Author Archive | Henry Howard

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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A Solution for Carrying Water While Running

image2Orange Mud’s Hydraquiver backpack easily transports a water bottle, offers plenty of storage space and has a comfortable fit.

By Henry Howard

When it comes to longer-distance racing, runners often spend time trying to determine their best individual fueling strategy. Water? Electrolyte drink? Generation Ucan? Tailwind? Some combination of all of those?

It’s an individual, choice of course.

And, just like the liquid refreshment options, there are many options for how runners can transport their drink of choice over long distances. Continue Reading →

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An Inspired Ultra Challenge 

img_4006My first two 50Ks, just 10 weeks apart, met a goal a year in the making and also paved the way for new challenges.

By Henry Howard

Last year, I had the opportunity to interview one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, Noah Galloway

Best known for his amazing performance on Dancing With the Stars, Galloway is a double amputee from injuries he suffered in the Iraq war. 

During our interview, Galloway told me “everyone should do something that scares them.” I decided to accept his challenge, upping my ultra ante — doing my first two 50Ks just 10 weeks apart.  Continue Reading →

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Inspired by an Ultrarunning Legend

00810-07-1489-1Eric Strand saw a 1999 marathon as a one-time thing. Now, thanks in part to Dean Karnazes, Strand has completed dozens of marathons and the Leadville 100 five times.

By Henry Howard

Eric Strand had been fascinated by long-distance running ever since Frank Shorter won the marathon gold medal in the 1972 Olympics.

Years passed and before he knew it, 39-year-old Strand had just finished graduate school and his kids were becoming self-sufficient. “I’d always wanted to run a marathon and everyone knows you can’t run 26.2 miles once you turn 40, so I signed up for the 2000 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn.,” he said.

That year — 1999 — he finished the “one and done” marathon. But instead of hanging up the running shoes, Strand has upped his running game to a total of 60 marathons and ultras. Continue Reading →

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The Ups and Downs of Running

The author at Devou Park, with Cincinnati in the background

The author at Devou Park, with Cincinnati in the background

A series of mishaps on training runs, followed by some positive experiences, made for a roller coaster of emotions over a 72-hour period.

By Henry Howard

I had quite the series of training runs a couple of weeks ago. Lightning, a plunge into a creek and a mysterious bite. But after all those dismal obstacles faded into just memories, I experienced a run that was full of brightness and positive energy.

As I reflected back on those 72 hours of oddities, I recalled one of my favorite but little-known movie lines. It’s from the “grandma” character in the 1989 film, “Parenthood,” describing why she likes the roller coaster.

“It was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”

Continue Reading →

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InsideTracker Review

N-O_7ZQb_400x400Even as my health has improved, I wasn’t sure about my overall outlook. InsideTracker’s report reveals my successes and guides me on where to improve.

By Henry Howard

I began running about five years ago as a way to improve on my health and cross “finish a marathon” off my bucket list. The side benefits have included eating a healthier diet and eliminating soda — with the exception of a rum and coke from time to time. Continue Reading →

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It Takes a Village to Build a Marathoner

IMG_0153Jon Lepley of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, knew he wanted to be a runner and started out creating a training plan in which he would run three or four days a week, with progressively longer runs.

But he soon developed bad habits — running every training run as hard as possible — and developed running injuries. “I was never fully following a structured training plan, instead just generally trying to increase distance on a weekend long run, and recover in the days in between,” he recalls.

Lepley set a goal for himself: completing a marathon. And he needed help, so in stepped Marathon Training Academy.

Continue Reading →

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With The Correct Training Anything Can Be Possible

IMG_3262Collegiate swimmer Molly Culver needed a new challenge and took up ultra running. She won her first ultra, the North Face ECS in Wisconsin, and returns this year. By Henry Howard

When work and home commitments collided with my race calendar, I had to withdraw from the Ultra Race of Champions, which would have been my second ultra.

I had been looking forward to that race. However, as I shuffled plans, my initial disappointment gave way to excitement when I realized that I could return to Wisconsin for an Endurance Challenge Series event.

As much as I am looking forward to the Wisconsin race, I am probably not looking forward to it as much as Molly Culver, who has won the 50-mile event three years in a row. Continue Reading →

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