Great Local Support for the Black Squirrel Half

Colorado Physical Therapy SpecialistsWe are very pleased to welcome back Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists as the presenting sponsor of the second running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the seventh running of the Blue Sky Marathon. In addition to supporting Gnar Runner events for the last seven years, Colpts have also been fixing runners here in the Fort Collins community since 2007. Partners Terry Gebhardt and Tim Flynn are both accomplished trail and ultrarunners and know just how important pain-free bipedal movement is for those who love to run.

We are also fortunate to be receiving support from the Fort Collins branch of Cornerstone Home Lending. Broker Jim Hunter and his team have been supporting the local running scene for years, in addition to getting people into mortgages they understand and can afford, so we’re excited to be teaming up with the Hunter Team again.

Our footwear sponsor for both the Black Squirrel and Blue Sky Marathon is Altra Zero Drop out of Salt Lake City, UT. The brand is currently taking the running world by storm with their innovative foot-shaped shoe designs. Winners of both races will be receiving a free pair of Altras and we’ll have demos available to try out on race day.

Local trail and ultrarunners Cat Speights and Justin Liddle have once again stepped up to show their support for the Fort Collins trail running community with sponsorship of both the half and full marathons.

Justin Liddle (DMD), an accredited and trusted Fort Collins prosthodontist, specializes in a wide variety of complex dental treatments. Dr Catherine Speights is the go-to small animal vet in the running community (and beyond). Her practice, Countryside Animal Hospital, specializes in personalized care of dogs and cats in a home-like setting. Look for both Cat and Justin near the front of their respective fields.

New this year, we’ve partnered with the Fort Collins Running Club, and couldn’t be more excited about it. The club has been promoting fitness and running in the local community since 1971. Consider taking out an FCRC membership and enjoy seven free Tortoise & Hare races from Oct to April, a free subscription to Colorado Runner Magazine, local running store discounts, and discounts to both the Horsetooth Half Marathon ($20 off your registration, which is the same cost as an annual membership) and the FireKracker 5k.

Product support for this year’s half and marathon races will be coming from a host of other great local companies:

Runners Roost Fort Collins donates race equipment and product prizes. Windsor-based Succeed! will stock our aid stations with S!Caps electrolytes, while Durango-based Tailwind Nutrition will be providing on course sports drink. And our post race BBQ will include nutritious salads from Whole Foods Fort Collins, baked goodies from Great Harvest Bread Co., and malted beverages from Boulder Beer. Salus Natural Body Care will provide goodies for the race bags and Kristel Liddle will be providing post-race massages.

Please consider supporting our sponsors – they are all local to Fort Collins and the Mountain West, and we couldn’t do this without their kind help.

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Injury Prevention Advice from Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists

This article from our top Blue Sky Marathon and Black Squirrel Half Marathon sponsor, Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, discusses the key stabilizing muscles for runners and what you can do to strengthen them to help decrease your chance of injury.

Runners commonly suffer from overuse injuries such as knee pain (“runner’s knee”, IT band syndrome, patellar tendinitis), achilles tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis. Despite the variety of injuries that afflict runners, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk and keep your running pain free.

Some of you may already be doing core exercises to help with your running. The back and abdominal muscles commonly strengthened with core exercises are an integral part of any run-strengthening program. However, ensuring adequate strength of the hip abductor and hip external rotator muscles are frequently overlooked. These hip muscles are important for stabilizing your knee each time your foot hits the ground. Too much movement of the knee can result in pain under and around the knee cap, or pain in the IT band or patellar tendon.

The hip abductors and external rotators are also needed for controlling excessive foot pronation (foot rolling inward). Contrary to popular belief, foot pronation is not a bad thing. It is important to assist with shock absorption when your foot hits the ground. However, too much pronation may be a contributing factor to overuse running injuries. Excessive pronation can be controlled by orthotics or a motion controlled/stability shoe. It can also be controlled by strengthening the hip abductors and external rotators as well as muscles of the foot and ankle. If the excessive movement can be controlled by strengthening these muscles, it generally makes more sense to help our body do what it was designed to do and strengthen the muscles as opposed to using an external support.

As you can see, weakness in the hip muscles will result in decreased stability in the hip, knee, ankle and foot. In addition to good strength, you must also have good control. Think of good control like a complex engine that constantly makes minor adjustments to function at peak performance. When your foot strikes the ground, your hip muscles must quickly contract to control your leg motion without you thinking about it. A loss of control can set you up for a multitude of overuse injuries. The good news is you can dramatically reduce your risk of injury by improving your hip muscle strength and control.

So how do you know if you have weakness or poor control of these hip muscles? Performing a single leg mini squat is a simple test that you can do to give you an idea of how much hip control you have.

