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Can I Rock That Run?

I decided about twelve times today that I would or would not run the Falling Leaves 14K in Utica, NY, on Sunday.  I quite amused one of my co-workers with my dithering.  One problem I had was that I was not feeling well today.  How can I run a 14K when my legs feel like overcooked macaroni, I whined.  Another co-worker told me there was nothing wrong with me and I should run the race.  How would he know?

In any case, I knew it would be a good idea to go running after work.  For one reason, I succumbed to the temptation to eat a candy bar.  Somebody’s kid was selling them to raise money for some school thing.  One must support youth and education, after all.  I know, I could have donated the dollar and left the candy bar.  In fact, I did not eat the first candy bar I purchased but saved it in my lunch box for Steve.  Later on I got another and ate 3/5 of it (it had five little sections).

This is a long introduction to a Running Commentary post,  but that is all right, because the run was really short.  After some difficulty getting dressed (missing bicycle shorts, inadequate sports bras, you know how it goes), I set out with no great hopes of a good run.

Oh, don’t go lecturing me about how we can control our lives if we just think positively.  I have started plenty of runs with sky high hopes that ended up in the metaphorical toilet.  Likewise, I have started out grumpily and had a lovely time.  In this case, all I can say is I did my best.

I never reached the I Can Rock This stage.  However, I kept going for 22 minutes as well as my usual 10 minute cool down walk.  I am thinking this is not the run of a body that is ready for a 14K.  Of course I will feel differently on a weekend morning,  especially if I carb up and don’t tie one on the night before.  But still.  When I have run the Boilermaker 15K, my body has felt better a week before the event.  Could I be getting old? SAY IT AIN’T SO!!!

Before making this post, I went on Facebook and onto the Falling Leaves page.  I have till Thursday to register online.  I could still register Saturday at the Sneaker Store in New Hartford or Sunday in Utica before the race.

Full disclosure: I looked at pictures of the starting line from previous years and wanted to cry.  Can I drive to Genesee Street, find a place to park, figure out where to go, deal with running in a crowd (although it would not take long for the crowd to leave me far behind), etc., etc.?

It is difficult to properly assess my feelings on Tired Tuesday.  Then again, are my feelings the important thing here?  I’m afraid that whatever I decide, I will wish I had gone the other way.  On the brighter side, there is always next year.  In the meantime,  I dither, I dither.

 

Who, Me? Run?

So I went for a run this afternoon, describing the way I move in a most generous fashion. I am still dithering about the Falling Leaves 14K,  and today’s exercise did not further incline me to take the challenge. However, one must take the bad runs to get to the good ones.  I do not despair.

After work I got myself into running clothes and out the door before I had a chance to talk myself out of it.  Earlier I had entertained wild thoughts of running up to Herkimer College.  After all, I am running over an hour on the weekends.  Surely I can handle more of a challenge during the week (I am calling myself Shirley in this context).

A few steps down the sidewalk I thought I was not up to any challenge whatsoever.  I wondered if I was even up to a lousy 20 minute run.  Nevertheless, when I had the chance, I crossed German Street.  This put me on the path to a few different hills. I thought I could manage a hill. A small hill.

I ran up the hill by Valley Health.  As I ran up it, in fact, on the last few times I have run up it, I reflected that it is not an inconsiderable hill. I really must take a walk with my Tablet and take some pictures of these hills.  My readers will either say, “Why, yes, that is a hill,” or “What a wuss!  That’s no hill!”

When I got to the top of the hill, my legs felt like overcooked macaroni!  And I was less than eight minutes into the run!  Crap!  I continued, hoping to avoid any more major upslopes.  There are some really good hills in that area.  I hope to run them again but was not into it today.

As I ran on, eventually my legs started to feel a little better.  I reminded myself of how I sometimes don’t hit the I Can Rock This stage till a good 20 minutes into the run.  I further reminded myself that I have found I can keep running for just about as long as I decide to.

