The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


…to cold Minnesota

The boy and I are leaving early Friday morning for Minnesota.  He is from a small town about an hour north of Duluth and while we will be staying there initially, we will end up in the cities where his sister and other relatives live (plenty of friends too).

Those 10 days in Minnesota will be cooooooold.  I’ve been obsessive about the weather.  And the prospect of spending my days in the mid-teens (and my runs only slightly cooler) has me packing an extra bag!  I’m sure I’ll stick out like a sore thumb in my down North Face jackets and vests, my knee-high UGG and Sorel boots with the faux-fur lining.  Colorado girl.  Who cares.  At least I’ll be warm.


But, I love going to Minnesota to spend time with his family.  It’s always a good time.  Always relaxed.  And the days always seem to last a little bit longer than they do here in Colorado.  Maybe it’s the slower pace.  Maybe it’s the lack of scheduling.  Maybe it’s the fact that I can actually take a moment to breathe and not rush.

Regardless, I am packing my Oiselle race kit in case I have a race to run!  I’ve already been scouring the interwebs for local races during the time we will be there.  I’ve found some that strike my fancy but it all depends on what is going on and where we are.  It will certainly be a last minute plan.

Wish us luck on the road trip out there!  Seems we could be on the tails of a storm that just passed through Colorado.  Might make for an interesting trip.  Good thing the boy won’t allow me to drive.  And it’s not because I’m a bad driver!  At least I keep telling myself that…



…to the western slope

It’s been quite some time since I’ve actually had the opportunity to sit for awhile and blog. That’s what a day off work can finally do for you. Give you back some time. It feels good. This is what I miss…

If you can’t tell, I’ve been stressed at work lately. More than normal. So, the boy planned a little weekend get-away to Colorado’s western slope; most famously known for its wineries and vineyards.

Last year, this exact weekend, we were in the same area of Colorado for the Rim Rock Marathon. We found some wineries that we loved, so we were anxious to get back to the area for a revisit and some new finds.

The typical 4+hour drive promised to be longer with a big storm hitting the mountains on Friday night. We left early on Saturday to avoid some ski traffic (of which there was none) and arrived in Palisade around lunch time. It made for a cold weekend but the white snow blanketing the red cliffs created a beautiful contrast.

We soon got to work on wine tasting. Here is a list of the wineries we loved and the wines we bought (note, we are partial to dry reds):

Whitewater Hill Vineyards: 08 Cabernet Sauvignon

Hermosa Vineyards: 06 Merlot, 08 Cabernet Sauvignon, 09 Cabernet Franc,

Garfield Estates: 08 Cabernet Franc, 09 Syrah

Maison la Belle Vie: 08 Merlot

Anyone else partial to the 08 and 09 grapes? Okay, maybe just us.

We came away with 9 new bottles. It was much worse last year.

Next up, the race I registered for last night…yikes! Am I even race ready?!



…around Telluride and a Mt. Sneffels summit

I’ve had this obsession with Telluride lately. And by lately I mean for years.

Telluride is a small Colorado mountain town about 7 hours from where I live in the Front Range. It’s not easy to get to, in that you have to WANT to get there. A lot of highways and byways and one particular road that leads you directly through downtown; and essentially ends at Bridal Veil Falls. For as long as I can remember, in my adult life, I have had a small affinity for this magical place that seemed so far away. Specifically, I’ve wanted to attend their Bluegrass festival held mid-June, but it’s just never worked out.

Now, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting twice! In one month.

Round One
My family and I ventured to Telluride the first week of August for no other reason than to enjoy an area none of us had experienced. The fresh mountain scenery. The gondola rides. The locally owned restaurants. The Victorian inspired homes. The friendly people. I was immediately smitten.

Downtown Telluride (yours truly)

View of Telluride from the Saint Sophia Gondola Station

Then, there was Mt. Sneffels.

An unassuming 2+ 14’er, with a silly name, bragging of a decent 1700 foot elevation gain in just a mile. My brother, dad, and I drove in on the 4WD road as far as we could, but had to hoof it about a mile and half to the highest trailhead.

With Kismet Mountain (a 13’er) looming before us, our true destination was hidden for much of the climb.

The San Juan Mountain Range is much more rugged than the Front Range peaks. There would be no “running” of this 14’er, as the terrain was primarily loose rock, or scree. Oh yeah, and that pesky incline. Combined, it made for a very interesting climb. In fact, this 14’er was downright scary. At least for me. I found the climb to be pretty difficult with so much sliding rock. Everywhere. Even Gerry Roach suggest wearing a helmet on this one because of the potential for rock slides. And at that incline, those rocks start coming down fast. And hard. I found out, several times, along the way.

This was the view on our left as we made our way slowly up the Lavender Col.

