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Category Archives: running

I Ran, Can I Complain?

It has been a while since I made a Running Commentary post.  This afternoon I ran for the first time in three day.  I have not missed three days in a row for a while.  It was one thing I have felt pleased with myself about recently, that I have been running regularly. Well, when you don’t have to go to work in the morning,  it is easier to run.

I knew it would be more difficult to talk myself into running after work.  I did not even attempt it on Monday.  Tuesday and Wednesday I tried and failed.  Today, I was determined not to lose the progress I have made.

Afternoon running is more difficult for me than morning running.  For one reason, I work on my feet all day.  In addition to being tired, I have that little devil that sits on one shoulder whispering, “You got plenty of exercise today!  Just look at all the walking you did at work!” I resolutely ignored that bastard.

My other problem is that it is hot and sunny in the afternoon.  Some people LOVE hot weather.  I am not one of them.  Today I resolutely ignored myself and got going shortly after work.

And I did not enjoy it.  I appreciated the occasional breeze or patch of shade.  I tried not to mind the sweat dripping down my face, although it did sting when it got in my eyes.  Ouch!  I tried to blot them with my sleeves,  which helped a little.

It was not a long run, but I did it.  Sometimes my stubbornness is my most useful quality.  As I ran up my street at the end of my run, I waved at some neighbors on their porch.  One lady yelled at me that it was too hot for running.

“You are SO RIGHT!” I answered.

I have run in hotter, muggier weather, and I will undoubtedly do so again.  I may write blog posts about it. I do not promise not to complain, but I may write a Lame Post Friday post about what a big baby I am.

 

 

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A Run Worthy of a Post

Rather than my usual Tired Tuesday post,  I thought I would attempt a Running Commentary.   For one reason, I ran up the hill to Herkimer College, an accomplishment which deserves a blog post, I think.

As usual these days, I woke up NOT wanting to run at all.  I always have all kinds of good reasons: I ran yesterday, I should recruit my energies for something else, I don’t NEED to run the Falling Leaves 14K in September… etc., etc.  I usually change my mind after a cup of coffee.  Let’s hear it for caffeine!   Also in favor of running was the weather: it was not raining,  which it is supposed to do soon and for the next several days.

I set off with high hopes.  I have been thinking that longer runs were in order, and a run up a challenging hill would be an excellent idea.  Additionally,  I could post to Facebook that I had run up to HCCC, and my Facebook friends would feel impressed.  Accordingly,  I crossed to the far sidewalk on German Street and turned left.

A young man was walking a block, maybe a block and a half ahead of me.  I wondered how long it would take me to catch up to him.  It seemed to take a while.  It was actually about three blocks.  Is that a lot?  I suppose some of you could have done it in one. I am all admiration, I assure you.  The young man heard me huffing and puffing behind him as I approached.

“Good morning,” I said.  He returned the greeting as he moved over to give me room.  “You know how long it took me to catch up with you?” I added as I ran past him. “That’s how slow I run!”

” Have a good day,”  he said, turning up the next street.

“You too!” I called, running on.

The run had felt pretty good up till then.  The temperature was nice, my body was not complaining.  Then I started up the hill.  It wasn’t long before I started to feel like I Could… Not… Make… It…  I knew this was not the case.  I knew I could and would make it.  But I only knew this intellectually and logically.   I sure wasn’t feeling it!

I reminded myself of the first time I had run the hill.  I had thought I would run up till I had been running for 15 minutes (starting from when I left my house), then I would turn around and go down.  I had the idea that eventually I would make it all the way up.  Well, by the time I got to 15 minutes,  I was too close to the top to quit. So there, keep going,  I told myself

At one point I tried the trick of looking back at how far I had come.  This works best if you do it after you are halfway up, which I knew I was.  Yes, I had come far, but looking back down gave me a little vertigo.  Yikes!  At last I was all the way up and ready to go back down.

As I ran toward the back road down, I realized I had run by a Do Not Enter sign, where there was one of those triangles at a wide T intersection.   I ran back and ran by it, entering where it said not to.  It added a little more distance to my run and solidified my rebel cred.  Yes, yes, I know, by the rule Left Side Facing Traffic I should have been running there. It amuses me to enter where the sign says not to and pretend I’m a rebel.  I have to get my laughs where I can.

After running down the hill, I backtracked to Lou Ambers Drive and got a quick drink at the spring.  Then I continued on home for a 42 minute run.  I did not immediately go on my cool-down walk but opened the garage and hauled out the non-power mower.  I spent a good 20 minutes huffing and puffing behind that, once again taking advantage of the time before the rain.

Eventually I got to my cool-down walk.  Phew!  I felt that I had gotten a work out.  I think I’ll be up for the Falling Leaves run in September!

 

Running Update

It’s a Saturday Running Commentary!  You knew I couldn’t spend all my time whining about the difficulty of making posts.  A great deal of my time, but surely not ALL of my time (and you KNOW I feel free to call you Shirley!).  Do you get the feeling I am in a better mood today?  Maybe a little.