The following video shows how to perform a single leg mini squat.

Good hip control is demonstrated by maintaining level hips and your knee moving directly over your foot without collapsing inward. If you do not have good control doing the single leg mini squat (a static exercise), you likely have less control with more dynamic exercises such as running.

Your physical therapist or personal trainer can help you determine the best exercises for your hip muscles. Visit ColPTs.com for an example of a good dynamic core and hip exercise to help you continue running injury free.

Drs. Tim Flynn and Terry Gebhardt are physical therapists and owners of Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists.

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Quad Rock 2014 Post-Race Wrap

Jack Jewel

Jack Jewel. All images: Erin Bibeau

A huge and sincere congratulations to everyone who came out to toe the line last weekend, from the ultra veterans to the trail racing first-timers who chose to make Quad Rock their first 25 or 50 mile trail race.

We had perhaps the best weather yet for the third running of the Quad Rock Trail Races, and while it still wasn’t perfect, with a couple of afternoon rain showers, we’re getting closer every year. Next year we’re shooting for all day bluebird skies.

Becky Wheerler - Quad Rock 2014 Champ

Becky on her way to setting a new course record: First lady under nine hours.

For this rendition of the Quad Rock Trail races, we had some fast finishers, a course record and a whole bunch of individual PRs.

At the front of the field, we had some exciting racing action. In the women’s 50-mile race, Becky Wheeler (Casper, WY) came away with the win after running a consistently strong pace all morning long. She picked off Darcy Africa with less than 10 miles to go, finishing under nine hours by just two seconds and setting a stout new course record in the process. We’re awarding her the ‘run of the day.’ Darcy held on for second, coming in 11 minutes later (also under the former CR), with Emily Judd rounding out the top three in 9:41.

Darcy Africa - Quad Rock 2014

Darcy Africa

Defending champion Kerry Bruxvoort ended up dropping down to the 25-mile distance and was quick enough over one lap to claim the 25-mile victory. Local favorite, Sarah Hansen (4:17) was the first registered 25 miler across the finish line, which was good for second overall. Becca Hall from Evergreen, CO rounded out the top three, finishing 15 minutes after Sarah.

 

Sarah Hansen

Sarah Hansen

The men’s 50-mile field featured a mix of experience and youthful exuberance, with the older, wiser heads prevailing on this day. Littleton’s Jim Rebenack looked smooth all morning, and showed his experience over course and distance with a comfortable win (7:52) in his third Quad Rock run. Jared Hazen was close all morning, but dropped from the race at mile 40. Both Jim and Jared beat the 25-mile racers to the turnaround. Montana’s Jesse Langner paced a great race to finish second, closely followed by Bryan Williams who moved through the field to finish in an impressive third, improving significantly on his ninth-place finish from last year. Ryan Burch’s now three year-old course record continues to stand the test of time.

Jim Rebenack - Quad Rock 2014

Jim Rebenack Leads Jared Hazen

In the 25-mile race, Jared Hazen (3:39) was credited with the win after dropping down from the 50 mile race, and he was followed by Boulder’s Will Porter in second,  and local Jonathan Garcia in third.

There were 132 finishers in the 50-mile race, with approximately a third of the field calling it a day after 25 miles, bumping finisher numbers in that race up to 226 for 358 total finishers.

Pearl Izumi Quad Rock 2014

Jack Pilla representing Pearl Izumi

Of course, we couldn’t put on the kind of race we aspire to put on without the magnificent help of our sponsors and volunteers. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to live a town where people don’t need to be asked to volunteer because hanging outside at an aid station, marking or tearing down a course, or helping with any other number of necessary jobs is their idea of fun. To our volunteers, a MASSIVE thank you; you were (and continue to be) the biggest source of compliments we get from Quad Rock runners.

Runner Roost - Quad Rock 2014

Roost was in the house: Oza Klanjsek

And of course a big thank you to our very generous sponsors. Both Pearl Izumi and Cornerstone Home Lending (Hunter Team) have supported the race from the outset and we couldn’t do it without them, and we ask that you consider supporting them if you’re in the market for high-quality race apparel and shoes, or a home mortgage.

We’re also heavily indebted to our community sponsors, all of whom are linchpins in the local running community: Countryside Vet (Dr. Cat Speights), Justin Liddle DMD, and Colorado Physical Therapist Specialists. On-course nutrition was provided by VFuel, electrolyte replacement by Succeed S!Caps, and post-race schwag by Smith OpticsNB Sports Monitors and Ultraspire Hydration. As always, Runners Roost Fort Collins came through in a big way with equipment, supplies and post race awards. We had beer from local brewery Pateros Creek and killer cookies and cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest Bread Co.

