Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jingle Bell HELL recap

The infamous Michael Sonnemaker statue was
our start/finish line for each hilly loop.
Last night I gathered up all the red, green and white that my running wardrobe had to offer in preparation for the Jingle Bell Hell.  I wish a trip to Berkley, California was in my cards to run the JBH with XLMIC herself.  Instead, I created a local fun run and invited my Sole Sisters to join in.

The objective of the Jingle Bell Hell run was to put together a challenging course of hills and run a 1/3 marathon (8.75 miles). I designed a winding course of 4.45 miles through Springdale Cemetery and Glen Oak Park.  I wanted to give the option of 1 or 2 loops, depending on individual abilities.

So this morning, we all bundled up and met at 8:00am to complete our hellish run.  It was a chilly 24 degrees at the start, but the sun was shining so brightly!  It was a beautiful morning and by time we were done, it was up to 40 degrees already.

Now I've been giving my foot a lot of rest this week - no running, all biking and boxing.  So I wasn't sure what to expect of my Jingle Bell Hell run.  The roads through Springdale aren't the best (broken cement, rocks, uneven), so I watched my footfall and concentrated on my steps.  The foot feels sore, but no pain, so I'm happy with that.

Eighteen ladies showed up to run Peoria's first Jingle Bell Hell.  We broke up into a couple different groups based on pace and tried not to get lost on my winding course.  I was so impressed on how everyone trudged up those hills.  Even with hill interval training on the bike the last two weeks, I could feel every muscle in my legs working to get up those hills.

Two loops of up and down, up and down = 1/3 Marathon baby!

There's a reason there is only one letter difference 
between the words HILL and HELL!

On the second loop, I started to feel the hills a bit more.  As my legs started to scream, I focused on a halfway point up the hill ... and crawl towards that until I slowed to a walk.  Even with a couple walk breaks on the big hills, my group maintained a pretty good pace of 10:31 average.  I was pleased with that for my first run back and ahem... the hills!

My Jingle Bell Hell stats
8.93 miles in 1:33:50

"Don't look up!"
Once we were done, I promised the gals hot chocolate waiting at the finish.  We laughed (mandatory for XLMIC!), we hugged, we snapped pictures, we told stories and discussed holiday plans over yummy hot cocoa.  Despite the hellish run, it was AWESOME to spend a Sunday morning with my Sistas.  I think we'll make the Jingle Bell Hell an annual tradition in Peoria.  Thanks for the great idea and hosting the virtual event XLMIC.

 We all look funny squinting into the sun!
 Happy to be done with Hills!
 Yeah, she's a crazy Bears fan, but I still love my Steph!
Hot chocolate for all - perfect warmup after a chilly run!


  1. You crazy girls--it's cold out there! You all seem to know how to have a good time while maintaining your sport. I applaud each and every one of you!

  2. Great job! It's so much more fun to run with someone else and you had a bunch of people with you.

    I like your comparison of hill and hell, I didn't even realize that when I was writing my own recap!

  3. It looks like you picked the perfect course for a hell run. Great job getting everyone together to enjoy a hilly run.

  4. What a great run and a fun way to tackle those hills!!!

  5. This is so awesome!!!! You all had a GREAT Jingle Bell Hell! Maybe next year I fly out and run with YOU :) Love the recap...LOVE it!

  6. Hills are great training. I hope your foot continues to feel good so you can run regularly again!

  7. Good job on the race! Looks like tons of fun!

  8. Love it!! You did a great job! Wish I could have been there or in Berkeley!

  9. What an awesome idea!! Looks super fun even though it's all hills!! Wish I lived closer to join...just a few states away! Merry Christmas!

  10. Well that sounds totally fun or at least awesome that you put a run like that together. I think I want a fun group of ladies to run with! Love the lady in the purple shorts and tights. Sounds cold.:) It's so warm here in AZ.

  11. go you!! That's awesome that you got a bunch of people together for this!! :)

  12. look at the group you've motivated!! AWESOME! I need to get a group together for after the holidays to run with me :) Very cool! and what a fun, festive race for Christmas!

  13. Just found your blog... nice job getting 18 women out!! That's such a great idea to turn a virtual run into a local one. I just moved from a hilly town, so now everything is flat which I'm enjoying, but it is mixing in hills and getting stronger.

  14. What a great run!!! Sounds like you have a great group of women to run with.

  15. Way to go! Looks like a great time with good friends!!

  16. Sounds like a ton of fun!! Hot chocolate after a cold run sounds amazing!

  17. What a fun recap and outfit! Great idea putting together a group to run the virtual race. I love how you mentioned only one letter difference between hill and hell...perfect and so true! Hills were my hell too!

    [Fitness, Health and Happiness]

  18. How fun and what a big group you had to run with!

  19. So awesome. I can't believe you got all those ladies out there running. And your outfit--freaking awesome! :) Love it!

    And most certainly hills=hell.


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