Soon my body was urging me to decide on a SHORT run. I ignored it. My legs felt better or worser by turns, but I persevered and ended up running for 26 minutes.  I did not feel terrific on my cool down walk.  When I took my shower, I wished I had one of those old lady stools so I could sit down.

So, yes, I can be a big baby about these things.  I comfort myself by reflecting that (a) I did so run and (b) I made a blog post about it.  Perhaps I can improve on the run and the blog in the future.

 

To Fall Or Just To Leave?

I guess I’ll have to stop apologizing for making late blog posts; I’m afraid it is just going to happen.  Anyways, I thought I would take this morning’s 200 or so words to dither about the Falling Leaves 14K in Utica two weeks from today.

I have long wanted to run that.  I understand it is a beautiful and challenging course.  I need to challenge myself.  In fact, sometimes I even need to Double Dog Dare myself.  So why the hesitation?

Well, for one reason, the race is only 1K less than the Boilermaker.  That is not a distance to be undertaken lightly.  And I would not be undertaking it lightly.   I have been running all summer, slowly building myself up.  I feel that I am in pretty damn good shape (from some angles my actual shape could stand improvement, but I digress).

Basically what happens is all week I feel tired and discouraged.  I think of keeping up my running three to five days a week while working.  I think about driving to Utica and looking for a parking space after luckily finding where the race starts (I know these considerations do not bother some people, but I seem to be more easily intimidated in some respects), and I say, “I just can’t take the pressure.”

Then I go for a long run on the weekend, get all endorphinned up, and say, “This is AWESOME!   I am SO doing the Falling Leaves 14K!”  Yesterday on my cool down walk, I met a neighbor who runs and asked was he doing the race.  He has not signed up yet but has done it in the past and recommends it.  He is a younger guy in great shape.  I daresay he does not need to constantly consider the calendar and calculate how fast 10 percent per week will add up, as I do.

Right now I am in the discouraged portion of my dithering (although I do feel challenged to refute that parenthetical comment about being easily intimidated.  Me? Intimidated? SAY IT AIN’T SO! ). However, I have not gone on this morning’s run yet.  I expect I will feel differently then.  In any case, I am now over 300 words.  Quite respectable for a late post. I shall now get on with my Sunday.

 

Scatterbrained on Scattered Saturday

I completely forgot to make my blog post yesterday.  I have no excuse, or at least none I am going to offer. Instead, I sit here Sunday morning, typing away (one letter at a time with the stylus, because it is just so much more comfortable on the couch), and hoping, as usual, for the best.

I went for a long run yesterday morning, almost an hour.  I do love a long run, because I have a better chance of getting a dose of those endorphins I hear so much about.  I did not seem to get any yesterday, but at least I felt pleased with myself for running so long.  I was thinking about running the Falling Leaves 14K in Utica later on in September.  Right now I am re-thinking it, but we’ll see how I feel after today’s run.

After the run I did a load of laundry, which I hung out on the line.  That and the run were my only accomplishments of the day. However, as my husband Steven and I lounged on the deck, as we did for a considerable amount of time,  it was nice to watch the clothes flap in the breeze.

Eventually we went to Salvatore’s, one of our favorites,  for something to eat.  Back home, we watched a couple of movies.

Hmm… I guess we did not do enough to qualify for a true Scattered Saturday. Oh well, you’ll have that, especially when it’s me we’re talking about.  I must get this published, late as it is, and get on with my Sunday.

 

A Run Worthy of a Post

Rather than my usual Tired Tuesday post,  I thought I would attempt a Running Commentary.   For one reason, I ran up the hill to Herkimer College, an accomplishment which deserves a blog post, I think.

As usual these days, I woke up NOT wanting to run at all.  I always have all kinds of good reasons: I ran yesterday, I should recruit my energies for something else, I don’t NEED to run the Falling Leaves 14K in September… etc., etc.  I usually change my mind after a cup of coffee.  Let’s hear it for caffeine!   Also in favor of running was the weather: it was not raining,  which it is supposed to do soon and for the next several days.

