RSS Feed

Category Archives: running commentary

Four Days On, Three Days Off, What’s Next?

I am nobody’s good example when it comes to fitness.  I triumphantly ran four days in a row, culminating in my longest run on Sunday.  Then I went three days without running.  Go ahead and judge me.  On the brighter side, I ran today and it was not a bad run at all.

I had told myself all day that I would run, trying as usual to internalize the idea.  I even said I would run rain or shine.  Even if it poured rain!  After all, “Run in the Rain” is a good title for a blog post.  Except that I think I already used it.  No matter, it did not rain.  It was actually lovely weather for a run:  cooler temperature, cloudy and breezy.  This was going to be great!

I did my usual multi-task of putting a load of laundry in the washer before I set out.  I prepared myself to listen to my legs, feet, and possibly back complain. I would persevere!  Maybe I would make it a short run, but I would persevere for as long as possible.  Imagine my delight when my legs seemed perfectly content to move.  I turned left on German Street and prepared to enjoy myself.

Eight or nine minutes into the run, I got this weird cramp in my lower abdomen.  How annoying!  The entire rest of my body was having a perfectly enjoyable run, but one little part has to give me a pain.  What was that all about?  I kept running.  Maybe it would go away.  It did not.  I kept running anyways.

I saw a small flag on the sidewalk and picked it up.  I don’t like to see the American flag on the ground.  It was frayed on one side, as if it has come off its little stick.  I held it by the edge as I ran.  Now I was running with a flag.  I was thinking it could be a Veteran’s Day run when I remembered:  today is Flag Day!  I was right on time!  This was great!

Only the cramp continued.  It is so bothersome when you have a pain: it colors everything you do.  I continued to run, stopping occasionally to smell flowers:  lilacs once, peonies two or three times.  Of course I kept these stops very brief.  I considered making it a short run because of the cramp.  Then again, there was no guarantee that the cramp would stop if I was not running.  I did not think it involved any running muscles.  I kept going.  Every body part other than the cramp felt great!  What the hell, body?

As I neared the end of the run, it seemed that I could definitely keep it up for 29 minutes, the same length as my last, longest run.  I WOULD keep it up for 29 minutes, yes!  In order to do so, I ran around the apartment building at the end of my street, then around its front drive, then past my house and back.  I did it!

I felt happy as I walked my cool-down, and even happier as I drank my chocolate milk recovery beverage after my shower.  The cramp did not go away, so clearly I was right to keep running.  I’m wondering now if I will make this another four-day streak, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  If so, I will strive NOT to take three days off after!

 

Advertisements

The Run I Almost Missed

How about a Sunday Running Commentary in lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday?  I got out of bed this morning thinking I would not run but after a cup of coffee talked myself into it.  As Steven pointed out, it is a beautiful day.  I do love running in the morning and weekends are the only times I can do it (unless I run at 3 a.m., which is not the same thing).

As I ran out the end of my driveway, I saw the peonies in my front lawn were blooming.  I paused oh so briefly to sniff at them.  What a wonderful scent!  I flashed back to springs and summers of my childhood, when my Mom had a large peony bush (she still has it).  I made up my mind I would smell any peonies I encountered on the run.

I was expecting my legs to start complaining as usual, but they did not.  Score!  I crossed German Street and headed for Main, where there is a nice hill. Yesterday I ran the hill by Valley Health, so I am working my way up to the hill to Herkimer College.  My current goal is to be ready for the Falling Leaves Run in September, which is 14K and I believe has several hills.  I should make it handily, if I don’t fall off the running wagon.

At the end of Main Street I saw a sign, “Road Closed, Local Traffic Only.”  I added in my head, “And Cindy Running.”  The hill was not much fun, I admit, but I persevered till the top.  It is kind of nice to be less than seven minutes into your run and have the big hill out of the way.  As I made my way back down to German, I wondered where else to run.  Today should have been the day for me to add the weekly ten percent to my run time, making it 29 minutes.  When I talked myself into running, it was with the proviso that I would not necessarily have to do that (as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, tomorrow is another day).  I was at this point undecided.

