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Category Archives: Saturday Running Commentary

Back on the Running Wagon

I fell off the running wagon this week.  Judge me if you must, but I had my reasons.  OK, there were no reasons and if there was they were probably a stupid reasons.  Never mind that.  I ran this morning, and it felt pretty darn good.

Yesterday I counted shoveling the driveway as my exercise.  I thought a half hour of walking back and forth carrying shovelfuls of snow was exertful enough (what do you mean, “exertful” is not a word, computer? Damn!).  In fact, I tried to take a walk later but only made it for 15 minutes, because my body was tired.  But that was then, this is now, and this morning, I decided to try a run.

It was almost 8:30 when I set out, because I had eaten around 7:20 (I checked my watch, knowing I wanted to wait an hour after eating).  It was only a banana with peanut butter and raisins, but I like to give myself every advantage.  It was below 30 degrees, so I wore leggings and long sleeves.  I added my road guard vest, because it made another layer and because I knew I would be running in the road.  Also, it gives me a pocket for my tissues.

There is more traffic than I like on a Saturday morning, but not as bad as weekday mornings or any afternoons.  I got to German Street and took my chances.  I had an idea to run up the hill by Valley Health.  As I ran, I rethought that plan.  I hadn’t run since last Sunday, I reminded myself.  Running at all was good.  I didn’t need to do hills yet.  I had spent a little time earlier in the week looking at a calendar and over-thinking my training plans vis-a-vis the Boilermaker 15K in July.  I should be fine, as long as I keep at it.  Then again, it is a good idea to be better than fine, because, as we all know, shit happens.

My last run was 25 minutes.  After taking too many days off, I did not think I would increase my time by the recommended 10 percent.  In fact, if I only did 20 minutes, I could still be in fine shape by July.  Well, just keep going, I thought.  See what happens.

It was cold.  My butt was cold.  My legs were cold.  My hands were cold.  But I kept going.  After a while my head got hot.  Fancy that!  I am not usually a hot-head.  I rounded the V corner at the high school and turned down Marion Street. I was tired.  After a while, I noticed I was running at a faster rate than my usual middle-aged shuffle.  I could slow down!  Then I wouldn’t feel so bad.  My body didn’t want to slow down.  How weird was that?  Eventually  I managed it, and it helped.

Almost 20 minutes into the run, I started to feel good.  Damn!  I could go 25 minutes!  I could go 28!  This was awesome!  I ended up running 25, to equal my last time.  After all, I didn’t want to be racked up for the rest of the day.  I felt pretty wonderful during my cool-down walk (the irony is not lost on me of having a “cool down” at 28 degrees Fahrenheit).  As it happened, I did spend a good portion of this day feeling tired. However, that might be due to the Sudafed I took for my stuffy sinuses.  No matter.  I ran, and now I’ve blogged (silly verb, that).  Happy Saturday, everyone!

 

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Better at Running than Blogging

I normally write my running commentary posts soon after the run, so it is fresh in my mind.  However, sometimes it gets to be 5 p.m. on a Saturday night, I don’t have much else to write about (OK, maybe a few things, but there are reasons I do not want to write about those), so I am going to attempt a post about this morning’s run.

Regular readers may remember that I have my eye on the Reindeer Run 5K in Little Falls on December 8.  Every day during this past week, when I thought I ought to go running, I also thought, “I don’t want to run! I don’t want to run the Reindeer Run 5K!  I want to sit! I want to sit home and knit!  That is what middle aged ladies are supposed to do: sit and knit!”  I managed to run on Wednesday despite my own misgivings, and I wondered if I would run today.  I surprised myself and not only did, but it was not a bad run.

I could hear drops on my back porch roof but could not tell if it was rain or just dripping.  I took a chance.  It was not rain.  Score!  I wore my road guard vest.  For one reason, it was still dark out.  For another, we got snow and I knew many sidewalks were not shoveled or plowed.  I was glad I did, because I ran most of my run on roads.  Left side facing traffic, of course.

You know how earlier I mentioned my tiredness during the week?  How I said, “I can’t run!  I don’t want to run!”  And I did not run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday?  Well, right now, my brain is saying, “I can’t write a blog post!  I don’t want to write a blog post!”  So everything I remember about this morning’s run is probably not going to make it into this post.

But, as I said, it was not a bad run.  The temperature was not that cold and the wind was only sporadic.  I ran a few hills, including the one by Valley Health and a few minor upslopes in the residential area behind (what I usually refer to as The Suburbs).  I stopped and petted one very cute dog.  I ran for 37 minutes, which is how long I ran last Sunday, the last time I increased my run time.  That is about how long it takes me to run a 5K, give or take a few.

