Category Archives: Race Reports

Masters of Mileage

Posted by on Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 9:18 am | Leave a reply

We love sharing stories that illustrate how deeply “we live this stuff”.  Hopefully you caught Kara Henry and Stephen Gartside’s pre-Leadville 100 interview. Their results and post-race comments are a source of Newton pride.

Pre-race Dinner The Night Before Leadville

Pre-race Dinner The Night Before Leadville

Newton: Describe your experience at the Leadville 100?

Kara Henry: Looking back, I’ll tell you I had a blast the whole day…but during the race it was a different story.

I definitely had a few moments of ‘WHAT AM I DOING??’ but luckily those were few and far between. I had an awesome crew who bullied me out of every aid station and never let me sit down. It’s because of that alone that I ran an hour faster than my goal.

kara

Stephen Gartside: For me, the Leadville 100 has been a new challenge after years of road marathons. You can’t beat the big open country that makes up the 100-mile route. It gives you some road and plenty of trail, with all kinds of elevation. I find that quite the challenge.

The day unfolded with 50 miles of pretty easy running, then the 50-mile trip home with pacers, which goes all night. It’s kind of like a party with everyone out there running, pacing and volunteering.  My kind of party and it takes more mentally than just about anything else you can cram into a day.

gartside

What was your highest high?

KH: Absolutely hammering the last mile when I realized I could get under 24 hours. Actually, the reason I started pushing was because I saw what I thought was another female racer in front of me…I even made my pacers be super quiet so I could sneak up on ‘her’. When we got close I realized it was a dude with long blonde dreadlocks. I was bummed but at least it got me moving.

Kara nearing the top of Hope Pass

Kara nearing the top of Hope Pass

SG: The highest high is when you know you are done with Hope Pass. Or, anytime a good song hits the iPod as you down some fresh caffeine. Of course, seeing that finish line is pretty sweet.

Stephen running down Hope Pass

Stephen running down Hope Pass

What was your lowest low?

KH: I hate climbing Hope Pass at mile 55 more than anything ever. HATE IT. I told my pacer to stop talking and ‘get me off this f**#$ing mountain.’ (Sorry Thom)

SG: The lowest low for me in 2013 was losing everything in my stomach at mile 63.  Thank goodness I bounced back pretty fast, which is what you learn running ultras. You can come back from a low point!

What would you tell someone who is thinking of running an ultra?

KH: Don’t. Just kidding…I would tell them to find a training partner. I had so much fun training for Leadville this year because I had a great group to run with. Last year I trained on my own and too many hours on the trails alone is NOT good for your social skills.

karafinishline

SG: If you are starting out with ultras my advice is slow down and you will be amazed at how far you can travel.  Find friends that share your interests and thus the journey. The Leadville 100 for me each year is more like a 6-month journey of getting ready, leading up to the actual race day.

gartside finish3

If we asked you the day after the race, would you have said you would run it again?

KH: Yep! Because I’m a dummy and apparently a masochist.

SG: After 3 straight years at the Leadville 100, I may need a few years off which means probably returning as a volunteer or pacer for at least 2014-15.

post race

What about now, two weeks later?

KH: Now I’m thinking that I definitely won’t run it next year, but I’ll definitely do it again. I’d like to try a 100 closer to sea level.

Kara Henry with her pacing team

Kara Henry with her pacing team

Editor’s Note: If Kara has lead you to believe that her recovery is all about pizza and beer, she has you fooled. Kara is currently running from hut to hut in the Alps in preparation for the U.S. 100 Mile Champs this winter. Shhh…don’t tell her that we told you!

 

 

Share

Tim Berkel talks Ironman 70.3 Japan 2012

Posted by on Thursday, July 5, 2012 @ 2:57 pm | Leave a reply

This year’s Ironman 70.3 Japan came down to the wire with two amazing athletes. One, former World Champion, Chris “Macca” McCormack, who’s been at the top of the food chain in triathlon for a long time. The other, Newton pro triathlete and young gun, Tim Berkel.

In this video, Tim gives a bit of the inside scoop on the 2012 Ironman 70.3 Japan!

Share

Race Report: Rachel Joyce, Ironman 70.3 Kansas

Posted by on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 @ 10:31 am | Leave a reply

It’s been two weeks since Kansas 70.3 so this blog is way overdue. In fact there’s been so many races on the triathlon circuit and quite a few more miles in my legs, that it feels more than two weeks ago. My trip to Lawrence was short and sweet and I had a great time during my stay. In a large part this was due to my wonderful home-stay, Laura (and her husband Jeff who was away for the weekend but crucially made it back in time for celebratory margaritas after the race), and to race director, Ryan and his huge team of volunteers who put on a professional but super friendly and relaxed race.

