Category Archives: Running

My Favorite Instagrammers

Find inspiration in running, yoga, fitness and food with My 10 Favorite Instagrammers. happyfitmama.com

It’s no secret that my fav form of social media is Instagram. Pretty pictures. Inspiring people. Yummy food. Cute animals. It’s got it all!

The majority of Instagrammers that I follow are runners. But I also like to mix it up with yogi’s, foodies, Cross Fit enthusiasts, animal lovers and anything else that strikes my fancy.

If you are looking for running, yoga or food inspiration this is for you. Just right click on the pic to take you to these fabulous Instagrammers accounts and follow away!

MtnRunr
Maybe because I’ve found a love for trails and wish I could run on them more, but trail and ultra runners have taken over my Insta feed. The beauty of mountains, lakes, dirt…it’s all I want to see!

Beautiful sunrise doing altitude training…๐ŸŒ„ #catherinespass #100miletraining #trailrunning #alta

A photo posted by Valorie Reese (@mtnrunr) on

Crazy Mother Runners
Maybe because I want to be BFF’s with all of these ladies. I need to find my own pack of crazy mother runners to have a picnic with on a rock.

CYU888
I love Christine’s writing but her pics – Amazingly beautiful. She inspires me to post better yoga pics. And her latest trip to Banff – my need to go back there has grown!

SisuGirls
Grit. Determination. That’s what the Finnish word, sisu, roughly translates to. Where I grew up in Michigan, there is a strong presence of Finnish descendants. In fact, Ron is Finnish, too. When I found this Insta account, I immediately loved it. The world needs more Sisu Girls!

Runners Love Yoga
Ann does monthly yoga Insta challenges that specifically target runners. Not only is she a serious competitive runner, she’s got her Ph.D in English.

Stop, drop, and yoga #postrun. (For real! You'll feel a little better!) #RunnersLoveYoga #doyogarunfaster

A photo posted by Ann M. (@runnersloveyoga) on

TallensJourney
I’m no triathlete but I love following Tonya’s Insta. Bright, colorful and just plain fun!

FitFoodieFinds
A little fitness and a whole lot of yummy, better for you food. I’d like to face plant in all of Lee’s food pics.

If I could just eat this the rest of my life…Banana Soft Serve + Protein PB Cups = <3 #comingsoon

A photo posted by Lee Hersh (@fitfoodiefinds) on

larisa_elaine
This former NH Runner headed west and really makes me want to do the same thing. Her trail pics are amazing. And she’s a pretty rad runner too.

Let yourself by silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.

A photo posted by Larisa Elaine Dannis (@larisa_elaine) on

Shannon Dempsey
You can always count on Shannon to be #runmatchy for every run. I mean, how cute is that outfit?!?!

Round The World Girl

Beautiful travel pictures that make me want to go everywhere in this big wide world.

Breakfast in bed. Fueled by @powerbar #powerbar #proteinshake #sp

A photo posted by Elise ๐Ÿš (@roundtheworldgirl) on

And don’t forget to follow me! :)

Btw – High 5 to Amanda (an awesome Instagrammer herself!) for reminding me that I had never posted anything about my favorite Instagrammers before. Thanks girl!

Who are your favorite Instagrammers?

Leave your Instagram handle in the comments so we can follow you!

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6 Hill Workouts for Runners

Head for the hills with these 6 hill workouts for runners to gain strength, speed and confidence in your running!

Itโ€™s another edition of Monthly Workouts for Runners BY Runners. Hereโ€™s the previous monthโ€™s workouts if you missed them:

Stuck Inside Workouts for Runners

Two-a-Day Workouts for Runners

Upper Body Workouts for Runners

Injury Prevention Exercises for Runners

This month, the focus is on hills. Something that I’ve had quite a bit of exposure to latey. Take it from this former hill hater – don’t avoid the hills!

Running hills are essentially a strength training workout for all your running muscles (glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads, etc).ย  You use these same muscles during sprinting. Therefore, hill repeats can help you get faster by increasing the frequency and length of your stride. You become more powerful and efficient to cover more ground with less effort. Having stronger leg muscles can also help prevent injury. Lastly, hill repeats will give you confidence and mental toughness for pushing through fatigue in the end stages of a race.

Now for the how. You could just pick a hill and go up and down, up and down as many times as you feel like it. Ideally, you want a hill that takes 90 seconds to 2 minutes to climb. The grade should be steep enough that you feel a burn in your legs for the last half. (Always do a warm up of 1-2 miles before tackling hill repeats). Depending on your fitness level, you may start with 3 repeats (beginner) to 9-12 (advanced). Hill repeats should only be done once a week.

