Final Thoughts on Heartbreak Hill From the Other Half

So….just a few thoughts about this race, from the other half of the duo.


Like Nora I was happy about my PR in the Amica Iron Horse half and wondered if I could do it again. ( I was ignoring the little voice inside my head  that said this might not be the course/day to attempt it.)

By morning the little voice was louder. I had been awake (shivering) most of the night and definitely didn’t feel like I had a PR in me. During her talk the day before, Shalane Flanagan had advised us to smile, saying it tricked your body into thinking you felt better than you did. At this point, I was going to need to smile a lot and I wrote the word “smile” in pen on my right forearm: I knew I was going to need frequent reminders.

I joined my pace group, (2:00 hours) and hoped for the best.

It was sunny and hot and beautiful – and by mile four I was miserable and beginning to get a headache. (I had consumed less coffee in an effort to avoid making a pit stop; silly me.) Now I stopped at every water station and drank at least one cup of water. By mile 7, I was all but staring at the inky admonition to smile, and still feeling miserable and really beginning to think that this would be my first DNF.  And then, miraculously, I had walked/staggered to mile 13 and someone was saying it was only a half mile to the finish. At that point, Sia was singing “Chandelier” on my iPhone (I highly recommend it as a workout/running song!), and that voice in my head said something I can’t actually write here and I started to run. I decided that even if I didn’t quite feel like I was swinging from a chandelier (more like I was hanging from it by a noose around my neck!) I could at least run as long as the song lasted.  And somehow, that got me across the finish line – overwhelmed with relief and gratitude and feeling very foolish.

So although this was probably my most difficult half yet, I’m actually really grateful because it reminded me of what works best for me. So from now on, I will always:

Start slow and if I feel good, I will run faster.

I will not keep looking at my watch. (There are clocks on the course for that, and MapmyRun gives me my pace every mile. That is enough!)

I will drink my morning coffee and if I have to make a pit stop, I will make that stop! (in a race approved location!)

And I will remember to smile!!


(Despite the race being a tough one for me, I just want to add that Runner’s World did an awesome job with all of it! The expo and all the speakers were great! The course, though tough, was well thought out and there were tons of water stations etc… As for staying on campus at BC, that was great, too. Despite being cold at night, the rooms were super clean and nice, and all the event locations were well marked and everyone was really friendly. So I would definitely do it again – though next time I will bring a blanket!) 🙂


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Filed under Half-Marathons, Races

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