RSS Feed

Category Archives: running commentary

Run Before G.R.A.V.E.

Good things happen all at once.  Just when this blog ought to become All G.R.A.V.E. All The Time, I find it also must become All Fireman 5K All The Time.  Yes, this Saturday, Oct. 14 I shall run a 5K in the morning and act in a murder mystery in the evening.  I know, that’s not a huge lot on my plate (I know YOU probably do more before breakfast) (you know who you are), but you know how easily I get flustered.  I just got back from running and must study my lines for tonight’s rehearsal.  However, I shall first attempt a Running Commentary post in order to avoid Wrist to Forehead Sunday later.

It was pouring rain when we got up this morning.  I was guiltily happy to postpone my run.  I even wondered if the rain would keep up enough to make an indoor run on the mini-tramp eligible.  For one reason, I never finished watching the John Barrymore silent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that I started watching the last time I ran on the mini-tramp.  However, the rain soon stopped.  When I stepped out on the front porch to get the newspaper, I noticed how muggy it was. Yikes!  I hate a muggy run, and it’s October, for heavens’ sake!  However, after Steven left for work shortly before nine, I suppressed my feelings of ill-usage and got into running clothes.

I sought out the loosest shirt I could find, which was a large, low-cut, sleeveless t-shirt I wear when I go swimming (for a bathing suit, I wear spandex shorts, a sports bra, and that shirt to cover my fat gut).  My sports bras showed, so I made sure I wore colors that didn’t clash with light pink: hot pink and grey.  I know I will never look like anything but a plodding, overweight middle-aged lady when I run, but at least my colors are coordinated.  I further decided to run with a bottle of water in my hand.  I felt desperately thirsty by the end of yesterday’s run.  Also, I planned to run to Herkimer College, which would bring me right near the spring, for a re-fill.

Oh, it was warm and muggy.  There were puddles to dodge around.  I had taken the precaution of wearing an older pair of running shoes, so that was all right.  Still, I don’t need all that dirty water splashing up my legs, so I dodged.  I felt tired and ploddy, so I decided to run up to the college the back way.  It is longer but less steep.  Also, it is in a wooded area, so there might be shade.  I treasure shade.  By the way, I do not care if ploddy is a word or not, it is how I felt.

As I approached the road I wanted, I noticed a new sign saying “Do Not Enter.”  Score!  I could feel like a rebel! The little sign below said, “Authorized vehicles only,”  so I figured it was only closed to vehicular traffic. I thought they would not object to a ploddy, overweight, middle-aged lady, especially on a Sunday.  As I plodded up the road, moving just fast enough that I could pretend to myself it was a run, I saw they are doing work on it.  I made a note to myself to keep running this way on occasion, so I can mark their progress.

My body was not loving this run.  However, one must persevere, especially when one has a 5K to run in less than a week (yikes!).  Actually, you can ignore that parenthetical comment;  I have no reason to “yike,”  I am in plenty good shape for a 5K.  I don’t expect to get a good time, but I feel sure I will have a good time, if you see what I mean.  As I often observe, one must push through the bad runs to get to the good ones. This run was not horrible, at least, not yet.  I continued on up Reservoir Road, which is uphill but more of a gentle slope.  I still struggled a little, but you’ll have that.  Finally I was crossing over and starting on my way down.

And that was when it got horrible.  The sun had come out and was reflecting off the wet pavement like a wide, bright beam of headache.  If I had been wearing my polarized sunglasses and wearing a hat with a brim, I’d have been fine.  As it was, yikes (here I have good reason to  “yike”)!  Still, I didn’t see anything I could do but keep going and hope for a cloud.  Twice I was able to in the grass and take advantage of the shade offered by a row of trees.  Ah, I love to go off-road on occasion (I know some people mean something different than that, and I like those runs too).  At last I got to Lou Ambers Drive, where the trees offered some shade.

Of course the shade did not last.  However, a handy cloud gave some temporary relief, and as always, I tried to count my blessings.  Another blessing is the wide shoulder on that road, because a couple of cars were coming up it.  This is why I like to run on sidewalks when possible.  Occasionally the wind would pick up, and that was another blessing.  It was not enough to dry my sweat, but I was sweating profusely.  Sorry if that gives you an unfortunate mental image (but not real sorry).

