RSS Feed

Category Archives: running commentary

Without Hoopla or Help

So I did a thing last Sunday.  I ran 9.31 miles.  Yes, it was my Virtual Boilermaker 15K, and I pretty much backed into it.

I ran for one hour one minute on Saturday.  I had a bad headache, which running seemed to help.  Unfortunately, I started to get nauseous.  Now, I have the idea that I can run pretty much as long as I make up my mind to.  Not so on Saturday.  Quite abruptly, I felt, “No.”  I don’t know if it was from my mind or my body, but I stopped running.  I walked home, wanting nothing more than to stay perfectly still, which I was eventually able to do.

Still, I think an hour is a pretty good run, and I had included a few hills, so I was not entirely dissatisfied with myself.  Sunday I thought I would try for seven miles, however long that took me.  Then I would be in good shape for the Mini-Maker at Copper City Brewing in Rome on Sept. 13.

For a hill, I went out Main Street.  Part of the road is closed to traffic, but they don’t say anything about overweight, middle-aged runners, so I feel free.  It is steep and long-ish, and if I go all the way out Highland, I can come down Steuben Hill.  Sometimes I go up Steuben and down Highland, but I prefer to go up where it is steeper and down the more gradual slope.  Just my preference.

The run was going pretty well.  My first mile was almost 15 minutes, which I was not pleased about, but I told myself not to worry, just keep going.

It was sometime after the second mile that I began to toy with the idea of going for the 15K.  I had a bottle of water in my hand.  I could re-fill it at the spring.  That was almost as good as having water stations. I had not planned my entire route, but I could just keep going till Map My Run told me nine miles.  Then I could keep going till it was 9.3.  I should be able to look at my phone (strapped to my upper arm) enough to ascertain that.  I just couldn’t finish on a sprint, as I like to do.

The phrase occurred to me, “without hoopla or help.”  That’s it, I thought.  Without hoopla or help, I will run my 15K.  It kind of went against the grain, because one of my mottoes of life is “I get by with a little help from my friends.”  In this case, however, I decided to do something by myself, for myself, to prove I could do it.  I was running through some fairly level streets in Herkimer, NY while I thought this.  I tried to keep up my pace yet told myself that it did not matter how long it took me, as long as I went the distance.  Then I started thinking about hills.  I had gone up a big hill.  I did not need to do any more.  Did I?

The fact is, Herkimer is not that large, especially if I did not want to cross Route 5, which I did not.  Additionally, I wanted to be at least an hour into my run before I finished my bottle of water and stopped by the spring.  All things considered, I decided my best bet would be to go up the kick-buttest hill in the residential area behind Valley Health.  I suppose I could have gone up the hill to Herkimer College, but I felt more comfortable in the other area.

It was not too awful getting up that long hill, and I was slowly racking up the miles.  I was just over an hour when I refilled my water.  Now where to run?  I thought of a route that would bring me by my beloved Historic Four Corners.  I’ll do that!  Then I added in a few more turns and streets, because I needed to run longer.  Soon I was wishing I had fully charged my phone, because it started making a noise which I was afraid meant low battery.  Please, phone, please, last for me!   At last I was at nine miles!  I was headed down Prospect Street, almost at Bellinger Avenue (not to be confused with Bellinger Street).  I could enter where it said Do Not Enter!  My favorite!

As I headed up my own street, I twisted my arm enough to see my phone.  Map My Run, don’t fail me now!  It did not.  I stopped running when it said 9.31 miles.  Yay!  I was right across from a neighbor sitting on his front stoop, one I often greet as I run by.

“I just ran my Virtual Boilermaker 15K!” I told him.

“Good for you,” he said.

And I just finished my blog post about it.  Phew!  I guess I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.

 

Comedy on the Run

To begin with,  it was not a blister on the bottom of my foot,  it was a sliver.  Apparently I cannot tell the difference without closer examination.   In my defense, it started hurting after a run, not after I had been walking around barefoot or at work.  Metal splinters are an occupational hazard at my place of employment, and, yes, they can find their way into one’s shoes.  But I discovered the splinter this morning, and my purpose now is to write more about yesterday’s run.

