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Category Archives: running commentary

Cold Hands, Good Run

I don’t think this blog will go All Reindeer Run All The Time.  I am not running enough to warrant such a thing.  However, I did run today and will attempt to make a Running Commentary post instead of my usual Wuss-out Wednesday.

I had thought it was supposed to still be kind of warm today, and sure enough, when I got home from work my thermostat said it was 45 degrees out.  That is my cut-off for shorts and short sleeves, but it was a bit windy, so I thought I would go for the leggings and long.  Leggings were easy to find (actually they were polyester long johns I like to wear instead of pantyhose), but by the time I found a long sleeved shirt I was hot flashing.  I had worn my t-shirt from the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K (remember that?)  to work today, and that is such a lovely soft cotton, I decided to run in it too.

Thus hybridly attired (what, isn’t “hybridly” a word?  It should be), I set out.  Ooh, that wind was fierce.  I was already regretting the t-shirt, but no matter.  I thought about how good it would feel to put on my sweatshirt for my cool-down walk.  I was thinking I should run a long (for me right now) time, at least 30 minutes.  My last longest run was 36 minutes.  I will increase that to 40 this weekend, which will put me right where I want to be for the 5K.   I hope.

I let myself off the hook for hills, because I hate trying to cross a busy street in the late afternoon.  In fact, traffic was so bad, I turned left instead of right at the end of my street so I would not have to run in front of the cars stopped at the STOP sign.  I made it to Caroline Street before I didn’t want to cross again, but that was OK.  This was one of my go-to runs:  German to Caroline, then down Caroline, up Margaret, down Henry…

My run was enlivened by some Christmas decorations on some houses.  I tried to make a note of where houses were that had lights, in case we go for a walk after dark one night, which I hope we will.  My legs pumped along steadily, not giving me much problem.  My breathing wasn’t too bad.  My hands were turning to stiff icy claws, but what could I do?  I just wouldn’t try to write anything as soon as I got home.  I hoped my hands would be able to turn on the faucets for my shower.  Ah, hot water would be great.  Maybe I would even have hot chocolate instead of cold chocolate milk for my recovery beverage.

By the end of my run, I was feeling quite tired, but I persevered.  I ended up running for 35 minutes instead of 36.  Sorry, folks, I was at my house and I just did not have the mental or physical wherewithal to go past the house again (I had already gone past it once, running down the opposite sidewalk, then to the corner and crossing the street).  It did feel wonderful to put my sweatshirt on.

I think I will be just fine for next Saturday’s 5K.  My only sticky widget, as I just realized, is that I don’t have anybody to meet me at the end of the race and sing “We Are the Champions” while I walk around with my fists in the air.  After a race, I like to walk around with my fists in the air while somebody sings “We Are the Champions.”

 

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Don’t Reindeer on my Parade

The Reindeer Run 5K in Little Falls is looking increasingly remote.  I feel so sedentary lately!  I have managed to bestir myself to take a few half-hour walks, so I do not completely harden into a concrete slab.  Oh yeah, like I would ever be rock hard!  But heavy as a rock.  Perhaps concrete flab.  In any case, I managed to go running this morning so will attempt a Sunday Running Commentary.

Winter weather was in the forecast, and when I woke up sometime in the very early morning, I thought I heard sleet against the windows.  We woke up to rain and wind that makes an old witch like me look at the sky fearfully.  I figured a run was out of the question.  After coffee and scrambled eggs, I began to question it.  Steven said it was snowing, but when I looked out the window a few minutes later, the precipitation had abated.  After waiting for my food to digest, I got into running clothes.  Of course it started snowing again, but after I wrestle myself into two sports bras (don’t you DARE say TMI!), I run.

The snow had turned to rain by the time I got outside.  As I started to run, I questioned my determination.  I had said to Steven that a 20-minute run would not kill me.  Still, there exists a lot of discomfort short of death that I might like to avoid.  Never mind, I told myself.  I have been putting on a few pounds once again.  Running was a good idea. Presently the rain stopped.  The sun even started to peep out from behind the clouds.  This was all right.  The wind was still pretty fierce, but I had a headband over my ears and my sleeves pulled over my hands.  I could do this.

