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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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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.

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“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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‘Tis the Season to Give Back – An Interview with Wendy Lee

Posted by on Monday, December 9, 2013 @ 11:35 am | Leave a reply

“Our company was founded on the principle of helping others. It starts with our commitment to our community and continues with our involvement with a diverse range of philanthropic organizations both here and abroad.”

 

Is this a running company? Yes, it is. And, yes, this is what’s written at the top of Newton’s Global Responsibility page. “It’s my dad,” explains Wendy Lee, whose dad, Jerry Lee, is CEO and cofounded Newton Running together with Danny Abshire, CTO. “Honestly, when he founded the company with Danny, he was at a point where he had been very successful in his previous career. He said, ‘If I’m going to start another company, and particularly a running shoe company, the reason I’m doing it is to help other people.’ It starts with him and he made the philosophy from the beginning and made it understood.” Lee, who is Director of Global Sustainability and oversees Newton’s initiatives in this arena, adds, “Of course, we want to make the best running shoe and provide the best running education, but at the end of the day we want to help the lives of other people.”

And this isn’t just a Jerry and Danny thing. Employees hear about social responsibility in their initial interviews and are introduced to it in the orientation process. It’s also written into job descriptions. “Every employee needs to be involved with social responsibility to whatever level possible. Everyone knows that’s what we stand for and that’s why we exist.  It’s not just something we do on the side, this is why we exist and I find that people really like it and get excited,” explains Lee.

So what exactly does all this talk mean?

  • Prostate Cancer Foundation:

    Newton has supported the prostate cancer foundation for many years. Lee’s dad and founder, Jerry, is a prostate cancer survivor (since 2005), so she says, they feel strongly about that one. Newton Running also sponsors team athlete Winter Vinecki, who lost her dad to prostate cancer and races to raise funds to fight the disease.

Memorial

  • Team Kokua:

    Newton has always encouraged athletes to participate in triathlon, while raising funds for causes that hit close to home, such as prostate cancer. In 2013, Newton partnered with the Ironman Foundation to create an ambassador team of 45 athletes. This team of athletes not only raced, but they were charged with raising funds and participating in direct service projects to give back to designated non-profits in the communities in which they were racing. The team has raised $70,000 so far, and Lee is hoping they will break $100,000. Most recently, the team was in Arizona where they organized a track and field day at a school, and then presented a check to the school to go toward a PE program and physical fitness. Next year, Lee says she expects the team will have closer to 60 athletes.

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  • Trickle Up:

    Newton has sponsored Trickle Up since 2008. It is an organization that provides education, training and grants for some of the world’s poorest people to develop microenterprises. “It’s a small charity, but they do incredible work,” says Lee. “Trickle Up focuses on the extreme poor, who seem to be overlooked by other charities. They are left out because they are so isolated and impoverished. They live on under $1.50 a day. There are a lot of people, especially women with children living under this poverty line. The quality of life is very low.” 

Trickle Up works with local organizations to help train these women how to start their own businesses, usually in textiles or farming. They help these women to establish their own micro-economy and to have a sustainable economy for themselves, which then allows their kids to go to school and to get an education. Each season, Newton chooses a shoe from which a $1 per sale goes to the Trickle Up campaign.

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  • One World Running:

    This Boulder-based, nationwide, volunteer-run organization takes in used running shoes, cleans them up and delivers them to impoverished villages around the world. When they deliver them, they typically host a race in the village the next day. Newton Running has donated more than 5,000 pairs of mostly new shoes to the organization. “We have a constant stock that we donate to them,” says Lee.

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  • Back on my Feet:

    This group is east coast based with offices around the country. Back On My Feet organizes running groups for homeless shelters. They meet once or twice a week in the morning and run as a group. Newton donates shoes for every participant in each of the locations around the country (more than 1,000 pairs).

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Being a company that does the right thing also means that after Hurricane Sandy hit, Jerry Lee spontaneously gave 100s of pairs of running shoes that the company had brought to sell at the New York marathon expo to a group of firefighters who happened to be walking through the expo. They in turn donated the shoes to survivors of the hurricane.  Likewise, shoes have been sent to the Philippines and the company even helped their own community after the Colorado floods sent water gushing through Newton’s backyard this fall.  “We are always ready to help where we can,” says Lee. The company also gives a discount to military members.

