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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?

 

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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!

 

Run Before Lots of Running

I have not done an out of bed, out the door kind of run in a long time.  And it has also been a long time since I made my Running Commentary post so soon after said run.  Well, I have an extremely busy day planned, so getting my blog post done and out of the way is a good idea.

I thought it was supposed to be cold last night and this morning (I confess, I did not pay a great deal of attention to the weather), but our thermostat said 51 degrees.  Excellent running temperature!  It was just past 5:30; the sun was up but the world was not fully lit, so I put on one of my ARMY t-shirts with the reflective decal on the back.  Safety first for Mohawk Valley Girl!

During my last couple of runs, I have been wondering when they were going to stop sucking.  Then I told myself, wait for the weekend.  Running first thing in the morning is DIFFERENT from running after a full day’s work, I thought.  And for once I was right!  Yay me!  It was a great run!

I crossed German Street and ran down the sidewalk towards Main Street.  I had it in mind to run at least up the first part of the hill beyond the “Dead End” sign, up to where part of the road collapsed but pedestrians can still get through.  I saw a car way ahead of me with the emergency flashers on.  Now what was that all about?  Was it broken down?  I remembered hearing how if on the highway you see somebody broken down waiting for help, you should NOT be a good Samaritan and stop, because they might be bad people, decoying you over there to rob you.  I could not imagine anybody doing that in the middle of the village of Herkimer.  Anyways, I didn’t think I was going to run by the car.  Eventually it moved and turned onto Main Street, in the direction I intended to go.  Oh, it was probably somebody delivering papers.  Silly  me and my bad guys with the decoy broken down cars!

I did not see the car again, so I’m not sure where it went, but soon I was on that steep hill and had other things on my mind.  The first part of it wasn’t too bad.  Not fun, of course, but not too bad.  I decided to continue on up, maybe go all the way out Highland Avenue.  That is a good Saturday morning run.  There are no sidewalks, but it is a quiet road.  Steuben Hill, which Highland leads to (oh dear, I think I mean Steuben Hill; how can I possibly check these things?  Google continues to mystify me) is a little busier, but this early in the morning that should not be a problem.

On the second part of the hill, things got a little more difficult.  Just keep going, I told myself.  I remembered an old piece of advice I heard while in the Army, “just look at your feet and shuffle up that hill.”  I made it.   The road continues with some downhill but mostly uphill, but the slope is more doable as you go.  I looked around at all the houses I had not seen since I last ran that hill, sometime in 2016.  Finally I reached the end and was headed back to town.

It was not till I saw the sign reading “Village of Herkimer” that I remembered this run goes outside village limits.  Hello, Herkimer, I thought.  Did you miss me?  I don’t think anybody did.  Houses got closer together.  I encountered a couple of vehicles before I got to the sidewalk.  The truck that went by going downhill seemed to be trying to slow down, but the one on my side of the road (I run left side, facing traffic, as one is supposed to do) was speeding up.  Of course you must trounce on your gas as you go up a hill, or you may not make it, I thought.  I try not to judge.

When I got to Dorf Street and turned onto it, I noticed the “Do Not Enter” sign.  Why did I not remember that sign?  I LOVE to enter where it says “Do Not Enter,” just to be that way.  Oh, I know, they mean vehicles not shuffling middle-aged ladies.  Just let me enjoy the moment, please.

Soon I realized I was quite thirsty.  What to do?  The spring is way on the other end of German Street!  I did not think I could make it there without extending my run well beyond the recommended 10 percent more than last week.  When I got to German I turned in that direction (which is the direction of my house anyways).  I kept looking at my watch, figuring minutes, and turned around before I got to the spring.  I had, as usual, left a bottle of water on my deck for my cool-down run, so I did not suffer from dehydration for long (yes, I am one of those self-dramatizing types that say “dehydrated” for “thirsty.”  I thought you knew that about me).

I felt awesome at the end of my run and quite delighted that it had been a long, challenging run.  I WILL be ready for the Boilermaker 15K!  And now, on to the rest of my challenging Saturday.

 

Long Run, Long Post

There was a moment on this morning’s run when I did not feel that I was rocking it, yet I suspected I was.  Later on, when I had finished my run and was about to begin my cool-down walk, I felt an impulse to yell, “Yes!  I am Bad! Ass!”  Of course I did not.  It would be the wrong thing to do in a residential neighborhood prior to eight o’clock on a Sunday morning.

I had not run for two days and when I got out of bed this morning, I felt the desire to make it three.  After a cup of coffee I felt a little better about things.  The temperature was 45 degrees, my cut-off temperature for shorts and short sleeves which, as regular readers may recall, I have been thinking about re-thinking but I never feel like doing that much thinking.  So I dithered a little before getting dressed, but eventually got into shorts and short sleeves.  After all, it was supposed to be a long run.  I would have plenty of time to get warmed up.

My run was further delayed by a plumbing problem.  While the toilet was filling it began to make a hideous, loud pounding noise.  Steven turned off the water and got on the phone with our plumber.  I did not know how long the water would remain off so thought it best not to get all sweaty and stinky right away.  I got myself a half slice of the pizza we had sent out for last night and awaited events.