I have been running every day since Wednesday.  None of the runs has been especially long, but I have gone a little longer each day.  And I’ve been running a few hills.  I feel I am maintaining and look forward to improvement at a later date.

Hmm… now that I am sitting here typing (on a real computer at Martha Canfield Library, so there’s that), I find myself disinclined to give an actual blow by blow of today’s run, or indeed any of my last four runs.  How about a highlights reel?  Or perhaps just a few thoughts that have, you should pardon the expression, run across my mind lately.

When I run at home, I have been getting up, having coffee, and talking myself into running.  In Vermont, I have been getting out of bed and onto the road.  That is actually the way I used to do it on the weekends, get out there before I well knew what I was doing and could change my mind.  In the past couple of months, however, I have been waking up with my mind pretty much made up NOT to run.  I need that boost of caffeine to get me going.

During the past few days, I have discovered that in fact I do not need the caffeine before the run, and that cup of coffee tastes pretty darn good after a shower.  It’s nice to know I can do things differently and still meet with success.  At least, some might think I could meet with even greater success, say by running faster and further, but I say, one does what one can at the time.  When I was running on Thursday, I reflected that I truly run for myself.  I go the pace I want, I go how far I want.  I don’t have to worry about meeting any standards, and I don’t.  It’s nice.

OK, go ahead and start the lecture about how we set goals for ourselves, push ourselves to do better than we think we can, and meeting standards is an intelligent way to go about things.  Full disclosure:  I will probably not pay much attention, and I will certainly not change the way I run.  I am enjoying it.

 

I Feel Like a Winner

I haven’t done a Saturday Running Commentary post in a while (yes, I’m too lazy to go back and check; that run wore me out!).  Additionally,  today’s was a run I don’t mind revisiting, at least briefly (yes yes, my Running Commentary posts often run long, but they don’t always) (did you see what I did there? “run long”? Well, I liked it).

Yesterday’s run equalled my last longest time, so I thought I might do a shorter run today, then increase by the recommended ten percent tomorrow.  I could decide as I went.  I carried a bottle of water with me, reminding myself not to drink too much too fast.  Then I reflected that the run ought to be a long one, since I was bringing water.  You see how I talk myself into these things.

I decided to run up the hill by Valley Health then on into the residential area I call the Suburbs.  There are some pretty good hills in that area, and I can easily go by the spring to refill my water bottle on my way back home.

Tiny sips, I reminded myself, and not too often.  This would be fine.  Soon I had made it up the hill by Valley Health. That did not feel so fine.  I called a greeting to two ladies going to work (I surmised by their scrubs).  They waved and one said, “Get that work-out done!” in an encouraging tone of voice.

I ran further into the Suburbs than I have on my shorter runs.  Here was a hill!  As I recalled, it was a long hill.  Just keep going, I told myself. I resisted the urge to turn left and not go all the way up the hill.  Then I saw that I was no nearly as close to the top as I thought I was. Oh no!

There was the right-hand turn which was where I would come out if I kept going straight.  The road goes down then up.  So  I could turn right and go down, then up, then down,  or I could go straight and go up, then down, then up.  I turned right.  I felt I HAD to go downhill at least for a bit.

Bad move, I realized.  This made for a lot longer distance going up.  The snarky voice in my head suggested I take a life lesson about choosing short-term gratification and ending up with longer-term effort.  Then I told the snarky voice to shut up.  It is a win/win situation, I decided.  Either I enjoy an easier run or I enjoy the benefits of a more difficult run.  Additionally,  I intend to run in this area all summer.  I have plenty of chances to run the other way.

Keeping an eye on the time, I ran toward the spring.  I finished the bottle just as I got to it.  By virtue of going a little ways past my house, I increased my run time by 10 percent.  Now THAT is a win/win situation.  Or do I only win once?  Discuss amongst yourselves.

 

A Run to Start my Day

How about a Saturday Running Commentary to start the day?  Well, technically it does not start my day, because I had to run, then I showered and did a couple more chores… but you know what I mean (didn’t call you Shirley that time).

Full disclosure:  I had meant to be running in Liverpool this morning, from my sister Diane’s house.  But I did not have my act together to get packed and make the drive last night.  Did I mention that in last night’s post?  I’m too lazy to go back and check.  Uh, I mean I am too pressed for time.  Yeah, let’s go with the second one.

In a rare move for me, I got dressed and out running before coffee and a chance to change my mind.  I put on shorts and short sleeves before even checking the temperature.  It was 51 F, so that was OK (45 is my arbitrary and sometimes ignored cut-off for long sleeves and leggings).  It was foggy out, or “froggy” as my husband, Steven likes to call it.  He likes frogs.  I wished I was up to running up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly known as HCCC), to get a really good view of it.  Then again, the view from up there is prettier without the fog, and I am NOT up to running that hill (at least, I might make it up out of sheer stubbornness, but I sure wouldn’t feel good afterwards).  Anyways, I could see plenty of fog just looking down the street.