Regular readers know I am a friendly sort, and I love to call out greetings to passers-by.  In pre-Covid times, I would stop and pet dogs, but now I am more aware of social distances.

As I ran by the apartment building at the end of my street, I called hello to a couple sitting outside, and they returned the greeting.  As I ran by Trinity Lutheran Church, I saw a lady I knew.  She called out encouragement and I thanked her.  After that, I saw few people till I encountered a little girl riding a bike in the residential area behind Valley Health.  I made my usual joke.

“That’s what I need!  A set of wheels!”

She smiled politely, humoring the crazy old lady.

Going up the long hill, a pick-up truck passed me and pulled into a driveway.  A young man was getting out as I reached it.

“I almost jumped into the back of that truck!” I yelled.  He laughed.

As I mentioned yesterday, it was not as difficult getting to the top of the hill as in previous runs.  Dare I hope I am getting into shape (I mean a shape other than round and puffy)?  Just after I crested the hill, I saw a lady sitting on her front stoop with a stroller next to her.  A very cute dog started barking at me from the stroller.

“Oh, lady,” I said, “Would you push me home in that stroller?”

She laughed, and the dog continued to bark.  Yes, it is Comedy on the Run by Mohawk Valley Girl.  Hey, that is not a bad title.  Or do I flatter myself?

 

Toward The Boilermaker

It ought to be time for this blog to become All Boilermaker All the Time.  I don’t know that I will do that, but I thought I would attempt a Running Commentary Post today.  I did not run on Sunday, because I had a blister on the bottom of one foot.  What was that all about?  I have good sneakers, and I wore running socks!  I did not run Monday, because, well, Monday.  The bottom of my foot still felt a little sore, but I did not dare take another day off.

I have been trying to get my butt kicked a little more on weekday runs, so I headed towards the residential area behind Valley Health.  Regular readers may remember that there is a particularly long hill I fear and love.  As I ran, I considered going up the hill to Herkimer College instead but eventually settled on my original plan (full disclosure: not without cravenly considering a few easier routes).

Once again I attempted to pick up the pace.  I hope to run under a 14-minute mile, and I feel quite frustrated that it is even a question.  When I was in the army, a 10-minute mile was a leisurely pace!  It was faster than I wanted to run, which in fact was the pace I sought in the army.  Full disclosure:  sometimes At All is faster than the pace I want to run.

I made it up the hill with huffing and puffing but actually very little problem.  I maintained a pace of less than 13 1/2  minutes per mile.  My run was just over three miles (I kept going for a 42 minute total), so there is no guarantee I can maintain that pace.  But you never know.

I have not shared some of the amusing little incidents of my run, so perhaps I will make this a two-parter.  Then I am one post closer to All Boilermaker All The Time!

 

I Ran! I Was Tired!

Wednesday afternoon I went running with the intention of making a running commentary post.  I’ll say it was the run that tired me out too much to make said post (there may have been other factors, but as I often say, explanations are so tiresome).  Therefore I sit at work (BEFORE my shift, not when I am supposed to be working), pen in hand (my Tablet is at home), trying to remember the run.

I put my smart phone in the arm band, trying to put it on so that it would NOT rub part of my arm raw (I am so incompetent at these thing) and set out.  I had a vague idea of running up the hill to Herkimer College, but my body was definitely not on board with the plan.  Nevertheless, I persisted.

I have signed up to run the MIni-Maker at Copper City Brewing in Rome, NY on Sept. 13.  Before signing I exchanged a few messages and  comments with the venue and the guy that mapped the route, wondering if it was right for me, or I was right for them.  They emphasized that I had to train.  Well, I have been training right along, but I am not any faster of a runner than I have been at any time these past few years.  They said I could start early, since they want to wrap it up in two hours or less.

With all this in mind, I thought I should perhaps train a little harder.  That is, to not let myself off the hook on a weekday run (as I often do) but to make a good length of time on a challenging course.  Hence, the hill to the college.  Of course I waffled and weaseled but ended up running what I call the kick-butt way up to the college: by the dormitories.  You run up a steep hill, through a parking lot on a more gradual upslope, repeat two or three times (I can’t remember how many, but it seemed like a lot), with the last steep part pretty steep and fairly long.  Or so it seemed to me.  I certainly did a bit of huffing and puffing along the way.

