Shoot for the Moon

Shoot for the Moon | happyfitmama.comAs soon as I got the email back in March that I had made it into the Mount Washington Road Race, I started to think of goals.

I mean, how could I not?

I ran it three years ago for the first time and it was the single hardest race I’ve ever done. Yet it left me wanting to go back for some more. I knew I could improve my time the next time around. It wasn’t going to be “one and done”.

My training for the race in 2016 was far from great. Sure, I tried to run ALL the hills and strength trained as best I could. But then I strained my quad in the middle of training and had to lay off running for a few weeks. And then I rolled my ankle the week before the race. On top of all that, I really had no clue what to expect from running uphill for 7.6 miles. Because let’s be honest, who does that?

This time around, I knew I wanted to feel more prepared physically and mentally to improve my time. I hired a coach to help me out since I have three big races this year – two mountain races (Washington and Loon) that I want to improve my time in and to finally race the 50k (more on that coming up!) that I’ve been contemplating for years. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I have a tendency to break myself when I’m left to my own training devices. It was time to reach out for some guidance.

This training period has been great. I’ve done more hills than ever. I’ve lifted heavier weights. Nothing hurts. I know what to expect this time around. It’s going to be hard AF. It’s going to s-u-c-k sooooo much at times (I’m looking at you, dirt road section!). I’ve been waiting for this moment for three years. I feel ready. I’m excited.

My coach asked me this week what my goals were for Mt. Washington. My first reaction was to go uber conservative: anything less than 1:55 (what I ran 3 years ago).

And then I thought about it. There it is again – fear of freakin’ failure. Seriously. Wtf. What do I have to lose? Why not shoot for the moon?

If I’ve learned one thing from all of my injuries and Boston DNF, is that every failure is an opportunity. I fall down, I get back up, I talk about it, I move on, I grow.

At first, the punch in the face from the universe makes you angry, sad, ashamed. But then you realize that it didn’t kill you. You got through it. It may have taken a few months or years, but you can now look back at it and realize that you are stronger because of it. You faced it head on and came out ok. Failure is going to happen, it’s just the way it is. But do I want to live my life not trying out of fear of failure?  Hell no. And neither should you.

Shoot for the moon.

Supposedly, you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write it down and put it out into the universe. I don’t know if that is true but here’s my shoot for the moon goal: sub 1:38


It may happen. It may not. Who cares if it doesn’t? At least I tried and that’s all that matters.

In full transparency, I also have a safe goal (1:50 if all hell breaks loose) and a target goal (sub 1:45) because it’s good to have options.

I’m coming for you Mount Washington!

Linking up with Coaches Corner.

Last Week’s Workouts

Last week's workouts |

Last week’s workouts had me fully enjoying the taper for Mount Washington Road Race.  My running time decreased but there was still some heavy climbing. With all my spare time I was able to fully freak out over the fact that there were two snowstorms at the summit last week.  I spent way too much time Googling what would happen if there was snow at the summit on race day. I’m guessing the race would either be cancelled or the finish line would be below the snow line.  I’d be pissed with either option so I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that neither one will be happening on June 15th.


30 minutes Stepmill Intervals

Strength training: Bullet proof leg circuit + upper body/core/mobility

My quads were still sore/fatigued from Saturday’s mountain climb so the Stepmill and strength training made me feel extra special.  And when I say special I mean my legs felt like bricks. Tired legs are good, right?


40 minute treadmill hill climb, 745 ft elev gain

It was a gorgeous morning but I opted for the treadmill for one more hill climbing session. The incline was from 3-7% and I kept the speed so I could still run. There was so.much.sweat. These treadmill climbs suck but I also know they are making me stronger. It’s hard to find a hill that will give me 4.3 miles of straight incline unless I’m mountain running. But it’s hard to get to the mountain during the week so the treadmill fills that niche. It’s a necessary evil but really kind of fun in a weird sick way.

Last week's workouts |

Morning Flow Yoga @ Bending Bodhi

I love that Heather had us live in Pigeon for a solid 5 minutes.  MUCH needed and appreciated!


30 minutes Elliptical Intervals

Strength Training: Bullet proof mountain legs + upper body + core/mobility

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling really tired. I had planned on hitting the Stepmill but at the last minute I went to the Elliptical instead.  I just didn’t have the energy for the Stepmill.


47 minute run, 5.3 miles, 327 ft elev gain

I woke up to the sound of heavy rain and instantly hoped Kyle was going to cancel our run date. I hate running in the rain but at least the temps were around 60 degrees. A warm rain is WAY better than 40 degrees. Kyle’s training plan called for hill repeats but she was still recovering from last week’s Cranmore Mountain Race. I did that race last year and was 10x more sore from that than any other marathon. Downhill x 2 will do that to you! We took it easy and did whatever her legs would allow…which was more than what she thought.

I was too soaked after our run to pull out my phone so all you get is a pic of me. Just envision her to my right.


Rest day!


67 minute trail run, 6.2 miles, 585 ft elev gain

I “only” had a 60 minute trail run on my plan before a full afternoon/evening at a soccer jamboree. I didn’t want to go to far from home so I hit up a local trail for some dirt. I brought Max along for some company. Even though we’ve been regularly running together, this was our first time running the trails. I was a little nervous that I’d end up flat on my face or end up with a sprained or broken ankle since he’s still learning the whole run together thing.


