Discover the Power of Protein in the Land of Lean Beef!

The Power of Protein is all about experiencing the body benefits of eating beef and building lean muscle as you train for running, cycling, triathlon or other athletic events -- or just in living a healthy, active lifestyle.

If you are a beef eater and an athlete (weekend warriors welcome!), join Team ZIP (Zinc/Iron/Protein) to "Live the Brand" and demonstrate the "Power of Protein in the Land of Lean Beef."

For more information, contact Daren Williams at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Join Team ZIP!

For the first two years of our existence, Team ZIP has been a loosely affiliated group of "athletes" (first time 5K runners to Ironman triathletes) who are passionate about beef and love to show the world that beef is an important part of a healthy diet and provides fuel for an active lifestyle. But as interest has grown from a small band of colleagues at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to more than 200 runners and cyclists across the country, we decided to flesh it out...add a little meat to the bones...beef it up...[insert other appropriate beef puns here].

The communications team at NCBA got our heads together and decided to harness the power of the latest and greatest internet tools to create the Team ZIP social networking site! We finally have an answer to the often asked question: How do I join Team ZIP?

The answer is two clicks away! First, click on Team ZIP. This will take you to the new Team ZIP site. Then click on "Sign Up." This will lead you to a page that will prompt you to enter your e-mail address and create a password. Once you have enetered this information, click "Sign Up" again and you're in!

On the new Team ZIP site you can create your own profile, upload photos from your favorite events, get information on upcoming Team ZIP events (like the New York Beef Industry Council Boilermaker 5K/15K in July!) and get to know other beef-loving athletes across the country.

Join today to view photos from previous Team ZIP events like the 2007 Chicago Half Marathon and 2008 Boilermaker 15K. Speaking of which, the Boilermaker is the PREMIER Team ZIP event of the year, attracting more than 100 Team ZIPers from across the country, as well as elite athletes from around the world. Click on the "Events" tab on the Team ZIP site for more information and to RSVP for this event!

If you have any trouble accessing the site, please e-mail me at See you there!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Team ZIP Springs into Action!

With warmer weather spreading across the country Team ZIP is springing into action at running events from Oklahoma to South Dakota! Even before the weather warmed up, Kansas rancher and runner Barb Downey qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon with a time of 3:57:56 in the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, KS, finishing 11th overall among women and first in her age group! Read Barb's full report below.

In late April a group of 40+ beef runners delivered the "power of protein" message in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Oklahoma Beef Council exec Heather Buckmaster (at left, second from right) participated in the half marathon and pulled together beef runners for the full marathon and marathon relay teams (below left, the Kingfisher Relay Team) for the event mormorializing those lost in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.

This past weekend former National Beef Ambassador and BEEF Daily Blogger Amanda Nolz ran in her first-ever half marathon in Brookings, SD, with her sister Courtney. Amanda reported in this morning with this note and the following photos.

Hey Daren, I have attached a few photos of my sister Courtney and I for the Team ZIP webpage. The half went great. I finished in under two hours, which was my goal! I will definitely run another, if I have the opportunity. I wrote about it in BEEF Daily today, if you want to read the full report. Thanks again for all of the support and advice!

Have a great day!

Above: Amanda Nolz (#429) and her sister Courtney (#430) show of their Team ZIP "running powered by beef" jerseys prior to the Brookings Half Marathon on April 16.

Above: Amanda demonstrates that beef provides fuel for the finish in the Brookings Half Marathon, crossing the finish line in under two hours (a great time, especially for her first half marathon!).

Kansas Rancher/Team ZIP Runner Qualifies for Boston!

Barb Downey is a Kansas rancher and Team ZIP member who completed her first full marathon one year ago in the Spring of 2008. This year, on April 11, Barb qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon by turning in a sub-4:00 time in the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, KS. Congratulations Barb!

Here is Barb's full report...

Just like last year, I am so sore after running my 2nd ever marathon that some non-physical desk time is in order. 48 hours post race finds me largely recovered so I better write it out now before ranch life eats up my spare time. Here it goes. Last year’s Olathe Marathon, which I finished in 4:26, inspired me to consider trying a Boston qualifying marathon pace the second time around. For my age and sex, a sub-4 hour run was needed. With that goal in mind, I ran the ’08 Boilermaker, kept up my miles with a weekly long run of 9-10 miles to maintain endurance, then started ramping up my training for the ’09 Olathe Marathon. It was serendipitously scheduled for my birthday on Mar 28, which would see me into a new age group that required a slower time of 4 hours exactly! On my b-day?! A sign from above, I believed! Of course, this whole time, I kept up my successful, beef-laden training & weight control diet that has served me so well in transforming myself from an overweight, middle-aged woman into a toned, strong & healthy athlete!