So I feel pretty good about that.  I still have not made my final decision about the Reindeer Run. I’ll keep you posted.

 

To Trot or Not to Trot

Spoiler alert:  I’m probably not going to trot, but I thought of that title while I was running this morning and I like it.  I wondered if I would ever do another Saturday Running Commentary, and it looks like I am about to.

I had actually thought about not running today.  I had an excellent run yesterday (I believe I mentioned it in yesterday’s post) and can certainly run tomorrow.  Additionally, I have been getting brutal headaches on Saturdays (regardless of whether or not I tie one on Friday night) (um, I mean, I never tie one on), and I fear running in cold air makes them worse.  It is cooler this weekend, real fall weather.  I love it, but my sinuses are less than thrilled.  However, I do not allow my sinuses to run my life.  Try not to anyways.

So I decided to run.  My thermostat said it was 47 degrees, two degrees above my usual cut off for shorts and short sleeves.  However, since I am not in really good running shape, I put on leggings and long sleeves.  I was glad I did.  For one reason, as I started out, I realized it was raining.  What was that all about?  I didn’t hear any rain on the tin roof outside my bathroom window!  I felt quite ill-used, but once I’m out there, I usually keep going.  Yesterday when I started out, I realized I had left on my reading glasses instead of switching to my running glasses.  I kept going for a blurry run. I remembered the running glasses today, but once they got rained on, the run was no clearer than yesterday’s.  No matter.  I could see well enough.

I debated running up a hill.  Regular readers may recall that hills are in short supply in Herkimer, NY (where I live).  I was inclined to stay off the incline (just to make a play on words).  But one must run hills to train properly, especially if one wants to run a 5K in Little Falls (which I do).  I was headed towards Main Street.  I could go up a hill there, if only I crossed German at the four-way stop.  I made a bargain with myself: if there were no cars at the intersection, I would cross.  If not, I would immediately turn down Main Street.  For one reason, my glasses were by now spotty enough that I could not reliably see if a driver was waving me across.  There were cars.  I was off the hook (don’t judge me) (oh, go ahead and judge me; I don’t run for anybody but myself).

It was not as enjoyable a run as yesterday, but it wasn’t too bad.  It got better as I went along.  I started out thinking if I only did 20 minutes it would be OK.  My longest run lately has been 28 minutes, and I have been plateaued there for two weeks.  My main goal is to do the Reindeer Run 5K in Little Falls in December.  I did it last year and it was great fun.  There is a Turkey Trot 5K in Little Falls on Thanksgiving Day.  I could be in 5K shape by then.  Well, not if I stayed plateaued at 28 minutes or, worse yet, went backwards (ooh, running backwards is a good way to get in shape, but I’m not talking about that).

Another reason I probably cannot participate in the Turkey Trot is that I plan to go to Rome to my Mom and Dad’s house for Thanksgiving.  I had planned to go the night before, in case they need help getting the turkey stuffed and in the oven at 6 a.m. or whenever they need to do it.  I can also peel potatoes, something I never do for myself but know how to nevertheless.  Still, I have always wanted to do a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.  Additionally, this Thanksgiving is my birthday.  I can run 5K on the day I turn 55.  How cool is that?  But would I even be in 5K shape if I only ran 20 to 25 minutes today?  And so I debated as I ran, and that is when I came up with today’s title.

I was on my street, figuring I would at least get to 25 minutes, when I heard a voice behind me:  “I thought I was the only crazy one!”  It was a lady I had encountered on another run.

“I didn’t know it was raining till I set out,” I told her,  “and I said, ‘Oh well, I’ve got the sports bras on!'”

“It’s raining and we’re training!” she said.

Well, that kind of inspired me, and I went around the block and ended up running for 31 minutes, an increase (at least the way I did the math) of the recommended 10 percent.  I felt pretty darn pleased with myself.  If I don’t make it to Little Falls on Thanksgiving Day, I will just have to trot by myself in Rome.

 

Not Quite the Run I Planned

YES!  Saturday Running Commentary is BACK!  I ran this morning and less than an hour later, I am sitting down to write my blog post about it!

I had actually planned  better blog post.  I am still unsure of my plans for the day, so I thought I  would think about what I was going to do while I ran, then I could write about the run and my plans.  Well, I thought about my run while I was running, probably because I kept changing my plans about where and even how long I was going to run.  So I am going to tell you about that.