We then ascended a steeper gully that would take us to the summit (between the two rock outcroppings). There were no trails here, so we just had to cross from side-to-side making our own path. I primarily had three points of contact all the way up and stayed really low. Otherwise, I had fears of falling. In reality, this was just a “short” hike, distance-wise, but it took well over an hour.

The view after the long ascent, back down to the saddle. Low clouds were beginning to roll in, but it was still mid to late morning and no storms were a threat.

At this point, directly right of the photo there was a “V” notch (two boulders together) that needed to be climbed over. “Climbed” like leave-your-pack-and-find-your-own-hand-holds-as-you-hoist-yourself-over-the-boulders-with-exposure-to-your-left-that-drops-directly-down-the-gully-so-don’t-fall-or-you-might-not-see-tomorrow. So my brother and I did it, as my dad decided to call it a summit from where he was. I don’t blame him.

A short scramble and we made it.

Brother/Sister Summit

No. 7 is in the books.

The climb down was almost scarier than the climb up. With the scree and incline, every step moved beneath you. Every step was really a slide. And many steps caused mini-rock slides. I was nervous descending. I’ve never had so many thoughts about how I was going to react WHEN I started sliding all the way down. But, I didn’t. My dad was a huge help!

Overall, this was the most difficult 14’er I’ve summited. It was the shortest 14’er and yet took the longest with time. And at only a 2+, I’m not sure how I would be with a full 3, much less 4 or 5. Perhaps for now, I should focus on the 1’s and 2’s!

Round Two
Over the Labor Day weekend, the boy’s family was in town from Minnesota. They had been mentioning the 4 Corners area and Telluride, as they had never been either. While they left a few days prior for their road trip, so they could explore a little further southwest, we decided to meet them in Telluride for the long weekend.

I was anxious for the boy to see the area because I knew he would LOVE it. And he did. Chase did too.

There was an indie film festival in town, so we spent the weekend walking around town, people watching (we saw this movie guy, but failed to catch a glimpse of Ben Affleck, Jen Garner, Bill Murray, and others), and connecting with the locals in some street-side Jenga competitions.

I’m officially in love with Telluride. It’s a shame that I’ve lived in Colorado nearly my entire life and have just now discovered this gem. Isn’t that the way it is though, sometimes? You don’t always realize what you have in your own backyard. With so many opportunities to travel and explore our scope has broadened and we often look too far beyond ourselves and our environment and we miss out on the true beauty that surrounds us.



…around Canada

Here is a photo-doc of our trip to Canada.

Atop Whistler Mountain Peak (~7,000 feet elevation)

Bear Sighting #1

Bear Sighting #2

Gina’s Tri in Squamish, about 40 minutes southwest of Whistler



Shannon Falls, Squamish, BC

Canada/US Border (Peace Arch)

Goofball really does love my kisses, despite the face…

If you know me on facebook, more pictures are uploaded there.

This was too much fun, people. Boyfriend and I could move here. Truth.

I’m working on another mountain biking video for the boy. He wasn’t too keen on my music selection. 🙂 As I clearly suspected… haha!



…in Whistler

Hello! We’re back! The boy and I just returned from Whistler, BC. Holy hobbies! Anyone who is an outdoor enthusiast would be in paradise there! And we were.

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty, like photos and details and what-not, I’m super excited to share this video that I made of the boy’s mountain biking adventures. He uses a GoPro Hero 2 and I’ve been fooling around with the footage to make a little videodocumentary. Here’s what I came up with. The quality was a little lost in the compression, and it looks much better on iMovie, but you’ll get the general idea.  I apologize in advance for any headaches that will ensue. But it’s only a short video…

We both had a blast!  It’s absolutely gorgeous there.  Needless to say, we are already planning our next trip.



…to Whistler

Okay friends and readers,

I am off to Whistler in the morning, via Seattle.

I’m sure it looks like this right now:

The boy will be doing this:

But I will be doing this:

Too bad this guy is so far from Whistler. He could bring the kitties and Linda and cookies.

I’ll be on the Tweet and on the Instagram the next few days. Keep a lookout for good things in 140 characters or less!


*Images from here and here and here.


…around in Boston

After pulling it together physically, I rallied for a seafood dinner at Legal Seafoods. Nothing like filling up on fried sea scallops and french fries post 4+ hour sweat bath. The Boston Cream Pie and glass of wine didn’t hurt either. Later that night, I expressed all of my feelings about the marathon to the boy. He listened intently, let me feel every emotion, and supported me through each of them. I’m planning to post more on this at another time.

The next day, we played tourist, as my brother and I navigated everyone through the Freedom Trail.

The State House

Park Street Church

Granary Burying Grounds

Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall

Paul Revere and the Old North Church

Rino’s Italian in the East End (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dive’s suggestion-WORTH IT!)

Fenway Park

We made it home Wednesday morning and I’ve been back to busy and back to running every since. Time to plan new goals, but maybe one more Boston post… 😉