Category Archives: Athletes

Running for MS

Posted by on Monday, December 1, 2014 @ 1:56 pm | Leave a reply

Country singer Julie Roberts has seen many ups and downs. Through it all, she’s thankful for a lot, including, running.

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What are you thankful for? There was a time when this was a tough question for country singer, Julie Roberts, to answer. But these days, she is thankful for a lot. For one, she is thankful for running, but more so, for her ability to run.

You may be familiar with the blonde country singer through her music, or even through her brief stint on the music show, The Voice. But what her fans did not know until 2011 was that Roberts had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005.

Although her first album was certified gold, selling more than 500,000 copies, Roberts’ second album did not perform as well and she parted ways with her recording label in 2010. Then, as she began to work on an independent album, the Nashville, Tennessee floods hit and she lost her home. “That was a difficult time. I had planned on being home to work on my record and then the flood came. We lived in four different places as we rebuilt our home.” To boot, in 2013, Roberts was a contender on The Voice, but surprisingly was not picked for a team. “There are ups and downs in life in general. Things are good and bad and you just have to keep going.”

julie roberts

The Diagnosis

When she first started to notice her symptoms, Roberts says, “I had just released my first album and was touring non-stop…while I was on the road, I was holding the microphone like I always had for years and my hand went numb and I couldn’t hold the microphone. It wouldn’t happen all the time but every once in awhile my hands would go numb or my vision would get blurry, like when I was signing autographs.”

With the symptoms becoming more noticeable, Roberts visited her doctor, who sent her to a neurologist and the diagnosis was confirmed. Not wanting to admit the diagnosis publically, Roberts began to exercise more, and even to eat healthier. In 2006, she joined her first running group, in her hometown of Nashville. “I love this group because some people are in the music industry, but there are a lot of people who do so many other things…We stay in contact throughout the week and every Saturday we meet.” And, they race together—5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons.

Running for MS

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“Running is definitely an escape for me, whether I’m with someone or alone. I feel like it centers me in my day. And it gives me a chance to see the cities.” These days, Roberts and her Newtons are seeing a lot of cities, approximately one to three a week. In addition to touring for her music, Roberts is also touring with the National MS Society, doing talks, presentations and playing her music. Work, which she says has given her a new purpose. “This work has honestly changed my life.”

“Most people think they can’t exercise with MS, I tell people how important it is for me physically and emotionally to be active. I say just ‘start walking, walk 10 minutes.’ Whatever your goal is start with small goals.”

One of Roberts’ goals is to show the world that MS doesn’t have to define your goals in your life. “There are challenges in my business. People are sometimes afraid to book you because you have MS and that you won’t be able to play a show. I want to show my industry and everyone else with MS that they can do whatever their goals are and that MS doesn’t have to define your goals in your life.” She adds, “A lot of people I meet work in the corporate world and they’re afraid to tell their boss they have MS. If I can go out and use my platform of music and show what MS looks like for me, hopefully it will help people around the country that face the same challenges I do.”

New Inspiration

“When I look back 10 years ago, I was on my first radio tour, trying to get them to play my music. Now, I’m flying into the same airports, but I’m going to visit people with MS and to try to inspire them to not give up. I know my music also inspires people, but I feel much more fulfilled than I did 10 years ago.”

As for her running goals, Roberts just ran the 5-mile Boulevard Bolt in Nashville over Thanksgiving with her running group.  And in addition to trying to run in her Newtons in each city she visits, Roberts has a 50-mile Walk for MS, in Savannah Georgia, scheduled at the beginning of March and a half marathon in Nashville in April (as part of the Rock’n’Roll marathon series). “I always like to have goals,” she says. Ultimately, she adds, “My goal is to continue to be active and healthy. It energizes me and makes me happy.”

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Home Victory

Posted by on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 @ 11:18 am | Leave a reply

Visualize what you want to happen in a race, and as Detroit native Mike Andersen discovered, it might just come true.

MikeAndersenmarathon

For professional runners, we know there are moments that you dream of—running in the Olympics, winning a big event like the New York marathon and, winning a race on your home turf, in front of friends and family. The latter is the victory that took Mike Andersen by surprise when he won the 37th Detroit Free Press / Talmer Bank marathon on Sunday, October 19th.  “You have to plan a little bit, but you don’t really expect for it to happen,” he said of his run.

For Andersen, who won the race in a personal best of 2:24.54, it was his second time running this race (he placed third in 2011) and only his fourth time running a marathon. As a member of Newton Running Elite Andersen wasn’t confident that the race would go in his favor since his training runs have been limited in recent months. He works full time at the Running Lab in Brighton, Michigan, coaches cross country at nearby Milford High School, and he and his wife (also a Michigan native), welcomed a daughter into the world last March. Although the 27-year-old Andersen’s time still isn’t quite fast enough to reach his goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016 (he’ll need to run a 2:18 or faster), Andersen says he’s on the right path of dropping time.

We caught up with him this week to hear the details of his win.

“The craziest part about the race is that I didn’t take the lead until mile 26 and I wasn’t in the lead group. From step one, I was in third place. The first two guys went out fast and I just focused on my pace, my rhythm. At mile 15, I was 2 minutes back …at mile 19, I was down to a minute and 15 seconds, and I still couldn’t see the leaders. The next mile, I cut it down another 30 seconds and I hadn’t changed pace. I just stayed consistent.

