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Running Late, But Running

I bet some of you thought Saturday Running Commentary was never coming back.  Well, I certainly did not expect it to return today, but here I am, a little sore of leg but ready to type.

I worked this morning so missed the early morning run I usually enjoy on a Saturday.  When I got home from work I was hungry.  Also, my dog looked so happy to see me, I hated to leave him again so soon.  So I ate, called my parents, got on the computer, puttered around and eventually laid down on the couch with a headache.  I kept thinking I ought to run.  For one reason, I hadn’t run since Tuesday.  But it seemed clear that I was not going to.  I should perhaps mention that I am going through an intense bout of I Don’t Feel Like Doing ANYTHING lately (oh, don’t tell me that the only cure for that is to DO something, I know that, everybody knows that, just be quiet and keep reading).

Finally, around 3 o’clock, I saw on Facebook that a friend had just gone running.  For goodness sake, if she could do it, I could do it.  I finally got my fat butt out the door.

It was warm and humid.  The breeze was absolute heaven when it blew.  Alas, it did not blow very often.  Never mind; one thing I know how to do is to persevere.  I decided to run up the hill to Herkimer College.  I have been telling all and sundry that I intend to run the DARE 5K in August.   It would behoove me to be prepared.

It was not too dreadful going up the hill. It wasn’t fun, of course.  I suppose it was somewhat dreadful.  However, it was not TOO dreadful.  Just so I’m clear on that point.  As I shuffled, I thought about the DARE 5K.  Many people walk up that hill on the DARE run.  I, however, do not.  My shuffle is not much of a run, but dammit, I call it running.

Sometimes when I run, I think somebody I know might see me.  Sometimes someone does, and when I run into them later, they say, “I saw you running.”  In my head, I answered, “Huffing and puffing like the overweight, middle-aged lady I am.”  Then I thought, “I use ‘lady’ in a very broad sense.”  Then I added, “And that is appropriate, because, unlike Joan Crawford, I do not take offense at being referred to as a ‘broad.'”

That little bit of imaginary dialogue pleased me so much I kept running uphill and by the buildings of the college, instead of following the road straight to the downhill part, as I had planned to do.  I made it all the way to the gymnasium.  Next time perhaps I’ll keep going around the athletic fields.  As it was, I was feeling quite tired, out of breath and macaroni of legs.  I cut across the parking lot instead of hugging the perimeter and thus making my run a little longer.  I felt rather naughty doing so, but I can’t be  motivated and dedicated every minute.

Finally I was on Reservoir Road and headed downhill.  Phew!  My relief was not as profound as I had hoped.  I kept waiting for the endorphins to kick in, or at least the I Can Rock This stage.  Neither happened, but that was OK.  I made a mental note to myself to NOT take three days off running in the future, but on the whole I felt quite pleased that I had gotten myself out the door and on the road.

I plan to run again tomorrow and perhaps Monday AND Tuesday.  Could this be the start of another streak?  I ran 10 days in a row during shut-down.  I think I’ll see how many days I can go when working full-time and going to play rehearsals.  I’ll let you know how I do.

 

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Run… Write… Now, Adventures!

After yesterday’s writing fiasco, I thought I should try writing first thing in the morning.  Then I ran first thing this morning.  I LOVE running in the morning.  I am sorry to report that I did not rush straight to pen or computer as soon a I had stretched and showered (I suppose some of you would have written when you were still sweaty and stinky or even before you ran at all, but I am not in competition with you) (you know who you are).  Nonetheless, it is still prior to 9 a.m., and I don’t need to start today’s Mohawk Valley adventures for yet a little while.

All this by way of introduction to today’s Running Commentary.

Today is the fourth day in a row I went running.  Yay me!  Yesterday afternoon when I took Spunky for a little walk,  I actually thought I would like to go for another run.  I did nothing so reckless but was happy to put on my sports bra and sneakers (yes, I wore other stuff as well, sorry if I gave you an unfortunate mental image) (but not real sorry) this morning and get going.

I carried a bottle of water.  I don’t really like carrying anything when I run, but I feared to become dehydrated.  Additionally, I planned to run in the direction of the spring and knew I could get a refill.  I have another awkward situation these days as well, because my wrist watch has become a waist watch.  That is, the band broke so I fasten it to my waistband with a safety pin.  When I run I tuck it into my bicycle shorts, so it doesn’t bounce.

My legs felt like they wanted a challenge, but I knew they would change their minds as I ran. I really should have written a Running Commentary about a previous run.  I had been going to run up to the college the front way, changed my mind three or four times and ended up running up the kick-butt way.  I had no intention of getting my butt kicked today.  Steven and I have adventures planned.

