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Run Through Adversity

I am writing another post about a run, because that is how I motivated myself to start and to continue. It really does add interest to a run, writing my blog in my head as I go.

I woke up early this morning with a muscle spasm in my shoulder. Oh, it was painful. No position was comfortable and moving around trying to find one was even worse. I managed to fall back asleep a couple of times but was glad to get up, thinking that eventually I could apply ice and/or ibuprofen.

First I applied coffee, of course, and requested sympathy from my husband, Steven, which he generously supplied. I ate a banana with peanut butter so I would not be taking the ibuprofen on an empty stomach. Steven found my ice pack and I kept that on for 20 minutes (I seem to remember reading somewhere you are not supposed to leave ice on for longer).

When Steven left for work shortly before nine, I got on my running clothes and set out. The ibuprofen and ice had not been the miracle cures I was hoping for, but with the Boilermaker looming ever closer, I didn’t feel I should take the day off. I mean, I may not run every day between now and July 8, but a Sunday when I don’t have to work and intend to run for an hour and up to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) the front way… I thought I would at least try.

It was much nicer running prior to 6 a.m. on Saturday. At 9 a.m. the sun is already fairly high in the sky and it was warm. I thought about how shady it would be running down from HCCC the back way. I thought about a cool drink from the spring. I thought about how much my shoulder was hurting and how my legs were not even daring to complain.

I told myself that it was OK that I couldn’t lift my head comfortably. Going up the hill, it is good to look down at your feet and not think about how much further you have to go. Soon I was on the hill. That sun was hot. I told myself that the Boilermaker might be hot. I saw the spray paint from the DARE 5K: “Have fun!” The sarcasm was not lost on me.

At last, at last, I was almost to the top. Would I continue uphill past the buildings? I thought I would. For one thing, an hour is a long time, even running as slow as I was running. There was no shade to be found. Just keep going. Finally I could cross over to Reservoir Road. It was all downhill from here.

I think running on a gentle down slope is a fine thing. One of the few times when gravity is my friend. A breeze would have been nice, but you can’t have everything. When I got closer to the reservoir it actually seemed a little hotter, definitely more humid. I thought it was supposed to be cooler near the water! I felt a little ill-used about that. Then I was into the woodsy area and it was cooler. Lots of shade, a nice little stream trickling next to me, aaaah. My legs were all, “We got this.”

I decided to run all the way down to German Street and back up Lou Ambers Drive to get to the spring. I was not quite halfway through my hour, but I thought I would be able to make it. I turned left where a sign said “No left turn.” I actually did not see the sign, because of the keeping my head down thing, but I knew it was there. I love being a rebel.

Two men were filling bottles at the spring, but they finished just as I got there. I wasn’t too worried. Most people are nice and will let a thirsty runner sneak in for a drink. Brief refreshment! Then it was onto the parking lot of Salvatore’s. I wished there was a sign that said “Do Not Enter.” A sign did say “customer parking only,” but I am in fact a frequent customer of Salvatore’s, and tempting as it sounded, I did not intend to park. As I went around the side of the building, I saw the sign that said, “No through traffic.” Yes! My rebel status was safe.

On I ran, encouraged by an occasional breeze and/or shade. I found one other “Do Not Enter” sign to enter in spite of, so that made me happy (I know, it takes so little to please some people). My legs informed me that they had burned off the entire banana with peanut butter and would like some more fuel. I told them to start working on the fat in my butt. They wanted a fresh Angus burger, cooked on a grill, with tomato and red onion, on an onion roll. That image kept me going for a good block.

Toward the end of the run, as my legs continued to complain, my shoulder started hurting a little less. It did not want to move, but it was no longer screaming at me. I found I had to concentrate on breathing or I wouldn’t breathe. What was that all about? I was so ready to stop! But I persevered.

My theory has always been, if you can run one hour, you can run two. You just don’t stop. I have run the Boilermaker in less than two hours. I think I’m good.

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