I had some friends out spectating and I kept asking about fourth place, I was worrying about that more than winning.

At Mile 22, you come off of Belle Isle and the gap was now down to 45 seconds. Here, we were running along the riverfront and there are a lot of turns between mile 22 and mile 24. So, I still couldn’t see anything.

When we finally came back to a straightaway, I could see second place and I closed that down quickly. I was 29 seconds back. I could just see first place now on straightaways. A former coach of mine was biking the course and he would pop up from a side road and get a count on first and yell out encouragement like ‘your only 20 seconds down.’

The race finishes with a right hand turn up a hill that takes you to 26, and then an immediate left hand turn for the final .2 miles. My old coach said if you’ve got a move go now, he’s tired. The last thing he said is ‘7 seconds.’ I thought in 7 seconds I can be right there. I saw him [Zachary Ornelas] at the hill and I made up my mind to pass him quickly and go for it. As I passed him, he gave me a look of ‘nice job,’ he was a defending champion and had gone through some injuries of his own.

So then my only focus was to turn left and go as hard as I could. I glanced to see how far back he was, and this crazy elation came over me for the last 100 meters. I was fist pumping and starting to cry.

I kept thinking, stay on your feet. I had 50 meters to go and I couldn’t believe I was going to win the race. Getting to break the tape, it really was overwhelming—to test your self and have it come out perfectly, it’s amazing.

My mom had my daughter (who was born in March of 2014) at home, but my wife Katie was there and my dad, too. Before anyone came into view near the finish, the announcer said, ‘the defending champion is about to make the turn. Oh wait, we’ve had a change,’ and as they said my name my wife started screaming. They ushered her up to the front to greet me at the finish line. It was one of those things where she was probably less surprised than I was. You know how you’re your own worst enemy. She said, ‘you’re going to do great. You’re fine, you did everything.’ But it’s hard to believe that for yourself.”

———

What’s next?

“This race was a huge confident boost. I have PRed every time, but I keep learning more about myself. I was definitely on top of fueling and figured a lot of things out training wise. I didn’t train as many miles or as crazy as the others. But I was more efficient with my time because I’m a dad now and working.

It’s not about the watch, but figuring out where your limits are and being able to test them. To get to an Olympic trial time, I think if there is a race where there are more people at my level they may pull me along and help me drop time. And then if I can find a 4-month chunk to train more seriously that may lead me to a faster time.

Marathons to me are still crazy, it takes a lot mentally to prepare for one. I don’t want to rush into the next one.”

We know you coach high school kids, what do you tell them?

“I am probably the more empathetic one (of the team’s three coaches), who puts things in perspective. The biggest thing I show is that it’s not just one day that makes you a good runner it’s an investment over time. Maybe someone isn’t at the front, but over a year you can move up by putting in an honest effort.

Personally, I don’t have bad races because I don’t think of races as this negative thing, I think of racing as a reward for all the hard work you do. Running in general is like that and there are so many pressures in life, running is the last place you should be stressed out. If you allow yourself to relax and enjoy it you will probably go faster than if you’re concentrating on every single step.

You also have to allow yourself to visualize success or it won’t happen. If you visualize it, it’s more likely to happen. At the Bolder Boulder, my Newton teammate Nik Schweikert was reading “A Champion’s Mind.” Three weeks ago, I texted Nik and said what’s the name of that book, I’d like to get some motivation. Nik sent me the book and that’s where I got the idea to visualize success. Even though I’m here in Michigan, the Newton team still played a big part in letting me run that well.”

And what Newtons did you wear?

“The Distance III, that’s what I reach for pretty much every day. They offer a nice compromise between weight and protection when you get to the later miles.”

 

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Officially An IRONMAN!

Posted by on Monday, October 20, 2014 @ 7:59 am | Leave a reply

The  2014 IRONMAN® World Championship took place last Saturday (October 11), and among the more than 2,100 contenders, was America’s most decorated Olympic short-track speedskater, Apolo Ohno. Finding himself in a very different setting than the 40-second sprint races he was accustomed to as a short-track speedskater, the 32-year-old Ohno had put in the hours of training, but hit the course with only one IRONMAN 70.3 and one sprint triathlon under his belt. That didn’t stop him from finishing in 9.52.27 [1:00:29 swim, 5:07:15 swim, 3:36:41 run], blowing away his own expectations for the day.

Friends say Ohno has the ability to step into a very different gear when he competes, and he did just that in Kona. And just like in his speedskating races, his dad was there in Kona to cheer him on.

We spoke with Ohno before the race and then we caught up with him again, after the race.

2014 Ironman World Championship

When we asked you about what might be the toughest part of the race, you said getting through the point everyone talks about, when you think you might quit. Did that happen?

Never. It was very strange. Throughout my entire training, people had told me that you’re going to go through these emotions, and start asking yourself if you can do this. But in my entire life of speedskating, I never woke up and didn’t want to go to practice. So, I didn’t allow that to enter my brain on Saturday. I focused on what I had to do now, at that moment. I was very much in a fighter mentality and ready for anything.

I ran through options in my mind. I knew I couldn’t defeat the island—option 1 would be for me to defeat the island and that wasn’t going to happen. Option 2 was for me to be defeated and I wasn’t going to let that happen. Or option 3, I could strive to be one with the island—you’re out there all alone and you’re so tired and you have nothing left and for me it was a very spiritual experience.

