• Interview with the Scholl Family

    If you run a lot of races in Colorado, you've probably seen the speedy Scholl family and you've probably been beaten by at least one of them, if not all of them. The Scholl family from Kremmling, CO, consists of Shawn (45) and his wife Stephenie (47). They have two children, daughter Tabor (13) and their son Tyler (9).

    Can you tell us about your family, where you’re originally from, how you got into running and what other hobbies/interest the Scholl family has?
    Shawn was born and raised in Kremmling, CO on a working cattle ranch. In college (Idaho State) he was a world ranked decathlete. (his intro to running!). He broke his back while pole vaulting, ending his decathlon competition days. He turned to bicycle racing, as rehab. He quickly worked his way up the ranks until he became a Cat 1 racer in Colorado. (He competed in Olympic Trials in the Team Time Trial.) During the winter months, he became an elite Nordic skier. (Competed in Olympic Trials in Soldier Hollow). Along the way he also picked up rowing, was discovered by the National Team Sculling Coach (at the time), Igor Grinko. He was a member of the US National Team for 2 Olympic Trials (but never made an Olympic Team).

    Stephenie did not pick up running until her mid-20’s upon moving to Colorado. Originally from Michigan, I did traditional high school sports – basketball, gymnastics, cheerleading, and ran sprints in track, but never did anything beyond high school. Running mostly for psychological well being, and weight control, I never considered racing until a friendly bet with a friend to do the BolderBoulder. It was there that I was “hooked” and have been racing, now mostly trail, ever since. I am also an accomplished Nordic ski racer (never elite level), and also row, but not competitively, yet!

    We own a coffee shop in Kremmling, which is our primary job/interest/hobby!!, as well as helping Shawn’s folks on their cattle ranch. We travel all over Colorado, racing year-round using that as our family recreational hobby!

    Can we get some PR’s for the family?

    Recent P.R.’s: Shawn – Pearl Street Mile 2009 5:15, 5km 18:04, 800 – 2:25, 1500-4:59 (4:19 in college!). Steph – 800-2:40, 1500 – 5:36, 5km 20:57. Tabor – 800-2:23, 1500- 4:59, Pearl St. Mile 5:30, 5km 18:54. Tyler – 800-2:26, 1500-4:53, 5km 18:01.

    At what age did Tyler and Tabor do their first road race?

    Tabor did her 1st trail race at age 6, and 1st road race was last year at age 12. Tyler’s 1st trail race was at age 7, and road race was last year at 8 years old. Their 1st road race was the Pearl Street Mile. They both entered the elite division. Tabor was 19th overall female with a time of 5:30. Tyler ran a 5:35, and was by far the littlest guy out there.

    Tyler and Tabor are extremely talented, how are you handling their training?

    Shawn has his Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology, and has experimented with all kinds of training throughout his athletic career. One thing we are trying to instill in the kids, is to have fun with their training so that it can be a lifetime sport, whether it’s running, rowing, skiing, or biking. They are receiving guidance from a former track coach to Olympians, Lyle Knudson. We do workouts with them, rather than standing on the sidelines, yelling out splits.

    Most of our training is done on beautiful country roads, and trails, with some occasional track work sprinkled in. Lately, we’ve been ending training sessions with standing in the icy cold, snowmelt spring runoff in either rivers or reservoirs, and seeing who can last the longest! One concern that I would have is making sure that running remains fun and that they don’t get burned out with it before or during high school, how do you manage to do that?I wish I could promise them that they won’t burn out. We don’t have a magic formula, and wish we could predict the future, but, can anyone? They will have their ups and downs and personal struggles, which will make or break them.

    They know we will always be there to support them and guide them, but we won’t make decisions for them. Since running is such an individual sport, they know that they need to take ownership. They also enjoy reading other athlete’s stories of trials, tribulations, injuries, comebacks, etc. We know several elite level athletes – Todd Lodwick (Nordic Combined), Davis Phinney, Ben Blaugrund, Colleen Cannon, who have inspired and encouraged the kids. I think that taking some of the mystery out of who “real athletes” are helps. They know that they are regular people , with regular lives, that work hard at a job they love, which happens to be sports. They also know that it could all go away tomorrow, so they might as well enjoy it today!

    Are there many organized races out there for kids that are not in high school, with decent competition?

    There are a variety of track clubs along the front range that host USATF & AAU track meets in late spring and early summer where the kids compete in their own age classes in traditional Olympic distances. There are also State , Regional, and National USATF & AAU meets for both track and cross-country. Last year, both Tabor & Tyler were National AAU Jr.Olympic Cross Country Champions in their age group!