I did not run any hills, but ran up and down the sidewalks, avoiding puddles and mud.  I could keep this up for 20 minutes.  Maybe even longer.  Let’s see, how far away was the Reindeer Run?  How much longer than 20 minutes would I have to run to be in OK shape for a 5K by then?  I think the run in on the 9th of December, giving me two more weekends to increase my run time.  Then I thought I could probably run a 5K regardless.  Nobody cares how slow you go on these community runs.  No doubt I could keep moving on determination alone till I got to the finish line.  People are nice; they would still clap for the fat old lady huff-puffing along.  It might be fun.

As I walked my cool-down, I felt wonderful.  The hot shower felt even better, and my chocolate milk recovery beverage was delicious.  I am still on the fence about the Reindeer Run. Any advice from my readers?

 

Mid-Week Run with a Stop Mid-Way

After several huge bouts of Don’t Wanna Run/Not Gonna Run, I went running.  It was not the best run, but I will attempt a Running Commentary post to avoid another Wuss-out Wednesday (is it really Wednesday? I have been in a time warp since last Friday, which did not feel like one).

I started the run late, about quarter to five.  The sun was setting.  At least, I couldn’t really tell if it was setting or not, because the sky was so cloudy.  I appreciate a cloudy day, so  that was all right.  The temperature was one degree below my cut-off for leggings and long sleeves, so that was how I dressed.  I was not worried about getting too hot while I run because of that sun going down thing.  I figured the air would only get colder.  Additionally, I had one of my long-sleeved ARMY t-shirts handy. It has a reflective decal on the back.  Safety first for Mohawk Valley Girl.

My idea was to have a long, slow run with no hills.  The slow and no hills part would make the long part possible, so I thought.  As I started out, though, I wondered if I was up to it.  I ran slow.  I did not turn toward the hills.  I felt tired.  To distract myself, I thought about what I would cook for dinner and if I would ever get to the other chores I had set for myself.  I ran a couple of errands earlier in the day, but they did not include going to Hannaford nor getting milk (we get it at Stewart’s, where members of the Milk Club, we get a gallon for half off after purchasing five).

The last reflection rendered my run even less enjoyable.  I hadn’t gotten milk!  I couldn’t have my beloved post-run recovery beverage of chocolate milk!  What was I thinking?  I reviewed my timeline in my head, including run, cool-down walk, and shower, ending in Steven’s expected arrival home.  I figured I could at least get the milk.  Maybe I could go to Hannaford as well, and get something easy for dinner, since my timeline clearly did not include time for cooking.  My body heartily applauded the idea of a shorter run.

Still, one must run a certain length of time or it isn’t worth putting on the sports bras.  I continued, looking at my watch and figuring my rout and how long each street was likely to take.

Then I ran into Nicky’s Mom.  Nicky, regular readers may recall, was a sweet little dog I always stopped and petted when I saw him.  I don’t remember if I mentioned it in the blog, but I heard from a mutual friend that Nicky had passed away.  I stopped and said, “I’m so sorry about Nicky!”  We chatted for several minutes about Nicky, and having a dog in general, and how sad it is to lose them. Nicky’s mom (how embarrassing that I cannot remember her name!) has a cat now.  She thinks it was abandoned by some people that moved out of the neighborhood.  It had been living as a stray for a while, until she said to it, “Do you want to come in?”

At some point while we talked, I clicked my watch so it stopped timing my run.  When I finally started running again, I thought I would run to the corner before turning it on again.  Then when I turned it on again, apparently I didn’t do it right, so I have no idea how long I actually ran for.  I think it was for at least 20 minutes.  I’ll tell you what, it is not the best idea to stop in the middle of a run and stand in the cold weather chatting.  My body enjoyed the last part of my run even less than the first part.