At the start they used these tribal drums before the first wave went off. It was this really cool moment for me and it stayed with me throughout the entire run.

You knew running would be the toughest challenge for you, but you finished in 3:36.41. An impressive finish considering you did 3:25 in the New York marathon a few years back, without the swim and bike.

I knew this was the big stage and I had to give everything I had. The swim was consistent and on the bike I was strong. The run was the most difficult. I think it [my time] would have been better, but at mile 25, I had to take a quick detour [a bathroom dash].

I was very happy with the run but the place I had to take my mind was very interesting. I went through some interesting conversations in my head. I knew I was going to hit the wall, I knew that would happen and I knew sometimes at those moments you can summon the most strength. It was super intense, the fight I had to give, not letting down, telling myself, ‘I can do this. I am going to be strong.’ Crossing the finish line was a very cool moment.

What words did your coach, Newton athlete, Paula Newby-Fraser, have for you before the race?

Before the race, Paula said, your initials “AAO” stand for, “Adapt, adjust, overcome.”

How does this rank in your experiences as an athlete?

Everybody was so incredible and I feed off of people’s energy. It was uplifting and inspiring. While I was out there it got pretty emotional for me, very spiritual, very deep, my brain and body were cooked. There is no other place on the planet that you can experience these things while doing something like that.

This is something I can take with me for the rest of my life and I’m very proud to have this, I have it for life.

How did the triathlete community compare to other athletic experiences you’ve had?

I will tell you the endurance world and the triathlete world is very unique. You have to jump in and experience it for yourself, it’s so exciting. I was very blessed to be welcomed with open arms.

How did the finish feel? Did people recognize you?

There were so many people. It was amazing as I was finishing, everyone shouting ‘Apolo, Apolo.’ And then I went back and saw my friend finish, and then I saw the countdown to midnight, I got the whole deal. I didn’t want to miss a minute.

After the race, do you still love your Newton’s?

I’m wearing them. They are awesome.

In 2013, former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward, completed the IRONMAN. He encouraged you to do it. Who are you going to encourage to follow in your footsteps?

I don’t know. That’s a good question. I set the bar. I’ll get someone else.

Now what?

A week in Hawaii—I’ll do some work, and get my legs recovered and just take it in. Spend some time with my journal— the experience was once in a lifetime.

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Q&A with Apolo Ohno

Posted by on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 @ 9:40 am | Leave a reply

You know him as a world-class athlete and eight-time Olympic medalist and speedskater (and possibly even from Dancing with the Stars), what about as a triathlete? Only Kona will tell. 

You know his face: brown eyes, the soul patch and signature wavy hair with the bandana tied around his head. Apolo Ohno is a global icon and athlete on the ice and is an internationally known face of short-track speedskating. In 2010, after making sports history by becoming the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian of all-time, Ohno hung up his competitive skates.

Retirement doesn’t always come easy to such high caliber athletes—Ohno likes to and needs to be busy and always learning or pushing himself.  By the time he retired he already had his hand in many businesses, not to mention he was a brand in his own right traveling the world regularly for speaking engagements. “I live for that pumped state of learning,” says Ohno. So naturally when the opportunity arose to train for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, he jumped at it. And, unlike most of us who train and then maybe try a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon first, Ohno chose the IRONMAN 70.3 Boise (half the distance of Kona)  to be his first triathlon ever. Finishing in 4.57, he has only done one sprint triathlon since then.

With Kona just days away on October 11, we caught up with Ohno at his home in Los Angeles.

Apolo

1.  We know that you ran the New York Marathon in 2011 in a time of 3:25.  What was your experience with cycling and swimming before training for Kona?

Okay, first of all, immediately after the New York marathon I stopped running. At that time I was doing a lot of weight training, kickboxing, and training with some NFL athletes out east.

For speedskating, we would bike in the summers as a team, but nowhere near the volume required for an IRONMAN. We did short bursts. And swimming, that has been nonexistent in my life since I was 12 years old.

 2. We know you’re a busy guy, so what does your training routine look like?     

Paula Newby-Fraser has been my rock. Paula is the queen of Kona and perhaps one of the best coaches I have ever worked with in my life. My training has been dictated by her—she puts me on a weekly schedule. Sometimes I’ll go down and train with her in Carlsbad, but mostly I train by myself because I have such a busy schedule.

Today, I have a 2.5 hour bike ride, followed by a 45 minute run off the bike. The training has cut back as we get closer to Kona. I got really sick about 11 days ago, really sick. So now we’re bringing my body back up. But it’s different every day. Yesterday I had a swim.

I needed this in my life, to re-test myself, to have a change and a challenge that is taking me out of my comfort zone and putting every element of my body to the test.  It was like hitting the “reset” button on my body’s athletic memory, except with different physical challenges.

 3. Have you noticed any big physical changes in your body since you’ve been training?

I haven’t lifted any weights since I’ve been training for this. I’ve leaned down. Do I look like a triathlete? I probably never will. I carry a lot of muscle mass.

 4. Are there any similarities between speedskating and triathlon training and racing?

They both hurt, that’s about it. My speed-skating races lasted 40 seconds long. I trained to produce the most amount of energy in the shortest amount of time, starting from a very static, loaded position. Triathlon is a continuous non-stop aerobic activity. It was a huge change and still is a huge change.

