Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inception: Greenland Trail Races

Last year, Team Colorado's Neil "Big McD" McDonagh and Peter "The Prez" Maksimow ran the Greenland Trail Races (25K and 50K, respectively) and both took course records. As we get closer to this year's race, we were able to get in the heads of these two during REM sleep to find out what their recollections were. We call it: Inception: Greenland Trail Races. Where you never really know who was dreaming what. You decide!

May the 4th (be with you) 2013
I shook the sleep from my eyes an hour before dawn and stepped outside of my house in Manitou Springs. I always play “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC at full volume on the cassette player before dawn of a big race, Manitou Springs loves it! The weather seemed refreshingly brisk, which I took as a good omen for the Greenland race. The weather looks nice, I muse to myself, but, then again, it always looks nice and turns out to be a giant wind tunnel at the Greenland Open Space, so I shouldn’t really concern myself with how nice it looks until an hour INTO the race. My training had been relatively unprepared for the step up in distance. I really wish I could have trained more, this seems like an awful long way to race when feeling like a wounded duck. After a quick mid-week jaunt up to Larkspur for a course preview, my gaps in fitness seemed inconsequential. Well, Roger Bannister didn’t run 5 days prior to breaking 4 minutes in the mile for the first time, so if I am doing the math correctly that means…uhhhh, three weeks off before this race is a perfect amount of down time! Team Colorado decided to carpool for the race, meaning our chauffeur  Nora, allowed a few last minute zzz’s before hitting the trails. On the ride to the race, the seats were making me itchy, “what are these things made of, CACTUS!!??”, I wonder. The rolling hills of Larkspur were teaming with all manner of Lycra and hydration system festooned ultra competitors. As I pull the last couple of cacti needles out of my arse, I use all of my warm up time to prepare my spandex and hydration gels packs of salt sticks, and even some NoDoz in case I get sleepy a few miles in, so that I am well lubricated during the race. Both races appeared ripe for fast times. ”Wow, this is going to be so slow”, I tell the race director Derek Griffiths at the start line. Even with numerous countdown reminders, the crack of the starter’s pistol felt rushed. Rush…I love that band and I think as I am caught off-guard when the blerch of the starter’s weird magafone horn-thingie goes off. Antsy to get in a good groove I made my way to the front of the lead pack. Pack mentality is how I run my races, stalk and attack in a group…sounds cruel, doesn’t it? Quickly finding myself gapping the field, I offered some mental diversion therapy. Whoa, there is I-25, I wonder if they can see me flipping the bird from here!? I looked off to the right and saw some grassy hills. All I see is blue and yellow-purple hills, I think I need some calories. Over to the left was Interstate 25. Yeah, definitely seeing the bird, I am getting some attention from people in cars now! I focused in on a lone tree way off in the distance, but it didn’t really seem to be moving any closer and it was depressing me, so I switched to the ground ten feet in front of me. I realize there is someone at my side and he has been there the whole time, it wasn’t just the noise of the car horns that have kept me company for half of the race. About a quarter of the way in to the race I felt a strange gurgle in my stomach, unfortunately all too familiar to me. All I can think of is that line from the Shakespere “boil and bubble…toil and trouble”…it’s probably not the direct quote but it paraphrasing…I’m in the middle of a race, what do you expect!? Being open prairie land, tree coverage was quite the commodity. It’s like I am getting vibes from some entity on the course. I looked left then right and deftly hopped behind a thicket to make a quick biomass deposit. Wow, this is the first year there has not been gale force winds on this course…wait, what is that wretched smell!? Relieved, in more than one sense, I was back on the course making up for lost time. I lost some time because I couldn’t brethe for about a minute there, I think something died! A zeroed in sense of directed drive pushed me through the halfway point. Am I only at the three-quarters point of this reace--this is really going to take a long time? Roughly two-thirds of the way in to the race, again my innards expressed discontent. Why does this guy at the aid station keep heckeling me and calling me a “wanker”? A significantly less camouflaged leafless tree provided the scantest of privacy for a second bowel evacuation. You really have a lot of time to think when you are in a race this long, maybe that is why I keep asking myself so many questions? Brow sweating from stress more so than effort. Am I halucinating, did I just see a Gnome?—I definitely need some energy gels. Frustration capped as not five minutes passed before a final fully digested elimination behind a hedge the size of a garden gnome. OK…almost there…keep moving…hips are tightening, buttocks is involuntarily clenching…but this guy is still at my side like flies were on that gnome back there. Convinced my internal root cellar empty, I proceeded to bomb back down the course. I wish a bomb would fall on my head right now, that’s how much I hurt—but NORAD could intercept it before it hit the ground, DANG IT! Amazed that I had somehow held my lead throughout the ordeal, I figured surging over the last quarter of the course only made sense. I am definitely hallucinating now because I was running with someone the whole race and now he has vanished without a trace. I finished the race looking peaked. This is like a dream and there is the finishd line…but why won’t my legs move…it’s like they are in wet concrete. I washed my hands promptly after crossing the line. I cross the finish line to a cheering crowd and I bow to the roaring crowd. I won the race. I won the race…I thiink? I somehow set a course record. I somehow set a…uh oh, I think I just pooped myself as I bowed.

