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Philosophical Thoughts on a Dead End Run

I am on the penultimate day of my factory shut-down (I don’t like to call it vacation, because it wasn’t my idea to take this week off) (incidentally, I love the word penultimate), and I have had a grand week of running.  Today makes the ninth day in a row I ran.  Both Wednesday and today I made up my mind not to run, sat down had coffee, went about enjoying my morning, then ran anyways.  I feel pretty damn pleased about that too.  I was about to make my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday post when I thought, why not mix it up a little with a Running Commentary instead.  It’s been a few hours since the actual run, but I think I can remember the highlights.

My first plan had been to run up the hill to Herkimer College (which I still often call H-triple-C).  However, as I approached the end of my street, I saw a pair of runners running in that direction.  Of course I didn’t KNOW they were headed for the college.  Still, I did not want to follow them even for a little ways.  For one reason, they were running in the road and I run on the sidewalk.  I suppose these things shouldn’t bother me, but what did it hurt that I ran in the opposite direction?  Not me.

It was actually a little better.  Yesterday I ran up a longer, almost as steep hill out Steuben Street, and today I wanted to up my run time by the recommended 10 percent, so I thought a fairly flat run might feel good.  As it happened, I went up a few minor hills, so everything was delightful.

I decided to do my Dead End Run.  That is when I run up and down the dead end streets off German Street.  I began by running up Main Street then over and down the nice path over the former hydraulic canal.  Technically, I should have gone up another block to the end of Main Street, which is a dead end up a rather steep hill.  But then I would not have turned around, because pedestrians can continue past the end.  From there I could have continued up, but there is no sidewalk and it was getting later in the morning.  More traffic could be expected.  Anyways, I had decided on a flattish run.

As I ran, I reflected on the philosophical aspects of the Dead End Run (usually half-baked philosophy from me).  One might think it could be depressing:  this is metaphorical; my life is a dead end.  But as I ran, I realized it was not true.  I have had dead end jobs, been in dead end relationships and worked on many dead end writing projects.  However, none of them were a waste of time.  You can always learn something from any experience, even one that does not end well (some would argue “especially from one that does not end well,” but I am disinclined for argument this afternoon).

The first lesson I learned, on the first dead end I ran down, was that a dead end is not always a dead stop.  At the end of my first dead end street (one that was not off German Street, by the way), there is a little space a pedestrian can go through and be on a regular road.  So a dead end is not always as bleak as it seems; you don’t always have to just turn around and go back.  But even turning around and going back is not all bad.  For example, by running up and down dead end streets, I am getting exercise.  I was also entertaining myself by looking around at the houses and by composing my blog post in my head.  I get ideas for my own porch, garden and yard.  I think of ideas for stories by pondering what sort of people live in the places I see.

It is likewise with dead end jobs and relationships.  They can be educational, occasionally entertaining, and give one lots of ideas for stories.

I felt quite pleased with my thoughts this morning.  I think I even remembered the best ones for inclusion here.  At least I have gotten a blog post of respectable length out of it.  As for the run, I completed 45 minutes, as I had set out to do. I plan to run again tomorrow.  Then I’ll do some major fist pumping and say, “Yes! Yes! Ten days!” and if I run up the hill to the college I’ll say, “Yeah, I’m bad!”


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