On Sunday, I ran the Inaugural Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon just outside Boston in Chestnut Hill. I didn’t know I was running the race until a couple weeks ago so on minimal training, I was happy to break 2 hours on the very hot and hilly course.
I was invited to join a group of familiar and new bloggers as guests of Runner’s World for the weekend. Thursday included a welcome dinner at West End Johnnies near North Station. Picture below includes Anne of Fannetastic Food, Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point, Sarah of Picky Runner and Karla of Run, Karla, Run.
On Friday the group was scheduled to run hills with the November Project but I had to teach at Barry’s Bootcamp so I just met up with the gang after while they were meeting Boston’s running sweetheart, Shalane Flanagan.
Shalane was determined to win the Boston Marathon this year. She ran track for Marblehead in high school around the same time I ran for Holliston in Massachusetts. My mom remembers her as the girl to watch at my State meets back in the day but I was too much of an anxious basket case at those things to remember anyone but my competition. Anyone run the 400m sprint? It’s awful. I regularly finished by collapsing after the finish line.
It was fun to hear about her post race cravings, a burger with fries and a cold beer, to only taking 4 days off after running a marathon. I think we can expect to see her do an Ironman before the end of her career. She mentioned it because she loves to swim so biking is only the piece of the puzzle missing. She also shared her training demands that include a 60-80 minute run in the morning followed by 40-60 minutes of strength training. Afterwards she then goes for another 40-50 minute run. This plan averages out to about 90 miles a week!
After meeting with Shalane we were treated to a delicious lunch that was created using recipes from the Runner’s World cookbook. My favorite was the watermelon feta salad and sweet potato and spinach salad. I’m not sure of the recipe since I don’t have the cookbook but if interested you can buy a copy here for $16 on Amazon.
We also got a chance to chat with author Bart Yasso, the “Mayor of Running” and Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World. He has run some of the most challenging races on the planet and was quite the story teller. I asked him what he thought about all the gadgets running has become synonymous with over the years. He shared that he has never run with music ever but didn’t say he hated the advances.
It just kind of sounded like he was the cool dude who didn’t need it. He noted that running is accessible because all you need are a pair of sneakers and some clothes to run in. The technology makes it seem like you need more stuff but you don’t. Very true and something I should remember.
After Bart and lunch, we made our way down to the expo where I learned about the wonders of The Stick. A small portable version of a foam roller, and now my best friend. The expo was small but great. Chia Warrior debuted some new flavors including Mango and Chocolate Peanut Butter (revamped recipe) that were seriously good and my new favorite flavors, sorry coconut. Getting late and fearing traffic, I grabbed my bib and headed back to my apartment. The rest of the lucky bloggers stayed in the BC dorm rooms.
Sunday morning, I set my alarm for 5:45 am and arrived at the Alumni Stadium parking lot at 6:20 am. I had two slices of Ezekial bread with almond butter on the ride over for fuel and brought a banana and Vega pre-workout energizer mix to have at 7am, a half hour before the race started. After waiting about 15 minutes in traffic to enter the garage I was headed to the starting line.
I met up with the other bloggers to snap a few pre race pictures. It’s funny how nervous I used to get and now, for some reason I rarely do. Since I trained minimally, I didn’t have any expectations and was using this as a long run for my Chicago marathon training kick off.
I wore my adidas Climachill tank top which is supposed to keep you cool while running in the heat and a new pair of adidas Chevron shorts that I’m obsessed with. They have a pocket large enough for my iPhone in my armband case, keys and a Clif energy gel. They did not ride up once or cause any chaffing. I think I need to stock up on more pairs. I also wore ProCompression socks. I love to wear compression socks during long runs. They keep my legs feeling fresh. You can also get a pair 40% off with promo code SARAHFIT. I got the blue to match my adidas Energy Boost running shoes.
It was hot by the 7:30am start, think mid to high 70’s. I started out with my buddy Theodora who ran the 5K and 10K the day before as part of the “Hat Trick.” Had I known I was running the race a month or two in advance I would have potentially joined in on the madness but given my lack of training I opted for just the half. I was impressed that the race had over 3000 participants! The race started with a few hills which were not fun. This is what the elevation and my heart rate looked like during the race.
I ran with my adidas miCoach bluetooth heart rate monitor ($60) that syncs up to apps on my phone and TomTom GPS watch. I love the miCoach app that is free on your iPhone for training but was nervous my phone would die while playing music in the heat and a running app so I relied on the watch and it was great to view quickly my distance, heart rate, pace, average pace and time.
I finished in 1:57:08 – ten minutes slower than my PR but still only my third ever. The course was very hard. I can’t imagine running another 6 miles at the top of Heartbreak Hill after running about 19 which is what they do at the Boston marathon. It did make me slightly want to try it in the near future though. I felt really lucky to feel what they are like prior to committing myself to the 26.2. It was a special course and the race was well planned and executed. After the race, we listened to the band while stretching out and and danced a little bit. Here are Theodora of Preppy Runner and Presley of Run Pretty busting a move on the green post race.
A few hours after the race, my results were emailed to me directly with a few fun stats. Between the 10K mark and the finish, I passed 193 people and only 33 passed me. I thought this was kind a fun stat that showed me I didn’t go out too fast. I will probably do this race again next year and go for the Hat Trick. It was fun, easy to get too, not too early, not too crowded and a gorgeous course that passes through some of Boston’s nicest neighborhoods and golf courses.
To read some of the other race recaps from the other bloggers here they are below.
- Katie of Runs For Cookies
- Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers
- Jason of Strength Running
- Matt of No Meat Athlete
- Anne of Fannetastic Food
- Amanda of Run To The Finish
- Katy of Katy Widrick
- Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point
- Charlene Fab Running
- Theodora of Preppy Runner
- Presley of Run Pretty
- Karla of Run Karla Run
- Heather Relentless Forward Commotion
- Marnie of Run Street
- Sarah of Picky Runner
- Larisa Larisa Dixon
- Jessica of Keeping Mommy Sane
- Dani of Weight Off My Shoulders