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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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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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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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.

tylerco

Tyler enjoying Colorado living!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inspire Your IRONMAN Boulder Athlete To RUN BETTER WITH Our #RUNFORIT VIDEO WALL

Posted by on Friday, July 25, 2014 @ 2:51 pm | Leave a reply

RACE CHIP-TRIGGERED PERSONALIZED CHEER VIDEOS FOR MILE 20 OF THE RUN!

More than 3,000 athletes will take on IRONMAN Boulder in our hometown on Sunday, August 3 and Newton Running will be there to help them Run Better – especially when they really need the support: at mile 20 of the run course.

We’re inviting athletes’ friends, family members, coaches or other supporters to record a short, personalized “video cheer.” We’ll play the video, triggered to an athlete’s race chip, on a jumbo screen at mile 20 of the run course – just when they’re digging deep and doing some soul-searching to keep it going those last 6.2 miles.

If you’re in Boulder for race weekend and know someone racing, come visit the Newton #RunForIt video booth and record a FREE cheer video for an athlete. Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday, July 29 10am-6pm Newton Running Lab
Wednesday, July 30 10am-6pm Newton Running Lab
Thursday, July 31 9am-5pm IRONMAN Boulder ExpoBoulder High School1604 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO
Friday, August 1 9am-5pm IRONMAN Boulder ExpoBoulder High School1604 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO
Saturday, August 2 9am-5pm IRONMAN Boulder ExpoBoulder High School1604 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO

 

 

 

 

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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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It’s good to be 7

Posted by on Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 12:12 pm | Leave a reply

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.

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Breakfast On The Go

Posted by on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @ 11:32 am | Leave a reply

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!

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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.

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Fresno Pace

Posted by on Sunday, April 27, 2014 @ 2:58 pm | Leave a reply

Don’t be fooled by the quiet reserve of Newton elite team member Fernando Cabada—he’s ready to race.

Stealth is one way you could describe elite Newton athlete Fernando Cabada. He is silent (when he’s not ribbing his teammates) and potentially deadly when running. Determined is another apt description. As is the comeback kid. But, no matter how you describe him, he is fast. And, he’s hoping his speed will place him in a top 3 position in the U.S. Olympic Trials for marathon in February, 2016.

Fernando IAAF

            Far fetched? No. Not given that he placed 7th with a time of 2:11.53 at the last Olympic Trials, which took place in Houston, Texas in January, 2012. On that same track, he recently ran a personal best half marathon time of 1:02:00. This was good enough for him to make the USA team for the World Half Marathon Championships, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark in March. The US team placed 7th overall.

Fernando Team USA

These accolades come on top of a longer list, including the fact that he set the American 25-K record with a time of 1:14:21, and he has been a three-time US Champion.

But there is another motivator that is driving him to the trials in Los Angeles in 2016. Cabada grew up in Fresno, California. This is the place where he learned determination and where running, in a sense, saved his life. Nothing would be more satisfying than having a top 3 finish in front of the home crowd—nothing, except for wearing “USA” across his chest at the Olympics.

Fernando Cabada grew up in Fresno with a single mom and a dad who went in and out of prison. When he was in 3rd grade, his mom was awarded assistance from the Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8, which meant that Fernando and his mom could move to a safe neighborhood that also had a better school. Cabada suddenly had access to physical education and sports.

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“I was in 3rd grade and I went out and ran a half mile. I was second in my class. I was kind of fast. In 4th grade, I could go out for cross-country. My dad was pretty hard on me with sports, so I steered away from baseball and basketball. Running was the thing I could choose myself.”

Running helped him to fit into a very affluent neighborhood and school system—think the Orange County of Fresno, where everyone drives a BMW.  Cabada’s mom was on welfare, which meant he had free lunch tickets. Rather than stand out by using the tickets, Cabada chose not to eat. He went for years without eating much at school. “I wouldn’t eat. I wouldn’t start eating until I was in my Junior year, when my uncle would give me a job on the weekends. Then, I had $5 a day to buy something at lunch. People could see money in my hand. I didn’t want to stand out so much.

“I was embarrassed, I didn’t have the style of clothes everyone had. I was defensive and reserved. I wasn’t like them, so if anything I was more segregated than ever until I was in high school on the cross-country team.”

At the nationally distinguished Buchanan High School, Cabada began to dream about running with the senior team. “I would daydream for hours of running with the varsity team, so people would say, ‘Who is that brown kid?’ But these were just dreams, I didn’t believe it would happen. It’s like saying you’re going to win a lottery.”

In his Junior year, Cabada won the lottery so to speak, when he became nationally ranked and number 1 on the team. In his senior year, he was Athlete of the Year, beating out all of the football players and other athletes at the school.  After graduating in 2000, he attended college, something no one in his family had done before. Next, he jumped into the pro running circuit. But without a team of college friends to run with, running suddenly wasn’t quite so enjoyable.

