Category Archives: Product Reviews

Tips for Cold Tips #9: Out of the Closet

Public Transport in Malaysia

Ecuadorian scarf in the Malaysian capital

In this blog series, I offer tips for cold tips.  These tips will save all of us from treadmill and trainer imprisonment this winter. 

Within the first two minutes of my arrival in Malaysia, I developed hijab envy. All around me, women coordinated dresses with lovely headscarves. Some solid, some print. Some wild. Some muted. Many held in place by highly decorative pins. The Ecuadorian scarf wrapped around my head wasn’t going to cut it in the modern Muslim metropolis of Kuala Lumpur.

Hiking in Ijen Green Headscarf

Hiking in Ijen, Java (Indonesia)

I was trekking through SE Asia on a shoestring budget with a small backpack. I didn’t have money or space for any non-essentials. But it only took one stroll down the streets of KL to recognize that a proper hijab was, indeed, essential. With the help of some locals, I selected a black hijab that coordinated well with all two shirts in my backpack.

KL Headscarf

Looking down on KL from the Petronas Towers

This hijab then paved the way for a delightful trip through Muslim-majority parts of SE Asia. It broke down cultural barriers and began conversations.  In every customs line I passed through–mainland Malaysia, Borneo’s Sabah, the Sultanate of Brunei, Indonesia’s Lombok and Java–I was greeted with a smile.

Brunei Market

How coconut water should taste

But upon my return to Washington, DC, the hijab ended up in the back of my closet. It stayed there for two years. Then last month, after a few frustrating track sessions where my balaclava impeded my breathing and my peripheral vision, I dug out the ol’ hijab. What was fashionable in the Malaysian summer was now practical in the DC winter.

Kgo Hijab Running


The same material that makes the hijab bearable in the heat and humidity of SE Asia, makes it breathable for the runner on a cold day.  The cut provides peripheral vision far superior to my balaclava, as the hijab was designed for women to wear while working or driving. It covers the ears, neck, and chest, but allows the mouth to breathe freely.

Mindy and Kgo Hijab

Kgo and Ko, RPCVs

So am I suggesting that you hop the next plane to Malaysia to get yourself a hijab? Not entirely.

Is this post really about keeping my neck and ears warm on winter runs? Only kind of.

The real point here is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on something fancy to stay warm in the cold. As discovered in a post (click herea few weeks back, what we do have is much more important than what we don’t. There is likely something in your closet that, with a little creativity, could become your new BFF for winter rides and runs. 

When you find it, let us know!

In Your Winter Closet

If you liked this post, check out others in the Tips for Cold Tips series:

#1: Armpit Paninis

#2: Take Off Your Teammate’s Top

#3: Skin on Skin Wins

#4: Borrowing Body Heat in Borneo

#5: A Cozy Cabin For Your Toes

#6: Himalayan Lessons in Hydration

#7: If You’re Playing With Fire

#8: Weather and Wardrobe for Race Day

Not Your Momma’s Wool


Credit: Georgetown Productions

There is a rushed moment in an IRONMAN competition in which biker becomes runner. It happens so fast that I haven’t time to consider what 2.4 miles of water submersion and 112 miles of sweaty gear mashing have done to my feet. No time to comprehend that a full marathon still separates my water-logged wonders from the finish line. No, in this rushed moment, there is only time to lace up my shoes and take the first step.

run smile 2

That first step of that first mile is followed by 1,780 more steps. And that first mile is followed by 25.2 more miles. So by the time I cross an IRONMAN finish line, my feet have taken nearly 50,000 steps. Fifty thousand steps through sweltering lava fields in the afternoon sun. Fifty thousand steps in sneakers bloated with water originally intended to cool my head. 

Kendra Goffredo Ironman Kona Finish Line Flags

But it’s what I do in that rushed moment that ensures those 50,000 steps do not become 50,000 chances for a blister to destroy my race: I pull on SmartWool socks.

Four full IRONMAN competitions. Two-hundred thousand steps. ZERO blisters.

Feet and SmartWool

So when SmartWool called to see if I’d be interested in “modeling” for their Spring 2013 running line, it didn’t take much any convincing. And that was even before I knew that the shoot would be in San Francisco.

SmartWool Shoot San Francisco Kgo

It was obvious upon arrival that SmartWool was hoping some beauty sleep would do me (and their SP13 run campaign) some good.

