Author Archive | Henry Howard

Finding Jenn Shelton

photo credit: Jenn Shelton @sheltonjenn

She was the gifted, fearless wild child featured in “Born to Run.” Fourteen years later, Shelton still leads a “crazy life,” following her passion in pursuit of the next endurance challenge.

By Henry Howard

Jenn Shelton became well known for her appearance in Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book about ultra running, “Born to Run.”

In the years since the book was published, Shelton has matured but still embraces a Bohemian lifestyle as evidenced in the new documentary, “Outside Voices.” 


At the end of the documentary, Shelton is in her small van under a moonlight sky. She’s on her cell phone, learning Italian. It concludes, with her repeating a translation, “You do not know who I am.” Continue Reading →

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How to Train for Marathons While Traveling

I am writing this while literally 30,000 feet in the air.

It’s been a busy week of travel — Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C., then back home for an 11-hour layover (seriously) before flying Wednesday to Las Vegas, where I worked — and exercised — until returning home Friday.

Traveling for work is not unusual for me. As a runner, I have learned how to properly prepare for maintaining my workout schedule whether I am on the island of Puerto Rico, in the mountains of Colorado or in chilly Des Moines in January. (Yes, I have been all of those places in the past year.) Continue Reading →

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From Baseball to Ultra Running

Former major leaguer Eric Byrnes was known for his hustle and speed. Now he has transformed himself into a passionate endurance athlete.

By Henry Howard

Baseball fans who saw Eric Byrnes play recognized his exuberance for the game — chasing after line drives in the outfield, sprinting around the bases and playing with an enthusiastic abandon for the game.

“Authentic is a word that I use a lot when I talk about Eric,” said Tarah Byrnes, describing her husband, now an analyst for Major League Baseball Network. “And it can be an overwhelming concept, if you think about who Eric is. His intensity as a baseball player, his intensity as an athlete, his intensity as a broadcaster — all of those things show it’s true, it’s authentic.”

His authenticity and athleticism are on full display in a 45-minute documentary, Diamond to the Rough, which chronicles his transition to ultra running and completion of the Western States 100. Continue Reading →

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The Thrill of the Run; Passion for the MTA Community

Longtime MTA member Foti Panagakos enjoys a packed racing season and interacting with fellow members on Facebook.

By Henry Howard

Fotinos “Foti” Panagakos has been regularly running for about eight years. In that time, he has transitioned from 5Ks and a “one and done” marathon to a prolific racer who has finished 38 marathons.

For Panagakos, it’s not the competition that drives him. It’s the thrill of the run.

And it’s also the passion of the running community, which is what keeps him drawn to the Marathon Training Academy crew. Continue Reading →

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American River 50 Combines Roads, Trail for Spectacular Ultra Race


Gloria Takagishi has a long list of running accomplishments — Boston Marathon, Western States, etc. — but will always remember and treasure her first ultra marathon, the American River 50 in California.

Now 70, Takagishi has started the race every single year. In fact, she finished AR50 each of the first 30 years of its existence.

On April 1 of this year, Takagishi will again line up at the starting line in Folsom for the race that is close to her heart. Continue Reading →

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An elite runner dishes on nutrition

Tina Muir embraces the high fat/high protein fueling method, while rewarding her sweet tooth with a daily dessert.

By Henry Howard

At age 14, Tina Muir hid in the bathroom as her cross-country team was starting practice. In time she realized that she was not only good at running but actually enjoyed it.

Running is now an integral part of Muir’s life. She’s an elite runner for Saucony, community manager for Runners Connect and hosts her own podcast. (MTA’s Angie Spencer was featured on a previous episode.) Continue Reading →

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Reflections on a Dark, Muddy Trail Marathon

My headlamp light was a DNF casualty a mile into the race. Fortunately, my Run Lites gloves kept the trail illuminated for the next four hours, allowing me to finish.

By Henry Howard

In the days leading up to the Winter Night Trail Marathon outside Indianapolis, Indiana, the forecast consistently called for freezing rain and/or rain.

But about 24 hours before the race on Jan. 14, the forecast changed. No precipitation and temperatures around 30 for the race. I figured my luck was changing and felt good heading into the race.

When I picked up my bib an hour before the race, I saw that it was number 300 — a perfect score in bowling. Another good omen, I thought. That thought would disappear soon after the 6 p.m. race start. Continue Reading →

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Meet Chris Galaty, MTA Coach, Runner and Teacher

Longtime runner and international educator joins MTA team with a vision to tailor training plans to the athletes and ensure they meet their goals.

By Henry Howard

Chris Galaty has literally completed too many races to count. Marathons, half marathons, Ironmans and shorter distances.

Among his treasured finishes are the Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon and the Lake Placid Ironman.

Goal setting is important to him — “empowering,” as Galaty says. But that not only motivates him as a competitor, it drives him as a coach. And now, he has joined the Marathon Training Academy stable of coaches. Continue Reading →

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Meet New MTA Coach Lynn Grieger

The Army veteran and 50-state finisher prepares her athletes for a lifetime of healthy, injury-free running, based on their individual goals and fitness levels.

Lynn Grieger has been a runner for 40 years, and has a long list of accomplishments.

Grieger, who achieved her 50-state goal this year, has finished 56 marathons overall. Additionally, she has completed several triathlons, 20 half marathons, four ultra relays and dozens of other races.

However, Grieger, a new coach with Marathon Training Academy, puts coaching over her own running.

“I’m most proud of coaching people to finish a race distance they didn’t think they would ever be able to complete,” she says. It’s more exciting for me to run with them and cheer them on than it is for me to finish a race on my own.”

Continue Reading →

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Meetings and Partings at Honolulu Marathon

A meet-up with fellow MTA peeps and soul-searching about a social media friend were the biggest takeaways from the crowded Honolulu race.

By Henry Howard

I had the good fortune to combine a work trip to Hawaii with an extra couple of days in paradise, which included running the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, Dec. 11.

In previous race recaps, I have focused on the race itself — how I performed, what others considering the race should know, etc. But this weekend was different. And this blog will be different.

Perhaps it was the time of year that got to me. Or perhaps it was just an all-too-real example of the circle of life. In any case, I kept reflecting back to a line from The Muppet Christmas Carol, when Kermit the Frog (playing Bob Cratchit) said, “Life is made up of meetings and partings.” Continue Reading →

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InsideTracker Delivers Knowledge, Thorough analysis

Increased training, decreased sleep and a new puppy can wreak havoc on an endurance athlete’s system.

That was the underlying message from my second InsideTracker test, which I took in October — midway between my second ultramarathon and my Boston Qualifier marathon.

“It looks like you were training a little bit harder than your body was ready for,” summarized Laura Ligos, a registered dietitian and consultant at InsideTracker. Continue Reading →

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My Next Ultra Challenge — American River 50 Miler

Photo credit: Keith Facchino

Photo credit: Keith Facchino

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

I have been thinking quite a bit about that quote, attributed to Fred Devito, as I plan my racing calendar for 2017. Sure, it’s a little early, but I want to continue to challenge myself and build on my first two ultras, the Buckeye Trail 50K and the North Face 50K in Wisconsin, which I finished in 2016.

Completing my first two ultras was a goal this year. For 2017, my major goal will be to finish my first 50-miler — the American River 50 in California. Continue Reading →

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