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Tyler McCandless’s Balancing Act

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Giving out shoes to the local schools.

 

Newton: After Kauai, what’s next?

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Tyler enjoying Colorado living!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Steady Stephen

Posted by on Sunday, June 1, 2014 @ 5:17 pm | Leave a reply

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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Winter’s World Record

Posted by on Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 3:33 pm | Leave a reply

A World Record for Dad and the 1 in 6 Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer Each Year

Where did the time go? It seems like I was just 10 years old sitting on the couch flipping through the Guinness Book of World Records. Now 15, I just got the email stating, “Winter, your world record for the youngest person to run a marathon on all 7 continents has officially been recorded into the record books”.  It seemed like such a simple task back then. Run seven marathons around the world. Running was by far the easiest part of realizing this dream, though. The journey? Well that is another story.

At age 13, I ran my first marathon just 50 minutes from my Salem, Oregon home. Marathon great, Meb Keflezighi was there to give me encouragement and some last minute strategy. After all the controversy to get me into my first marathon, I felt I had a lot to prove that day. I still remember hearing my coach’s voice echo in my head as I hit mile 23, “Winter, you can run that course in 3:45:00”. Coach Hadley not only was right but more importantly he believed in me. Just five minutes shy of a Boston qualifying time, this 13 year-old conquered Eugene Marathon in 3:45:04. A precedent had been set. I was serious about my mission and my running.

Marathon #1 Eugene Marathon April 29, 2012 Finish Time 34504- Winter with a Race Pacer

Marathon #1 Eugene Marathon

Running in Kenya

Marathon #2 Amazing Maasai photo credit Paul Ark

Marathon #2 Amazing Maasai photo credit Paul Ark

My next marathon added many elements on top of the pure fact of running 26.2 miles. There was travel, heat, pre-race nutrition issues and much more to consider.

You would think getting into a marathon in Africa would be easy for a 14 year-old, after all, it’s common for kids to walk more than ten miles round trip to school a day. I was shocked when I started getting turned down in South Africa by race directors.  By pure coincidence, I was introduced to The Amazing Maasai race directors who just happened to be two young women with running backgrounds. They had previously been on the Amazing Race TV Show, which is what inspired them to start this marathon to aid in the education of Kenyan girls. Thank goodness they believed in me! After taking 3rd place overall female in 4:04, through tough terrain and heat, my love for trail marathons began. I found the tougher the course; the stronger I performed. Much of my race was captured on film by a Canadian TV Show called Boundless.

“El Fin Del Mundo,” The End of the World

Antarctica Marathon

Marathon #3 Antarctica Marathon

There is nothing like going from the extreme heat of the Maasai plains in Kenya to one of the harshest, coldest places in the world, Antarctica. First you fly to “El Fin Del Mundo,” The End of the World, also known as Ushuaia, Argentina. Waiting for us there was a Russian research vessel to take us across Drakes Pass, know for some of the roughest seas in the World.

Several day’s later, blustery weather prevented us from going on shore. Instead, we found ourselves on land, for the first time in days, just minutes before the start of the marathon. No one really talked about what “getting your sea legs,” meant, but several miles into the marathon I realized the ground appeared to be rolling like waves under my feet. By not having spent any time off the ship prior to running on land, I had not gotten rid of my “sea legs.”

But without a single fall (the ice was another challenge), I finished in 4:49:45—another 3rd place finish. I was now the youngest person in the world to run 26.2 miles in Antarctica.

Tough & Tougher

Marathon #4 Inca Trail Marathon- Finish Line Winter 1st place female

Marathon #4 Inca Trail Marathon

Next, I headed to the Inca Trail, which I documented here in an earlier blog. At this, my fourth marathon, I captured my first overall female marathon win. If you are a runner and up for a challenge and adventure of a lifetime, the Inca Trail Marathon should definitely be on your bucket list.

Half Trail/Half Road

Marathon #6 New Zealand

My fifth marathon was across the diverse terrain of a small island called the Great Barrier Island, off the coast of New Zealand. Running the first half of the marathon through the interior mountain trails and then finishing the last half on the paved coastline was an interesting mix to say the least. Even at my young age, it was definitely a transition my legs and feet felt, going from the soft surface of trails to the pounding of pavement. It definitely gave me a reminder of why I had fallen in love with trail running.

The Trails of Genghis Khan & Ogres

Marathon #5 Mongolia August 7, 2013 photo credit Fredrik Koerfer

Marathon #5 Mongolia Photo Credit : Fredrik Koerfer

The second toughest marathon I traveled to was definitely Mongolia’s Sunrise to Sunset Marathon, which I also documented in an earlier blog. Despite the remoteness of this marathon, the incredibly athletic and talented crew from Boundless was able to capture amazing footage for their TV Show. The crew ran alongside us through the dark forest, down the steep ravines, all the while carrying heavy cameras and microphones. I was truly in awe as I caught glimpses of the TV crew at random places on the course.

