RSS Feed

Category Archives: running

Running From an Unhappy Body

So I ran two Saturdays ago, found out I could not run the 14K I has been aiming for, did not run for a week, ran last Saturday, then did not run again for four days.  This is no way to train. In my defense… oh, never mind what my defense is, just believe that I have one, maybe not a good one, but you can’t have everything.

Where was I?  Ah yes, about to make a Running Commentary post.  It probably won’t be a long post, because it was not a very long run.  But, hey, I broke the four day streak of not running. I call that a worthy accomplishment. Let us not contemplate its degree of worthiness as compared to other accomplishments which I did not achieve, but let us continue with the blog post.

I got home and right away got into running clothes (I said I broke the streak, I didn’t say I went streaking). I also gathered a load of laundry, which is my other accomplishment for the day.  I did not plan to run very long, 20 to 30 minutes sounded good.  I put the laundry in the washer and set out.

And right away my body was unhappy.  Well, of course it was unhappy.  It had not been running regularly for two weeks.  That is, I had not been running regularly for two weeks.  There was nothing for it but to have an unhappy run and hope for better in the future.  My plan had been to run down German Street to Main Street.  Turning down Main, I usually make a big square, going down to Albany Street, then over to Caroline and back up to German.  I was not very far down Main when I decided to turn right sooner.

Through the little park by Basloe Library to Prospect Street.  Should I cross immediately and go past the Do Not Enter sign to enter Bellinger Avenue?  I do like to Enter where it says Do Not Enter.  Or should I go through Meyers Park?  I opted for the park. For one reason, I could cross Prospect Street at a four-way stop, which would be safer.  However, before I reached the four-way, I saw a tree casting shade across the street.  I crossed the street in the shade and felt clever.

It actually was not a thoroughly unhappy run.  My legs eventually settled into it and felt pretty OK.  My breathing was never great, but I was never gasping for breath or having a VCD attack (that is Vocal Chord Dysfunction, a thing I get when I overexert). I ended up last for 22 minutes, my favorite number.  The cool-down walk felt even better, as it usually does.  And I felt really pleased with myself that I went at all.  For one reason, I knew I could make a Running Commentary blog post.  It makes a nice change from posts about I Just Can’t Make A Good Post Today.

 

Advertisements

Sprint Distance, Marathon Pace

That describes today’s run in a nutshell.  The only problem with the headline is that it might sound like a shout-out to the phone company called “Sprint.”  Never mind.  I’m making a Running Commentary instead of a Non-Sequitur Thursday post, and, like the run itself, I will try to keep it short.

I have not run for three days for what seemed like good reasons at the time.  I did not dare skip today as well, because I will not have time to run tomorrow before the Little Falls Canal Celebration Parade.  Five days is too many even for a wuss-out like me.  It was hot and sunny, but according to the weather forecast humidity levels were less.  Still not in the comfortable range, but less.  No matter.  I could go for a short run.  I did not rule out running longer, but I wanted to go for at least 20 minutes.

It took a lot of determination to not rule out running longer right away.  It took a lot of determination to keep running at all.  Luckily I had a sufficiency of determination for the project.  Also, I just tried not to think about it.  I thought about my murder mystery instead.  I started writing the script today (don’t judge me that it took so long), and it seems to be going well.  I’ll write more about that later (preview of coming attractions).

I changed my mind about which way to run several times.  I don’t know why certain sidewalks seemed so unappealing, but I kept thinking, “I just can’t run that way today!”  I ran a different way.  Slowly.  I never got the hang of it.

I’m not getting the hang of writing about it either, it seems.  Sorry, folks.  I continued to run (which I insist on calling it) for 22 minutes, my favorite number.  The 10-minute cool-down walk felt good, especially when I was in the shade and a breeze blew.  At least I did it.

And I wrote some semblance of a blog post.  We’ll see if I can do better tomorrow on Lame Post Friday.  As always, no promises, but I hope you’ll stay tuned.

 

Lame Thoughts Running Through My Mind

This was me! And it could be again!

So I was sitting here trying to think of something to say for my Lame Post Friday post, and I remembered something I wanted to check: the Falling Leaves 14K in Utica, NY.  Regular readers may know that I did not run the Boilermaker 15K this year, although I have run it in the past.  I have never run the Falling Leaves but have always wanted to.  In fact, there was one year when I was seriously thinking about it.  That was when I found out it was 14K, not five or ten as I had thought.  I believe I wrote a blog post detailing my chagrin.