I ran for 44 minutes, which was last week’s time.  Normally I try to up it by 10 percent each week, but today I must recruit my energies for this afternoon’s G.R.A.V.E. rehearsal.  Additionally, it should take me less than 44 minutes to run the 5K, so I can feel confident about that.  If the headache the bright sun gave me goes away (can’t say the sun never gave me nuthin’), my life will be perfect.

For more information about the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K, visit their Facebook page.  For more information on A GR.A.V.E. Murder, visit its Facebook event.  And Happy Sunday, everyone.

 

Advertisements

What Does My Body Know, Anyways?

I felt sick to my stomach this morning, so I did not feel like going running.  However, I’ve found that sometimes the counterintuitive thing is the right thing to do (OK, why is my computer underlining “counterintuitive,” one of my favorite words by the way.  I looked it up in Webster’s, it is so spelled right!)  (OH, computer wants me to hyphenate it, counter-intuitive.  Well, I’m not going to, so there.)

Where was I?  Ah yes, running, although my body seemed to be telling me not to.  Oh well, my body is a well-known lazy bum, as is my mind on many occasions.  Additionally, I wanted to work up a good sweat so a shower would feel extra good.  So I got ready to go.  No worries about being cold, as we’re getting a last little bit of summer before the equinox.  Oh, anybody who is going to screech, “TMI!” if I mention bras, don’t read the rest of this paragraph, because you know I don’t want to hear that.  I took the unprecedented step of wearing three sports bras.  The first two I put on did not feel secure enough, and I was too lazy to take them off and start over (others who wear D cups or above will understand).

It was grey and foggy out.  I like fog.  It’s so mysterious.  I headed down German Street toward Valley Health.  That is about the only hill I am up to these days, but I hope to build myself back up.  As I slowly made my way up, I reflected that at my age I can’t just jump on and off the running wagon.  It takes much less time to get out of shape and a lot longer to get back in.  By the time I reached the top of the hill I was seriously considering bagging the running and switching to walking.  Ah, long leisurely walks.  How pleasant would that be?  Other people stay in great shape by walking.  That could be me.  Then I thought of a few of my friends that run and felt that I really am not ready to quit that club just yet.

I had originally meant to run immediately back down the hill and around the sidewalks nearer my house.  Then a street that went downhill and ended in a cloud of fog beckoned me.  Of course I knew what was there:  it is a housing development I have run through many times.  Still, it felt like more of an adventure to turn.  I ended up not going down the hill (which I would only have had to run back up) but took the next left.  I admired some of the houses.  Many were ranch houses build into hills so the garage was in the basement.  That would be handy.

There are some major hills in that area (I call it “the suburbs,” although I know that is not strictly accurate), but I managed to avoid them.  Eventually I made my way to Lou Ambers Drive so I could stop and get a drink at the spring.  I looked up the hill to Herkimer College and sighed.  Another week, maybe two, and I might be ready for that one again.  The spring water tasted good, but I still had a ways to go to meet my goal of 36 minutes (I did 33 last week).  I’m sure those times don’t seem very impressive to some of you.  Well, it’s where I’m at, I might as well own it.

I ended up running faster as I neared the 36 minute mark, because I wanted to get all the way home and not run for more than 36 minutes (hey, don’t judge, I was tired!).  I almost ran too fast and had to go by the house or run up and down the driveway a couple of times (don’t judge, but you can laugh at me if you like, I do).

As I finished my cool-down walk, I realized I was still sick to my stomach.  At first I thought, so much for the counterintuitive solution.   Then I thought, hey, I’m no worse off.  My stomach may still have been upset and this way, I got a run in.  And now I’ve gotten my blog post written.  On the rest of my Sunday chores!  I hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

 

Too Much Detail on a Tired Tuesday Run?

I have this recurring dream where I am trying to get somewhere and my legs won’t work properly.  I can’t pick up my feet, I can’t move forward, it’s simply dreadful.  I pretty much felt this way at work today, and I worried tonight’s run would be more of the same.  However, I have not been running since July and I was determined to begin again.

