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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.

 

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Firefighters, Here I Come!

I thought I’d open with this catchy logo.

I ended Sunday’s Running Commentary post wondering if I could find a nearby 5K any time soon.  Ask and you shall receive!  Just a couple of days later, my husband Steven showed me an article on Facebook about a new 5K right here in Herkimer, NY. It is the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K, a new race. I said LET’S GO!!!!!  It got even better.

It is to benefit East Herkimer Fire Department.  I LOVE fire departments!  They save lives and property. During the flooding in 2013, fire departments traveled from across the state to Herkimer to help pump out people’s basements.  Three different departments cheerfully pumped us out three different times.  I think firefighters are GREAT!

The run will take place Saturday, Oct. 14.  Steven is on vacation, so he can attend and cheer me on.  Later that day, we will participate in A G.R.A.V.E. Murder, the murder mystery dinner theatre we are doing to benefit the Herkimer County Historical Society.  That will make for an entire fun day!

Run, then murder. Life is full for Mohawk Valley Girl!

Then I noticed that registration is through RunSignUp.  I love those guys!  It is so simple and straightforward to register through them, and they don’t try to sell you anything.

So, feeling all happy and determined to participate in this 5K, what did I do but take three days off running.  In my defense, it has been hot and humid, and my body has not been in the best of health (but you already know that; I spent my other posts this week whining about these things).  I went running today.  In fact, my intention was to make a Running Commentary post.   However, I see I am approaching 300 words, so how about a Registration Commentary post?  We’ll call it a win for Non-Sequitur Thursday.

 

Sandy Start to Scattered Saturday

I actually don’t know how scattered my Saturday will be, but you know how I love alliteration.  This is actually Saturday Running Commentary, which I have been wanting to bring back for some time now.  I didn’t run far, I didn’t run fast, but I think I can get a few paragraphs out of it.

Of course I did not feel like running as soon as I got out of bed about 5:30 this morning.  No, I didn’t party hearty last night.  I fell asleep on the couch then went to bed early.  Yes, I’m old, don’t judge.  I had thought about getting right out, since I love beginning my run in the dark and ending it in the light.  I decided to have some coffee first, comforting myself with the thought that it is fall.  Days will get shorter, and I will have plenty of dark runs.

Sure enough, after a little caffeine I felt more inclined to exercise.  The sun was up, but it was foggy, so I put on one of my ARMY t-shirts with the reflective decal on the back.  Additionally, I revised my plans for where to run.  I had wanted to go out Main Street and up a steep hill, coming out on Steuben Road.  I decided to go someplace with less traffic and/or a larger shoulder.  True, there isn’t always a lot of traffic on Steuben on a Saturday morning, but some people really like to gun it up that hill.  I like to give myself every advantage.  Accordingly, I ran down German Street in the direction of Herkimer College.

However, as I ran I felt not up to tackling that hill.  I have not run it since before the Boilermaker 15K.  I mostly like to run it so that I can post on Facebook that I did and impress my friends.  I thought I could save it till Sunday, when I usually increase my running time by the recommended 10 percent.  I ran up the hill by Valley Health and into the residential area I call the suburbs.  I knew I would find some major and minor hills there.  I want to start running more hills, to build myself up, but I really felt like sticking with the minor ones this morning.

I hoped to run on different streets from the last time I ran in the area, but of course I could not remember where I turned, so I just picked a street.  I saw a man in his front yard with a very cute little puppy. I think she was a yellow lab.  They were apparently having a business meeting, but the pup looked as if he wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do.

“Can I pet your dog?”  I asked.

“Sure,” he said.  “She might nip you; she’s only eight weeks old.  Her name is Sandy.”

Sandy jumped up eagerly while I petted her. She didn’t nip me, but she licked my hand and in general acted like a sweet, friendly pooch.  The man and I wished each other a good day, and I returned to my run.  As I did, I thought of the title for today’s post.  Just now I think maybe some of you thought I went running in the sand.  That would be nice, but I know of no handy beaches around here.

My run was not bad.  My legs felt pretty OK, with a few twinges in my knees and one bunion.  I was puzzled by the bunion’s pain, since it is not supposed to rain before next Wednesday.  I realized my breathing felt fine.  This delightful state of affairs deteriorated towards the end of the run, but I kept up for a full 36 minutes, which is how long I ran last Sunday.  I feel sure I will be up to forty minutes tomorrow, yes!