As the fateful date approached, I anxiously watched the weather reports and was dismayed to see cold and precipitation in the forecast. 3 days out, a potential blizzard was in the works. 2 days out it seemed a certainty. Because of cattle-ranching schedules, a spring marathon is really my only option and I hated to blow my ’09 chance on atrocious conditions. OK, what heaven-sent sign could this be besides abandon Olathe ship? I am sometimes vain enough to think God enjoys playing with me, but always seems to make it right in the end. At a friend’s suggestion, I got online needing to find another marathon within the next 2 weeks that I could run. Voila! Proving that God watches out for children and idiots (and you know I’m 45, so…), Abilene, KS (only 50 miles away!) had a Boston-qualifier scheduled for April 11. No way, I said. For further proof of the preceding theorem, Olathe arranged to transfer my registration to Abilene. My only worry was that I would be 2 weeks further out from my longest training run and have in effect done a 4 week taper. Would the taper be too long I kept wondering? That and would April 11 make March 28 look like a balmy spring day???

Since March 28 was such a lovely day, I postponed my normal Saturday weekly long training run for the following Monday. Running from the ranch into town, I was heading up a city sidewalk with 2 miles to go when I tripped and landed hard on a knee and elbow. I lay on the ground for a couple of minutes (fully aware of the irony of my current situation), straightening limbs, taking inventory and bargaining with God. I decided everything seemed OK, got up, walked a block or two then resumed my (much slower) run. I escaped with soreness and a swollen knee, but nothing else. Whew. Then it was back to the wait and wonder on the weather game.

When April 11 started showing up on the long-range forecasts, it looked promising. 50-60’s and dry. However, the course was an out and back, heading straight south into the typically prevailing KS spring winds. Which I found out on my last long training run can be awe-inspiring! That day, I ran south into a 30-40 mile wind that flat out killed my time and left me with serious doubts as to qualifying if the winds on race day were similar. Go back to the children and idiots theorem now: April 11 ended up being sandwiched between 2 cold and windy days with rain. The race day itself though was mostly sunny, reached a high of 60 and had a mild south wind that was hardly a factor. The final sign from above was the fact that we took off and ended right in front of the local Catholic Church (which was blaring Kiss’ Rock & Roll All Night from the steps at race start!). I couldn’t have scripted it better, but I was still a bit worried about my training schedule being off because of the 2 week postponement. I started my race on plan with 2 slow miles for a warm up then settled into a pace designed to have me back on schedule by mile 14. I planned to keep that pace as long as I could, building up some cushion for end-of-race fatigue, a bathroom stop, etc. I felt a little sick to my stomach a couple of times but backed off the GU and Powerade, talked it over with God and got back on track. At mile 20, I really felt like my goal was in sight as my time was still on schedule. I did lose a little time the last few miles, but kept pushing. I had serious doubts during the last mile, but again pushed through, running all the way through the finish line (you can’t walk
wearing a Beef shirt!), screaming “I’m going to Boston! I’m going to Boston!” My time (3:57:56) was a huge relief to my support crew who had been talking with another fan who’s racer had missed qualifying last year by (no kidding) 6 seconds. At 3:57 even, they were gearing up for full panic mode, but then caught sight of the very distinctive ZIP jersey. There was much rejoicing and I fortunately didn’t notice my Mom’s look of distaste when she kissed me on my noticeably salty cheek. She admitted to a similar look when handed my sweaty jacket at about mile 11. Ah, a mother’s love! I finished as 11th female overall and 1st in the 45-49 age group. OK, it was a smallish field, but who cares!!! I’m happy!

While waiting for the race to start, I noticed a guy with a “Where’s the Beef” t-shirt on. I proudly pointed to my “Team ZIP – Running Powered by Beef” shirt and proclaimed, “right here!” I went outside and met the rest of the group, there to support their friend “The Beef”, a formerly 120 lb heavier man who through diet and exercise (including plenty of beef; we asked!) had also transformed himself from a middle aged, overweight person into a toned, strong and healthy athlete. Always thinking of your tell-the-story mantra Daren, I made sure his personal trainer (there as part of the “Where’s the Beef” fan club) heard my Beef story loud and clear. He ran his first ½ marathon that day. I have his card and am ordering and sending him a Team ZIP shirt as he is yet another proud example of the Power of Protein!