I noticed how German Street curves upward, especially on the side of it I was on.  I told myself that at least I was doing some uphill work.  It is not a particularly steep incline, though.  I ran up the hill by Valley Health, meaning to go on into what I call the suburbs, where I knew there are several hills of various grades.  I took a street I don’t usually run on and went from there.  Far from another uphill, this street looked as if it dropped off the face of the earth up ahead.  I prefer to run uphill for steep slopes, downhill on gradual slopes.  Luckily there was a left I could take.  This run was going fine.

Oh dear, was that a garbage truck up ahead?  It is garbage day in Herkimer.  The truck was a block or so ahead of me.  Which way was he going?  Was he moving at all?  Shouldn’t he be moving by now?  He was moving very slowly.  I’m not clear here on whether “he” refers to the driver or I was anthropomorphizing the truck (using “he” to mean “he or she,” so don’t ding me for sexism).  Then I realized it was not a garbage truck at all but the street cleaner.

I spent a good part of the rest of the run trying to avoid the street cleaner, an interesting occupation in that area, since none of the streets come out where I expect them to.  At one point I looked through some yards to see I was running parallel to the cleaner and not going a whole lot faster than he was.  How mortifying.  I took a couple of hills, admired several of the houses, especially the screened in porches, and kept sipping my water till it was gone.

After a wrong turn or two, I thought I was headed back toward Lou Ambers Drive and the spring.  Suddenly I found myself back on German Street, beyond where the sidewalk was.  Oh dear, cars go along this stretch very fast.  Luckily it was still early enough that there was no traffic.  I only had to go a block or so left side facing traffic (of course) to get to Valley Health, where there is a sidewalk.  I ran up the hill again.  I had never run up that side of Valley Health, so I felt pretty cool doing it now.

About this time I realized my legs felt warm and supple.  I was so rocking this run!  Soon I was headed towards Lou Ambers Drive, knowing for a change exactly where I was.  I realized that I was in shape for the DARE 5K in August.  That run, you may recall, goes up the hill to Herkimer College.  I love that run.  I thought to myself perhaps I could not rock that run right now, but I could at least run it.  And I  have almost two months more in which I can get in shape to rock it, yes!

I was mighty pleased with my run, and pretty pleased with myself for composing a real blog post thus early in the morning.  What wonderful things will I accomplish with the rest of my day?  I’ll be sure to write blog posts about them.

 

Lame Brained and Not Really Friday

So there I was, logging on to WordPress to finally make my Lame Post Friday blog post for the week.  Why, oh why does Reader pop up first?  I just can’t help but scroll down and read a few.  Sometimes I resist the urge, then I feel guilty for ignoring my fellow bloggers.  We all like to be read, that’s why we do this.  At least, it is one reason (oh, don’t sit there saying in that superior tone of voice, “I blog for ME!  I don’t care if NOBODY reads it!”  If that was the case, you’d just write a diary).

Where was I?  Ah yes, making my blog post and I think I went a little bit long on the first paragraph,but you’ll have that sometimes.  Let’s make the second paragraph shorter, shall we?

It isn’t even really a real Friday for me, because I work tomorrow.  I am quite happy to be doing so.  For one reason, I’ve already spent the money (don’t judge).  For another reason, the DARE 5K is tomorrow.  I have not kept up my training since the Boilermaker 15K so am unable to participate.  The Kids’ Fun Run goes right by my house.  The 5K goes by the end of my street.  It is not easy to avoid, and I will feel bad to see all those people running without me.

As I sit in my living room typing this, I can hear thunder outside.  Herkimer County is under a severe thunderstorm warning for the next 40 to 45 minutes or so.  I do love a good thunderstorm.  Of course, it would be a problem if we lost power, but I’ll just keep the good thought and enjoy the rumble.

Another thing for me to enjoy is an episode of Snapped on digital cable.  Regular readers may recall that this is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I usually watch it on Sundays (sometimes all day), but I have found another channel that shows it on Fridays.

And now I am beginning to think I am having a Non-Sequitur Friday.  That’s not right!  It’s Non-Sequitur Thursday, and I had that yesterday!  Sorry, folks.  I guess it’s my brain on overtime.  Hope to see you all on Saturday.  AFTER I get done work.

 

Blame it on the Boilermaker

I thought that would make a good headline.  I guess what we’re blaming on the Boilermaker is all the running posts I’ve made lately, because I’m making another one today.

I often crash and burn after the Boilermaker.  In fact, that is how I mark it on my calendar:  Sunday: Boilermaker; Monday: Crash; Tuesday: Burn.  What I do not write is Wednesday: start running again, but that is what I did.

