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  • Just Tri It!

    As you contemplate your New Year’s Resolution, consider taking inspiration from amateur triathlete Dan Stubleski.

     

    While you contemplate your New Year’s Resolutions, consider taking inspiration from Dan Stubleski, who didn’t run, swim or bike competitively until he took up triathlons four years ago at age 34. Although he now rides with a local team (Fraser Bicycle Team Green), he doesn’t have a coach and he works full time. Still, this year, he placed first in his division (35-39) at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and he was the overall top amateur finisher, in a time of 8:50:22. We caught up with him recently at his home in Washington, Michigan, where he lives with his wife (who he describes as “the best Sherpa EVER!!!!”) and two kids, ages 12 and 10.

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    Before you started doing triathlons had you ever raced running? No, no racing before. I just ran for fun. I was competitive in team sports.

    Did you bike or race bikes? My first race was the South Maui Triathlon in 2011.

    What about swimming?  I knew how to swim, for fun, but did not start really swimming until I signed up for the South Maui Tri. I started swimming at the Romeo High School pool.

    So triathlons are quite a bit different than playing basketball. How did you start doing triathlons? Well, I bought my first road bike because I was into watching the Tour De France and thought that riding might be fun. I bought my first road bike and loved it. I discovered Triathlon when looking for a bike race during a trip to Maui with my wife in June of 2011. We were already booked to go and I wanted to bring my bike. I thought it would be cool to do a race while I was there, but could only find triathlon and not just bike racing. I figured why not? I’ll try it!

    You came 2nd in your first triathlon, the South Maui Tri, which was Olympic Distance,  and then went straight to the IRONMAN Steelhead 70.3 in Michigan…were you hooked after the first one and just decided to go for it? Oh heck yeah, I was hooked! I figured I did well at the Olympic distance, and loved it, and Steelhead was within driving distance, so why not?

    When did you set your sites on a full IRONMAN? I did not set my sites on IRONMAN until after I completed the 70.3 (which actually wasn’t a true 70.3 because the swim was cancelled).

    Looking at your resume, it looks like you performed well from the get go and then just got stronger? Were you surprised at your performance?  I was surprised at my performance in Maui. I really just wanted to finish. I never expected to finish second overall! It wasn’t until after like my 3rd or 4th race that I stopped being surprised and knew that triathlon racing must be my thing.

    Was IRONMAN Texas your first full? Yes, Texas 2013.

    When did you set your sites on Kona? After my 2012 race season—I raced well in 2012 and set my sites on a full IRONMAN and qualifying for Kona 2013.

    In 2013, you placed 2nd in your age group and 26th overall at Kona. How did that race rank for you in your list of experiences? I think I have to say my best race experience was Kona 2013, my first time racing there. There is nothing like it! Just the feeling of being in Kona was awesome—the crazy, exciting atmosphere. Just standing on the pier. Crossing the finish line for the first time in Kona, the feeling is indescribable!

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    What were your goals heading to Kona this year? My goal was to win! Isn’t that always the goal? Lol! I also wanted to improve on my marathon time.

    What were you worried about going in? If I could improve on my time from last year.

    Did you know you were the first amateur? I did know I was in first. It was close for most of the race. Toward the end though I knew I had a little time on the second place guy.

    Obviously, you won, so the race went well. What were the highlights? Well, I had a bad swim. I picked a spot that proved to be not good! It was crowded. Everybody wants to be first so everybody wants to start the swim up front. The spot I chose was crowded for most of the swim. My favorite part was the bike. I love to ride. I got a new Specialized Shiv this season and sometimes I just can’t get out of the saddle!!! My bike was descent, considering there was a head wind heading to Hawi and pretty much all the way back from Hawi! I had a PR on the run, 2:58:19. I was excited, happy, proud! I couldn't believe I had done it!

    Was your family there to watch? This year just my wife, but last year for my first Kona, my wife and kids were all there.

    And you raced in Newtons? Yes I did. I raced in the Elites, the green ones. When I first started wearing Newtons I wore Distance S. I sometimes still train in them.

