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Heartbreak Hill Half: Pre Race Report

May 12, 2010

It seems like just yesterday that I was outlining my half marathon training plan and signing up for the Katie Lynch Purple Shoes Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. Snow was still covering the ground and my boyfriend and I were planning our next ski weekend when I signed up. Since then we’ve had sunny weather, 90 degree days, the Kentucky Derby, and now the race is just 3 days away! After Eight weeks of training, I’m feeling primed and ready. I’ve integrated speed work and tempo runs into my training plan and I anticipate great results. One of my biggest frustrations with marathon training is how broken down and slow I have become.  To combat this I have tested cross training combined with the challenge of interval speed work outs and gentle pick ups to help me ‘feel the need for speed’. I have felt confident and relatively healthy the entire time, so I am anticipating a solid performance, although I knew the course wasn’t easy, this is HEARTBREAK Hill afterall. I knew it was going to be tough, but I figured “I’m in shape, I can handle it” I felt this way until, I made the mistake of checking the elevation map for this race…

WOW. This is going to be tough, 836 feet of climbing? eek! I then made ANOTHER mistake of comparing the elevation chart to one from the Marine Corps Marathon, where the highest elevation was 160 feet. I immediately had flashbacks pop into my head of my chest tightening and suffering the breathe at mile 8 of the Marine Corps Marathon, which is one race I would like to erase from my memory! The highest point of the Heartbreak Hill Half is 280 feet, YIKERS! That’s an additional 120 feet of hill climbing, not to mention the increased frequency of hills compared to the MCM course.

I nervously told my friends about this new elevation discovery, and they shook their head and told me the best advice: trust your body! And you know what? They’re right. I might not have trained hills at the length that I should have, but at least I’ve geared up my training to include speed work and pushing through pain at the end of runs. Plus, it’s not like I haven’t conquered hills or tough courses before. So for the next few days I will be pushing aside fear, self doubt and past issues and looking forward to conquering the hills of Newton! Wish me luck!

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