I set off with high hopes.  I have been thinking that longer runs were in order, and a run up a challenging hill would be an excellent idea.  Additionally,  I could post to Facebook that I had run up to HCCC, and my Facebook friends would feel impressed.  Accordingly,  I crossed to the far sidewalk on German Street and turned left.

A young man was walking a block, maybe a block and a half ahead of me.  I wondered how long it would take me to catch up to him.  It seemed to take a while.  It was actually about three blocks.  Is that a lot?  I suppose some of you could have done it in one. I am all admiration, I assure you.  The young man heard me huffing and puffing behind him as I approached.

“Good morning,” I said.  He returned the greeting as he moved over to give me room.  “You know how long it took me to catch up with you?” I added as I ran past him. “That’s how slow I run!”

” Have a good day,”  he said, turning up the next street.

“You too!” I called, running on.

The run had felt pretty good up till then.  The temperature was nice, my body was not complaining.  Then I started up the hill.  It wasn’t long before I started to feel like I Could… Not… Make… It…  I knew this was not the case.  I knew I could and would make it.  But I only knew this intellectually and logically.   I sure wasn’t feeling it!

I reminded myself of the first time I had run the hill.  I had thought I would run up till I had been running for 15 minutes (starting from when I left my house), then I would turn around and go down.  I had the idea that eventually I would make it all the way up.  Well, by the time I got to 15 minutes,  I was too close to the top to quit. So there, keep going,  I told myself

At one point I tried the trick of looking back at how far I had come.  This works best if you do it after you are halfway up, which I knew I was.  Yes, I had come far, but looking back down gave me a little vertigo.  Yikes!  At last I was all the way up and ready to go back down.

As I ran toward the back road down, I realized I had run by a Do Not Enter sign, where there was one of those triangles at a wide T intersection.   I ran back and ran by it, entering where it said not to.  It added a little more distance to my run and solidified my rebel cred.  Yes, yes, I know, by the rule Left Side Facing Traffic I should have been running there. It amuses me to enter where the sign says not to and pretend I’m a rebel.  I have to get my laughs where I can.

After running down the hill, I backtracked to Lou Ambers Drive and got a quick drink at the spring.  Then I continued on home for a 42 minute run.  I did not immediately go on my cool-down walk but opened the garage and hauled out the non-power mower.  I spent a good 20 minutes huffing and puffing behind that, once again taking advantage of the time before the rain.

Eventually I got to my cool-down walk.  Phew!  I felt that I had gotten a work out.  I think I’ll be up for the Falling Leaves run in September!

 

Lame Thoughts Running Through My Mind

This was me! And it could be again!

So I was sitting here trying to think of something to say for my Lame Post Friday post, and I remembered something I wanted to check: the Falling Leaves 14K in Utica, NY.  Regular readers may know that I did not run the Boilermaker 15K this year, although I have run it in the past.  I have never run the Falling Leaves but have always wanted to.  In fact, there was one year when I was seriously thinking about it.  That was when I found out it was 14K, not five or ten as I had thought.  I believe I wrote a blog post detailing my chagrin.

As I have been running lately, I have been keeping the race in my mind’s eye.  During a run, I often figure in my head how soon I will be running how long if I increase by 10 percent weekly.  For one reason, doing the math distracts me from running.  For another reason, setting goals can be helpful.  I would like to set the Falling Leaves run as a goal.

But can I make it?  I missed my 10 percent increase last week.  Well, one cannot always meet the ideal (oh, I suppose YOU can?) (you know who you are).  When is this race anyways?  September, I knew. I seemed to think it was around the 14th.  The closest Sunday to that (I know it’s on a Sunday) is the 16th.  Oh dear, I have a murder mystery on Sept. 15 (at the Herkimer Elks Lodge; I’ll write more blog posts about that as I get more details) (preview of coming attractions).  I don’t want to run a major race the day after a murder mystery!  This race is only 1K shorter than the Boilermaker.  The day before the Boilermaker, I drink Gatorade, eat pasta, and go to bed early; I don’t kill anybody.  I just do not have that kind of energy at my age.