When I got to German Street, the sight of peonies decided me:  I crossed German and ran down Harley Street.  The peonies were pink and white, several bushes stretching almost a block long.  I sniffed four or five blooms, making very short pauses to do so, nothing like the stops I make to pet dogs.  Incidentally, I did not see any dogs.  More dedicated runners may shake their heads and opine that I will never improve my run time if I stop while running, but I do not care at all.  I like to smell flowers and I like to pet dogs.

My legs felt fine but my breathing was a little ragged.  I concentrated on breathing in slowly and holding the air in for a second or two.  I heard this advice from a fellow soldier, who had heard it from a Native American drill sergeant of his.  He said it stood to reason:  you hold the air in so it has time to do your body some good.  It helped.  I started to feel thirsty so thought of running to the spring and taking a drink.  How long would that take me?  Would I run 29 minutes after all?

I turned in the direction of the spring, keeping an eye on the time.  It soon became clear that I could not make it all the way to the spring and back.  That was OK, because as usual I had a bottle of ice water waiting for me on my deck.  I figured times in my head, changed my mind a few times, going up one street and down another.  Ooh, more peonies, sniff, sniff.  It came to me that I was GOING to make it for 29 minutes and it was NOT going to be a problem!  I felt GREAT!  I could run for DAYS!  Yes!

As I walked my cool-down, I said to a neighbor, “I’ll tell you what, running four days in a row is the Way to Go.  I feel awesome!”

“There you go,” he said.

“Which I did NOT feel the last three days,” I added.  It is wonderful to prove things to yourself.  When I have to persevere through a bad run, I always tell myself, you have to get through the bad runs to get to the good ones.  Today was definitely a good run.

 

I Wasn’t Too Tired to Run!

How about a Running Commentary post instead of my usual Tired Tuesday or Bad Attituesday?  Once again I admit that what I do is called running only by the most generous definition of the word.  Then again, I like to think of myself as a generous person, although I daresay I am no more generous than anybody else.  Well, maybe more generous than some self-serving, stingy, I-got-mine cusses such as we all know, but I digress.

I had a bargain with myself that if it was raining after work I would go to the YMCA, if not, I would run. I wondered if I oughtn’t to go to the Y anyways, because I have not done any upper body or ab work in a while.  However, when I left work it was breezy and cool.  How could I waste that? It will be warm and muggy again before you know it.  Oh, I will run then, too, but why not enjoy some cool air while I can?  So that is what I did.

I put a load of laundry in the washing machine before I took off, so I could multi-task.  In general I don’t believe in multi-tasking.  I feel it is better to do on thing at a time and do it well.  But I don’t see how letting the machine wash while I thunk around the neighborhood could hurt anything.  This way I will not run out of clean handkerchiefs.

Right away my legs and feet were not happy with me.  I was not surprised.  Pretty much my whole body had been giving me grief all day.  I never got my Monday back-ache yesterday but made up for it today.  I tried not to dwell on it but just to keep going.  I had not been running since Saturday.  Sunday I had done strenuous yard work for an hour and twenty minutes.  Monday, well, you can judge me, that’s all.

I changed directions a couple of times because of traffic.  Sometimes it is easier to just turn down the sidewalk than to wonder if the driver is going to wave you by or run you over.  One driver waved me by before I turned, so that was nice.  I gave him the thank-you wave and sprinted.

Twice I stopped to take a quick sniff of peonies. Mine have not bloomed yet, but they’re getting there.  I saw some lilacs that were over. Alas!  I still don’t have any lilacs.  I would like to plant more flowers.  I only wish I were clever enough to plant varieties such that I could have something blooming all spring, summer and fall.

I also stopped to pet a few dogs.  First I saw my friends Chico and Bear with their Mom.  I greeted her and petted both.  Toward the end of my run I saw Pudge the pug crossing the street with his Mom.

