Where Were You 1 Year Ago?

Where were you one year ago | happyfitmama.com

Last week, Laura posted the question – Where were you 5 years ago?

I thought it was a really great idea to look back. I’m guilty of looking forward more often at what the next goal is going to be rather than back at where I came from.

I started to look back at where I was 5 years ago and honestly, it kind of depressed me.

I was essentially at the beginning of my running life. I had begun running more consistently rather than an occasional 3 miles here and there. It’s when I really fell in love with running.

I had already run a couple half marathons but was looking to expand my running portfolio.

5 years ago I had never run a 5k.

5 years ago I had never run a 10k.

5 years ago I had never run a 10 miler.

5 years ago I had never run more than 13.1 miles.

5 years ago I had never run a marathon.

In the past 5 years, I’ve done all of the things listed above. And more than once.

Where were you one year ago

No doubt things have changed quite a bit in 5 years. I’ve had many highs and many lows. I’m a different runner. But looking back at PR’s and distances that I haven’t run in almost two years made me sad. I’m so race rusty. And training plan rusty. I’ve spent most of 2016 plan free and running whatever I wanted.

So rather than look back at where I was 5 years ago, I’d rather look back at where I was 1 year ago.

1 year ago, I was just beginning to run again after my injury from April 2015… I know that there are still a few more weeks left in 2016 but it should be noted that I have not gone to physical therapy for an injury AT ALL in 2016. That hasn’t happened in 4 years! WOOHOO!

1 year ago, I was happy to be running even if it was run/walk…Now I’m able to run for 2+ hours with no problems. And am very happy about that!

1 year ago, I had zero desire to ever enter the lottery for Mount Washington Road Race…Now I can’t wait to do it again!

WHere were you 1 year ago | happyfitmama.com

1 year ago, I was so angry with my body for “failing” me at Boston…Now I’ve forgiven myself and let it go. Well, not really completely let it go. I don’t think I can ever do that. It’s a part of my history. But it doesn’t hurt as much as it did a year ago.

1 year ago, I was averaging about 5-8 miles per week of running…Now I am back to my normal, non training, 30 or so miles per week.

1 year ago, I was hungry for marathon redemption…Now I’m looking at other race distances. 50k perhaps? I know I do want to do a marathon in 2017 but the thought of running on the roads that long kind of makes me want to vomit. We’ll see.


1 year ago, I ran mostly on the roads…Now I’m happiest on the trails. Running on dirt feels so much better than pavement.

Where were you 5 years or even 1 year ago in running?


Winter Running: What to Wear and How to Power Through It

Winter running tips and tricks to keep you running all season long. | happyfitmama.com

It’s not here yet. But we know it’s coming.


Will it be an easy winter like last year? Will it be brutal like two years ago?

The Farmer’s Almanac is saying it will be colder with average snowfall here in New Hampshire. I ran in shorts and a t-shirt last week and then it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. Who knows what will happen until it does!

I get a lot of questions about what to wear for winter running.

How do I stay warm but not hot? How can I keep my hands warm? Do I need different shoes? What are the essentials?

Every person is different when it comes to the cold. Your comfort level depends on many factors, including how fast you’re running, how you tolerate cold, and how long your run is, so your perfect Winter outfit may be different than mine.

I’ve picked up many tips over the years from my own experiences and from my fellow winter running warriors.

Here’s a breakdown of what to wear from head to toe.

Shoes: Unless I’m running in a snowstorm or soon afterwards, the roads in my area tend to be clear of snow. There may be spots of slush, puddles or ice, but generally it’s no different than running any other time of the year. If I am running in snow, I’ll wear a pair of trail shoes for a bit more traction. Yak-Trak are another option but I will only wear them for a short distance. It throws my gait off and I don’t want to risk an injury from that.

Winter running tips and tricks | happyfitmama.com

Socks: On really cold days, I switch to a thicker sock, but I still wear low cut. I’m ok with my ankle being exposed a little bit in between my tights and sock line unless I’m running in snow. An alternative is to wear compression socks for more coverage. Darn Tough and Smart Wool are my go-to winter socks.

Tights: I prefer to have less on my legs no matter what the temperature. Fleece lined tights are not for me. I get way too hot. Instead, I prefer a thicker material that at least provides wind protection. Some of my favorite brands are Saucony and  Athleta. If it’s really cold (single digits or below), I’ll layer a running skirt over my tights. It’s essential for preventing butt freeze. If you’ve had butt freeze, you know that it is no joke. It kills to unthaw the buns!

Winter Running tips and tricks | happyfitmama.com

First layer: A long sleeve, 1/2 zip, tech top, preferably with thumbholes is what I always reach for. I like to have something up around my neck for more warmth at the beginning. As I warm up, I can unzip to allow more air flow if needed.

