Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Festival Part 4: Half Marathon

Where did we leave off on the weekend that changed my life!?!? Ahh we were at the Five & Dime (5k at 7:15 and 10k at 8:30) on Saturday, June 7. Well to complete the inaugural Heartbreak Hill Hat Trick I just had a teeny tiny half marathon the day after (Sunday, June 8). The biggest decision I had to make for the half was what to wear. I knew I wanted to bring the 2 medals from the previous day with me for any photo ops so I went with my Athleta knickers. Since they are patterned it meant leaving the Sparkle Athletic skirt in the room. Boo! I don't really like running without it, but didn't think it looked good with the pants.

I pondered before the run if not having my Sparkle skirt on would impact the cheers. I'll weigh in on that later. :P

The race was set to start at 7:30 and once again the accommodations allowed for sleeping in until abut 6:15. I once again had the power combo of ENERGYBits and a KIND bar before the group headed out to Athlete's Village/Start area.

My left hamstring was defiitely sore from the day before so I knew I wouldn't be setting any records out there. Plus the heat and humidity were creeping higher and higher.

The goal of the day would be simple... have fun!

Anne and I decided to start together again after having a great time during the 10k.

The crowds for the Half were definitely bigger than the previous day so getting into a corral took some finagling.

Wanna know why I like local races? I run into folks I know.

Oh hey Nanci!

I love seeing my Tedy's Team running mates wherever I can. I knew there were at least 2 more Tedy's Team folks in the crowd so I was hoping to bump into them as well.

The crew and I started out and I knew it would be a battle within the first 0.1 miles, but I was determined to smile and laugh the entire time.

Just as we took the right turn out of Boston College I spotted her ... Shalane!

I was trying to get ahead of her so I could take a selfie in front of one of the best marathoners in the world. But I couldn't get the crowd or my hamstring to cooperate. So I had to settle for the stalker photo I got.

I noticed Shalane was running with Runner's World editor Mark Remy, of Remy's World. Next goal became - selfie with Mark.

Now I saddled up to his right during the first mile and asked him if he took mid-run selfies. He apparently has a "no run selfie" rule. Well, one for loopholes. I asked if he had a rule against being in someone ELSE's mid-run selfie. Ha! Got him. And the pic was born.

Complete with photo bomb from Anne.

Mile 1: 8:44 Mile 2: 9:38 Mile 3: 8:55

It was decided early on that we - or at least I - would be walking through every water stop. There was no need to be a hero on that course. As the heat bore down early on we saw a woman being walked off the course by three Runner's World editors. She was weaving and seemed to be losing control. I was happy to see the editors and medical volunteers acting so quickly. But seeing people walking and looking dehydrated early on made me worried for the participants as a whole.

Thanks Anne

I knew I had to run smart. Time wasn't on my mind. My mind was on the ladies I was running with. I had a great time chatting with Anne, Presley, Katy, Theodora and Katy's friend - who happened to be another #DopeyChallenge finisher. I can always chat with someone about the Dopey Challenge. ;)

Mile 4: 10:13 Mile 5: 9:48 Mile 6: 9:10

With how the course was laid out, we not only got the three rolling hills of Heartbreak one way we got them both ways. The course was an out and back along the famed hills. Oh joy! :P I mean YAY!

While trucking along the hills and chatting about blogging and racing fun, I ran into my good buddy Dan from Tedy's Team. We ran 18 miles of the Nashville Marathon together. It was a great time. He is one of the nicest, genuine and good-hearted people I've met. Plus he is one HELL of a fundraiser. $26,200 for Tedy's Team last year.

Of course he knew I would make him take a selfie. Not my best work as the phone was a little sweaty and we were running up a hill. But we fell back into rhythm and decided to run together for awhile to catch up.

Mile 7: 9:34 Mile 8: 9:57 Mile 9: 10:43

Just after Mile 9 it was time to get BACK onto Comm Ave and Heartbreak Hill (we had detoured off for a few miles) and that meant seeing the guys of the Newton Fire House.

These men were out cheering us on all winter long during training. The hills were tough. We continued to walk through the water stops and had even picked up Amanda along the way, which was a treat. I definitely took the time to distract from the heat and focus on the conversations. It is a great opportunity to catch up, while also picking the brains of some major bloggers. :)

Mile 10: 9:43 Mile 11: 10:15

I had to snap a pic with Heartbreak Bill. Poor guy must've been dying inside the suit.

I had made a promise to myself that no matter what I would be running the entire time on the final and largest hill of Heartbreak Hill. We had some unfinished business. I had a horrible time and was in a medical tent around this part of the course during the Boston Marathon so I wanted to feel stronger this time around.

And I did it. I ran the entire thing. I might've looked crazy to the people around me as I made sure I smiled the whole time AND talked to the hill. I had to let the anger and sadness from our last meeting out so it would stop holding me down.

It really did feel amazing. I felt free.

There may've been a fist pump at the top of the hill.

Mile 12: 10:02

While coming around the final stretch, I ran into Hannah the brains behind the Runner's World social media channels. I had first met her in Disney before Dopey Challenge. I realized at that time that the cheers I normally hear while wearing my Sparkly Skirt weren't there.

The run turned into more of a social experiment. I was really missing the extra support and felt like I was running incognito. Let me just tell you that it will be last time I run a race without a skirt on unless obvious reasons don't permit it from happening.

Mile 13: 9:56

As I made the final right turn to the last 0.1 miles, I took in the crowd, the cheers and the sense of accomplishment. 22.4 miles in three days on a hurt hamstring were OWNED. I took the two medals out of my pocket and put them around my neck before officially crossing the Finish Line. I wish I could show the picture, but the proof looks horrible and I refuse to buy it for a post. ;)

The time wasn't pretty compared to other half marathons of mine, but I still can't be angry with a 2:08:52 half.

Plus these three pretty medals aren't bad to look at!

I met up with fellow bloggers, friends and readers in the same spot as the previous day. I was even able to see the other three Tedy's Team folks.

Overall, the weather wasn't a good combo for the hills, but I tried to be smart. I slowed when I needed to and walked when necessary. I listened to my body rather than letting my Garmin play any part in the run.

I thank my fellow runners for keeping the spirits high. I thank Runner's World for having a good number of water stops and med tents along the route.

I know some of my friends in the back of the pack had a different experience than I did. But happy to report all of my friends made it through the race injury free.

After rounding up as many friends as possible, we headed to the quad to take the shoes off and listen to the live band. A headstand competition broke out between Katy and Sarah.

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I'll let you determine the winner. ;)

Unfortunately the time was passing quickly and I had to get back to my room to pack and meet my driver (aka the wife) to head to lunch...

... but first an elevator selfie! Let's call this a post-race delusional selfie hence the crazy eyes from Presley and I. :P

After giving hugs and feeling like the end of summer camp, it was time for a post-race brew.

Until next year Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Festival!


Did you race the Heartbreak Hill half?