The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'

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…in the wind

Thanks to that warm front that blew in, I ran in 60 degree temps yesterday! But with those nice shorts-weather-running temps comes wind. And if there is anything I hate more than running on a dreadmill, it’s running in wind. 44mph gusts. I swear, I felt every single one of them. It was the longest 5 miles ever. I know, because I timed it. On my new Garmin. There were moments I felt I was running in place. Or moments I was being pushed to the curb (yes, I was running on the sidewalks, because all our trails around here are an icy, snowy, melty, slushy, muddy mess). But I pushed through and finished those 5 miles. Hoping today would be better. It wasn’t. And rumor has it, it will be worse tomorrow.

What I have to look forward to is January. Because there’s all kinds of wind up in here in January. So, there very well be days that I’ll be taking to my other arch nemesis: dreadmill (as stated above).

Until then, I cherish the days where there is a calm in the air. And when there isn’t, I’ll braid my hair and wear sunglasses whether I need them or not and curse occasionally at the wind.

5 miles/42:45/8:32 pace (Thursday)
7 miles/1:04:02/9:08 pace (Friday)



…but needs to post

It would seem that I’m a bit overdue here.

1. The Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon!
2. The 3rd quarter of marathon training!
3. The lack of motivation for the upcoming marathon!

Just a short to-do list. Who has time to blog when I hardly have time to run?!

I’m on it. Tomorrow. Promise.


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…while her brother races his 1st half marathon

This past Labor Day, my older brother ran his first half marathon! I don’t say “older brother” to differentiate any assumption that I have a “younger brother.” I don’t. Just the “older brother.” And I say “older brother” only to reinforce the fact that this “older brother” is following in his “younger sister’s” running footsteps. That would be me.

See, Matt is a bit, shall we say, competitive. So, when I started distance running several years ago, he became interested in it. Then, when he accompanied me to the Boston Marathon as my support, he became mesmerized. And since my racing of the 113th in 2009, Matt has wanted to qualify for Boston.

Matt has always been a runner. In fact, it was he who got me interested in running as a gawky, 11-year old, middle schooler. First track, and then cross country. After he graduated high school, Matt almost always returned for my meets, thinking he would be able to motivate and encourage me better than my own coaches. Perhaps he did.

While I continued to run as an adult, I didn’t venture into the longer distances until the mid-2000’s when my best friend, E prompted me to run a half marathon. Since then, the rest has been history for me.

But I digress, Matt has wanted to qualify for Boston since watching my virgin race in 2009. He toyed with going directly into a marathon training program, after loading up on base miles. But when several injuries hit, he decided to opt for a half first, to see how it went and how his body responded. During the past couple of years, he has often discussed his training with me. Maybe because I was helping coach a high school cross country team at the time, and I really was a “coach.” Maybe because I had been fairly successful with my own training and racing. Maybe because I had proven myself to him. Despite some setbacks, when he had reached 3/4 of the way through his half marathon program, he was feeling healthy. It was then that we talked about a race. I immediately suggested the Boulder Backroads. Partly because it’s local, and I run that area too often; and partly because it was my first half marathon too.

Leading up to race day, Matt and I texted often. Should he carb load the night before? Yes. How early should he eat breakfast and how much? Oatmeal with banana. Water. 2-3 hours prior to the race. Did I recommend any kind of pace strategy? Take the first 3-4 miles and find a pace that feels right. Maintain through 6. A gradual pick up from 7-10. Kick it in for the final 5k. Don’t go out too fast and hit a wall. So should he start slower than goal pace? I say conserve. It’s my motto. Save yourself some energy for the end. Would he feel well enough to pick it up in the 2nd half? This is just your first half. It’s an experiment.

And of course…he wanted to know what MY half marathon finish times were. Always the competitor. Always needing the best the little sister. 1:39:02/7:34 pace

I know he says that he’d be happy with a 1:45, but deep down I think he is gunning for a 1:39:00.

Race morning, E and I bike to the Boulder Res from her house (2.5 miles away). We position ourselves at mile 2, swatting mosquitoes right and left. We cheer him on as he comes by, looking strong. We bike around the back side of the race and stop at mile 4/9. He has already passed the 4 mile mark, but I’m more interested in helping him up the slight incline at mile 9. I know my sister-in-law, Erica, and niece will see him at the 6.5 mile turn around. He will need the most support in the 2nd half. Erica texts me that he is hurting. Uh-oh. I run down to the bottom of the hill so I can run up with him. I have a water bottle, a cold, wet paper towel (perfect for a little cool down and wiping the face) and a Gu. I see him struggling. His hamstrings are tight. This is new. He says all the little hills on the course are killing him. I do my best to encourage. At the top of the hill I grab my bike that Erika has, and off we go to the next hill.

We are now at mile 10.5. Matt has slowed, and I run him up this gradual hill too. I tell him a silly story about how E and I ran into a skunk on one of our 5am runs. Anything to get his mind off the pain.

E and I reposition again right before mile 12. Another hill. I run up this one with him, too. He’s in a lot of pain. I know he wants to stop. We’ve all been there. I tell him to think about the finish. Eye on the prize. One mile to go.

We race back to the finish where we meet up with Erica and my niece. Matt crosses in 1:48:20. Not too much off the pace and overall time of my first half marathon on this same course.

I’m really proud of my brother. It was a major accomplishment and one to feel very satisfied with. I definitely felt honored that Matt had been picking my brain about distance training and racing these past years. I guess things have come full circle.