Going into the race I felt pretty uncertain as to what to expect from myself. Since moving to Boulder at the end of April my training had been up and down. Knocked out with an infection, it took me a while to acclimate to the altitude and then just as I was getting into the swing of training I strained a ligament in my back which basically had me out of action 10 days before Kansas. I felt like I was missing the consistency I usually draw confidence from going into a race, but having already had to pull Florida 70.3 from my schedule I was going to make it to Kansas start line whatever so I spent much of that week in and out of physio, chiropractor and massage appointments. I had to race to try and pay off my medical bills. A strained ligament doesn’t repair over night but come race week I was moving much more easily and bagging some good sessions during my “inverse” taper. I’d almost put all thoughts of my bumpy prep into the race out of mind until I listened to a message from my coach, Matt telling me that I should forget all the training I’ve missed. Doh! So, what do I then do but remember … Luckily I’m quite good at the amnesia game!

Race morning arrived and everything went pretty smoothly. I was pleased to hear that the swim would be non-wetsuit, and a quick look at the lake showed it was going to be a bumpy swim too. Watching the men head out and soon spread out in all directions I figured it would be pretty hard to find feet (and by feet I mean Amanda Stevens’s super speedy feet!) So, I enjoyed the bumpy lumpy swim and got to enjoy longer than normal in the water for 1.9km. Onto the bike, the Kansas course was my cup of tea. Undulating, windy and nice and warm to boot. I caught Amanda, who had a 1 plus minute lead from the swim, at about the 15 mile mark. I felt pretty good and pushed on. I was using a disc, thank you Shimano, for the first time and it felt fast especially when the wind caught it at the right angle and it felt like a sail: pushing me on. In the latter part of the bike I could definitely feel it was heating up….the run was going to be fun!

Heat I was happy to deal with, I was less certain as to how my back would feel after 90km in the aero bars. I’d used the hills to get out the saddle and stretch things out a bit so I was optimistic. Heading out of T2 I had the usual heavy leg feel but from my first couple of mile splits I could see I was running pretty well…maybe too fast: i didn’t want to blow up. I had a few guys in front of me so I used the out and backs to try and keep pace with them. There was a particularly cruel hill with no shade that I felt like I was crawling up! Luckily round the corner there was the aid station where Laura and her friends were volunteering and their cheers pepped me up.

With temperatures of 90 degrees plus, running down the yellow brick road to be greeted by Dorothy and the full Wizard of Oz crew was a good sight. My first race since touching down in Boulder and my first 70.3 win. I like Kansas …even more so when I discovered that the post race food included pulled pork rolls.

As always, lots of thank yous. To all my sponsors for kitting me out with the best kit: Cervelo, Newton, Aquasphere, Shimano, PowerBar, XLabs, ISM and Biestmilch. My fabulous home-stay hostess, Laura and to Ryan and the volunteers for putting on a great race. To my support crew scattered far and wide: coach MD, family and friends (you know who you are) who’ve put up with rather an up and down past 2 months!

Next up is Challenge Roth – which I am pretty darned excited to be racing. I’ll keep you posted on adventures in Germany!

Share

Monday Race Hangover

Posted by on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 12:00 pm | Leave a reply

This weekend saw a ton of triathlon goings-on in the Newton family! Craig Alexander hit the bricks in his first race since his epic victory at Ironman Melbourne in March at Ironman 70.3 Eagleman in Maryland. The reigning Ironman (BOTH distances) World Champ was out of the water with the lead pack in a time of  23:17. He followed this up by laying down a blazing bike split of 2:03:57, which came on a flat but windy course that gave many athletes trouble. Coming out of T2 25 seconds down on the race leader, Craig and his Newtons did what they do best and took control of the race by posting a 1:15:07 half-marathon split for a winning time of 3:44:57.

A few hundred miles to the West, Newton pro Rachel Joyce was taking on brutal race conditions at Ironman 70.3 Kansas. After post the second fastest women’s swim time of the day in very choppy conditions, Rachel completely dominated the rast of the race. She posted the fastest women’s bike split by 7:11 (2:22:10) as well as the fastest women’s run split (1:21:21). These splits combined found Rachel just shy of a whopping 23 minutes in front of the second place finisher!

