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Feeling Creaky, Not Friday

How about some Friday Running Commentary?  For one reason, I went running.  For another, I’m just not feeling Friday today.  For a while I even thought I had to work tomorrow, which would have made this a real non-Friday.  Unfortunately, that fell through, so I was left with a Friday that did not feel like a Friday for no good reason.  However, I do not repine.  Instead I went for a long run and now I intend to write about it (yes, yes, I know, Truman Capote said, “That’s not writing, that’s typing,” but I don’t think he was talking about me).

Today was cooler than yesterday and overcast, much better running weather.  I put on sunscreen, though, because I know you can still burn on a cloudy day.  I had a vague idea that I would take a long run.  When I had thought I was working tomorrow, I thought I would make it the run where I upped my time by the recommended ten percent, in case I did not run tomorrow.  Since I do not have to work tomorrow, no doubt I will run.  Still, a long run seemed like a good idea.  Accordingly, I took a bottle of water with me, to sip at while I ran then re-fill from the spring.  That gave me a direction to run in.

To re-cap my recent runs:  Last weekend I ran for an hour and 14 minutes both Saturday and Sunday, hills on Saturday, none on Sunday.  I ran again on Wednesday for 42 minutes with a couple of small hills.  That was a painful run; I felt like I was barely going to make it.  Running more hills than I managed seemed quite out of the question.  So I was not sure how I would feel about running long or running hills today.  But I was going to try.

Well, I did not do as well as I had hoped but neither was it as heinous as I had feared.  I ran a few minor hills.  There were moments where I felt grim and hopeless, when I questioned my choices, and I felt fat, old and creaky.  There were other moments when I believed what I always say to myself, that I can pretty much keep going for as long as I decide to.  I had wild thoughts of upping my run time, as I had thought to do earlier.  Then I had daring thoughts of equaling my longest time so far.  Then I wondered what the hell I was thinking.

I finished my water and made it to the spring.  I decided to do what I did Saturday, that is, run by my house, drop off the full bottle, and finish the run empty-handed.  I still didn’t know how long the run would ultimately be.  A little suspense adds interest to my runs.

By the end of the run, I had changed my mind several times:  “I’ll run here… no, here…  oh wait, there’s that ‘Do Not Enter’ sign, I have to go here!”  I ran up Bellinger Street, across the street from where I live.  I usually run all the way up to German Street then down my side of the street home. Today I was directly opposite my house as my watch ticked the last seconds to the one hour mark.  So I stopped at one hour.  I thought that was pretty good.

I can’t say I felt marvelous as I walked my cool-down, but I felt pleased enough with myself.  I had a glass of chocolate milk after I showered, because I had read recently that this was a good recovery drink.  It was pretty tasty.

Just over three weeks remain till the Boilermaker.  I confess, I am questioning the fitness of my knees.  Then again, what are a few creaks on my way to 15K glory and beer?

 

Run then Rationalize

As soon as I started my run today, my legs were not happy with me.  I had been up and had coffee but nothing to eat.  Well, if I would have eaten something, I would have wanted to wait a little while for it to digest, and then it might have been to warm and I’d have had plenty of time to talk myself out of it.  I told myself I did not have to run as long as I ran yesterday.  After all, last weekend I ran 67 minutes Saturday and only 45 Sunday.  I had upped my time by the recommended ten percent to 74 minutes yesterday.  It might be a good idea to ran the same today, but I do not always follow the idea course in my running.

I wasn’t going to run any hills, either.  I had made up my mind to that, although I confess I was not as comfortable with that decision. There are a lot of hills on the Boilermaker (that is the 15K road race in Utica, NY, I am signed up to run on July 9, for anybody just tuning in).  I don’t have to run hills EVERY day, I argued.  A little voice in my head said, “Oh, just start running, you’ll talk yourself into it as you go.” As soon as I started running, my legs informed me that we were NOT going to run any hills and we certainly were not going to run for an hour and fourteen minutes.

Cutting right to the chase, I’ll tell you:  I did not run any hills but I did run for an hour and fourteen minutes.  I crossed State Street and ran on a bunch of streets I don’t usually run on, so it was a very interesting run.  I’ll have to walk it sometime with my Tablet and take pictures to share.  I probably won’t be doing that today, though.  It’s not that my legs would object (they LOVE to walk), but it is supposed to be close to 90 degrees and sunny today.  I’m kind of a vampire.  I admire a sunny day, but it doesn’t pay me to get too close.

