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Philosophical Thoughts on a Dead End Run

I am on the penultimate day of my factory shut-down (I don’t like to call it vacation, because it wasn’t my idea to take this week off) (incidentally, I love the word penultimate), and I have had a grand week of running.  Today makes the ninth day in a row I ran.  Both Wednesday and today I made up my mind not to run, sat down had coffee, went about enjoying my morning, then ran anyways.  I feel pretty damn pleased about that too.  I was about to make my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday post when I thought, why not mix it up a little with a Running Commentary instead.  It’s been a few hours since the actual run, but I think I can remember the highlights.

My first plan had been to run up the hill to Herkimer College (which I still often call H-triple-C).  However, as I approached the end of my street, I saw a pair of runners running in that direction.  Of course I didn’t KNOW they were headed for the college.  Still, I did not want to follow them even for a little ways.  For one reason, they were running in the road and I run on the sidewalk.  I suppose these things shouldn’t bother me, but what did it hurt that I ran in the opposite direction?  Not me.

It was actually a little better.  Yesterday I ran up a longer, almost as steep hill out Steuben Street, and today I wanted to up my run time by the recommended 10 percent, so I thought a fairly flat run might feel good.  As it happened, I went up a few minor hills, so everything was delightful.

I decided to do my Dead End Run.  That is when I run up and down the dead end streets off German Street.  I began by running up Main Street then over and down the nice path over the former hydraulic canal.  Technically, I should have gone up another block to the end of Main Street, which is a dead end up a rather steep hill.  But then I would not have turned around, because pedestrians can continue past the end.  From there I could have continued up, but there is no sidewalk and it was getting later in the morning.  More traffic could be expected.  Anyways, I had decided on a flattish run.

As I ran, I reflected on the philosophical aspects of the Dead End Run (usually half-baked philosophy from me).  One might think it could be depressing:  this is metaphorical; my life is a dead end.  But as I ran, I realized it was not true.  I have had dead end jobs, been in dead end relationships and worked on many dead end writing projects.  However, none of them were a waste of time.  You can always learn something from any experience, even one that does not end well (some would argue “especially from one that does not end well,” but I am disinclined for argument this afternoon).

The first lesson I learned, on the first dead end I ran down, was that a dead end is not always a dead stop.  At the end of my first dead end street (one that was not off German Street, by the way), there is a little space a pedestrian can go through and be on a regular road.  So a dead end is not always as bleak as it seems; you don’t always have to just turn around and go back.  But even turning around and going back is not all bad.  For example, by running up and down dead end streets, I am getting exercise.  I was also entertaining myself by looking around at the houses and by composing my blog post in my head.  I get ideas for my own porch, garden and yard.  I think of ideas for stories by pondering what sort of people live in the places I see.

It is likewise with dead end jobs and relationships.  They can be educational, occasionally entertaining, and give one lots of ideas for stories.

I felt quite pleased with my thoughts this morning.  I think I even remembered the best ones for inclusion here.  At least I have gotten a blog post of respectable length out of it.  As for the run, I completed 45 minutes, as I had set out to do. I plan to run again tomorrow.  Then I’ll do some major fist pumping and say, “Yes! Yes! Ten days!” and if I run up the hill to the college I’ll say, “Yeah, I’m bad!”


Remember Saturday Running Commentary?

You thought it would never return, didn’t you?  I confess to some doubts myself.  However, this morning I got out of bed, into running clothes and was on the road before 6 a.m. (with my weekday overtime rising hour, 5:30 is totally sleeping in).

It was cool out, which was a nice difference from my last couple of runs.  Oh, I felt good. I had gone to bed early last night after a mere two glasses of wine so was able to congratulate myself on my forethought. It was also delightful to run at at time when traffic was sparse.  I crossed German Street with no problem and headed toward Main.

I had the idea to run up Main and across to the beginning of the path over the hydraulic canal.  I’m not up to hills yet or I may have continued up Main where there is a pretty good one.  The path was more my speed this morning.  As I ran along it, I thought I must walk it one day soon so I can pause and read the plaques that tell its history.  Maybe when I get a dog.  The dog could sniff around while I read.  Dogs like to do that.

Crossing back over German to follow the path presented no problem, but I did not stay on the whole path as originally planned.  I got distracted by a dead end street I have run down before.  There is a little space at the end where pedestrians can sneak through to another street.  I went that way, for something different.

My run was going splendidly.  I could keep this up for DAYS!  I knew that wasn’t true, of course.  In fact, one is not supposed to increase one’s run time more than 10 percent per week.  But I was having fun.  Soon I found myself on the street that ended at the parking lot of the HARC building at the end of German.  Should I run there then back down German?  I looked at my watch and tried to calculate times. I could run back down German and make it a Dead End Run, running up and down all the dead end streets on the north side of German.  Good plan!

By the time I got to the HARC building I realized there was no way I could run up and down all the dead end streets in the amount of time I wanted to run.  That was OK. I would keep my eye on the time and run up some of them.  I got around the building and looked toward Route 28.  A big dump truck was coming.  That was OK; he was going straight, not down German.

Just before I crossed the street, I saw a penny and stopped to pick it up.  It might be a penny from Heaven!  Two steps into the street I realized a car had turned onto German and was stopped to let me cross the street.  Yikes!  I waved and yelled, “Sorry!” then darted across the street and kept going up Lake Street.  I had not intended to go up Lake, thinking it might make my run too long.  However, since the car had nicely allowed me to cross the street, I didn’t feel right going on the sidewalk in the same direction.  After all, if I had only wanted to run on German Street, why hadn’t I stayed on my own side and no bothered the car?

I almost never run on Lake Street so I enjoyed to look at the houses. They run the gamut from newly worked-on to seen better days.  I especially like to see the flowers.  The street seemed long, but I ran all the way to the end.  Well, not quite the end, because at the very end some branches hung down from a tree and blocked me.  But almost the end.  Back on German Street I realized I would probably run more than 10 percent longer than my last run.  I’m sure that is all right, especially considering that I am returning to running and not building myself up for the first time.

The run was 28 minutes.  I did not run past the house.  I felt SO GOOD as I walked my cool down.  Why in the world do I ever stop running?  It is so silly of me!  Anyways, now I think I have a new Saturday run. Every week I can add another dead end street.  Then when I’m in really good shape and feeling bad-ass, I can end with a run up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly known as HCCC).  That will be something to blog about!