Tiburon Hotel

What followed were 48 hours of fan field testing with a cool cast and crew of characters:

The crew:

  • Jen, SmartWool’s creative director (Steamboat Springs)
  • Noah, executive creative director from Victors and Spoils (Boulder)
  • Kevin, superstar photographer (Whistler)
  • Sean, assistant photographer extraordinaire
  • Dan, videographer and surfer (Cardiff, CA)
  • Ali, on-site producer (San Francisco)
SmartWool Shoot Kevin Stretching Golden Gate

Even photographers need to stretch

Jen SmartWool Golden Gate

Creative Director Jen soaking up the Golden Gate Sun

The cast:

  • Fynn, Founder of RootsRated
  • Ryan, Cyclist, runner, and bike commuter
  • Christine, Ultra-runner and Celiac’s conqueror
  • Jonathan, Animal Shipper and Ultra-runner
  • Kristi, IRON(wo)MAN
  • Tina, IRON(wo)MAN
  • And Me!
SmartWool Jump

“The Talent.” Photo Credit: Jen

As triathlon season approaches, I look forward to that next rushed moment where biker becomes runner, and runner enjoys a blister-free marathon in SmartWool!

Check out SmartWool’s line of PhD Ultra Light running socks. This is not your momma’s wool. SmartWool’s merino blend provides excellent temperature control and moisture management, providing hundreds of thousands of blister-free steps, regardless of race day conditions.

Okay, now for some more fun pictures of cast and crew:

Fynn aka Gaston SmartWool

Fynn: Manners of a Southern gentleman, hair of a Disney protagonist

Jump SmartWool Ryan and Kgo

Ryan and Kgo playing in the mud

Ryan Noah Dan SmartWool

Noah and Dan discover Ryan’s love for thermo-regulation. Photo Credit: Jen

Christine Jonathan and Crew SmartWool

Christine and Jonathan Chat with The Boyz. Photo Credit: Jen

Kgo SmartWool Stairs

Kgo at SmartWool bootcamp. Photo Credit: Ryan

Kgo SmartWool Ocean Road

Kgo Chased by the Sunset. Photo Credit: Jen

Tina and Kristi SmartWool

Tina and Kristi, IRON(wo)MEN. Photo Credit: Jen

Running on the Hill SmartWool

That little black dot of a runner is me. Photo Credit: Jen

Good Form Fynn SmartWool

Good Form, Fynn

Kevin and Kgo Laughing SmartWool

Hanging out with SuperStar Photographer Kevin. Photo Credit: Jen

Golden Gate SmartWool Fynn

Why don’t I live in this city? Photo Credit: Fynn

Captain Cookie’s Alarm

The first time I met Captain Cookie he was just Kirk holding a plate of chocolate chip wonders.

Our paths first crossed at a dinner party. His cookies turned it into a dessert party.

That night I asked Kirk the secret to cookie perfection. He smiled humbly and told me that it starts every Monday at 3am.

“What happens at 3 in the morning?” I asked.

“My alarm goes off,” Kirk responded.

I thought he was joking.

Kirk made his first cookie at the tender age of four. By high school he was baking to barter for a “B” in AP Calculus. Next, he charmed his way through college.

“Walking around campus with a Tupperware of cookies is kind of like being a hot girl,” Kirk explained. “I got a lot of positive attention.”

That attention followed him to the Nation’s Capital where he worked 50 hours a week to pay his bills and another 25-30 hours a week to pursue his cookie dreams. Though operating at a significant loss for four years, Kirk traded his weekday mornings and Friday nights to supply DC-based coffee shops with cookies from his home oven.

And when his dreams outgrew that oven, Kirk pursued his life’s passion in a legitimate commercial kitchen. Buying five pound bags of sugar from the market evolved into unloading 50 pound bags of sugar from a warehouse every Monday morning at–you guessed it–3am, just like he told me the night that we met.

And six months ago when he left his day job to pursue his dream full time, Kirk Francis became Captain Cookie, DC’s sweetest superhero!

Driving a mobile bakery, he uses his delicious powers to save citizens from subpar snacks. With delights like these ice cream sandwiches, his business has quickly grown into one of DC’s most popular food trucks.

The night Kirk told me about his 3am wake up call, I had just wrapped up two years of grad school. And though I was passionate about poverty alleviation, national security, and project finance, I wasn’t about to wake up at 3am to pursue it.

Or anything else for that matter.

But that was before I learned to swim, before I owned a bike, and before I knew what a 140.6-mile endurance race feels like.

The morning I headed to the Ironman World Championships (Kona) on an early flight, I jumped on the trainer at 3am to complete my last endurance ride. Like Kirk, I’ve lost count of the number of times my dreams have beckoned me from a deep sleep in the wee hours of morning.


Kirk discovered his passion at 4. I found triathlon at 31.

No matter our age, may we may all find a dream that won’t wait for sunrise.

Kendra Goffredo Ironman Kona Finish Line Flags

And may we all taste something as good as these ice cream sandwiches!!