As I was running, I was narrating in my head.  It seemed pretty interesting at the time, but now I’m not so sure.  Then again, it is Wrist to Forehead Sunday.   I think this brief description of my run will suffice.  Now you have time to read other blogs.  Isn’t that generous of me?  Yes, yes, I know, that is only a rationalization, but rationalization is not always a bad thing.  To prove this I will end with a quote from the movie The Big Chill:

Jeff Goldblum character:  Don’t knock rationalization, where would we be without it?  I don’t know anybody who can get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations; they’re more important than sex.

Tom Berenger character: Nothing’s more important than sex.

Jeff Goldblum character:  Oh yeah?  Ever go a week without a rationalization?

If I do not have the lines exactly right, sorry.  I don’t have a rationalization for that, but I hope you will forgive me.

 

A Month and Two Days till the Boilmaker

I did not run for the last two days, so I knew I must run today.  The Boilermaker 15K is a month and two days away and I do not feel ready.  I feel old and creaky.  So I went on a long, challenging run and now I feel — you guessed it — even older and more creaky.  I suppose one will have that when one is, in fact, old and creaky.  However, I planned earlier to make a Running Commentary post, so here it is.

The Mohawk Valley weather gifted us with a beautiful, sunny day today.   It is a day which calls us to spend time outdoors (I say is, because the sun is beckoning me onto the deck as I type this)  (in fact, what am I thinking, being in here?  My laptop has batteries!  I’m going to finish this post outside) (That took a few minutes.  Now where was I?).  I got home and got right into running clothes and out the door as soon as possible.

I knew it would be a good idea to run a hill or two, but all the hills are on the other side of German Street.  Would traffic allow me to cross the street?  I ran toward German and hoped.  Wow, lots of cars.  And my body was NOT in the mood to run.  Oh, my legs were tired, it was not easy to breathe, my back was sore, I was incapable of moving very fast.  However, I WAS capable of moving.  Maybe no hills today.  After all, if I couldn’t cross the street… but maybe now… no, cars kept coming.  Well, if I couldn’t cross the street, I couldn’t feel guilty for not running hills, could I?  Oh, here was an opportunity.  Damn.  Uh, I mean, good!

But which hill to run?  That sun was certainly warm.  I decided to run into Brookfield Park and down the path in the woods, which comes out on the back road up to Herkimer College (HCCC, to long-time locals).  The road goes up as soon as you go into the park.  Oh, that was painful.  It’s not even that long or steep of a hill.  Good God, I only took two days off!  What the hell, body?  It seemed to take a long time to get into the park, but soon I came to the bridge over the brook, which leads to the picnic area beyond which is the path through the woods.  I decided to go beyond it, to the end of the road, then back to it.

The stream babbled towards me, over rocks, moving rapidly and splashing busily.  The recent rains were no doubt having their effect, but it did not look in any danger of flooding.  At the end of the road is a fenced off area.  I could see a path at the edge of the fence, where apparently pedestrians bypass the fence and walk into the woods.  I,  however, did not do so. I had had the damnedest time getting this far; all I could think was that if I could go no further, I did not want to be too far from civilization.

Soon I was headed into the woods, along the path, which also took a long time.  I was not going to go the rest of the way up to the college. I would keep running.  Then I would stop.  Ooh, stopping sounded good.  But I kept going.  Finally I got back onto the road and headed down.  Then I had another idea.  There were a couple of dead end roads that went uphill.  I could run up those and still get some hills in.  I turned right onto the first one.

And realized that it was not exactly a dead end. It led up to the college by the dormitories, a way I have dubbed the kick-butt way.  Well, I did not have to run up the college the kick-butt way, just because I accidentally went on that road.  I could turn around.  I WOULD turn around.

I did not turn around.  Instead, I got my butt kicked.  It is a good idea to get your butt kicked a month and two days before the Boilermaker 15K, I think.  When I ran down the hill from the college, I stopped at the spring and got a drink.  As I ran onto my street, I passed two ladies and a baby on a front porch.  The baby was crying piteously.

“That’s exactly how I feel right now,” I said.  One of the ladies laughed.

I tell you, it was a lousy run, but I ran and I’m glad I did.  Tomorrow I am scheduled to donate blood at a blood drive at my work, so I will probably not run or walk.  And the Boilermaker 15K will be a month and one day away.  Yikes!

 

Memorial Day Musings on a Run in the Rain

I said yesterday I was going to do a hard run today, in honor of fallen soldiers for Memorial Day.  When I got up it was pouring rain, and I was tired.  I don’t usually run in the rain, and it was raining quite heavily.   I really felt too sluggish to do anything.  At last I bestirred myself and went upstairs to put on running clothes with the intention of running in place on the mini-tramp.

