Jingle Bells Jog

I’m an idiot! I didn’t check the calendar. This is how I came to fly back from a Santa Cruz work trip and get back home to the Upper West Side at 1 a.m. The annual NYRR Jingle Bells Jog started in eight and a half hours over in Brooklyn.

All in all not that big a deal, but definitely not the best race preparation. All too soon the alarm clock rang. We checked the MTA subway schedule, updated for weekend engineering work, and opted for a 25 minute Uber ride.

Elves and Santas

We arrived early outside  a cold Prospect Park and fell in step behind a small group of Elves, figuring they would get us to our destination. They were tall for Elves, but then all these Santa’s were likely impostors too. Strangely this didn’t feel in the least bit odd.

It was a good morning for a run. The sun had already started it’s low arc across a cloud-free blue sky, bathing the morning in it’s soft glow. The NYRR stage crew were in action, albeit to an as yet sparse audience. My initial feeling that it was going to be a quieter event than last year was unfounded and runners congregated in increasing numbers as the time ticked by.

The headgear of choice this year was red and white candy-cane striped headbands. A lot of folks paired it with matching sock and stockings for a distinctly elf-like finish. There were several Christmas trees running this morning. Last year I passed a Christ, half carrying half dragging his crucifix, along with a few apostles for moral support. If he rose again this year then I missed it.

Plan the run, Run the plan

At 5 km the course was shorter than last year’s 4 miles. My game plan was supposed to be simple. It was to have a fun and relaxed run, soaking up the atmosphere and costumes. As seems to be a recurring pattern in these situations I ended up starting out a little fast, getting swept up in the rush of runners in my corral. It felt good to be moving along with the pack and it was easy because it was early. Then I remember it’s only 3 miles and I’m already one down. I’m reluctant to drop the pace – either competitiveness or OCD weirdness that the Strava splits would look strange if I slowed now. So I keep the it up, and I know that the remainder of this course is all down hill.

That was my race. I loved it.

That’s how I’ve come to tweak my left Achilles tendon.

Walking was hard the next day. The tendon was still angry and complaining under load. I abandoned a midweek treadmill run immediately. A week later and an interval run down and the soreness is back, as is my ice pack and elevated foot. It started with being an idiot and with beautiful symmetry seems to have ended that way too!

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