It was almost dark as I walked my cool-down.  I reflected how much more I enjoyed walking than running.  For the past two days, I have gone for walks of about a half hour.  It may be time to change over to walking.  But, a little voice in my head says, what about the Reindeer Run?  Well, that’s a problem, isn’t it?  Any advice?

 

Not Quite the Run I Planned

YES!  Saturday Running Commentary is BACK!  I ran this morning and less than an hour later, I am sitting down to write my blog post about it!

I had actually planned  better blog post.  I am still unsure of my plans for the day, so I thought I  would think about what I was going to do while I ran, then I could write about the run and my plans.  Well, I thought about my run while I was running, probably because I kept changing my plans about where and even how long I was going to run.  So I am going to tell you about that.

My thermostat said it was 38 degrees out, well within my parameters for leggings and long sleeves.   A long-sleeved running shirt was handy, because I had worn it under my sweatshirt when greeting the trick-or-treaters on Tuesday.  It took a little longer to find leggings and winter running socks.  I guess I could have done without winter socks, but the leggings I found are a little short and I did not want that little half-inch of bare leg between sock and legging.  It’s the little things.

At last I was off.  Ooh, it felt cold.  And I felt a little self-conscious in my form-fitting shirt and leggings.  I usually run in very large t-shirts.  Indeed, most of my long-sleeved t-shirts are on the baggy side as well.  But one must not let these things keep one from pursuing fitness.  I kept running.  My main concern was that the cold would give me a sinus headache, as it sometimes does.  I made up my mind that if it started to I would have a short run.  I have things to do today (even if I have not planned it out yet); I can’t be down with a headache.

I ran toward Valley Health, my go-to hill when I am building myself up.  From there, I could run to the high school and over the little footbridge.  That is often my Sunday run, but it would do for a Saturday.  As I approached the hill, I could see something was going on at the school: a school bus and several cars were right where I planned to run.  I revised my plans.  I thought the sight of my lumpy body outlined in such detail by my outfit, which was not even all that warm, might traumatize high school students.   I decided to run into the residential area behind Valley Health and make my way back to German Street via Lou Ambers Drive or Maple Grove.

As I approached Lou Ambers, I thought I would go to Maple Grove, where there were sidewalks to run on.  Then as I got toward Maple Grove, I saw that it went uphill to the next street over.  A little uphill would be a good thing.  Beyond that was the back way up to Herkimer College.  I was not up to running to Herkimer College.  Then I noticed the “Do Not Enter” sign.  I felt I just had to run by a “Do Not Enter” sign.  I thought I would only run to the path that goes into Brookfield Park (previously known as The Unknown Park in this space).   This put more uphill in my run.

The path into the park added more uphill.  As I ran, I hoped I could actually get into the park.  The path leads to a picnic area, which is separated from the rest of the park by a little footbridge over the brook.   The bridge and brook are surrounded by a chain link fence.  Sometimes the bridge is blocked.  If the bridge was blocked, I would have to turn around and run back the way I came.  I did not want to do that.  I was tired of running and wanted to go home.  I made up my mind that if the bridge was blocked, I would just climb over it.

I could not tell until I was right at the bridge whether or not it was blocked.  In that length of time I was able to picture myself ripping my leggings on the fence, falling into the brook, spraining my ankle, and having to drag myself out of the brook to limp home.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just run longer than I intended.  The bridge was unblocked, so that was good.

By now I realized I MIGHT make it home in 30 minutes, the length of last Sunday’s run.  Then again, it might end up being 33 minutes, the intended length of tomorrow’s run.  I felt pretty good either way. My legs and body had warmed up nicely and I felt I could continue running with no problem.  This was all right!  I ended up running by my house to the end of the street and coming back for a 33 minute run.  Yes!

