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Running for MS

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

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

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

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

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

julie roberts

The Diagnosis

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

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

Running for MS

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

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

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

New Inspiration

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

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

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Kristen Arendt

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

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

Newton race for the cure 1 (2)

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

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

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

Training pic

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

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

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

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

Lug Shot

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

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

Team pic Peachtree

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

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

 

 

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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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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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Form, Function & Education

Posted by on Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 8:34 am | Leave a reply

The Treadmill’s owner, Chris Cleary, was selling Newtons long before he was selling Newtons.

 

When Chris Cleary moved with his wife, Janice, from Toronto, Canada to Carmel, California to be near his sister and her husband, he was very active in the running and triathlon world, but working in construction. Still, motivating and inspiring others was just something he liked to do, almost like a hobby. “I was running and doing triathlon and leading an active lifestyle. In construction, my goal was always to get the guys who weren’t health conscious to think about it.” And then, the Treadmill running store came up for sale and his life changed.

“One of my coworkers said, ‘I saw The Treadmill is for sale. Then my sister called a couple of days later and said, ‘I saw The Treadmill is for sale.’” The seed was planted. The owners were retiring after 29 years in the business. Cleary and his wife had just had their first child (they now have two), and he debated, “Should I do something crazy, or do something smart?” He and his wife decided to go for it, they bought the store in April 2012, and they’ve never looked back.

One of the first decisions Cleary made as the new owner of The Treadmill was to bring Newton running shoes into the store. “I was a Newton customer long before we bought the store,” he explains. Several years prior, Cleary and his wife had postponed their honeymoon until after they ran the Big Sur Marathon, whose course runs 200 yards from the Treadmill’s front door. Cleary had been running a lot of ultra races and he ran the Big Sur race in another popular shoe. “I was in so much pain when I finished, I couldn’t walk for days. It ruined our honeymoon, because neither of us could walk.” As Cleary got more into racing, he started to read more about form and stumbled upon Newton.

TreadmillPhoto

“I started reading about Newton and then I looked up the local store that sold them, and started running in them. I was 2-3 weeks in when I had that ‘Aha’ moment that I should have been running like this forever. That’s how you create a cult following, people have that ‘Aha’ moment.” As a result of his enthusiasm for Newtons, Cleary adds, “I was selling Newtons, long before I was selling Newtons.”

When Cleary bought the store, Newton’s weren’t in the store. Cleary jumped on bringing them in because the “local” store where he had been buying them was actually an hour-and-a-half drive up north. But selling them, he admits, was a bit of a difficult transition at first. “We have an older demographic—a lot of walkers. We only have a few runners on our staff. We have a lot of people who do adventure travel. We had to do a lot of teaching as to how this shoe makes a difference in your running.” But the education process is partly what attracted Cleary to Newton shoes in the first place. And the concept of teaching form, helping people understand how they are moving and offering tips to make the running experience more enjoyable for his customers is key to Cleary’s overall business plan. “We have to stand out. We want people to like us and support us and think there is nowhere else to go because we know exactly what is going on.”

The education focus is working for him. “We went from selling five pairs a month, to 35 to more than 50 pairs a month.” This past year, the store started a tri-club as well. Cleary himself, is now a Level 1 Newton Natural Running Instructor.

Realizing the road to success is going to be bumpy, Cleary’s vision is clear, “I want to create a store that I would want to go to.” And although everyone on his staff saw Newton as Cleary’s shoe, he says it’s not his efforts alone that have made the shoe a success in the store. “Newton has been 100-percent supportive. They have come and done clinics for us. Ian Adamson spoke on our behalf. They stand behind us with the 30-day guarantee. It’s nice to have a company that is really aware of where they’re at in the industry and doing the best for everyone trying to sell the shoe.”

 

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A Holiday Salute

Posted by on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 4:43 pm | Leave a reply

To Our Military, Police & Firefighters

To our military, police and firefighters, we salute you. Words cannot express how much we appreciate what you do. In recent years, we’ve been through our share of fires in our own backyard here in Colorado. We have watched as firefighting squads have fought around the clock to save lives, homes and land. This year, the fires were followed by the flood — 17 inches of rain in just a few days, when Boulder County’s annual average is just 20.7 inches. As damage spread across an almost 200-mile range covering 17 counties, we were in trouble. Relief came as Army and National Guard soldiers were brought in to help. What a mess we were in and how much we appreciated your efforts in search-and-rescue operations and flood relief and recovery. We know that hard work continued long after the rains stopped.

