Well, I said I was gonna do it, but I'm traveling on the IRL race day, so I committed to a *virtual* Jingle Bell Hell.
My plan was, I'd go out today from our SF hotel and do *at least* 8 miles up and down the Embarcadero, *and* I had to run all of the uphills. Everything else was undefined. I could walk as much as my ego would let me.
Why should this be hell?
8 miles is a relatively short distance for someone who ran 5 half marathons and a full marathon in 2013, right?
You might think so, but for me, you'd be: WRONG. Wrong. Wrong.
After I DNF'd the SJ RNR half, I wasn't really feeling like running much, so I didn't and I haven't much. Also, since SJ RNR, there was tons of travel on the calendar to regions with delicious food, where I felt like eating, so I did (and I stand by my decision).
Fast forward 2.5 months. Add approximately 1.5 pounds per month on my already heavy DNFing frame and, well, today's 8 miles felt like an eternity (possibly because my body has never actually been this massive, so moving it long distances is more work, in the physics sense?).
Also I did it alone. I started at 9:30 AM after a weekend of holiday parties full of food and too much alcohol (extra hell points?). I did succumb to my audiobook for company, but Wild Swans isn't exactly light and cheery or inspirational with its detailed gory tales of the beatings and horrors of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (Amazing story though... HIGHLY recommended).
In the winter cold of San Francisco (which means I couldn't even blame much slowness on the pedestrians on the Embarcadero because most stayed indoors), I forced myself to attack minute chunks in succession. A mile here. A quarter mile at sub 9 there. A third of a mile at 9:10 there. And, of course, in classic BT-just-increase-the-overall-mileage-style, lots of walking.
All told, 8 miles in a blazing 1:41:10 for an average pace of 12:39 (although nothing was near this pace). Slow. Stopping and starting. Exhausting. And, the first time I've done 8 miles since late September, as my last long run before the SJ DNF.
Overall, it was unpleasant, and I'm frustratingly tired, but in fairness, I'm actually also pleased. Looks like I'm heading in the right direction despite taking the easy way out and walking whenever I felt like it between miles and shorter duration segments.
I fully expect to take sub 50% place in the Jingle Bell Hell. But I'm thankful it was out there to get me on my shoes, nonetheless.
Thanks to the lovely blogger behind Taking It On for the push.