 5. What’s on your training playlist?

I like a wide variety of music—house music when I’m out for a long ride. I like to just get into a rhythm and lose track of time. A Gareth Emery podcast or Above and Beyond podcast.

 6. What is the biggest thing you’ve had to wrap your head around?

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The biggest thing is the fact that the training is so different. On a Saturday morning, getting up early to do a 100-mile bike ride followed by a run and being done at 1 in the afternoon. The time consumption is difficult.

And then, in Kona, what the weather will be like. Everyone says it’s beautiful, but the conditions are very hot and humid and there are 40-mile crosswinds in the bike. There are people clamoring over you in the swim and then running a full marathon after that whole day with ambient temperatures at 120-plus. How do I get through that?

 7. In speedskating there is this unknown, you train and train and then in the race someone can slide into you and take you out…what is that unknown you’re worried about at Kona?

This is the most coveted endurance event on the planet. It puts your mind and physical being to the test. Everyone says there is a breaking point where you think about how you should stop and you have to push through that. There is that potential you won’t finish. I accept the challenge and I have a great team. I’ll give it my best.

 8. You’ve already succeeded at the top as far as athletics go, is there anything you’ve learned from this experience that you didn’t expect?

I have been surprised at the entire triathlon community and how people welcome you with open arms. I’ve been welcomed with open arms. I had no idea how big triathlon is and how many personalities are involved in it—it’s awesome.

 9. So you run in Newtons—how long have you been running in Newtons and why Newtons?

I have been wearing Newtons since I started training for triathlon. I wore traditional shoes before. As soon as I started to run more, people encouraged me to try them. When I put them on, I said, ‘Why haven’t I heard about them before?’ Newtons make sense. The Newton team established themselves as a premier running company based on performance, dynamics, and relationships with athletes. They have this cult following. They care and understand the science of running and are interested in making you run better. I plan on running in Newtons for the rest of my life.

10.You visited the Newton Running Lab and worked with Newton Co-founder Danny Abshire. How did that go?

When I went to the running lab in Boulder, it was awesome, talking to everyone who works in the store, doing the running analysis. Danny makes running seem like walking, like it’s natural. He has a way of explaining running that makes you want to run.

11.You noted that you have been working with Newton athlete and coach Paula Newby-Fraser as well. How has that been?

It’s been amazing. Her ability to transfer her knowledge as an athlete to a novice like myself, and her database of knowledge is incredible. She is a great coach. She understands the body, the physiology of training, recovery, and nutrition. She has all of the elements locked in.  She could coach any sport – she is that good and that smart!

12.What’s the most valuable advice she’s passed on to you?

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Adapt, adapt adapt—whatever the situation is always know you have to adapt and make small adjustments along the way.

13.What advice do you have for others who are considering doing a triathlon, an IRONMAN or otherwise?

I think nutrition is a huge part of it and consistency of training. You can’t make up training if you miss it, you can’t just jump back in and be back where you were, you have to put in the time. There is time on your feet, on the saddle, and in the pool, and you can’t replace that.

It has been hard and eye opening. A lot of people who do this sport have normal lives. There is only a small amount of athletes that just train. I have a whole lot of respect for the people who do this who have kids and families and work, that’s the thing that is inspirational about triathlon, and to see how much they dedicate to the sport. It’s cool.

14.When it’s done will you hang up the bike and your swim trunks or keep going?

I don’t think I’ll just hang it up right away, I’ll continue to do some training. I really enjoy the IRONMAN triathlon world—I like being a part of it. I don’t see myself going away, but I will definitely look for new challenges.

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Kona For Kenny!

Posted by on Thursday, October 2, 2014 @ 2:23 pm | Leave a reply

It was a plan six years in the making, Newton Running Company employee Kenny Withrow wanted to qualify for Kona, and he wasn’t going to stop until he got there. On August 3rd, Kenny blew through the field at Ironman Boulder to grab his slot for the big dance. How does a person execute a plan so flawlessly when so much is on the line? We weren’t sure either, so we sat him down and asked him a few questions.

Kenny_Kona

Q: How long have you had your eyes on a Kona slot for? What was your motivation for getting there?

A: I’ve been wanting to race Kona for 6 years now. IRONMAN Boulder was my 3rd IRONMAN. I sat down with my Coach (Eric from EK Endurance Coaching) last October and said “I wanna go to Kona”. Since that conversation every swim, bike and run has been geared towards IRONMAN Boulder and snagging a Kona slot.

Q: What do you think will be the hardest part of the race mentally for you?

A: Being patient during the bike. Knowing that the race will really begin once I get my feet on the ground.

Q: What shoe have you been training in? And what shoe will you be racing in?

A: My shoe of choice post IRONMAN Boulder was the AHA. Leading up to Kona I’ve been training in the Distance III and Distance Elite. My weapon of choice for Kona. Drum roll please…….The Limited Edition Distance III ;) So Fresh!

Q: Number one thing running through your head when you’re mid-way through the bike/run on race day?

A: The Swim: Is that a shark?

The Bike: I swear that was a shark!

The Run: “How far until the next aid station?”

Q:What are your main concerns racing in Kona?

A: The humidity!

 

For more information on Kenny, check out his fundraising page -https://www.rallyme.com/rallies/886/kenny-to-kona

 

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Kristen Arendt

Posted by on Thursday, September 25, 2014 @ 10:35 am | Leave a reply

Behind the friendly voice of this Newton product support team member are some fast feet.