All day at work I reminded myself that I was going to run.  And all day I wished I had run Monday or Tuesday (when I was crashing and burning), so I would have an excuse not to run.  But isn’t that always the way it is?  I reminded myself that I do not like to take three days off.  I was going to run.

It’s been stinking hot for two days, but today was nice. Gloomy and almost cold this morning (which is the way I like it).   Sunny this afternoon.  It was quite warm in my vehicle driving home from work, but I did not despair of a moderately comfortable run.

Predictably, it was not comfortable.  For that, perhaps I can blame the Boilermaker (another good reason for the headline!).   I ran slowly.  My legs expressed indignation at having to run.  What, did they think 15 Ks and they were done?  Nonsense!

The sun was bright enough to be hot.  A breeze only occasionally blew. I greatly enjoyed what shade I could find.  I had promised myself a short, easy run.  I shuffled along, hoping I could make it for 20 minutes.

It really was not too bad.  I shuffled along, not worrying too much about speed (do I ever?).  I actually did manage to speed up then sprint it out at the end, so bonus.  I did 22 minutes. 22 has always been my favorite number.  Walking around the block for my cool-down felt really good.

I was glad I had at least gotten back out there. I’ll have to get out for some real runs soon, though. After all, the DARE 5K is only a month away.   Maybe I can write some better blog posts about them.

 

What? Me, Stop Running?

Now that I’m done running the Boilermaker 15K  (for this year, anyways),  my thoughts turn to my real favorite run: the Herkimer DARE 5K.  I bet you thought I was going  tosay my thoughts turn to the beer.  Well,  I thought about the beer pretty much all through the Boilermaker.  That’s the way it works sometimes:  When you’re running you think about other things; when you stop running, you think about your next run.

The DARE5K is a fundraiser for the DARE program, which of course aims to keep young people away from drugs.  So right away one has the frisson of virtue that comes from supporting a worthy cause.

The most distinctive feature of the HerkimerDARE5K is that we run up the hill to Herkimer College.  For the uninitiated, I assure you, it is some hill.  Once I’m in running shape, I like to run up it at least once a week, so I can feel like I’m bad ass.  Another reason to run up the hill is that you are rewarded with some beautiful views at the top.  I suppose you could still enjoy the view if you drove up to the top, but what fun is that?

What I really enjoy about the DARE 5K is that it is so much more relaxed than the Boilermaker. I suppose it is not a fair comparison.  After all,  the Boilermaker is a premier road race attracting world class runners and utilizing many resources.   It is Utica’s own local claim to fame.   However, I feel it lacks the small-town appeal of Herkimer’s little run.

When I register for the DARE, I walk down to the police station with the form and check. Last year I was able to ask a few questions about police work, for the novel I have been working on.  On the day of the race, things are very conveniently located for me.  I walk to Christ Episcopal Church on Main Street to pick up my race packet. The year my nephew ran with me (actually, quite a ways ahead of me), I was able to pick up his as well.

The race begins and ends at Herkimer’s Historic Four Corners, one of my favorite spots.  Before the 5K is the Jr. Fun Run for ages 12 and younger, which goes around the block. I’ve seen 5K runners do the Fun Run with their kids as a warm-up.  I keep trying to get my youngest niece to do the Fun Run, but no luck so far.  Perhaps when my great-nephew learns to walk he’ll be into it.

After the race there is an awards ceremony and post-race party with refreshments and a DJ.  I’ve never stayed to see the awards given, but I usually grab a quick bite to eat.  This year’s DARE 5Ktakes place on Saturday, August 15 with the Jr. Fun Run at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K at 9 a.m.  I’m trying to recruit an entourage to cheer me on,but even if I have no luck with that, I expect I will still enjoy the run.

I wrote the preceding on Monday (yesterday), the day after the Boilermaker, before beginning my shift at work.  When I got home, I found I had received my Official Entry Form in the mail.  How apropos! I shall register soon, so I will have an excuse to keep writing blog posts about running.

For more information about the DARE 5K and Jr. Fun Run, or about the Herkimer DARE program, you can e-mail dareherkimer@yahoo.com or visit Herkimer DARE on Facebook.   Come on!  Run up the hill with me!

 

A Leisurely Post-DARE Run

I took a week off running following the DARE 5K, because it seemed I had a shin splint. My legs felt much better after rest and compression (I skipped the ice and elevation parts of that RICE acronym). When I found out Steven had to get up extra early for work on Tuesday, I decided that it would be a good idea for me to get back on track.

I got out the door shortly after 3:30 a.m. The temperature seemed pretty good for a run. It’s getting cooler at night, but I think it’ll be a while before I need leggings and long sleeves. I felt confident running at this early hour because I had mentioned it to a police officer during Coffee and Conversation with a Cop. He agreed with my assessment that the bad element is usually in bed by that time.