As I sought out proper attire, I felt I must run outside in the rain.  Was this a tribute to fallen soldiers or was it not?  How could I justify making things more comfortable for myself?  Maybe I wouldn’t make it for an hour and a minute (the length of my last longest run), but dammit, I was going to run in the rain.  I put on an ARMY t-shirt with a reflective decal on the back.  ARMY for the soldiers, reflective decal for me.  Headlights would catch the decal even in broad daylight, wouldn’t they? Cars should have their headlights on in the rain.  I would be fine.

I headed in the direction of Herkimer College, thinking up that hill would be a good, tough run.  I dodged around and jumped over puddles, eventually landing in one so that my shoes went squish, squish.  I expected that.  I wondered if my plan was a good one.  For one reason, I think the hill I ran up the last time I ran in the suburbs was a longer, steeper one than the one to HCCC (can’t get out of the habit of calling Herkimer College by its old name).  For another reason, I did not think there would be any people up at the college. I like to run where there are people, in case I run into problems.  Suppose I got cramps or sprained an ankle?  I like to think somebody would notice.

“Hey, there’s a crazy old lady, out running and came to grief.  I’ll call 9-1-1.  Better not get to close, though; I hear they’re dangerous when wounded.”

Halfway up the hill, I remembered Campus Safety would probably still be around.  Anyways, I’ve never come to grief running.  I think it’s something my body tells my brain to think about in hopes I will decide to stop running. Soon I was happy for the lack of traffic, because I went out almost to the middle of the lane to avoid a deep puddle.  I didn’t want any more squish in my shoes than I had to have.

Soon I started second guessing my whole “Run for the soldiers” theme.  Who did I think I was, anyways?  Wasn’t I just glorifying myself:  “Oh, look how tough I am, running up the hill in the rain.”  Of course I did not feel particularly tough. I felt wet and old, but oddly good about myself.  Naturally I become suspicious when I start to feel good about myself. I feel I am not the best judge of what I ought to feel good about.

Oh, it took a long way to get to the top.  Did I think this hill was easier than the others I run?  I must be crazy!  But I knew I could make it.  I was running with a bottle of water in one hand but did not feel inclined to take a sip on the steep incline. When I got to the top, I promised myself.  When I got to the top, I kept going across the campus, which I have not done yet this year.  After all, you can cover a lot of ground if you want to keep going for an hour.

Campus was almost deserted.  I saw one car moving and a few empty ones parked. Nobody told me to get off campus, and I enjoyed the solitude.  Things look kind of interesting when they are grey and soggy.  I was pretty grey and soggy myself, and not just my hair; the t-shirt was grey and by now it was soaked through.  I ran all the way around behind the athletic fields to Reservoir Road, which quite frankly seemed a lot longer than the last time I ran it.

I continued my run, moving back and forth between feeling I was making a respectful tribute and wandering what the hell I was thinking.  I also ran the gamut of “this really sucks” to “I LOVE running.”  Sixty-one minutes is a pretty long run.  I finished my water and re-filled the bottle at the spring.  Then I saved the spring water for my husband Steven.  I had left another bottle of tap water on my deck to drink during my cool-down walk.

And that is how I remembered and honored our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

 

Not a Wrist to Forehead Run

I will probably be doing a lot more Running Commentary posts for the next month and a half (or so), as I continue to prepare for the Utica Boilermaker 15K.  I thought I was in excellent shape for it already, having run just over an hour yesterday.  My feeling is if you can run one hours, you can run two; just don’t stop.  And I have run the Boilermaker in under two hours each time I have run in.  Then again (second guessing myself is apparently my favorite indoor sport), I took a three hour nap yesterday afternoon.  Maybe I’m not in such great shape (although I still maintain that round and puffy is a shape).

Today I have a few things I would like to get done, and I will not have time for a three-hour nap, so I thought I would run less than one hour.  This is not my normal M.O.  Usually I make long runs on both weekend days, when I don’t have to work.  However, this is a three day weekend.  I can go for a long run on Memorial Day.  I will wear an army t-shirt and run in honor of fallen soldiers.  So today could be a shorter, easier run with no hills.