This is just Colorado. Across the country, our men and women of service work hard to keep our homes, communities and children safe. From Hurricane Katrina, to the Boston Marathon tragedy, you were there. And, there are those of you who aren’t at home. You’ve been stationed abroad once, twice, perhaps many times. You’ve sacrificed time with loved ones and friends to protect our country, to protect others and to help rebuild global communities. Your work makes the world a better place.

We also recognize that our men and women of service represent some of the toughest and strongest athletes around. Sure, people love to get out and do a Tough Mudder race or a Warrior Dash, but try doing those events year round, in bitter winter conditions or without warning or notice. Floods and fires aren’t planned, catastrophes don’t happen on cue. While many of us covet our daily routine, our eight hours of sleep, healthy meals, and workouts, you just keep doing what you do.

In support of our military, firefighters and police offers, Newton Running offers special discounts and promotions for members of the United States military, state and local police and fire departments and their families. To qualify, simply go to our community military page and provide proof of military status or current employment. A “.mil” or “.gov” email address counts as proof of status. It’s easy to do. On top of this discount, we’re also offering 20% off on these select items, inspired of course, by you:military

Terra Momentum, $149

An all-terrain shoe, the Terra Momentum serves as an everyday base-training shoe from roads to technical trails. Lightweight, yet cushiony, this shoe is ready for action. And we know you’re sayin’, “bring it!”

Camo Mid Height Compression Sock, $15

We know, you’re wary of the hot pink and lime green. They’re not the stuff that stealth is made of. That’s why we made these for you.

Newton Race Hats by Headsweats, $20

Everyone needs a hat, whether to run in or to be incognito every once in awhile. Made with an adjustable clip in back, this hat is made with Coolmax and nylon, which means it’s lightweight, breathable, and fast drying rain or shine.

Whether you’re home or abroad, we hope this helps to make this holiday season a little brighter. Thank you again for all that you do.

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Experience Spartan World Championships With a 14 Year-Old

Posted by on Monday, October 21, 2013 @ 2:18 pm | Leave a reply

I sat on the steep hillside with a 5-gallon bucket of gravel between my legs, protecting it from spilling. This was just a temporary stop to collect my strength as I climbed up the Killington, Vermont ski run. It was a brutal reminder that ski slopes are for skiing down and that is it! This same obstacle was my biggest challenge at my first Spartan Beast several months ago in Utah. The sight of a bucket now makes me cringe. Descending the hillside, with my bucket in my arms, I thought I might actually cry. As I dumped my gravel into the bin at the end, successfully completing the obstacle, I said to myself, “Pull yourself together, you still have a long way to go.”

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-start line

Show Time

I had no idea this race would be so hard. Standing at the start line, I felt welcomed amongst my new Spartan family. I appreciated the cheers and well wishes from my fellow racers as my name was called to the start line of the Spartan World Championships. I found myself standing amongst some of the world’s greatest athletes. There were Olympians from around the globe as well as Xterra, USTAF and Trail World Champions, Professional Obstacle Course Racers, Adventure Racers, triathletes and marathon winners. This talented group of athletes, including the Spartan Pro Team, will be featured in the NBC Sports Network TV special about the World Championships on October 19th.

Given Spartan’s history and the presence of NBC TV, most of us assumed we were about to embark on the toughest, most grueling 13-mile course ever designed by Spartan. Little did we know how humbling the day would be—the steep climbs, cold water and grueling course would sideline even some of the world’s most fit athletes.

Climbing & Descending

The first part of the course was mainly a steep never-ending trail climb up the hills of Killington Ski Resort. I was happy with my selection of running this course in my Newton Distance. I knew there would be a lot of serious climbing so I chose to stay on the lighter side with my shoes. I had done my last Spartan Beast in my Newton All-weathers. The unique lug design of Newton shoes is not only great for forefoot running but also provides great traction on these difficult courses. Spartans were once again falling, slipping and sliding on the steep descents and I was able to keep my footing. There were a few walls and round hay bails to climb on our way up, which is always fun.

