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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Team Colorado reviews Swiftwick Socks

Team Colorado was lucky enough to test out some 100% 'merican made Swiftwick Socks, and with all the running we are doing, boy did we put them to the test. Some were skeptical, others have to guard them from significant others. Some just careened off into frozen creeks and hoped for the best.

Justin Ricks
Too fast for the frame, Justin Ricks shows off his swiftness and his Swiftwicks!          photo:

For the past few years I have been wearing toe socks but was never really happy with the durability and material. Then a few months ago I received a few pairs of socks from Swiftwick and ever since I haven't wanted to wear anything else. I love the feel of the lightweight Olefin fibers and compression aspects of the socks. I run in a minimal shoe and this sock works perfect because it gives me a hardly-there feeling. I even caught my wife stealing them when I wasn't looking, so she could wear them to work. Swiftwick has the best socks on the market and I would recommend them to anyone!

Glenn Randall

Earlier this year, I realized something about my socks. I realized that my socks were more comfortable and less likely to cause blisters if they were inside out. The seam across the top of the toes in most socks seems custom built to cause blisters, and most performance socks have a more pronounced seam than cheap socks.

When I told other mountain runners about wearing my socks inside out, many of them shrugged with a “Do what you have to do” look. But everybody who runs on Swiftwick informed me that if I had to wear my socks inside out, I was wearing the wrong socks. It peaked my curiosity, but I wrote it off to people trying to give their sponsors a good word.

Then Team Colorado President Peter "The Prez" Maksimow asked if I wanted to test out some Swiftwick socks and write a review on them. He explained that I’d get free socks out of the deal, so I agreed. I received a few pairs of Swiftwicks, Vibe and Aspire. I was somewhat skeptical of the claim on the packaging that these are “The best socks you will ever wear, guaranteed,” so I decided to hold them to that standard as I tried them out. If you’re going to make ridiculous claims, I will hold you to them.

To make a long story short, these are the best socks I have ever worn. My only hesitation in stating they are the best sock I will ever wear is that the Swiftwick website lists several other types of socks. They are the first socks I have ever worn that are more comfortable when worn correctly than when they are worn inside out, which really shouldn’t be a compliment, but sadly, is. Comparing them to other socks, the best way to describe Swiftwick Vibes may be “They won’t ruin your day. That is up to you.” I really wish I knew of some other quality sock to compare Swiftwicks to, because they are a good enough sock that they deserve competition. They just don’t have any. They are like the Harlem Globetrotters of socks, and make it look like everybody else has tried to be the Washington Generals.

Durability:  I’ve done the vast majority of my running in the last two months in two pairs of Swiftwick Vibes. A decent amount of it has been on trails, but since World Mountain Running Championships, it’s almost all been on sidewalks and bike paths. Cheap socks would be tattered into bits by now. The socks don’t look new anymore, but I can’t find any signs that they are about to get holes.

Comfort: I’m going to lump this in with being blister free, because for socks, they are really one and the same. The fact that I can wear these socks as the designer intended them to be worn says a lot. In my first four marathons, I always finished with at least one blister, and have had marathons in which blisters have popped before the finish. I recently ran the Chicago Marathon in Swiftwick Vibes, and if the rest of my body felt like my feet did, I would have had the greatest race ever. They don’t move around on my feet; they don’t have massive seams in awkward places. Somebody put a lot of thought into these socks so you don’t have to.

Compression: I don’t really notice compression one way or the other. I can say the Vibes don’t overcompress. I know some people are sold on compression. I just ran in some other socks to see if I could notice a difference, and I guess there is a little difference, but not much of one. Granted, it was only a short run. And maybe my feet are just too calloused from a lifetime of running in sub-par socks to really feel compression.

Moisture wicking:  I have one huge question for Swiftwick: Where does my foot sweat go? Because it isn’t on my feet or in my socks.

Just to check whether I’m glorifying these socks unfairly, I took a break from writing this review and did a short run in my previous favorite socks. Things Swiftwick socks do better: moisture wicking, less foot tickling from awkward seams, less moving around on my feet, compression probably makes my feet feel a little better after a run. Things my old socks do better: I’m still trying to figure that out.

