Runners World Heartbreak Hill Hat Trick – Race Report
June 6-8, 2014, I had the opportunity to run the world-famous Heartbreak Hill of the Boston Marathon without having to qualify for Boston and more importantly, run a marathon. However, being the idiot I am, since Runners World offered a challenge of running the 5K followed by the 10K on Saturday and then a half marathon on Sunday, I HAD to run the Heartbreak Hill Hat Trick!
Also, running were my Best Running Friends Alison, Janice, Karen, Pam and Perfectly Goofy Gail. Since carpooling was encouraged, we loaded 5 of us in Janice’s car to make the drive up from Connecticut.
The Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon races and expo were held on the Boston College campus and surrounding roads of Newton, Massachusetts. The race expo opened on Friday from 3pm to 7pm for bib pick up. Bib pickup was also available for the Eukanuba Dog Run and New Balance Kids Races. The expo was small, but we still managed to spend some dough. Some of my favorite running brands were there including Running Skirts, Sweaty Bands, Bondi Band, Fitletic, Poland Spring, and The Stick!
One cool notable was the ability to get your photo taken for the cover of Runners World. They even provided both a glossy print out with a digital download. Next time I’m going to bring the entire family to this event – including my Vizsla, Jetta and the kids! There was a race suitable for every family member. You don’t see events for both dogs and kids – that was special and in my opinion, Runners World should be applauded for this effort!
We turned in early Friday night, to rest up for the 7:15am start of 5K! The race had one corral and signs with estimated minute per mile times for line up (this was the same for both the 10K and Half). The 5K course was loop out the Boston College campus onto Commonwealth Ave and around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir via Beacon Street. The course was downhill and flat UNTIL the climb up Beacon Street. Gail and I took off way too fast and tried to slow down on mile 3. Thank goodness for the hill, because that stopped us in our tracks! We crossed the finish line in a respectable time of 31:55 10:17 run/walk/run pace.
We claimed our 1st medal of the weekend, our Gatorade, banana, Cape Cod chips and the world’s best blueberry bagel! We took a load off and tried to cool down for our next race set to begin in 45 minutes.
The 10K had a 8:30am start! Because I don’t look at course maps until the night before, I was a little frightened of our next event. The description read, “This 10K course is a challenging out and back along some of the most revered roads in our sport.” I take it that “revered” means HILLY. I learned that Heartbreak Hill is actually 3 fabulous hills and I would get to run these butt-kickers not once, but twice this weekend! (insert panicked grin)
The 10K was an in-and-out course. It shared the same start and finish of the 5K and we left Boston College campus to run down Commonwealth Ave for 3 miles and then UP, UP, UP Commonwealth Ave for 3 miles. Right around our mile 2, Shalane Flanagan passed us running back up the hill (on her mile 4). It was a moment that I will remember forever because she flew by effortlessly with a big encouraging smile on her face loving life! It was seriously one of the highlights of my day! I don’t remember much of Heartbreak Hill except it was hard, hot, and hilly. I was glad to reach the top and finished in 1:11 with a 11:17 pace. Pretty darn awesome considering we WALKED….A LOT! Again we grabbed the post-race fuel – did I mention the world’s best bagels?!!! – and found a nice shady spot to die, I mean rest!
The Runners World Expo included seminars by Editors and famous guests, but after running both the 5K and 10K, we unfortunately didn’t have the energy to attend. We were a hot, sweaty, hungry mess and it was time to shower, refuel and hydrate. This was my one regret of the weekend – not having the energy to experience and learn from these leaders in our sport. TIP FOR NEXT YEAR: Figure out a way to have more energy after the hot, hilly, 5k and 10k!
Again, we hit the hay for an early start the next morning. The Heartbreak Half Marathon had a 7:30 am start. The start and finish was the same as the 5K and 10K. Basically the course went down Commonwealth Ave for 5 miles, then we did a little circle for 4 miles and then ran back up Commonwealth Ave for 4 miles. It was hot, hilly and hard, but totally worth it! We got to experience miles 18 to 21 of the famous Boston Marathon. I finished in 2:41 with a 12:21 pace. Horrible, if you don’t consider it was hard, hot and hilly and we walked, walked, and walked some more! I’m sure I wasn’t the only runner feeling a little dejected after walking the Newton Hills, but it will fuel my fire as we go into training season. I now know what I need to do to qualify and run Boston in 2016 – can you say “hill repeats?!!”
To see our video race recap click below:
Do you dream of running Heartbreak Hill? Is this race weekend on your bucket list for next year?