With the 2020 racing void in effect, some of our fastest Heartbreakers secretly took aim at our Firehouse records. "The Firehouse" is the name given to our signature 10 mile run from our Newton, MA flagship store at the base of Heartbreak Hill. It incorporates miles 16-21 of the Boston Marathon making it a hilly and unforgiving loop. Here's the story in their own words from that morning, Halloween, snow dusted & cold (10/31/2020).
[Photo journal of the day at the bottom.]
Jarred Iacovelli: I remember being one of the first at the store that morning and one by one the squad came in with big smiles and big positive vibes.
Amy Tortorello: It was cold, a little icy, but also magical out there from the snowstorm. Lots of jittery friends and teammates were waiting at mile 20 to get going.
Jonathan Phillips (Jonny): A lot of jitters— for most of us, this was the most legit “race” we were going to have. There was a heavy element of procrastination— everybody showed up late, and we were pushing the warm-up further back. Part of that was to let the snow melt, part of it was nerves.
Conor Cashin (pacing Amy): It was snowy, spooky, and exciting. When we set out for the warm up down the carriage lane, I got all the good feels just warming up with my squad again.
Stephen Bourguet: It was surprisingly freeing to be doing this entirely on our own terms. No officials, no rush to get to the start line, (almost) no spectators, and no clock other than the watches on our wrists.
Jarred: Chatting with the squad before our warm-up, it occurred to me that my last race effort was back in February (which is wild it's been that long!). I felt lots of excitement and honestly, really nervous. I could tell others were feeling that way too which amplified those feelings even more. But warming up and toeing the line with the squad felt SO damn good... This summer I had told Jonny I wanted to go for the Firehouse record, mainly just to have something on the calendar to shoot for. And at the time I honestly didn't think I'd even come close. But as we trained for it and the date got closer, I felt the confidence in Stephen and Jonny and I started to realize that goal was actually realistic for us.
Amy T: I felt pretty confident I could take down the women's time (a real walk in the park for Rosa), but what I actually wanted to do was break 60. That was what I'd been gunning for, so it felt good to have an A and a B goal!
Stephen: [Of the task] it's intimidating. Tim Ritchie is an outstanding runner, and those Newton hills can really beat you up.
Jonny: Tim Ritchie is a US Champ. I knew getting the record was a long shot, so my main goal was just to stay present and stay committed. Even if I made mistakes or had a bad mile, I wanted to be able to pick it back up and recommit.
Jarred: The first half mile up to Heartbreak was probably one of the worst stretches of road conditions on the whole course (slushy and icy). I don't even think I had hit two miles before my hammys started to bother me, probably from some combination of slipping going up and down Heartbreak. This pain was getting worse and I thought there's no way I'm making it 10 miles, so new plan-- just try and make it halfway through to mile 5 to help the guys out.
Stephen: The first checkpoint for me was the mile mark. I told myself to not worry too much about the pace going up Heartbreak Hill, so I tried to stay relaxed for it, but we went through the mile in 4:57 anyway. A lot can go wrong between miles 1 and 10, but that was the first time I thought 49:13 was actually within reach.
Conor: It was also kind of tricky with snow, traffic, leaves, and all that. So getting through each checkpoint without any mishaps was awesome.
Jarred: Around mile 6, Stephen started to separate and Jonny and I began swapping pacing duties. The last few miles on Comm Ave HURT. My legs, my lungs, everything.
Jonny: the hardest stretch for me was miles 7&8 where the finish felt so far away. I knew Comm Ave was hilly, but it was less than two miles. I knew I could do that.
Amy T: That first hill at the Firehouse was pretty brutal, but I knew we'd been cruising pretty well the whole time that if I kept it up, I would get it.
Stephen: My other checkpoint was mile 8– the "other" Comm Ave hill. At that point I was on pace and feeling pretty good, so when I saw my watch say 4:57 again, I knew I had a real shot of breaking the record.
Amy T: I felt like I was really dragging up the hills, but with about 2 miles to go, Conor's watch beeped and he told me it was our fastest mile yet! So that felt really great and gave me the final boost I needed.
Jarred: Coming through that last 200 meters or so, all the fatigue and pain subsided and I was absolutely elated that we fucking crushed it.
Jarred: Honestly, it felt so good to dig that deep again.
Amy T: When I turned around after hitting 10 just past the shop, I think I gave C & T each a big smiley high five, and then saw the Mango crew jogging towards me on their cool down along with Seth, Cait, and a couple others. Will be honest and say I got choked up because I missed team stuff so much!
Jarred: I can't believe how close Jonny and I came to the record, and so pumped that Stephen absolutely buried it. Whatever big goal we decide on next, I can't wait to do it again.
Stephen: Pumped. I was sore the day after, but the adrenaline overcame everything else for the rest of the day.
Jonny: For the first time since college, I knew I wasn’t in PR shape for my peak “race” — which is why my goals were being present and committed. I had a lot of weak moments, but was always able to pull myself out of them and recommit (especially with Jarred’s help)— and I found I was a lot closer to top shape than I thought.
Conor: I did not think the boys would get the record. I always used to say "no one will run the Firehouse faster than Tim did" so I want to give Stephen special props on snagging it, and making me feel like I'm retired in the process.
Jarred: there is no way possible we could have had that kind of day without Chris Madaffari on bike duty stopping traffic for us at every intersection. SO CLUTCH.
Amy T: We need to get a Heartbreaker lady gang out there to try to take more time off of this! A new bar was set but I think we're going to see that get cut down even more in the next year. LET'S GET IT!
Jonny: Our narrative around our training is almost as important as our training. I’ve felt that my training this spring/summer/fall was held together by duct tape; but I proved that was not the case. That run is helping me re-frame months of my training and changing the narrative I tell myself, propelling me to future starting lines with more confidence.
Stephen: No Heartbreaker is Limited.
Amy Tortorello: 59:21, 10/31/2020 (previous record by Rosa Moriello, 65:38, 7/13/2019)
Stephen Bourguet: 48:58, 10/31/2020 (previous record by Tim Ritchie, 49:13, 3/2014, miles 5-15 of a 16 mile training run)
Jonny ran 49:54 & Jarred ran 49:58.