Glenn Randall at the 2013 World Mountain Running Championships…NO BLISTERS…and they were not even inside out!                                                                   photo: Rich Bolt
Jared Scott

Those Swiftwick socks held up pretty damn well. Not a single hole to speak of and they were comfortable after getting soaked in the radioactive Moabian Government superfund cleanup site river runoff.

Jared Scott taking 2nd the at the USATF Half Marathon Trail Champs in Moab, UT…yes, there is a toxic cleanup site near there.                   photo: Rich Bolt/USMRT
Big McD and The Prez being loving friends…and rockin' the Swiftwick Aspire 12             photo: Nora Duane

Peter Maksimow

Recently, I was running in the Siberian cold of the first Colorado winter storm. The temps were in the single digits and so, being as skinny as I am, I was moving at a rapid rate of speed in order to keep my skin color from turing blue--although, it is a nice color. 

As I scampered through the snow, I found myself rocketing towards a small, ice covered bridge at an angle and speed that was not conducive to reaching the other side. Rather than cutting a sharp corner and possibly having my feet leave the earth and my hip meet the bridge, I opted for creek below. I broke through the ice and my feet discovered the icy water underneath. Happy that I did not take a hip busting spill, I jumped from the water and pondered whether I should turn back or continue on with the hour left of running I had before me. Unfortunately, I did not have Tauntau, like Luke Skywalker did in Star Wars, to cut open and crawl inside of, so I decided to continue to run. Well, being a male in his mid-30's with health coverage and a car that was paid for, I had nothing to lose.

Luckily, for my feet, I had the Swiftwick Pursuit Four, a Merino wool compression sock that keeps it warm even when it is cold outside. The Australia Merino Wool fibers, that are able to absorb up to 30% of their weight in moisture, are the most hydrophilic of all natural fibers and allowed my feet to feel warm and dry on the rest of the run. The snug fit and compression cuff on the ankle keeps my Achilles warm and stable while absorbing all of that annoying snow that finds its way into the top of my shoes and melts.Thanks to the sheep that supplied the material and Swiftwick for turning it into a sock I was able to continue the run and even have warm feet the whole time. I think I will keep these on the whole winter!

Not a winter picture, but a Mt. Washington Road Race picture with the Swiftwick Aspire 12 on. Peter says, "Hey look, I can see Vermont!"     photo: Far North

Neil McDonagh
Top ten “Colorado’s Best Smelling Men” (unofficial)

Damn, I smell good!                            photo: Steve Glass

I consider myself a ‘no-frills’ runner. My hi-tech watch is a Sony calculator model and I haven’t kept a training log in over 5 years. When I started seeing every Lycra clad endurance fanatic jaunting around in retro high socks, I yawned. But I had a dilemma; training for the Olympic Trials Marathon while living in the desert outside of Phoenix would require some sort of training adaptations. Twenty plus mile runs seemed to be taking an unusually taxing toll on my legs. I just wasn’t bouncing back the way I had hoped. The desert heat left me feeling flat for days following hard training sessions.

While out of town running a big race I saw a Swiftwick booth at the pre-race expo. Desperate at this point for any relief from zapping efforts in the desert, I purchased a pair of Aspire Twelve’s. Still skeptical I gave them the full blast treatment right into heavy training. Around the two-hour mark I constantly found progressively unavoidable lower leg cramping to interrupt steady pace long runs. Admittedly the sensation with the Aspire Twelve’s was unique, but what blew me away was the absence of any noticeable lower leg fatigue. That alone would have made me a believer and firmly on the Swiftwick bandwagon. Bonus benefits included significant decreased recovery time from hard and long effort training runs. I still don’t keep a training log but you’ll never catch me without Swiftwick’s on a long run!

Big McD on his way to a Greenland 25k victory and new course record…swift wicking it                  photo: Nora Duane

That said…get yourself some SWIFTWICKS!!! They will make you run (and smell) better.