I ran the back way down to the village.  This is currently closed to traffic, so I got to feel all rebellious.  Additionally, I entered where it said, “Do Not Enter,” around a traffic triangle on my way there, and turned left at a “No Left Turn” at the end.  We middle-aged ladies have to get our kicks somehow.

My Map My Run app had dutifully told me when I was at one mile.  My rate was less than 14 1/2 minutes! Score!  It is not a great time, but it is a little better than previous runs.  I picked up speed going downhill, thinking to make further improvements, which I did.  I thought I should try to run three miles, which would take about 45 minutes, less if I kept up my pace.  I have to perception of distances.  All I can do is keep running and let the app track me.  I considered my options.  Up this street? Down that one?

I ran through the high school parking lot, down Bellinger Avenue to Graham, then down Church to Bellinger Street (yes, we have a Bellinger Avenue and Street in our little village; don’t get me started!).  I went by the house to the apartment building two doors down, then up their driveway.  I saw a lady I know sitting out front.  We greeted each other and she praised my running.

I felt pretty happy, because I ended up doing 3 miles in 43 minutes.  I don’t think I can run 15K in less than two hours, but dammit I will get as close to that as I can!

 

More Commentary Than Run

I have not done a Running Commentary Post in a long time.  I thought I would be doing more, and perhaps this blog would become All Virtual Boilermaker 15K All The Time.  But not so much.  I took a long run this morning, though, so let’s see what I can come up with.

As my runs go over an hour, which the longest ones do, I realize the Herkimer is not that big of a village.  The places I particularly like to run are more suited to runs of 40 minutes or less.  My body tends to prefer runs of those lengths as well, but I’m training for a 15K over here.

Today I ran where I could later drive, so I could see how far I ran.  Regular readers may remember how I delight in entering where it says, “Do not enter.”  I guess that is under the heading It Takes So Little To Please Some People.  I have started using the Map My Run app on my recently acquired smart phone.  Unfortunately,  the arm band I got for it has rubbed both arms raw.  I’ll have to figure out how to fix that.

As I ran, I alternated between wanting to stop now and coaxing myself to run a little further.  I seemed to go a long way then find only a little time had passed.  Then I wondered if I could remember where all I had run when I went to drive it.

To my surprise,  the drive was way more tiresome than the run.  I kept thinking, “This is taking forever!”  Imagine my chagrin when I found I had gone a mere five miles.   I feel certain I can keep going for the full 15K (9.3 miles,  in case you didn’t know), but I fear it will take me a while.

I also have a lot of logistics to figure out.  That will no doubt be worth at least another blog post or two.  As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.

 

I Get My Butt Kicked

I started to make a Running Commentary Post this morning but had a headache.  I wonder if I can do it now.  We shall see.

It was raining when I got up,  around 4:30 (I went to bed early last night), so I turned on the coffee and relaxed for a while.  That also gave me time to drink water.  Water and coffee, it should have been an awesome run!

Of course it was not.  When do things ever go the way I expect them to?  NEVER!  As soon as I started running, my legs started complaining.  What the hell, I had to ask.  I HAVE been running on a regular basis.  I had had it in my head to run the kick-buttest hill in my area.  As I ran toward it, I questioned my intentions.  Never mind, I told myself, just keep going.

On the way to said hill, I went up the hill by Valley Health.  It was hard!  I thought, this is it for me.  I would keep running a long run, but no more hills.  I ran on toward the kick-butt hill but intended to take the last possible turn to avoid it.  Naturally I second guessed myself about this.  How could I train properly if I did not run challenging hills?  Then again, I have plenty of time before my Virtual Boilermaker 15K to run hills.  Then yet again… if dithering burned calories, I would have no problems meeting my weight loss goals.

As I approached the hill and the avoiding turn, I observed a couple of pick-up trucks with some workmen near a house.  I thought I would greet them.  I like to greet people when I run.  The avoiding turn was right before the house they were at.  Oh, heck, I thought to myself, let’s get our butt kicked.