As I walked my cool-down, I felt pretty damn good about myself.  If I keep this up, I will be in great shape for the Reindeer Run 5K!  Now to get on to planning the rest of my Saturday…

 

Post Halloween Run

Note to self:  Do not take three days off running again.  I have made this note to myself before.  Come to think of it, sometimes the note says a greater number of days, so at least I kept it to three this time.  Oh well, shit happens and we do not always do the right thing, fitness-wise or otherwise.  Judge me if you are so inclined.

This by way of introduction to today’s Running Commentary post.  I guess the Turkey Trot 5K is back off the table, for the main reason that I can’t readily find one nearby.  However, I can easily find the Reindeer Run 5K in Little Falls, NY in December.  I wanted to do that last year but did not have my act together (long story, not very interesting).   That will give me a couple more weeks to build up.  As Fredrick Frankenstein said in Young Frankenstein:  IT! COULD! WORK!

So I felt determined to run today, even if it was raining, which it was when I left work.  It stopped by the time I got home, so I had that going for me.  After putting on my running clothes, I put a load of laundry in the washer, the other un-put-off-able chore of the day, and got going.  It had started sprinkling again, but I’m not sugar; I won’t melt.  My legs felt quite unhappy, but I ignored them.

I dodged around puddles and a few pedestrians, pondering how long I was going to run.  On these mid-week runs, I only require 20 minutes of myself, although I usually run at least a little further.  I ran along German Street and turned down Main, looking for houses that still had Halloween decorations.  I saw a ghoul looking out the door of an enclosed front porch and felt comforted.  A few Jack-o-Lanterns rotting from the inside out leered at me.  I admired a couple extra large ones with smaller ones in their mouths.

I ran a large rectangle and ended up back on German Street.  I heard sirens and saw flashing lights turn on my street.  Yikes!  I was certain I had not left anything on in my house to cause a fire.  I ran by my street to go around another block, just to add a few steps to the run.  I peeked down the street as I passed and saw the police and an ambulance outside the apartment building at the end of the street.   That was another reason to go another block: so as not to run too close and bother the first responders.

My legs had been feeling better but by the end of the run, they were tired again.  You’ll have that at the end of the day, especially at my age.  My run ended up being 27 minutes, three minutes less than I did on Sunday, the same length I was doing last week.  This is good.  I can run 30 on Saturday, up it by 10 percent to 33 on Sunday and stay on track.  I hope I can find my “Dashing” t-shirt for the Reindeer Run (get it?  Dashing through the snow…).

 

Who Me? Run a 5K?

How about a Sunday Running Commentary to avoid a Wrist to Forehead Sunday later on.  At least, I will avoid a post about one.  As a worker at Monday through Friday employment (most of the time), although I appreciate Friday, I confess to some amount of angst on Sunday.  As I like to say in a philosophical tone of voice, you’ll have that.

I did not run yesterday and thought I might not run today.  For one reason, lots of rain is predicted, and Steven informed me it had already started by 5:30 when he got up to pee (we slept in to an almost unheard of 7 a.m.!).  I grumped downstairs for a cup of coffee on stiff knees and feet (yes, I’m old), feeling contented at the thought of my husband having the day off, too.  After coffee, I was hungry, but Steven wanted to do the dishes before fixing breakfast.  As I was contemplating having a piece of toast to hold me over, I realized it was not currently raining.

“You do the dishes while I go for a short run,” I suggested.  I noted that it was 53 degrees out, so I felt secure that my sinuses would not become irritated (often a concern for me).  I brushed my teeth, washed my face, got into running gear, and got myself going.

I crossed German Street and ran up the steeper side (it is kind of a slanted street), heading for the hill by Valley Health.  As I ran, I thought I would lead my Running Commentary post with the reflection that I was NOT going to run in any kind of 5K on Thanksgiving Day, as I had threatened to do in a recent running post.  To keep on schedule for that, I would have to run for 30 minutes.  I wasn’t going to run for 30 minutes!  I had just taken three days off of running (go ahead and judge me if you like)!  I was probably going to run for 20 minutes and have done.  Maybe 20 plus a few.  At least I was going to do the hill.