May the 3rd be with you in 2014!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Van Plan

I am a VW Vanagon owner. Her name is Olga and she is a beautiful brown, let's call it caramel apple tinted ‘84 Westy. I lived in Olga for an extended period after graduating College, prompting endless “van down by the river jokes.” But all joking aside, I love Olga. Not the way a man loves a woman, but in the way that a man loves a van. Trust me - It’s complicated. Our love is hard for others to understand, but what is harder to understand is the physiological bond we share.

Maddy, my human love, made a statement about Olga the other day that caused much indignation from me at time. She claimed that Olga’s health was a reflection of my own. At first I scoffed at this blatant slander. Both Olga and myself are, and always have been, perfectly healthy! Aside from the achilles problems, leaking gaskets, calf tears, ignition failures, swollen knees…ok maybe she had a point. The more the statement rattled around instead of my head the more I realized she was completely right (as always). In a way, it is almost absurd how much my own running related injuries have mirrored the timing of Olga’s gasoline powered flubs.

2013 was a pretty good year for me. I ran in the world mountain running championships, I won a few
races, and I broke the Spanish stranglehold on the podium of the Skyrunning series. Olga, too, had a pretty solid 2013, highlighted by a new clutch, buffed out paint, and new tires. But even with those new tires and shiny paint, Olga had her own scary moments. It all started when I strained my calf and DNF’d at the first stop of the Skyrunning world series: Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri. It was a pretty big setback for me, and because Olga didn’t want to be left out she had her engine removed, taken apart, and put back together to fix an persistant coolant leak. With some hard work and time off to heal our wounds both Olga and I cruised through the summer with relatively little difficulty. Of course we shared a few minor problems along the way - a swollen knee/burned out signal lights, a sprained ankle/faulty O2 sensor, etc. All of which were eerily synchronized. Then coming into November I started putting in big miles to get ready for a very long race in San Francisco, while Olga was putting in her own big miles as the weather made bike travel less appealing. It started with a puff of black smoke on a cold day which was, of course, prompted a cramped left calf. In denial, we both pushed through. Eventually Olga was putting down a smoke screen that would make Batman jealous and I was wincing during 30 minute runs. The result - another DNF, a trip to the mechanic, and a month of little driving or running. It makes my head spin thinking of how connected we really are.

Looking back on 2013 has armed me with the very odd but valuable knowledge that a 1984 Vanagon decides my running fate. It is a simple yet complicated gift which will require the utmost attention and tender care. In the last two months I have been working extra hard to take care of Olga and myself as Maddy’s words echo in my mind. So, now if Olga gets new tires then I get some new Inov-8’s. If I go to Select Physical Therapy, then Olga pays a visit to the mechanic. With both human and mechanical healers on speed dial I see see a bright future for Olga and I in 2014.

by Axel Nichols

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ultimate Direction

When Ultimate Direction first came out, I was living in Rexburg, ID. It was a hometown product and so my dad, Thomas, was sure to support it. I began using their products immediately. I remember, in the early 90’s, wearing a two bottle waist pack as I paced my dad in 100 mile races. At fourteen, it was heavy around my waist, as I muled gear up Hope Pass. Then, I moved to the Ultimate Direction handhelds, which worked better for me. The handhelds were more accessible through aid stations, but I didn't enjoy the extra weight I had to carry. 

