Sunday, June 15, 2014

Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Festival - Day 3 - 5k & 10k | Welcome to Humidity & Hills

Although I had been in Boston for only a day and half, I had felt I was there a week already.  So much action, excitement and meeting new people.

The night before, I met my dormmates, Katie McDonald Neitz (Articles Editor) and Joanna Golub (Senior Editor) of Runners World.  They saw my distress of having to deal with a cardboard box, which was now a series of shopping bags.  They were getting ready for a special dinner when I asked if they knew of anyone who had a vehicle and could drive me to the local Target (or wherever) after the races on Saturday, so I may purchase a piece of luggage.  

My Plan B was to take a bus.  I was hoping I wouldn't have to, but it needed to be done. 

Katie and Joanna were so kind and they were going to ask around the VIP dinner for help.  I hoped for the best, but I was willing to take a bus if I needed to.  Buying another piece of luggage was now mandatory, not an option.  


Onward onto race day #1...

I loved staying on Boston College.  I would gladly give up a posh hotel to be able to walk to the Start of a race.  Having the opportunity to go back and forth to my room, as I wanted, was such a benefit.

To get to the Start, we had to get a leg workout in.  Stairs.  3 flights of stairs.

And one more!

As customary, I arrived about an hour early to check out the Start/Finish Line.  While I was not hardcore racing the races, I was taking it seriously and didn't want to waste this opportunity to run in Boston.  I had two goals for the 5k and 10k.  I felt I could easily run a 25:## for the 5k and get under an hour for the 10k.  In my mind, they were good tempo runs and an experience I would never forget.

First up - I put my ladybug stuffie on the Start Line

Here are the pictures of the Start/Finish

And the view of coming into the finishing chute (pre-race, of course)

Such a beautiful backdrop to start and finish the race.  My History buff heart was pitter pattering.

As I was hanging out in the corrals I heard someone call my name.  That was such an odd thing to Boston.  I turned around and it was my dormmates, Katie and Joanna.  Katie proceeded to tell me that our Keynote Speaker, Sarah Reibertsten was giving me her luggage.


Katie tells me that one of the Editors was going to take me to Target and Sarah overhead the conversation and offered to give me a piece of her luggage as she wasn't needing it.  

What are the odds of that happening?  

1.  She doesn't need a piece of luggage
2.  Someone (me) needs luggage

I stood there rather bewildered by it all and how this all came about.  I thank them profusely and was told I could get the luggage at gear check after the race.  

We parted ways and I made my way up towards the front of the corrals.  A familiar face and VOICE was there, Rudy Novotny.  I knew he would be there, but it was wonderful to see my pal in Boston.  One is going to believe we follow each other around to race to race.  :)

The 5k began and we were off.  The humidity was already making my back sweat and my fear of a migraine was on my mind.   I held a real strong pace until we hit the first part of the Newton hills and yes, of course I slowed down a bit.  It's a hill.  

I came in at my goal 25:##.  I felt good and knew I needed to regroup before the 10k.  Quickly sipped on some water & gatorade.  Swallowed an Island Boost & sipped on some water.  I didn't want to gulp, because I knew it would mean I would need to use the bathroom in the middle of the 10k.  I have such a small bladder.  

Lined up for the 10k and off we went.  The humidity was rising. I literally had sweat coming down my legs. 

After the 5k, I knew I needed to be mindful of the multitude of manhole covers.  I don't need another repeat of SFM 2013.

I was doing well.  Holding a great pace when my foot when into a pot hole that I didn't see coming.  I felt my body start to go down.  I remember my hands reaching out to stop my fall and it felt like someone had grabbed me at the neck and pulled me up.  I never hit the ground.  Thank you, God!

I stood up and stood there for a few moments.  I was shaken up.  No tears, but my mind and body frozen up.  The fear of falling is so strong, that coming that close to my fear was a doozy.  I stood off to the left of the racers, I couldn't even walk.  I had to catch my breathing and be grateful that I didn't have an close encounter with the pavement, again. 

I looked at my sports watch and realized I had lost A LOT of minutes with that glitch.  I then looked at the road and thought, "I am standing in Boston.  BOSTON!  I am running roads that many would kill to be here.  Show your respect and finish this"

I began running again and decided the best thing I could do was punch it on the flat and downhills and hold it on the uphills.  

I began to sweat even more. So much so, I could feel my shorts getting heavy with sweat.  The thought even occurred to me I had pee my pants and I didn't know!  Yes, that is exactly what I thought, don't laugh. 

I came in at 59:## - I had hit my goal and I believe that I conquered a huge fear of falling.  I ran Newton Hills.  I ran the holy ground of running.  I ran in Boston.  Holy smokes!  Someone pinch me.