Newton race for the cure 1 (2)

If you’ve called Newton Running’s customer service line lately, you might have been greeted by the cheery voice of Kristen Arendt, a member of Newton’s product support team. Or if you’ve watched Newton’s customer corner videos, you might have seen her smiling face. Not only does she know Newton product, but as a member of the Newton Elite team, she knows a thing or two about running.

Arendt grew up in the small town of Bailey, Colorado, which sits about 30 miles southwest of Denver at 7,756 feet in elevation with a population just under 9,000. Here, in the mountains, running came easily for her. Prompted by her mom, a runner, Arendt began running in sixth grade. But it wasn’t until she really started racing that she fell in love with the sport.

If enjoyment shows in accolades, then it was obvious that she liked what she was doing. By high school, she was racking up the accomplishments by winning seven individual 3A state titles and qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals.  She then went on to run track and cross-country at Adams State College in Alamosa, another small town in southern Colorado. There, she was an 11-time All-American and the 2012 Outdoor Track National Champion in the 5,000-meter event.

Training pic

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Buoyed by her successes in high school, she did what many young runners do. Straight out of high school, Arendt found herself running on scholarship for a Division I university in Texas. “Running was very much a business at the school. I wasn’t interested in that kind of pressure for my running.” Injured within her first three months, she lasted three semesters before packing her bags for home.

“It’s sad,” she says, “how many girls have that same story coming out of college. The year that I graduated from high school, there were a bunch of us that were talented and went away to run on scholarships. How many of them run now is slim. Running should be a lifestyle – something you can enjoy for the rest of your life.”

Arendt took a semester off to evaluate her priorities and understand what she really wanted from running. “We get caught up in PR-ing and winning this race for a state or national championships. But it can’t be all about that, it has to be for something bigger than that.”

As she was making the transition between colleges, she emailed Melody Fairchild. She had never met Fairchild, but Fairchild, also a Colorado native, had her own list of record setting and was in the process of getting back in the sport. “I felt my experience paralleled hers a bit and I asked for some advice. She was great enough to respond.”

Lug Shot

After graduating from Adams State, Arendt had hoped to keep running professionally, but not full time. She tried coaching and got involved with various race organizations. She worked at a shoe store in Longmont, and all the while, she kept her eye on Newton.  She began to apply for jobs at the company and eventually found the perfect fit.

Now, at age 25, she is both working for Newton and running on the Newton Elite team alongside fellow team member, Melody Fairchild. “For a little while it was unreal. I would have to pinch myself on runs and say ‘wow this is my teammate!’ But it’s great to have her as a resource.” Noting that both Fairchild and Bob Weiner are Masters runners, and team members such as Kara Henry and Brenda Carawan are hooked on ultra distances, she says she is referred to as the “baby” on the elite team, both for her age and her focus on the 5K and 10K distances. “I haven’t graduated to the longer distances.” And she’s not quite ready to yet.

Team pic Peachtree

“For me, right now, I just want to run as fast as I can.” Although she can see herself doing the marathon in the next few years, she has other short-term goals in sight, “I would love to make the US Olympic trials on the track.” With a 5K PR on the track of 16:11 and 33:52 in the 10K, she admits, “I will have to up my game and have a breakthrough.” But with her Newton Elite team to back her up and her favorite pair of Distance Elites to put in the miles, she is not counting out the possibility.

Even with this big goal in mind, Arendt still likes to keep everything in perspective. Noting the balance she sought when she changed schools, she says, “While running is one thing, for me, the balance of having a full-time job with running is awesome. At Newton, we’re more than just a running shoe company and Newton Elite is about more than just yourself.” Of her day-to-day work she adds with a smile, “I get to talk to runners all day. There are much worse jobs out there. For the most part, runners are really happy people. As long as they have their shoes, they’re good to go.”

 

 

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Bachelorettes Gone Wild

Posted by on Monday, September 22, 2014 @ 10:39 am | Leave a reply

Part Two

R2R2R_2

Sabina, Kara, Cody from nearest to farthest

Question: How did this not so average bachelorette party come about?

Kara: This is 100% Cody’s idea. Don’t let her blame it on me. She came up with the idea and we all kind of ignored it at first…but she’s not someone who likes to be ignored. After hearing about it for a while, she told us one day that she found a great price on flights so we all caved and booked right then.

Cody: One morning a couple months back I nonchalantly said, “we should run the Grand Canyon.” Working at Newton, it’s easy to talk almost everyone into something crazy, so both Sabina and Kara were like “YES!” and then we booked a flight later that night.

Sabina: It was Cody’s idea… AND I am easily convinced when it comes to any adventure! We were all sitting at our desk one day and she came up with this crazy idea and within the next 10 minutes our tickets were booked! The best part about all of this is on our very first training run she looks back at us and says “I don’t really like trails or lots of climbing….”

*Apparently we remember past events a little differently….

Question: Do you have any concerns about this trip?

Kara: Serious concerns? No. My concerns are more along the lines of: ‘will we be functional enough the next day for brunch and mimosas?’ and ‘how many times will Cody and Sabina use hashtag language instead of real words before I snap at them?’

Cody: My main concern would be that I really prefer running on flat terrain, that is paved. Kara and Sabina have both told me that I need to get over that…quickly.

