Boston Marathon Preview Run

Heartbreak Hill |

You guys, I ran up Heartbreak Hill.

For those who said it wasn’t even really a noticeable hill…you lied. Big time.

It most definitely is a long, gradual hill. Not the most horrible ever in the existence of hills. But it most definitely is a hill that you will feel especially after running up two right before it and it’s the last of four in Newton.

Saturday I got the marvelous opportunity to do a Boston Marathon Preview Run. Every year, one of our local running groups, Coastal Athletic Association, organizes a group run near the end of Boston training. I was so thankful my friend Dana mentioned it to me so I could tag along. There were 11 of us running. Of that, six of us will actually be running on Marathon Monday, but the remaining 5 tagged along for support along the course (water, GU’s, Gatorade, whatever you needed) in addition to keeping us company and to share their knowledge of the course. I was the lone person who has never run the course before!

Boston training run  happyfitmama.comPhoto courtesy of Kim.

I thought we were going to luck out for the run with gray skies and warm temps (30 degrees!!!). But no, it started to snow at some point. And not just little snow flakes, but big fat wet ones that stuck to your eyelashes, soaked everything from head to toe and made the sidewalks a slippery, snow packed mess.

What’s this Spring thing everyone is talking about?

We started in Needham and picked up the course (around mile 13-14). At mile 15-16 there’s a HUGE downhill. It didn’t feel so bad going down. But since we did an out and back loop, it really, really sucked going up. Especially since we were following Dana’s lead of 2:00 pick ups the last 5 miles. After the hill, we cruised along past the Newton Firehouse onto Comm Ave (or Commonwealth Ave if you don’t know the lingo) where the series of hills begins. BTW – there was a fireman in full gear outside the station manning a water station and cheering. So awesome.

It was crazy how many people were out for training runs. The carriage road was nothing but 100s of runners and water stops. While it was fun to see so many others running, it was also kind of annoying having to stop for foot and car traffic over and over. With the snowy conditions, it caused for having to work at least 3x harder to get good footing with each step. There were also little dips around the street lights that caused me to roll my ankle a couple of times. Thankfully it was nothing serious.

At the base of Heartbreak Hill, we had to stop for a mandatory photo opp with Johnny Kelley, the man who ran 61 Boston Marathons!

Young At Heart Heartbreak Hill

Once we got to the top of Heartbreak, Molly was there waiting for us with water, Gatorade or whatever else we needed. We then turned around and headed back the way we came. So not only did we get to run UP all the hills, we got to run DOWN the hills. No wonder my legs were feeling quite fatigued at the end. I had contemplated doing the full 20, but decided to call it at 18. My tummy wasn’t feeling the greatest and I’m not sure my injury prone body would appreciate three 20 milers in a row.

This coming weekend is my last long, long run of training. I’m doing Eastern States 20 Miler and hope to add a mile on at the beginning and at the end for 22 total. I still haven’t determined what my goal will be for the race – training run/race/part race?

28 days to go!

Have you ever run up Heartbreak Hill? What did you think?

39 comments on “Boston Marathon Preview Run

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more about Heartbreak Hill being a HILL!! Oh yes it is and my legs certainly felt it when I ran Boston. I think it’s awesome you were able to preview the course but the weather just won’t let up!!! Love the pictures and building excitement for Marathon Monday!!!
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – 40th Birthday Week!My Profile

  2. Thank you for talking about heartbreak, I have always wondered about it, and whether it is just a little bump, but just because of the location it had its name, but it is good to know (or maybe not!!!) that it is an actual hill! Glad you got to do your practice run, mine is today….but as I could not teleport to london, we drove to cincinnati, and I am sitting here eating my bland oatmeal. Glad it went well!
    Tina Muir recently posted..Meatless Monday- Superfood Eggplant LasagnaMy Profile

    1. This winter has been insane. My friends who ran the course last year at this time, had bare ground and warm temps. It’s unreal how cold it’s been and it’s almost April.

  3. So fun to see that statue picture b/c I have never noticed it when running the race (too many crowds?). I don’t mind Heartbreak but I also train on some very hilly terrain around these parts so I think that makes a difference. I’m really glad you got to check it, especially so close to race day b/c now you will remember the course well. And a 20-mile race is so perfect for training 3 weeks out!
    misszippy recently posted..Mondays on the runMy Profile

  4. What a great opportunity to be able to run the course! I love that people in your running group go to support the other runners. Runners are so kind! I have run heartbreak and it IS a tough little hill, and I’m coming from the land of hills. My running partner thinks it’s no big deal, but when I ran in 2013, it was hot. I started at 10:20 in the morning so by the time I got to heartbreak it was peak sunlight and I was done. Luckily the race is almost over when you finish it, and the crowds get very loud and motivating, you then hang a right onto Boylston and your done! I hope we have cool weather this year.
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    1. I’d be happy with cool weather just as long as their isn’t any precipitation. Or wind. It’s been sooooooo windy lately. It’s horrible!

  5. Good luck on that last loooong run! I ran 22 last Friday, and will do 20 this weekend. I can’t believe we are just a month away. I have never ran that hill, but my kids did run up and back down in at the race they have in Newton before the race. btw, what a fun event for the kids!! I did run a “Newton Hill” simulation on my treadmill this morning. It’s the closest I can come to it, so hopefully it will get me through it!

    I have to say I’m a little freaked out by the amount of snow on the ground in your pictures! In Ohio we are all clear of snow and I just thought Boston was the same. How can I plan a cute race day outfit with that snow still on the ground? πŸ™‚
    Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted..22 done!My Profile

  6. OK, even though it’s supposed to be spring, I LOVE these snowy running pictures. So glad that you had a chance to run part of the course and heartbreak hill. I’m sure that it’s helpful to have done that once – helps manage the race day expectations. I’ve said it before but I’m so excited for you to run this!
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  7. What a fun way to run Heartbreak Hill for the first time!!
    Glad you are having such an incredible training this time – and staying injury free!!!

  8. Such fun to be able to get on the course for a preview. You will rock those hills as long as you run a smart race. Remember not to burn out your quads in the start of the race on the downhills. The year I requalified at Boston I ran the Eastern States 20 miler as 10 easy and 10 fast at race pace. This was a good way to test my marathon speed. Good luck in the last 4 weeks of training. Train smart, get plenty of rest and plenty to eat and most of all have fun!

    1. Hopefully I will remember everyone’s warnings about the downhills come race day. That is a good strategy for Eastern States. I’m still undecided!

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