“Is that my friend Pudge?”  I said.

“Oh, do you know Pudge?” she said.   I used to see Pudge out with his Dad all the time, but I have not seen him lately.  I petted Pudge and wished his Mom a good day.

It was really not a bad run at all.  I had moments of definite enjoyment, I mean when I was running, not just when I was petting the dogs.  There were a couple of brief stretches where I felt I could just go on, if not indefinitely, at least for a while.  By the end my feet were really hurting me, but I managed to persevere for 26 minute, the length of my last run.

As usual, I enjoyed my cool-down walk, although my water went down my Sunday throat once.  I hate it when that happens!  When I got back to the house, I was exhausted!  My body creaked when I stretched.  I made it to the basement to put the laundry into the drier.  When I got upstairs to take my shower, I wished I had one of those old lady shower chairs, so I could sit down while I washed.  Oh, just shower, I told myself, it’ll take you five minutes.  I certainly felt better after I was clean.

I felt even better after my recovery beverage of chocolate milk.  Now I am feeling tired again and not a little brain dead.  I think that is showing in this blog post, because I can’t seem to think of a conclusion.  How weird is that?  I know what:  I’ll close with a picture from my Media Library.  I’ll try to find something to do with running.

This is NOT what I wore to run today.

Will you look at that?  The only picture I have of me about to run is from the Little Falls Reindeer Run 5K last December!  I’ll have to see what I can do about that for future Running Commentary posts.

 

The Run I Deserved?

So I went running with the firm intention of making a Running Commentary post, and here I sit, feeling too tired to type a word!  And, of course, proving myself wrong by typing in words.  Let’s see if I can make the actual post before I have to start cooking dinner.

I seriously thought I would talk myself out of running. After all, I have been doing that successfully all week.  Judge me if you like, but the last exercise I got was a half hour walk on Sunday.  I really, really want to get back to running regularly and for longer periods of time.  Why have I not just gone ahead and done it, you may ask.  I have no answer.  Still, I felt reasonably pleased with myself when I got home, sat down with the laptop, then realized I was only going to check my emails before GOING RUNNING.

I put on sunscreen before my running clothes.  I got a load of laundry ready to throw in the washer.  I read recently that you are not supposed to leave the house or fall asleep when either the washer or drier is running.  However, I read it on the internet, and I do not believe most things I read on the internet. Anyways, I have been putting in a load of laundry and running while it washed for some time now.  If it ever does me dirt, I will write a blog post about it.

Naturally my legs were not pleased with me.  That is what you get, I scolded myself.  Start running every day and you won’t have this problem, will you?  The fact is, it is really hard to keep beginning again.  But what else can I do?  My choices are:  don’t stop running, stop running entirely, or begin again.  Obviously the first choice is the best, but how often do I do the best thing?  I remind myself that there have been many periods in the past twenty years (wow, has it been 20 years since I joined the army? How the time flies!), that I have been running on a regular basis.  I hope I am at the beginning of another one now.

The day was pretty: bright and sunny.  In fact, I prefer a cloudy and cooler day to run, but you can’t always get what you want (as the great philosopher Mick Jagger said).  I enjoyed seeing the green leaves on the trees.  They were large, summer leaves.  The delicate, just opening leaves do not last long.  That was OK by me, because this kind offers more shade.  I enjoyed the shade.

I thunked along, wondering how many calories I was burning.  If I had gone to the YMCA, I told myself, I could have been on a nice, smooth elliptical, which would have told me how many calories I burned.  Could I believe anything that smooth, though?  No matter; I was not at the Y; I was out in the fresh air and sunshine.  This was nice.

As I ran, I did not bother figuring in my head how many weeks till I was at 5K shape, if I increased my time by ten percent each week.  For one reason, my record has been so spotty about running every week, I may have been doomed to disappointment.  I managed to run for 22 minutes, which was how long I ran the last time I ran.  I think (too lazy to find my Running Journal and check).   I enjoyed my cool-down walk, and especially the bottle of ice water I had left on my deck to drink while I walked it.