Sabina: Yes! Cody and I will start singing lyrics to Spice Girls, and Kara will push both of us off a cliff! Oh and the fact we may run out of Tostito Peperoni pizza rolls within the first 10 miles… These are all real concerns of mine.

If you missed the intro to Bachelorettes Gone Wild…check it out here!

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Tyler McCandless’s Balancing Act

Posted by on Friday, August 22, 2014 @ 3:19 pm | Leave a reply

With the Olympic Marathon Trials and finishing his Ph.D both on the horizon, Tyler McCandless talks to us about balancing work, running and his drive to give back to the people of Kauai.

 

As the 2014 Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon approaches (it takes place August 31), we caught up with Newton runner, Tyler McCandless, who has won the Kauai Marathon three years in a row. This year, he’ll run the Half Marathon, while also focusing on the Kauai Marathon Kids Foundation.

Catching up with the 27-year-old McCandless in any context (not just running) is not necessarily easy. The former Penn State All-American runner, turned pro, qualified for the Olympic marathon trials at the Twin Cities marathon last October. But in addition to his training, he also is currently working on his Ph.D. through a collaborative research program run between Penn State and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He holds a BS and Masters degree in Meteorology from Penn State.

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Tyler running his way to a first place finish at the Newton Race For The Cure in Eldorado Springs.

 

But being busy is what McCandless prefers. He tried taking a break from school and just focusing on running for a time, but he says, “I actually didn’t improve much in those two years. It took me going back to school to start improving again.” Now, working, running with a new coach (Steve Jones) and giving back to the people of Hawaii, McCandless has found his best balance yet.

Newton: You took time off from academics to run, but then decided to go back to school. Why was that?

McCandless: “I think everyone needs a balance. For some people, the balance is single focus that’s all they do—think about running and what they eat and how they sleep, it’s all encompassing. For me, I tried that and I did the best I could and it ended up being more stressful and taking the fun out of it. With my academics it took the stress off and now the running is the funnest part of my day. It makes me someone who enjoys the sport for the purity of it.”

Newton: You’ve noted your new coach, Steve Jones, has also helped you to enjoy running more as of late.

McCAndless: I officially started the Ph.D. program January 1, 2013. But it’s kind of like 3 things happened at once. I restarted my Ph.D. program and then a few months later I got Steve Jones as a coach and 2 months later I signed on with Newton. It was a great combination: Newton made me feel like I was competing as part of a team and a family again; I had a new coach who believed in me and that I could do great things; and, I was part of a Ph.D program that set my focus not just on running and made me more well balanced.

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Tyler with Newton Running Elite teammate Stephen Pifer at the Pearl Street Mile

 

Newton: You have a special place in your heart for the Kauai Marathon and the work you’re doing there. Can you tell us about this?

McCandless: I have won the Kauai marathon three years in a row. Every time I leave the island, I come back a better person. It’s a beautiful place and people are friendly, it makes me feel very empowered to give back to the people who have been good to me.

This year, I am doing the Kauai Half Marathon to raise money for the Kauai Marathon Youth Running Program. It’s a year-round running program and mentorship between the high school and elementary school. The kids run together, tally their miles, and really get a sense of accomplishment. I set a goal for running the half marathon in an hour and 5 minutes, to raise $13,100 for the program.

The overall goal is to put on a 5K in the spring as a build up to the Kauai Marathon in the summer. With the 5K, we also want to put on a health and wellness expo to teach kids about nutrition and science and full-body wellness. I have been working with Healthy Learning Paths. They work to empower kids to live healthier lives through in-school curriculum and after school activities. One of the top diseases is obesity, and with running, we can be really powerful and make a difference in our communities.

Newton is donating 50 pairs of shoes to kids participating ing the program. This is what I love about running for Newton. The socially responsible aspect of the company is something I take pride in. It’s more than a shoe company. They put shoes on your feet and you wear their name, but it’s more like you’re competing for a family that is trying to do good in the world and make it a better place which makes running even more fun and gives you a bigger purpose.

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Giving out shoes to the local schools.

 

Newton: After Kauai, what’s next?

McCandless: I’ll do some Grand Prix races. I’ll go back to Twin Cities this fall. It’s the US Championships and my goal is to try to win. Last year, I had the same goal and I faded over the last 10K or so. I want to establish myself as a contender for the Olympic trials. But even if I make an Olympic team and I look back on what I’ve done in my career, what I’ve done in Kauai is just as powerful to me—that I was able to make an impact in a powerful way.

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The Awa’awapuhi Trail started at ~4200ft and descended down to 2500ft in 3.2 miles at this lookout.

 

Newton: In closing, can you share with us your favorite running-related moment?

McCandless: When I was in Kauai for the second time, the night before the race, I was going to make banana pancakes and I had run out of bananas. I went to this farmer’s market, and I was browsing and some kid starts yelling, “Tyler.” Then, he says, “Thanks for coming to our team and speaking to us about running,” and he handed me bananas. They are expensive. What are the odds that he knew I was looking for bananas? I was blown away by the generosity—I was speechless.

I’m trying to keep a more balanced approach to running, where you’re running the absolute best you can but having the most fun and making the biggest positive impact.

