Category Archives: featured member

Coach Ricci Newland at the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon

What’s the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon you ask?

Below is Ricci’s Summary of this epic adventure:

Todd Kercheval, a member of Pure Austin, approached me a year ago about doing this crazy race in Alaska called the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon.

He said it was an Ironman distance — maybe a tad bit longer and a little crazier in Alaska.
My first thought was what are you nuts?
My second thought was hmm! I’ve never been to Alaska – why not!

The entry was maxed out at 310 people and was sold out in 2 days. Todd and myself were 2 of those crazy people who managed to get in to this first of a kind race in North America.

The race started in Seward, Alaska, swimming 2.6 miles in frigid waters of Resurrection Bay. Water temp on race day went from 56 degrees to 46 degrees – which was freakin’ cold.

The bike transition for me was 30 mins of shaking and shivering while my support stud – Joe Phillips, my client – helped me warmup with soup and a change clothes until I was ready to ride. This took a while as it was raining and wet as well.

Finally on the bike, I kept shaking and shivering until about 9 miles in, until I hit the first 4000 foot climb from Seward, Alaska up through the Seward Highway, 113 miles towards Girdwood. The roads finally dried out and I felt better and started getting serious on the bike and managed to get through it without any mechanicals (phew).

The only support you had was the people we brought with us and this was Joe’s job, and I must say he was outstanding and was there the whole way.  I couldn’t have done it without him.

Ooh, and I forgot to mention he had to run up and down Mount Alyeska with me for the last 7 miles of the marathon –  a vertical climb of over 4000 feet up and down-  twice! This man will be nearly 73 years old and doesn’t look a day over 50👍

After Mile 80 of the bike, I would not see Joe until mile 14 of the run so I was alone with possibilities of seeing bear and moose on the route.

Finally off Seward Highway, I transitioned from bike to run –  I put on my 7 pound pack and started the run headed to Girdwood.

.The jingle of my bear bell kept me company, and also the odd cheer I would hear from my phone from clients and friends, as we had to carry it for safety. The RaceJoy app was tracking us so family and friends could see our progress during the race.

Here’s a video from Mile 9 of the Run: Ricci_Alaska

The weather on the run was beautiful and the views I had of Alaska were breathtaking.
I made it to mile 14, saw Joe, refueled my body then headed of to the next 6 miles which was pretty hilly. We did have a warning of a black bear and 3 cubs on the course which I didn’t see, fortunately. I met up with Joe at the bottom of the mountain, took a deep breath and said ‘7 miles and we are done!’

We both headed up the mountain with mosquitoes in tow 😂

The views were amazing but the route was steep and extreme under foot. We made it to the peak of the mountain, took a few pics then started to head down the mountain.The descent was just as hard, finally down the bottom with 3 miles to go. We would see people hunched over looking like death — I did feel that way a few times myself.

I could smell the finish line but like the first 3 miles this was a killer with 15 switchbacks, dangerous drops and a lot of cussing.

I could hear the cheering and the announcer!  After nearly 17 hours of extreme conditions, hardheadedness, crazy talk to myself and a few Maori Hakas for motivation and of course probably the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen, Joe and I finished the race.

There were a lot of emotions and hugs in completing this race.

My final thoughts after completing this physical challenge was how can I describe my experience to someone to fully understand what I went through?

Well in one word it would be UNREAL.

The beauty ,the pain, the support, the people of Alaska was UNREAL

Back home in New Zealand there is a native word it is KIA KAHA. Basically it is my mantra with everything I do. It means Heart and Pride.

No matter what challenge comes into your life put your heart, soul, and pride into it and you will conquer anything.

We have failures but it’s how we bounce back that’s how we conquer !

Good luck in your next adventure.


Featured Member Cyndee: Pure Austin Nutrition and Coaching

Haley Hall, Pure Austin Nutritionist, writes,”

Fitness Coach Thomas Tanner and I have been working with Cyndee for about 10 months now. She started out training with Thomas and they quickly invited me onto the team to optimize her nutrition to promote realistic and sustainable weight loss.

 Cyndee tried several diets in the past but was only able to see results with extreme measures. She was ready to find a plan that would suit her busy lifestyle. She travels a lot for work and is regularly eating with clients. She didn’t want to feel like she was always on a diet or like her food choices were a burden to others. She also complained of regular headaches and reflux.

 In the first session, I noticed opportunities for tweaks in her eating pattern. Busyness at work led to skipping lunch and grazing throughout the day. We discussed the importance of eating regularly to fuel the body and implemented a strategy to prioritize lunch and a balanced afternoon snack. She immediately lost 4 pounds and her energy improved. We continued adding specific and realistic goals at each meeting to address challenges and prioritize nutrition while traveling and through the holidays. Then one week her weight jumped 8 pounds in 3 days. Between the sudden weight gain, headaches and reflux, it became obvious her body was responding poorly to something. I recommend she completely eliminate potential allergens and inflammatory foods for 30 days. I laid out a plan and Cyndee was all in. She knocked it out of the park and made it look easy. Her body loved it too – she lost 17 pounds, started sleeping solidly and waking up rested, had stable energy & mood throughout the day, her acid reflux resolved and her headaches are essentially gone. Not only that but she wasn’t experiencing any food cravings! Since then, we’ve taken time to determine what she does and does not tolerate. Turns out, gluten, sugar and some dairy induce headaches, reflux and poor energy. Cyndee now prefers to avoid them because she loves how she feels without them.

I’m most proud of Cyndee because she’s learned how to listen to her body and choose foods and portions that make her body feel great.

Meanwhile, Thomas has been coaching Cyndee twice a week. Her busy work schedule makes 30-minute fast paced sessions a great fit. Thomas programs total body circuit style workouts that focus on multi-joint, major muscle group exercises. Cyndee is able to accomplish in 30 minutes what might take most people 45-60 minutes! Since starting, she has more than doubled all of her lifts and made tremendous gains in stability, muscle control, coordination and range of motion.

Congratulations Cyndee! Thomas and I have no doubt you will continue to see such great results due to your ongoing commitment to your health and results.

Featured Member: Triathlete Hannah Kanne

In 2016 I was selected by my company’s global initiative, Win4Youth, to represent North America alongside 72 fellow Ambassadors from around the world. Win4Youth supported 9 youth foundations by way of donation through the sport of triathlon. As Win4Youth Ambassadors our goal was to motivate colleagues, clients and associates to help accumulate 4.1 million kilometers through swimming, cycling and running. Also, being an Ambassador meant participating in the Ocean Lava Lanzarote Triathlon (olympic distance) in October. You guessed it…this entailed training!

I knew hands down Pure Austin was the place I’d train, because everyone I asked where I should train pointed me to Pure Austin and the best triathlon training coach in Austin – Peri Kowal! I knew my weakest discipline was swimming and I’d need major help in this area. Thank goodness Peri came to my rescue! She didn’t hesitate to step up to the plate and take on the challenge. Not only did she help me from barely being able to swim 2 laps in the pool to swimming 100 laps in Masters Swim Class, but she played a key role in conquering my biggest fear going into swimming…the OPEN WATER! She was and continues to be one of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders throughout my training journey.

Pure Austin offered a lot for me in terms of having well-maintained equipment, great hours, and a wide variety of workout options for my training, but what I enjoyed most was their friendly and warm culture. I felt like a valued family member every time I visited. They also supported me in my Win4Youth local events. Thanks to Dawn and the Pure team I was able to host a Cinema Cycle event to help accumulate kilometers! In the end, I wouldn’t have been able to successfully complete my ocean swim in Lanzarote without Peri nor would we have met our kilometer goal without the help of the Pure Austin team!