Oh Heeeey, Heartbreak!

This past Saturday I set out to log my first long run of San Francisco Marathon training. I wasn’t nervous going into this run, but I have to admit, there is a bit of fear and apprehension as I begin this training cycle.  I’ve had a frustrating past two years when it comes to the 26.2 distance: one heartbreaking Marine Corps marathon where my four months of hard work fell apart in the first few miles, and then an injury a few weeks into training forced me to withdraw from the Chicago marathon.

Earlier this week I made plans to meet Katy on Saturday morning, to run an 8 mile loop starting and ending at the base of Heartbreak Hill. The last time I ran Heartbreak was during the 2010 Heartbreak Hill Half, when I was cursing hills and my lack of hill preparation prior to the race. When I finished the race I told Foxy that I would NEVER run the race again. Well, cue registering for the SF Marathon. It seems to be in my best interest to prepare for a marathon in one of the hilliest cities in the US on one of the hilliest half marathons in the area was probably a good idea. Hill training and avoiding injury are my two goals for SF training, so there is no better place to start than training on Heartbreak!

I met Katy close to 10am, we were supposed to meet at 9:30 but I couldn’t find my favorite running hat and felt a little frazzled (What can you absolutely NOT run without? Mine is a hat!) I found her car, parked and then shortly thereafter, we were on our way.

We started at roughly the 18.5 mile mark of the Boston Marathon course. Comm Ave was absolutely PACKED with people running, so it was a wonderful atmosphere with a lot of fast runners. Katy and I planned to take it at a reasonable pace and just went on our way.

Heartbreak in all of its glory. I definitely struggled through a long story I was telling Katy, but we focused and hammered out the hill. All in all, it wasn’t that bad. When we reached the top, I pointed out the turn that is the half way point in the HBH Half, which is significantly steeper and harder than Heartbreak itself! Luckily we saved that one for another day and ran past Boston College, Katy’s alma mater.

This is continuing down Comm Ave, with the Reservoir on the right. In just a two weeks this area will be lined with people for the Boston Marathon!

When we made our way down Comm Ave to Cleveland Circle, where we popped into a Dunkin’ Donuts to use the restroom and buy waters. Pictured below is 1950 Beacon Street, Katy’s crazy off campus apartment that she lived in Junior year of college. I have a laugh every time I pass this apartment with how many crazy parties we threw there when we were 21. Oh college..

From there we veered off the Marathon route and ran around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, which was extremely windy. Luckily we had each other and kept chatting away. This is when we took the turn onto College Road, which cuts through Boston College’s campus. Pictured here is Katy’s dorm from Sophomore year.

We picked up the pace and ran quickly back down Heartbreak and the other hills of Newton. I had to point this porta-potty out, I’ve read about this before, but it was the first time I saw the Saucony Porto in person. Such a creative Out of Home Advertising execution which ACTUALLY adds value to the consumer’s life. Not many other media placements can say that 🙂

When we finally reached our cars I couldn’t believe we were done. I felt so great that I wanted to keep on going for several more miles. However, in the interest in achieving my goals and avoiding injury, it was definitely best to stop. Some nice people walking by saw me struggling to take an extended arm photo of the two of us and they volunteered to take this photo 🙂

Afterwards Katy and I decided to head to Blue on Highland to grab some lunch because our friend Zach was working. As you can see from the photo, Blue isn’t exactly a safe haven of sweaty restaurant goers, so we were very happy that it wasn’t particularly busy.

I’m definitely not a food blogger, but I was so hungry and the food was SO delicious I had to share. We split the Chicken Sandwich and we each ate a few of the Parmesan and basil fries w/ a truffle dipping sauce. HOLY MOLY amazing.

Then, we split the spinach-prosciutto pizza with roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, & pine nuts. DELICIOUS.

All in all, it was a fantastic run. We had so much fun chatting that I barely realized that the hills were challenging. This run with Katy was so much fun and it definitely has made me look forward to adhering to my training schedule and staying healthy throughout this training cycle. First week down, 17 more to go!

Heartbreak – Boston College Route 8.56 Miles/9:42 Pace/1:22:57

How to you refuel from long runs? Do you have any long run rituals?