The little devil on my shoulder said, “Hey, you may be off the hook. You can just run what you feel like running and do the Falling Leaves next year.  What a good plan!  There could be no possible objection.”  So I checked.

Sept. 23.  The week AFTER my murder mystery.   Why, that even gives me another week to increase by 10 percent!  IT! COULD! WORK!  (That is a quote from the movie Young Frankenstein, for the uninitiated).  The cost of registration does not go up till Aug. 28.  That gives me plenty of time to make an irrevocable decision.  But I think it’s looking good.

Incidentally, the picture above is me running the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K Race last October.  I plan to run that one, too.  I am in fine shape to run a 5K.

 

The Run I Almost Missed

How about a Sunday Running Commentary in lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday?  I got out of bed this morning thinking I would not run but after a cup of coffee talked myself into it.  As Steven pointed out, it is a beautiful day.  I do love running in the morning and weekends are the only times I can do it (unless I run at 3 a.m., which is not the same thing).

As I ran out the end of my driveway, I saw the peonies in my front lawn were blooming.  I paused oh so briefly to sniff at them.  What a wonderful scent!  I flashed back to springs and summers of my childhood, when my Mom had a large peony bush (she still has it).  I made up my mind I would smell any peonies I encountered on the run.

I was expecting my legs to start complaining as usual, but they did not.  Score!  I crossed German Street and headed for Main, where there is a nice hill. Yesterday I ran the hill by Valley Health, so I am working my way up to the hill to Herkimer College.  My current goal is to be ready for the Falling Leaves Run in September, which is 14K and I believe has several hills.  I should make it handily, if I don’t fall off the running wagon.

At the end of Main Street I saw a sign, “Road Closed, Local Traffic Only.”  I added in my head, “And Cindy Running.”  The hill was not much fun, I admit, but I persevered till the top.  It is kind of nice to be less than seven minutes into your run and have the big hill out of the way.  As I made my way back down to German, I wondered where else to run.  Today should have been the day for me to add the weekly ten percent to my run time, making it 29 minutes.  When I talked myself into running, it was with the proviso that I would not necessarily have to do that (as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, tomorrow is another day).  I was at this point undecided.

When I got to German Street, the sight of peonies decided me:  I crossed German and ran down Harley Street.  The peonies were pink and white, several bushes stretching almost a block long.  I sniffed four or five blooms, making very short pauses to do so, nothing like the stops I make to pet dogs.  Incidentally, I did not see any dogs.  More dedicated runners may shake their heads and opine that I will never improve my run time if I stop while running, but I do not care at all.  I like to smell flowers and I like to pet dogs.

My legs felt fine but my breathing was a little ragged.  I concentrated on breathing in slowly and holding the air in for a second or two.  I heard this advice from a fellow soldier, who had heard it from a Native American drill sergeant of his.  He said it stood to reason:  you hold the air in so it has time to do your body some good.  It helped.  I started to feel thirsty so thought of running to the spring and taking a drink.  How long would that take me?  Would I run 29 minutes after all?

I turned in the direction of the spring, keeping an eye on the time.  It soon became clear that I could not make it all the way to the spring and back.  That was OK, because as usual I had a bottle of ice water waiting for me on my deck.  I figured times in my head, changed my mind a few times, going up one street and down another.  Ooh, more peonies, sniff, sniff.  It came to me that I was GOING to make it for 29 minutes and it was NOT going to be a problem!  I felt GREAT!  I could run for DAYS!  Yes!

As I walked my cool-down, I said to a neighbor, “I’ll tell you what, running four days in a row is the Way to Go.  I feel awesome!”

“There you go,” he said.

“Which I did NOT feel the last three days,” I added.  It is wonderful to prove things to yourself.  When I have to persevere through a bad run, I always tell myself, you have to get through the bad runs to get to the good ones.  Today was definitely a good run.