    Why Newtons? Honestly, because Crowie [Newton athlete/triathlete Craig Alexander] wears them! That is how I discovered them. I was wearing another brand for my 2011 season and they were too wide, sloppy. I knew that before my 2012 season I needed to find a new brand. I saw Crowie in Newtons and looked them up and thought I’d give them a try. I have been hooked on them ever since. Love them. The guys that work in the Newton tent at the race venues got to know my wife because we were in there shopping so much!

    So, why do you do what you do? I do it because I love it. I love to exercise. It makes me feel alive! Lol, most people don’t understand that!

    What do people think back home? Everyone is excited. Everyone is happy for me and they want to hear my Kona story, which I am happy to tell!

    What’s next? Well, I had a lot to think about and consider. I kind of wanted to go pro, but with the changes to the pro race that Ironman made, it really doesn’t make sense for me. All of the sold out races that I could have entered and close to home races are no longer pro races. So, I am going to stay amateur.

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    Do you have any advice for newcomers to triathlon? For the newcomers in the sport, start slow and enjoy the journey. It takes a lot of dedication to do this sport. It gets a little easier the fitter you get.

    What about any New Year’s Resolutions? My goal for the year is to go faster each time I race. To win again in Kona would be awesome!! We will see. I think I can still improve in all areas.

  • Q&A with Apolo Ohno

    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.

  • Kona For Kenny!

    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.

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    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

  • Bachelorettes Gone Wild

    Part Three

     

    What was the best and worst part of running the Grand Canyon?

    Kara - The best part was running down the canyon at 4am into complete darkness with a bunch of crazy awesome chicks. There was just this epic sense of adventure and an incredible feeling of excitement. And nothing hurt yet which was a plus. The worst part was the complete loss of skin on the top of both feet. After running in the rain for 7 hours it seems that my skin gave up and abandoned ship. It looks like my feet have been boiled. Seriously…I can’t put shoes on.

    Cody - I don’t know if I could pin point that. The day was a total adventure from start to finish, the scenery was epic, the terrain was incredibly challenging, both mentally and physically. I guess the best part is the memories that we have from the entire day. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime.

    Sabina - To be honest the day was full of epic highs and major lows for me. The worst part for me was from mile 31-38 lets just say I was in pretty bad shape…soaking wet, in pain, and with 6 hours to go. The best part… well there are so many moments that come to mind but what really made it all worth it was at mile 45 the sky’s cleared and this amazing rainbow shot out from the middle of the Grand Canyon, it was a good friend saying hello. 

    Would you do it again?

    Kara - Maybe. It was an incredible experience but I’m ready for something new! What’s the next grand adventure going to be??

    Cody - You know, I think running the Grand Canyon should be a bucket list run, that said… I checked it off my list and have no plans of going back

    Sabina - I think that question is tricky.  If you asked me at mile 40 I would say NEVER AGAIN! But looking back on it now Never say Never. 

    Any Advice for someone wanting to run R2R2R?

    Kara - Be prepared for changes in weather. We were very happy that we packed rain gear and an extra base layer when 7 hours of thunderstorms rolled in.

    Don’t forget to eat! The easiest way to bonk is by forgetting to eat. Even if you don’t feel hungry, keep that food coming. We each packed a variety of snacks from pizza rolls to Fig Newtons, GUs and everything in between. You never know what you’ll end up craving so the more options the better!

    Remember, it always gets better. No matter how terrible you’re feeling, things will turn around and you’ll be laughing at the meltdown you’re having in no time.

    Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the views, laugh and have fun. This is supposed to be fun, even if it may not feel like it all the time. If you’re not enjoying it, then why even bother!

    Cody - Definitely plan out the route you're taking. The Grand Canyon is a total beast and if you get down there unprepared you still have to somehow make it back out. Plan on having extreme low points and extreme high points - if you're expecting that roller coaster of emotions, it's much easier to deal with. Lastly, know where the water stops are and plan to bring a variety of things to eat so you don't get flavor fatigue. Oh and definitely bring a poncho. 

