Archive | Guest Perspective

Race review: Alpine Classic Half Marathon

image2A beautiful course, capable pacers and a helpful volunteer made this a race to remember.

By Henry Howard

I waited at the finish line for my two new BFFs, Wan and Allison.

This was minutes after I wrapped up the Alpine Classic Half Marathon, a community race put on by Utah Run at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. As a flatlander, I had no idea how I would fare in the 5,000-foot elevation.

Thanks to pacers Wan and Allison, I was able to make it through the tough parts and finish strong — a 1:41:29 PR, 15th overall and first place in my age group. Continue Reading →

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The Number One Reason Why You Won’t Reach Your Training Goals

photo-1421091242698-34f6ad7fc088The number one reason why runners won’t reach their goals is also one of the most preventable reasons: injury! Nothing derails a perfectly developed training plan like an injury.

The most common injury to runners is also the most common injury for those in the western world: low back pain (LBP). LBP is estimated to affect nearly 80% of the U.S. population at one time or another. And worse yet, once you have experienced an episode of LBP you have a 90% chance of having a reoccurrence. Continue Reading →

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A ‘non-runner’ now embraces PRs and PR

MegFingert2Public relations professional mixes business with pleasure — promoting race events and setting new personal bests.

By Henry Howard

Unlike all the other athletes I have featured in this blog, I personally know Meg Fingert. In fact, we met before either of us were runners.

At the time, about six years ago, I was recruiting Purdue University students to assist with a new website and Fingert was a college student. Ironically, she was among the students in the first class I taught at Purdue a couple of years later.

Since then, we have both graduated onto bigger and better things, including marathons. But this is her story – the story of a self-proclaimed “non-runner” who is eyeing a 50-state goal. Continue Reading →

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The 3 Most Common Mistakes Runners Make That Can Cause Low Back Pain

MultifidusMusclesLow back pain (LBP) is one of the most prevalent medical conditions treated in the United States and throughout the western world.

Avoiding the following most common mistakes can save you from costly medical visits, prescriptions, chiropractic visits, and physical therapy services.

More importantly, avoiding injury and LBP insures that you can keep training and racing to your heart’s content!

Continue Reading →

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For the Love of the Run, the Journey, the Community

Dan Savage

At the Finish of my First Ultra

Shortly after turning 40, Dan Savage looked in the mirror. Staring back was a stressed-out, 65-pound overweight guy.

Savage had been in and out of the hospital, getting treatment for Crohn’s Disease.

His diet and exercise habits were bad, to put it mildly.

“I thought a workout involved lifting a double cheeseburger versus a single. It was U-G-L-Y. It was at this point I had one of those life changing moments – you know where ‘your want to,’ wants to change? I just told myself, if I wanted to see my kids grow up and see any grandkids, I need to change, and change now.”

And so he did, joining the Marathon Training Academy, and becoming more active and improving his diet. Now when he looks in the mirror, he sees an ultra marathoner! Continue Reading →

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Race Review: The Illinois Marathon

image1April showers meant soggy runners. But the amazing crowd support, fast course and post-race goodies more than made up for it.

By Henry Howard

When I counted down the days to my March marathon in Raleigh, N.C., I regularly checked the weather forecast. Up until two or three days before the race, it looked like rain would be factor.

Thankfully, my race started and finished under dry skies.

That would not be the case for the April 30 Illinois Marathon in Champaign-Urbana. And when I mean it rained, I mean it rained. Literally from the time I woke up, throughout the entire race to when I returned to the hotel. Continue Reading →

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A Rewarding Experience as a Race Volunteer

IMG_3359 (1)-2My first time volunteering meant more than cutting up fruit and handing out water during a race supporting cancer research.

Billy. Paul. Bob.

They are among the millions of Americans who have succumbed to cancer. Each of my aforementioned friends was taken way too soon. Of those three, only Bob would live long enough to ever meet his grandchildren. The others passed well before what we would consider middle age.

Those whose lives have been ravaged by cancer were on my mind a few Saturdays ago as I volunteered at The Purdue Challenge, a 5K run-walk which benefits cancer research at the university. Continue Reading →

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‘A Voyage of Self-Discovery’

kenMFormer smoker/couch potato has turned his life around, chasing ultras and motivating others. This fall, he plans to run the Ultra Race of Champions again.

By Henry Howard

Ken Michal had been a chain-smoking couch potato for most of his adult life. After he quit his 2.5-pack a day habit, he put on a lot of weight.

“When I quit, I ate whatever I wanted as long as I wasn’t smoking,” Michael says. “When it came time to drop the weight, I found running. It was really hard at first but I found that I had a gift for long and slow!”

Now Michal pours his contagious enthusiasm into running — competing in endurance events, coaching other athletes and motivating listeners on his Running Stupid podcast. Continue Reading →

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Masters Runners: Body Changes and Injury Prevention Strategies

SeniorRunnerThe question most often asked in regard to the older runner: Is it safe?

The answer is yes! Running can actually help to decrease some of the physiological declines that occur with age.

Who is considered to be an older or masters runner? Typically, masters runners are over the age of 40. Shocked? Me, too!

While it’s true that getting older is not for the faint of heart, it’s also true that if you do nothing, the following age related declines in physical functioning will occur regardless.

Continue Reading →

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A Not-So-Fast Runner’s Ultimate Dream

IMG_3803TJ Wilkinson ran both cross-country and track in junior high and high school. He readily admits that he was not very fast but enjoyed the sports for the camaraderie.

“I also didn’t try very hard, which is probably why I wasn’t fast,” he says. “When I say I ‘ran track,’ I really mean I was a high jumper, and I spent many practices laying on the high jump mat watching the girls run by. Needless to say, my running didn’t transition to college.”

Wilkinson never did improve his speed. His friends like to tease him about a local 5k he entered. “I was beaten by a guy wearing snorkel gear, including the flippers. Seriously.” Continue Reading →

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Race Review: Tobacco Road Marathon

IMG_3288The well-organized race is great value to runners — nice tech shirt, strong communication, PR bell to ring and a great post-race party.

By Henry Howard

The Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, N.C., offers runners a flat and fast course, using much of the American Tobacco Trail.

Marathoners run more than 20 miles along the trail, which is mostly what I would call packed sand or dirt. No need for trail shoes, the surface is smooth and easier on the body than a typical road marathon. Continue Reading →

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