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What Do Those Crickets Know?

I’m afraid the blog will be veering into All DARE 5K All The Time as I begin to obsess over the event in a most unbecoming fashion. The good thing is that I don’t just obsess, I also run. And I do like to write about my runs.

Steven had to get up at four this morning. I had one cup of coffee with him then got on the road about a quarter till five. I put on my reflective vest and LED light, because it was still completely dark. I remembered there were streetlights up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC), so I planned on running up that hill yet again. There was no traffic to speak of and the temperature was just right. This was going to be great.

The road to HCCC is still in the village of Herkimer, but it feels like it’s leading right out of town. The houses grow sparser and there is no sidewalk. Still, there are streetlights. That makes it civilization. There are some wooded areas. I suppose people who live in the real wilderness are laughing at me: “That’s not a wooded area, those are just some trees!” Well, I know deer live in the trees. How do I know what else lives in them? What could live in them? Badgers? I’m not even sure what a badger is. I probably would not meet a badger. I probably would have heard if there was anything real dangerous. Wouldn’t I?

Those streetlights did not throw as much light as the streetlights in the village proper do. What was that shadow up there in the distance? Probably just an overhanging branch. Or, you know, just a shadow. Was that an ELEPHANT? No, just a minivan. Now I was being silly. I heard a bunch of crickets in the woods, I mean bunch of trees next to me. Yeah, I guess the elephant joke was pretty bad, I told myself (you know, how when a stand-up comedian lays an egg, all you hear is crickets? That’s what I was going for just there).

So I continued up the hill, thinking of all the funny lines I could but only hearing crickets. I got pretty amused over thinking how not funny I was being. I wish I could remember some of the jokes, but no doubt some wise-ass reader would have commented with, “Crickets,” or the overused, “Don’t quit your day job.”

After I got to the top of the hill I just turned around and ran back down the way I came. I don’t think college is in session yet and I didn’t care to run around a dark, deserted college campus at five in the morning. I didn’t think there were streetlights on the back way down from campus and that is a more heavily wooded area.

When I made it to the bottom of the hill I felt pretty good, which was fortunate because I was not quite halfway to my goal time of at least 45 minutes. I forgot to mention that halfway up the hill I had made myself a promise: after the DARE 5K I would not run up a hill for at least a week. I amended that to add “unless I felt like it.” The vision of a long run on all or mostly level ground seemed very appealing.

So I finished my run on lovely, mostly level ground. The sun had been coming up since I was at the top of the hill. I watched the gradually lightening sky with gratitude. Dawn and dusk are my favorite times of day. I love to be outdoors and watch it get dark or light. Oh, running is the best thing in the world!

I was feeling WONDERFUL! I LOVE running! I asked myself, could this be those endorphins I hear so much about? Or was it just that frisson of accomplishment? Or the anticipation of fulfilling that promise to myself next week? Perhaps just joy of a Saturday morning when I do not have to go to work. Oh, who cares why, just enjoy the feeling!

I made it 47 minutes. I’m not worrying about increasing my time by a strict 10 percent these days. If I’m running over 40 minutes I know I’m in great shape for a 5k. I’m just happy my run time is up to where it is now. And I don’t even care if the crickets are not amused by my jokes.

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