Holding down the Newtonian contingent at Ironman 70.3 Kansas on Sunday was part of Newton’s crack legal team, Thom W. On a day that saw winds kicking up a few white caps on Clinton Lake as well as record temps on the bike and run course made for a race that was a bit less than perfect. In the end though, Thom was super happy that he made it through such tough conditions and notching off his 2nd 70.3!

There were three Newtonians who joined Craig at Eagleman as well. Scott Burrow, Steve Johnson and Andrew Maxwell all set off into the tough heat, humidity and breeze. After flatting during the swim (“How?” you ask? In high heat tires/tubes that are pushing the limits of their inflation can expand and burst), Scott went on to have a solid race. Taking a break from his duties at the Newton Running Lab here in Boulder, Steve had a killer day, winning his age group with an awesome 4:03:47 which punched his ticket to Kona in October. Congrats Steve!

Big props to all who raced in Newtons this weekend!

Share

2012 Bolder Boulder Recap

Posted by on Friday, June 1, 2012 @ 7:57 am | Leave a reply

Each Memorial Day since 1979 has welcomed to Newton Running’s hometown the Bolder Boulder 10K. This past Monday was no exception with more than 50,000 people lining up to run 6.2 miles through the streets of Boulder, finishing at CU Boulder’s Folsom Field.

Among those running the race this year were Newton Running VP and CFO Anne Klein and Rich Miyamoto. Also joining them were Newton Running Lab rockstar athlete Steve Johnson, Ironman expo madman Scott Burrow and founder of Team Winter, Winter Vinecki. After breaking the tape in first place in the Citizen’s Race last year, Team Alchemy’s Jeremy Freed was racing in the men’s professional field.

As in races before, a friendly wager was made between Newton marketing coordinator and Team Alchemy member Kara Henry and CFO Rich. Kara didn’t learn from Rich’s prior sandbagging and bet-winning ways and put her money on Rich not being able to run a sub-10 minute per mile pace for the race. Rich wound up blowing away expectations with a blazing 9:30 pace while being supported by Anne. Finding herself on the losing end of this bet Kara is now required to wear a customized shirt for a week culminating with some of her (in)famous karaoke stylings. Pictures and laughs to come.

Team Alchemy’s Jeremy Freed, running for Team Colorado in a deep men’s professional field, finished in 16th place with a time of 31:32. The Newton Running Lab’s Steve took the win in his age group with a blazing 33:57 (5:27/mile) and Scott, while filming a lot of the race (video coming soon), pulled off an awesome 44:53. Founder of Team Winter, Winter Vinecki, went out and crushed the race in a time of 46:15; taking fourth in her division.

With a huge crowd in town for the race, the weather here in Boulder was absolutely perfect for the expo in the days leading up to the race that took over the Pearl Street mall.  The whole Newton crew pitched in between chatting with the friendly faces at our booth on the mall and being hands on in the Newton Running Lab. Here’s to a great race and many more to come!

Share

Monday Race Hangover

Posted by on Monday, May 21, 2012 @ 12:40 pm | Leave a reply

This past weekend was a big one for Newton runners, with races from 5K’s to half marathons, to full and half Iron distance races and full marathons! We’re going to highlight just a few but we’d love to hear about how your races went as well. First, the one and only Zola Budd toed the line in the Divas Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In a sold out race with a crowd of 4000, Zola broke the tape in a time of 1:22:47. As we mentioned on Friday, this was a tune-up race for the South African native as she gets ready to run her first ever Comrades Marathon on June 3. Also at the Divas event, Zola’s 16 year-old daughter Lisa, took the win in the 5K in a time os 19:38. Congats to both mother and daughter!

 Team Alchemy’s Nicole Chyr went to the Colfax Marathon to defend her 2011 title. Due to some injuries, Nicole was feeling a bit less than perfect for this race but nevertheless she was there and ready to rock. On a new course which offered more sharp turns than in years past Nicole says she had a great time though the technicality made for a beautiful yet challenging course. In a time that saw her almost 7 minutes in front of her nearest competitor, Nicole went on to defend her title in a time of 3:07:42!

Next on Nicole’s calendar, after a few weeks off, is the Copper half marathon on July 1st and the Vail half on July 22nd. Nicole’s next full marathon won’t be until the Denver Marathon on Sept. 22.

At the same event, Team Alchemy’s Bob Weiner ran the half marathon distance finishing as the third overall male and winning his age group in a time of 1:14:01!

Congrats to all who raced in their Newts this weekend!

