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Brandon Stapanowich's Blog (76)

Birthday Run on the Aspen Four Pass Loop

     Taking a page from Sean O'Day's 36 mile birthday run from Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek, I wanted to commemorate the anniversary of my first day on earth with a similar monumental undertaking. Fortunately, being born at the tail end of September offers a literal lifetime of opportunities to celebrate during the spectacular changing of the guards as summer gives way to fall. A…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on September 27, 2011 at 8:23pm — 2 Comments

Phantom Menacing Pain and the Great Salt Lick: A Pikes Peak Marathon Race Report

     First off I want to sincerely thank Tim Bergsten and Brian McCarrie from PikesPeakSports.us, Ron Ilgen from the Triple Crown of Running, and Colorado Sports and Spine Centers for sponsoring some fantastic running experiences this summer. Last weekend topped it all off with a couple of the most memorable days I've had since living in the Springs. But like a lot of fantastic memories, it didn't begin, or end, quite the way I expected. In fact, when I woke Saturday morning, I was doubtful…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on August 28, 2011 at 11:30am — 5 Comments

(3) 2-1...The Final Countdown

     It's funny how the little things like an article or a picture, casually discovered in a magazine, can impact your life years later. Quite a while back, when I was still in North Carolina, I recall searching for the next great running challenge and happened upon an article about the Pikes Peak Marathon in Runner's World. Here are a couple memorable highlights from that write…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on August 15, 2011 at 8:00am — 3 Comments

"I Just Felt Like Running"

     So chances are if you are reading this, you have at the very least some superficial interest in running (at most a sick obsession like myself). So if I were to ask you to list some runners that inspire, Scott Jurek, Yiannis Kouros, Usain Bolt, Paula Radcliffe, or even Matt Carpenter may be on your list. For me though, there is one runner who surpasses all of these great athletes. Though he holds no distance or speed records, an Academy Award winning film and a New York Times Bestselling…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on August 11, 2011 at 8:30pm — 7 Comments

Summertime: The Magnificent Seven and the Epic BBQ at Altitude

     I'm not a Colorado native. So as a North Carolinian by birth, who claims the mountains of Asheville as my first real "home", the word summertime conjures up warm east coast memories. Memories of firefly shows in a meadow at dusk, testing my bravery on a rope swing that drops into a cool swimming hole, hunting berries- black, red, and blue on Black Balsam Knob, and leisurely tubing down the meandering Davidson River. Later in grad school, summertime in Johnson City Tennessee (apart from…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on August 1, 2011 at 9:59pm — 5 Comments

Keepin' My Pancakes on the Rocks: Food for Thought

     I enjoyed some real solid training under my feet during this past week and have had a nice streak of running since the SUMMER ROUNDUP. For the Tuesday/Thursday Sunrise Strider tempo runs and interval workouts, I'm happily welcoming the return of my pre San Juan 50 form. Riding this high, I was also able to work in a great running weekend around Pikes Peak. Saturday offered some good time on the backside as I knocked out 21 miles with CRUD as we tagged the PANCAKE ROCKS and then…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on July 24, 2011 at 9:30pm — 1 Comment

Summer Roundup 12K Race Report

     I really wasn't sure I was ready for this. My training leading up to the July 10th Roundup had been even less regimented and more haphazard than usual. I'd found reaching a "recovered state" whatever that meant, was as elusive as reaching enlightenment or Nirvana. Even if I had reached this heralded state of recuperation, racing a 12k requires a tremendously different mindset than what I'd been accustomed to over the past months. It meant efforting up 3.6ish miles of climbing and…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on July 15, 2011 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

CHANGING: The ephemeral nature of life and running

     Running with the recommended cadence of 180 steps a minute equates to a mere 0.33 seconds of stance time per step. In an hour's run, that's 10,800 DIFFERENT points of contact your foot makes with the ground. To keep up, bodies are go through internal changes to paradoxically remain the same and maintain homeostasis. Fine tuning energy production, regulating body temperature, redistributing blood flow, all so we can keep on keepin' on. That simple act of running sure involves a ton of…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on July 8, 2011 at 7:58am — 3 Comments

