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The Distance

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  • | 10:43 p.m. December 31, 2010
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Fitness goal: Qualify for the Boston Marathon, the premier marathon in the U.S. To qualify, Henn will have to run 26.2 miles in three hours and 20 minutes or better at either a marathon in Tucson in November or another in Phoenix in January.

Personal record: Henn's best marathon time was three hours and 30 minutes. “The best way to run a marathon is to carry as little weight as possible,” Henn says. He currently weighs 175 pounds on his six-foot frame, but he hopes to lose another five pounds before the first qualifying race.

When he trains: “I'm not a get-up-at-4:30 a.m. kind of person,” Henn concedes. Surgery often starts at 7 a.m., so Henn fits training in the evenings and weekend mornings. The key to training is to be flexible. “Missing one session isn't going to hurt you,” he says. “You can come to resent your training, so make sure you're enjoying it.” When he's on call every fifth night, he won't run more than a mile from his house so he can get to the hospital quickly. “I've run 10 miles around my house, within a mile of the house,” he laughs.

Running gadgets: Henn carries an iPhone and wears Bluetooth headphones so he can take a call from the hospital while he's running and listen to music too. Artists on his iPhone include Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, Coldplay and Warren Zevon. To gauge distance and speed, Henn uses the Garmin Forerunner 110 watch, which uses a GPS to track a run and download it to a computer.

How he manages pain: Henn, who has completed Ironman triathlons, says he used to take ibuprofen when he was training hard for those races. Now, he takes omega-3 fish-oil tablets that are coated so you don't get the fishy aftertaste. “That's a good anti-inflammatory,” he says.

How he got started: Before he started training for marathons in 2004, Henn used to jog for a mile or two with his wife, a nurse, after work. He weighed 205 pounds, less than the 225 pounds he reached when he did his residency, but still much heavier than the 175 he weighs today. Then, the couple started reading about marathons and decided to train for their first one together in Phoenix. “We did it in about three months,” he says.

Marathon to Ironman: Four months after he finished his first marathon, with advice from Fort Myers personal trainer Angie Ferguson, Henn completed a Half-Ironman in May 2005. The event consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13-mile run. Three years later, he completed the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

How he bought his triathlon bike: Henn flew to Phoenix, Ariz., to buy a bike from, a retailer that specializes in fitting triathletes with the right equipment. Through the store's “fly and fit” program, Henn bought a $3,000 bike fit to his specifications and the retailer paid for his travel cost there.

What he eats: Henn cut out junk food from his diet, but says he's not so strict that he won't touch his favorite cookies and chocolate. When he's training on his bike, Henn carries Uncrustables, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on bread with no crust that are a favorite with kids. “They come frozen and they're still cold on the bike ride,” he says. When he's running he uses Clif Shot Bloks and EFS gel, which packs more nutrients than Gu, another gel manufacturer.

How he fits training into a busy schedule: “The time expands when you have more things to do,” he says. “You can get more done if you're busy. Everything seems to take longer if you're not doing things,” he says. Exercise helps him focus on the job. “One of the biggest things we face is stress, so it's your chance to work things out and unwind,” Henn says. The key is to keep exercise fun and not allow competition to burn you out and harm relationships. “Sacrifices are made by the spouse and children,” he says. “You have to do a little bit of reality check.”


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