As I have been running lately, I have been keeping the race in my mind’s eye.  During a run, I often figure in my head how soon I will be running how long if I increase by 10 percent weekly.  For one reason, doing the math distracts me from running.  For another reason, setting goals can be helpful.  I would like to set the Falling Leaves run as a goal.

But can I make it?  I missed my 10 percent increase last week.  Well, one cannot always meet the ideal (oh, I suppose YOU can?) (you know who you are).  When is this race anyways?  September, I knew. I seemed to think it was around the 14th.  The closest Sunday to that (I know it’s on a Sunday) is the 16th.  Oh dear, I have a murder mystery on Sept. 15 (at the Herkimer Elks Lodge; I’ll write more blog posts about that as I get more details) (preview of coming attractions).  I don’t want to run a major race the day after a murder mystery!  This race is only 1K shorter than the Boilermaker.  The day before the Boilermaker, I drink Gatorade, eat pasta, and go to bed early; I don’t kill anybody.  I just do not have that kind of energy at my age.

The little devil on my shoulder said, “Hey, you may be off the hook. You can just run what you feel like running and do the Falling Leaves next year.  What a good plan!  There could be no possible objection.”  So I checked.

Sept. 23.  The week AFTER my murder mystery.   Why, that even gives me another week to increase by 10 percent!  IT! COULD! WORK!  (That is a quote from the movie Young Frankenstein, for the uninitiated).  The cost of registration does not go up till Aug. 28.  That gives me plenty of time to make an irrevocable decision.  But I think it’s looking good.

Incidentally, the picture above is me running the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K Race last October.  I plan to run that one, too.  I am in fine shape to run a 5K.

 

Oh, the Humidity!

Get it?  Like “Oh, the humanity!”  I thought of it while I was at work today, thinking I did NOT want to run, and I felt sure I had used the title before.  However, a quick check of my posts tells me I did not, so here is a Tuesday Running Commentary, and yes, it is also Tired Tuesday.  You see, that I can so multi-task.

As I left work, I felt greeted by the wind.  This was much better than in the building!  Unfortunately, I soon realized that it was not the miracle I was hoping for.  It was hot, it was muggy, I wanted to go someplace air conditioned and cry.  Of course I did nothing of the kind. I went home and put on running clothes.  Changing was not fun, but I will spare you the blow by blow (see? I don’t always overshare).

I told Steven I did not know how far I would run.  You never know:  sometimes you catch a second wind as you go.  Also, if it began to rain, that might feel really good and I would be happy to keep running.  Conversely, it there was thunder, I would sensibly run right back home.  At least I would get a few steps in.

Right away my body was not happy with me.  My legs hurt.  My lungs did not want to breath.  I was sweating already.  Well, runs often begin badly and end well.  Second wind, remember?  Then I thought, here’s a point to ponder: does it count as a second wind if you didn’t have a first wind?  Shouldn’t I start out feeling good, get tired, THEN get a second wind?  I never do anything right.

I did it really wrong this time, because I never felt good, never hit the “I can rock this” stage, and my legs complained pretty much the whole way. I debated to myself how far I would run.  At least 20 minutes.  Of course 30 would be better.  I could turn here. Or wait till the next street.  Or go all the way to the high school!  I was drenched with sweat and sweating sunscreen into my eyes. Ouch!  No matter.  A cold shower awaited.  And my recovery beverage of chocolate milk.  One must earn a recovery beverage, I reminded myself.

I did have one encouraging moment:  I was headed down Park Avenue (ooh!), towards the footbridge over the brook behind the high school.  A man and two women with a couple of baby carriages were headed that way by a parallel street, arriving at the bridge about the same time I did.  The man noticed me.

“She’s coming straight through,” he said to the women.  They stopped.

“Oh, I’m sorry!  I didn’t see you!”  one said.

“You’re fine,” I said.  “Thank you.”

“Keep going!” the man said.

“I’ll try!”

“Good job!” I heard one of the women call as I ran over the bridge.

Well, one must keep going when one has received encouragement.  So keep running I did.  I made it for 23 minutes.  I felt dreadfully tired during my cool-down walk and even considered cutting that part short.  Then I thought, no, I have calories to burn.  As always, I felt happy that I had run.  I was sorry it was such a short run, but you can’t get bogged down in these details.  I ran.  That was the important thing.  Maybe I will run again tomorrow.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Run I Almost Missed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“There you go,” he said.

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

 

I Wasn’t Too Tired to Run!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Is that my friend Pudge?”  I said.

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

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

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

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

This is NOT what I wore to run today.

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