    Sabina - YES! Knowing what I know now I would have done a lot of things a little different. 1) Don’t underestimate the Grand Canyon and mother nature, ITS A BEAST!  2) Train on the steepest mountain you can find, hike up it and run down over and over! 3) Enjoy every moment of it even if you are miserable because its EPIC! Good Luck :)

    GC9 At the top of the South rim the day before running rim to rim to rim. We were shocked and a little terrified at how massive the Grand Canyon really is.
    GC3 3am start at the South rim of the Grand Canyon.
    GC8 Ready to get rolling on our all day mission of running from the South rim of the Grand Canyon to the North rim... and then back to the South rim. A long day to say the least.
    GC12 Hiking up the North rim. A brutal climb that puts you at 8,200 feet.
    gc14 Finally a break from running up hill! We made up a lot of time running back down the North rim.
    gc16 We quickly realized that around every corner was the perfect photo op, but we had to limit ourselves in order to finish before dark.
    GC10 The last 7 hours were mainly spent in the rain. We had to accept it and move on with the fact that our ponchos were our new best friend.
    photo Words cannot describe how happy we were in this moment to reach the top of the South rim again.

  • Keeping up with Sugarland guitarist, Thad Beaty

    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.”

  • It’s good to be 7

    The Truth About Newton Running

    Like a carefree first-grader effortlessly bounding across the playground, Newton Running celebrated its 7th birthday in late March at the IRONMAN triathlon in Oceanside, California. My co-founder Jerry Lee and I began living a dream the day we started Newton Running. A dream founded with a revolutionary idea, a small assortment of demo shoes and a resolve to change not only the world of running, but through giving back, perhaps even change the world.

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    As I reflect on the past seven years, and Newton’s growing place in the running market, I have never been more proud of the direction of our company or inspired by the uplifting daily reminders of the positive impact we've had on runners around the globe. Perhaps most gratifying is Newton’s unwavering commitment to a consistent set of innovative beliefs that have guided the company from its earliest days and led so many runners to find a home with the Newton tribe.

    At Newton, we believe in:

    Helping You Run Better:

    • There's a "Right" way to run. This doesn't mean all runners run alike or that you must run a certain way to enjoy running or the unique benefits of Newton running shoes. Simply that the best-practice fundamentals of posture, position and cadence apply to us all. And when followed, they lead to healthier more efficient running. 

     

    • Every runner can run better. Did you know that running form drills are a standard part of the training regimens for most of the elite athletes who work with Newton? We learn to swim, to ride a bike, to follow a disciplined training plan. A small focus on the fundamentals of running can yield enormous benefits for us all.

     

    • No other running shoe helps improve your running like a Newton. Our lightweight, level platform and patented Action/Reaction technology supports better, more efficient running through maximized ground-to-foot energy transmission. There's nothing else like it.

     

    The lasting power of personal relationships:

    • Virtually every Saturday, I lead a group run form clinic out of the Newton Running Lab in Boulder, Colorado. This opportunity to connect with fellow runners as they experience the Newton difference and discover the feel of efficient running is always one of the most rewarding parts of my week. 

     

    • If you attend a major marathon or IRONMAN expo, chances are good that Jerry Lee or I will be there, usually on our hands and knees fitting customers in shoes. We live for our running community. Personally engaging with new and seasoned runners alike who share our passion is and always will be core to our success.

     

    • Our customer service team is on a first-name basis with an impressive list of Newton runners, many of whom have been loyal Newtonites since our 2007 launch and proudly display a closet full of colorful Newtons from virtually every launch. We are so grateful for their loyalty.

     

    In giving back:

    • We founded Newton with the goal of establishing a double bottom line. Profitability supporting the committed team that makes Newton run, while also sharing in our success with those less fortunate, or in crisis. To date Newton has given more than $1.5 million to charitable causes. 

     

    • From trail clean-ups, to food drives to evenings serving meals to those in need, giving back together bonds our team in unbreakable ways.

    It's good to be Seven. Thanks to all of you who have joined us for the ride and here's to along run into the future.

