Tag Archives: Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival

Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon

12 Jun

On Sunday June 8th I ran the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. You can read my recap of the 5k and expo here.

The start and finish line was the same location as that of the 5k (and 10k) the day before which was nice. My dad and I showed up super early again and had no issues with parking or traffic.

The course for this race was basically an out and back.



After circling Boston College, the course took us down Heartbreak Hill, and then two more hills before doing a circle through some residential neighborhoods and coming back up the 3 hills, the last being Heartbreak.

My plan from the get go was to do 2/1 run/walk intervals in order to conserve my energy on the downhills. I knew it would be easy to go out too fast and use up energy (and possibly get sore from the downhills) and thus screwing myself for the final hills. I figured I could switch to 1/2 run/walk intervals as needed to get up the uphills at the end.

The course was super scenic, first going through and Boston College and then down Commonwealth Avenue where there is gorgeous trees (and luckily some shade) and gorgeous homes. Unfortunately the sun was out in full blast, as was the heat. By the time I finished it was in the high 70s/low 80s. I was very careful to take one if not two cups of water at every water stop and a couple of sips of Gatorade. I also took a 3rd Gu (normally I’ll only take 2) to replenish some of the salt I was sweating out.

Since it was an out and back course I saw the leader coming back up the hills when I was around mile 4. I also got to see Shalane Flanagan running the race – she looked very relaxed compared to the footage I saw of her running the Boston Marathon 😉 – she ended up coming in as the 3rd overall woman.

It was definitely tough though, and the three hills at the end are no joke.



That photos shows the bottom of Heartbreak Hill but I promise you it is much steeper than it appears. 😉

However, it was truly amazing to run on parts of the Boston Marathon course. As I trudged up those hills I kept thinking about all of the others who have run that same stretch for many many years. It gave me goosebumps and was truly an experience I will never forget.

I finished in 3:18:55 – about midway I set a goal of finishing under 3:20, so I was happy, though not a stellar time by any stretch. Given the conditions though, I am glad was able to feel strong until the very end. Even if I was a human pretzel after the finish from all of the salt stains 😉

This weekend was a great weekend that I am so glad I had the opportunity to participate in both the 5k and the Half Marathon. There were a few small snafus (that I plan to provide feedback to Runner’s World on) but for an inaugural event it was really great. I hope that they are able to continue having this event, and if you are interested I hope you have the opportunity to participate.



One final picture… we took the T into Boston after the race, because I had to check out the Boston Marathon Finish Line. 🙂



Runners World Heartbreak Hill 5k Race Recap + Expo Fun

10 Jun

Wow, this past weekend really was great. I came away with a renewed excitement towards running and continue to be thankful for the amazingly supportive community of runners. My excitement around the weekend made me want to get this recap up as soon as possible!!!

My dad and I flew into Boston on Friday (June 6) and after checking into our hotel and grabbing an amazing lunch in Wellesley we got to Boston College for Bib Pickup right as the expo was opening at 3.


Runner’s World really hooked us up – we got a tech shirt for the 5k and another for the Half.  Yay for gender specific tech shirts!!!

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Super cute shirts and bibs @hhhalf

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We walked around the expo a bit to check things out before grabbing a light dinner on the way back to the hotel.

On Saturdy the 5k started at 7am. We had no issues driving and parking on campus – signage was good and we left early enough we didn’t run into any traffic.

I was very relaxed about the 5k. I just wanted to have fun and take in the sights in and around Boston College. I knew I had to save my legs for the Half Marathon the next day.

The course was gorgeous – we started off on campus before circling around it, around the near by reservoir and then back to the start for the finish.




So scenic. But oh my gosh. The last 2 miles felt like they were uphill, and the sun was out in full blast.

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3.1 down. 13.1 to go tomorrow. Now to rest.

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I came in at 39:36 – which on a typical day I would be disappointed with. At first I was pissed about my time, because honestly it felt like I was running so.much.harder. than that. I felt like I had to fight for that time. But after stalking the #hhhalf twitter feed and hearing others experiences, it seems like it was a tough one for many people because of the sun and heat, so I felt a little bit better.

After the 5k my dad and I hit up the expo for a few last minute things…and I had to do this, of course…



Then we went to Zaftigs, in Brookline, a nearby town. This restaurant was recomended to me by a friend and also ranked high on Yelp. Four words: Banana Stuffed French Toast. Perfect post-race brunch. 🙂 As we left there was a line forming outside so we timed it perfectly!

After a quick shower my dad and I went back to Boston College to hit up some of the seminars. This is where my only real complaint comes in – we had to pay a parking fee of $10 twice on this day – once for the 5k and once when we came back to go to the seminars. Major bummer. It would have been nice if they had let us be readmitted since we had already been there once that day.

The seminars were pretty awesome. I attended one about Women’s Running which featured four women – one who is a doctor, one who went from 16 minute miles to a 21 minute 5k PR in 2 years (WOW), a master’s woman, and Shalane Flanagan.


It was so cool to hear all of their perspectives and really interesting to hear what Shalane’s fueling strategy is for a half (…she doesnt have one, becuase “it’s too short”) and how she felt about the Boston Marathon this year.

After that I got in line to meet Shalane and get her to sign my bib. I met her a while back when my dad ran the Marine Corps Marathon but was excited for another opportunity. The photo came out a bit blurry but it was so awesome meeting her.

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Oh you know…just a blurry photo WITH SHALANE FLANNAGAN

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13.1 time!!

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Dream big! Love it.

After meeting her I stood in line for an hour to get shoe recommendations at the Runner’s World Shoe Finder booth. Let me tell you, it was worth every minute waiting in line.

The guy had me stand on a thing so he could analyze my arches (I have neutral arches), then I ran on a treadmill as he filmed my gait from the back and side. It was so cool seeing the slowed down video! I heel strike (no suprise there), and have a normal amount of pronation. He also asked about any issues with my current shoes (my current issue is huge calluses on the outside of my toes) and talked about what may be causing it.

In the end I told him that I really liked having a low toe-heel drop shoe, and a light-weight shoe without a ton of padding. He recommended three specific shoes for me (a Brooks model, a Newton model and a Nike model). I was so thrilled to have such thorough recommendations!! I ordered a new pair of shoes to hopefully get me started with Marathon training on the right foot (haha) so I’ll be sure to share how I like them when they come in.

Moral of the story though – if you ever have the opportunity to do the Shoe Finder booth at a Runner’s World event – DO IT. Even if there is a line. It is totally and completely worth it.

Once I was finished there, my dad and I went to a course strategy session for the half marathon with Bart Yasso, David McGillivray (he was the race director for these races and is also the RD for the Boston Marathon), and the pace group leader.


My dad and I went to a similar session at the Runners World Half & Festival and yet again found it to be very helpful. They recommended really taking it easy on the first half of the course since it was down hill first, in order to conserve energy. I felt  like I had a plan to tackle the race course after this session. 🙂

We headed to the Pasta Dinner with the editors after this session, which was a nice all-you-can-eat setup on the Boston College campus. We left after we had our fill and hit the sack early.

This is getting a bit long so look for the Half Marathon Recap soon!