Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival: Half Marathon Recap!

Welcome to my final Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival recap: the half marathon race recap! I did the “Hat Trick” (5k + 10k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday), so if you missed my first post recapping the 5k and 10k, check that out first. :)


The half marathon took place bright and early on Sunday morning! When I first woke up I was definitely feeling less than stellar, but once I shook out my legs a little and had some caffeine (and another bagel that I confiscated from the post-race area the day before) things were looking up. Elevator selfie – let’s do this!


The half marathon starting corrals were significantly more crowded than the 5k and 10k had been, so we waited just off the side of the 9 minute area (with lots of other people) until everyone started moving and we could make our way in. Worked out just fine!

Hello again, starting line. We missed you.


Despite the fact that my legs were tired and it was hot out, this actually ended up being my favorite race of the weekend by far! It felt kind of like one big party since I had so many blogger buddies out on the course, and we spent the whole time chatting away, probably to the huge annoyance of anyone around us.

There was also that cool moment in mile 1 where Shalane Flanagan passed me. Nbd. I let her pass me, obviously. ;) We thought it was so cool that she was out running with us commoners and not up at the front!


The course was a kind of combination of the 5k and 10k with some extras thrown in, too.



I consider this race the one where I really perfected the mid-race selfie. You’re welcome. (Hi Dani, Presley, and Katy!)


Look, we found Theodora, too!


All of us kept it casual on pace and strolled through the water stops. I decided not to wear my standard hydration vest since we weren’t worried about time, and it was nice to take our time hydrating instead of rushing back off. I did a mix of water and Gatorade (which I don’t normally love because of the food dye/color, but I needed the salt/carbs and it tasted like magic in the hot weather. p.s. Dear Gatorade, please remove dyes/artificial coloring from your products. Love, Anne).


In addition to the Gatorade and water, I also snagged two margarita shot bloks from Theodora that I ate around miles 4 and 6. I planned to buy some gels/bloks at the expo but Clif wasn’t selling any! But they did they did say they would be out at mile 10 on the course with gels. Yay!


It was also fun to be able to stop for photos without worrying about pace! Dani and I snagged a photo in front of the Newton Fire Department around mile 9ish. She said they were out all winter long offering water and fuel to runners during Boston Marathon training runs. Amazing!


Here we go again, Heartbreak Hill!


Clif was at mile 10, just like they promised. Hizzah!


I snagged my fave – a mocha Clif shot gel. Caffeine me, please! The only bummer was that there wasn’t another water stop for about a mile – next time I’d recommend having one with or shortly after the gels, because they make you thirsty. :)



By around mile 11, Dani, Theodora, and I had also been joined by Amanda, and we all stopped for a selfie with Heartbreak Bill from Heartbreak Hill Running Company. Apparently he was out all winter cheering on the runners while they trained, too! Such a supportive community. Also, this photo cracks me up. :)


Mile 12 – almost there!


More hills – bring it on! I think doing the hill of death up to my apartment a lot at the end of long runs really prepared me for this. I wasn’t fast but I felt fine and didn’t need to walk. :) Proud to have conquered Heartbreak Hill not once but twice in one weekend!



In a serendipitous moment, Amanda, whose blog is called Run to the Finish, and I found ourselves running to the finish together. Even though we kept it casual during the whole race, we still sprinted (or at least ran faster… we were saying how sometimes at the end of a race you feel like you’re sprinting/flying but you’re totally not, lol) when we reached the finish chute. :) As I’ve said before, there’s nothing quite like finishing a race! You feel like such a rock star.


I did it – Hat Trick success!


We all definitely earned this medal – that was a HOT race! I was really glad I wasn’t trying to push it on pace because I don’t think I could have in that heat, anyway. As for how I felt after having done a hill workout on Friday and a 5k and 10k on Saturday before doing this half marathon on Sunday – well, I surprised myself by feeling better than I thought I would! Again, I certainly couldn’t have set a PR, but in terms of doing the distance, we all made it fun and it was a good reminder that sometimes you can do more than you think you can. :)

Official half marathon finish time: 2:08:34 (9:49 min/mile average).


I immediately attacked these Cape Cod potato chips. Salt and carbs, yes please.


So proud of myself, my fellow bloggers, and everyone else who was out there this weekend! What a blast. Gorgeous medals, too – the Boston heart in the center of the medals even spun around!


Loved the post-race festival that Runner’s World put on, too. We were all completely endorphin wasted, as Theodora would say, and had fun playing in the grass and listening to the music after the race. :)


Another big thank you to Runner’s World for sponsoring my trip to their festival! I also wanted to say a special thank you again to the volunteers who supported us and to the race sponsors for their generosity. A few specific shout outs/thank yous go to:

  • Poland Spring for hooking us all up with lots of water on the course – we needed it in the heat!
  • Finagle a Bagel for fueling all the runners up post-run with all the carbs.
  • Clif for handing out my favorite gels on the course!
  • New Balance for gifting the bloggers with the Impact Tunic Tank (I’m wearing it in the 5k and 10k race photos – LOVED it)
  • The Stick for gifting the bloggers with a stick of our choice – I went for the “little stick” so I can travel with it and am pumped to have this in my suitcase for race weekends! It was a lifesaver. I also bought myself their trigger wheel at the expo – this thing feels AMAZING on my super tight neck/shoulders/chest.
  • Wild Planet for the tuna samples – the packets made for amazing post-race protein snacks!
  • Running Skirts for the awesome stars & stripes compression socks – these were a lifesaver post-race.
  • Balega for the socks – their socks are tied with these Brooks running socks as my absolute favorite running socks!
  • Health Warrior for the chia bar samples – excited to try them!
  • Sparkly Soul for the cute sparkly headband! Because everyone knows that looking cute makes you run faster.