My thermostat said it was 38 degrees out, well within my parameters for leggings and long sleeves.   A long-sleeved running shirt was handy, because I had worn it under my sweatshirt when greeting the trick-or-treaters on Tuesday.  It took a little longer to find leggings and winter running socks.  I guess I could have done without winter socks, but the leggings I found are a little short and I did not want that little half-inch of bare leg between sock and legging.  It’s the little things.

At last I was off.  Ooh, it felt cold.  And I felt a little self-conscious in my form-fitting shirt and leggings.  I usually run in very large t-shirts.  Indeed, most of my long-sleeved t-shirts are on the baggy side as well.  But one must not let these things keep one from pursuing fitness.  I kept running.  My main concern was that the cold would give me a sinus headache, as it sometimes does.  I made up my mind that if it started to I would have a short run.  I have things to do today (even if I have not planned it out yet); I can’t be down with a headache.

I ran toward Valley Health, my go-to hill when I am building myself up.  From there, I could run to the high school and over the little footbridge.  That is often my Sunday run, but it would do for a Saturday.  As I approached the hill, I could see something was going on at the school: a school bus and several cars were right where I planned to run.  I revised my plans.  I thought the sight of my lumpy body outlined in such detail by my outfit, which was not even all that warm, might traumatize high school students.   I decided to run into the residential area behind Valley Health and make my way back to German Street via Lou Ambers Drive or Maple Grove.

As I approached Lou Ambers, I thought I would go to Maple Grove, where there were sidewalks to run on.  Then as I got toward Maple Grove, I saw that it went uphill to the next street over.  A little uphill would be a good thing.  Beyond that was the back way up to Herkimer College.  I was not up to running to Herkimer College.  Then I noticed the “Do Not Enter” sign.  I felt I just had to run by a “Do Not Enter” sign.  I thought I would only run to the path that goes into Brookfield Park (previously known as The Unknown Park in this space).   This put more uphill in my run.

The path into the park added more uphill.  As I ran, I hoped I could actually get into the park.  The path leads to a picnic area, which is separated from the rest of the park by a little footbridge over the brook.   The bridge and brook are surrounded by a chain link fence.  Sometimes the bridge is blocked.  If the bridge was blocked, I would have to turn around and run back the way I came.  I did not want to do that.  I was tired of running and wanted to go home.  I made up my mind that if the bridge was blocked, I would just climb over it.

I could not tell until I was right at the bridge whether or not it was blocked.  In that length of time I was able to picture myself ripping my leggings on the fence, falling into the brook, spraining my ankle, and having to drag myself out of the brook to limp home.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just run longer than I intended.  The bridge was unblocked, so that was good.

By now I realized I MIGHT make it home in 30 minutes, the length of last Sunday’s run.  Then again, it might end up being 33 minutes, the intended length of tomorrow’s run.  I felt pretty good either way. My legs and body had warmed up nicely and I felt I could continue running with no problem.  This was all right!  I ended up running by my house to the end of the street and coming back for a 33 minute run.  Yes!

As I walked my cool-down, I felt pretty damn good about myself.  If I keep this up, I will be in great shape for the Reindeer Run 5K!  Now to get on to planning the rest of my Saturday…

 

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…

 

A Triumph, Or Do I Flatter Myself?

Is it as much of a triumph if, on the way to your goal, you inwardly grumbled and fussed and wished yourself elsewhere?  Or does that make it more of a triumph, that you overcame your own resistance and fought the enemy that was you?

Another philosophical question:  does it matter much if I do another post about running so soon?

The questions in the first paragraph occurred to me in the middle of this morning’s run.  I made it up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly referred to as HCCC), the first time I have done so in a while.  Even getting on the road was something of a triumph, because my first thought on getting out of bed was, “Thank God I ran yesterday when I didn’t want to, because now it won’t be so bad if I don’t run again till tomorrow.”  A cup of coffee helped me change my mind.

It was 46 degrees, according to my thermostat, one degree over my limit for shorts and short sleeves.  I had been going to rethink that rule, but I could not be bothered with thinking this morning.  I found stuff to wear and got out the door.  I soon lamented my cold hands but comforted myself with the thought that I would not try to write anything for a while after the run.

I had told Steven I might run up to HCCC, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.  As a friend of mine said once, “I don’t make plans, promises or excuses.”  I could have expounded for a while on that excellent rule, but I only would have been stalling my run, so I did not.  Instead I ran toward German Street  and turned myself in the direction of the college.  I could not see any alternative to running up that hill.  I had to do it sooner or later, I thought.  The longer I put it off, the worse it would be.  I realize that, logically speaking, that is not strictly true (do I really need both those adverbs in that sentence?  I do tend to overdo it with the adverbs).  If I kept increasing my run time, and kept running other hills (of which there are not that many in Herkimer), it would get easier not harder to run up one particular hill.  But as I said earlier, I could not be bothered with a lot of thinking this morning.

