Heather Gannoe, who lives with her two young sons in Brattleboro, VT, makes racing a priority because she knows when she’s healthy and happy, everyone else around her is, too. (sound familiar?) Plus, this single mom known online as Run Faster Mommy! likes modeling a fit lifestyle for her two boys, ages 5 and 3. Her next big race? The Spartan Ultra Beast in Killington, VT, a marathon distance obstacle race. “It will be my toughest physical challenge to date—I can’t wait!”
Best recent run: ALL of my runs lately are “best.” Since I moved to New England, I’ve been exploring trails left and right. I love the freedom I feel out there. Leaping over rocks and roots and through ravines, it just feels so primitive and natural. I fear I may never be able to train for a road marathon again; the streets seem so monotonous, the passing cars feel like intruders! Best recent race was the Quincy (MA) half-marathon. I killed my PR by over 11 minutes (ran a 1:40!) and it came so easily. I was on a runner’s high for days after that one!
Surfer-turned-runner: Oh, man I miss the beach! I started running after the birth of my first son back in September of 2006. I was a total surfer girl/beach bum, but found myself with the extra baby weight and I wanted it off ASAP. Running seemed to be the fastest way to do so. But within a few weeks I found myself looking forward to running. I started racing that spring and the rest is history! I really can’t find the words to describe why running is so important to me. It just feels like something I was meant to do, almost instinctual. I still surf occasionally, but I’m currently living in Vermont, and there isn’t a lot of surf up here.
Helping ‘save the world’ through exercise: I’ve not only seen first-hand the difference exercise can make in someone’s life, but I’ve experienced it myself. The last few years of my life have been physical and emotional roller coasters, and exercise has helped me to stay sane, while leaving me feeling strong and empowered. I am a health fitness specialist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, and I have a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science. After I began running, I knew this was the career path I wanted to take. It not only allows me to share my love of fitness with others, but allows me to help them reach not only their physical goals, but emotional ones too.
Rackin’ up race medals: How many do I have? I’ve lost count! Well over 50 for sure. Each one holds a memory of not only the race day but the blood, sweat and tears of training leading up to it. I love my custom displays from Allied Medal Hangers. My boys LOVE my medals, and they seem to think I earned each one by winning the races. They have their own mini-medal collections, and my oldest is always asking when he can race for his next one!
Balancing life + running: This is probably the question I am asked most frequently and also the one I am most passionate about—as mothers, you absolutely MUST make yourself a priority. It’s not just my belief but a proven fact that we all need physical activity to maintain our health. A healthy mom is a happy mom, and in order to be the best mom you can be, you must be healthy. I find looking at it from that approach helps many moms feel less guilty about making the time. For me personally, running, racing, and exercise are just a part of who I am. Thus, I’m willing to sacrifice other things both time wise or financially (staying up late or sleeping in, trips to the hair salon, etc.) in order to fit in/afford my training or racing. Lastly, your kids watch EVERYTHING you do. I want mine to see me leading a healthy, happy lifestyle, so I try to incorporate them any time I can.
Most memorable race: I recently participated in the Spartan Hurricane Heat before the New England Spartan Sprint in Massachusetts last month. It was not a race, but instead a 3.5 hour obstacle course completely reliant on teamwork. We must have done well over 500 burpees that day, not to mention carrying heavy items (like each other) scaling huge walls, climbing through barbed wire, etc. It really taught me a lot about not only how much stronger I am physically and mentally than I previously thought, but how truly amazing the endurance community is.