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Tyler enjoying Colorado living!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Going the Distance

Posted by on Friday, July 25, 2014 @ 10:50 am | Leave a reply

Brenda Carawan is not your typical runner. But then again, most people who thrive in races that average 100 miles on the road, are not your every day runner. The Texas native, who has a 100-mile PR of 16:33, has had top finishes at the Spartathlon Ultra Race (153 miles) in Greece and California’s Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles). She’s been first overall female at North Carolina’s Graveyard 100-mile and Florida’s Keys 100 Ultramarathon, amongst other top finishes. And yet, the 38-year-old Carawan didn’t compete, or even run, in high school or college. Instead, she was an aerobics instructor who found her workout wasn’t cutting it anymore, so she started to run.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST RACE?

First, I did the Austin marathon in 1996. I was 19. It took me 6 hours. I came in third from last. In 1997, I did the same race in 4.5 hours. From there, I kept running and I never stopped.

WHEN DID YOU CHANGE FROM MARATHONS TO ULTRAS?

When I moved to Virginia in 2000, I needed a way to meet people. The big thing there was triathlons. I was like I can run and I have swum before and surely I can ride a bike. I did a couple of sprint triathlons. I always needed to finish so I could get to the finish line party.

In 2004, I signed up for an Ironman in North Carolina, even though it wasn’t trademarked that. My family flew in to see me do this race. The race day came and I missed the bike cut-off by over an hour maybe two hours. I got to the transition area and they said you’re disqualified. I said, my family has flown here, can I give you my timing chip and finish the run and they said ‘yes.’ It still took me 5 hours. But I caught enough people to not finish dead last in the whole race.

The next day I was embarrassed. I was supposed to be an Ironman and none of that happened. I went to REI and found this documentary called Running On the Sun about Badwater Ultramarathon. People were throwing up, crying and passing out. One guy had his toenails surgically removed, and I’m looking at this thinking this is what I’m meant to do. I will suffer but it looks like a lot of fun. This is the bucket list race.

THE ROAD TO BADWATER

Spartathlon 2013

In 2011, I got invited. You have to be invited and only 90 people get invited. To do Badwater, you have to have completed at least three 100-mile races within a calendar year and you have to submit a running resume. It’s not enough to have just finished three ultras. You have to have done well.

Preparing for and running Badwater, that just set the whole ultra scene for me. I fell in love with the adrenaline rush of getting ready for the races and pushing the limit physically and mentally. That will always be my dream race. The traditional Badwater is unique to any other race on the planet because of the climate, the temperatures and the solitude of not seeing anything for miles and miles.

WHAT’S YOUR AVERAGE WEEKLY MILEAGE?

Graveyard 100 2012

I run up to 130 miles the week before races and do about 5-6 weeks of 100-plus miles. For the Spartathlon last September—a 153-mile race—I got up to 150 miles a week in training.

WHY NEWTON?

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My coach is a huge proponent of Newton. She kept telling me about these shoes. Finally, leading up to my second 100-miler, I tried them and then I went and ran 20 miles. It was the most wonderful run I have ever had. I realized this is the fit that I need and I have never used another brand since. I stopped having injuries. My form got better. I attended the Newton coach training school so I could learn more about the science and the drills behind the product. It’s not just a shoe, there’s an actual science behind the shoe. That’s what is unique about Newton and that’s what I fell in love with, the science.

Going into 2012, I had my fourth 100-mile race. I was the first female and I won in 16 hours and 33 minutes. I went from running a 19:50 to a 16:33. I wholeheartedly believe it was because of what I learned from Newton and my coach. It’s those two variables that made a difference.

I decided to write Newton to be on the pro team. But every year the pro field was closed. Then the guy in charge of the pros said why don’t you contact Stephen Gartside who runs the elite team. Up until late 2012 the elite team had been closed to only people living in Boulder, Colorado [home of Newton headquarters]. 2013 is the first time Newton has let people outside of Boulder join the team. So Gartside and I ran together a few times, then in January 2014, he said “Welcome to the team!”

INJURIES?

Winning Nove Colli 125_miles 2014

Before I switched to Newton’s exclusively, yes, I had injuries. I tore my soleus, I had a partial tear in my hamstring, and there were good chunks of time where the nerve endings in my metatarsal were inflamed so I had to water run because I couldn’t run on land. Between my Newtons and my coach making sure I don’t over train, I have had no injuries or blisters. One pair of shoes no blisters.

At Spartathlon in Greece, they plop you down in a wheelchair when you finish and take you to the medical tent to tend to your feet. They took pictures of my feet because there was nothing wrong with them. That’s the way it should be.

WHAT DO YOU EAT WHEN YOU RUN?

Winning Keys 100 2013

When I’m running I drink juice, Gatorade, shakes. I do no solid foods at all regardless of the distance. Occasionally, I might ask for 2 or 3 Pringle chips. But when I say that, I legitimately mean 3 chips, if you hand me 10, I will eat 3 and put the rest on the ground.

When the race is over the best food I have ever had was in Italy. No other place to eat on the planet than in Italy. To stuff my face with prosciutto, wine, and pasta, that is just the closest thing to heaven that could possibly be on this planet for me.

WHY THE ROAD?

I really just enjoy the open road. It puts me in a good place mentally when I’m out there by myself. There are days that I start crying when I’m out there because I ‘m just in love with that moment of the road and me, it’s an intense love affair with the road.

WHAT DO PEOPLE AT WORK THINK?