I’ll be honest, hill repeats can be a little monotonous. If you have one hill to run, the scenery can get old really fast. That’s why I like to play around with the time I spend running the hill. I love doing a pyramid workout on the track for speed so doing something similar for hills is the perfect way to jazz it up.

FYI โ€“ While I am a certified RRCA Running Coach, I am not your coach. Listen to your body and itโ€™s limitations. Please check with your physician if you are new to exercise or have any questions regarding your health and exercise.

Build strength, stamina and speed with this dynamic Hill Pyramid Workout for Runners. happyfitmama.com

 

What goes up, must come down!

And here are even more Hill Workouts from 5 of my running friends. Pin away so you have a stash of workouts on hand whenever you need it.

Carly has a great 30-45-60 workout for you!

Hill running FINE FIT DAY

Nellie has a fun total body circuit.

Brooklyn Active Mama Nellie Hill WorkoutsAllie has a great workout that won’t let you shy away from the hills.

RUN THE HILL

Laura has a combination hilly tempo that will be sure to build leg strength.

This Runners Recipes Hilly Tempo Run

Sarah wants us to #EmbraceTheHill. And you will with this workout.

Embrace the hill workout

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

Hills – love ’em or hate ’em?

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Mt. Washington Road Race Recap

Mt. Washington Road Race Recap. | happyfitmama.com

Kick back and grab some coffee and snacks. This is a LONG one!

I’m usually pretty quick to write a race recap. But this one, I had a hard time sitting down to write it. Maybe because it’s been 14 months since I ran a race. Maybe because I had such a great weekend and was wicked tired from it Sunday night. Maybe because I had caught Ron’s cold and was feeling like do-do.

Maybe because I can’t find the words to describe how much this race meant to me.

When I entered the Mt. Washington Road Race lottery back in late February, it was on a whim. We were headed up to ski/snowboard at Sunday River and Mt. Washington was staring right at me through the windshield in all it’s snowy glory when I got a text from a friend asking me if I wanted to enter the lottery with her “team”. It seemed like fate. Why not? The odds of me getting in were slim to none. Or at least in my head it seemed like they were.

And then I found out I got in. Holy. Sh!t.

My training was marred with muscle niggles in my quad, back and an angry piriformis.ย  I took a week off from running to figure out what was going on with my quad. And then another week because of my back and piriformis. After that, it was smooth running. I was feeling really, really good. I had let my mind start to think about paces and races that I wouldn’t allow myself to go to in the past 14 months. That is until the week before the race when I rolled my ankle on a training run. I took another 6 days off from running to let it rest in hopes I’d be ready for race day.

Friday arrived and it was time to go. It took me forever to pack. Not only did I need to pick out a race day outfit, I also needed to pack up a bag for the summit. Thankfully, the forecast was looking absolutely amazing (although a little too warm!) – 50s-60s and sunny in the valley for the start and 60, no wind and sunny at the summit. It’s hard to believe that it was snowing and hurricane force winds just one week ago. I still brought my Ugg boots, fleece and winter hat just in case the weather changed it’s mind. It can do that on Mt. Washington!

Mt. Washington at sunset. | happyfitmama.com

The family and I arrived at our friend’s condo in Glen, NH late in the evening. The view from the deck did not disappoint. It was hard to believe that I’d be running up that rock pile in the morning.

Saturday morning came and it was an absolutely stunning. Blue skies for days. We left the condo at 6:30 to drive the 30 minutes to the base/starting line. Things got a little hairy after that. Karin and I needed to pick up our bibs. Our bibs had the tickets that Robin’s husband, John, needed to be able to be our driver down from the summit. He couldn’t go up unless he had those. We arrived at the base and of course there we got stuck in line waiting to park. Long story short, Karin and I jumped out of the car while Robin parked it, ran across the field to registration, picked up our bibs, ran back to find John’s car in line for the summit, gave him our tickets and then he took off into the line of cars. It was then we realized that our summit bags were still in Karin’s car. Karin and I then raced back across the field, grabbed our stuff and ran a back towards the road hoping to catch John as he started up the auto road. Thankfully, we made it just in time. Woohoo! Crisis averted.

Side note – I was reassured that my ankle/tendon was good to go for the race because all of this running was done in flip flops with no problem!

Mt. Washingto Auto Road. | happyfitmama.com

We then had an hour to kill before the cannon went off. I tried my best to sip water and relax. It was quickly getting warmer. The sun felt great but I could feel myself sweating already. When I did my easy 10 minute warm up, I knew it was going to be a hot one.