A World Record

Panathinaikon Stadium- Photo Credit- Athens Classic Marathon

Marathon #6 Athens Classic Photo Credit- Athens Classic Marathon

I learned a lot about history from the places I traveled over my 18-month journey. Completing my marathon tour in Athens, Greece, on the original course of Phidipiddies, was a fitting place to set a marathon world record. A place where women where originally shunned and even killed for watching the Olympics. Where only “winners” were called athletes, others were just mere participants. It was my first full road marathon since Eugene and I cherished every footstep across the 26.2 miles. The spectators that lined the course all shouted “Bravo” as we ran by. In Greece, runners are still considered highly respectable athletes and are praised. Crossing the finish line in the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the first modern Olympics, was an unforgettable moment. I pointed to the sky, symbolically to my dad, as I always do at the finish line, and thought to myself, “Dad, we did it!”

Back to Snow

Immediately upon returning from Greece, I exchanged my running shoes for ski boots. I had only a few days to reflect on my five-year journey to setting this world record. I think it will take me years to really comprehend what I was able to accomplish. My aerial skiing has now taken precedence in my life as I pursue a spot at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Several weeks ago I concluded my 2014 aerial season with a Jr. National title and 5th Place podium at the Jr. World Freestyle Championships in Italy. Some great steps toward my next big dream have been taken.

Winter NorAm Cup 2013 Mid Air Closeup Photo Credit- Trev Mozingo

Photo Credit : Trev Mozingo

Will there be an Ultra?

Many are asking what is next with my running. I definitely plan to tackle my first ultra marathon in the near future. As of today, my Newton running shoes are back on as I train for two big events in June 2014. I have been asked to join the winning team from last year’s Ropa Run in Europe. This is a well-known relay running event in Europe that raises money for cancer. I will join a team of seven men, with a total support crew of 26 people. We will run a 330-mile relay from Hamburg, Germany to Rotterdam, Netherlands. I will run roughly 80, one-kilometer sprints over a 30-hour period.

Then, I will join Simon Donato and a crew of elite runners and searchers to explore the high Sierras of California in search of a missing, downed military plane. We will hike up to 15 miles a day in harsh terrain at elevations of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, camping in tents and supported only by supplies brought in on horseback. Follow me on this great adventure with Adventure Science!

Obstacle Course Racing & More

I’m currently planning the rest of my summer events. Aside from my aerials training, you will definitely see me challenging my Newton’s on the Spartan Race courses, including the Spartan World Championships—and why not throw in a few triathlons as well!

Never Give In!

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Join Team Winter or make a Donation!

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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.”

Danielle-Chairdivision

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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Melody Fairchild: So This is 40

Posted by on Sunday, April 6, 2014 @ 9:24 am | Leave a reply

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.”

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Fleet Feet Store Partners with Newton to Put the Special in Specialty Running

Posted by on Monday, March 24, 2014 @ 9:02 am | Leave a reply

Every New Year’s Eve, Stephanie Blozy and her sister set goals. In 2005, with both of them looking for a change, they agreed they should go into business together. Next, they considered what kind of business. “We listed our passions, and we only had 2: chocolate and running. We liked to bake, but it never looked good, so we decided we should open a running store,” Blozy explains. And they were serious.

Three-and-a-half years later, the sisters took over Fleet Feet Sports in West Hartford, Connecticut (coincidentally located just a mile and a half from their parents’ home). “The world still doesn’t think women are the most capable business people for one reason or another. We wanted to show them that 2 sisters could do this.” They’ve never looked back. Blozy is the extrovert, who loves mingling with customers. Her sister runs the backend of the business and their dad, who is 67, runs the kids’ program.

Blozy’s dad has run 30 marathons, including Boston every decade since his 20s, her sister 12, and Blozy has now run 7. “But I have done a 50K, so I’ve topped them all.” And that competitive nature is what brought Blozy to Newton.

Blozy admits she was initially skeptical about Newtons and the benefits of the lug system.  But then, Blozy put a woman in her beginner program in a pair. She returned to the store raving about the shoes and talking about how she was running 2 minutes a mile faster in them. Then a family friend came into the store talking about how he was faster in these shoes.

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“My sister and I are pretty competitive. We were going to run the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon. I needed any advantage I could get,” she says. She started running in Newtons. But much to Blozy’s chagrin, her sister caught wind of how well Newtons were working for Blozy, and changed, too. “She beat me by 30 seconds.” Now her dad is running in them, too. “The Newton shoes make you so much more efficient in the turnover/gait cycle,” she enthuses.

