Expressing gratitude, spreading joy and shooting my shot
By Henry Howard
Right now I am feeling a deep sense of gratitude.
I’m thankful for my wife, Manju, and my boys who put up with my 4 a.m. wake-up calls to run. I’m thankful for my coach, David Roche, who has helped me navigate through a relentless injury. And I’m thankful for the running community that inspires me.
Today all the gratitude cascaded out among a flurry of joy during the Beaver Chase urban trail marathon in downtown Indianapolis. I came into the race with no expectations, other than to smile deep, find joy and shoot my shot.
I did indeed shoot my shot, finishing first overall with a time of 3:50:31 on the four-loop course that comprises two adjacent cross-country courses.
That was merely the icing on the cake. The sense of joy I found – and spread to other runners via calls of “Great job!” and “Keep up the great work!” — was with me throughout the race. My finishing place doesn’t matter. Yeah, it’s nice for hard work to pay off and to receive social media kudos. But remember — outside of the running community, no one cares about your running.
So here’s why running is important to me:
• It motivates me to stay healthy, eat right and dedicate myself to a passion I first embraced a decade ago.
• I receive so much joy in seeing my athletes succeed. Just a week ago, one of my athletes completed the TransRockies six-day stage race. We had started working together about 10 months previously and, at that time, she had only finished one marathon. Her dedication and hard work inspired me so much, just as other athletes of mine have demonstrated.
• It helps me support causes I care deeply about, like Bigger Than The Trail. This nonprofit organization raises funds for mental-health counseling via trail running. I’m dedicating my next race (the Hennepin Hundred in October) to BTTT and I would be honored with any donation you are willing to make to help those in need receive the counseling that changes lives. Please visit my donate page to learn more.
I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to the race directors and volunteers for the Beaver Chase race. The whole experience was amazing. Packet pickup on race day was extremely well organized, the course was well marked and the swag items were awesome. (Minor complaint: Hardly any food post-race for those of us who are Celiacs and gluten-free. No fruit was available, and the only packaged items I could eat were some trail mix pouches.)
Last but not least, some shout-outs to my supporters:
• InsideTracker. For years I’ve used InsideTracker’s simple blood draw, thorough analysis of biomarkers and customized analysis to improve my health. It’s amazing what some basic data and science will help improve. Among the areas I’ve improved are my vitamin D count and lowering my cholesterol and cortisol. And starting Aug. 15 for eight days, you can enter my special contest with InsideTracker. They will draw one name and a winner will receive one InsideTracker Ultimate Test ($589 value) and one InsideTracker InnerAge Test ($100 value). Click this link to get yourself entered.
• Coros. I’ve tested at least four major brands of watches and Coros is the best hands down. The battery life is amazing, it syncs flawlessly and is easy to use. I’d encourage you to try them out. Visit their website and use code CAP-Howard for a free swag gift from the accessories page with any watch. You must add both into the cart and apply the code at checkout to redeem the promotion.
• HoneyStinger. I am proud to be a Honey Stinger ambassador. I use their gluten-free waffles, chews and gels during my runs and races. They are easily digestible, give me a boost of energy and taste amazing. Learn more at their website.
• Gnarly Nutrition. I’ve tried various fueling and recovery products but Gnarly stands out to me for several reasons. You can actually pronounce the ingredients in their powders. Their products are created by endurance athletes for athletes. The powders mix well, taste great and are easily digestible without any issues. Check them out.
• UltrAspire: During this race, I ran with my UltrAspire vest, which allowed me to skip aid stations completely. I had one bottle of water and the other was a mix of Gnarly Fuel20 and water, both of which kept me hydrated as the temperatures touched 80 before my race was done. UltrAspire has a great collection of vests, handhelds and other products available at their website.
• Odlo: I’ve been a fan of this brand for quite some time, thanks to its stylish and functional gear, as well as its sustainability practices. And that commitment is not new. Odlo has been around for more than 70 years. During today’s run, the shirt kept me as cool as possible and the hat worked well to shield me from the sun. Here’s a recent review of their new shirts, including the one I wore today, and some shorts.