Sunday, June 8, 2014

Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Recap

Shalane and I after the 10K
This weekend ran in Runners' World inaugural Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival. The races I did were the 5K and the 10K, which both took place on Saturday morning (which was called the Five & Dime).

The races all began and ended on BC's campus, with the 5K going around the Chestnut Hill reservoir and the 10K an out-and-back course on Commonwealth Ave. in Newton (along the marathon course). Overall it was a beautiful day and well organized and fun race - basically everything you'd expect from a Runner's World event.

I treated both races as a workout opportunity since I'm still getting back into racing shape following a few weeks off, plus my IT band was very aggravated following last weekend's half marathon. And it turned out I wasn't the only one doing that. Olympic medalist and elite marathon runner Shalane Flanigan also joined the races. She ran with a group of people about 10 seconds behind me in the 5K, but the 10K was an experience that was pretty cool.

For the first four miles of the 10K I was hearing cheers for Shalane from the crowd and fellow runners (after the turnaround point) and realized that she was about 15 meters behind me. Then at mile four she pulled up alongside me and we ran side by side for a mile. It was a pretty cool experience running with an elite, professional runner (even if it was just a workout for her). Between all the cheers (which she was giving back to the other runners), I told her I couldn't wait to see her win Boston. Then I managed to snap a selfie after the race.

Overall - a pretty awesome experience and a really fun race. If Runner's World decided to make this an annual race, I'd highly recommend one - or several of them - to everyone!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Covered Bridges Half Marathon Recap

A stunning covered bridge that the course goes through
On Sunday I ran the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Vermont - one of most difficult races in the country to get into because it fills up in just minutes!

And the race lived up to the billing. It was one one of the most beautiful courses I've ever run, winding through stunning fields, neighborhoods, and down a winding dirt path next to a river. The course is also an overall net loss, so it's not too strenuous either. Since it was a hot day, the shade from the trees was also a welcome sight, so I was able to stay relatively cool on the course.

Fan support was also quite strong, especially for a small town race. There were pockets of crowds that made a lot of noise, especially in Woodstock.

The only negative is that we ran through just one covered bridge. Given the name of the race, I was expected to go through several of them. The Swanzey Half Marathon in New Hampshire.

Overall this race is a must-run for any person within driving distance. And if you aren't, turn it into a vacation. The town of Woodstock is awesome and a great place to spend the weekend. Just strolling through town or going on an easy run is such a nice way to relax and get away from it all.