I see I am over 600 words, and it is later than the time I had aimed to have the chicken in the oven.  Darn!  And I still have to add categories and tags, and think of a headline!  Well, that’s what I get.  I hope to see you all on Lame Post Friday!

 

It’s Monday Running Commentary!

So I ambitiously went running, thinking I could do a Monday Running Commentary for a change.  Then as I started cooking dinner, I thought maybe a cooking post.  Of course, a part of me always wants a Monstrous Monday, even when it isn’t Monday.  Then again, I have not been running in a while.  I think I’ll comment on it.

I have really fallen off the exercise wagon lately, much to my own detriment.  At my age, I need to stay active or I may stop moving entirely!  I did go for a nice walk on Saturday, so I have not been completely sedentary.  I took comfort in that and made my plans.  It was such  beautiful day, I preferred to do something outside than go to the YMCA.  I told myself, walk or run, but do SOMETHING!

As I got ready to go running, I realized I need to invest in some more sports bras (PLEASE do not tell me TMI!).  My supply is getting kind of old.  I found a couple to wear, though, as well as bicycle shorts, running socks and a loose-fitting t-shirt.  I remembered where my running shoes ended up.  This was going to be great!  I got together a load of laundry to throw in while I ran, just to be extra ambitious, especially for a Monday.

It was with a little frisson of virtue, therefore, that I started out.  Unfortunately, it was not long before my legs said, “Oh, crap.”  This was not going to be fun.  However, as I have often noted, if I have learned one thing, it is how to persevere.  After all, one must get through the crappy runs in order to get to the good ones.  I could at least enjoy the sunshine.

I could not enjoy the sunshine.  But I sternly warned myself against dwelling on my misery and kept going.  Seeing flowers and looking for shade distracted me somewhat. Some people were sitting out enjoying the day.  I even saw a sunbather, stretched out on a lounge chair, face down.  I was reminded of Hercule Poirot’s observation in Evil Under the Sun, about sunbathers looking remarkably alike.  Oh dear, he put it much better than that.   I don’t know where I put my copy of that book, and I really don’t want to take the time to look for it now.  Read the book yourself, if you like murder mysteries.

Anyways, I managed to run for 22 minutes (my favorite number!).  As is often the case, my cool-down walk was my favorite part.  I think my least favorite part is this blog post about it.  I’m sorry, folks, it’s Monday, and I have to finish cooking dinner.  I hope to see you all tomorrow, on Tired Tuesday.

 

May Day Run?

I unexpectedly ran today.  I had my work-out clothes in a bag in my vehicle, thinking to go to the YMCA in Mohawk for my usual arms and abs followed by elliptical.  Then I stepped out of work into the warm air and thought, “I can’t waste this!”  It was nice and cloudy too, just the way I like it.  I left the workout clothes in my vehicle for another day, got dressed in a running outfit — shorts and short sleeves, woohoo! — and set out.  Full disclosure:  the outfit in my bag would have been fine for running, but I figured this way I already have the bag packed for next time.

Oh, the bare sidewalks! Oh the breeze that did NOT torment my sinuses!  Well, yes, the warmer temperature does make my spring allergies immediately kick in (it’s either placebo effect or really, really fast pollens), but that is not the same as the pain brought on by a bitter wind.  I got set to enjoy myself.

Of course I did not.  I have not been running in weeks (too lazy to check my running journal and see exactly how long) (well, that fits: too lazy to run, too lazy to check).  I have taken walks and gone to the YMCA, but not as consistently as intended or recommended.  In fact, I haven’t done anything since Friday.  In my defense, oh never mind my defense, explanations are tiresome.  But my body was not happy with me right away.

I grimly told myself that this was the difference between a smooth elliptical machine and pounding on the pavement.   Just endure, I thought.  One must get through runs like this to get to the good ones.  I have not run up the hill to Herkimer College in a long, long time.  I want to get back there one day!  Today, obviously, was not that day.  I decided 15 minutes would be OK, although I would try for 20.  Twenty minutes seemed good for the first run in a long, long time.