I have found Ultimate Direction’s new Signature Packs to offer the best of both worlds! I am able to easily access my bottles and not have to worry about carrying them, in my hands, over long distances. And, Ultimate Direction has thought of everything. They have easily accessible pockets, tie downs for extra clothing, and they are light weight. Sometimes, I forget I even have the pack on my back. I have the AK pack and the Jurek pack. When I am out hiking with my kids, I can pack a lot into the Jurek pack so that my kids do not have to carry anything. I can use the AK pack when I am out on a solo adventure. I have tried other hydration companies, but I always end up using my Ultimate Direction gear, because it is so much better.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Who Doesn't Want Free Stuff?

Free stuff?  Shoes from La Sportiva and Altra, sunglasses from Smith Optics, and free race entries are all part of the prize packages.  Team Colorado's sponsor, Ultimate Direction, has even added some gear to the list!  Chris Martinez, race director of Moab's Red Hot 55k and 33k, is hosting a prediction contest on his website. Predict this year's winners correctly on GrassRoots Events' blog posting to win! 

Team Colorado will be representing at this year's Red Hot.  TC women, Brandy Erholtz and Megan Kimmel will be throwing their hats in for La Sportiva Mountain Cup points.  TC men, Jared Scott and Justin Ricks (Co-director at GrassRoots Events) will also be racing for La Sportiva Mountain Cup points against last year's Mountain Cup winner, Jordan McDougal.  Other racers in this event include, Maria Dalzot, Geoff Roes, Jason Bryant, and Ryan Woods.

TC's Alex Nichols will be competing in the 55k this year against some of ultrarunning's top competitors. Runners Mike Foote, Joe Grant, Luke Nelson, Dave James, Chris Vargo, Karl Meltzer, and Zeke Tiernan will be lining up in the longer distance this year.  In the women's event, Jodee Adams Moore, Jenn Shelton, Darcy Africa, Anita Ortiz, and Kerrie Bruxvoort will all be participating.  

Good luck next week, Team Colorado!  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Glenn Randall pulls a GR and wins the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Grand Prix Series Age Group

Our teammate, Glenn Randall, is known for going out fast (aka "Pulling a GR") in mountain races, but is also very fast on the roads. He won his age group in Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Grand Prix race series and told us a little about it.

A little over a year ago, I ran RnR Arizona. I ran a 1:07 or something, and while I was in town, I met with the Chair of Graduate Admissions for the ASU Physics Department. Given that I'm now a graduate student in the ASU Physics Department, I'll call that trip a huge success.

Later, in February, I ran the RnR Pasadena. It was an interesting race. I thought Deena Kastor was going to take over pacing responsibilities early on, I was outkicked by a Hungarian mountain runner (seriously, in Pasadena), and Peter Maksimow photoshopped a picture of me running sans head.

Said headless photo

Later still, I ran the RnR Dallas. It was my last tune up for last year's Boston Marathon, it was windy, and people weren't too stoked on doing any pacework. I ran RnR San Diego after Boston, PR'd in a 1:06:06 after blowing up, and was beaten by almost 10 minutes by some Kenyans.

A very Hungry mountain runner

Somehow, this put me going into the final race of the RnR Half Marathon Grand Prix leading my age group. So, Competitor flew me out to San Antonio. I was less than a month off of the Chicago Marathon, it was really hot, and I did not run very fast. Granted, the winning time was 1:08. We all kind of suffered out there. But the important part was I held onto my lead, so I got a prize package. I'm waiting for my sunglasses to arrive in the mail with bated breath.

Anyways, fast forwarding to now. This last finals period I did too much physics, ate whenever I felt stressed (read, ate for 2 weeks strait), didn't sleep enough, and felt too busy to run. The result of that was something like 15 or 20 lbs of weight gain in 2 weeks. My body doesn't realize I live in AZ, so it wants the extra insulation apparently, because even putting in some fairly serious miles, I can't get it off. Anyways, I entered RnR AZ this year carrying extra lbs and having done not enough speed work. So, I ran my slowest ever half marathon that wasn't on Pikes Peak. But it was an exciting day. About 5 miles in, I heard sirens and prepared to leap out of the way as an unmarked police car flew past me on the course. Half a mile or so later I saw a truck surrounded by flashing lights and police officers with guns drawn. So, I moved to the other side of the road and kept running.

