I think I’m finally mentally prepared to recap the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival. [I was able to participate in the events as part of the blogger ambassador crew. Don’t know who signed off on that, but I am super grateful to them for including me.] We packed so much activity into such a short amount of time that my brain is a little fried. I mean, we even made time for the ever- important pre-race shoe photo. Gotta keep it cliché, my friends.
But, really, I am incredibly thankful to have had this experience. If this gets wordy, it’s because I really don’t know what parts to leave out. Oh, and I’m going to warn you that I might overuse the words awesome and amazing. My bad.
Friday morning we woke up bright and early to experience the famous-for-being-painful November Project. It is essentially a free community workout. How sweet is that? A bunch of like-minded people gather together and murder their leg on hills, stairs, and whatever else they can find. I really want to stress like-minded, because other than that, it was an awesomely diverse crowd.
There were people of all fitness levels and backgrounds, and it was incredible to see them all come together for the sake of a good workout. The 45-minute workout had us climbing a neighborhood hill, rolling under a random road block, and running down and up a grassy hill. It actually sounds kind of boring if you didn’t get to experience it. 1.) It was ridiculously hard, 2.) I’ve never gotten so many high fives in my life, and 3.) the leader, Brogan, is the most motivating individual I’ve ever seen in my life. They have locations all over the place, but sadly none are anywhere me. <-Not that shocking. I’m moving to a bigger city, ASAP.
After our workout, we headed to Zaftigs for a freaking delicious meal.
I ended up splitting three meals three ways with three other girls. Let’s all just say three again. Anyway, I got to try two omelets (one with apples and then my life changed) and French toast. I want it all again right this minute.
We quickly washed up after breakfast so that we wouldn’t miss out on some inspirational speakers: Sarah and Shalane. First name basis, y’all. They are both now my besties but, oddly enough, haven’t returned any of my calls.
Sarah, a runner and triathlete, was the first female leg amputee to compete in an Ironman. Shalane, an Olympic marathoner, poses just like me in pictures. Bet that isn’t where you thought I was going with that one. In all serious, though, I truly now have a greater appreciation for runners everywhere. They all have their own struggles, and they all break barriers every single day. You go, runners.
After laughing and crying our way through listening to those two talk, we dug into food from the Runner’s World Cookbook. I learned that watermelon and feta needs to be in my life at all times.
After lunch, we had a bit too much fun at the expo. Things even got a little dicey at the finish line.
Oh, Theodora. I’ll recap the expo and vendors in another post, because there were a ton of great sponsors. I’ll have some giveaways coming your way soon, too!
Saturday was race day number one. On the agenda? A 5k and a 10k. Race recaps are still floating around in my mind. Until I post those, just know that I survived.
I also got some pretty cool medals and ate a lot of cinnamon bagels. So weird that no one would pose with me in this one.
After our races, we grabbed some food at the campus café (hello, college flashbacks) and then watched the dog race. This was by far my favorite little fella. He was SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD and such a thug for showing up. He’s the Harriet of the dog world.
After I realized that I smelled worse than the animal competitors, I bathed and then did a little Bart Yasso fangirling. We attended his seminar and I am blown away by all that he has experienced and accomplished. I want to be him. It’s not weird.
I also attended a seminar on blogging, where three of my favorite people made us all look a little dumber in comparison. Karla, Matt, and Katy make me want to learn how to write proper sentences and be an adult. I kind of dig them.
We ate a huge pasta dinner and pretended we were college freshman again afterwards. It was as perfect as it sounds.
Finally, the grand finale. Sunday was the Heartbreak Hill Half, and it was more than what I had hoped for. Again, I’ll recap the races later, but suffice to say that we could not have had a better time out there if we tried. There is something to be said for running races just for fun. We started and finished with huge grins on our faces, that’s for sure. Can’t always say that. (Photo courtesy of Runner’s World.)
The post-race party included excitement-induced jumping, awkward group dancing, and lots of water and snacks. Best day ever.
I can only hope that I’ll be fortunate enough to fly in under the radar and squeeze myself back into this amazing group of bloggers again next year. Speaking of bloggers, here’s the list of all in attendance:
- Katie of Runs For Cookies
- Sarah of Sarah Fit
- Jason of Strength Running
- Matt of No Meat Athlete
- Anne of Fannetastic Food
- Amanda of Run To The Finish
- Katy of Katy Widrick
- Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point
- Charlene Fab Running
- Theodora of Preppy Runner
- Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers
- Karla of Run Karla Run
- Heather Relentless Forward Commotion
- Marnie of Run Street
- Sarah of Picky Runner
- Larisa Larisa Dixon
- Jessica of Keeping Mommy Sane
- Dani of Weight Off My Shoulders
Question: What was your best moment of the weekend? It’s not even fair that I’m asking this because I can’t answer that question myself. If I had to say something, it was getting to meet everyone. Yep, I cheated a little. Sue me.