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Virtual Run, Late Post

So I think I ran 5Ks on Saturday.  Regular readers may remember I was going to run the Social Distance Virtual 5K sponsored by Rock City Runners of Little Falls.  I ran something, at any rate.

I meant to write my blog post about it yesterday, but I feel sure my readers will forgive me. I was undecided as to whether or not to run right up to the last minute. One factor in favor of running was that my $10 registration would benefit Little Falls Food Pantry.  I suppose I coukd have just made a donation directly and had done with, but we all know that is not my style.

All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed?

I took a before picture. Please note that the shirt is from the Reindeer Run 5K, also sponsored by Rock City Runners. The only 5K track I could remember was the Herkimer Dare 5K.  At least, I hoped I could remember it.  I think the last time I ran it was 2013.  That may have been the last time anybody ran it, since, alas, it is no longer a thing.

I knew it ended at my beloved Historic Four Corners.  I walked there from my house and put my sweatshirt and water bottle at the Herkimer County Courthouse.  I was pretty sure nobody would bother them, but I used my shabbiest sweatshirt and water bottle just in case.  I walked up Main Street to the starting point.

Not surprisingly,  I could not recall the exact spot, although I knew it was not all the way at German Street.  I picked a spot that looked good, and off I went, like the proverbial herd of turtles.

I knew to go down Main to Church Street, all the way out Church, around the corner to German Street and up Lou Ambers Drive to Herkimer College (or HCCC, as I usually call it).  Oh, it was not fun going up that hill!  I went up it once recently, and went up another bad hill earlier in the week.  It did not seem to matter.  However, if there is one thing I know how to do, it is to persevere.

Once I got up to the college, I realized I was not quite clear on where to turn around.  The Dare 5K has two routes.  One goes just to the college, then down the back road and through Brookfield Park (also known as the Unknown Park in this space). When that route suffered damage in the flood of 2013, they changed to run to go up through the parking lots of the college and back down Lou Ambers Drive.

I ran all the way to the parking lot by the gym.  I think that was how far the route went.  In any case, I am sure it went no further.  Better too far then not far enough, I thought.  I felt pretty awful by the time I turned around.  Oh crap, was this even going to work?

After I turned around,  I felt better.  What a difference a little downhill makes!  When the downhill got a little steeper, I didn’t like it as much.  I leaned back and kept it under control.  I thought about really making use of gravity and barreling down that hill, but I am a little leery of getting out of control.

The only problem I had once I got back into the village was that I somehow got it into my head that I should turn onto Prospect Street.  Where were those damn Four Corners?   Stupid!  I should have turned at Main Street!  A turn onto Church Street corrected the error, and I don’t think it changed the length of the run.

My hair is so pretty!

When I got home I took another selfie.  I felt pretty pleased with myself, although I also felt pretty awful.  A shower and breakfast helped.  I went for a short run on Sunday (today).  And I see I have written kind of a long blog post.  Not a bad weekend, I say.

 

Memorial Day Musings on a Run in the Rain

I said yesterday I was going to do a hard run today, in honor of fallen soldiers for Memorial Day.  When I got up it was pouring rain, and I was tired.  I don’t usually run in the rain, and it was raining quite heavily.   I really felt too sluggish to do anything.  At last I bestirred myself and went upstairs to put on running clothes with the intention of running in place on the mini-tramp.

As I sought out proper attire, I felt I must run outside in the rain.  Was this a tribute to fallen soldiers or was it not?  How could I justify making things more comfortable for myself?  Maybe I wouldn’t make it for an hour and a minute (the length of my last longest run), but dammit, I was going to run in the rain.  I put on an ARMY t-shirt with a reflective decal on the back.  ARMY for the soldiers, reflective decal for me.  Headlights would catch the decal even in broad daylight, wouldn’t they? Cars should have their headlights on in the rain.  I would be fine.

I headed in the direction of Herkimer College, thinking up that hill would be a good, tough run.  I dodged around and jumped over puddles, eventually landing in one so that my shoes went squish, squish.  I expected that.  I wondered if my plan was a good one.  For one reason, I think the hill I ran up the last time I ran in the suburbs was a longer, steeper one than the one to HCCC (can’t get out of the habit of calling Herkimer College by its old name).  For another reason, I did not think there would be any people up at the college. I like to run where there are people, in case I run into problems.  Suppose I got cramps or sprained an ankle?  I like to think somebody would notice.

“Hey, there’s a crazy old lady, out running and came to grief.  I’ll call 9-1-1.  Better not get to close, though; I hear they’re dangerous when wounded.”

Halfway up the hill, I remembered Campus Safety would probably still be around.  Anyways, I’ve never come to grief running.  I think it’s something my body tells my brain to think about in hopes I will decide to stop running. Soon I was happy for the lack of traffic, because I went out almost to the middle of the lane to avoid a deep puddle.  I didn’t want any more squish in my shoes than I had to have.

Soon I started second guessing my whole “Run for the soldiers” theme.  Who did I think I was, anyways?  Wasn’t I just glorifying myself:  “Oh, look how tough I am, running up the hill in the rain.”  Of course I did not feel particularly tough. I felt wet and old, but oddly good about myself.  Naturally I become suspicious when I start to feel good about myself. I feel I am not the best judge of what I ought to feel good about.

Oh, it took a long way to get to the top.  Did I think this hill was easier than the others I run?  I must be crazy!  But I knew I could make it.  I was running with a bottle of water in one hand but did not feel inclined to take a sip on the steep incline. When I got to the top, I promised myself.  When I got to the top, I kept going across the campus, which I have not done yet this year.  After all, you can cover a lot of ground if you want to keep going for an hour.