2013 US Mountain Running Championships, Cranmore, NH                            photo: Joe Viger
As for my schedule, last year, the evening after Boston, I promised myself that if I was healthy and Boston would have me, I would be there this year. So now to see whether Boston will have me. And for somebody who sees midterms as a mere blip on the horizon, planning that far in advance is a lot.

Friday, January 17, 2014

H.U.R.T. 100: A Barney's Prerace Review

Team Colorado's Brandon Stapanowich left his dog, Charlie Brown, in Colorado and took a sail boat to the Big Island out west to compete in the H.U.R.T. 100 Trail Race. That's 100 miles with 25,00 ft of elevation gain on an island! Here is what this Barney had to say before the race:

Aloha and howzit! As you can see I've been working on my Pidgin bruddah!

Climbing to the Pillboxes on Lanikai with the Mokuluas in the background. This is the Pidgin he is talking about, bruddah! 

Oddly enough, tapering here has been tough. As expected, the beaches are fantastic but the big surprise for me has been the mountains. Everywhere I look, there are mountains I want to run! Believe me when I say that the ridges of Koolau Range are more numerous than those of a Ruffles potato chip!

To cross…or not to cross!?!?!? Howzit?
The Ultimate Direction pack is going to be my quiver of calories on race day. Tried it sans shirt for the first time today, with no chaffing issues whatsoever. I may have to resort to this strategy on Saturday as it's more humid than a hot yoga studio here!

Also, while doing some recon on the HURT course, I found this guy who was  contemplating life's greatest question. 

Follow Brandon as he hurts, we know Charlie will be following!

Go Team iP!!!! Arm panties rule!!!! Where's my ball???

Wednesday, January 15, 2014



2013 was a BIG year for Team Colorado. We added some fast guys to the team of already fast guys, we found ourselves a Chef l'équipe who still has yet to cook a team meal, we've made championship teams and then won championships, we've smiled on many podiums, received a host of awards and once again realized that despite the best training plans and quality miles sometimes it's just not your day.

We joined Facebook (Team Colorado, like us!) and Twitter (@runteamcolorado, follow us!) and even The Prez got himself his very own Facebook have to wonder if Nora will go though an identity crisis when she ceases to be tagged in mustached & bearded photos?! 

We begin 2014 with two new team sponsors: Ultimate Direction has agreed to keep us hydrated in 2014 and Select Physical Therapy has agreed to TRY to keep us injury free (good luck!). Perhaps our biggest accomplishment in 2013 was the welcoming of seven fantastically talented women to Team Colorado. Stevie Kremer, Kim Dobson, Michele Yates, Brandy Erholtz, Lisa Goldsmith, Laura Haefli and Megan Kimmel make up some of the best female runners in the state and nation and in their short time on the team have added countless podium finishes, championships, trail runner of the year awards and even 1.33 babies!  

Looking back, here are some of the high's and low's of 2013 along with what these ladies are most excited for in 2014!  

Looking forward, we are honored to have all the most beautiful ladies of trail/mountain/ultra running on this team and to the companies that believe in us and even go so far as to give us stuff. 

Stevie Kremer

We welcomed Stevie "Sunshine" Kremer in September of 2013 and in 4 short months she went on to win more races than The Prez has mustache hairs! We learned that she LOVES humpday as much as mixing and matching nuts in the bulk section of the grocery rebel, you! Her recent fame has led to autograph requests, lunatic CO screaming fans and even some crazy European runners nearly peeing on her during a race. Stevie's highs made headlines and her low was still so good we made her a headline.  

Here is what Stevie had to say:

"The High Point of 2013 was winning the Mont Blanc Marathon in Chamonix, France", says Stevie.  Stevie didn't just win, she finished in 4:03:16 which was just shy of 22 minutes faster than Emilie Foresburg, the next fastest female of the day and good enough for the new course record!  

Stevie est si rapide!

Stevie is the star of this film: Marathon du Mont-Blanc teaser.

Like Santa Claus, laughing all the way

Stevie says this year's low point was "the moment or the 3 hours and 27 minutes worth of moments when I realized that sometimes my body just doesn't want to move any faster and there's nothing you can do about it!" This was Stevie's reality at the 2013 JungFrau Marathon, coming off a win in 2012 she still finished 5th overall and only 6 1/2 mins behind the winner. Because if finishing 5th is the worst you could do, you are still doing pretty freakin' good in our book, Stevie.

100% confident you still made your "BIG GEEK Dad" super proud!