There was no need for worry – he did great!

What was not so great that the bag containing Max’s poop sprung a leak while we were running. I happened to look down and saw my tank, shorts and forearm covered in poop. Very smelly, dog poop. Thankfully, we were near the river so I could wash it off as best I could. Little known fact – dog poop is really hard to get off your clothes. Gah!! So gross!


30 minute run, 3.5 miles

An easy paced recovery run with Max on another gorgeous day.  I feel like late spring weather that feels like summer is here and I LOVE IT!

How was your week in workouts?

Linking up with the Weekly Run Down.

Running Without Music

Running without music | Happyfitmama.comWhen I first started running in high school, I felt like I always needed music to get me going. I would carry my Walkman or later on Discman (stop laughing) in my hand as I slogged along for 3ish miles. Btw – the struggle with running with a Discman is real.  I think I spend most of my time trying to get it to play than running.

How could anyone ever run without music?

When I registered for my first ever half marathon, 12 years ago, iPods/music were not allowed. If you were caught with it, automatic DQ.

Running without music? For 13.1 miles.  Are you serious?

I panicked. I didn’t want to hear myself breathing heavily.  And if I was in a race, I definitely did not want to hear anyone else breathing. Breathing is bad enough, but what about the sound of my feet slapping the ground? What would I do for all that time to preoccupy my mind?  What would I do to motivate myself to keep going? And honestly, it sounded sooooo boring!

This was shaping up to be my worst nightmare rather than achieving a goal.

So what did I do? I wore an ear warmer headband (thankfully it was November and chilly) and tucked all the wires down my shirt so no one could see I had ear buds in.

Running without music | happyfitmama.comOpps…I spy an iPod shuffle and a wire!

Super sly, huh?

Fast forward a few years and something switched. As I was training for my first half after my kids were born, I found that I didn’t need music to keep my mind entertained.

I had a gazillion and one thoughts going through my head to ponder.

I enjoyed listening to my breath.

I enjoyed hearing my foot falls.

I enjoyed quiet.

Of course I was a new mama to twins who was in desperate need for quiet and alone time. But I realized I didn’t need music to distract me. In fact, I didn’t need a distraction at all. What I needed to do was tune in to ME and to my surroundings.

I listened to my footfalls and made adjustments as needed. Was I heel striking? Were my feet slapping the ground? Am I shuffling my feet?

I listened to my breathing. Was I taking shallow breaths? Could I regain control of my breathing with slow controlled breaths?

Runnign without music | happyfitmama.comI began to notice nature more. The dew on the grass. A sunrise. A ray of sunshine through the trees. The smell of a hot, humid summer day (even the not so good smell on garbage days!). The crunch of leaves with every step in the fall. The sound of birds chattering on a spring morning. The rhythmic lull of the waves at the beach.

Sure I may have noticed these things before. But I was more wrapped up in the music streaming through my ear buds rather than the sounds and sights that were surrounding me.

I paid attention to the thoughts going through my head. If there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it…on a run. I confronted the thoughts – good or bad – and came up with solutions. Some of my best ideas are on a run. I’m quite sure I’ve solved ALL of the worlds problems on a long run. Now if I can just remember all of those ideas once I get home.

Once I left the music at home, I noticed a shift in my running. It no longer was something I had to do for weight management, vanity or because I needed to get in my exercise for the day.

Running without music | happyfitmama.comIt was the time and space where I could think uninterrupted. Where I could appreciate where I was and where I was going. I could lose myself and find myself all in the same run.

It was something I wanted to do just because it awakened my mind, body and spirit.

It made me take notice of me.

You can argue that maybe I just fell in love with running and all of that could have happened if I was listening to music too. That could very well be true. I’m sure it’s true for others. But not for me.

Now that I’ve been running music free for years, I can’t imagine going back. I’ve become such a minimalist runner that the thought of having to make sure I have my music charged or a podcast ready to go before a run sounds like too much of a hassle.

I want to rise and run!

Over the past 9 years, I’ve only tried to run with music once.  I brought my iPod for a half marathon where I had no goals other than to have fun.  I thought maybe running with music would make me tune into that rather than getting too competitive with the other runners. I had my ear buds in at the start, my playlist ready to go.  I pressed play and promptly shut it off after 1 mile.  It annoyed me to have the ear buds in. I hated not hearing what was going on around me.  I felt so isolated.  I haven’t tried to run outside with music/podcast again.

There’s also the safety issue.  I hyper vigilant about my surroundings while running no matter if it’s early morning or the middle of the day. I don’t like the distraction of noise in my ears on the roads or trails. After my creeper incident years ago, I don’t mess around. It makes me cringe when I see other runners out with music so loud that I can hear it when I come up behind them.  They jump a mile high when I pass because they had no idea I was behind them.

I do have two exceptions that I’ll make to running with music. The treadmill and indoor track. I NEED music for those two beasts.  That is definitely a necessity!

Running without music |

99 laps around this tiny track when I was in the midst of Boston training 4 years ago. Music was most definitely necessary! I still have nightmares about that run.

I love music and podcasts but I find other times to listen in like at the gym, making dinner, or relaxing.  I’m just fine running without music these days and don’t plan on going back anytime soon.  Unless I need to do 99 laps on an indoor track again.  Hopefully, that will never happen.

Do you run with music?

Linking up with Coaches Corner.