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-wall traverse

Living and training at 7,000 feet in Park City, UT, as well as only carrying 98 pounds on my small frame, was a great advantage on the first part of the course. I was surprised to find myself hanging with many of the elite females for the first six to seven miles. It was only when we encountered the heavy obstacles, that their more adult bodies became a huge advantage for them.

Two-thirds My Weight

Upon reaching one of the few black diamond ski runs at Killington, I peered up the steep slope.  As far up the mountain as I could see, it was just a stream of racers carrying something. As I approached a pile of sandbags, I quickly realized there was only one size. Many of the weighted obstacles at Spartan Races have female and male sized weights. This was the World Championships, though, what was I thinking. There was no time to stop and think. This was a race!

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-60#sandbag carry

As a competitive athlete, you learn to improvise as you go. I wasn’t sure how I would handle this heavy obstacle but knew I just had to get moving with it. I grabbed my sandbag, tossed it up onto my back and began the long trek. I would alternate carrying the weight on one shoulder, then the other. When both shoulders got fatigued, I would place it evenly across my upper back and neck.  The one thought I had the entire time was, “Why is a 14-year-old girl carrying what a grown man is carrying?” At the time, I had no idea I was carrying 60 pounds, literally two-thirds my body weight. All I knew was, “It was heavy”.  It was only after the race, that I had learned the actual weight we were all carrying.

Burpees & Perseverence

The Hercules Hoist gave me my first set of burpees. A cement bucket is hooked to a pulley system.  You must use a rope to pull the bucket up to the top. As I started to hoist the bucket up, I would quickly find myself being pulled up in the air as the bucket returned to the ground. “You got to be kidding me! I’ve done this before. This cement bucket must be heavier than my last race.” After being lifted off the ground several times and only getting the weight half way up, I realized Hercules would win today. I immediately started doing my 30 burpees.

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-rope climb

During the entire race I was reminded, “I had it easy.” I was not carrying a tumor, like my new friend, Iram Leon. He is 32 years old and living with an inoperable brain tumor, yet not letting it slow him down. I had two healthy legs unlike the amputee that crawled up the entire Killington ski slope on his hands and knees or like the female amputee who stood at the start line with me. I was able to just be at the event, unlike my dad and many others that left this world too soon. It wasn’t hard to put my pain aside and persevere.

Having previewed the course the day before, I knew the water obstacles would come at miles seven and ten. Seeing all the water on this course, I also knew I wanted a shoe that had great drainage, not one that would hold water. I had poured water in my Newton trainers prior to the race to see how quickly it would drain out. Unlike many Spartans, I was not intimidated by the water, but rather excited. As a two-time triathlon national champion, I had been battling it out in the water since I was five years old. I didn’t take into account, however, how much wearing shoes affected your ability to swim. I was especially glad I didn’t wear a hydration pack like so many did. It would have been yet another thing to weigh me down as I swam across the frigid water and climbed up the rope climbs.

Tarzan & The Tyrolean Traverse

The Tarzan Swing was nearly impossible! I heard of only one female who made it successfully across. This obstacle consisted of ladders and ropes suspended from a bridge in the middle of a lake. After swimming out and climbing up to the top of the bridge, there were about five or six little ropes. One had to swing across these ropes to get to the bell. I made it across two ropes then fell about ten feet into the lake.  As I swam to shore, my only thought was, “I think I’m turning into an ice cube.” As I crawled onto shore, it was burpee time again.

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-barb wire

Next up, the Tyrolean Traverse. Imagine a rope suspended across water; a kids dream, an adult’s nightmare! I may have moved slower than Sid, the two-toed sloth, but I made it! I hung below the rope with just my knees and elbows draped over the long rope that spanned the freezing cold, irrigation pond for the ski resort. There was no way I was going to fall off that rope, swim to shore, do 30 burpees and then have to reattempt it again. It was pretty intimidating seeing Elite men wrapped in a foil blanket at the edge of the water, hypothermic and unable to continue on. Today, the Tyrolean Rope would separate the winners from the losers. All I could think was, “Just hang on!” I have some great rope burns on my arms to show for my effort.