Share

Team Alchemy’s Nicole Chyr Takes 3rd at the Greenland Trail 25K

Posted by on Monday, May 7, 2012 @ 12:18 pm | Leave a reply

This past weekend Team Alchemy’s Nicole Chyr toed the line in what was an incredibly deep field at the Greenland 25K. With a weather warning from the Race Director which included temperatures in the 80′s and a strong Southerly wind, not to mention a course that basically goes straight up and straight down, “challenging” would be a bit of an understatement!

Running this race for her second time, Nicole felt more prepared for this year’s race by carrying a water bottle of her own to make up for the fact that there are only two aid stations. Wisely deciding to race her own race early on, Nicole was racing with her eye on this year’s Colfax Marathon (which she won last year!). Even while coming off a bit of an injury and being relatively conservative, Nicole ran her way to a two minute course PR and third place!

Next up for Nicole is the aforementioned Colfax Marathon where she’ll be defending her title!

Share

How to Run the Boston Marathon 2012: Part IV

Posted by on Monday, April 9, 2012 @ 8:41 am | Leave a reply

BY:

Mark Cucuzzella MD, Professor West Virginia University School of Medicine, LtCol US Air Force
2006 and 2011 Air Force Marathon Champion and Air Force Marathon Team Member since 1988

Now a few extra ways to get from start to finish quicker on the same gallon. 

  • If you can add a little gas along the way then you can go more into gas mode.  This works a little at best.  If running too fast you shunt all blood to working muscles and nothing digests.  If you are in hybrid the early going you can continually add fuel- the key is not only the correct fuel, but the right pace.  A Powergel every 25 minutes is easy to digest and tops off the tank.  Carry them with you at the start.  The weight is nothing compared to the benefit you will get.  If you do the gels then you can drink water instead of the energy drinks which are often less predictable on the run. Boston has a Powergel station at Mile 17.  Carry 4 at the start (one every 4 miles or so) and reload at mile 17.
  • Maintain effort on uphills.  Your pace will slow. You can easily use all your gas here if your effort increases.  Shorten your stride, relax, and use your arms.  Then allow gravity to take you down. Do not over reach and heel hit on the down hills- remember run over the ground not into the ground. If it is windy get behind a group.  This can save lots of physical and mental energy.
  • If you are having a “bad patch” – try to refocus on relaxing, fuel a bit (sometimes a blood glucose drop triggers the sense of doom), and have faith in your training and race plan.  Another nice trick is when you hit mile 21 it is not 5 miles to go, it is 4 and change. Mile 22 is 3 and change to go.
  • Do not over drink water. This can lead to a dangerous condition called hypontremia.

The fun of the marathon is that we are always learning and enjoying the adventure of it.  I’ve done over 70 marathons now with a couple under 2:25 in my younger years.  We learn from experience, taking chances, and occasional failures. My first marathon was the 1988 Marine Corps was 2:34, when I could run about 30 minutes for 10 k.  24 years later I hope to get near this time again and my current 10k is about 35 minutes (2011 Boston was 2:37.00).   I’ve learned a few things in 20 plus years on how to train and race efficiently and economically, but still there are uncertainties every time you line up.  So relax, taper up, and seize the day.

I’d like to especially thank all the Armed Forces Members around the world who sacrifice daily in the service of their country and for all the volunteers who make the Boston Marathon a Patriot’s Day celebration.  May the wind be at your back, like 2011!

(Click here to read part 1)

(Click here to read part 2)

(Click here to read part 3)

Share

How to Run the Boston Marathon 2012: Part III

Posted by on Friday, April 6, 2012 @ 10:46 am | Leave a reply

BY:

Mark Cucuzzella MD, Professor West Virginia University School of Medicine, LtCol US Air Force
2006 and 2011 Air Force Marathon Champion and Air Force Marathon Team Member since 1988

So how do you know you are running in your best hybrid mode? 

This is difficult because the sense at this level (Aerobic Threshold) is not as profound as Lactate Threshold (or Anaerobic Threshhold).  A slight increase from your optimal pace will switch you from hybrid to all gas without you realizing it, and the effects are felt miles later. Charging up hills early will tap your gas quickly.  If you want to speed up early….DON’T. Relax and maintain effort, not speed.  You should feel easy in the early stages, it is a marathon.

You must rehearse a bit in training.  I focus on relaxation and breathing.  If I’m breathing one cycle to 5 steps, then I’m hybrid.  If I’m breathing faster I’m using mostly glucose as fuel.  Belly breathe- allow lower belly to blow up like a beach ball on inhalation and pull your belly button back to your spine on exhalation.  Then you will fill the lower lung areas where oxygen exchange occurs. Notice the breathing efforts of those around you and many are rapid breathing- they tend to suffer somewhere past half way.  Rehearse complete relaxation from the top down- eyes, jaw, shoulders, allow your legs to relax and extend behind you, relax and soften your knees and ankles.  Find you own cue for this.  If you use the Heart Rate Monitor in training strongly consider one during the event.