And another thank you to my fellow bloggers for making this weekend such a fun one (and to Presley for being my weekend roomie – loved meeting you girl)! Here’s hoping we all find ourselves running together again sooner than later. :) (Photo via Heather!)

bloggers runners world_thumb[1]

Can’t wait until the next Hat Trick! Who’s with me?! (Psst: sign up here to receive alerts about the 2015 Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon!) And if you were in Boston this past weekend too, how’d it go? :)

What’s the hottest race you’ve ever done? Mine is hands down my first half marathon back in 2010! It was brutalllll.


  1. 1

    I am definitely in for the next one!!!

  2. 2

    Well done!!! What a weekend!!! Hope your legs are holding up this week, lots of swimming and yoga!!! Such a fun idea..amazing what you can do with friends around you!

  3. 3

    Yay! Congrats Anne!

  4. 4

    That looks like so much fun. I think I have to put this on my to do list for next year.

  5. 5

    Yayyyy!!! Congrats on an awesome achievement!! This sounds like a blast and I will seriously consider running the Hat Trick (or at least the half) next year.

    Also I’m SO glad our stupid Rosslyn hill is good for something! ;)

  6. 6

    Congrats! A Hat Trick is on my bucket list. I ran the half marathon – it was the hottest and hilliest one I had ever done. But I had an absolute blast! Such a pretty, historic course

  7. 7

    What a great weekend! I loved reading all of your posts about your Runner’s World races! Congrats on all of your races!

  8. 8

    Great Job! Looks like so much fun. What do you drink instead of Gatorade for half marathons/races? I also am not a fan of the artificial ingredients!

  9. 10

    Well done, it looks like you had a fantastic time and the pictures were great. 3 races one weekend what a fun time.

  10. 11

    I’m impressed with your pace but more so your running pics. Mine are just blurry swirls!

  11. 13
    Roadrunner says

    Really impressive, Anne — and clearly great fun, too! Well done!

  12. 14

    Looks like an amazing race weekend. I’ve never run in Boston but def want to. Your pics are great and so is your pace. Thanks for sharing!

  13. 15

    Hahaha I had a mini freak out fangirl moment when I saw Shalane pass me around mile 2.5 in the half marathon. She’s so incredible!

  14. 16

    It looks veryyyy hot but like a lot of fun! Glad you were able to enjoy the races this weekend without worrying about setting a PR, I think sometimes runners take races too seriously and forget that they are supposed to be fun! I will definitely consider signing up next year, I’ve never been to Boston and I’m super curious about this heartbreak hill :)

  15. 17

    I want to do this next year! I would love it if you had any tips on how to prepare and fuel/refuel for a string of races like this.

  16. 18

    Best roomie everrrrr.

  17. 20

    That’s fantastic! Congratulations on the race weekend hat trick! I love the pictures along the way, the one of the gorilla is particularly fun! So glad you had a fun weekend, it’s sounds like a blast!

  18. 21

    Hi Anne! Thank you for mentioning my name on the other blog post! It was so exciting to meet you and Julie! I was glad that I said Hi to you girls.
    And, Congratulation on your Hat Trick! You motivate me and I am definitely in it next year!

    One question if you could answer… would you recommend compression socks or sleeves? I do not have either one but I am interested in getting one but not sure which one. I see you wearing sleeves for your races. Will sleeves comfortable or work better than socks?
    Appreciate your recommendation. Thanks and Have fun at SF!

    • 22

      It was great meeting you! :) I like sleeves better for while I’m actually running, especially if it’s warm out, since they breath more. Hanging out at home I prefer socks since they are cosier and not quite as tight!

  19. 23

    You have some serious running selfie talent! Great race!

  20. 24

    Way to rock your race Anne! I really enjoyed reading this recap.

  21. 25

    Omgsh, mid-race selfie!!! I can’t imagine taking one of myself in the middle due to my uhhhh slow death? Haha! And whenever I see pictures of starting lines I get all antsy and nervous. I think it stems from my xcountry days in high school :P It looks like y’all had so much fun, Anne!

  22. 26

    This looks amazing! I would love to get involved with this next year!

  23. 27

    I am SO impressed with your ability to take so many photos during the race. I tried, but they just never turn out very good ;) Anyway, it was so great to meet you. Congrats on finishing the races!


  1. […] it makes sense I’m tired today since I’ve been traveling a lot. But last Tuesday, just after running 3 races in a row up in Boston, I met up with my high school BFF Jenny for a morning run, and I felt great – super energized! We […]

  2. […] to bust out my American flag compression socks, which were a gift from Running Skirts at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival last […]

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