Besides, I wanted to feel bad-ass.

Going up that hill was not fun.  Looking ahead didn’t help.  Looking down at my feet didn’t help.  Looking back at how far I came helped a little bit, since I didn’t do that till I was more than half-way up.  I tried to distract myself by looking at the green on the bushes and some of the trees to the left and right of me.  I do like to see the green.  I did not see any deer or other critters.  A couple of cars went by, also headed up the hill, but I did not try to hitch a ride.  They probably would not have stopped in any case.

At last, at last, I was at the top!  I wanted to put my arms over my head and make fists, although there was nobody nearby to sing, “We Are the Champions”  (regular readers may recall that at the end of a difficult run, I enjoy to walk around with my fists in the air while somebody sings, “We Are the Champions,” if I can get anybody to do so).   I just kept running normally, though, looking forward to the downhill part of my run.

I upped my time by the recommended 10 percent, so I felt pretty pleased about that.  Then I had a hot flash while I was stretching, so a cool shower felt really good.  I used good-smelling soap and lotion (white gardenia, my favorite), so I could feel pretty. Even us bad-ass runners like to feel pretty sometimes. I meant to make my Running Commentary post soon after my run, and perhaps include more of my observations and philosophical thoughts.  Then again, I’ve approaching 700 words.  That is pretty long for me. And I have a murder mystery to get ready for.  Happy Saturday, everyone.

 

At Last! A Saturday Running Commentary!

So I went for a really good run earlier, determined that I could make a Running Commentary post out of it.  And here I sit, jumping back and forth between Facebook and a blank “Add New Post” page.  How dreadful of me.  Maybe if I ate something.

There, I just had a half a tuna fish sandwich on toast.  It was pretty good.  How about a new feature I’ll call Stream of Consciousness Saturday?  Perhaps next Saturday.  Today I’ll tell you about my run.

I thought it was going to be rainy today but it has not started yet.  The temperature was over 50 degrees, so I happily dressed in shorts and short sleeves.  I’m a little dehydrated today, so I ran carrying a small bottle of water.  That isn’t really recommended, so I hear, but, as we all know, I do not always do the right thing.  As soon as I left the house, though, I knew that going for a run was definitely the right thing to do.  It was gorgeous out!  The sun was bright, there was just the right amount of a gentle breeze.  These were excellent running conditions.

I crossed German Street and headed towards the college.  Earlier this week I had thought I would run up the hill to Herkimer College, whether I was ready for it or not.  Before I reached that intimidating hill, though, I decided not to do anything so drastic.  I would turn into Brookfield Park (I think that’s what it is called; I have previously referred to it as the Unknown Park, because it is not clearly labelled).  That would give me a bit of a hill, some pleasant off-road time, and let me out partway up the back way to the college, somewhat near the spring, where I intended to re-fill my bottle once I had emptied it.

Up the hill into the park I went.  It was challenging enough.  I intend to start running more often starting, well, starting yesterday.  Running two days in a row is a good start, I think.  I ran slowly.  I uncapped the bottle and took a sip mid-stride.  This would work.  When I crossed the little bridge into the picnic area, I saw a family climbing on the hill.  That would be a fun place to explore!  They had a cute little white dog who was clearly enjoying the expedition very much.  I did not run close enough to them to call out a greeting, and soon I was on the path into the woods.

I do love to run a nature trail.  When I am up to really long runs, I will run up to the college and run the real nature trail they have on campus.  Or maybe I can talk Steven into driving up there and walking it with me one day soon.  That would make a delightful blog post.

It did not take long to come to the end of the trail and be back out on the road.  I stayed parallel to German Street and ran past Lou Ambers Drive, where the spring is.  Here was another not too bad hill that would take me near Valley Health.  I was nearing the end of my bottle, as I had been periodically taking sips.  Excellent!  I tried to ignore the tantalizing smells as I ran by Salvatore’s.  Maybe dinner there one day next week…

As I ran, I really enjoyed the warm temperature.  My legs felt supple and strong.  My breathing was not bad.  I got tired, especially towards the end, but it was a pretty good run.  As usual, I spent some time doing the math in my head: If I run x minutes this week, then add 10 percent each week…  I was going to be in fine shape for the Boilermaker 15K.

And perhaps I will be in fine shape to continue being a blogger.  I perceive that I did manage to make a Running Commentary post.  I hope you are all having a delightful Saturday.