As you know, the Boilermaker is MAY be back on for me. This time for pure fun and in full working cowboy costume. OK, last time was fun too (witness the debut or at least the official naming of the “Whirling Vortex of Poor Judgment”!); it just didn’t have costumes! But anything to promote the importance of Beef in healthy diet, I say. America needs to know how important Beef’s nutritionally dense package of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats is to weight management and athletic training. I felt last year’s crowd contact helped spread that message. In costume, I can maybe spread that message to even more folks. Then, on to Boston in April 2010. GO TEAM ZIP!!!!

Many happy miles and delicious beef meals,

Barb Downey
Downey Ranch, Inc.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Team ZIP Rocks San Antonio...and NYC...and Lincoln...and even Scranton!

Meghan Mueseler (below) of Cargill Meat Solutions in Wichita, Kansas, was one of nearly 25,000 participants in the inaugural San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon/Half Marathon on Sunday, November 16. But Meghan stood out among the crowd in her Team ZIP Running Powered by Beef jersey. "The shirt was a hit," said Meghan, who also sported a Will run for CHOCOLATE headband. "Folks were confused, chocolate or beef? I said both!!! They go great together!"

Meghan's attitude before (as pictured above) and after the race offers great insight into the mind of a BEEF runner. "The course roads were a little tight for the number of runners and they put a HILL at mile 13 that about killed all of us, " said Meghan. "Definitely one to do again though."

Chris Calkins (above), professor of animal science at the University of Nebraska, demonstrated the power of protein at the Governor's Cup 5K race in Lincoln, Nebraska, on October 19. "I even came in second in my age group, so represented Team ZIP pretty well, if you ask me," said Chris. In fact, Chris finished a very impressive 37th out of 273 runners in the 5K with a time of 22:57, or 7:24/mile. We'd say Chris represented us very well!

Back in July, Chris Marccocci (above) of Streetmarc Advertising and Marketing in Westport, Connecticut, followed up the Boilermaker 15K on July 13 by running the New York Half Marathon two weeks later! "Awesome experience running through Times Square," said Chris, "but believe it or not, the crowd doesn’t even compare to the Boilermaker Race! Go Beef!"

And finally, Chris Molinaro sent us this picture of her twin sister, Kim (at left) and a friend displaying their finisher medals at the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Both Chris and Kim ran with Team ZIP at the Boilermaker in July but this was Kim's first marathon. "Of course they proudly sported the awesome Team Zip jersey as they ran too!" said Chris. "I'm a proud sister, can you tell?" Congratulations, Kim! We're pretty proud of Chris, too, a senior in animal science at Penn State University and author of the Beef Matters blog.

Next week on the Power of Protein and stories from beef runners participating in "Turkey Day" events around the country. Send us yours!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Team ZIP Beefs Up the Boilermaker

More than 100 members of Team ZIP gathered in Utica, NY, on July 11-13 to participate in one of the country's premier running events -- the Boilermaker 15K Road Race. More than 11,000 runners competed in the Boilermaker, including New York Governor David Paterson. Team ZIP had participants in every event during the three-day weekend, including the 15K, 5K, 3-mile walk, mile race and youth run.

Team ZIP 15K runners pose for a group picture before the start of the race early Sunday morning. A light drizzle dampened the pre-race festivities but ended before the race began.

Several of the Team ZIP 5K runners, including NY beef producer Charlie Davis (holding the "Team ZIP is Powered by Beef" sign), gather near the starting line Sunday morning.

The Team ZIP walkers (and strollers!) enjoyed sunny skies for the 3-mile walk on Saturday afternoon during the Health and Fitness Expo.

Team ZIP co-captains Jean O'Toole, New York Beef Industry Council, and Daren Williams, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, talk to fellow runners about the importance of beef protein for athletes.

Janel Fisher, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, hands out healthy roast beef and veggie wraps to Boilermaker participants and their families at the Health and Fitness Expo.

