. I don’t know how this little fact completely escaped me. Especially since I had been browsing the Grandma’s website multiple times the previous week AND I HAD OISELLE TEAMMATES RACING! Duh.

Nick and I were already planning to spectate Grandma’s Half to see his brother and some friends. So when I excitedly (kid-at-Christmas-kind-of-excitement) told Nick that THREE of my Oiselle teammates were racing the Half Champs, only several hours before we’d see his brother trotting down the road (completing his 1st half) and started begging if we could leave the house (north St. Paul) at 4am and stand around in the cold, misty, damp air, to make sure we saw the girls race, he sweetly obliged. He’s a good one like that.

And so, with only a few hours of sleep, Nick and I made the drive to Duluth for some serious spectating. Okay, it was really just me and my camera, yelling like an idiot at mile 11.

Marci Gage
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Deanna Ardrey
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Melissa Gacek
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And the icing on the cake was this guy. Meb KeflezighiIMG_6672

I was so happy to have been able to see these ladies race. Inspiring to say the very least. Shivering in the cold, damp, humid air was TOTALLY worth it!

And then, of course, seeing Nick’s brother finish his 1st half marathon was pretty sweet as well! It would be silly to say there weren’t tears off and on all morning. I’m a race sap.

So there you go. Go spectate. Go run your 1st half marathon. Let me have my tears.

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
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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
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