Friday Five – Heartbreak Hill Half edition

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps
Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages!
This week’s theme is “free Friday” – pick your own topic, so may I present:

The Post of Fives from the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Weekend

5 Things I Loved About the Weekend

  • I got to hear legendary and inspiring folks: Bart Yasso, Dave McGillivray, Sarah Reinertsen, Shalane Flanagan, Amby Burfoot, and others
  • The setting and location were outstanding. What a great concept and opportunity for people.
  • I felt like part of a big community of runners, many of whom share my interests and struggles, whether that’s women’s running, masters running, how to get faster/go longer, BQ’ing and running Boston, whatever. My tribe!
  • I loved seeing so many of the RW staff (and being able to identify them). Putting faces and conversations with the names of the people who come into my home daily/monthly and talk to me about one of my absolute favorite topics (running) was absolutely great.
  • I got to give suggestions to Liz Comeau on content for the women’s running channel she’s just joined RW to edit.

5 Takeaways

  • Running truly does unite us regardless of other differences.
  • Runners are – by and large – incredibly friendly and generous, eager to strike up a conversation or help a stranger.
  • While there were plenty of men, it felt to me like an overwhelmingly female event – I think this reflects the growing participation of women in running and in half marathon and shorter events.
  • “Run often, at different paces, mostly easy.” Jonathan Beverly, RunningTimes editor
  • All runners can/should work on hips (see recent RT article) and cadence. Jonathan Beverly

5 Things About My Fall That Were Lucky

  • I was going uphill – I think I would have been more injured (or trampled) going downhill
  • I didn’t hit my head or face or suffer any serious injury (or even break my iphone)
  • It happened early – when I was fresh enough to keep going and able to regroup, and others were fresh enough to avoid running me over
  • I was near Meghan Loftus and friend, who got me up and stayed with me (see “runners are incredibly friendly and generous”, above)
  • I learned that I could handle a fall and keep going – knowledge I hope I don’t have to use, but I am pleased with how I thought, what I did, how I checked on myself and made my decision. I’m kind of pleased with myself on a quasi-badass level for refusing to quit and finishing so well, a confidence-booster!

5 (+1) Suggestions/Comments

  • Make the aid station tables consistent in the order of the drinks available (I don’t think they were), and let runners know ahead of time. What I mean is that Gatorade is always first, last or in the middle.
  • There were a lot of stairs for runners to deal with. The expo was one thing, but all the stairs between the parking garage and athlete’s areas were tiring for Hat Trickers on Sunday going to the race and apparently people were in bad enough shape that they were falling going down the stairs after the half. Kudos to getting a volunteer there to warn people though. This may just be something folks have to accept to be on the beautiful and convenient BC campus.
  • Publicize event details as far ahead of time as possible and don’t limit it to Facebook. I found out at the event that the pasta dinner menu had been publicized on FB (which I don’t use) but I hadn’t gotten an email with any details, nor had anyone responded to repeated Twitter requests for info as to gluten-free options. Since you have our email addresses, it’d be easy to send out plenty of info that way. Allowing people to indicate special needs or submit questions to a designated account would also be helpful.
  • Much of the weekend seemed targeted to those doing the Hat Trick, and the comments at the seminars “for those of you who did the races this morning/were here yesterday” reflected that. Could feel a bit exclusionary for those “just” doing the half, which I’m sure wasn’t intended.
  • The expo could be a bit larger – not too much though. This was the first year, so I think the expo will grow. There were plenty of nice folks and good giveaways. The RW cover photo was a blast, a fun take-home! (I’d have gone to the Shoe Lab, but I think I’d stump them.) The small size wasn’t bad for me (quieter) and I wasn’t looking to buy anything. I did like being able to just sit in the stands and watch the expo and chill out/eat.
  • It was nice that some food was available at the concession stands at the expo. I didn’t realize it was from the RW cookbook for quite a while, the signage could have been bigger and better. Also, publicizing that info (and even the recipes chosen) would have helped me in determining ahead of time what I could/couldn’t eat on site. Given my restrictions, I had to assume there wouldn’t be anything I could eat. (I was right) I had to pack and carry all my food around with me, which wasn’t fun. (I do realize I’m a special case in this regard but I may not be the only one.)

5 (x2) Quotes – I love quotes

  • “Have no fear. Cold execution.” Shalane Flanagan
  • “Never cross a finish line – ever – and be disappointed. That’s selfish. There are so many people who can’t do this.” Dave McGillivray
  • “There are 2 million runners who want to be in Boston. If you are one of the ones lucky enough to be there, enjoy it.” Bart Yasso, talking to runners before the Boston Marathon
  • “Tragedy is not equally dispersed. You don’t know how long you’re going to have the body you have.” Sarah Reinertsen, talking about Jim McLaren, one of her role models
  • “Quitting isn’t an option. It’s never an option.” Sarah Reinertsen
  • “You can’t let fear or embarrassment stop you. Feel it and do it anyway.” Sarah Reinertsen, about learning to swim
  • “I don’t tell you my story just to impress you; I tell you to impress upon you the possibility that exists in each and every one of us.” Sarah Reinertsen
  • “Every step forward, no matter how small, is progress.” Sarah Reinertsen
  • “Fear less, live more.” Sarah Reinertsen
  • “We all have the potential for success; you are UNSTOPPABLE.” Sarah Reinertsen

5 Reasons I’m Glad I Made the Trip and Ran the Race

  • I got to run part of the Boston Marathon course. I have a little bit better feel for it now, and have ideas about how to incorporate course specifics into my training. It also means that Boston won’t be the first time I’ve seen some of the later miles, which I’m sure will be helpful.
  • I made new friends! I got to meet and spend some time with cool people like Alana Bonner, a tweep of mine from Montreal and Kim, a (currently) local Boston area runner.
  • I learned that I’m a little better with heat/humidity/hills than I thought and/or that I did the right things with regard to hydration, electrolytes and pacing.
  • I learned that even without access to my normal pre-race dinner and all my routine comforts, I can run a good race, and I’m able to take care of myself in slightly odd situations without it impacting my performance. (yes, some of that was surely luck, but I’ll take it)
  • My performance, with or without the “spill”, shows me I may be a little stronger/faster than I thought, and reconfirmed that all the extra work that takes time, energy and commitment (hill reps, strength exercises, stretching, drills) is WORTH IT.

Have a great weekend!