Author Archive | Henry Howard

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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Meet Jenn Giles, New MTA Coach

Jenn Giles

Jenn Giles

Accomplished marathoner and triathlete, Registered Dietitian, and RRCA Coach, Jenn Giles brings a passion for lifelong running to the MTA community.

By Henry Howard

While Jenn Giles achieved some success on the high school softball diamond, her coach told her that she ran too slow to ever be great.

And she believed her coach.

Fast forward to adulthood, and Giles has excelled as an endurance athlete, even representing Team USA at the World Championships in the Olympic Distance Triathlon. And now she joins Marathon Training Academy as a coach. Continue Reading →

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My Boston Marathon Qualifier, Thanks to MTA Coaching

image2In the weeks leading up to the Indianapolis Monumental on Nov. 5, I was feeling properly trained, thanks to Angie Spencer and MTA Coaching.

Her plans have guided me through two ultras and then onto recovery and preparing for Indy.

I knew I was physically ready for my first real attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which would mean a 3:25 or better. But I also needed to make sure that I was mentally prepared for the challenge. Continue Reading →

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From Couch to 50-State Marathon Finisher

post-50-1Inspiration hit Kelly “K2” Richards on July 4, 1997, when she literally pushed herself off the couch and did a 2-mile run-walk.

Exactly 15 months later, she crossed the finish line at the Twin Cities Marathon for her first full marathon.

She didn’t know it at the time but it was that first marathon that would lead to 65 (and counting) fulls and ultras, including one in each of the 50 U.S. states. Continue Reading →

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The Right Fueling Solution for Endurance Runs

image2After suffering GI distress and bonking, I searched for a powerful on-the-run fueling alternative. Generation Ucan bars deliver on the most important test.

By Henry Howard

Gels. Energy bars. Protein bars. I can’t honestly say that I have tried all of them, but I have tried many varieties and have experimented with a combination of gels and energy bars during my long training runs and races.

I had GI issues from time to time, and wanted something that would give me a boost without side stitches or other dilemmas.

It wasn’t until earlier this summer that I took a closer look at what I was taking for endurance fuel and how a handful of those options affected my gut and performance. My testing and research has definitely paid off, not only for my health but my race times as well. Continue Reading →

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