Archive | Health and Wellness

Running to Beat Cancer (Again)

IMG_9390Darrell Henry lost his colon to cancer. Now, he’s lacing up his running sneakers once again to fight cancer the only way he knows how.

By Henry Howard

Darrell Henry has no colon. But he has a heart, the heart of a champion.

Henry’s colon was removed in June 2013 “because of hundreds of polyps and a large cancerous tumor brought on because of familial adenomatous polyposis, a genetic disorder which causes polyps in basically any part of the body. With hundreds of colon polyps it’s inevitable some will become cancerous.”

The biggest drawback to being colon-less: Hydration. “Most of the body’s hydration occurs in the colon. I drink 150-200 ounces per day to stay properly hydrated,” he says.


Doctors used a section of small intestine to build a replacement (called a j-pouch) for the colon and followed up by 12 rounds of chemo. Henry endured one round of chemo every other week for six months.


Henry decided to enjoy the experience as much as possible and dedicate himself to running.

“My intention was to fight as hard as I could, take any treatment necessary and beat cancer but also to gain as much positive from the experience as I could,”

says Henry, who tries to run 50 to 70 miles a week, even during chemo. Continue Reading →

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The Aging Marathoner – How Getting Older Affects Your Running

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7150318855_2ceb01aac0_zI envision myself running my whole life but I’d never really thought about how the “mechanics” of aging would affect my running.

Hopefully by digging into this topic now those of us who are younger can be mentally prepared and able to gracefully adjust to the natural slow-down that comes with age.

This should also be a help and encouragement to those runners who are noticing an age related slow-down in their running.
Continue Reading →

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From Former Smoker to Boston Qualifier

767953-1011-0010sPittsburgh resident dropped the cigarette habit for greater rewards, including a BQ and dozens of finishes in half and full marathons.

By Henry Howard

Kristy Brown’s running journey has come a long way.

The Pittsburgh resident has reformed herself from a pack-a-day smoker to a Boston qualifier. She has run 16 full marathons and 27 halfs. And she’s not stopping there.

But to know Brown’s full story one must go back to the first days when she laced up the running shoes, back in late 2007. She had been a gymnast while growing up, but running was something she took up in adulthood. And not just running but setting and achieving goal after goal. Up first: Brown knew she wanted to finish a marathon by the time she was 30 so she started training.

She accomplished that feat on May 18, 2008, as a smoker. In fact, she did another half-dozen marathons as a smoker. But she wasn’t satisfied with her performances. Eventually she quit smoking on June 8, 2010, “because I wanted to be able to run faster, so I could qualify for Boston.” She took Chantix for two weeks. “It made me feel weird, so I quit taking it, but never smoked again.” Continue Reading →

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14-Time Marathon Finisher Won’t Let Cancer Win

the_alexLos Angeles runner serves as inspiration to others as he undergoes chemo, trains and completes marathons.

By Henry Howard

Alex Magdaleno learned he had cancer on Dec. 22, 2008. As the diagnosis of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia continued to sink in on New Year’s Day 2009, Magdaleno set a goal for himself.

His goal? Run and finish the Los Angeles Marathon that May “to prove to myself that I could finish a marathon despite undergoing chemotherapy.”

Not only did he finish the Los Angeles Marathon six months after the initial diagnosis, Magdaleno has completed 14 overall marathons including the Ventura County Marathon on Sept. 7, the day before this interview. For him, it’s the marathon or bust. No 5Ks, half-marathons or theme races. Continue Reading →

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Tips For Improving Your Sleep

In a previous post I talked about the importance of getting quality sleep during your marathon training.

If you have not read this post or heard the accompanying podcast episode, the main take-a-way is this: Sleep has a huge impact on your athletic performance!

Now I want to give you nine tips on how to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep so you can be a stronger, happier runner. Continue Reading →

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Getting Quality Sleep During Your Marathon Training

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angie_sleepI must admit that I love to sleep.

I was this way even as a child where I could sleep nearly anywhere. Even in my teenage years I would happily sleep 10 hours a night.

This started to change when I had to work 12 hour night shifts in my early years as a nurse. Then, unfortunately our oldest son did not share my sentiments about sleep and his babyhood was literally a rude awakening for me.

The first year of his life made me doubt if I’d ever sleep through the night again. Parents of young children can probably relate to this.

Now maybe you’re not as fixated on sleep as I am but most people underestimate its importance and many struggle with sleep difficulties. Continue Reading →

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I Should Not Be a Runner

Eyrn_LynumGuest blogger Eryn Lynum shares her epic journey of finding life, health, and running after Addison’s disease and anorexia.

I should not be a runner.

In fact, there are a lot of things I should not be. I should not be a mother. I should not be a writer. I should not be healthy. I should not even be alive.

When I was fourteen years old my adrenal glands gave up on me. Or rather they put up one heck of a fight yet lost their arduous battle against my very confused immune system, which attacked them until they were completely destroyed.

Never again would I feel the heart throbbing thrill that rushes through your veins as you peak the top of a roller coaster, and then let gravity have its way as you race back to the bottom. Never again would I take a simple ride in an elevator without an inevitable and debilitating dizzy spell at the end. Never again could I trust my body to come to my rescue with its “fight or flight” response when I was in a bind and needed just that extra bit of super strength or endurance. Continue Reading →

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Taking Care of Your Amazing Feet

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HiResDuring the course of a marathon the average runner will take between 30,000-40,000 steps so it’s obvious we rely on our feet a lot!

I’ve read that the running motion causes impact forces on a runner’s feet 2-3 times his/her body weight.

This episode and blog post is all about taking care of your amazing feet that survive 26.2 miles of pavement pounding each marathon.

I will give you a little anatomy lesson about the foot, and information on how to deal with problems like blisters, arch pain, plantar fasciitis and more. Your feet will love it! Continue Reading →

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How to Not Die During Marathon Training, Running

how_to_not_dieMarathoner, professional writer and guest blogger Jeremy Verdusco explores what you can do to minimize the risk of dying at a marathon

I know. It sounds snarky, but this post comes from an earnest place. People in marathon training and long-runners in general, need to approach this sport with open eyes to the risks and dangers of pushing bodies to their limits. Just as important, runners need to assure friends and family that they’ve managed and minimized those risks.

This has jumped to the top of my mind for a couple reasons. Unfortunately, the first is a tragedy. Recently, Cameron Gallagher, a 16-year-old from Richmond, Va., died after crossing the finish line of the Virginia Beach Anthem Half-Marathon.

The second reason comes from the British Medical Journal. According to their research, the most likely person to die during a marathon is a “middle aged adult man” around the age of 41.

That’s me. Continue Reading →

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Understanding Heart Rate Training

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Heart Rate Training When I ran my first two marathons I had a simple stop watch from the dollar store. Yes, it did cost only $1. Later I upgraded to a Garmin GPS device but I’ve only accessed the basic information on it until recently. The heart rate monitor I purchased had been gathering dust for the last three years.

However, since I’ve started coaching clients I’ve done more evaluation of various metrics and experiments with my own personal metrics.

It’s not uncommon for running magazines and coaches to talk about things like Vo2 max, maximum heart rate, lactate threshold and training zones. This jargon can be simply dizzying. Maybe you have a heart rate monitor (HRM) that you never use or use a heart rate monitor and get frustrated because you don’t fully understand how to go about using this training method.

In this post I want to cut through the clutter and tell you how to easily get started with heart rate training. You will learn:

  1. What to know before you start heart rate training
  2. Three ways to find your ideal training zones
  3. The limitations of heart rate training

Ready, set, go! Continue Reading →

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