I’ve always wanted to run a race in the Boston area, so when the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half event was announced awhile back it was definitely one I was interested in. Unfortunately I hate making plans in May/ June since Jason’s schedule is so unpredictable this time of year so I never registered.
When I realized just last week that Jason was going to be out of town the weekend I decided to see if Pat, who lives in Boston, was interested in doing it with me (and letting me crash at his place!). Since I haven’t been running that much I decided just the 10k would be enough (there was a 5k, 10k and half and options to do the 5k & 10k, or all 3).
*Spolier alert, but boy am I glad I only did the 10k! With the heat and humidity, Heartbreak Hill sure lived up to it’s name!
We headed to the expo in the Conte Forum at Boston College on Friday night to pick up our bibs and shirts.
It was definitely smaller than I expected, but well organized. I was really surprised though that they weren’t asking for ID when you picked up your bib. Showing ID to prove you’re the rightful owner of the bib you’re asking for is fairly standard at any race for safety and security reasons, so I thought it was odd that a race being put on by Runner’s World and the same race management company that does the Boston Marathon wasn’t asking for any!
Both the 5k & 10k were being held Saturday morning and the half marathon was on Sunday. Fortunately someone at the expo had given us a heads up that even though we were only running the 10k which started at 8:30am we should try to arrive before the 7:15am 5k start so we didn’t have any issues with road closures or parking.
We arrived at Boston College and were parked by 7am. Fortunately it was a gorgeous morning and we ran into several friends to hangout with while we waited for the 10k start!
We found Justin from Always Running Forward and his wife Devin and I got to see my friends Alex and Randy from New York! Alex was running all 3 races so we hungout with Randy while we waited for her to finish the 5k.
The 10k course was an out and back. Out going DOWN the hills and back going UP the hills.
We lined up for the start (according to pace on the honor system!) and we were off!
*Please note the beautiful tree lined street and all the lovely shade in the photo below. That right there is all of the shade we saw for this entire race.*
Since I haven’t been running much and I definitely haven’t acclimated to the heat yet (it was 72 and humid at the 8:30am start), I planned on running this race conservatively and figured I’d shoot for about a 9:30 pace.
Unfortunately with the first half being all downhill I went out way too fast…my first 2 miles were under 9 minutes. Oops.
By mile 3 I already felt myself struggling a little bit.
With not a cloud in the sky and no shade the heat was brutal and my breathing was definitely effected by the humidity.
We made a sharp u-turn at the halfway point and it was all uphill from there.
I decided I’d let myself take a walk break once I got to the mile 4 marker and from miles 4-6 as we approached hill after hill after hill I allowed myself to take occasional walk breaks as I needed them. I figured since I haven’t been running much and I knew I had lost a lot of my endurance there was no reason to push myself.
I usually don’t really mind hills, but the thing about Heartbreak Hill is that it’s just a really looooong gradual incline so it feels like it never ends!
Once I got to the top of the last hill I ran the rest of the way to the finish actually feeling pretty good.
I finished in 59:35 with a 9:36 overall pace, so not too far off my original plan of a 9:30 pace!
I grabbed (and chugged!) a bottle of water and a Gatorade at the finish and ate a bag of the Cape Cod potato chips they were giving out for some salt (**I am a firm believer that all races should give out Cape Cod potato chips at the finish!).
I actually really enjoyed the race despite the heat, humidity & hills and wouldn’t mind trying it (and possibly all 3 races!) again next year – I’d definitely plan to go into it better trained though!
I also got to meet some fellow bloggers who I’ve followed (doesn’t that sound stalker-ish??!) for awhile now, but have never gotten the chance to meet – Dani, who is a fellow Zooma Cape Cod ambassador and Amanda, whose blog was the first one I started reading when I began running 3 years ago!