Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Festival Part 1: Selfies & More

How many selfies have you taken in a single weekend? If you are saying 3 or 4 then buckle your seatbelt friend I got you beat. If I had to guess I took 3 selfies before 5:30am on Friday, June 6. Oh does that sound like too many? Let me break it down for you. This past weekend I had the HONOR of attending the Heartbreak Hill Running Festival on behalf of Runner's World and an incredible list of bloggers. Not sure how my name made it on there, but I may or may not have broken into the Runner's World HQ - Mission Impossible style - to make that happen. :P

So now you can get it right? 20 bloggers together for a weekend means lots of calling each other by twitter handles, hashtags, laughter and well ... selfies.

My driver (aka the wife) dropped me off at BC on Thursday afternoon, June 5. I decided to keep the arrival low-key so the limo was left at home and we rode in Jinxie (my 10 year old Jetta).

Despite being one of the few "locals" on the trip, I decided to stay with the group at BC - in the dorms - to get the whole experience. Yes, I opted to stay on a rough dorm bed instead of my luxurious bed at home so I could relay the whole experience to all of you.


I expect my award for this selfless act to be delivered sometime shortly.

This experience felt like college. Of the 20 bloggers, I think I had only met 2 prior to this trip so all the nervous energy was there. Will they like me? Do they even know what my blog is? Are they beer drinkers? The usual.

As soon as the folks started arriving, the hugs were flying, the laughs were starting and the bonding was apparent. This was going to be a special weekend.

After settling in, it was time to head to West End Johnnie's for dinner. We had a sweet welcome bag waiting for it. And yes I still geek out when folks put my blog's name on anything. Loser, party of one!


We had some time to mingle before dinner and a movie. We had a private viewing of Finding Strong, which was introduced by Saucony's Director of PR (and mega inspiration) Sharon Barbano.


The movie Finding Strong was utterly motivating and I will share a link to it when available. Get tissues out in advance.

We hit the party bus back to the dorm before taking the walk to the closest liquor store. We sat around the common room and had some great convos. It really felt like college all over again. It was a blast until...

... the alarm went off at 5am the next day. Who starts an itinerary so early in the morning? I mean really. :P

The party bus was ready to roll at 6am to bring us to a November Project workout.


I have friends that have been trying to get me to attend November Project for months. But Runner's World offered brunch afterwards - and that won.

For the workout we would be doing hill circuits (so necessary before a weekend of running Heartbreak Hill :P) for 45 minutes on Summit Ave in Brookline.


Yeah Summit Ave doesn't mess around.

The plan was go down the street then back up (the harder part), slide under a road block barricade (why not) then do a "cross country" circuit on the grassy knoll at the top of Summit Ave. Goal? Do as many as you can in 45 minutes.


My plan? 1 circuit. The left hamstring was hurting and I wasn't about to blow it before the actual runs started.


Actually happened? 2 circuits. I got talked into a second "slower" circuit. Curse you peer pressure. :P

I had always been nervous to attend November Project because of the athletic folks that I saw in pictures that went. So I thought there wouldn't be anyone of my level or physique. But it truly reaches a wide audience. Plus once you start, you really can't tell which circuit number another person is on.


Plus this is one super positive group. Will I maybe roll up to another November Project workout? Definitely a possibility.


After a good workout, we headed to brunch at Zaftig's in Brookline with special guest Brogan, November Project creator.

Happily filled bloggers headed back to BC to get all cleaned up for two unbelievable meet and greets that would be coming up.

But who would the special guests be?


Sarah Reinertsen

For those that don't know Sarah is the first female amputee to finish the Ironman AND she was on Amazing Race. If you don't know her story, please check it out. She is not only inspirational, but a down to earth person. WHO actually remembered meeting me at the Boston Marathon Expo. Wow!


and our other guest???


Shalane Flanagan

Yes the Shalane Flanagan. I had a total fangirl moment while she talked... I think she felt the same way about me. But she kept her cool. I can tell you that this Olympian and 2:22 Boston Marathoner is just like us. Her post-marathon craving: "French Fries, a burger and a beer."

OOhhh yeah!

After a highly entertaining runway show by my fellow bloggers and Running Skirts, we had a delicious lunch courtesy of Runner's World Nutrition Editor, Joanna Golub, who helped pen the Runner's World Cookbook.

New Balance gave a great demo of their new shoe line. (And I forgot to take any pics)

Then it was Expo time. You know I love a good expo. I gunned for the Sparkly Soul booth after I picked up my bib.


Yay Pamela!

I was happy to have fellow bloggers around for the Expo since they like to take obnoxious photos like me.


Heather battling Larisa and I for the Finish Line

I spent waaayy too much time at the Expo for the size of it, but I had a blast. Plus, I ran into a ton of friends while there. Another favorite thing about Expos.

After bringing my haul (aka free stuff) back to the room, it was time to move my belongings to our new dorm and find dinner.

Friday was a chill night in the new common room with my fellow bloggers, dinner and some wine.

Laughing was a great way to stretch before the impending races on Day 2.

Oh yeah in case you forgot, we were brought together to run!

But I'll save that for another recap...


What do you like to take in when on a racecation besides the race itself?