How to be rescued by Captain Cookie and the Milk Man:

Follow him on Twitter: @captaincookiedc

Like him on Facebook: Captain Cookie and the Milk Man

Visit his webpage:

Order some cookies for your next party: (Two-Zero-Two) 556-3396

Contest #4: TYR Goggle Treat

Saving the Roomies from Sandy

Two weeks after my season ended on a little island in the Pacific, I was ready to ease back into my training. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy forced house arrest.

Although my cabin fever ran high approaching the 48th hour, I was able to catch up on some reading I had neglected during triathlon season.

But this morning, as the city returned to work, I had to remind myself that it was indeed Wednesday, not Monday. 

As I drove to the office, I had the distinct feeling that I had forgotten something. My computer? No. My wallet? No. My cell phone? For once, I had that too. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t quit that feeling.

When I pushed open the office door to a room full of strategy consultants in bright tights, it dawned on me what I had forgotten: a HALLOWEEN BLOG GIVEAWAY!

My colleagues’ tights reminded me of the bright pair of TYR Custom goggles from my Kona SWAG bag.

In addition to cracked out on color, these goggles feature polarized lenses, a super suave fit, and a case that doubles as a lens cleaner.

Definitely a treat!

And the prize for next month’s contest winner!

There are two ways to win:

1. Become an email subscriber of this blog. Type in your email in the upper right column of this page where it says “Provide ChiTo with Your Email To Follow the Adventure…” Then click “Follow ChiTo.”

2. Increase your chances of winning by creating a caption for the picture below.  Leave your caption(s) in the comments section of this post.

Contest winners are chosen at random and will be announced on Thanksgiving.

In need of a Caption

Team Poppy Tony Gets Graphic


It was a friendship born of running.

And it’s lasted long after the season’s end.

Piper, Graphic Artist (and Kgo)

Though the miles from Boise, Idaho to Washington, DC are many, we’ve known greater distances to separate us. Our past adventures keep us connected.

Piper, judge’s daughter, named for a character in a book her mother once read, is now Team Poppy Tony’s graphic designer.

Just like her friendship, Piper’s ability to capture the spirit of Team Poppy Tony is truly remarkable :

In her own words, “I added the little dude at the end holding an award because your dad will win this fight!!!”

If you are looking for a graphic designer, I highly recommend Piper Turpen.

Check out her website for more details:

Team Poppy Tony thanks you, Little Mo!

Teammate and Model, Jen Fier, wearing Piper’s design

Team Poppy Tony Takes Eagleman 70.3

Team Poppy Tony fashionistas, Sister Jenna and Bro-in-Law D-Ro


Contest #3: Muscle Milk versus The Bonk

This is how I feel as I start to bonk. Short of the blond ringlets and white bows, it’s also how I look. Listless. Exhausted. Uninterested in food.

Perhaps the only time I am uninterested in food.

Endurance athletes are generally acquainted with the post-workout bonk. As a marathoner, I’d crank out a 16-mile training run, take a shower, and then slip into a heavy fog. Sometimes I’d just crawl back into bed and sleep. Hard.

Older and wiser, I now realize that haze was actually a “bonk.”

Enter Muscle Milk.

Guided by Chrissie Wellington’s advice, I started drinking Muscle Milk after endurance efforts lasting longer than two hours. It’s not that Muscle Milk is the only way to avoid a post-endurance bonk, it’s just that it is the tastiest, most convenient way I have found.

Muscle Milk is often the only thing my stomach can handle after a long, hard race. I give Muscle Milk props for helping me recover after Syracuse 70.3, when a couple hours after that 4:50 PR effort, I had to drive back home. For 7 hours. Alone.

This month, the Muscle Milk crew will pay two of my blog subscribers a visit and hook them up each with a case of Muscle Milk!

Announcing the winners:

1. Fredrik Nyman

2. Donna Sumption

We can’t wait to hear how you and Muscle Milk do owning your bonk!

I do not endorse smoking. I do endorse beating your bonk into submission.

More contests to follow! Become an email subscriber of my blog to be eligible to win. Type in your email in the upper right column of this page where it says “Provide ChiTo with Your Email To Follow the Adventure…” Then click “Follow ChiTo.”

Contest #1: Arm Sleeve-Tastic

The compression company Zensah is named after the Italian word senza, meaning “without.” Zensah envisions athletes without limits. I envision athletes without bulky layers of clothing staying warm on a cold race day.

A huge thank you to Zensah for outfitting ChiTo’s first contest winner, NOELLE BANNISTER, with fantastic arm sleeves.

Congratulations NOELLE!

Pictures to follow in a future post.

More contests to follow too! Become an email subscriber of my blog to be eligible to win. Provide your email in the upper right column of this page where it says “Provide ChiTo with Your Email Address…” Then click “Follow ChiTo.”

Poppy Tony and Zensah: Ready to drive long on the golf course