Thursday and Friday of the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Festival felt like Summer Camp. I mean really. Okay maybe. I never actually went to a sleep away Summer Camp so I am 100% basing this on TV. Oops. But I still think it was - laughs, hugs and beer. Okay definitely no beer at Summer Camp, right?
Either way it had been a blast. But I kept thinking and saying: Oh yeah, we are here to actually run races.
Sort of forgot that one little detail. Even though I had my bib in hand and everything.
Well the running got started bright and early Saturday morning with the Five & Dime, which meant at 5k at 7:15 and a 10k at 8:30. You know I am up for a challenge so I was ready to go. However, was unsure how to handle the time in between the races. Well, nothing like flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to fueling.
Pre-race I grabbed a dark chocolate & peanut butter KIND bar and my trusty ENERGYBits. Luckily we were staying in the dorms so Athlete's Village was a leisurely 5-7 minute walk from where we were. Strength in numbers so as many bloggers as possible climbed into the elevator - for a selfie - and headed to the Start.
KT Tape matches my Team Chocolate Milk singlet - what a coincidence? ;)
I KNEW I needed to run with people. If I have learned anything, I suck at pacing myself to a slower race when running alone.
Thanks for the pic Anne!
So I lined up around the 9 min/mile pace with some bloggers and set out to keep it easy. I had an angry left hamstring and three races to make it through in total.
As soon as the horn went off, we shuffled through the corral to the Start Line and it was game time.
As I hit Mile 2 I had separated slightly from the group, but it allowed me to cheer them on as we hit a turnaround in the race. But Marnie and I had kept together and were having a great conversation.
I was getting lost in conversation that I hadn't taken a mid-run selfie yet. I was talking all that pretend game and hadn't done anything about it so it was time to rectify that.
I thought it was one of my better ones.
The race ended on a little bit of a downhill before taking a right into the final stretch, where - of course - I had to step it up a notch. I didn't want to be dogging it in the Finish Line photo. Priorities, right?
Splits: 9:01, 8:59, 8:46
Since I love numbers, I loved the 28:28 5k time. Now my inner demon was angry at the slower than usual time, but the brain knew that it was about finishing and not speed.
After happily collecting the first medal of the weekend, I set out to find a snack (hello chocolate chip bagel) and a bathroom (thank you BC for keeping all the buildings open so I could avoid the port-o-potties)! Once that was set, it was time to start thinking about the 10k. It was an odd amount of time for me so I wasn't really sure what to do. But the bagel hit the spot.
Now the 5k didn't really feature Heartbreak Hill so I figured the 10k would be more a challenge. I knew I would need to keep the pace easy once again.
I felt as if the 5k ended as soon as it began!
So I met up with the same crew at the same spot - oh hey hey 9 min/mile sign - and planned to run with them again.
From the look of this pic, maybe they didn't want me to run with them :P #PhotoBomb
As we crossed the Start Line again, I had some deja vu and let the ladies dictate the pace. I didn't want to push it.
Almost immediately I realized that we would be hitting more of Heartbreak this time around! And it would be the last portion of Heartbreak - aka the biggest of the hills.
For those that don't know, Heartbreak Hill is not a single hill like many think. It is actually about 3-ish miles of rolling hills (3 total). They really aren't that bad in the scheme of life, but when you come upon them at Mile 17 of the Boston Marathon they seem like MOUNTAINS!
And on this day the heat was dictating how the day would go so the hill was tough. Thankfully once again the conversation flowed so the time and miles ticked by.
Mile 1: 9:30 Mile 2: 9:53 Mile 3: 9:35
It was about the halfway mark that Anne and I started picking the pace up. Not sure how it happened, but it seemed organic. I hadn't met Anne before this weekend and didn't know much about her story. It was GREAT chatting with her. We learned that we have very similar PRs.
Her Half: 1:43, My Half: 1:44 ... Her Marathon: 3:56, My Marathon: 3:58. We are both 31. We like running and blogging.
So you can only imagine the talking helped dictate the pace. But we both wanted to keep it smart.
And I had the pleasure of introducing Anne to Heartbreak Bill. He is the mascot for the Heartbreak Hill Running Company and a staple all winter long during Boston Marathon training runs.
Poor guy must've been dying in the suit
Mile 4: 9:10 Mile 5: 9:18 (highest point of Heartbreak) Mile 6: 9:07
Once again ending on a downhill was appreciated and allowed us to rack up some speed to finish the race strong. We weren't about to let these 2 folks finish ahead of us so we dug down and sped around them. I wanted a nice clear Finish Line photo for us. :P
Now I had kept my 5k medal in my hand during the run just so I could keep start sporting both medals AS SOON as we crossed.
It was a great run in some bad heat. Finished with an official time of 58:49.
Definitely amazing knowing so many people at the Five and Dime races. Every time I turned around there was a blogger, friend or blog reader finishing the race. I love some sweaty hugs, high fives and hearing race stories.
I am proud of everyone I know that tackled a running challenge of two races in one morning. Two pieces of bling before 10am is A-okay with me.
The left hamstring was sore, but didn't feel any worse after 9.3 miles. Taking it slower was definitely the way to go.
After more water and snacks it was time to head back to the room for a shower and a change. The rest of the day featured Expo fun, Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee, the Dogs Run, the pasta dinner and another Sarah Reinertsen talk (I will NEVER pass on hearing her speak).
I want to thank all of the volunteers, police offers and Runner's World staff who was up way earlier than I was to put this race on and to make sure there was enough water for the participants. I also want to applaud Runner's World for the Medical presence during the race. Since I had some breathing trouble the last time I was on Heartbreak, I kept an eye out and it put my mind at ease to see so much medical staff out on the course.
I can also say the KIND Bar and ENERGYBits was a great combo pre-race. The chocolate chip bagel wasn't too heavy before the second race. Phew! I wouldn't have wanted that yummy bagel to go to waste. Plus it worked as my chocolate since the race was lacking low-fat chocolate milk. :(
But no matter what I had another meeting with Heartbreak the next day ... for the half marathon!
Have you run legit back-to-back races before?
(Note: if you would like to buy ENERGYBits, use code WEIGHTOFFMYSHOULDERS for 25% off your order!)