In 2014, Stevie is most excited to "continue running on different trails, through different mountains, hopefully in different countries, while meeting new people everywhere I go! And the icing on the cake would be doing all that and performing well! Happy New Year!"

Yes, Happy New Year indeed, because her future is looking bright. So, bright that she swam with these pigment-challenged mannequins (while wearing glasses) and was invited by Willie Wonka to his Chocolate Factory.
"I got the golden ticket…and I'm dressed like an elf!!!!"

Brandy Erholtz

   Prego and stilling winning       photo:
Team Colorado welcomed Brandy "Mile-a-Minute" Erholtz in October of 2013 just after she gave birth (a wee bit early) to little Asher, the youngest member of the team. Brandy spent most of 2013 making a little human but did manage to pull off a few pretty impressive finishes despite having to run for two. At the end of April and the end of Brandy's first trimester she claimed first and second at the the Cheyenne Mountain 25K Trail race, she was first and Asher got second by a nose.

She went on to finish 2nd
(and 3rd) at the Mount Washington Road Race, an unrelenting 4,500m climb over 7.6 miles, this was roughly 1/2 way through her pregnancy at 19 weeks! Admittedly a bit slower than in previous years but I don't think many people carry their babies in races and still end up on the podium. Brandy continued to run but didn't race much after Mt. Washington. Here's her take on 2013...

"The high point of my year was definitely the arrival of little Asher! He is a blessing and teaching me things every day!  The day of his delivery was probably the scariest of my life as he had to be resuscitated and we spent the 29 days in the NICU", says Brandy, really quickly.  "My black lab also ran and won her first race with me which was pretty fun! She peed in the pools meant for drinking afterwards which was really funny."

Brandy didn't recall a low point of the year, but we'd guess she wouldn't want to go through Asher's delivery again. As for 2014 Brandy is, "looking forward to getting back into shape and racing. I am currently working on a race schedule some goals. I know my biggest goal is to make the U.S. Mountain running team. I would also like to set PR's at Mt. Washington and Pike Peak Ascent and run in the North Face 50 next December. More to come!" More? Who has time for more than that "little" list, Brandy? We are looking forward to seeing Brandy out on the trails again soon!  

Kim Dobson

Kim's hat trick! Pikes Peak Ascent 2013
Kim “Queen of Uphill” Dobson joined Team Colorado in August of 2013 after a disappointing injury early in the season ended most of her racing plans for the year. Despite her injury Kim was able to out-hike the rest of us throughout the summer leaving her fit enough to pull off her third consecutive win of the Pikes Peak Ascent to which she will quickly underplay her achievement  with the disclaimer that it’s really more of a grind than a running race.  Well call it what you want, but a win is a win and a win on Pikes Peak is a title many of us have been chasing for years. Even the Hypoxic Marmot has yet to pull it off! 

We spent some time over the holidays chatting with this busy lady and here is what Kim had to say about 2013:

Photo: Terri "Mom" Sommer

“The low point happened pretty early in the season at the Vail Mountain Games when I injured myself during the first race of the summer season, the Vail Pass Half Marathon (early June). I stepped in a hole and strained my hamstring. Unfortunately, the injury was bad enough that I was unable to finish the race and it subsequently ended my racing season for the year." 

It's all smiles until the poles come out of the bag and then
you had better watch out!

The only good part of Kim’s injury was that she was forced to slow down and Amy “half-as-fast” Perez was finally able to keep Kim in her sights (sometimes she really was just a tiny dot on the trail ahead) for much of the summer. Not many people get the chance to run with Kim all summer because she is really just way too fast. Kim’s dad is still trying to figure out how much weight she needs to carry in a pack on her back to slow her down enough for ordinary mortals to keep up with her…suffice to say, I think she could carry both Axel and The Prez before Amy could really hang with her. 

“The high point of the year was finding out that I was pregnant”, says Dobson. Now roughly 15 weeks along, Kim and Corey are sharing their joy and excitement of their future mountain running Bronco fan with the world. They are anxiously awaiting their new little blessing in early June.

It goes without saying that Kim is most excited to meet her new little human which The Prez and Amy are vying for naming privileges. Certainly if they have a girl, she will be named Amy. The Prez is pushing hard for Usarmy, Jr. or lil' Peter, but the jokes might be a little too easy with these two.  