Our plumber, it turned out, is visiting family in New Jersey and won’t return till Tuesday.  However, when Steven described the problem, he said as long as the noise stopped when the bowl was filled, nothing terrible would happen and he would take a look at it on Tuesday. That’s in a nutshell.  I would probably get it wrong if I tried to repeat the whole thing and, anyways, this is Sunday Running Commentary, not a Plumbing Post.

So I decided to run without waiting for the pizza to digest.  I’m always pretty good about waiting an hour or two after eating, but now that I think about it, that’s what they always told us about swimming, not running.  I didn’t know what would happen for running but decided to find out.

I had it in my head to run up to Herkimer College, but as soon as I started running I knew I didn’t feel like doing that.  I was cold, especially my hands.  I was tired.  I was afraid this would not be an especially fun run.  However, I did not feel as utterly incapable of continuing as I had felt on Thursday, so I counted my blessings and headed towards the college.  Before I got to Lou Ambers Drive, I thought of running up the back road to the college.  Not as steep but longer.  That would work.

As I ran through a residential area, I saw my neighbors delivering papers and said good morning.  The wife told me to run a couple of miles for her.

“I will!”  I had no idea how many miles, if any, I would actually run that day, but I wanted to be obliging.

“All right!”

It wasn’t much fun running up the hill, but I tried to appreciate the woods on either side of me.  The little stream to my left laughed at  me as usual.”Look at me, going downhill,” it seemed to say.  “Look how easy this is and how much fun I’m having!  This is the way to go!”  But it was a weird image in my head.  Was the stream talking to me or was it all the little molecules of water talking in unison?  That’s the trouble with anthropomorphizing some things. Anyways, I thought, who wants to go in only one direction?  Wouldn’t you like to decide where to go?  And I thought there might be a profound point to make about how people often want to go in the more difficult direction and have to figure out ways to do it. Man vs. nature, and all that sort of thing.  I was having too much trouble running to come any good conclusions on these thoughts, but these are the things that go through my head sometimes.

At one point I looked ahead and saw how pretty the road looked, curving around to an unknown destination.  I will have to go back with my tablet and get a picture to share with you.  I thought how one might not know where the road went after the curve, so it would make an evocative picture.  However, I knew that once I got around that curve I would be almost at the top of the hill, so I was encouraged.

At last I was there.  Puff, puff.  Running is certainly an effort at times.  I wondered if it was the pizza weighing me down.  However, I did not feel sick to my stomach, so I counted my blessings and kept going.  When the road began to slope down, I felt very happy.  Now all I had to do was move my feet and let gravity take me along.  Then the downgrade got too steep to be really enjoyable.  I leaned back and tried not to jounce myself too much.  I thought of a story my husband Steve tells about how he was running down a hill as a boy and got out of control fast.  That did not happen to me today.

As usual, I calculated in my head a few times if I ran X today, then increased it by 10 percent each week, where would I be at the end of June?  I figure in pretty good shape for the Boilermaker 15K in July.  It was towards the bottom of the hill that I experienced the thought that I was rocking the run while not feeling that I was.  I was soon extremely tired but managed to keep going.

Eventually an odd thing happened.  I still did not feel I was rocking it, but my legs felt pretty good.  They felt supple, warmed up and, well, like legs that were capable of running for a damn long time.  My breathing was a bit labored, but my legs were all, “We cool.”

Now I see I have gone on for over 1,000 words.  I haven’t done a Running Commentary that long in a while!  And how appropriate, since this was my longest run in 2017. Boilermaker, here I come!

 

Now I’m Sitting!

Today I had a run in which every step was either a chore or a misery.  I thought I would write a little about it as encouragement to others because, dammit, I kept going.  One might argue that perhaps my body was trying to tell me something and maybe I should listen.  I answer, when do I ever listen to anybody telling me to stop doing something?  It is against my nature.  In fact, it is a little embarrassing how easily reverse psychology works on me.

I almost did not run at all.  I made one stop on the way home from work which naturally  took longer than expected.  Additionally, it was very warm in the sun.  Perfect weather to sit on the porch.  Warmer than I ideally like to run in.  However, things will only get warmer as we get into summer, so I might just as well get used to it.  At least a nice breeze was blowing.

Finding running clothes and putting a load of laundry in took a few minutes, but eventually I was on my way.  A couple was sitting on the porch of the house next door.  We exchanged greetings.

“That’s what I want to be doing,” I said.  It sure was.  I envied all the other porch-sitters I saw as I ran, of which there were a lot.

I had it in my head to do a long run, because I may not get to run Friday or Saturday.  I even thought of running up the hill to Herkimer College.  The heavy traffic on German Street discouraged me from that, because I would have had to cross it at some point, then cross back.  As I continued to put one foot in front of the other, it was brought home to me that my body was not the least bit inclined to run up such a hill anyways.  In short, I did not rock this run.

