What a great weekend!
Mr. Last Legs was scheduled for the Heartbreak Hill 5k on Saturday, while I was signed up for the half on Sunday. On Friday night, we rushed out to Boston College after work to get our bibs for the weekend. We could have done this on Saturday morning before the 5k, but I wanted to have one less thing to worry about. (Side note: the green line is the worst. I really don’t like the T.)
We didn’t hang around the expo long. We picked up Chipotle on the way home and called it a night.
We got up bright and early on race morning (Side note #2: the green line operates much better on weekends. I’m glad we decided to just use the T and not fork over the money for a taxi.)
It wasn’t nearly as crazy and crowded as I was expecting. Mr. Last Legs did his pre-race stretches while I did “celebrity sightings.” Spotted, second picture, l-r: Mark Remy (I think?), Bart Yasso, Editor-in-Chief David Willey, and Shalane Flanagan. I wasn’t brave enough to ask for a picture with them, which I now regret. Other people approached them and asked, and the staff seemed so friendly. I mean, this is basically the purpose of the festival, to give readers a chance to mingle with the editors.
I got a prime viewing area (just over 1,000 people did the 5k, so there weren’t a ton of spectators).
I read that Shalane used the races this weekend as training runs. I think she came in 6th for the 5k.
And Mr. Last Legs set a PR! I had the feeling this would happen. This was his first race without me, and at the past two races I think I held him back a bit.
Official time, 23:51. Amazing!
We had some time to kill before the next event we wanted to watch, so we went inside to explore the expo. They had a gallery featuring posters of older/classic Runner’s World covers. We particularly enjoyed this one: (slightly NSFW)
They also had a photo booth setup that put you on the cover of Runner’s World. And it was free! They both emailed a copy and printed it for you. By far the best part of the expo.
After mulling around, we headed out to the dog races. Because of the heat, they ended up shortening the race from 2 miles to 1. I was rooting for this guy:
We actually didn’t stick around for the finish, but I read that the winner and his dog did a 5-something minute mile. Ridiculous.
We were actually really hungry by this point, so we decided to wander and try to find some food. We ended up at El Pelon Taqueria , right next to the BC T stop and it was AMAZING. I got the fish tacos, and the mister got a pulled pork torta.
Stomachs full, we were off to the Remy’s World seminar. Embarrassingly, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. I LOVE his sense of humor and have been reading his columns and “motivational” posters for a while, but for some reason I was afraid he was going to come across as some sort of cocky guy when seeing him in person. Something about the mix of him being a runner AND a sarcastic writer made me think this way.
I couldn’t have been more wrong! He was such a nice guy!
First, we played some “Jeopardy” based on things he has written (I nailed the “bear mile” question). After that he did a Q&A and finished with some “crap” prizes (including some sketches of his Ryan Hall wedding ring reenactment and old medals with his “race face” taped on).
We went to his book signing after.
Both my husband and I left wishing we could be friends with him. We’re such losers.
And that brought us to the end of day one. We headed home, had some pasta for dinner while continuing our Orange is the New Black Season 2 binge watch, and went to bed early.
And then it was race day for me!
I couldn’t have gone into this race any more relaxed than I was. This ended up biting me in the ass because I was a little TOO relaxed getting ready that morning and we ended up leaving later than I planned. My friend was also running and we were going to try to find each other before it began. Since she didn’t have a phone I told her that if we didn’t find each other by 7:15, to just get into the corrals.
I ended up getting to the race at around 7:05, but we still had to walk across campus and I had to go to the bathroom. We went to the expo center only to find they had locked the bathroom doors, so then I had to walk further out of my way to go to the portapotties (which also weren’t near the race start). Luckily, there wasn’t a line, so I was in and out in under a minute.
As small as the race was, the corrals were even smaller and PACKED. There was a whole other crowd of people waiting to the side of the corrals, not able to fit in, so I joined them next to the corral with my pace. When the gun went off, we were able to slip in pretty easily.
It was hot! This wasn’t the kind of weather to really push yourself in. I’m glad I already had Brooklyn and a PR under my belt, because I was able to just run what felt comfortable and enjoy the race.