I made this plan while I was still in bed, knowing it would be a good idea to get up but really wanting to sleep some more.  I finally talked myself into rising and immediately started drinking water from the bottle I habitually keep next to the bed. I got right into running clothes and was out the door before I had decided which direction to run in.  I turned the opposite way from what I usually take, toward State Street instead of German.  I had only gotten a block when somebody called a greeting.  It was the owner of Chico and Bear, two neighborhood dog buddies of mine.

She was dressed for church and taking the pups for a business meeting.  I stopped my watch and went over to pet the pups and chat with the person. I told her I had thought of going to church yesterday but woke up from my nap twenty minutes after mass started.  When we finished our chat, I reset my watch to zero and started again.  This time I ran down Church Street toward Main.  I still had no idea where I would go but knew I could figure it out as I went.  The sun was in my eyes, so I turned up Prospect and headed toward German.

On German, I turned left, so the sun was behind me.  I decided to run up the hill by Valley Health.  Yes, I had thought “no hills” but one hill was not so bad, especially compared to what I ran yesterday and what I hope to run tomorrow.  As I got to Valley Health, I mixed things up a little by going around the building the opposite way I usually do.  It’s the little things that add interest to my runs.  Running in front of the building as I was, I realized I was on an upslope.  I had never noticed it being a downslope when I ran on it in the opposite direction.  And isn’t that a metaphor for life, I thought.  We don’t always notice when things are a little easier, but, boy, let them get the least bit harder and wham!

I did not mind the upslope, nor yet the steeper hill.  Soon enough I was running down the side I usually run up.  The view is much better the other way, but I appreciated seeing something a little bit different.  I ran down to the Jr/Sr High School, eventually going over the little footbridge.

I ended up running for 37 minutes, and I felt pretty damn good about it.  I got tired by the end but concentrated on my breathing.  I know how getting a VCD (vocal chord dysfunction) attack can rack me up later in the day.  I felt truly awesome on my cool-down walk.  I feel pretty pleased with myself that I have made my blog post already too.  It looks as if I am not going to have a Wrist to Forehead Sunday.  I hope everybody else’s weekend is going as well.

 

I Implemented My Plan

I had a plan today.  I was going to come home from work, put a load of laundry in the washer, fold laundry while it washed, then go running while it was in the dryer. Then I would make a Running Commentary blog post.  I boldly typed in the headline, “I Implemented My Plan,”  but in fact, I have not accomplished the last part of my plan, the blog post.  We’ll see how that goes.

There were three laundry baskets plus a pile of clean laundry in our second bedroom, waiting to be folded and put away.  I know some of you industriously fold your laundry as soon as it emerges from the dryer.  I don’t need to hear about that, nor about how easy it really is to do so, how much better it would be for the clothes and my self-esteem, these benefits could be mine if only I exercised the slightest bit of self-discipline… I guess I get a little defensive about these things.

Where was I?  Ah yes, out on the road, running, while my laundry dried. I had not gotten all the clean stuff folded, but I made a good enough dent in it to feel I had accomplished something.  Now for a good long run, to progress toward my Boilermaer 15K and weight loss goals.

It was a warmer day than the last couple of times I ran.  Additionally, I worked a full day.  I have learned that running after a day at work is not nearly as fun as running first thing on a day off.  However, one cannot always run under ideal circumstances.  I made do.

I thought I should run some sort of hill, since I had not run a good one on Sunday’s run (I took Monday off).  But would I be able to cross German Street and get to a good hill?  Traffic was against me.  I immediately felt tired (it is Tired Tuesday, after all) and started thinking of all kinds of good reasons to make it an easy, no-hill run.  Then I found a break in traffic.  Woo-hoo!  Hills it is!

After considering the hill I ran Saturday (immediately rejected that idea), the hill by Valley Health, the hill up to Herkimer College, I thought perhaps the back way up to the college would be OK.  However, as I approached Brookfield Park (previously known in this space as the Unknown Park), I decided to run through the park and into the path in the woods.  I would come out on the back road to the college.  Once I got to the college, if I really felt ambitious by then, I could continue up Reservoir Road, thus going uphill for a very long time.  On the way back down, I could stop at the spring and get a drink.  Now I had another plan I could implement!

Immediately on entering the park I started uphill.  Oof.  I tried to distract myself by composing my blog post in my head.  This is where I had that argument with the imaginary readers who fold their laundry right away.  I think I was a little more articulate in my head, demolishing their logic and putting them firmly in their fussy, tidy, self-disciplined little place.  Of course I don’t remember my words, but let’s pretend they were brilliant.  We’ll pretend some of your words you can’t remember are brilliant too.  It’ll be fun.

