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Ultimate warriors

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Evergreen’s Macy, Erholtz juggle teaching, family and endurance running

By Michael Hicks

It’s barely 8 a.m. on a Monday morning and Travis Macy and Brandy Erholtz have already gotten a workout in with barely 24 hours before jumping on a flight to Oregon to compete in the Gorge Waterfalls 50k ultra marathon. It’s the lifestyle for these endurance runners.
“We’re definitely not weekend warriors. Like a lot of people in endurance sports we’re competing at a very high level,” Macy said. “We’re both parents, we’re teachers. We do many different things. It’s a balancing act.”
In other words, it’s just what they do. Evergreen neighbors Macy, 31, and Erholtz, 36, are teachers at Jeffco Virtual Academy, and when they’re not educating tomorrow’s future they’re tackling their next physical conquest. Just a week earlier — March 15, to be exact — they each took first place in the America’s Uphill, a bottom-to-top scramble up Aspen Mountain.
They each ran — competitors could snowshoe, ski or get up the course anyway they wanted to — the 3,200-feet uphill course. Macy beat out 108 other male competitors in 46 minutes, 56 seconds, while Erholtz topped 93 females in 54:30.
Macy and Erholtz share a mutual bond through community trail mountain running in Evergreen. Macy ran for Evergreen High School, while Erholtz is an assistant coach for the cross country team. Being like-minded that way eventually led them to being running buddies.
They’ll compete anywhere from 15 to 20 times this year, if not more, while working around their role as teachers, parents and spouses. Macy, an Evergreen native, and his wife, Amy, have two children — 3-year-old Wyatt and 1-year-old Lila — while Erholtz, who grew up in Minnesota before moving to Evergreen nearly eight years ago, and her husband, Matt, are parents to six-month-old Asher. So, needless to say, their respective lives are anything but boring. That said, they hope that their competing will serve as a motivator as well.
“You always hear that I can’t do anything myself anymore. I can’t race. I can’t do that. My view is having kids is a reason to follow your dreams not a reason to give up on your dreams,” said Macy, who has a book — The Ultra Mindset — about endurance racing and utilizing a winning mindset due out next year. He also coaches adult endurance athletes in Evergreen and around the country. “I want them to know that I didn’t give up my dreams because of you. I followed my dreams so you can how to do that.”
Erholtz agreed.
“I think we both try to encourage other people to live healthier lifestyles, to live by example,” Erholtz said. “You can be a professional runner, work and balance a family if you set your priorities.”
That includes 4 o’clock wake-up times on certain occasions. As Erholtz said, you may not want to get up, but you have to keep up the pace. There’s also another important factor.
“I don’t think we could do it without our spouses,” Erholtz said. “It takes a lot of discipline to fit it round everything else.”
Yet, somehow, they do.
Macy intends on racing twice in France and another time in Italy this summer before competing in the U.S. Skyrunning Series in Colorado, Montana and Arizona. Erholtz, who has competed multiple times for the U.S. in the World Mountain Running Championships, hopes to make the team again this year in order to compete in Italy in September.
And, for the record, Erholtz won the female competition at the Gorge in 4 hours, 51 minutes and 48 seconds, while Macy came in second in the male division in 4:06:46. But, considering their running prowess and dedication, one shouldn’t really have expected it to be any other way.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.