I made a bargain with myself that I would only run for 20 minutes.  I could hang for 20 minutes.  This would work.  Of course it was a rigamarole getting ready to run.  I wanted to put in a load of laundry while I ran, including the pants I had worn to work today.  Since I had gotten sweaty at work, I took advantage of this.  I stayed naked while I filled the basket with laundry, then put on my running clothes (sorry if that gave you an unfortunate mental image) (then again, what are you doing picturing me naked?  Shame on you, you dirty-minded thing, you!).

Of course I was still sweaty.  I put powder on my upper body, but my second sports bra  still rolled up as I put it on and I couldn’t reach the back to unroll it.  I hate when that happens!  I got it, though, because, like I said, I was determined.  If this is too much detail, tough.  I calls it like I sees it.  I almost got out the door before I realized I had not thrown the laundry in.  Back up the stairs to retrieve the basket, then down to the basement.  I figured it could count as my warm-up.

Usually when I run, I make a left at the end of my driveway and head to German Street.  If I have not been running in a while, I head to Caroline Street, then go up and down the streets, working my way back home.  I decided to mix things up, so turned right and headed towards Meyers Park.  I even crossed the street and ran down the opposite side from my house.  The sun came out from behind a cloud, showing me that I had not picked the shadier side of the street. No matter.   It was my first run of beginning again, and I was going to persevere.

Persevere was what I had to do, because I never hit the I Can Rock This stage.  I won’t say that every step was an effort, but a goodly number of them were.  I tried to distract myself by looking around.  Mostly I noticed other people’s porches and wished I was sitting on a nice porch, perhaps enjoying a beverage.  I had told a work friend that I might reward myself with a glass of wine after my run.  Suddenly I remembered… chocolate milk!  When I was training for the Boilermaker 15K, I got in the habit of re-hydrating with chocolate milk.  I read somewhere that it is an excellent recovery drink.  I must say I enjoy it quite a bit.  I knew there was milk and chocolate in my refrigerator.  That thought sustained me for the rest of the run.

I ended up running for 22 minutes.  I felt pleased with myself that I had gone at least a little over 20, especially since the devil on my shoulder had been whispering that 15 would be just as good.  The cool shower felt wonderful, and the chocolate milk was heaven.  I probably won’t run again tomorrow, because I have rehearsal for The Tempest (no, that is not over yet, and I will no doubt write more blog posts about it), but I hope to run on Thursday.  Sooner or later, I must hit that I Can Rock This stage.

 

Back on Track? Not Exac’

See what I did there?  I was going for a jazzy kind of thing, like in “I Get a Kick Out You” when Louis Armstrong sings, “I get no kick from cocaine!  If I took a sniff it would bore me terrif’…”

That by way of introduction to a Running Commentary post.  I have not been running very much lately and in fact did not intend to run today.  I felt too tired and my legs felt stiff.  Then I thought my legs might feel less stiff if I exercised them. Maybe a nice walk, I thought.  I have been working on my feet for the past two (ten-hour) days, but pacing between machines is not the same as taking a walk.  Then I thought, oh what the hell, and got into running clothes.  I did not have to run for a long time, I reasoned.  Twenty minutes, half hour tops.  After all, I was rebuilding.  And I almost never at any time run very fast.

Today I ran even slower than usual.  It was a shuffle, it was a plod.  I figured anybody looking at me might think, “I can do better than that!” and thus be encouraged to reach their own fitness goals.  But I kept going.  I wondered if there were any 5K’s around here in the near vicinity.  Could I run 5 kilometers?  Did I want to run in a 5K?  The answers to the last two questions were yes, and no. But I kept going.

As I was running down Caroline Street, I noticed a kid on a bicycle a couple of blocks ahead of me.  Was that the chubby-legged swine that gave me the finger when I was running some time ago?  Yes, I remember petty little insults from long ago, although I try not to dwell on them.  I don’t think it was the same kid.  In any case, he was far enough and headed further away from me that I did not have to worry about further insults, if any.

It was not particularly difficult to run, but it wasn’t much fun either.  I wondered how long I should run for.  Maybe less than 20 minutes?  No, I could make it for 20.  More than 20?  Let’s not push it.  I passed a guy sitting on his porch with his feet up.  I would certainly rather be doing that, but I could not share that thought with the guy, because he was talking on a cell phone.  I like to interact with people as I run by.  I ran by a little kid on a bicycle with training wheels.

“Hey, buddy, will you give me a ride home on the handlebars?  I’m small!”