“Good morning, fellas,” I said.  One man turned around and returned the greeting.

“I is about to get my butt kicked,” I said.  He laughed.

And I proceeded to do just that.  This hill goes on and on and up and up.  Yikes!  I have done it a few times in recent memory.  They are not good memories.

However, I persevered and made it to the top.  Yay, me!  What a pleasure to go downhill after!  I went up a couple shorter hills before the end of my run.  I laughed at them.  When I am running with others and we come to a hill, I like to say, “Hill schmill, this ain’t no hill, we got this stinkin’ hill!”

So I ended up being happy I ran the kick-butt hill.  I went on to run for a total of 57 minutes, which is my current longest time (set this past Sunday).  Then I felt tired and headachey for the rest of the day.  What’s that all about?  I thought exercise was supposed to make you feel better!

No matter.  I ran.  I blogged.  I wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

 

Independence Day Run

When I noticed my Army t-shirt in a drawer yesterday, I made up my mind to have an Independence Day Run this morning.  I would wear the Army shirt and run up the hill to the Veterans Memorial at Herkimer College.  It was time to run up that hill again anyways, and it was the day to increase my run time to 44 minutes.  This was going to be great!

I was a little worried about how warm it was when I first got up.  We are having another muggy streak these days.  Oh well, what’s a little extra sweat compared to celebrating our country’s birthday?  I put on a wide headband in hopes of absorbing some of the sweat before it ran into my eyes and made a note to myself to look for some extra-absorbent, exercise-grade headbands for the future.

As I reached German Street, I met a lady taking a walk.  We exchanged good mornings.

“We gotta get out before the heat of the day,” I said.

“That’s what I’m doing,” she said. “It’s beautiful out!”

“Oh, it sure is!”

A short time later I was making a note to myself that I must run more hills.  I ran this one earlier this week (I don’t know when; remember that note to myself to go back to keeping a running journal?  I didn’t do it).  Today it felt as if I hadn’t run it in years!  Crap!  I was gasping for breath. But I persevered and at last I made it to the top.

It feels steeper when you’re on it, and it gets steeper after the curve.

And realized that it continued to slope upwards.  It is amazing to me how my body can detect the most subtle angles when running.  I took my mind off my troubles by continuing to ponder my plans for the Boilermaker Virtual 15K.  I hope to recruit a few friends to meet me along the way with water.  Once I figure out a route.  Various possibilities ran through my mind.

Soon I realized a slight problem.  It was taking a long time to get to the Memorial.  Would I be able to get back home in 44 minutes?  Should I run only for 44 minutes and let part of my cool-down walk take me the rest of the way home?  I would have water; I was carrying a 16 oz. bottle which I intended to refill at the spring.

At last I reached the Memorial!

It’s a lovely little area.

Going down Reservoir Road was a pleasure.  My body appreciates downslopes as much as it suffers on upslopes.  I finished my water shortly before I reached the spring.  A man was there filling a bunch of five gallon buckets, but he let me sneak in to refill my bottle.

One of my favorite spots in Herkimer!

He said he was getting water for his swimming pool.  “I’ve been drinking this water since I was nine years old!”

“I love it,”  I said.  “Thank you!”

I was getting closer to my goal but was further from home.  I ended up running 47 minutes. It is an increase of more than the recommended ten percent, but I think that will be OK.  Boilermaker,  here I come!

 

Late Post, Good Run

I begin my Thursday with  Running Commentary Post.  For one reason, I never posted on Wednesday, and this way there is an off chance I will make two blog posts today.  Additionally, I got back from my run less than an hour ago.  IT! COULD! WORK! (That was a quote of Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein)

I was ready to get up shortly after five.  Steven was still blissfully asleep, so it was a good day to start with a run.  When I looked out the window at the fog, my mind was made up.  I got ready quietly and off I went.

I have been running for several days in a row.  I really must go back to keeping a Running Journal so I can keep track of these things.  Yesterday I went for a long run up the hill to Herkimer College (previously known as HCCC), so I thought a shorter, easier run would be acceptable.