Kim is also really looking forward to crewing for her husband, Corey, at the Leadville 100 in August. This will be his debut at the 100 mile distance right after his debut as a father all the while debuting as a doctor…seems Corey doesn’t really like to sleep. I think it is safe to say that we will not see Kim at Pikes Peak this year but who knows, if anyone can pull off being in two places at one time it would be Kim. 

2013 Ascent top ladies claiming their very pointy prizes.

Laura Haefeli

"Still not afraid to lead!"
photo: Joe Viger
Laura "Honey Bee" Haefeli joined the team in October...Team Colorado was having some serious lady luck this fall.  Laura spent her year camping, flying, snorkeling, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, climbing 14'ers in addition to enough running to land her on some pretty prestegious podiums. All of this while working hard to keep things sweet on the Haefeli Honey Farm:   It was really fun catching up with this busy lady as she shares the highs and more highs of the year being not just her accomplishments but the achievements of her sons as well.  Laura's recap is here: 

"2014 was about family, family, family and more family. I was happy to still be in the top 10 (at my age!) and 2nd master at the World Qualifying Race & Mountain Championships at Mt. Cranmore in New Hampshire, but even happier that my sons were able to go and compete and get a real taste of what mom does!  I believe they were third and fourth juniors, maybe fourth and fifth?  Here is a picture of us after the race."  Brandy, can you imagine when Asher is bigger than you? Awesome photo, Laura!

How can you not bee happy with two body guards like that?
Laura mentions, in a bit of an aside, her excitement with her WIN at Mt. Washington in June 2013 ahead of our very own Brandy, win at the Barr Trail Mountain race as well as the Creede Mountain Run. Maybe there's something special in her honey, I'd say that's quite a year.

Haefeli beeating all the women up to the top of Mt. Washington

"Still not afraid to lead the WHOLE WAY!"
photo: Joe Viger

Not quick to mention anything negative, little miss honey bee herself cracked a rib (probably wrestling bees) in March which was a bit of a drag but happily reports that it only took about 4 weeks of rest to heal.  Laura says, "Happy New Year!!! Another year gone (waaaay too fast!) and another year coming! Looking forward to another great year with family, friends, great running, and great racing!"  

Michele Yates

Our very own "Bomb 'chele" is also a bombshell and certainly didn’t have any trouble delivering Team Colorado some explosive performances in 2013. Michele “Bomb 'chele” Yates joined the team in August just before she tackled the Pikes Peak Marathon, the 2013 Trail Marathon Championship Event. Michele finished 5th in a stacked international field coming off an injury which little did we know at the time but that 5th place finish would prove to be one of the lowest finishes for Michele for the rest of her hefty year! Here’s her recap…

"I'm going bear hunting!"

“This year’s high was definitely my win at the Run Rabbit Run 100. I came into the race as an underdog but was determined to start strong and race smart.” Michele did just that, she beat all but 6 men, raced through snow, rain, wind, sun, warm and cold…you know, every season in 20 hours, wrestled a bear (sort of) and managed to outrun all of the other ladies for a win and big check for both her and her charity. Yep, I’d call that a good day!

Take the good with the bad. Michele said her low of the year came with an injury at the IAU Trail World Championships in Wales. Michele travelled to Llanrwst, North Wales to race a field of 120 athletes from 18 different countries. Sweltering heat and a really challenging course compounded with an injury during the race made for a rough day. Michele toughed it out and finished the race and hopefully was able to nurse some of her wounds at the Bragdy’r Nant local brewery. Doesn’t beer make everything better? Or is that bacon? 

Michele isn’t wasting any time with her race plans for 2014. In fact she is likely already thinking of her taper plans for the Rocky Raccoon 100 on February 1st. We sure hope we finish this post by then! Rocky Raccoon will be the USA 100 Mile Trail Championship Race for 2014, so I’m sure the competition will be as fierce as the alligators in the park. Good luck Michele, we will be rooting for you to race well and not get eaten by a gator!          

Megan Kimmel

photo: Rickey Gates
North Face 50        photo:
Team Colorado welcomed Megan Kimmel in September of 2013.  In the few short months on the team, Megan has managed to give the 628 people living in Silverton, CO a caffeine buzz at least once a week, rolled more vegan breakfast burritos than Brandon "Birthday Suit" Stapanowich ran miles in training for his next 100 miler and managed to get all 5 stars on trip advisor for the best caffeine buzz in town. While not brewing coffee and making healthy eats at her cafe, ( Megan pulled off a 3rd place finish at the USATF Trail Half Marathon Championships in Moab, UT, as well as top 10 at the North Face 50 mile race in San Francisco, CA. I guess you may as well go for the toughest races you can find if you are only going to do a couple! Well done!