  • Steady Stephen

    Stephen Pifer's running genes might just be the key to his consistent success, year over year

    Stephen Pifer has running in his genes and it shows. He has been a natural from the moment he stepped onto the track in 1997 at age 13 and broke an 18-year-old school record with a 5:07 in the 1600 meters. Although his math teacher was quick to point out to him that the 1600 meters is not a mile (technically it’s 1609 meters), he’s been breaking records ever since. He has competed twice in the Olympic Track and Field trials for 1500 meters and most recently, the soon-to-be 30-year-old qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials for marathon in February, 2016 with a time of 63.44 in the half marathon. He’s also been consistent. He’s run a sub-4 minute mile for 9 years, and hopes to make a decade of running sub-4s later this year.

    You don’t have to look far to see where Pifer’s running genes came from. His grandfather started the running program at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. His uncle was an All American at the same university and still holds the school record for the 800 meters. He went on to run marathons and eventually became Pifer’s high school coach before moving to Colorado to continue coaching. Both Pifer’s parents ran track in high school, too.

    But before Pifer could commit to follow in the family footsteps, he had some things to do. He played soccer and basketball. In his freshman year of high school he made the Junior Varsity basketball team and basketball was his passion. But in this same year, his uncle recorded the Footlocker HS Cross Country Nationals.  Pifer watched the race and decided he wanted to go to this meet. His basketball coach was none too happy, when Pifer told him mid Freshman season that he was quitting to focus on running.

    By the time his senior year rolled around, Pifer was a five-time school record holder and a two-time All-American in the Distance Medley Relay and the mile. That year, he became only the 6th man in Illinois’s history to win the Cross Country, 1600-meter and 3200-meter State Titles in the same year. And yes, he finally made it to the Footlocker HS Cross Country Nationals where he placed 14th.

    This was good enough to land him a scholarship to CU Boulder where despite a rookie mistake that sidelined him for most of his freshman year, he garnered strong results. “Freshman year things went up and down. I got hurt running on the Mesa Trail. It was a Rookie mistake, trying to be a showoff. I watched my teammates go to the Nationals for cross-country.” But things picked up from there.

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    Pifer became an All-Conference finisher (Big 12) four times and an All-Regional finisher three times in cross-country. He made Nationals and was an individual All-American four times. Although his team won two national titles, winning the Big 12 Conference in 2008 as a team was the highlight of his time at CU. “Not to take away from the NCAA championships, but winning the Big 12 title as a team was the best. We had a good group. It was a real team effort.” He credits the coaches for fostering this team spirit from the get go. “As Freshmen, we had a dodgeball team to try to tie everyone together. We were the ‘Track Whackers’. We had long jumpers and shot putters, we all knew each other and that synergy we developed led us to win over these powerhouse schools.” It was on the CU track team that Pifer met his future wife, Laura Zeigle “a stud runner in her own right,” he says.

    From CU, Pifer headed to Portland in 2009, to run for one of the larger shoe companies. Where some runners struggle outside of college, Pifer still felt he was part of a team and as a result he had one of his best years yet, including a 4th -place finish in the 1500 meters at the USA National Championships. It was during this time, he and his wife started a family. “I was in a position where I didn’t have to work another job. I could train and hang out with my family and then go train again. It was pretty awesome.”

    It was also during this time that his uncle, who was still coaching in Colorado, showed him a pair of Newton shoes. “I thought they looked crazy.” He appreciated being up on the ball of his feet, but he wasn’t sure about this new shoe company. But then a college friend went to work for Newton and a few years later as Pifer’s contract drew to a close, he says, “I noticed Newton was still around. I figured they’re obviously doing something right.” The next thing he knew he had landed a job with the company as a tech rep in Florida.

    Having become used to getting free shoes in college, he said, “I had to look it as though it wasn’t me buying the shoe, because I go through a pair once every 6-8 weeks.” But now when he considers durability and dollars per mile spent, he says, “I get way more miles out of my Newtons than I did for any other shoe I’ve ever worn.”

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    Having recently relocated to Colorado for Newton. Pifer was psyched to be chosen to run on one of the Bolder Boulder elite teams with his fellow Newton teammates Tyler McCandless and Fernando Cabada. Now, as he looks toward the ensuing Olympic marathon trials, he says, “Consistency is definitely something to be proud of. People get injured if you’re overdoing things. I am not getting faster, but I’m not getting slower. Hopefully, I can PR, I’m not ruling that out.”