His mother chuckled.  Of course it was a joke: I know I am not particularly small, especially where I sit.  I started to chuckle myself, picturing my fat butt fitting on those little handlebars.  If I didn’t break the bike, which was likely to happen and not likely to be funny.

I ended up running for 22 minutes, my favorite number.  For once my cool-down walk did not feel terrific (terrif’?).  However, I ran, I wrote a blog post about it.  I’m calling that win on Tired Tuesday.

 

First Post-Boilermaker Run

Did anybody think I would just stop running after the Boilermaker 15K?  I have crashed and burned after running it in the past (I even wrote it on my calendar a couple of times:  Monday, Crash; Tuesday, Burn).  But I wanted to keep it up this time.  I had actually meant to start running again Tuesday or Wednesday, but, well, you know how it goes sometimes (and if you don’t, what planet do you live on?  I’d like to visit).  So Friday was GOING to be the day.

When I woke up around 4 a.m., I felt SO ready to run.  I was going to sleep a little more (hey, I’m still on vacation), then I was going to get right to it.  I might not need any coffee first.  I drank a little water (I always keep a bottle by the bed) and relaxed.

An hour an a half later, when Steven said he was getting up, I not only did not feel like running, I did not feel like getting out of bed.  It being my last real day of vacation (I don’t count the weekend, since I normally have weekends off) (YES, lucky me, don’t hate), I stayed under the covers for another 15 minutes or so.  This worked out, since due to a slight malfunction, coffee wasn’t ready till I got up anyways.  Additionally, it was raining.  I was off the hook!  I don’t have to run in the rain!

Of course, I knew I COULD run in the rain.  I’ve done it before.  Also, the rain would probably stop.  I had some coffee and awaited events. After a cup and a half,  I did not see drops in the puddles, and I felt a little more ready.  After all, this was the first run after a 15K and four days off.  I decided I did not have to run more than 20 minutes.

Off I went dodging puddles and patches of mud still left from the recent flooding.  I ran down German Street and pondered where to go.  No hills, I promised myself.   Perhaps a Dead End Run.  That is where I cross German and run up and down all the dead end streets as I work my way back.  Being me, I changed my mind about that three or four times, but ended up doing it.

I did not run all the dead end streets.  That would have been a much longer run than anticipated. As it was I ended up running 33 minutes.  Again, being me, I debated about that, too.  Should I run past my house to the end of the street and back?  Continue around the block?  Make it 40 minutes?  35 minutes?  I decided 33 was a fine number, so I ran a little way past the house.

I’m thinking this is not much of a Running Commentary, since I have not offered a lot of observations and, well, comments.  However, it is Lame Post Friday and my last real day of vacation.  I’m going to call it a post.  Happy Friday, everyone.

Last Long Run Before Sunday

It may be time for this blog to become All Boilermaker All The Time.  I went for my last long run before the big race.  The big race, for anybody just tuning in, is the Utica Boilermaker Road Race, the premier 15K race in the country (I say it with confidence, although I confess I have not researched 15K races), which takes place this Sunday, July 9, 2017.  There is also a 5K on Sunday, a 3-mile walk on Saturday, an Expo Friday and Saturday, and many other events and attractions.  I know I’m not mentioning everything; after all, this blog is mostly about ME (I say it with no apology for my egotism) (although I confess to having a good laugh at myself).

Where was I?  Ah yes, about to do a Running Commentary post about my last long run till Sunday (hey, is that a good title for the post, or is it too obvious?).

It was excellent running weather: not too hot, not too humid, sunny and pretty.  As I ran, I felt the sun was perhaps brighter and hotter than my own personal ideal, but running in the shade was fine.  I decided to run in the residential area behind Valley Health, what I refer to as “the suburbs.”  This took me up the hill by Valley Health as a kind of a warm-up hill, and I knew I would find a long, challenging hill as I went.

As I ran toward Valley Health, along German Street which gradually slopes upward, I realized I did not want to run any hills.  My body felt like it could keep going perfecly well on level ground but would be utterly defeated by gravity if I tried to push it.  Well, naturally on my Last Long Run Before The Boilermaker, I was inclined to push it.  I remembered of what I thought on a recent run: running hills does not become easier for me; I merely learn to keep going longer while it sucks.  I wondered if that was strictly true. Most probably it sucks less as I go.  Today I tried a new tack:  I told myself that going up hills was a psychological trick;  I just had to stop NOTICING how much it sucked.  This is an extension of a trick I heard about in the army:  just look at your feet and shuffle up that hill.

