Tag Archives: marathon

Saucony 26 Strong – Chicago


Here we go again!

Last year I had the honor and the privilege to be a coach for the Saucony 26 Strong program. Saucony and Competitor Group chose 13 coaches to guide 13 cadets for their first marathons. We were 26 strong women on a journey of a lifetime.

Running the Honolulu Marathon with Kailey and several of the other members of 26 Strong was unbelievable. I definitely thought it was a once in a lifetime experience. When Saucony contacted me in early April to ask if I would be a coach for this year’s program, I couldn’t believe it. Was this for real?

Honolulu Marathon mile 25 | happyfitmama.com

You never will forget your first marathon.

This year all 13 teams will be running the Chicago Marathon on October 11. It’s quite funny that my running partner in crime, Sarah, had been trying to convince me to run Chicago with her all winter long. When Saucony contacted me to ask if I would be a coach for this year’s program, of course I immediately said YES! I’ll go anywhere! And then I found out it was Chicago. Obviously, it was destiny!
To have all the teams running the same race this year, is going to be amazing. We truly will be 26 Strong.
Saucony 26 Strong | happyfitmama.com


Say “Hello!” to my new cadet, Marina!

My name is Marina, I am 33 years old and live in New Hampshire. I am married to my super tolerant, supportive husband, Jordan and together we have two awesome kiddos and one crazy dog, Archie (my running buddy)! I graduated from University of New Hampshire with an Exercise Science degree and currently work part-time in the Diagnostic Testing center of a hospital. I grew up watching my mom run regularly, but never began running myself until my mid to late 20’s. Running a marathon was something I had thought about, but never had the guts to try on my own. Given the opportunity to have a coach guide me through the training for a  marathon was something I could not miss out on! I am most looking forward to challenging myself and learning ways to improve my running to complete 26.2 miles!!
Marina Saucony 26 Strong Chicago  happyfitmama.com

I’m so excited to be along for Marina’s first marathon! We got to know each other about 5 years ago when we both were new mama’s trying to figure out what the hell we were doing. She’s one of the nicest people you will ever meet and is just completely real about everything. While she’s nervous about the distance and how to fit in all the miles for training, I know she will do great. She will find her strong and it will be marvelous.

I can’t wait to say the words, “Marina, you are a marathoner!”

All the Fun Before The Boston Marathon

I’m back!

First off – thank you SO much for all the comments, emails, tweets and messages. I knew you guys would get the hurt that I was feeling. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved!

I’m still upset about the whole nightmare and I’m sure I will be for quite some time. Especially since I can’t run for the next month or so. Running is my go-to way to get through happy and sad times. Without it, I’m a crabby mess who is ready to bite your head off at any second. My official diagnosis is Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis – basically an overuse injury. And it’s in my left foot. The one that had Achilles Tendonopathy last fall AND the unlucky one that had a frozen burrito land on it the week before the race. I had no warning signs at all during my training and no one has any answers about why it happened. Just my good luck I guess. Seriously…this stuff only happens to me!

Before my ankle blew up on me during the race, I had a marvelous weekend. Part of the whole race experience is all the fun before the Boston Marathon.

Friday afternoon, myself and three friends headed down to Boston to the Expo. After being totally confused by a valet parking service, we made our way to Haynes Convention Center. But first we needed a glimpse of the finish line. I got chills as I immediately thought of the events from 2 years ago.

Group Boston Marathon finish line | happyfitmama.com

Bib pickup was quick and easy. We then headed into the expo for all the goods. This was by far the biggest expo I’ve ever been to. It was a runner’s dream for one stop shopping. We made a point of stopping by the B.I.C. Bands booth to see Sandy and all the super cute bands (that seriously do not move!). Sadly, I didn’t get a pic with Sandy. She’s such a sweet person!

And of course, we stopped for a drink with Stonyfield.

Stonyfield Yogurt BOston Marathon | happyfitmama.com

The highlight of the day was getting to meet two amazing, iconic women athletes – Kathryn Switzer and Nicole DeBoom. Kathryn was so sweet, sincere and genuinely interesting in talking with every single person in line. She signed our bibs upside down so that we could look down and see FEARLESS. Imagine where we would be without her being fearless back in 1967 AND 1972?

Katherine Switzer  happyfitmama.com

And Nicole – the lady who brought us the running skirt. Her company, Skirt Sports, is all about empowering the fierce, female athlete. Back in the fall, I actually had a phone conversation with her. How many CEO’s of a company would personally contact a little ol’ blogger like myself? It shows that she cares about her company and wants it to be more than just a name.

Nicole DeBoom  happyfitmama.com

I stayed home Saturday, hanging out with the family. Early Sunday morning, it was back down to Boston for a shake out run with Girls on the Run and Athleta. Ron came along with me since I’m clueless about where anything is in the city.

Team Stonyfield GOTR  happyfitmama.comLaura, me, Aura, Janae, Rachel, Megan

I was finally getting the chance to meet most of Team Stonyfield. It was so nice to finally hug and put voices to faces. You know you are with good people when you can immediately start chattering away like long lost friends. And that’s how it was with everyone. The girls and I actually decided not to run since we figured we’d have a shake out walk with all the steps we’d be putting in for the day. We chatted, ate Stonyfield yogurt (of course!) and granola and basically wanted to buy the whole Athleta store.

