Heartbreak Hill Half Recap

Last we spoke, I’d recapped the 5K + 10K. The 10K was significantly harder than the 5k: hillier, hotter. I knew the combination of that plus fatigued legs would make Sunday really hard.

I woke up Sunday morning and DID NOT want to run this race. I was tired, and I wanted to stay in bed. But no, this silly girl wakes up before 7 on her days off, obviously.


We got ready, including all of us in our matching Heartbreaker Sparkly Soul headbands, and had to take just one more selfie. I love all of these ladies so much.


Like, what am I even doing?


Other than forgetting sunglasses, and being triplets with Anne and Sarah.

We all lined up, and things were more packed than they had been the first two days. Which made sense, given this was the Heartbreak Hill Half Festival, not the HH 5K Festival.

I had no intention of racing this, but I had no other real plan. I hadn’t seen Sarah in a while, so I started out with her, and we chatted for about three miles. I saw Shalane ahead and yelled SHALANE! She turned around all surprised, and I didn’t want to scare her more and ask if we could be besties. Sarah and I were keeping a 8:30 pace, which … is not where I was that day. After about 3 miles, I let Sarah go. I was feeling a tiny bit woozy, so I stopped for a minute to walk, hoping I’d run into buddies.

When I didn’t immediately, I contemplated quitting. I hadn’t wanted to do this race this morning anyway. I started thinking through an article I wrote recently about DNFs and realized a weak mind was no reason to quit. I guess.

Then I ran into some buddies, around mile 4, and OKAY FINE.


[photo via Anne]

You are also wearing a pink shirt and black skirt? Okay I will run with you.

We cruised up and down the hills together, with Dani and Amanda. By cruise, I mean we casually ran up and down them.

We walked through each water stop, which was new for us, but incredibly helpful in the heat. It was in the upper 70s, which was really warm after this hellacious winter.

The course was similar to the 10K’s course, but it just went twice as far, so it turned around at about 6.5 miles instead of 3.1.

Screenshot 2014 06 12 23 45 30

So many hills.

Around mile 9.5 is where my wheels started falling off. I’d stopped to walk the day before on fresher legs, with less heat, so I didn’t even pretend I wouldn’t walk if things didn’t feel great. And I did. Anne tried to encourage me to keep running. “You can do this!” Well, yeah. Nearly 30 halfs in, I know I can. I just didn’t want to. Sometimes I tell myself I should have more fight even when I’m not going for a goal, but some days, just getting out there is more than enough for me.

So I happily walked along, and soon caught up to her and Amanda.


[photo via Anne, master of running selfies]

At the top of the hill, we found a gorilla. Once again, I have no idea what I am doing.

Once we’d finished the crazy hills, the course ended really quickly. Before I knew it, I was coming around a corner, and I was done.

SWEET. I rolled in around 2:10, at a very even 10:00 mile.


Hat trick: accomplished!

Runner’s World provided me with free bibs, lodging and some free meals. All early morning flights and poor decisions are my own.

My friend Heather was feeling sick, and finished in the very back of the pack. She wrote a great post about what it’s like in the back, compared to the middle-to-front, having seen both perspectives. The Runner’s World team saw it and responded very well to it, in this post.

Questions! Favorite race? Do you have a hard time (mentally) going slow? What do you think of these posts about the experiences in the back of the pack?


6 comments on “Heartbreak Hill Half Recap

  1. Elizabeth

    I’m jealous you thought the course ended quickly. I was doing well until mile 10 and then my mental state turned into “I hate everyone”. Miles 10-12.5 did me in. I’ve learned I’m all about the flat courses! Which should be a real treat when I’m doing Fueled by Fine Wine in Oregon next month!

  2. Gina B

    While I agree that everyone is busy, I think it’s great to see people who are truly busy also living life, staying fit, and enjoying themselves. As a busy NYer myself, I enjoy knowing that there are other ladies out there who are like me. You rocked these races – I don’t think I could have handled the two back to backs, let alone those AND a half!

  3. Whitney

    It looks like you had so much fun with your friends! 🙂 I think your photos are fun. Keep sharing your experiences and keep sharing how you fit all of this into your busy life.

  4. Ashley

    No matter how long I read blogs I will never understand blatantly rude natured comments . . .
    Way to pull through on that race, Theodora 🙂


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