In a marathon, the last 3-4 miles you will be mostly gas to maintain the same speed as fatigue sets in and heart rate rises.  The breathing is usually on a 3 to 4 steps per breath cycle- that is OK.  Still stay relaxed and use the cues that you have rehearsed to keep your form. Speed up only when you can “smell the barn”, this occurs when you see the Citgo sign (Mile 23).

Land softly, especially on the early downhills.  I run with a forefoot/midfoot landing harnessing elastic recoil. Focus on posture and hip extension. Use a slight forward lean from the ankles (think “face forward” and look ahead).  I’m never sore after marathons now and feel I can keep doing them until I enter the retirement home. I won the Air Force Marathon in 2:38 four weeks ago and feel fine now for another effort.  With good form it is “No pain…thank you”.

Your shoes matter too.  Make strong consideration to not running in minimalist racers unless you have trained substantially in them and adapted your structure to a natural barefoot style gait. I advocate gradually adapting all of your training into more minimal and level shoes.   If you relax your lower legs and load the springy tendons in your feet and Achilles, these shoes with no heel elevation put you in perfect position to allow natural elastic recoil of plantar fascia, Achilles, calf muscles, and hip flexors.  New research and runner’s experience is now making the case for running with a more efficient stride and questions modern running footwear. The evolving world of modern sports medicine is going back to the future too and rediscovering what evolution has taught us.  My shoe for the last 3 years at this race has been the Newton Distance.  A fast and efficient shoe for those who have worked on form.  For a library of information of footwear, running form, and biomechanics visit our website at The Natural Running Center( http://naturalrunningcenter.com). You can view lots of minimalist shoe information on http://www.tworiverstreads.com

Tomorrow: Now a few extra ways to get from start to finish quicker on the same gallon.  

(Click here to read part 1)

(Click here to read part 2)

Share

How to Run the Boston Marathon 2012: Part II

Posted by on Thursday, April 5, 2012 @ 11:42 am | Leave a reply

BY:

Mark Cucuzzella MD, Professor West Virginia University School of Medicine, LtCol US Air Force
2006 and 2011 Air Force Marathon Champion and Air Force Marathon Team Member since 1988

So how does this apply to you in your Boston Marathon, whether you are going to run 2:20 or 4 hours plus?

As you enter the weeks prior to the race here are a few strategies to help you set your plan.  Running your best marathon is part art, science, guts, faith in what you can do, and a little luck.  Running your best 10k is mostly about fitness. The best analogy I can think of is this: if you have trained your body properly with the right mix of aerobic level training and some up tempo stuff in recent weeks, you have built your efficient hybrid engine ready to race the marathon.  Many of you have driven in a Prius and watched the subtle shifts between gas and electric on the screen.  You do not perceive these shifts. Your engine(muscles) runs on a mixture of gas and electric, and how much of each depends on the effort.  This is why slow aerobic training is critical for marathon success, you build a massive electric engine.

You are starting the race with one gallon in the tank- assuming you have eaten a nice meal the night before with a breakfast top off.

  • If you are in all gas mode, your engine will run about 1.5 hours at a strong pace….then you are out of gas.
  • If you are mostly electric you can run all day, but maybe not so quickly.
  • If you are using the proper mix you will go quick and efficient for duration of your event, and you can even do some topping off along the way.

The glucose utilizing pathway (glycolysis for the science folks) is the gas. This is your stored liver/muscle glycogen and blood glucose (pasta meal and breakfast) – easy to access for ready energy.  The fat utilizing pathway (gluconeogenesis for the science folks)  is the electric.  In marathons you must be in hybrid the entire race.  Hybrid is where your energy (ATP) is coming from both sources.

Many runners are in great “10k shape” (an all gas event), then run their marathon in the gas mode- and usually crash.  Glycogen sparing strategy need not apply in races of less than an hour as long as you had a good pre-event meal to fill the tank. In marathons and ultras- top end fitness matters little and can only be applied very near the finish. Glucose gives 36 ATP per molecule, fat 460 ATP per molecule.  You must tap into the fat burning tank. Now you know how a bird can migrate 7000 miles without a Powerbar.

Tomorrow:  So how do you know you are running in your best hybrid mode

(Click here to read part 1)

Share