What a whirlwind weekend!
The Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon and Festival was so much fun and a really incredible experience. It was, as I put it to my mom, like “going to running camp”. We stayed overnight Friday and Saturday in the dorms at Boston College. It was very nice for a dorm room, but the beds were certainly not the comfiest, and our room was freezing, despite the warm temps in Boston. Weird.
We drove into Boston on Friday afternoon and after checking into our room, headed to the expo to pick up our race packets and check out the vendors.
We even picked up a little souvenir for one of our biggest fans!
The rest of Friday afternoon we had to ourselves since all the running seminars were scheduled for Saturday. We went to Brio Tuscan Grille, a nearby Italian restaurant. My mom and I split the field greens salad to start and it was delicious! We followed that with some generous servings of pasta, which were also very good.
On Saturday, the 5K and 10K races took place, but we weren’t running either of those, so we were able to sleep in a little bit before the seminars began at noon. When we woke up though, my mom and I were faced with the pressing difficulty of having NO AVAILABLE COFFEE! The horror!! So after showering and getting ready, we found the closest Starbucks and made the fifteen minute walk over.
After getting our coffees, we headed over to the start/finish area in time to see the end of the 10K and the Eukanuba 2-Mile Dog Run!
This was absolutely the cutest. The race directors were also really good about ensuring the safety of all the dogs, given the warm temps. They filled big tubs of water and had the owners get their dogs soaking wet before the start of the race, and were advising owners over the loudspeaker that it wasn’t the day to “put the pedal to the metal”. Even so, some of the dogs sure seemed like they wanted to gun it!
After watching the start of the dog race, my mom and I headed over to a seminar all about running for women. It featured four speakers – including Shalane Flanagan! For those who don’t know, Shalane is an elite long-distance runner who won the bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics for the 10,000 meters. In this year’s Boston Marathon, Flanagan ended up placing 7th, after leading the pack for 19 miles. I was so excited to hear her speak.
She didn’t disappoint. She was funny, down-to-earth, and a pleasure to listen to. She talked about how hard it hard it had been for her to lose the Boston Marathon this past year, but how the winner Rita Jeptoo had thanked her at the end for setting such a fast pace. Shalane’s response? “Thanks, now you owe me a glass of wine.” Hehe. She also mentioned going on a donut binge where she ate five donuts during a meeting with her trainer. Her advice was not to do that though! All the women were great speakers and so fun to listen to. It was inspiring to hear how much running meant to these women, and how it had helped them through times of crisis in their lives.
My mom and I also went to a seminar on sports nutrition, given by Nancy Clark. She was very informative, and definitely gave me a lot of ideas about things I can do to improve my diet! One of the things she said NOT to do was what she called “crescendo eating”. This is when you eat a small breakfast, but end up starving by dinnertime and overeat as a result. She suggests breaking up your food for the day into 4 small meals so that you’re eating every four hours or so. This is best for sustained energy (very important for endurance running and athletes in general) and hunger control. I ended up buying her book, Food Guide for Marathoners. I’m still browsing through it, but I’ll be sure to post a full review once I can explore it in more detail!
After the nutrition seminar, I went to a seminar on fitness blogging (it was a busy day!). I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers, including Julie fromPBFingers. The panel of bloggers included Katy Widrick of katywidrick.com, Matt from No Meat Athlete, and Karla from Run Karla Run. They definitely gave me some ideas for sprucing up my blog, so don’t be alarmed if my site looks very different in the coming days!
My mom and I then went for an early dinner, because we were hearing Sarah Reinertsen speak at 7. Sarah was the first woman amputee to complete the Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, topped off with a 26.2 mile run).
We wanted to stay nearby to make sure we weren’t late, so we grabbed some Mexican food for takeout at El Pelon Taqueria, a restaurant about five minutes away from BC. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about eating Mexican the night before our race, but it was delicious and didn’t cause any problems on race day (thank goodness!).
My mom and I both got the fish tacos and a side order of rice and chips and guacamole. It was all so fresh and authentic-tasting! If you’re in the Chestnut Hill area, I highly recommend checking this place out!
A little before 7, we headed over to hear Sarah’s keynote speech. Again, she was wonderful to listen to. At just over 5 feet tall, she was this tiny ball of energy – so dynamic and with such a powerful story! She talked about having her leg amputated due to a tissue deficiency at the age of 7, and not knowing how to run and play with the other kids. She talked about a soccer coach who wouldn’t let her scrimmage with the other kids during practice, and instead made her kick a ball against the wall by herself. This was all part of what fueled her to run marathons and eventually to compete in triathlons, including the Ironman!
I bought her memoir, In a Single Bound, and was even lucky enough to get her to sign it after her speech. I certainly have my summer reading cut out for me!
Race day recap coming soon!
P.S. – Props to you if you read this whole post! It was another long one 🙂