Thank you all.

For more images from the day, please visit Erin Bibeau Photography. Digital images are available for download starting at 99 cents and print options are available too.

Liddle & Goding

Goding & Liddle

And a final note: if you left anything behind at the race, there is a good chance it is hanging out at Runners Roost in the lost and found pile.

We look forward to seeing you again in 2015 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you later in the summer at one of our shorter events. On September 6 we will be hosting the second running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 5 by the seventh running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

Be GNARful out there!

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Final Details for the 2014 Running of the Quad Rock 25/50 Mile Trail Races

With under a week to go until the third running of the Quad Rock 25/50, some final thoughts and instructions, including details of a slight course reroute:

Packet pick up will be at Runners Roost on Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The Roost is located at 2720 Council Tree Ave #112, just west of I-25 off the Harmony Rd exit. If you can, we ask that you come by Friday to pick up your race gear to help smooth race day parking and sign in. Pearl Izumi will be at packet pick up for anyone interested in demo’ing their new E:Motion shoe line.

Bib numbers will be distributed race morning beginning at 4:00 a.m until 5:20 a.m. Please keep bib numbers visible during the race, and the pull tag at the bottom intact. We will be pulling 50 miler bib tags at the 25 mile turn and at the finish. Those of you who can’t pick up packets Friday afternoon, goodie bags including VFuel gel samples and race T-shirts will be distributed with your bibs in the morning.

The race will begin at 5:30 a.m. sharp, so we recommend you give yourself plenty of time to park (up to a half mile away from check-in), get your bib, and do whatever it is you do to get ready to run 25/50 miles.

Parking passes will be distributed by parking volunteers at the entrance to the park in the morning. Lory Park will be open for parking at 4am. Carpools of two or more will be given priority parking close to the start at the Soldier Canyon trailhead. All others will be directed to the Timber trailhead parking area and down the main park road to loop left back towards the start on the Lodgepole Loop. Parking on Lodgepole will be on the right (east) side of the road. The earlier you get there, the closer to the start you’ll be parked. Directions and parking details here.

Horsetooth drop bags must be dropped off by 5:15 a.m. There will be a short pre-race briefing five minutes before the start. Bib numbers will be assigned on the Ultrasignup entrant list by Thursday if you want to pre-label your drop bag with name and race number. Horsetooth drop bags will be returned to the start/finish area by 5:00 pm. It is a 20 minute drive from Lory to Horsetooth if you need to pick up your drop bag before then.

Aid station fare is detailed here. VFuel gel will be served from bulk containers, so we recommend that you carry a 5oz flask (or similar) if you want to use aid station gels. We will also have dixie cups at the aid stations for gel ‘shooters’.

Pateros Creek Brewery will be providing a special English Mild brew, ‘The 51st Mile,’ for the post-race BBQ. Please remember to bring an i.d. if you wish to partake. Runners will receive a meal ticket in their race packets. For those bringing family/friends who didn’t order extra meals when registering, food and a brew will be available for $10 (cash). First beer is free for everyone, we then ask that you make a cash donation for additional beers. All proceeds will be donated to the Animal House Rescue along with race sponsorship funds from Countryside Animal Hospital. The race is also benefiting Larimer County Search and Rescue and the Friends of Lory.

The Swashbuckling Doctors will be playing at the post-race BBQ from 12:30.

Massage and PT help from Colorado Physical Therapists will be available after the race.

There is a bit of rain in the forecast for this week, and the current forecast for Saturday shows a high of 70. Conditions should be great for running.

No wildfires yet this year, but we will have a very minor re-route of the course, using the new Nomad connector up to Sawmill. In addition, we are keeping the opening two miles on the Lory service drive – as we did last year – to allow runners to space out before hitting the East Valley trail at the Arthurs Rock trailhead. 50 mile finishers will return to the finish via the East Valley Trail. This year’s 1st loop is slightly shorter than last year (~25 miles) and the 2nd loop brings the course right in line with the inaugural running (~50.2 miles).

There will be an unmanned water drop at the intersection of Westridge and Timber on the 7 mile stretch between Arthurs aid and the Start/Finish.

Course markings will be pink ribbons, hung every 1/4 mile, with a run of three ribbons leading up to and beyond each turn. Flour markings or red Runners Roost pin flags will supplement at key intersections.

Activities for family and friends:

Trails are open to everyone to enjoy all day; however, crewing outside of designated areas is not allowed. There is a BMX bike park right by the start/finish area, so feel free to bring a bike for the kids (or yourself). Trails are also open to bikes. The reservoir is just a short walk down from the start/finish area and there is a small cove ideal for paddling or submerging battered legs. There will be a one mile kids race (half (closed) road, half trail) beginning at 1:30. Lory State Park’s naturalist will also be on hand from 11:00 with kids’ games and education at the Lory booth.