I took a wrong turn and ran down a perfectly level street that turned at a right angle then ended in a cul-de-sac.  Then I found the correct corner, when down a small hill then up, up, up.  I passed a lady walking down and said good morning.

“Boilermaker!” I added, fists in the air.  “Three days and a wake-up!”

“There you go!” she encouraged.  “Good luck!”

A short while later, I saw a fellow runner, headed down the hill.

“Boilermaker!” I called to her.  “We got this!”   She laughed.

I passed a few other walkers, including a very nice couple who let me pet their dog.  Yes, I stopped running long enough to pet the dog.  I like to pet a dog.

I ran for an hour and one minute, which is how long I ran yesterday.  In training for previous Boilermakers, I have been up to an hour and a half.  However, I feel an hour is good.  I tell myself, if you can run for an hour, you can run for two; just don’t stop.  I plan shorter runs tomorrow and Friday, and a couple of long walks on Saturday.  And in between, I hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Boilermaker, here I come!

 

One Week! Seriously?

It is one week before the Boilermaker 15K.  I hope all the flooding in Utica does not t put a — wait for it — damper on the proceedings (you must see that I had to make that pun).   I felt that I had to go for a good, long, challenging run this morning, especially since yesterday’s run was cut short.  Accordingly, I got dressed for it as soon as I got out of bed about 6 a.m.  I drank water as I got ready, stretched out a little (which I often neglect to do), and set out.

I expected a lot of mud so had put on an older pair of running shoes.   It was mostly in the gutters but parts of the sidewalk were covered and in places the whole road was awash.  I was running with a bottle of water in my hand but tried not to sip too fast and get nauseous.  It was not as warm and muggy as it was on Friday, but neither was the air fresh and clear.  I was grateful for the occasional breeze.

I headed for my go-to hill, the one up to Herkimer College (or HCCC as I used to call it) (pronounced “H-triple-C,” although real natives say  it “H-trip”).  I figured there would be less mud as I ran up.  There was plenty near the bottom of the hill.  I was surprised to run into more as I went up.  The road wasn’t coated, but there were a couple of places where a swath of stones and gravel angled across, even close to the top.  I maneuvered around these without too much problem.  Lack of traffic helped.

As I ran across the campus, I felt quite solitary.  I thought I would at least see Campus Security making the rounds, but no.  I did not run into any problems, though, so that was good.  As I was running up the steepest part of the hill, I reflected sadly that it was not becoming easier to run hills; merely, I was practicing my ability to keep going even when it sucks.  When the upslope became a more reasonable angle, it stopped sucking, so I felt better about things.  I ran all the way up, around the athletic fields, and down Reservoir Road.  I would have liked to run on the Nature Trail but feared it would be too muddy after yesterday’s rains.

The back road down was not as bad as I had feared.  That road is being worked on so parts are not as well-paved as one would like.  There is one area where there are plants growing up through the gravel.  I kind of admire the plants’ perseverance.  Life, as they say, will find a way.  One little plant is even growing out of a crack in the pavement.  I can almost hear it saying, “Hey, guys, look at me!  I’m over here!”  I angled around the plant as well as some stones and mud.  I changed my mind a few times about which way to run, based on which choice was less muddy, but I got pretty dirty anyways.

I was in the latter portion of my run when I stopped by the spring to re-fill my water bottle.   The stones and board surrounding the spring had moved somewhat but I managed to get close enough with little problem.  Then I headed home, debating on if my run would be exactly an hour or a little longer.  Longer won.  Then I stopped to chat with a couple of neighbors on my cool-down walk, so I was gone long enough to make Steven wonder a little.  He had expected me to run for exactly an hour, and he had forgotten about my cool-down walk.

I felt pretty damn good about myself and more confident about running the Boilermaker 15K in a week.  I still feel I haven’t run enough, but there isn’t anything I can do about that now.  I guess now is the time to begin feeling nervous about where I’m going to park and how early I ought to get there and will I be able to find my way through the crowd after the race to get my beer.  Oh, swell, now this is turning into Wrist to Forehead Sunday!