“In college, in senior year, you’re going to these races to try to make as much noise as you can to continue your dream and you’ll do anything to get it. But you forget, you have to keep working. It’s hard to get it, but it’s hard to keep it.” After hitting some of his best times ever, he incurred some injuries and a sponsorship deal he had with another company ended in 2010. Cabada hit a slump. He considered hanging up his running shoes and headed to the oil fields of North Dakota to try to make ends meet. But once he got there, he realized, “I can’t quit running, I’m too good.” And he is.

Newton took notice of Cabada in 2012 after his seventh place finish at the marathon Olympic Trials in Houston. A relationship was forged and now surrounded by a team once again, Cabada’s enthusiasm has increased as his times have dropped. Now, with Boulder, CO established as his home, the once reserved runner is finally comfortable in his own skin and is even known for his sense of humor and being vocal on the team. Although he admits, “I’m pretty honest and sometimes can be controversial.”

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But that edge is what has helped drive his running. He is the Newton Running elite team’s fastest member. His plan is to get faster over the course of the next 21 months. “I had to have an edge walking to elementary school, because you were going through a neighborhood where you might get into a fight. This has helped me in my racing and life itself. If a situation is going bad, I can always put things in perspective.” He adds, “For me in my world, I’ve already won in life. I didn’t follow in my father’s footsteps. Now it’s all bonus.” And hopefully, that bonus will payout on February 13, 2016.

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Run Hard. Pray Hard: Danielle Duhon & The Boston Marathon

Posted by on Sunday, April 20, 2014 @ 5:41 am | Leave a reply

 “Run fast. Pray hard.” That’s Danielle Duhon’s running motto. It’s what got her to the Boston marathon in 2011 and what is taking her there again this year. “Boston is like the average runner’s Olympics,” she says.  “Running Boston in 2011 was one of the greatest running experiences I’ll ever have. The crowd support and the privilege of having qualified and getting to run that course, is something I’ll never take for granted.” She adds, “It was such a blessing and an honor to be there, even if I never qualified again.”

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            The 43-year-old has qualified for Boston every year since, but traveling for a race can be expensive. Not to mention she works the night shift as a nurse and has three young daughters, the oldest of whom is disabled. But this year, is different. “I didn’t go back in 2012 or 2013. The reason I’m going back this year is because of the events of last year. I decided it was important for me to go back and show my support for the city after the events of last year.”

Aside from running alongside the more than 35,660 participants who also are running Boston this year, she’s headed to the race with her sister and seven of her girlfriends. All of who qualified. “It’s amazing we all qualified and got in. I think it will be really special and an honor to run for the people who can’t run this year. For those who lost their lives and to say ‘thank you’ to the city.”

But Duhon hopes this won’t be her last time running Boston. She has another goal in mind for which she will rely on her motto again, as well as the words of triathlete, Jessie Thomas, “Your best performance can come in spite of your biggest doubts. Always give your self a chance to succeed.” Duhon would like to run Boston again pushing her 14-year-old daughter in her new running chair. “My oldest daughter is handicapped and we just raised money to buy her a pushchair. My goal is to qualify for the push chair division. I am small and she weighs more than me, so it will likely take me more than a year to get there. I think she would be ecstatic. She just waves like she is in a pageant when I push her in races. It will be a tough road, but my goal is to give her that experience, however long it takes me to get there.”

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As she looks toward her next goal, and even her ensuing race, Duhon credits Newton for her ability to still run at all. When she first began to marathon train, she would get injured every time she increased her mileage—stress fractures, IT band issues, Achilles tendinitis—you name it, she had it. In March of 2009, she ran her first marathon in New Orleans in a time of 4:07. “I was injured again afterward and went in search of a new shoe.” That’s then she was fitted in the Newton Distance. That summer, she began to increase her mileage and remained injury free. In December 2009, she ran her second marathon in a time of 3:41, giving her the qualifying time for Boston. “Nine months later and 26 minutes off my time. What? The only thing I changed were my shoes.”

Fast forward to today and she’s gone through about 12 pairs of the Distance U and is headed to Boston for the second time. For the next few days, she’ll tuck away her thoughts on running it a third time with her daughter and try to just savor the moment—a change from the first time she ran Boston. “Last time I ran Boston, I wanted to run my fastest time and I didn’t enjoy the race as much as I would have liked, because I was looking at my watch and trying to PR. I missed my PR by 3 seconds and I came home disappointed.” She adds, “This time I promised myself I wouldn’t run for the time, but would enjoy myself more and soak up every single moment of this race. Especially with everything that happened there last year, we owe it to that crowd to enjoy every single second.” Then, she’ll get back to running fast and praying hard to make her next goal happen.

 

 

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