Although Jerry Lee won’t toot his own horn, his daughter will, as will Newton employees who have witnessed the giving firsthand. Lee encourages others in the running community to do the same, to look around and see where there is a need. “If there’s any way to help, then do it. Be aware of what’s going on and get involved.” She adds, “We have so much to be thankful for, our health and our well being, particularly when you think about the flooding and the fires that have happened in our own backyard. We’re thankful as a company for our customers and their support of us. We have been fortunate and continue to be so as a company, so it’s our responsibility to give back. It’s what we do.”

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Red Coyote Running and Fitness

Posted by on Monday, November 4, 2013 @ 9:25 am | Leave a reply

If you’re headed to Oklahoma City be sure to check out this running hot spot.

Burke and Jon Newton - Red Coyote

Jon and Burke Beck have both been running since high school. They ran Division 3 in college and worked in running stores after they graduated—Burke, near Washington, DC and Jon, in Rochester, New York. The two met, in San Diego, where Jon relocated to work for a larger running company and Burke had moved to work at another running store. From San Diego, they moved to Portland, where they continued to work in the industry. Together, the young couple talked about someday owning their own running store. Maybe when they retired. They didn’t imagine it would happen now, let alone in Burke’s hometown of Oklahoma City.

“Burke always said she would never move back after she left for college,” says Jon. But when the couple headed back for a quick weekend trip to see family, they visited a local running store and were disappointed in the quality of service and running expertise. The seed was planted. “Burke’s dad said ‘it’s a great time to open a business in Oklahoma City,’” explains Jon, and the seed was watered.

But it was true. A lot of companies, were moving headquarters to Oklahoma City and there was a new demographic of young professionals in the city.  By the end of their weekend visit, the couple had checked out the local competition, picked out possible store locations and said, “Let’s do it.” Soon after, they lined up funding. In August of 2009, they moved back to Oklahoma. In March of 2010, they opened their store, Red Coyote Running and Fitness (named after their dog “Pancho,” who happens to look like a red coyote).

Seeking innovative products that matched their focus on quality, Red Coyote became the first to offer Newton in Oklahoma City, a feat they’re proud of. “I was running at the lake and I saw 15 people running, five were wearing Newton shoes. It makes me smile because we opened Newton here, and we’re the ones who sell it,” says Burke. But the couple credits Newton for laying the groundwork. “When we had our grand opening, Newton was the only brand that came out for it, which showed us their commitment. Timmy came and he took customers out for runs in the shoes.” She adds, “When we opened, people hadn’t heard about them. But we’ve had staff on board from the beginning and bringing them out to customers. They’re not just for elite runners. You can bring them out for anyone.

“I think word of mouth helped us grow the brand. People have such a different experience in Newton, they really love it and they tell their friends, ‘you’ve got to try these shoes.’ It’s been an easy sell for us.”

The “easy” part is matched by the effort and passion the Becks bring to their store and the running community. It’s been a busy three years. Aside from opening the store in March 2010, they were married in May of 2010 and had a son in March of 2013. At the end of March, they moved into an expanded new location. Looking back on the whirlwind of the past three years, Jon says, “Oklahoma was very under-served or untapped. There were a lot of people running. We have one of the biggest marathons in April every year, but there weren’t a lot of events and groups or opportunities to get together to have a fun run.” Furthermore, no one was doing learn to run or training groups.

Jon and Burke began to sponsor events as well as host training groups at the store. “We started the newbie program and that has just taken over. First, it was 50 people twice a year, now it’s over 200 and it’s a 10-week program. It’s booming. All of our groups are growing and we’re seeing other training groups and social groups spawning from that.” Their Pack Pint Runs—a run followed by beer—every Thursday night are also popular.

Burke adds, “Oklahoma doesn’t have a very developed elite running community, but there are a lot of new runners and people just getting into the sport and the community is really organizing. I would attribute it to that younger professional group looking for something to do. And now, we’re getting family and kids, too.”

The store’s fast-growing popularity has not gone unnoticed. Outside magazine wrote about the Thursday night run and Competitor magazine named the Red Coyote one of The Best 50 Stores in the US (an honor considering the magazine rigorously evaluates 1,000 running stores). It also was nominated by Competitor with three other stores for Best Running Store of the Year, and was the youngest store ever to be nominated for this accolade.