It sure took a long time to get to the hill.  This was more of a plod than a run.  Never mind, at least I was doing it.  Maybe my body would feel better as I went.  Only that did not seem likely at the time.  The hill was not fun, but I managed it without having a VCD attack (that is Vocal Chord Dysfunction, a breathing problem I have).  Once I got down the hill, I felt a little better about things.  I could rock this run.  Well, maybe not rock, but at least continue.  Twenty minutes?  Maybe 25.  27, same as I did last weekend.  Oh, just keep running.

I ran up and down a couple of streets, keeping an eye on the time passing and wondering how long I would go.  My legs didn’t feel too bad, but my breathing wasn’t so great.  I concentrated on taking deep, slow breaths, holding each breath in for a second or two before exhaling.  I took note of people’s Halloween decorations, to keep myself in a cheerful frame of mind.  Lots of ghouls, nice.  A few pumpkins.  Oh, one house that had a magnificent display last year was bare.  I think it is a rental property, which would explain things.

My run ended up lasting for 30 minutes.  When I was around 13 minutes I wondered if I would; when I hit 16 minutes it seemed likely, and when I got to 18 I was sure. At the bottom of my street, I saw I was at 27 minutes and picked up the pace, so I would not go over 30 minutes. It felt pretty good running a little faster.  I thought I should do this more often.  Perhaps I will.  And the Turkey Trot 5K?  Still on the table, I guess.

I felt happy as I walked my cool-down around the block.  Now I feel ready to sit my butt on the couch, crochet and watch Halloween movies, yes!  I hope to see you all on Mental Meanderings Monday.  Or perhaps I will have a Monster Movie Monday, just to mix things up a little.   Tune in tomorrow and see!

 

Tricks and Perseverance

I reminded myself all day to go running and to make a Running Commentary post.  Regular readers may recall, that is one of my tricks to get myself to run after a long, tiring day at work: remind myself all day to do it so it will be automatic and I won’t talk myself out of it.  Sometimes I have to ask myself, how can I keep saying I love to run when it is so damn easy to talk myself out of it?  One day perhaps I will take a whole blog post to discuss the matter.  For today, let us just accept it as true.

So I accomplished the first part of my plan: I ran. Now I am attempting to accomplish the second.  As I type this, it is more than two hours after I finished my run.  Ideally, I do not wait that long.  In fact, after I finished the run, I thought, “That was a dull run.  I’m not going to write about that run.”  Well, two hours later and no other blog post in sight, I am going to write a little bit.

I am slowly working back into running after my week-long pause following the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K (just thought I’d plug them again).  When I ran on Saturday, I managed 27 minutes.  Here is how I decided to run 27 minutes:  I seemed to remember that there is a Turkey Trot 5K somewhere around here on Thanksgiving Day.  I thought I might like to run it.  I further thought, to be really comfortable running it, I would like to run for 40 minutes the previous Saturday.  Then I counted backwards from Saturday Nov. 18, if I was adding 10 percent to my run time each week, what I should run Oct. 21 to get to 40 minutes by then?

I often figure simple math in my head when I run.  It is another trick I use.  Back in Army Basic Training, when I learned to run, Drill Sergeant Dillinger told me that the secret to running is to distract yourself, so you don’t think about how much it sucks to run.  I later found out that it does not always suck to run, something I never would have learned without the distract yourself trick.

Getting back to today’s run, part of it was fairly sucky.  I have been working on my feet for the past two days; my legs and feet are TIRED.  However, as I have mentioned many times: I know how to persevere.  Eventually my leg muscles began to feel more supple. My feet were still not best pleased with me, but you’ll have that.  I reminded myself that I do not have any place I have to go nor anything I have to get done this evening.  No need to recruit my energies!  I could just go ahead and BE tired!

And, yes, obviously I did have one thing to get done this evening:  make my daily blog post.  And, look at that.  I just did.  Ha! In your face!  I say that to my inner critic, not my dear readers.  To my dear readers I say, thank your tuning in.