    As for his boys, between his wife and him, one can only assume the running genes found their way to them as well. But Pifer will let them find their own way to running, just as he did. “If they want to do it, I think they’ll have the talent,” says Pifer. For now, he says, they’re doing jumps on their scooters, rock climbing and hiking, and taking advantage of everything Boulder has to offer. Pifer adds, “We’re just having fun.”

     

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  • Breakfast On The Go

    Let's face it life is busy. We get it. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, you’re moving in a hundred different directions (or at least it feels like it) between work, family, friends, and, getting that daily workout in. But on top of all of those daily activities, we sometimes neglect to refuel our bodies with the right nutrients to keep us going. So here's an easy solution: a quick-and-easy breakfast that you can take anywhere (at anytime…we won't hold you to breakfast). It can even be prepped over the weekend for the week ahead. Give it a whirl…and then let us know what you think!

    muffin Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

    What you'll need -

    • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
    • ½ cup all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp nutmeg
    • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
    • ¼ cup agave nectar or honey
    • 1 egg
    • 1 egg white
    • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
    • ¼ cup canola or olive oil
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • ¾ cup pumpkin purée
    • ½ cup cooked quinoa

     

    Now for the cooking -

    • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    • Mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
    • In a large mixing bowl combine brown sugar, agave nectar, egg, egg white, Greek yogurt, oil and vanilla, mix well. Stir in the pumpkin, add the dry ingredients and the quinoa; mix until combined.
    • Drop batter into a lined muffin tin filling the cups ⅔ full, and bake for 18 minutes.
    • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

     

    * Transformation - Add in ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

    * Muffins can be made in advance and stored in the freezer.

  • Melody Fairchild: So This is 40

    When it comes to running, Melody Fairchild knows what she likes and doesn't like. For instance, uphills “yes,” downhills “no,” Newtons “yes,” other brands “no.” She should know, she has been running since she was 14. And we’re not talking jogging. She was the first high school girl to break 10 minutes for 2 miles and from there her list of accolades is long.

    Last summer she turned 40 and aged up to Masters. She quickly proved she would be a force to be reckoned with in this category with three wins last fall in the space of a month: first place at the USA Masters 5K Championships with a time of 16:51; first place at the 15K Masters National Championship; and 1st female, and 2nd overall at the Project Athena US Trail Half Marathon, which served as the half marathon national championships, in Moab, Utah.

    Fairchild started 2014 with a goal to do all of the USATF Masters National Championships and a main goal of doing the Master’s National Championship in the marathon at the Medtronic Twin City Marathon in Minneapolis in October. Obviously, age has not diminished ability nor competitive spirit.

    So far this year, Fairchild has taken 2nd in the half marathon in Melbourne, Florida and 2nd at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, both in February. Results most runners would consider great. But, Fairchild doesn’t like to lose. “In the Twin Cities, I plan on being a contender to win and I would like to win. I will have my work cut out for me, there are a lot of really good Master’s marathoners out there, including the two women who I have been beaten by already this year.”

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    Although Fairchild makes running look easy, she has had her share of bumps in the road. Looking back on her career, she credits her ability to still run strong to the fact that she took a break from running from about the time she was 27 to 37. This was at a time when many of her running colleagues were pushing the envelope and taking their careers to another level professionally performance wise. Her body was telling her to do otherwise. “I had to really listen to my body, and it was telling me to stop running. I had massive sciatic nerve pain and my feet were hurting. Rather than getting surgery on my feet to keep running, I went an alternative healing route.” Fairchild focused on getting healthy.

    Along the path to healing, Fairchild also found a friend in Newtons. “I’ve been told I have a dropped metatarsal head. I thought it was a neuroma.” No matter how you cut it, it’s painful. “I also have large bunyans, which is why Newtons are great for my feet, because they have a nice wide toebox. With other shoes, I would have to cut them open because there was too much pressure on my feet.”

    Fairchild used to race in the Distance Elite and train in the Distance U, which she loves because it’s so light. But then, last summer, she discovered the new Energy—not a shoe you would immediately pair with an elite athlete. “ I ran a half marathon in Costa Rica last summer and placed 2nd. Normally, I would take a racing flat, but I ran the whole race in my Energies.”