I thought about how I have been going for long walks on some of the days I do not go to the YMCA.  Walking, I thought longingly.  How pleasant would that be?  I would go further and longer!  Why wasn’t I walking?  I had really missed a bet this time!  But I kept running, at least the middle-aged shuffle I call a run.  I reminded myself that this was the pace I can keep up for just about as long as I decide to.

By the end of the run, I was picturing a calendar and counting in my head if I ran 20 minutes, then added 10 percent every week, how soon would I be ready to run a 5K?  What if I ran 22 minutes?   I left out a week and got confused.  Then I wondered when I might find a 5K in the area that I wanted to run.  I also wondered if I would be able to get a blog post out of this run.  I could call it May Day Run.  Isn’t May Day what ships call when they are about to sink?  Appropriate for the way I was running!

I made it for 23 minutes.  Perhaps I could have gone further, but there was no point in killing myself (oh, YOU can probably see a point to it!) (you know who you are).  As it was I was damn tired.  My cool-down walk was more pleasant than the run, but I was ready to stop that by the end, too.  I stood on the deck to do my stretches and noticed some daffodils in my yard.  Yay, daffodils!  I had been hoping all day to see some May flowers.

 

Two Runs, One Post, It’s Tired Tuesday!

Regular readers will recall that yesterday I was too tired after my run to make a blog post about it.  I went running again today and will attempt to make a Running Commentary post in lieu of my usual Tired Tuesday.  In fact, I am tired after my run but feel somewhat revived after my recovery beverage of chocolate milk.  I think I can manage at least 200 words.  Maybe I can write about both runs.  A double Running Commentary.  That is appropriate for a veteran like me, because in the Army we called running “double time.”  I’ll write it on the double (if anybody just made a rimshot noise, oh just shut up, you know these are the kinds of jokes I make).

For two days now temperatures have been above 40.  Yesterday my thermostat said 46, and today it said 50.  Woohoo!  That is shorts and short-sleeve weather for me.  I got some running clothes on and got out the door, first putting a load of laundry in the washer.  This is how I multi-task.  I did it yesterday, I did it again today.  I am way behind on my laundry.

Both days have really not been as warm as I like.  It is kind of like the entire earth hasn’t warmed itself up yet.  The sun felt warm, but the air felt cold, especially in the shade and/or when the wind blew.  No matter.  I knew I would warm up as I ran.  And if not, I had a sweatshirt waiting for me to wear on my cool-down walk, and the hot shower afterward would feel especially good.  I concentrated on how nice it is to have bare, dry sidewalks.  Except, of course, for certain patches of ice, mud and puddles.  I dodged around them, usually into more mud.  You’ll have that this time of year. I persevered.

I quickly realized I was going to have to persevere over my own body’s complaints as well.  My legs felt stiff and sore.  Yesterday I forgot to stretch out after I ran, probably because I went right down into the basement to put the laundry in the drier.  I’m not really good at multi-tasking.  Well, one thing I know how to do is persevere.  At least at some things.  At least for a little while.

Today’s run was two minutes shorter than Monday’s, 22 and 24 minutes respectively.  Yes, these are short runs.  I have not been running enough lately; I have to build myself up again.  I walked for ten minutes both days.  Yesterday I also skipped my recovery beverage.  You see, the doctor told me I was probably becoming intolerant to dairy.  I am not sure I believe him, since this is also the guy that told me sugar was causing all my headaches.  Don’t get me started on doctors.  Still, I cut way back on sugar and stopped drinking milk, in case I see him again and he asks. However, today I felt so ate up after the run (“ate up” is also an army expression), I said to hell with it, I’m having the chocolate milk.  It tasted good.  I also remembered to stretch.

Ooh, look at me, over 500 words.  That’s pretty good for a Tired Tuesday.  Anyways, I’m glad I went running two days in a row.  And I’m glad I managed to write a blog post about it.