Crew access info is available here.

Early 25-mile finishers who want to shower before the post race can use the facilities at Horsetooth South Bay, located at the southern end of Horsetooth Reservoir off 38e by the Stout sign and shop. Showers are coin operated and cost $2. It is an approximately 15 minute drive to get there. Alternatively, a cold dunk in the reservoir is also available.

And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

On behalf of Pete, myself (Nick) and our outstanding battalion of volunteers, we look forward to seeing you all on Saturday.

Cheers!

Gnar Runners Event Management

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VFuel to Provide Gel for the 2014 Quad Rock Trail Races

We are happy to announce that VFuel Endurance will supply gel for the 2014 Quad Rock Trail Races.

VFuel Endurance GelAid stations will be stocked with all of the current VFuel flavors: Peach Cobbler, Vanilla, Fudge Brownie, Cool Citrus, and Maple Bacon.

Gel pack samples will be included in the race packets but to cut down on waste and to ensure that we have enough gel for all runners, aid stations will only have bulk containers of gel. Runners will need to bring their own gel flasks to refill or ‘shoot’ gels at the aid stations.

VFuel was founded by local ultra runners from Estes Park, CO. The VFuel formula was developed and tested right in our back yard on the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park. As the first true endurance gel, VFuel is made for tough mountain courses exactly like Quad Rock.

Superior recovery, ease of digestibility, and delicious flavors intended to be consumed for hours and hours, are just a few of the benefits of VFuel Endurance Gel.

We encourage Quad Rock participants to try and train with VFuel before race day. Order online from VFuel.com and enter coupon code QuadRock14 for a 20% discount.

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Quad Rock Spring Training Runs

As we round the corner and start looking forward to spring, it’s time to start putting in some longer miles in preparation for the summer racing season. To help get those long training runs banked, we’ll be organizing a few spring outings through March and April culminating with a loop of the Quad Rock course on April 5.

As we did last year, we’ll be hosting an informal Quad Rock Training Run from the race start/finish area at Soldier Canyon in Lory State Park. There will be multiple mileage options, from the full 25 mile loop to shorter, abbreviated versions of the course. We’ll look to get started at 8:30 on Saturday April 5. We’ll be providing burgers and veggie burgers for a post-run BBQ. Park regulations limit beers to 3.2, if you want to bring something to drink. If you want to chip in for the cost of food & site rental, we’ll have a donation jar, proceeds from which will go to race beneficiaries: Animal House Rescue, LCSAR, and Friends of Lory State Park. As an added bonus, Pearl Izumi will be at the BBQ to demo their super-popular E:Motion shoe line.

Details

Date: April 5th.
Start: 8:30am at the Soldier Canyon Trailhead at Lory State Park.
BBQ Potluck: 1:00pm – 4:00pm (please bring something to share or a few dollars to contribute for picnic area rental, BBQ supplies, food and other misc.) Only 3.2% beer is allowed in the park.
Fees: No registration is required. Runners are responsible for their own park entrance fee ($7 day use per car if you don’t already have an annual state park pass. Carpooling strongly recommended.)

Other Runs

Kicking things off on March 23, there will be a run of between 21 and 36 miles around Horsetooth Reservoir. Dubbed March Mileage Madness, the run starts from Alex May’s house on the west side of Fort Collins. The shortest route – via the valley trails on the west side of the reservoir – is 21 miles, while the longest route which heads up into the hills of Horsetooth and Lory on the west side is about 36 miles with a good bit of climbing. Routes can be altered to find a middle ground between the two distances. Watch for updates on this one and Round Mountain (see below) via the Fort Collins Trail Runner list.

round-up-profile 2

29-30 miles & 10k’ of vert. Good Lord!

A week later, we’ll be meeting at the Round Mountain trailhead for a run on the infamous “Round Mountain Ladder,” a 30 mile, 10,000 foot jaunt up and down Round Mountain just west of Loveland. Although it’s only 4.5 miles to the summit, we squeeze 30 miles out of the mountain by out-and-backing from each of the mile markers along the way, with a final summit at the end. The group dynamic of this workout is invaluable in getting the work done. Shorter versions of the workout include: out and backs to mile 1, mile 3, and the summit; or 2, 4, summit; double summit; single summit, etc. This one is scheduled for 6:30am from the Round Mountain trailhead on Saturday March 29.

The training runs are open to all abilities and regardless of whether or not you are signed up for Quad Rock in May. We hope to see you at one or all of them.

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