    Fairchild says, for any Newton lovers with any sort of forefoot issue the Energy is just a fabulous option. ”I still feel the energy return that you get from a Newton, but it’s just so much more gentle on the forefoot, especially if you have a neuroma or a bone bruise.”

                Listening to and looking after your body, especially as a runner, is a message Fairchild now loves to share with the next generation of athletes. When she’s not training and racing—or planning for her wedding this summer (it’s true!)—she’s busy coaching across Boulder County. She runs after school cross-country and track programs, and running camps for girls in the summer. “My girls running camp in the summer is a passion of mine.  I know the pitfalls that befall young women. I help my girls gain a perspective of themselves and their life. It is a long winding road.”

    As she runs from job to job and race to race, Fairchild knows that winding road well. But at this stage in life, she’s loving every minute of it. “It’s so awesome to be paid to run. Every day I get up and train and look forward to the next race I have planned. I definitely don’t take it for granted.” She adds, “For someone my age, competing at the level I am, to have the support from a shoe company, is off the charts.”

  • Larger than Life!

    Sculptor Bob Zasadny makes a unique pair of Newtons

     

    If you find yourself driving in western Kentucky any time soon, specifically in Madisonville, take a moment to drive by, or even run around the Baptist Health Madisonville Trover Wellness Park, which sits next to the Baptist Health Madisonville hospital campus. Here, you’ll find something that looks strangely familiar: a pair of Distance Newton running shoes. But these just aren’t any pair of Distance shoes, this pair is four-feet long, roughly 20 inches high at the back and heel and about 20 inches wide—roughly four-times the average sized shoe.

    The hospital commissioned Indianna artist, Bob Zasadny, to create the giant shoe sculpture as a tribute for outgoing CEO, Berton Whitaker.  Whitaker, is a runner, who actually runs in the Newton Distance. He also was responsible, amongst other things, for the creation of the Baptist Health Madisonville Trover Wellness Park, which has 10 different fitness stations and a half-mile walking or running trail. So, the real idea here, says Zasadny, is that Whitaker is leaving big shoes to fill.

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    The other surprising thing about these shoes is that they only weigh about 20 pounds each. Zasadny constructed them out of rigid polyurethane foam coated in fiberglass.  Zasadny worked at a fiberglass company in his early 20s and was always fascinated with the medium. Now, 50 years later he says, at the age of 75, he’s still working with fiberglass. “It’s an alternative material, but not a widely used thing because it’s a unique product. It’s not a pleasant material to work with and you have to be a bit technical to work with it.” But he says, “It was a perfect media for me because I could manipulate it because of my industrial experience with it. I knew how to fabricate it and I could find artistic ways to use it.”

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    Typically, Zasadny likes to sculpt the forms we see in nature—sand dunes, leaf patterns, flower petals, things that are more organic. “I’ve tried to incorporate more natural things into my art. It resonates with people, they have to reach out and touch it and run their hands over it. It’s a tactile thing that you want to feel and start touching art with your hands.” But when the opportunity to create the Newtons came his way, he jumped on it. He hadn’t heard of Newton shoes prior to the project, but quickly found a pair to check out. “It was like walking on my socks and a piece of foam, such an airy feeling.” The colors weren’t lost on Zasadny either. He kept the shoes bright, but instead incorporated the four colors that matched the hospital logo.

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    So what does it take to complete a project like this? Zasadny says when all was said and done, including making the tabletops the shoes are mounted on, it took him “easily 400 hours. For 6 weeks, I worked 60-70 hour weeks. We were making something that had never been made before.” And with that much time invested, you would think he might be worried about the longevity of the sculpture. But, the ultimate beauty of working with the foam and fiberglass materials is that if the sculpture gets a ding in it or is damaged in any way, Zasadny says, “I can go down there and take some material, grind it up and make the damaged area totally like brand new. It’s not as tragic for that to be vandalized as it would be for someone else’s materials.” Long live Newtons!

    For more information on Bob Zasadny's art - http://www.bobzabstractsculpture.com/

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