As Blozy continues to see customers have success with the shoes, she says, “I think Newton puts the special in run specialty. As a specialty store, we’re always trying to differentiate. To be able to offer a solution like Newton, when it’s appropriate and works for them, it’s an amazing thing.”

Seems like Blozy and her sister have also put the special back in specialty with the community they have created around the store. After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, they collected shoes for survivors. “We were hoping to donate a couple hundred pairs of shoes. We ended up with 20,000 shoes.” Then, more than 100 people showed up to help match shoes and load the truck. And after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the store put together more than 100 care packages for families. Last spring, more than 500 participants showed up for their run for Boston.

To boot, their kids program has a robust offering for kids with autism and every four years they give out a college scholarship to a local high school runner. They do it every four years, so they can support a student through college, not just for one year. In all of this, they expanded the store from 1500 square feet to 3500.

Who knows what’s next. If they set out to show the world two sisters could do it, they have.

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Nutrition tips for success

Posted by on Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 2:53 pm | Leave a reply

An interview with trainer and nutritionist, Lindsay Christen

As January came and went, so too went many of our New Year’s Resolutions, sometimes it’s hard to make our lofty goals (I’m going to run faster, eat healthier, drink less coffee) a habit overnight. So let’s press the reset button. We caught up with trainer and certified nutritionist, Lindsay Christen, to talk about changing habits and the most common nutrition question she gets asked.

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QUESTION:  “What should I eat before or after a workout?”

Lindsay: Eating the right foods at the right time is essential to getting the most out of your workouts. For pre-workout you always need a little bit of something in your body and you’ll feel better if it’s 45-minutes to an hour before your workout. The general idea is that you’re filling up your energy stores. If your meals the day and week before have been healthy and balanced your glycogen, the storage form of energy in your body, should be good. Those taps should be full, so you’re just topping-off the tank when you have a pre-workout snack—it doesn’t need to be large.

Right before a workout, a little bit of something like banana and almond butter, or non-fat Greek yogurt, or a couple of eggs are perfect, something small but enough to give the glycogen stores a boost.

The dinner the night before an event or big workout should be lots of lean protein, chicken or fish—vegetarians can eat beans, lentils, tofu—and lots of veggies and complex carbs (starchy veggies, whole grains, like rice, quinoa). That combination should give your body what it needs for the next day. For an endurance athlete, depending on what they’re training for, 45-65% of total calories should be from carbohydrates. It’s a big window and it’s on the higher end, but they need it for the workouts, otherwise you feel like you’re on an empty tank all the time.

What’s really important is the post workout snack. The right combination of nutrients and timing can optimize your lean muscle building while minimizing breakdown (soreness and fatigue). But you only have a window of 30 minutes after exercise when the body is most efficiently absorbing much needed nutrients.  If you miss the window, your body will try to replenish on its own by depleting your fat and energy stores.

Newton: What’s a good post-workout snack? Is there anything to chocolate milk?

Lindsay: Chocolate milk is not terrible. It’s a good source as long as it’s the good kind and not filled with high fructose corn syrup. A protein smoothie is good. You’re looking for a 2-1 or 3-1 carb to protein ratio in grams. This equates to 1-1.5g of carbohydrate for every kg of your body weight and 0.5g or protein/kg of body weight. This could be a bar that you throw in your gym bag for the way home, peanut butter and apple or a peanut butter banana sandwich really works well, or fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, and a scoop of protein powder.

Now, if you just finished an Ironman, or marathon, you can eat whatever you want. You’re going to be depleted no matter what. You need to get nutrients in as soon as possible after the race, and then continually. Usually liquids work well, you want electrolytes, and then carbs and proteins.

Lindsay’s Caveat: No matter what you do, start early. Incorporate these changes into your routine months and months beforehand. It’s not going to work for you if you start on race day. Eating well has to be a habit. You need to build your body into the machine you want it to be in race season. You also don’t want to add everything in at the same time. It’s February, so this is the perfect time to add things in if you have a race in June, July or August.  It’s about developing the right habits to weave into your lifestyle. It shouldn’t just be, “It’s race season, so I am going to stop eating hamburgers.” Our bodies are machines and the more quality fuel you can give it now, the more efficient it will be in performance when you need it.

Lindsay Christen, is a certified personal trainer (CPT) and certified nutritionist (CNS). She holds a Masters of Science in nutrition. You can find her at Boulder’s Colorado Athletic Club or email her at: lindsaychristen@gmail.com.

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Larger than Life!

Posted by on Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 10:58 am | Leave a reply

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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