Tyrolean Traverse- Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013

Pushing Beyond

The Spartan World Championships pushed me farther, mentally and physically, than I have ever been pushed before. However, with this being said, I know I have not reached my limit. There is always a take home lesson I learn from every race; whether it is a triathlon, a marathon, an aerial skiing competition or a Spartan Race. Spartan reminded me how crucial the mental component of a sport can be. Even if your body wants to give up, you can usually mentally keep pushing on and many times your body will recover. If you give up mentally though, it is over immediately.

Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013-fire jump

For many, crossing the finish line on Saturday was the end of their race weekend. Placing first in the world in the 19 & under open division and 28th amongst the elite females was perhaps my greatest accomplishment ever. However, the most important race to me was actually the next day. For the first time, Spartan offered a charity race. Beat up and exhausted but willing to do it all again, my team of five athletes, Team Winter, set out Sunday morning to try to capture the Spartan Charity Race Title. Our team raced for the 1 in 6 men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the cancer that took my 40 year-old-dad from me when I was only 9-years-old.

We were expected to navigate a two- to three-mile course, with the fastest three times from each team counting. Seeing some of Spartan’s best obstacle course racers smiling at the start line Sunday and getting their “Spartan On” for something bigger than themselves was a great sight. These guys and gals went out with revenge and were ready to give everything they had left for their cause. Although Team Winter took 2nd place by only a few seconds, we were proud to stand on the podium as one of the top five teams in the world. Each team took prize money home for their charity and most importantly raised awareness for their cause.

Finish Line Spartan Vermont Beast World Championships 2013

Spartan World Championships was great training as I headed into my sixth marathon on October 12th on New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island—my second to last continent on my world marathon tour for prostate cancer awareness. Keep following Newton for my next race report!

Never Give In!

Sig

Join Team Winter or make a Donation!

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Masters of Mileage

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

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

Pre-race Dinner The Night Before Leadville

Pre-race Dinner The Night Before Leadville

Newton: Describe your experience at the Leadville 100?

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

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

kara

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

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

gartside

What was your highest high?

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

Kara nearing the top of Hope Pass

Kara nearing the top of Hope Pass

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

Stephen running down Hope Pass

Stephen running down Hope Pass

What was your lowest low?

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

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

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

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

karafinishline

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

gartside finish3

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

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

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

post race

What about now, two weeks later?

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

Kara Henry with her pacing team

Kara Henry with her pacing team

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

 

 

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Giving Back To Kids In Kauai

Posted by on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 1:27 pm | Leave a reply

In the last two years of visiting the island of Kauai and winning the Kauai Marathon I felt a connection to the island.  In 2011, I stayed in a family’s guest bedroom and felt like I was a member of the family. I could not afford to stay in a hotel so this was the most affordable place I could find off of AirBnB.com. This ended up being a “blessing in disguise” because I was able live like a local for a week.  Sadly, I noticed the poverty was prevalent across the island.  As a runner, I became immediately aware of the lack of proper shoes.  I learned that there was not a running specialty store on the island and many are therefore only able buy their shoes at K-Mart, Walmart, or Costco.  This year I wanted to make a positive difference to the island and I thought it would be very beneficial to get the kids on the island in Newton shoes.  If you’ve ever browsed the Newton Running Website, you’d find a global responsibility page that highlights a lot of the great work being done across the world through Newton Running. When I proposed the idea to Newton, they liked the idea to donate shoes to the Kauai youths and I went to work with the Kauai Marathon to organize it.  The Kauai Marathon loved the plan and a few months later we had nearly 100 pairs of sizes for elementary and high school students shipped to Kauai.

Tyler 1

This year was the first year the Kauai Marathon added Keiki (kid’s) races.  The toddler trot was for kids up for 4 years old (100m dash), the 4-7 age group will race 1/4 mile and the 8-12 age group will race the 1/2 mile.  The course was planned on a beautiful section of grass next to the Grand Hyatt. We also did a ‘fun run’ on a dirt cane road near the Grand Hyatt.  In addition, Bart Yasso (CRO at Runner’s World), Dean Karnazes (ultramarathon man), Michael Wardian, and myself would be at the expo for presentations and Q&A.  Since the high school runners rarely have the opportunity to learn about running, this was a great opportunity to get the high school kids excited for cross country season. The big goal of the two weeks: get kids inspired to run and live a healthy lifestyle while providing shoes to the kids that need them.