Kids (of all ages) lines up to "build their own burger" (and then try to take a bite) at the New York Beef Industry Council booth at the two-day Health and Fitness Expo.

A member of Team ZIP runs the 15K carrying an American and United States Marine Corp flag to honor his brother in Iraq.

Bucky Gwartney, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, looks strong as he approaches the finish line of the 15K -- demonstrating that beef provides "fuel for the finish"!

Kim Molinaro, twin sister of 2007 National Beef Ambassador Christie Molinaro, flies through the 15K course. Sister Christie ran the 5K and plans to join Kim in the 15K next year!

Team ZIP co-captain Jean O'Toole (right), New York Beef Industry Council, poses with Chris Marcocci of Streetmarc Advertising and Marketing (center).

The New York Beef Industry Council's multi-talented registered dietitian Kara Behlke, served as the official nutritionist of the Boilermaker, ran in the 5K race, worked for two days in the Health and Fitness Expo booth AND helped clean up afterwards. It's a dirty job...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Team ZIP Rides the Rockies!

Above (from left): Amy Becker, Daren Williams and Patty Kravitz show off their Team ZIP cycling jerseys. Below: Show me the beef!!

Three members of Team ZIP completed Ride the Rockies 2008, a six-day, 435-mile bicycle tour of the Rocky Mountains on June 15-21, 2008. The epic ride traveled from Durango to Breckenridge, Colorado, featuring climbs over Lizard Head Pass (elev. 10,222 ft.), Dallas Divide (elev. 8,970 ft.), Cerro Summit (elev. 7,950 ft.), Blue Mesa Summit (elev. 9,288 ft.), Trout Creek Pass (elev. 9,346 ft.), Cottonwood Pass (elev. 12,126 ft.), and Hoosier Pass (elev. 11,542 ft.).

According to Team ZIP captain Daren Williams, the 2008 ride was the toughest of the four he has completed, averaging 72.5 miles per day. Williams recorded the entire ride using his Garmin Edge 705 cycling computer and says he totaled 30:01:43 hrs/mins/secs in the "saddle" and burned 21,668 calories (3,611/day average) during the ride.

Above: Williams at the start of Cottonwood Pass, a 39-mile long, 4,000+ foot climb (from 8,018 ft. to 12,126 ft. above sea level). Due to heavy spring snowfall, the pass opened on June 12, just three days before the start of the ride!

Above: Williams does his best Vanna White impersonation, displaying his makeshift "Beef It's What's for Dinner" ad in a seven-foot tall snowbank near the summit of Cottonwood Pass.

Above: Williams is interviewed for the evening news on the ABC affiliate in Grand Junction, Colorado, discussing the importance of beef protein in helping repair and rebuild muscle tissue during the week-long ride. Click on the following link to watch the entire segment...

Ride the Rockies Rolls into Montrose

Beef. It's what's for dinner on Ride the Rockies!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Team ZIP Runners Tie for Second in NY Run

Team ZIP co-captain Jean O'Toole of the New York Beef Industry Council (above, right) and Terry Fellows (above, left), who is running the Boilermaker 15K with Team ZIP, tied for second place in their age division in the 10-mile run at the 30th Annual Kirkland Art Center's Run & Walk in Clinton, New York. Jean and Terry crossed the finish line together with a time of 1:35:31. That's an impressive pace of 9:33/mile!

The time is especially impressive when you compare it to the field. For example, the second place finisher in the 10 mile, men's, age 18 - 29 ran a 1:43:53:90...the second place finisher in the 10 mile women's, age 30 - 39 ran a 1:37:06:90. In other words, Jean and Telly beat out younger competitors, both male and female!

On top of that, Jean reports that the conditions were less than ideal for a run...

The run was later in the day (4pm, not a good time to run) and it was quite warm with threats of thunderstorms. It was not only warm but there was wind, either a cross wind or in our face, and to top it all off...HILLS! There had to be three significant hills during the race (the picture above was taken at the top of one of the hills after 6.5 miles)! The last hill was the killer! With less than a mile to go, we turned onto Chestnut St. and literally stopped dead in our tracks...the last hill was MASSIVE! We collected our wits and ran on. We are proud to say we finished together, it wasn't about the race it was about finishing.
Jean promises conditions for the Boilermaker will be more favorable.

No doubt I can run the Boilermaker and run it faster, not as many hills and the crowd will get us through it!
37 days and counting...Go Team ZIP!