I turned right onto German Street.  The air felt cool on my ears and hands, but I felt secure in my wardrobe choices.  I crossed Main Street, since there was not much traffic that early, and decided to turn down the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal.  I want to walk down it with my great-nephew Sheppie sometime, because somebody painted places with certain steps:  march, jump, crab-crawl.  We used to call it crab-walk in my younger days.  It was my favorite, but I am not sure I would encourage anybody to do it on blacktop.  We used to do it in the grass.

My previous longest run was 27 minutes last Sunday (in this latest bout of getting back into running).  My runs during the week were shorter, after working all day.  Since I am not currently building up for a specific race, I decided not to worry if this was a short run.  For one reason, I was getting thirsty.  That is one advantage of pausing for coffee: I also drink water.  I just kept encouraging myself to keep going, bearing in mind that a nice bottle of water awaited me at my house.

The run ended up lasting 28 minutes. Woohoo!  I never got any of those endorphins, which quite frankly I could have used.  However, as usual, I felt good that I ran.  And now I feel good that I made a blog post.  On with the weekend!

 

To Boil or Not to Boil?

It is time for my annual post in which I dither about whether or not to run the Boilermaker 15K in Utica, NY in July.  At least, I do not remember if I write a post like this EVERY year (regular readers will not be surprised I am too lazy to go back and check).  I certainly do not run the Boilermaker every year (those who do are welcome to feel smug about it; indeed, I admire their dedication).

Being me, I cannot just go ahead and make a decision of this magnitude.  It is a decision of magnitude, by the way.  For the next four and a half months (I just now counted on my fingers), I cannot slack off of running for a week here and there.  I’ll have to keep better track of how long I run and how quickly I build myself up.  Ten percent each week does add up, but I feel I must keep good track of how soon I’ll be running for how long.  I am constantly looking at calendars and doing the math.

One might argue (oh, who am I kidding?   There’s always one who WILL argue!) (you know who you are) that none of this matters a great deal.  People who do not run at all have been known to run the Boilermaker 15K successfully.  I can probably get by on sheer stubbornness.   Additionally, many people walk during the Boilermaker; I’ve seen them.  I would not bear that shame alone (and I daresay some of them do not even feel ashamed) (and who am I to judge?).

I will just explain to the ones who argue thusly, “Shut up!”  (That is a S. J. Perelman joke I often use).  I train for the Boilermaker because (1) It is fun for me.  I like to run, and I feel good about myself as I am building up and (2) I do not WANT to get by on stubbornness nor by walking part of the course.  Additionally, I do not want to feel all ate up after the run.  I want to drink a beer!  And hang out with some friends!

Hmmm… It begins to sound as if I have already made up my mind to run the Boilermaker.  Well, why not?  I’m in my mid-50’s.  How many chances do I have to be bad-ass?  It will be good for me to train for a 15K.  If I stop eating like a pig, I may even meet a few of my weight-loss goals.

Of course, the final decision will not be made today.  I will still have to register, and there is always a chance I will get shut out.  It is a very popular race.  But I thank my readers for allowing me to dither in this space.  If anybody has any input on the matter, please feel free to comment.

 

One Must Begin Again

I read somewhere that wintertime running is about maintenance, not necessarily improvement.  I told myself this as I finished a fairly short run this morning.  “It’s about maintenance,” I thought.  Then I thought, “My runs are about blog posts, weight-loss goals, health, and my own entertainment, not necessarily in that order.”  I had thought  doing a Sunday Running Commentary as I set out on my run.  I last ran a week ago and quite frankly did not feel like running today, but, as I said to Steven as I went out the door, “One must begin again.”  Then I thought, “That would be a good title for a blog post.”  So here we are.

We had a couple of days of spring-like weather last week, but I, perhaps foolishly, did not run then.  For one reason, my body was in its final throes of rebellion against 10-hour days.  I know, other people work longer days at more difficult jobs, and they don’t even complain.  All I can say is, that is them, this is me.  I was dead tired all week and not up to running through all the puddles which were the inevitable result of the warmer temperatures.  Today was cold, and it had been snowing.  Snow offers traction, so I thought.

Turns out I shouldn’t think so much.  I tried to run on the sidewalk and soon found there was a LOT of ice under the snow.  After my trailing foot zooped out from underneath me for the third time (luckily my weight was already established on my leading foot at the time), I went into the road, which was a little better.  And a little worse, because of traffic.  Sunday mornings are usually pretty tame traffic-wise, but I had waited till after eleven to run, hoping for a warmer temperature.  Well, the cars would just have to watch out for me; I was staying where I was.

I did not spend much time on German Street, which is one of the busier streets, but soon turned down Margaret. That was quieter, which was good, because it was also pretty snow-covered. I went for the barest part of the road and did now worry too much about staying close to the curb, except when I saw or heard a car coming.  It did not feel too bad, running along at my usual shuffling pace.  The air was cold, but you’ll have that.

My deal with myself was that I only had to run 20 minutes.  I can worry about building up when the weather is better.  If I worry about it at all. I mean, why should I worry?  Worry doesn’t burn calories or build muscle mass.  It is a quite useless activity.  I ran, I wrote a blog post.  Let’s leave it at that.  Happy Sunday, folks.