    Have you consulted any outside counseling with regards to their training?

    We work with Lyle Knudson, who has coached several former Olympians, elite runners, high school stars, as well as recreational runners. Lyle’s expertise, along with Shawn’s educational & competitive background seems to be working right now. Having said that, we are always open to new theories, research, etc.

    Our biggest fear, although a bit premature, is what could happen once they get to the collegiate level. That seems to be where most of the problems start with overtraining, injuries and burnout, but, I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Is this something you might consider once they get into high school, or do you feel comfortable handling their training along with the high school coach? We live in such a small community, that I think who ever is the coach at the time will work with us. Especially considering it is where Shawn grew up and became a great high school athlete, himself, under his father’s coaching. (State Wrestling Champ, held State Pole Vaulting Record for a while, All State Football Player)

    At the Gallop at the Grove 5k, Tyler defeated his dad by ten seconds! Was that the first time that Tyler beat his dad in a race?

    No! Last year, Tyler beat his Dad in the Mt.Werner Hill Climb (to win!), a 5mile trail race in Steamboat Springs, but hadn’t beaten him since.

    When I crossed the finish line of Gallop, Tyler was jumping up and down and saying “I Did It”! I asked him, “Did you win?’ No, he answered., “Did you break 18 minutes?”, No, he answered…then “WHAT”? I asked, and he proudly answered, “ I finally beat Dad!"

    Can we get some comments from Shawn and Tyler about that race?

    The way Shawn tells the story, is that the pack went out pretty conservatively the first mile. Tyler was getting nervous about such an easy pace. After the first mile, the eventual winner picked it up, pressuring the pack of 6 (including Shawn, Tyler & Tabor) to stay with him. Tyler looked over at Shawn and asked if he could “go”, and Shawn sputured, “if you can”! Shawn tried his best to stay with him, but couldn’t manage. It was a bittersweet moment for him, as he was ultra proud of Ty, as a parent, but pissed, as a competitor.

    What advice do you have for parents who wish to get their kids involved with running?

    From our vantage point, the best advice we can give, is to do it with them. Keep it short, speedy, and fun. With FEW exceptions, we don’t let them race longer than the 5km distance. We do a lot of running on a variety of trails, and rarely do the same run twice. Both kids also grew up with running and Nordic skiing as a daily routine. As soon after they were born we either had them in the baby jogger or towed them skiing, every day. It’s just what we did, so it became a normal habit. As they got older, we didn’t give them a choice of coming along to races, they just did. So, it became a natural evolution that they, too, would run and race when they could. We’ve adjusted a lot of our training now, to suit them. Both Shawn and I used to compete in longer distances i.e. ˝ marathons, ski marathons, but have now moved to the shorter distances so that we can all do it together.

    Question for Tyler and Tabor, can you tell us what you like to do in your free time when you’re not running?

    Tyler: I like to draw. Help my Dad on the Ranch. I like to shoot my gun, and bow and arrow.

    Tabor: I like to listen to music. Play with Tyler and our new Lab puppy, Davis (named after our friend, Davis Phinney). I like to cook and get to make dinner for the family one night a week.

    Do you have other sports that you like to play?

    Tyler: I’ve tried soccer, wrestling, basketball, tennis. I enjoy them but, not competitively. Swimming is lots of fun. And I mountain bike a lot with my Dad. I might want to do a triathlon one day.

    Tabor: I love to mountain bike, swim, play tennis. Those are my favorite ways to recreate other than running and Nordic skiing.

    Can you us a few of your favorite athletes?

    Tabor: Deena Kastor, Bernard Lagat, Mary Decker, Olaf Tufte, Davis Phinney, Jenny Barringer, Todd Lodwick, Andre Agassi, Maggie Vassay to name a few.

    Tyler: Todd Lodwick, Ben Blaugrund, Davis Phinney, Jeremy Warner, Bernard Lagat, Usain Bolt.

    What other races will the Scholl family be making in appearance at in 2010?

    We’re never quite sure….it’s random and often dependant on our coffee shop business ,how long we can get away for. Often times we have to race close to home so that we can be back in time to work the shop in the afternoon. Ideally, we like to make mini vacation weekends out of our racing.

    For instance, this weekend, we’ll all do a track meet in Brighton on Saturday, then spend the night in Lyons, and run the 5k race there on Sunday. We always plan on doing as many of the Steamboat Running Series Races as possible, but, again, it depends on work schedule. I guess one “for sure, maybe” race will be the Pearl Street Mile in August. We never really have any “goal” races, and just try to jump in as many as possible, looking at them as great training (and memory making ) experiences!
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