Of the community support, Jon says, “We have been surprised by how much the community has come out to support us in only 3 years. The community rallied around us and what we’ve done to support them and they have come to support us.” Burke adds, “There was a niche to fill, but Oklahoma has a friendly group [in the running business], and from what we can tell, everyone is up. The growth that we have helped in the community has helped them as well.” Run on Oklahoma!

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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 16 Hello Ollie

Posted by on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 @ 11:59 am | Leave a reply

Dogs of NewtonI’m a dog’s dog. You know, a ball-chasing, pretty-boy, shoe-chewer who craves constant attention. Yep, that’s me.

My name : Ollie Foppa Dunn. Don’t start with the middle name. The dork that named me had some unhealthy obsession with a former Colorado Avalanche star and wanted to live out his failed hockey dreams through me. Doesn’t he know dogs can’t skate? I am one world-class belly-sliding snow dog, however. Give me a hilly Boulder snow run and I’ll out-glissade any Newton clad biped. I’m fast (downhill at least).

While I’m honored to be featured here, truth is I almost never get invited to the Newton offices. Seems my fancy-pants dad thinks monitoring my trash can obsession all day may disrupt his productivity. I call that an inflated sense of self-importance. It’s a good thing he’s in the shoe business. Where’s that bright-orange one? Woof.

 

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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

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Twice As Nice!

Posted by on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 @ 12:21 pm | Leave a reply

On September 26, it was a cold morning in Lake Tahoe as Ironman participants entered the water. A fog hovered over the lake as warm air hit cool and frost covered the bike seats. Perfect racing conditions, according to Chris McDonald, who crossed the line in first place in 8:55.14, capturing his 6th Ironman victory. Lake Tahoe is a tough course and winning it is worth its own accolade, but what makes McDonald’s win all the more impressive is that just 28 days earlier, on August 25, he garnered a win at Ironman Louisville, making him the first triathlete to win back-to-back Ironman races.

We caught up with McDonald, recovering at his home in Austin, Texas before he heads to Kona to cheer on his peers. He won’t be racing Hawaii this year, but it’s on his radar for next season.

Could you describe these races? They were very different.

Both are strength courses. For Tahoe, there are a lot of people who say it’s too hard. I think it’s one of the most picturesque Ironman courses I’ve ever done out of all of the North American races. You have the two climbs, and when you’re at the top, you look out and you get this full view of Lake Tahoe. And then the finish is in Squaw Valley and you run up through the village, with this big stone face that is the ski hill. It’s beautiful.

Louisville, it’s just the place where I won my first IM and it’s my home away from home. Winning means a lot because I’ve won it 3 times and I know the town well. I know the restaurants and people recognize you, so you feel good.

The low temp in Louisville was 15 degrees warmer than the high in Tahoe. Louisville was 90+ degrees. The low was 75. I think the low in Tahoe it was recorded at 29 degrees. There was frost and ice from the dew on my saddle on my bike when I got out of the water. They forecast it to get up to 70, but it never did, the clouds never broke off. The water was 63 degrees—it was beautiful. It was twice the air temperature. But because of that there was a thick layer of steam on the water.

What’s significant about the double win?

I have tried to do it twice before, because no one had done it. I tried in 2008 to do it in Louisville and Wisconsin. I won Wisconsin, but I came second in Louisville. I tried in 2011. I won Louisville, but I was second at Revolution 3 Cedar Point. This year, when I saw the date for Lake Tahoe, I thought ‘I have to do this race.’ It’s bound to be freezing cold. It’s above 6,000 feet at altitude. I wanted to do it for those reasons. I had raced in Louisville four times. I thought, ‘I’ll go back and try to get that title back and go to Tahoe,’ even though I had never been to that race. I was motivated especially once I won Louisville again. Every time I’ve done two races close together, I generally perform better in the second one.

I was happy to get two Ironman wins in a year, let alone so close. I love the fact I was able to do it, but it’s not like I ticked the box and said I’ve done everything now. I’m just as motivated for races I might choose to do for the end of the year. And what I might do next year now that I have a jump start on points for Kona next year. I like to race. It keeps me satisfied.

Chris McDonald

After winning Louisville, did you have any trouble motivating so quickly for Tahoe?