Megan says in 2014 she is most looking forward to, "LESS INSANITY!" Team Colorado is looking forward to a good buzz in 2014!

Rachael Cuellar

Team Colorado rang in the new year by adding another lady to an already amazing group of women. Welcome, Rachael "I need a nickname" Cuellar to the team...formal introduction coming soon. Rachel, like Kim, spent much of the year sidelined due to an injury but learned that riding a bike can be great fun, raising a little girl isn't as easy as Angelina Jolie makes it look and the amount of free time you have when you can't run can easily be filled with housework. Here is Rachael's take on the year:

GoG 10 mile…and the Rockettes!  photo:
"The highlight of the year was definintely my 4th place finish at Garden of the Gods 10 mile race", says Cuellar. The Garden 10 mile is often referred to as the hardest 1/2 marathon you will ever run.  Stacked with competition due to recent increases in prize money, the Garden now attracts professional runners from all over the US and even some from overseas so being the 4th lady to cross that finish line is no easy task.  

"Unfortunately, two weeks later I ended up dropping from the Mt. Evans Ascent with what turned out to be a season ending sacral stress fracture. That was certainly the low of the year, ending my racing plans early in the summer," says Cuellar.  

Rachael is looking forward to SLOWLY building up her fitness to avoid any additional injuries and racing again throughout Colorado and New Mexico and possibly some other states!  Rachael being one of the newer moms on the team is excited for Ammorie to meet Asher and baby dates are as fun in your 30's as they were when you couldn't talk and staring was perfectly normal.  

Welcome Rachael, we are looking forward to seeing what's in store for you in 2014!


Lisa Goldsmith

Lisa "Gold in Them Thar Hills" Goldsmith is a founding father (founding mother, perhaps?) of the team, joining the inaugural ranks in August 2013. Lisa had an unavoidable low with a bothersome knee, but hoppy beers make her feel so much better! Injuries seem to be a common problem with us runners, don't they?

Lisa laid it out for us:

"THE SURGERY THAT NEVER HAPPENED!!!! THAT was a high point :). AND, I have been training for Boston rather conservatively, but successfully thus far, Woo-Hoo!  2014 IS starting off okee dokee in the running game that I play."

"The absolute highlight of my 2013 was, duh, going to ITALY for some Dolce Vita! I rode my (rented BMC racing bike) 2-wheeler nearly 400 miles winding up, down, and all around the fabulous wine country terrain of Tuscany with good friends who were unrelentingly funny and who seemed to have an insatiable appetite for The Best wines findable (they brought lots of dough) - and, SOMEHOW made it back on the bike every morning for a day of pedaling to our hearts content and always game for the village town sprints and hammer sessions to the top of Monte-this and Monte-that…"

"2013 actually started lowly with a BAD BAD BAD ankle sprain a week before a planned marathon in Carlsbad, CA...looking back, I just never got back ON.  When I was finally good again, I made the executive decision to only run uphill, ONLY and not nearly the volume of past seasons...Which fully, and unsurprisingly culminated in my slowest Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak Ascents....So, THAT experiment didn't work. ALL things can be viewed as learning experiences to improve on, right?! Oh, and there was that inflamed knee thing that lasted 3 months... I bow to cortisone....1 shot gave me the feeling of my youth, indestructible, so I promptly put in an amazing session of lunges just because...A guy at the gym, actually said to me, "Wow, if I did that, I wouldn't be able to work tomorrow!" I says, "WHO says I'll be able to walk tomorrow??!!!"  But, alas I could walk 'tomorrow' and tho my knees DON'T feel like they did even a coupla years ago. I have partnerder with my hard ass roller and am getting my miles in (ie: keeping IT bands 'loose' verrrry important to happy knees)."

"I'm looking forward to my last year as a 40-something'er; focusing my running energies on my 2 favorite events: The Boston Marathon and Pikes Peak Ascent and enjoying lots of Hoppy beers along the way. YA."

Dear 2014, 

It will be ALL highs this year! 

Yours truly,

Team Colorado