As I finished my run, I saw a neighbor and her sweet dog, Rocky, out walking.  I was happy to meet them on my cool-down walk.  Around the corner, I met and petted another nice dog.  I do love to pet a dog.  As I continued my walk, I reflected that I am now in 5K shape.  I ran for 36 minutes; I can run a 5K in 36 minutes.  And if I can’t run it in 36 minutes, by the time I am 36 minutes into a 5K, I can certainly finish.  Now, to find a 5K nearby…

 

Tired, But I Ran!

I have been trying to get back into the running habit, with some small amount of success.  I ran two consecutive weekend days, took yesterday off, and managed to run today.  Having written no blog post earlier (I DID write while on break and work AND after I got home, but it was not a blog post, sorry), I will attempt a Running Commentary, even as the little devil on my shoulder (you know, like they used to show on the cartoons, angel on one shoulder, devil on the other?) is whispering, “Tired Tuesday!  Make it another Tired Tuesday! You qualify!  You deserve it!”

Ahem, trying not to be distracted, I continue.  It was chilly and foggy this morning, but this afternoon was one of those when Mother Nature reminds us that it is still summer, even in the Mohawk Valley. I prefer to run in the fall weather.  I told myself that it certainly was not in the 80s, which I have run in, so I should just get out there and do it.  So I did.

Very slowly.

I had gone about three steps when I began to wish I had remembered to stretch before running.  I have gotten out of the habit of stretching before a run.  It is hard enough for me to start running anyways; I figured stretching was just more time for me to talk myself out of it (although full disclosure:  I have never talked myself out of running once the sports bras were on or even out of the drawer).  Additionally:  most sources say you should run in place for a minute and then stretch.  Oh, that is way too much trouble.  I thought, I begin running slowly, that will be my warm up.  And it has worked all right.  However, lately I have been thinking a few little stretches before the run might be a good thing to do.  Only now I am out of the habit.  Oh, the trials and tribulations!

So today I thought, should I pause right now and stretch?  I had just waved at a couple of neighbors sitting on their front porch, so I felt self-conscious.  Then again, they probably would not think anything of it.  Then again, stopping running was what I wanted to do more than anything else just then, so I was afraid of my ability to begin again once stopped.  I kept going.

It was soon apparent that I was not up to a long run.  That was OK, I told myself.  This was a mid-week run.  Twenty minutes was all right.  Just enough to get a little exercise, stay in the running habit.  No problem.  Oh, but it took a long time.  And it was warm.  Every bit of shade I ran through, I appreciated.  Of course I have had much hotter runs, and certainly more humid runs.  I have had runs where my feet, knees and back hurt more, where I have been longer without running, where it has been more difficult to breathe.

In short, I need to count my blessings.  I ended up running for 30 minutes.  This is how long I was running last week.  Sunday I upped the time by the recommended 10 percent to 33 minutes.   Oh, don’t shake your head at me and ask if I couldn’t possibly have lasted three minutes more!  Maybe I could have.  And maybe that three minutes would have tired me out so much that I really would have had a Tired Tuesday post, after NOT getting done the writerly chores I finished before making this post.

I’m going to call that a win.  I hope to see you all on Wuss-out Wednesday, for which I will make no promises.

 

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.

 

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.

Post Race Post

I was going to title this “To Dress or to Blog?”  but I did not want to invite unkind comments about how nobody wants to see me naked.  Also, it would not be clear that this is yet another post about the Boilermaker.  Which I just ran.  Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! (That was a triumphant laugh, by the way.)

So this is not going to be a great post.  I ran. It was not easy for an overweight woman of my age who, as it turns out, perhaps did not train enough.  However, I finished without resorting to walking.  Full disclosure:  towards the end, my run could not catch up with some of the walkers.  I will write more about the run later.  For now my purpose is merely to publish something, so I can get on with celebrating my triumph as soon as Steven gets home from work.

For anyone just tuning in, the Utica Boilermaker is the best 15K race in the nation, possibly in the world.  It seems as if the entire City of Utica as well as the surrounding area turns out to run, volunteer or cheer folks on.  Runners come from all over the world, including elite runners from places like Kenya as well as those who run for fun and fitness from places like Syracuse and Rochester.  I believe folks come from farther afield, but I did not encounter any of those today.

My challenge now is to find a cute outfit to put on such that Steven will realize that the best way to celebrate is to take me out somewhere nice.  Or I could just sit here in my bathrobe, which I put on after a delicious shower, and he will probably make me a grilled cheese sammich.  I do like grilled cheese.  It is good to have options.  Tune in tomorrow, on Mental Meanderings Monday, which I will either tell you what I wore or describe in greater detail my triumphant Boilermaker run.  Happy Sunday, everyone.