My coworkers generally think I’m crazy. My desk becomes a confession stand where people feel compelled to confess that they haven’t worked out or that they ate unhealthy. They know what I’ve done and it’s like they’re seeking forgiveness for not having done their workout when they know what I’m doing.

FAVORITE MUSIC TO RUN TO:

I like to listen to music. I have everything from Julio Iglesias in Spanish to classical piano to Eminem to Annie Lennox. I have the full spectrum and I just genuinely love music. Me and a pair of Newtons with my ipod is about the equivalent of someone handing me a winning lottery ticket.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Winning Cowtown 50k 2014 NRE Debut

I just finished my biggest goal for the year. It was a double ultra, two weekends back to back. I did the Nove Colli 125-mile race in Italy in the mountains. And then, 5 days later there was a 100K road race in Italy. I found out later that I’m the only female who has done the double. They keep records for how fast all the guys have gone and the times I ran it places me in 4th place overall ever.

I haven’t chosen a race for fall yet. I am looking for a PR. I would like to break 16 hours.

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Keeping up with Sugarland guitarist, Thad Beaty

Posted by on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 @ 10:15 am | Leave a reply

When a health crisis hit his family, Newton Ambassador Thad Beaty, began to move his musical life toward new ways that mattered.

 

Thad Beaty loves music. Always has. When the guitar player for the country band Sugarland, is not on the road, he’s in Nashville working at his day job, Sorted Noise, producing songs for movies. But in 2009, a curveball was thrown at him, when his mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. Since then, his daily routine has involved a lot more than music.

At the time of the diagnosis, the 5’10” Beatty was 34 years old and weighed 230 pounds. He says, “We went into panic mode. My brother, my wife and I and my mom all decided as a family that we could do better at being healthy. So, we immediately started researching the best diet for dealing with cancer,” he says. What happened next, was something he never would have expected.

Thad Beaty, guitarist for country Grammy band Sugarland

“We learned that a raw diet, greatly lowers your cancer risk levels. But we thought, ‘good grief, there’s no way we can do that.’” Yet, he and his wife bought a Vitamix blender and started having smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch. And suddenly, they were 66 percent raw already.

“Before I knew it, I was fully vegetarian a few months out and the only thing left before I went Vegan was Greek yogurt—that was the last stronghold.”

At the same time that his food transformation was taking place, Beaty started exercising.  While on the road with the band, he started to run. “I could take off running in the middle of nowhere.” When he came home there was a pool in his neighborhood, so he started swimming. Next, he pulled out his old mountain bike. “I was doing a little of each and a little more and then something just triggered along the way.”

Before he knew it, Beaty was Vegan, and his training turned to competing in triathlons—not just sprint triathlons, but Ironman triathlons, with his first in Arizona in 2012, then Kona in 2013. His 230 pounds quickly melted away to a stealth 160 pounds. In a relatively short period of time, his very Southern family had completely transformed itself, including his mom, who is now gluten free and vegan.

Along the way, Beaty started reading Newton co-founder, Danny Abshire’s book, Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running. “I started working on all the drills. Then I bought Newtons and hit the road. I was amazed at how my body felt and my times were way faster. I was hooked.”

As Beaty started down the Ironman path, he started to consider the powerful correlation between sport, the music industry and giving back. First, he struck up a relationship with the Ironman organization. Then, he began to look for companies who shared his belief system of giving back.  A training partner and Newton athlete, Shay Eskew, shared with him the non-profit work that Newton was doing. “Once I realized our core values aligned well, I had to reach out.” A partnership was struck, and now he says, “We have done some amazing things together and I think we will do a ton more.”

Around this time, Beaty founded Musicthatmoves.org to encourage the music industry to give back in ways that are healthy for the community. His motivation was spurred by the fact that in addition to his mom’s illness, the band’s guitar tech, Kevin Quigley, was diagnosed with Lymphoma and lost his battle against the disease less than a year later.

“Health is holistic. It is mind, body and spirit. If you don’t have a good balance of those three, then you are out of whack. I saw how harmonious endurance events and getting involved in social movements were together.”

Now, Beaty and a team of about 20 people from the music industry are training for the Ragnar Relay from Chattanooga to Nashville in October to “reclaim their health”.  Of his teammates, Beaty says, “They didn’t all come from an athletic background and they want to make a change. So we’re going on this journey together.” Each member is doing the relay to raise money for a cause or non-profit of their choice. “What resonated so strongly with them is that endurance events become a beautiful vehicle to affect change. If you do it for a cause, it becomes super special.”

Beaty and fellow Newton Runner, Bo Parrish, have also teamed up to form New Life for Newton, connecting gently used Newton shoes with cross-country and track coaches and inner city kids who are in need of shoes. They have enjoyed delivering the shoes themselves to these young running teams and spending an afternoon or day training with them. The list of initiatives Beaty has taken on is long and this is in addition to work and still training hard. Ironman Chattanooga in September is on his hit list for this year. But now with several races under his belt, he says, “It’s not about the finish line, it’s about everything you learn getting to the finish line and then that’s a place to celebrate everything you’ve learned and to carry those lessons forward.” For now, he’s celebrating the fact that his mom’s cancer is in remission.

 

You can watch Thad Beaty on ABC this Tuesday, July 15, on “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss.” In the episode he worked with a woman who went from the couch to doing a 70.3 triathlon. Beaty says, “We had her rocking some Newtons.”

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