We then had some free time before lunch. Laura and her husband were headed over to the expo to pick up her bib. Rachel and I, along with Ron tagged along. While inside I got a text from Brian.


After years of following each others blogs, we finally were in the same spot, at the same time. He was at the finish line hanging out with Scott Jurek – did we want to meet him? Ummm…YES! Ever since I read Scott’s book, Eat & Run, I’ve been a huge fan. He grew up near Duluth, MN, where I went to college, and is friends with one of my professors. It’s always so cool when you are reading a book and you know the exact places that they are describing. I felt like we were practically family. But then again, isn’t everyone from the upper Midwest?

Scott Jurek Boston Marathon  happyfitmama.com

He was so nice and also very tall. After meeting Scott, we ventured over to Newbury St. for lunch at Sonsie’s (which was so good!) and then back to the expo for pics at the Stonyfield booth before parting ways and resting up for the big day.

Team Stonyfield  happyfitmama.comLaura, Tina, Rachel, Megan, Me, Janae, Jill, Aura, Melanie (from Stonyfield)

I could go into the events of what happened Marathon Monday morning right now, but I’ll have to save that for another post. It’s already a post that is longer than most marathons. From our ride down to Hopkinton in a limo – (you gotta love when you are dressed in your best throw away clothes with a trash bag over it all and the driver opens the door for you #keepitclassy) – to being the only two Refugee runners walking through the empty streets except for FBI agents in military gear – and of course, the fiasco of finding my family after my DNF. Like I said – stuff like this only happens to me!

I can’t thank Stonyfield enough for letting me be a part of the amazing Team Stonyfield runners. It’s always great to find a company not only produces an amazing product, but genuinely cares about it’s employees (including the cows!) and every life they touch. I just wish I could have had a race that would have allowed me to show off my bright orange Stonfyield jersey and spread the organic love a little more. Boston has stole my runner heart and I will definitely be back one day to finish what I started.

Until then…


Boston Marathon Preview Run

Heartbreak Hill |happyfitmama.com

You guys, I ran up Heartbreak Hill.

For those who said it wasn’t even really a noticeable hill…you lied. Big time.

It most definitely is a long, gradual hill. Not the most horrible ever in the existence of hills. But it most definitely is a hill that you will feel especially after running up two right before it and it’s the last of four in Newton.

Saturday I got the marvelous opportunity to do a Boston Marathon Preview Run. Every year, one of our local running groups, Coastal Athletic Association, organizes a group run near the end of Boston training. I was so thankful my friend Dana mentioned it to me so I could tag along. There were 11 of us running. Of that, six of us will actually be running on Marathon Monday, but the remaining 5 tagged along for support along the course (water, GU’s, Gatorade, whatever you needed) in addition to keeping us company and to share their knowledge of the course. I was the lone person who has never run the course before!

Boston training run  happyfitmama.comPhoto courtesy of Kim.

I thought we were going to luck out for the run with gray skies and warm temps (30 degrees!!!). But no, it started to snow at some point. And not just little snow flakes, but big fat wet ones that stuck to your eyelashes, soaked everything from head to toe and made the sidewalks a slippery, snow packed mess.

What’s this Spring thing everyone is talking about?

We started in Needham and picked up the course (around mile 13-14). At mile 15-16 there’s a HUGE downhill. It didn’t feel so bad going down. But since we did an out and back loop, it really, really sucked going up. Especially since we were following Dana’s lead of 2:00 pick ups the last 5 miles. After the hill, we cruised along past the Newton Firehouse onto Comm Ave (or Commonwealth Ave if you don’t know the lingo) where the series of hills begins. BTW – there was a fireman in full gear outside the station manning a water station and cheering. So awesome.

It was crazy how many people were out for training runs. The carriage road was nothing but 100s of runners and water stops. While it was fun to see so many others running, it was also kind of annoying having to stop for foot and car traffic over and over. With the snowy conditions, it caused for having to work at least 3x harder to get good footing with each step. There were also little dips around the street lights that caused me to roll my ankle a couple of times. Thankfully it was nothing serious.

At the base of Heartbreak Hill, we had to stop for a mandatory photo opp with Johnny Kelley, the man who ran 61 Boston Marathons!

Young At Heart Heartbreak Hill  happyfitmama.com

Once we got to the top of Heartbreak, Molly was there waiting for us with water, Gatorade or whatever else we needed. We then turned around and headed back the way we came. So not only did we get to run UP all the hills, we got to run DOWN the hills. No wonder my legs were feeling quite fatigued at the end. I had contemplated doing the full 20, but decided to call it at 18. My tummy wasn’t feeling the greatest and I’m not sure my injury prone body would appreciate three 20 milers in a row.

This coming weekend is my last long, long run of training. I’m doing Eastern States 20 Miler and hope to add a mile on at the beginning and at the end for 22 total. I still haven’t determined what my goal will be for the race – training run/race/part race?

28 days to go!

Have you ever run up Heartbreak Hill? What did you think?