My legs hurt, my feet hurt, I forgot how to breathe.  I said that sentence as I was narrating in my head (as I like to do when running), then I asked myself, How do you forget to breathe?  You can’t forget to breathe!  Was I breathing?  Inhale, exhale.  Inhale, exhale.  I did not have a Vocal Chord Dysfunction episode, but I just felt I was not getting the oxygen I needed.  Apparently I was, though, because I kept going.  After all, without sufficient oxygen you die, or at least pass out.  You don’t keep running, however slowly.

And it was a slow, slow run.  How in the world was I ever going to run the Boilermaker 15K?  I didn’t want to run at all! I haven’t wanted so badly to stop running since I first started running in Army Basic Training twenty years ago (oh my God, it WAS twenty years ago!).  However, I did not stop running.  I continued.  And I pointed out to myself that I was continuing.  I find it helpful to remind myself how much it can suck and I can still keep going.

I ended my run going up my street on the opposite side from my house.  I ran by the house to the end of the street, crossed the street, and ran back to my house.  It was quite the triumph to keep going that long.  As I passed our neighbors, they were still sitting on the porch.

“You need to sit down,” the lady called to me.

“Ain’t that the truth!”  I shouted back.  I got home, grabbed my bottle of water and walked around the block for my usual cool-down. Oh did it ever feel good to walk!  However it did seem to take a long time to get around the block today.  At long last I passed our neighbors’ house again.  As I hoped, they were still sitting outside.

“Now you’re walking,” the man observed.

I pumped a fist in the air as I answered, “I ran!  I walked!  Now I’m going to shower! And I’m going to sit!”  We all laughed.

 

 

Mid-week Moniker?

As I was writing one of my articles for Mohawk Valley Living magazine, I referred to myself as “Mohawk Valley Girl, lover of local.”  I think that is a fine moniker.  Additionally, I think “moniker” is a good word.

Are you sensing a Wuss-out Wednesday here?  I was thinking more along the lines of Mid-week Middle-aged Musings, which I have not had in a while.  The point is, I’m not feeling well.  I’m afraid it is that stomach bug I hear is going around.  Well, I won’t gross you out with my symptoms (unless you piss me off, but you wouldn’t do that, would you?).

Thinking of my love of local, though, I am making a few plans for the weekend.  Friday, Steven and I hope to go to Heidelberg Bakery for breakfast.  We will purchase a couple of loaves of their bread to bring to Easter dinner at my parents’ house.  It is our usual contribution to the feast.  Later on, we may get together with my sister, Cheryl, for further adventures.  She recently discovered a new antique shop.  Of course I mean new to us.  I did not mean to be oxymoronic with “new antique”  (my computer is underlining “oxymoronic,” but if “moronic” is a word and “oxymoron” is a word, why not “oxymoronic”?  I ask you).

I plan to run Friday, Saturday and Sunday, having, you guessed it, taken yesterday, today and tomorrow off (too busy AND flu bug, but I’m sure I’ll feel better by Friday).  Perhaps it will be the start of a streak.  I’ll see how many days in a row I can run.  I am, of course, preparing for the Utica Boilermaker 15K, a premier road race and marvelous local event.  I may do some other community runs this summer.

I will also attempt to write more blog posts of interest.  More interesting than my abdominal ills and what I like to call myself?  We can hope!  Happy Wednesday, everyone.

 

Slogging Toward My Goals

I finally went running this afternoon.  It’s only been two days, but it felt like longer.  I promised myself that after this week, I will run more often.  My promise alternated with feelings of “I never want to run again!”  You’ll have that on occasion.  The best thing to do, I’ve found, is to keep running as best you can.  Sometimes that’s what you have to do when you’re making a blog post, too.

It was one of those days I spent reminding myself that I was going to run after work.  I try to do this in hopes that I’ll just get home, get dressed and go before I have a chance to talk myself out of it.  It didn’t work.  I got home moaning that I did not want to run.  I got dressed for it and got out of the house anyways.  According to  my thermostat, the temperature was 46 degrees.  The last time I ran in 46 degree weather, I rethought my cut-off of 45 degrees for shorts and short-sleeves.  I went upstairs to put on leggings.  Then I got a hot flash and put on the knee-length shorts that were handily on the drying bars.  I kept on the extra large short-sleeved t-shirt I had been wearing all day.  A headband would cover my ears and/or absorb my forehead sweat.

Earlier today, I had occasion to ask if “slog” was really a word, as in, “I am just slogging through this day.”  My co-workers said it was.  I just now looked it up in my dictionary and, sure enough, it is.  So there I was slogging through my run.  That was OK, though, I told myself, it is all part of getting into shape.  I distracted myself by noticing some flowers in somebody’s lawn.  Very nice.  The first one’s I’ve seen this year.  Most of the snow and mud were gone from the sidewalk, so that was nice, too.  I kept going as best as I could.

I said to myself that each step was a step was bringing me closer to my goals.  Closer to my Boilermaker 15K goals.  Closer to my weight-loss goals.  Closer to the end of the run when I would have a nice glass of wine with my husband.  Hey, you take what motivation you can and, you should pardon the expression, run with it.

It was really not a bad run, for being kind of a slog.  I was happy with myself for doing it.  I’m also happy I got a blog post written.  Perhaps not as good of a blog post as others, but you’ll have that.  For a Wuss-out Wednesday, it’ll do.