RACE RECAP – Heartbreak Hill 10k

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!
HHH Expo

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!

HHH Pre-Race

Pat & I before the Heartbreak Hill 10k.

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.

HHH with Alex and Randy

Randy, Alex and me between the 5k & 10k.

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.*

HHH Start

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.

HHH Hill

Running (and walking!) up Heartbreak Hill!

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!

HH10k Medal

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!

HHH Shirt

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!


Dani, Amanda & Me!

Anyone interested in running the infamous Heartbreak Hill?

How do you adjust to running in the heat & humidity?

27 thoughts on “RACE RECAP – Heartbreak Hill 10k

  1. I saw this race advertised and have it on my list for next year. Since I will probably never run the Boston Marathon this might be the next best thing. Besides I need to cross off Massachusetts so this race for my 50 states challenge. I really want to try for the Hat Trick!

    • Thanks! I thought it was a good well organized race and a nice way to get to run Heartbreak Hill for those of use who most likely won’t qualify for Boston!

  2. Out and back on those hills? Holy cow! Glad you survived, and I do remember Boston humidity could be an issue. Of course, now I live in TX humidity…

  3. Congrats on a great race, despite the heat, humidity, and hills! Kudos for being just over your original goal pace–you did awesome. I have so much trouble acclimating to summer weather, I’m usually just slow(er) for all runs and races from May–September. I’ve always been the sort of person that gets sick from heat/humidity – I’ve come to accept it haha.

    • Yeah, I don’t deal well with the heat and humidity either! I try to look at it like I’ll struggle through the summer and hopefully then I’ll feel great for my fall races when the humidity starts to go away!

  4. Way to power through it! That’s so cool that you got to run that. I hope to one day too – ideally in the Boston Marathon, but I’d take that too! Cool medal! Way to go!

    • Thanks! It was a nice event, I just wish I was better trained, it certainly was a good wake up call as to how much endurance I’ve lost – time to get working!

  5. Sounds like you had a great race despite the heat. Man, it was hot! I’m bummed I never found you! My phone, and especially my twitter app, was being spotty all weekend. Grrrr. I LOVED the potato chips at the finish too. I think I ate one bag after the 5K and two bags after the half-marathon. Salt, yum.

  6. Great job on what looks like a tough 10k race course. It looks like you had alot of fun over the weekend too meeting up with bloggers and running with Pat! The heat and humidity were no one’s friend over the weekend. I was so surprised how hot it was in Asheville. Not starting until 8:00 or 8:30 is just too late this time of year.

  7. Great recap. Great job holding pace even though you haven’t been running much. I would definitely try the hill, I would think you feel like a total bada$$ once you’ve completed it.

    We have a Heat problem out here in AZ. I’ve been running in the dead afternoon to try and get acclimated. I drink tons of water, and constantly pour water in my neck and head. Just about all you can do.

    • Thanks, I just wish my splits had been a little more consistent, my first 3 miles were around 9min and the last 3 were a little over 10 which averaged to the 9:36, but given the course I guess I can’t be too disappointed!

      Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you’ve been running in the middle of the afternoon, I’m not sure I could manage that without passing out! Stay safe (and cool!)

  8. Hey Dani… following your blogs even from Europe. I loved your blow by blow…. and
    pics. I felt like I was there. Love…. dad

  9. Pingback: Hyannis Sprint Tri I: Pre-Race Prep | Live, Run, Grow

  10. I was really interested in this race when I heard about it so I’m glad to read your thoughts on the 10K. Now if only I can pick the year where it won’t be hot and humid to do it! Ha! Ugh – doesn’t it seem too early for it to be so humid out? Great job and congrats!!

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