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To Boil or Not to Boil?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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.

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.

 

A Lean, Mean Something or Other

Did anybody think I was so busy with theatrical murder that I was forgetting my Boilermaker ambitions?  Say it ain’t so!  Last week was not the best I’ve had (this is using a Sunday through Saturday week as opposed to a Monday through Sunday week, as some see it) (ooh, that could be a whole other blog post, where the week starts and ends, help me remember that, will you?).  However (are you still with me after those long parenthetical comments?), one can improve.  So I had a good run today, and now I’m going to write a Running Commentary post about it.

I waited to run till almost 11:30, because it was cold this morning.  It was not too cold to run, but I also wanted to hang out with my husband, go to the grocery store, maybe do the dishes…  Of course this would give me plenty of opportunity to talk myself out of running at all, but I managed to avoid that disaster.  As a matter of fact, it was easier to get myself to run than it was to do the dishes, and there weren’t that many dishes.  I was just not in the mood to do the dishes.

Once the dishes were done, though, and I took another Facebook break (that is what I do on Sundays: get a little bit done, look at Facebook, repeat), I got dressed and went.  It was 46 degrees, one degree above my cut-off for shorts and short sleeves, so I thought, Score!  I still put on a wide headband to cover my ears.  I placed my sweatshirt and water bottle in a handy spot for my cool-down walk and took off.

The first thing I did was to re-think my cut-off temperature for shorts and short sleeves.  That wind was cold!  But there was nothing to do but keep running and hope for a hot flash.  It was a sunny day with some clouds (I don’t want to say “partly cloudy” because it really did seem more sun than cloud).  When the sun came out fully and the wind died down, I felt some warmth.  The sidewalks were almost completely bare, so I appreciated that.

I wished my running time were long enough to run up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly HCCC) (pronounced H-triple-C).  I wanted to feel bad-ass, and it was such a bright day the view would have been awesome.  I tried to mentally calculate when I would be running long enough to make it up and back, but I couldn’t do the math.  I went up the hill by Valley Health instead.  That turned out to be challenging enough for me.  I was out of breath by the time I reached the top and turned left. As I noted the sidewalk still rising at a lesser angle, my in-head narration was interrupted by my realization that I did not know the name of the street I was on.  There was a street sign.  Exchange Avenue.  As I continued to run, I pondered what could be the difference between a street and an avenue and how they decide which gets named what.

My goal for the run was 31 minutes, that is, 10 percent longer than I ran last weekend.  My body vacillated between “I can rock this” and “Can we stop now?” I kept going for my full 31 minutes.  As I walked my cool-down, my legs felt wonderful, as if they would soon be capable of carrying me for miles. I told myself I was going to be in great shape for the Boilermaker 15K.  And if I continue to eat sensibly, running will help me attain my weight-loss goals.  I will be a mean, lean, not very fast running machine!

 

Not Too Whiny of a Running Commentary, I Hope

I would like to think Saturday Running Commentary is back.  However, I can’t be sure.  At least I ran this morning and I will try to write about it.

We had gotten up early for a Saturday, because I have this nagging cough that wouldn’t let me sleep (yes, more whining about my health woes, don’t judge).  Going running wasn’t even on my radar, but coffee was.  Two cups. AAaaahhhh.  I love coffee.  I also needed a shower.  Well, I didn’t want to shower and then run. One runs then showers.  So I decided to run.

By now I had been up for almost two hours.  I was quite hungry.  At this point, I would usually eat something and delay my run.  However, I had read that if you run before eating in the morning, your body will burn stored fat, not the healthy breakfast you just ate.  What a concept! I have PLENTY of stored body fat.  This was going to be great.

It has been so warm these last few days, I thought, I could probably run in shorts and short sleeves.  Um, no, my thermostat said the outdoor temperature was 30 degrees.  Leggings and long sleeves, definitely.  And my toque, of course.  After I started I wished I had searched out the extra warm running pants my sister Victoria gave me as well as a pair of gloves.  No matter.  I wasn’t going to run long.

It was 7:22 by my watch when I started out.  On a Saturday, that is still early enough for sparse traffic.  Excellent.  I could cross German Street.  I wanted to run down the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal, which begins a block beyond that sometimes difficult to cross street.  The sun was bright but still low enough in the sky that I was often in the shade of houses.  I could feel the warmth sometimes.  Ah, better.  Then not so much.  Damn.  Then I felt some breeze.  I KNOW that was not from me running fast.

After a while I could feel the wind penetrating my toque.  That was unusual, and chilly on my sweaty head.  My hands were soon stiff with cold.  No notations in the Running Journal till after my shower.  I have been quite remiss about making notes in my Running Journal.  I’ve been jotting down the date and time run on odd pieces of paper, meaning to transfer the information and, well, I just haven’t.  And now I can’t find all the odd pieces of paper. Finally I made a note in the Running Journal to that effect and once again started over.  I know, what a recurring theme for my running.  I say, at least  I DO begin again, eventually.

It wasn’t such a bad run. I started feeling tired a little more than halfway through but not too desperate to stop.  My breathing wasn’t bad, although there was no chance of doing the “in through your nose” thing.  Still, that is usually the case with me, so I tried not to let it bother me.  My throat was not best pleased with me, of course.  I did mention that nagging cough, didn’t I?

So I ended up running 25 minutes and walking for 10, the same amount I did earlier in the week.  It has perhaps been too many days between my runs, but, well, not to whine more about my health problems, but… you know.

As I was running I made the decision NOT to run this year’s Boilermaker 15K.  I do want to run more and continue to get back into shape.  I subscribe to the saying, “If you are too busy to exercise, you are too busy PERIOD.”  However, it is one thing to get exercise and quite another to train for a challenging 15K road race.  I can still get plenty of Running Commentary blog posts.  As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.