'Cause its a Bitter Sweet Symphony That's Life (and Ultrarunning)

Friday June 17, 2011

     I took the day off from work to head down to LAKE CITY, CO for the SAN JUAN SOLSTICE 50 MILE RUN. Joining me would be a friend, Fahren, who serendipitously had connections to a house in Lake City, and two other relative newbies to ultrarunning like myself- Brendan Trimboli and Aaron Marks (both doing the Leadville 100 in August). The four of us, Fahren's cocker spaniel/maltese name Izzi, and my lab Charlie Brown loaded (just barely) into my…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on June 22, 2011 at 10:00pm — 4 Comments


     As I mentioned in a previous post, my objective for the 1st event of the TRIPLE CROWN SERIES at the GARDEN OF THE GODS was to put forth a solid effort , NOT RACE. Preparation for the run was nearly flawless. Pre-race massage two days before, check. Easy bike and swim the day before, check. In bed the night before at 10 pm, check. The morning of the event, I even got a great warm up on the two miles or so from my house to the start. Talk about convenience! Arriving…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on June 14, 2011 at 9:22pm — 2 Comments

The Taper, The Race, and The Gambler

     My taper, part planned, part circumstantial, began last week. With the upcoming GARDEN OF THE GODS 10 MILER on June 12th, I wanted to cut my quantity of training while still maintaining quality in speed/tempo workouts. And, just in case I got a wild hare to squeeze in a big run, a weekend Neuro-Developmental Treatment continuing ed course necessitated my greatly reduced training volume.

     Ostensibly, reducing training during tapering seems like a pretty basic principle. Just…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on June 9, 2011 at 9:00pm — No Comments

DANGER: Hay loading ahead

    There's a popular saying offered among athletes in the period immediately preceding a race: "They hay is in the barn." In essence, take confidence in your training because panic or last minute heroics will not help and can often hinder performance.


     Well last week was I was a hay-loading machine (perhaps not as good as these guys though).…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on June 3, 2011 at 8:00pm — 3 Comments


     I've never won the lottery, come home with a Porsche from a mall giveaway, or even managed to avoid sidelining injuries in my running career. But LUCKY is really the only way to describe my situation. LUCKY, in so many respects. And while I'll admit to being bit superstitious with odd things like deoderant and chapstick, these rituals are ultimately inconsequential to my good fortune.

     Ok, bear with me for a moment while my emotional Irish heritage commandeers this blog. Grab…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on May 27, 2011 at 10:40pm — 4 Comments

Running Backwards with Time

     So last Saturday I got in a 20ish mile trail run. To leave it at that, however, would be a great disservice to the monumental training day that it was.

     At dawn I met 12 or so CRUD runners at the Waldo Canyon trail head. The instructions were to get some altitude training by heading up Long's Ranch Rd, then Bob's, then Barr and the rest was to be determined. While the weekend before was my recovery weekend, a large number of the CRUDers ran the Collegiate Peaks 50 mile-…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on May 18, 2011 at 9:30pm — 2 Comments

CROSS-TRAINING: "They say if you love some running, then you have got to set it free..."

     Okay, so its possible I my have fudged that quote just a little, but its true nevertheless. And in this week's blog, "setting running free" is my euphemism for CROSS-TRAINING. 

     I've never been real good with goodbyes. In fact, I have a distinct memory of childhood me stowing away in the trunk of the family van while my parents packed up to leave my grandparents' house. "If they can't find me, they won't leave. We'll get to stay with grammy and gramps forever!" Upon being…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on May 11, 2011 at 10:00pm — 5 Comments

Be Here Now: A Lesson from the Garden of the Gods

     Be Here Now. Its a mantra that crept its way into my head after listening to a Mason Jennings song years ago. Since then, I've also been periodically reminded of this exact phrase in the not-so-routine yoga classes that I frequent. At first glance, its a simple idea. However consistent application, like Othello (a board game I grew up playing with my brother) "takes a minute to learn, a lifetime to master." At times, my stream of consciousness at work seems to align most closely with…


Added by Brandon Stapanowich on May 4, 2011 at 10:30pm — 3 Comments

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