Seeing as I was recovering from an injury, I did not plan on running very far nor on running any hills. This would be a leisurely jaunt, just to ease back into things. It did not take me long to realize that my legs felt fine and my breathing was no problem. Then I pointed out to myself that I had just barely started running. I might feel differently as the run progressed.

I waved to my paper deliverers as they drove by. I couldn’t see if they waved back, but I feel sure they did. I saw another car at the three-way stop where Caroline Street meets German. That was unusual, seeing two vehicles so close together at that hour.

As usual I looked for lights in houses to feel less lonely. Hmmm…. that looked like a bathroom light, maybe a hall light. There was an upstairs light. Insomnia? Up early? Or just a night owl? These are the speculations that add interest to my early morning runs. I saw several basement lights but felt they didn’t do me any good. A basement light is the most common light to leave on accidentally (although I have not actually compiled any statistics on the subject).

I saw a glow in the sky in the direction of State Street. Probably businesses. It was nowhere near dawn and I didn’t think that was the east anyways. Of course I don’t know. I have a dreadful sense of direction. Later on in the run I noticed fog in the distance. That accounted for the glow, I thought. Wouldn’t the light reflect off the water droplets that make up the fog? Or am I full of beans? I knew I should have paid more attention in science class.

The fog was coming further into Herkimer as I neared the end of my run. I started seeing it in the lights from street lamps. Cool. I like fog. It looks mysterious.

I ran for 32 minutes, which I thought was pretty good. I felt sure it would help me reach my weight loss goals. Yeah, I know, not eating like a huge honking hogger would help too. Let’s not expect miracles.

When I got to work I was yawning my head off (not literally) (although that makes for an interesting mental picture). Too much of a run after almost 10 days off? Merely the result of too early out of bed? No matter. I felt better as the morning progressed and I knew that Wednesday I could sleep in till the leisurely hour of five.

Second Cup with a Cop

I was delighted to attend the second Coffee and Conversation with a Cop at the Baptist Church on Washington Street in Herkimer last Saturday morning (perhaps you read my blog post about the first one). I feel so pleased that this is going to be a monthly event and have great hopes as I do for any project meant to improve my beloved adopted hometown.

The event ran from 9 to 11 a.m. I arrived shortly after nine, signed in and put my name on a name tag. Jamie Lester Bell, the First Lady of the church, remembered me from last time. She was on her way out, having double booked herself, but she took time to greet me. She also asked me to leave information on how to get to my blog. I said I would post a link on the church’s Facebook page (note to self: remember to do that).

No cops were present as I walked in. They were out on a call. Chairs were arranged around two separate tables rather than the U formation they had been in last time. People were sitting around one table having a discussion. I got some coffee and a cookie and chatted with some people I remembered from last time.

When I saw a uniform come in the door I called, “There’s a cop!”

It was Officer Steve Elwood, who I had met at the Herkimer Police Department when I registered for the DARE 5K. He looked at the plate of donuts and said, “Is this a joke?”

I don’t know why it’s such a cliche of cops and donuts. A lot of people like donuts. I look like I eat a few too many myself. But I digress.

Officer Elwood asked me how I did on the run. We chatted a bit about that, then sat down at a table and others joined the conversation. Another officer showed up, whose name I did not get, so we had a cop at each table with two separate conversations going on. The atmosphere was very informal, which I gather is the intention.

My table chatted about all kinds of things. My novel came up, because I had been asking Officer Elwood questions for it the day I registered for the DARE run. I’d better make sure I finish that novel, I’ve mentioned it to so many people.

We asked a lot of questions about police work in general and the situation in Herkimer in particular. I really enjoyed how it felt more like a conversation with regular people than a question and answer session. As we talked about problems in our community it became a more serious discussion about economics and societal ills. We discussed how bringing more businesses in, particularly on Main Street, would help everything.

My big takeaway, both this time and last month, was what we as individuals can do. “If you see something, say something.” For example, there have been burglaries recently where the thieves just took stuff out of a house and drove away with it in broad daylight. Did the neighbors even notice? If so, why didn’t they make a phone call?

I said that it might be a problem on my street, because there are several rental properties. People are often moving in and out. Even as I said it, I realized my solution is actually what I try to do. When I’m out walking my dog, I speak to people. I can’t say I get to know all my neighbors, but I have a better shot at recognizing somebody who doesn’t belong.

Obviously any community needs more than just sitting around talking, drinking coffee and eating donuts (I ate a donut; I don’t think any of the cops did). But I like to think this is a step in the right direction. I hope that some of us try to do something to implement some of the ideas that were expressed. And I hope to see even more people at next month’s Conversation. I plan to be there.