I thought briefly of modifying my plan and running into the grassy fields, to see if there was a path up there.  I ran up there one day.  It’s pretty steep.  Running on grass might feel good, since my running shoes have lost much of their gush (I MUST get the the Sneaker Store in New Hartford, NY, and get new ones ) (just to sneak in a shout-out to a local business).  However, I decided to stick to the plan.

Soon I heard faster footsteps coming up behind me.  I felt old, slow and shuffly, but you’ll have that.  A younger woman trotted by me.  We did not greet each other. She had some device strapped to her arm with a chord going to an earphone.  I know some people love to run with their tunes in their ears, but I prefer to be aware of my surroundings.  She soon left me far behind.  When I got to the little bridge over the brook, which leads to the path in the woods, I could not see her at all.  Then I saw her on the path, disappearing around a corner.  Fine.  Maybe she would stop later and walk.  I could catch up with her and feel vindicated. That did not seem likely.  This is why it is a bad idea to compare yourself with others.

It was nice running down the path.  I saw a couple standing in the woods near the water.  Were they fishing?  I didn’t think my puffing and panting would scare the fish.  I didn’t see fishing poles.  Then I saw they had a couple of dogs.  I waved as I went by and the lady waved back.  I did not call out, because I did not want to make the dogs start barking.

At last the road started to slope up, which I knew meant I was almost at the end of it.  Then it went on longer than I remembered.  Isn’t that always the way?  Finally I was on the road to the college.  And not nearly as far along that as I had pictured.  That road was not only longer than I thought, it was steeper.  And I was not in nearly as good shape as I thought I was. Never mind, just keep going.  Every step is a step that will be easier on the Boilermaker, I told myself.  What will I tell myself after the Boilermaker?  Every step is another sip of beer, I answered.  That worked.

I did not continue up Reservoir Road. Finally I was headed back downhill!  I got my drink.  I finished my run.  And look at this blog post!  It is over 1,000 words!  Are they 1,000 good words?  I DON’T KNOW!!!  But it’s Tired Tuesday.  I’ll give this a quick proofread, but I will not edit for length.  If you have stuck with me to the end of this, I thank you. I hope to see you all on Wuss-out Wednesday.

 

Perhaps Not an Epic Post but an Epic Run

I was twenty minutes into my run when I remembered I had not put on any sunscreen, not even my usual Oil of Old Ladies with SPF 15 on my face.  Of course, sunburn has not even been on my radar with our late spring.  Additionally, I usually run before 9 a.m. on a Saturday.  However, today I did not hit the streets till almost 1:30.  Yikes!  Naturally I kept running and tried not to worry about such things.

I had slept in this morning, after a late night at the murder mystery party where I had been plied with gin and champagne (full disclosure:  I did not put up much of a fight).  I had a headache and only myself to blame.  No matter, I told myself briskly.  I had not been running in three days and I was determined not to make in four.  I ran with a bottle of water in one hand.  I seem to remember that this is against the best running advice, but that was something else I couldn’t worry about.  My plan was to sip as I ran and when it was empty, refill it at the spring.  Accordingly, I headed towards Lou Ambers Drive, where the spring is located.

My plan was to run up the minor hill by Valley Health and around the residential area there I call the suburbs.  I guess technically it’s not a suburb, but you know how I like to have names for things.  There is an epic hill in that area as well as a few more of varying slopes and distances.  I did not feel up to anything too strenuous.  I wanted a slow, long, easy run.

Guess where I ended up running. Yes, it was the epic hill.  I sort of automatically headed in that direction and once I was on it just kept going.  Oh, that hill goes on for a long time!  Partway up, I thought it would probably be OK if I just turned around and ran back the way I came.  Then I reminded myself how stubborn I was.  I wasn’t rocking it, but I would not be defeated.  The road is a long loop, it goes up, up, up, then down, then up a short ways to meet up with itself.  I was SO HAPPY when I FINALLY got to the down part!  I noticed that the downhill did not last nearly as long as the uphill before I was headed uphill again.  And there’s a metaphor for life, I told myself.

As I ran, I narrated in my head, thinking my blog post would be a long as my run.  Now that I am typing, I’m not remembering the good parts.  For one reason, my headache is back.  No matter.  It will go away again.  In the meantime, I upped my run time by the recommended 10 percent and I am well on track to being in shape running the Boilermaker 15K.  Anyways, do you really want to hear about my puffing and panting?  Well, if you do, don’t despair.  I will no doubt do more running commentaries soon.  Happy Saturday, everyone!