Ready or Not, The Heartbreak Hill Half is Coming…

Some tweeps have been asking me if I’m ready for Sunday’s race. The answer is “I really don’t know”….and I’m a bit nervous about that. I suppose it all depends on your definition of “ready”.

I haven’t trained for hills or in warmer weather, but I am used to covering the distance. The intent of this race is to be a learning experience for me (my only chance to run on some of the Boston course before the big day) and a hill training run at a good pace. I am struggling with my expectations knowing it won’t be a PR (there’s just no way that’s gonna happen), trying to keep a “just run strong and have fun” mindset. I don’t really think of myself as competitive but I have been told (by DH) that I am, especially with myself.

I’m trying to decide whether or not to run with a pace group. At the moment, I’m thinking yes, because I don’t yet have a good feel for my pace on flat roads, much less hills. A pace group would let me just follow people familiar with the course, and help me learn a little by watching them – as well as, hopefully, keeping me from imploding from rookie mistakes.

In preparation updates, I shipped my preferred gel to the hotel today, but will bring packets of a second choice and an empty flask as backup. I also have to carry bread, nut butter, bars and some other food since my dietary restrictions mean not much of what’s readily available works for me. If I want lunch or snacks, I’m on my own. I’m not looking forward to lugging the whole kit & caboodle around all day and night, but that’s what’s got to be. I won’t hit the hotel until after Sarah Reinertsen’s speech, cabbing it there and then back to the race start the next morning. (then back to hotel post-race, and airport to fly home!)

Still TBD: what’s on my iPod, music v. podcasts. I’m leaning music, faster-paced to help me keep pushing. I love my podcasts, but I might unintentionally slow down listening to the interesting discussions. I realize the race “discourages” headphones, but I need all the help I can get! I’ll keep the volume pretty low, and if I’m with a pace group, that should mostly allay concerns about missing instructions or announcements. Of course, this means a bit of playlist tweaking and syncing has to happen in the next (gulp) 3 days as well as laundry and packing (list-making!). Hoping to have a semi-regular/relaxed Friday night, even if an early bedtime, means everything needs to be done by COB Friday. Yay for teleworking!

Also TBD: whether i get up even earlier on Saturday (need to leave the house around 5:45am) so I can get in a quick 3mile max shakeout run. Right now I’m leaning yes, but we’ll see. I find the shakeout runs help me – so do drills and a brief run before race start. I won’t have any other chance to do a run on Saturday, and while walking to dinner and back will help, a lot of Saturday will be standing and sitting (including the plane), not ideal for the day pre-race. If I don’t want to do it Saturday, I’ll need to run Friday instead of bike or my body will be even more confused as it will have had two days between runs, something that only happens post-race.

If you’re going to be at the race, the expo or the seminars, I would love to meet up with you. Get in touch ahead of time, or if you want to look for me there, I’ll probably be the only one attached to a bright green Speedo swim backpack (aka my carryon luggage). My “schedule” such as it is, is below.

Current Saturday Plan:

I expect to get to the expo around 10. (7am flight lands around 830, cab to expo) I’ll do packet pickup and see what goodies I might “need” (and what fits in my backpack). While I love that they’re doing book (and autograph card) signings, I already have many of the books, so not sure I’ll do more than wander by.

12pm Women’s Running seminar (if that doesn’t hold my interest, I’ll move to the Masters seminar)

12:45 Bart Yasso’s seminar!  (if possible given the previous seminar, not sure how long sessions last)

1:30 How to Get Faster and Go Longer

(looks like I might have some free time between these two to chat, probably not enough to get to my hotel and back)

3:45 Course Strategy – How to Run the Heartbreak Hill Half (a must, and probably helpful for me for Boston too)

I would have loved to attend the 3:45 blogging session – and hope to meet some of the panelists – but course strategy has to take priority. I’m actually surprised they scheduled anything else at the same time.

Then, I’ll walk a mile or so off campus to a casual restaurant called Boloco (seems Chipotle-like) that assures me they can meet my dietary constraints with a salad and chicken, and then walk back for the 7pm Sarah Reinertsen keynote. Can’t wait, I’m reading her book now, amazing woman. If anyone would like to join me for dinner, I’d welcome the company!

Whether or not you’re going to be at the race, sending strong and speedy thoughts my way on Sunday morning (race start 7:30 ET) would be much appreciated! If you’re racing, in Boston or elsewhere, know i’ll be sending some good vibes your way too.