My Encounter with Heartbreak Hill

IMG_0551Sometimes I like running more when I’m not doing it. 🙂

Enter Runner’s World magazine. I read each issue from cover to cover, usually as soon as I get it. And of course, it’s chock full of race ads and recommendations. So when I first saw that RW was going to have an inaugural race in Boston, I was stoked.  I started running a few days before the marathon bombing in 2013, and I have some special friends there. So I when I made my 2014 race calendar, Heartbreak Hill (HH) was a firm fixture on the list. I chose the 10K.
The expo was at the Silvio Conte Forum at Boston College. Bib pickup was well-organized, in the hallway outside the Forum, while the main floor had the vendors and the area to pick up your tees. I think I was spoiled at a previous race because I was able to exchange my hoodie for a different size–not so here though. Thankfully I actually picked the right size– it just looked too small in my hand.IMG_2928

I got in a short line to take a picture for a mock RW mag cover, and then popped over to get a branded tank. The weather report was looking good for the weekend, and I wanted to be cool and comfortable for those hilly 6.2 miles.

As usual, I didn’t sleep well the night before–I woke up at 3 with my mind already racing, and didn’t fully go back to sleep. The 5K and 10K race events were back to back on Saturday morning (7:15 and 8:30 respectively), and not diverse. I know that Black Girls RUN! and I wore my BGR visor to represent, but I saw maybe 5 black women racing, tops. And I don’t recall seeing any men of color running at all.  The Half was held on Sunday, but I wasn’t there. I’ll be doing my first Half during Labor Day weekend.

Waves were organized from 6:00 mile pace through 12:00 mile pace. I squeezed myself into one of the faster waves and gave a good effort for the first 3 mile stretch down Commonwealth Ave. before we looped back uphill. The weather held up beautifully–I was a bit cold while I was waiting, but I knew I would warm up and was glad I didn’t wear my jacket to run in. It remained sunny and breezy, but I was dressed so that I didn’t have to reach for my towel around my waist more than once.20140607_073111

I went into this race knowing that I prefer 5Ks, but also preparing myself for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4 (a 10K along a constant incline known as Cardiac Hill), for which I’ve been training for since April. Nevertheless, I didn’t turn on my Garmin early enough, and I ran about 15 minutes before it even locked in a location and started tracking. I was off on my time, and in my mind, I was done when I saw the 4-mile marker. At the 5-mile marker, I was really feeling tired. Then I saw a long incline in front of me.  “Now that’s just mean of them to make the course end on the hill,” I thought. And with that, I made a conscious decision to walk it, even though I knew it would cost me a PR. My result was a time almost 3 minutes slower than my very first 10K race on January 1. *Sigh*

20140607_100038But my family was there. HH was my second away race, my 11th race period, but my first race with my family waiting for me at the Finish line. It felt great to see and hear them cheering for me!