Tyler 2

The Kauai Marathon decided to make a $500 donation to the school that brought in the most participants to the Keiki races.  This was publicized and the marathon public relations director Robin Jumper went to work on organizing the elementary schools for me to give a presentation.  I gave presentation to full school assemblies at four elementary schools and ran with three high school cross country teams. The goal was to get the kids excited to run the Keiki races, inform them what running is all about, and to share my experiences traveling across the US and the world. I learned that kids are very brave and love to ask questions.  Some of the questions I received were…

“What the longest you’ve ever run?”

“How many medals do you have?”

“How many race have you won?”

“Have you ever raced Usain Bolt?”

When asked if I have ever raced Usain Bolt, my response was “No, but I guarantee that if he shows up on Sunday I can beat him in the marathon!!”

On Wednesday I had a meeting with the mayor where he was shocked at the generosity.  He said that I was his “braddah” and I was blessed for helping with the kids. He explained how the island is building bike and walking paths to give kids and parents the opportunity to walk or bike to school/work.  He was hopeful that the Kauai Marathon youth program and Newton Running would inspire more kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.  This meeting with the mayor lead to a newspaper article (“Students Score Newtons”) in the Garden Isle that spread the word about the Kauai Marathon Youth Program and Newton shoes donation.

Tyler 3

On Saturday morning, the course that race director Bob Craver and I designed, was fortunate to have an impressive 171 kids running around it with their parents and spectators cheering them on! To put that number into perspective, I talked to all schools within a half hour drive and that was about 750 kids less than 13 years old. Some of the kids came from the mainland, but that’s still over 10% of the keiki’s came from local elementary schools! I spent the morning cheering on the kids and taking pictures with them and their parents. It was a fantastic morning and a very successful event. I took so many pictures with families where I had spoke to the kids at the schools. My favorite was the registration form that came back saying they signed up because the daughter heard me speak in school. A picture says a 1,000 words so here are a few gems mostly from Jo Evans of Dakine Images of the event…

All Keiki races were led by a giant rooster. Yes, he is undefeated (121-0 in fact) in his career leading keiki races.

Tyler 4

Photo posted by Brennecke’s BeachFront Restaurant after the Keiki Races! http://www.brenneckes.com/

Tyler 5

JT Service (http://www.soulfocussports.com/), Dean Karnazes and I getting the kids warmed up. JT did a wonderful job getting the kids moving, warmed-up, and excited for the races!

Tyler 7

One of the proudest moments of my life was reading this…inspiring kids to run and lead a healthy lifestyle is so important.

When I walked back to my room and laid down after the event, all I could think about was how incredible this event was.  This was by far the most rewarding experience in my life.  Immediately I started thinking… “How can I get more kids to participate?  How do I help more kids have proper footwear?  How do I inspire more kids to run and lead a healthy lifestyle?  How in the world do I properly thank the Kauai Marathon and Newton Running for allowing me to be a part of this incredible experience?  How do I spread the word to other runners about what an amazing family event the Kauai Marathon weekend is? How do we get more high school kids in Kauai to do cross country and participate in the events?

The next morning was the Kauai Marathon and my turn to run.

The next morning was the Kauai Marathon and my turn to run.  I woke up at 2:45AM, had breakfast, and was browsing the newspaper to kill time.  I found a ‘letter to the editor’ from one of the high school coaches who applauded me for being a role model for young kids. At that point I knew that I couldn’t lose the race.  After speaking to the kids about setting goals, working hard towards your goal, and then the joy of sharing your success with others, I knew I had to be a living example for them. Two hours, twenty-one minutes, thirty-three seconds, and 26.2 miles later I achieved my goal of winning the race and setting a new course record.  I was motivated by the dozens of handmade signs on the course that said “Go Tyler” and the number of volunteers that cheered me on by name.

Pomaika’i is the hawaiian word for good fortune/good luck.  When I was doing my last long run on the island before the race a white owl flew in front of me for nearly a mile.  The owl is a symbol of pomaika’i and the white owl is the rarest of all.  Without the fear of sounding cheesy, Newton Running is going to experience a lot of pomaika’i for the generosity this year.  Thank you all for letting me be a part of it!