For most runs, I turn left out of my driveway and head toward German Street.  Today for something different, I turned right, going the way I go when I walk to the post office.  I went through Meyers Park, another familiar route for me.  When we first moved here and I started running again (after several sedentary years and gaining over 30 pounds), I made it a habit to always run through the park.  I went on really short runs in those days, but you have to start somewhere.

After the park, I headed toward Main Street.  I decided to keep going in roughly that direction till I had run for ten minutes then head home.  It would probably take me more than ten minutes to get home, what with following a different route, so that would be a good plan.

The plan worked fine.  I went on a couple of streets I don’t often go on (the village is too small for there to be many I’ve NEVER seen).  I admired several flower beds and envied a few screened porches.  I ran by my beloved Herkimer Historic Four Corners.  I ran for 23 minutes.  To put that in perspective,  I ran 40 minutes yesterday,  33 the day before.

I still don’t have a plan for running my Virtual Boilermaker 15K,  but my training seems to be going  well.  I’m feeling pretty good about it.  Now to work on my writing!

 

Running Off Frustrations

I needed to go running this afternoon.  For one reason, I did not run Tuesday or Wednesday,  and my run on Monday was short (I counted my gardening on Tuesday as exercise, since I spent a goodly amount of time walking around carrying rocks) (no, I have no excuse for Wednesday,  judge me if you must).  Where was I?  Ah yes, running off my frustrations, or rather making a blog post about how I attempted to do so.

It does not matter why I was frustrated; it is, in fact, the least interesting part of the story.  Suffice it to say, I felt that some time spent beating up my body would do me good.  So I changed into running gear, threw a load of laundry into the washing machine, and took off.

I had great hopes for this run, because my back was feeling much better than it did on Monday.  However, once I started running, my legs started to feel awful.  Well, that’s what I get for taking days off, I told myself.  Just keep going.

So I did.  The sun was warmer than I prefer, and soon sweat was seeping into my eyes.  Ouch!  Wasn’t that head band helping at all?  Apparently not. I moved my glasses to wipe with my hands or my sleeves.  Don’t touch your face, you advise?  Good luck with that!

I got to smell one lilac bush and one patch of peonies, plus another peony on my cool-down walk.  I had managed to run for a mere 20 minutes, with a 10 minute cool-down walk.  Better than Monday, not as good as I had hoped.  As far as my rotten mood, I guess it helped.  A glass of chocolate milk (my usual recovery beverage) (it’s science, you know!), a cool shower, and a glass of wine (In that order) also helped.

Finishing a 300-word blog post is pretty good too.  And tomorrow is Lame Post Friday!  As always, I hope you’ll tune in.

 

Surprise! It’s Running Commentary!

How about a Running Commentary Post in lieu of my usual Wuss-out Wednesday.  I surprised myself by actually running.  Let’s see if I can further surprise myself by writing a decent blog post about it.

Full disclosure:  it was running only by the most generous definition of the act.  Of course this is always the case with me, but today was an especially egregious example.

I did not get out as soon as I got home.  First I talked myself out of it, which is what I did yesterday (Monday I counted mowing the lawn with the non-power mower as my exercise, so did not need an excuse).  I sat and checked my email, looked at Facebook, got hungry, wondered what to eat.  Then I changed into running clothes, put a load of laundry in the washer, and off I went.

Like the proverbial herd of turtles.

Oh, I thunked.  I clunked.  I huffed and puffed.  But I kept going.  I had a deal with myself that I only had to run for 20 minutes.  That, with my ten minute cool-down walk, would bring me home just about when the washer finished.  Surely I could rock 20 minutes (I’ll call you Shirley if I feel like it)!  I was running more up to 45 minutes on the weekend.  Come on, me!

I did not rock anything.  However, I kept going.  I looked at the grass, I looked at the trees.  I ran in or across the street when I saw other pedestrians, because, you know, social distance.  I called a greeting or waved to many of them.  I saw other people’s irises which had already bloomed (mine are still buds, as pictured in yesterday’s post).

I’m thinking this is a short, and I am afraid rather dull Running Commentary Post.  So I did not surprise myself twice.  I must say that does not surprise me.  Does that mean if I had surprised myself with a terrific blog post, I would have been surprised three times today?  Discuss amongst yourselves.