No. Because I knew no one had ever won IMs back-to-back, which was motivating. And, I was able to race Louisville my way. I’m not cocky, but I wanted to be able to not run too hard, so I could save myself for Tahoe. I got a good lead on the bike in Louisville, so I could hold a little bit in reserve. I like to race a lot, I haven’t raced a lot this year, it was just the way the year panned out and I didn’t travel that much. So, I was motivated to go race. That’s what I do all of this training for. I love the training, but I love to race more.

What about Kona?

I’m ready to race in Kona next year. I don’t want to go unless I feel like I can legitimately race it. I didn’t plan 2012 to accumulate points in the back end of the year. The way the KPR points work, if you don’t have 2-3000 points in the bag before the end of the previous year you’re hooped. As fair as it is, they heavily weight it for people who do Kona to go back the following year.

For Hawaii, you have to be so mentally fresh and willing to suffer if you want to do well. It’s more about being mentally switched on than physically. Everyone is fit and ready, it’s who is prepared to suffer mentally.

What was your most satisfying race this season?

The best satisfaction out of any race would have to be Coeur D’Alene. You have to have a little bit of luck go your way to win. I had that in Louisville and Tahoe. But in Coeur D’Alene, I got a flat and was 23 minutes at the side of the road before I got a spare. I was 28 minutes back on the bike by the time I was done. I was well out of the race, but then I broke 2.50 for the first time in the marathon. I had a good solid marathon and ran back into 5th place, which was personally satisfying for me.

What’s on deck for next year?

Ironman Texas, maybe 70.3 Monterey and 70.3 Galvaston, and then a break to get married [Newton note: CONGRATULATIONS!]. Hopefully I’ll have enough points for Kona. There are so many races now you have to really pick and choose because you could race every other weekend, year-round if you wanted. It’s hard to pick your schedule.

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Meet The Dogs Of Newton – Week 15 Chuck and Bella

Posted by on Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 1:26 pm | Leave a reply

chuck_bellaDialog between Bella and Chuck (otherwise known as Chuck The Dog)

Bella: So Chuck I hear we’re going to be the first co-dogs of Newton, pretty exciting right?  I’d say we’re pioneers like Newton Running shoes.

Chuck: dog dog dog dog dog dog,  I’m Chuck The Dog, squirrel, bike, car, butterfly.

Bella: CHUCK! Focus!

Chuck:  Sorry, you know I distracted easily and just want to be friends with everyone.  In fact it’s pretty well known that I will do anything for a scratch behind the ears.

Bella:  I do know that, but few people know that you were unofficially banned from the office for a little while after strolling into the office of Jerry Lee, co-founder and CEO, and peeing on his desk.  This is true isn’t it?

Chuck:  I can not lie, this is true.  But I’m from Southern California and everyone knows things are a little more laid back there!  The truth is I’m a little devil and cannot be trusted.  In fact I get by solely on dashing good looks and devilish charm.

Bella:  I on the other hand am completely the opposite.  People call me sassy, emotional and standoffish.  The truth is though that I had a rough start with life, but things are getting better and I’m really starting to like visits to the office.

Chuck:  It’s true.  Like everyone, running makes things better and since we’ve been hitting the trails you boss me around less and aren’t quite such a bratty little sister.

Bella:  Thank you, I think?

Chuck: You’re welcome.  So what else should we tell these people about how awesome we are?  We do lead pretty incredible lives.

Bella:  We do, we’ve both run 100+ mile weeks, we both like to chase cows and after reading a number of the dog blogs that came before us I’m quite proud to say that neither of us are afraid of thunder.

Chuck: It’s true, thunder aint got nothing on us!  Plus both of our owners travel a lot for work so we’re constantly getting to have sleepovers, houseguests and meet new friends.

Bella:  I think you like hanging out with new people a little more than me but I know what you’re saying!  Well, it’s been great chatting with all these wonderful folks out there but I think it’s time that I head back underneath  thedeck for a nap and I’m sure there is a butterfly or shiny reflection for you to chase…..Chuck! Get back here and say goodbye to everyone….The shadow will still be there in a minute!

Chuck: Ahhhhh!  Sorry, thanks so much everyone for spending some time with us and next time you come bring food.  Seriously, we’ll eat anything, people food, dog food the neighbor’s cat/rabbit or guinea pig food.  Even something that just looks like food we’ll eat it.

Bella:  Thanks everyone and run strong!

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