Outer layer/Jacket: A good, waterproof and windproof jacket is essential if you are running in any kind of precipitation or low temps. Your first layer will stay dry, therefore, you will be able to stay warm. A good alternative is a vest if you don’t mind your arms being exposed. On really cold days with a bitter wind chill, I sometimes wear a base layer, jacket and a light vest.

Mittens: My hands being too cold is my number one complaint with winter running. Mittens definitely work better than gloves to keep the whole hand together rather than fingers separate. I’ve mentioned it numerous times, but Saucony Run Mitts (check out my gift list for fitness lovers this year) have been a life saver for me the past two years. So far, the lowest temp I’ve run with them is 10 degrees with no cold fingers. They’ve been a game changer.

Winter running tips and tricks | happyfitmama.com

Hat: I prefer a hat over a headband. In the past I’ve worn my ski hats but when I started to sweat, it would soak the material and make me colder. Hats should be made of lightweight technical fabrics to trap just the right amount of heat, but still keep your head dry.

Other accessories: A neck gaiter or Buff is great for keeping your neck warm but can be pulled over your mouth on really frigid days to help with your breathing. When your mouth is covered, the air is warmed rather than taking in cold air.

Hand warmers stuck in your mittens can also be a life saver if your hands are always cold.

With my winter gear, I also tend to reach for the brighter colors. It’s a good way to be more visible with less daylight hours available. It also gives a little perk to my mood when everything is dull and drab during the Winter. And it makes you look extra marvelous. Reflective gear is also a good idea. You know I’m loving Saucony’s new Reflex line!

Now that you know what to wear, how do you stay motivated to keep it up? Cold, dark and dreary weather isn’t the best motivator.

Sign up for a late winter or early spring race. That will light a fire under you for sure. January and February are the important building blocks of training if you want to race well in March and April. Find a tune up 5k or 5 miler race to gauge how your progressing towards your big goal.

Winter running - Post race Midwinter Classic | happyfitmama.comCan you tell I really love my hot pink Saucony jacket? 😉

Remember why you are running. Aiming for a PR in a spring half marathon or marathon? Trying to get a BQ? Do you need to shake off the stress? Or is it for the way running makes you feel alive and happy? Remembering why you run can help you get out on a gloomy, cold day.

Find a running buddy. You are not alone in your quest to run all through the winter. There are other crazy enthusiastic runners who won’t let a little cold keep them inside. Trust me. They are out there!

Change your shoes. If you live in an area that receives significant snowfall, take up snowshoe running. I’ve done it a couple of times in the past but plan to do more in 2017 (fingers crossed for enough snow!).

Snowstorm winter Run | happyfitmama.com

Channel your inner badass. If you’ve ever gone for a run in frigid temps and developed lashicles, browsicles or a beardsicle, you know that you feel pretty badass afterwards. A frozen badass that can feel their butt but still a badass. Not everyone runs when it’s cold outside. It takes will and determination. It builds grit.

Aren’t those traits you want to have while deep in the pain cave of your next race?

And if you hop on the treadmill every once and awhile because you just can’t put on ALL the layers and feel like a Popsicle AGAIN, no worries. I’ll probably do the very same thing. There’s no shame in the treadmill in the game.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Coaches’ Corner.

What’s your best winter running tip?

What’s the coldest temp you’ll run in?







Meal Planning {Week of December 4}

Meal planning inspiration for the whole family to enjoy! | happyfitmama.com

This week in running has been rather fun.

I got a new GPS watch (Garmin 230) and am having fun finding out all of it’s features. I can’t wait to program in an actual workout to have it beep at me when to do each interval. So high tech! My old watches had that capability but I never took the time to set it up or honestly, even look up how to do it. If I’m going to shell out $$ for the good stuff I should use it, right? Lol.

I’m really enjoying running with others lately. In fact, I only ran twice by myself in the past week. The time just goes by so much faster when you can chatter the whole time.

Last Sunday I ended up running 9 miles on the trails with two complete strangers. Or I should say we were complete strangers at the beginning of the run became friends after two minutes of running. Funny how that happens. It was a weird turn of events but it worked out great in the end!

Yesterday I met up with Nicole and Kailey for 8 miles of catching up. It’s funny that two years ago Kailey and I were preparing to leave for Hawaii for her first marathon. I still think that whole trip was one of the most memorable race experiences I’ve ever had. Or ever will.

Honolulu Marathon mile 25 | happyfitmama.com

If you missed it, you can read all about it HERE and HERE. Btw – I’m ready to head back to Hawaii right now! :)

It’s Sunday, so it’s meal planning day.

What’s cooking this week?

Sunday: Salmon + Kale, Butternut Squash and Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Monday: Sheet Pan Chicken and Vegetables

Tuesday:  Veggie Stir-fry + Baked Broccoli Slaw Egg Rolls

Wednesday: Crowd Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

Thursday: Holiday Party

Friday: Make your own pizza night

Saturday: Dinner out for Ron’s birthday!

What’s you most memorable race?

What’s for dinner at your house this week?