After I grabbed some bananas and gatorade.  I made my way to a a large section of grass and took a picture of my medals (5k & 10k), ladybug stuffie and Ladybug's ball

Next up - the race I had been waiting for - the Doggie race!  I switched from my white visor to my new ladybug hat.  I felt it was appropriate for a dog race, don't you think?

And guess who is the Announcer? The VOICE, Rudy Novonty!

The race was just too precious for words. They decided to cut the race to a 1 mile, because it was getting too warm. A Vet was on standby and carefully watched all the dogs as they lined up.  Most pet parents wet down the dogs from the bathtubs provided.  I so wish I could of had Daisy Mae and Honeybear there. Well, at least Daisy Mae. Honeybear would of whined the entire time, Daisy Mae would of enjoyed the race moment. 


Lining up for the race start

17 year old Beagle being pushed in a running stroller

As I was standing there by Rudy's announcer area, I look to my immediate right and who is there? Sarah!  She turns and sees me and we give each other a great big hug and laugh about the luggage story.  

Meet Zoe.  She almost won the race!  She runs 10 miles a day!


Above is an adorable video of a dog running into the bathtubs to cool down.  

My shorts were still soaking wet (and my singlet), I needed to get back to my dorm room, quickly.  As I was walking towards the dorm, Laura Beachy texted me to tell me where I could pick up my luggage from Sarah.  

Back to the Expo building I went.  When I was handed the luggage, I lost it.  I cried.  I was overwhelmed at the irony of it all and a major magazine had taken so much time and energy to help me out.  They had so much bigger things to worry about and they took their time to help me. 

After a quick shower, I put on my new compression socks from Running Skirts.  I am seriously considering wearing these for the DL Avengers in November.  

I spent the afternoon relaxing in my dorm room.  Using my esssential oils and my neck/back massager to keep the migraines away.  While I loved being around everyone and the event excitement, it was good for me to decompress for a few hours with some alone time.  

More photos of Boston College

Before dinner, I made my way back to the Expo for a seminar.  I felt it was important for me to know a strategy for this course.  It was going to be much warmer and more humid.  Great seminar and so informative.  I had the chance to meet and take a selfie with the Boston Marathon, RD. 

The Boston Marathon RD, David McGillivray. See you in 2016!

Then...onto dinner.  The traditonal pre-race pasta dinner.  Typically, I never go out pre-race, I like to be in control of my food.  Yet, I was an invited guest blogger and I wanted to see everyone on the blogging team, again.  It might be my last time to see them, since we all depart after the Half Marathon.

The food was wonderful. I am not sure what other pasta dinners offer, but this had a variety of fruits, vegetables and pasta.  I asked if they had GF options and about 20 minutes later, the server brought me a beautiful plate of chicken, rice and steam veggies.  I was happy.

I chatted a bunch with Laura Beachy and a few others bloggers. It was nice to get to know some of them.  What an diverse group.

Here is the famous Laura Beachy, the RW PR Coordinator

Onward to the keynote event with Sarah.

I sat close to the stage.  I do not hear well and sitting in a room with echos, would be hard, so I had to separate myself from the other bloggers as they sat more towards the back of the room.  Hope they understand. 

I sat there and listened to the introductions of RW and the Editor in Chief, David Wiley came up to introduce Sarah.  He explained how generous and wonderful Sarah is (I agree!) and he starts to tell this story of a blogger whose luggage was damaged...

Oh dear.

And he shares my story of my cardboard box and Sarah giving me her luggage.  

The room erupted in laughter, while my eyes had tears.  I was not embarrassed at all, but I was grateful that the running community would hear a great story of caring and compassion.  I just happen to be in that story, and Sarah certainly deserved the praise. 

Sarah made her way to the stage and she is such a great speaker.  I loved her story. As I said, the moment after I met her - if I ever wanted to be a Triathlete, she would be my motivation & inspiration.

I purchased her book, of course.  I asked her to autograph it.  This was a weekend, I was not going to forget.  

After her keynote speech, I made my way to David Willey and introduced myself as the "cardboard box blogger"  We both laughed.  

Back to the dorm room to get some sleep and ready for the half marathon.

As I was putting out my race gear I began to read Sarah's book.  I thought to myself, "she is running tomorrow.  Hope she isn't going to run alone, I am sure she will be pooped after the weekend activities"

The lightbulb came on.  

I reached out to Sarah and asked her if she would like company on her Half Marathon.  If not, I completely understand.  After a few back and forth text messages, we agreed to run together.  It just felt right, to me.  I had no idea what her pace would be, afterall - she is an Ironman Athlete (which I am not). 

Went to bed and hoped for a good nights sleep - headache free.

*Disclaimer:   I was an invited guest blogger to the Inaugural Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Festival in Boston.  The views, reviews and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the organizers nor sponsors or any other company/individual affiliated with the event.

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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