Enjoy the photos below…

Tyler 9

With the Island School XC Team

Tyler 10

On my way to a new course record at the 2013 Kauai Marathon!

 

 

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Losing Weight to Triathlon: Fleet Feet Spokane’s Wade Pannell

Posted by on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 2:14 pm | Leave a reply

FleetFeetWadeSix years ago, the owner of Fleet Feet Spokane, Wade Pannell, was living in Bozeman, Montana. The former competitive cyclist — in both road cycling and mountain biking — was working in resort real estate development and wining and dining more than he was working out. “I was sixty pounds heavier and needed to get fit,” says Pannell. “I would say I was big boned. It was a good excuse. But when I lost the weight, I realized I really wasn’t.” Finally, a friend with whom he grew up suggested he was out of shape and Pannell says, “I took it to heart.”

He began to run. “I couldn’t run a quarter mile without stopping and walking.” Yet, for Pannell, running took the least amount of time and was the easiest to do on the road when he was traveling for work. He also found the running community much more accepting than the cycling community, whose participants he says can be more competitive and critical. “In running you’re always in a pack and it’s much more community based.” He found the community he needed at Fleet Feet Bozeman. The store offered a plethora of programs to help people like Pannell get started. Pannell found this invaluable. And, he says, “Once I ran my first 5K, the old competitive juices were back.”

Back in shape, and 60 pounds lighter, Pannell began to enjoy riding again. From there, he set his sights on triathlon. “I ran the Boston Marathon in 2010, and in 2011, I completed my first Ironman Coeur D’Alene.”

While his training was picking up speed, Pannell’s work moved him to Spokane, Washington. Before leaving Bozeman, Pannell had been dabbling with the idea of opening a Fleet Feet or changing his line of work to training and helping people get fit. Once in Spokane, he and his wife decided that the city presented the perfect opportunity to open a Fleet Feet. They opened Fleet Feet Spokane last summer, in August 2012.

Spokane County has a population of roughly 450,000 people, and it only had one real specialty running store, explains Pannell.  “It was an underserved market and historically a very running focused community. We send about two or three high schools to national high school championships each year. Yet there was only one main specialty store.”

With an inventory focused on triathlon more than the average Fleet Feet, Pannell reached out to Newton Running in April, 2013. Ever since, Newton has been the store’s number 2 vendor with the Gravity leading the way, then the Isaacs and Pannell expects the Energy to do well, too. “I’ve been running in Newton for the last five years. Newton is not one of those brands most Fleet Feet’s open with. But we are very tri oriented. A few employees and myself coach a tri group and we were in a tri club with about 250 people. So for our audience it makes sense to find some brands with more of a tri focus.”

Newton’s message also aligned with that of Fleet Feet Spokane. “As we worked with training people and talking about minimalism and everything people need to do to become better runners, Newton’s education and biomechanical feedback was a nice segue for what we were doing and what we were about,” Pannell explains. “Not only has Newton given us fantastic support with their tech rep and corporate backup, but we’ve probably held five run clinics. Each time we get 20-30 people. I love the drills that Danny gives. And they brought in Chris Legh during Ironman Coeur d’Alene.”

Pannell says more than 50% of people who come in to his store probably should be introduced to Newton. “It’s the person who wants to run better, more naturally and improve their form, and who likes a lighter shoe or is a triathlete. All of those categories add up to a large portion of our customer base, so it’s a natural fit to bring out a Newton.”

And it’s not just triathletes and serious runners who like the shoes. Who is his unexpected customer? “We have the unexpected walkers who love Newtons. We fit a fair amount of people who are baby boomers who just want to be in comfortable footwear. I’m surprised at how many choose Newtons. The Energy will be great for that group.”

Personally, Pannell runs in the Distance. “If you want a shoe to be a stronger, better runner, I can’t think of a better shoe to give you that feedback than the Distance.” And for people who are worried about the transition and strengthening process that accompanies running in Newtons, he says, “You’ve lifted weights before right? Did it hurt? Well, if you’re going to increase your strength in your legs, you should have some muscular discomfort. It’s nothing to be scared of, just manage it properly.” He adds, “Once people commit, they get it. Even those who were skeptical about Newton are now very excited about running in them.”

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