The first two miles were out and back to BC, with a bit along the reservoir. Around mile 2 we were back into BC and I was able to see Mr. Last Legs again, cheering for me.
Soon we were off campus, climbing into Newton in the blazing sun. Miles 3 and 4 had some nice downhill sections, and I was enjoying myself. Heat aside, of course. However, around mile 4 I saw my first race casualty of the day. It looked like some RW Editors (I’m pretty sure one was David Willey, though I couldn’t tell from the back) were helping a girl off the course, who was barely able to stand on her own. When some medics arrived, they continued to walk the girl away, while the editors were off and running again.
Between miles 5 and 6 I got another dose of “this race is so cool!” (My inner dork was very happy this weekend). I turned and saw Amby Burfoot (who won Boston in 68 and was also a RW editor) running right behind me. He passed me, and I stayed behind him for a bit. Stalker that I am, I decided to take a picture.
This was also on a pretty brutal hill, and at the top there were some race photographers taking pictures. Because he was so close to me, I’m hoping it will end up having both of us in the shot.
Until this point, the race had been a steady mix of up and downhills, but nothing too difficult. I took a GU at mile 6 and by mile 8 I was feeling great, which ended up being one of my faster miles. I still wasn’t sure what to expect once I actually reached the real hills. I was still feeling hot, but good.
I think mile 9 was the first of Heartbreak Hill, and I did pretty well. By this point, a lot of people were walking. (I had also passed another downed runner, this time there were fire trucks and ambulances. Have I mentioned it was hot yet?).
At mile 10 I grabbed a Cliff shot they were handing out and decided to just eat that rather than fumble with my own gels. I wouldn’t have done that if I were really worried about my time and potential stomach issues, but since I had no goals and didn’t care what happened, I went for it. I’m glad I did! I took the lemon, and it tastes SO much better than GU. It tasted like the filling of lemon meringue pie. I might have to make a switch.
I was still feeling good around mile 11, and was still running the hills (albeit slowly).
Here’s where I mention the water situation. Water was every mile and a half. On a day like this, this simply wasn’t enough. This was the one part of the race I think was not so well-planned. I had my nuun with me, but I was also using every water stop. I would walk through, take two cups, drink one, and dump the other over my head to keep me cool. I think this is what got me through the race until this point. It was cooling, and would give me an extra energy burst every time I did so. But around mile 12 I needed another. And there were no stops left. And there were so many hills. And no shade.
So, I did some walking around mile 12.5. I didn’t want to risk overheating, and I probably walked a quarter of a mile. Even knowing there was only a half mile left, I was feeling hot and tired and hearing so many sirens for other downed runners, I knew it was better being safe than sorry.
When I saw the next race photographer I was shamed into running, and luckily that got me going again. Finally, I was back on campus and running toward the finish line. I saw Mr. Last Legs, pushed harder, and did it!
Official finish time: 2:08:06. I’m really happy with this, given the fact that I didn’t care about my time, it was very hot, I walked through each water stop (my first time ever doing this), and walked for a bit at the end. I’ll mention again that it was very hot. I’m so glad that I’m running a fall marathon.
I grabbed a bagel, some sparkling water, Cape Cod potato chips, and Gatorade, met my friend, took some pictures, and we hung out in the shade for a bit.
Since I ran smart, kept hydrated the whole way, and knew when to take it easy, I felt great! It helped that they were handing out finisher t’s at the finish line, so I was able to immediately change out of my water-soaked tank top, helping me feel comfortable, temperature-wise.
Other people weren’t looking so fortunate. First aid people were actually walking around, checking in on people who were laying on the grass to make sure they were okay.
I continued to hydrate for the rest of the morning just to be safe. Plus, all I could think of was getting some beer. You know it’s a great race when that’s your first thought crossing the finish line.
All in all, I really enjoyed the run. There were enough twists and turns to keep your thoughts occupied, the hills were more than a challenge, and the staff was great. I also much prefer this course to the Brooklyn Half (Cape Cod is still tops in my books, though).
Thanks, Runner’s World, for a great weekend!
Obligatory post-race lunch shot: I PILED on the food at the Whole Foods buffet and washed it down with an Ithaca Flower Power IPA. Gotta make up those calories somehow.