It came time to line up and I immediately got nervous. Where do I line up? Previously, I would line up sort of close to the front. But I didn’t think I belonged there on Saturday. I was doubting my abilities even though I was feeling pretty good. I lined up somewhere in the middle. Immediately I regretted my decision. There was some really stinky people all around me! I moved forward a little bit in hopes of being up wind at least.

Mt. Washington Road Race. It's only one hill

The cannon went off and it was go time. Although not really. It took 42 seconds before I crossed the starting line and then it was a slow trot across the first 250 meters that are downhill and then across the flat section until the hill started. I spent way too much time stuck behind people who were walking from the beginning for the first mile. That was the second time I regretted where I lined up at the start.

I was actually shocked at how many people were walking. It was steep but not that steep. After mile 1, things cleared out a bit. I was able to find a little bit of a consistent pace which I trudged along at till the first water stop around mile 2.5 where I walked through to drink a cup of water and dump one on my head. Despite being shaded by trees for the most part, it was hot. I knew we were going to be above the tree line soon where there would be no shade at all.

I started back up again and was able to run until mile 3 where the incline got me. I started my first of many, many, many run/walk intervals. I had read about someone doing a 200:100 run/walk ratio so I followed that as much as I could. It kept my mind busy even though I was skipping numbers here and there. 125, 126, 200ย  – YAY! Time to walk!

That worked well for me and seemed to be what a lot of the runners around me were doing. There were three runners who I consistently played leap frog with from mile 3 to the finish. It was kind of nice motivation to keep up the ratio as much as possible.

Mt. Washington Road Racejpg

At points, the hill would appear to crest – but it never did. There seemed to be “flatter” sections and I remarked to one of my leap frog buddies that it felt like we were almost going downhill during one such crest. He laughed at me and said I must have altitude sickness because that for sure was not a downhill!

One thing that I noticed for the majority of the race was the scent of pine trees. It was so strong and smelled so wonderful!

Mile 5 was when I started to fade quite a bit. Part of this section is graveled and called the โ€œ5 Mile gradeโ€ or โ€œDeath Marchโ€. Looking ahead, for as far as I could see, was a long line of weary runners. No one around me was running. My 200:100 ratio dropped to 100:100 and then 50:50. Although truthfully, I’m not even sure I ran that much from mile 5-6. In fact, I don’t remember much of that other than the views were amazing, my legs were quite content to power hike and I was thirsty. Oh so thirsty. Where was the next water stop? Was there another water stop? It was my slowest mile at 17:06.

Thankfully I snapped out of my haze and realized I was in fact, in a race, and needed to run some more. I resumed my 50:50 run walk ratio. The summit was getting closer. Spectators were along side the road. I also had extra motivation to keep up the pace as I knew Ron and the kids would be at the summit waiting for me but only for a short time. They took the 9:30 a.m. Cog Railway up to the summit and would have to depart by 11:30 to go back down the mountain. I had to be at the summit by 11 a.m. I HAD TO!

The last bit of the race seemed relatively flat compared to what I had just run up. That is until I made a right hand turn and stared at the 22% incline that I knew was coming. My thoughts? “You gotta be f-ing kidding me?!?!” With spectators all around cheering you on to the finish, I attempted to keep running up it. But going up on my toes was not happening as my calves cramped up. I gave up that notion right away and power hiked it – hunched over, hands on knees. If you are wondering what 22% feels like? I compared it to climbing a ladder. It felt like I was climbing straight up.

Once up and over that “hill” it was a small incline (ha ha ha) to the finish line. I started to run again (Or at least I think I was running? I couldn’t feel my legs at that point.) and soon spotted Ron and the kids. There’s nothing better to see my family at the finish line. It always makes me smile.

Finish line Mt. Washington Road Race. | happyfitmama.com

Finish Time: 1:55:24

Some people say you can expect to finish around your half marathon time. I was quite a bit slower but I’m more than happy with my time. I knew it was going to be hard, but I had no idea what to expect.

So many people have asked me how hard was the race. I wish I could find a better way to describe it other than it was the hardest race I’ve ever done. You can’t even begin to fathom what it will be like until you actually do it. And now that I have, I want to do it again.

It was 14 months since I ran my last race. It was 14 months ago that I got injured in that race. I’ve had to deal with months of rehab, no running, and not to mention the emotional roller coaster that goes along with that. I’ve been so afraid to run a race again for fear of getting injured and not being able to run my pre-injury paces. This race meant a lot to me. It made me remember I’m not fragile and easily broken. I can do hard things.

Mt. Washington Auto Road Medal | happyfitmama.com

Now how can I make sure I make it in the lottery for next year? Anyone want to form a team with me to better our odds?

What’s the steepest incline you’ve ever run up?

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