Campus was almost deserted.  I saw one car moving and a few empty ones parked. Nobody told me to get off campus, and I enjoyed the solitude.  Things look kind of interesting when they are grey and soggy.  I was pretty grey and soggy myself, and not just my hair; the t-shirt was grey and by now it was soaked through.  I ran all the way around behind the athletic fields to Reservoir Road, which quite frankly seemed a lot longer than the last time I ran it.

I continued my run, moving back and forth between feeling I was making a respectful tribute and wandering what the hell I was thinking.  I also ran the gamut of “this really sucks” to “I LOVE running.”  Sixty-one minutes is a pretty long run.  I finished my water and re-filled the bottle at the spring.  Then I saved the spring water for my husband Steven.  I had left another bottle of tap water on my deck to drink during my cool-down walk.

And that is how I remembered and honored our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

 

Snowy Sunday Run

I was maybe half-way into Sunday’s run when I remembered something:  winter running socks do not keep your feet warm once they are soaked from running through slush.

Winter came to much of the northeast between Saturday and Sunday.  The Mohawk Valley did not get hit as badly as other areas, but we got some.   Still, it did not seem terrible to me when I got up shortly before six.  There was snow on the back lawn but not an inordinate amount.  After a cup of coffee I thought I might take a run.

The sun was not all the way up, or maybe it was the clouds making it seem that way, so I decided to wear my road guard vest (it is a reflective vest, I suppose, but in the Army we called them road guard vests).  I sometimes wonder about wearing the vest when I run on the sidewalk — am I being overly cautious and look like a big geek (which I guess I am but you don’t have to rub it in).  However, I also had it in mind to run up the hill to Herkimer College (previously known as HCCC), where there is no sidewalk.

Steven approved of my wearing the vest, “Because it’s still snowing.”

“It is?”  It was hard to tell in the dim light.  I don’t usually run through precipitation, but I already had my warm running gear on — leggings, long-sleeved ARMY t-shirt, winter running socks, hat and mittens.  The vest added another layer.

Almost as soon as I started out, I abandoned the sidewalk for the road so did not have to worry about looking overly cautious.  I wasn’t sure the road would be a whole lot less slippery, though.  I felt even more worried when I turned onto German Street.  There is generally more traffic on German so I knew I might have to get right over to the curb.  There were some major puddles by the curb and not a little ice.  Damn!  Luckily there wasn’t much traffic.  I made it to Lou Ambers Drive without mishap.

As I ran I debated whether I would actually run up to the college.  I had settled for the hill by Valley Health on Saturday.  Surely that would be good enough again.  I could go into the suburbs (that is what I call the residential area back behind Valley Health) where I would find a few more hills.  For one reason, if I slipped and fell flat on my face, somebody in a house might come out and help me.  More likely they were still asleep.  I headed toward the college.

A man was in the driveway of a house near the bottom of the hill.  I think he came out to get his newspaper and stayed to smoke a cigarette.  We waved at each other.

“I don’t know what the hell I’m thinking,” I said.

“I wasn’t going to say anything,” he said.

The worst part about the snow falling was that it accumulated on my glasses.  I had sensibly remembered to switch my good glasses for an old pair of safety glasses, so I could wipe them off on my shirt and not worry too much.  It was a little awkward with my mittens on.  Additionally, the snow had accumulated on my shirt as well.  Never mind, I told myself.  I can see well enough.

I did wish I could see a little better, though, because the trees looked so beautiful with the snow on the branches.  It was a lovely winter scene.  It would have put me in quite the Christmasy mood if the slush wasn’t soaking through my sneakers and into my socks.  I kept going, though, because I knew I would not be out long enough to get frostbite.  I comforted myself with the thought that a little extra weight on my feet would burn a few more calories.

I ended up running for a longer time than I had meant to, but I felt pretty good about it.  Full disclosure:  I have not been running since.  On the other hand, that is only two days.  I’ll run again tomorrow, I hope.  I might even write a blog post about it.

 

Sunday Running Commentary? Score!

For about the final third of my run and my entire cool-down walk, I wanted to throw my arms up in the air and shout, “THIS is why I run!!!”  I felt terrific!  It was WONDERFUL!  I had to remind myself how much it had sucked running up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly known as HCCC).

My running has been pretty sporadic lately.  I ran three days on my long weekend then took four days off.  I ran Friday but not Saturday.  In my defense, oh, never mind a defense, I don’t care if anybody judges me.  Today (Sunday) promised to be warmer.  I thought an early run would be best, because I planned to go to church (I have a prayer shawl to deliver, as regular readers may recall).  Before getting dressed, I came downstairs and checked the temperature on our thermostat.  50 degrees outside.  That works.  My cut-off temperature for running in shorts and short sleeves is 45.

I put on my Army t-shirt with the reflective decal on the back, but I thought my road guard vest would be a good idea, since it was still dark out and I intended to run up the hill to the college.  I was happy to be able to find it.  My sister, Cheryl gave me the vest for my 50th birthday.  She also gave me a little LED light clip. The clip was on the vest.  And it still lit up!  Score!  I would turn on the light when I was actually on the road and keep it off while running on the sidewalk.

It was not until I was running that I thought about how I call it a “road guard vest” in my head but it’s really merely a “reflective vest.”  Road guard vests, to me, are an army thing.  When you run in a formation, there are always a few road guards running in front and behind.  When you get to a crossroad, the road guards run up and make the cars, if any, stop.  Reminiscences about army running and road guard vests kept my mind occupied for the first part of my run, so I didn’t pay too much attention to how my body felt.

That changed when I started up the hill to the college.  I had not run that hill in quite a while, but I ran a couple of pretty good hills in Vermont, so I thought I was up to it.  As I ran, I began to feel not so much.  What the hell, body?  I tried the trick of  looking down at my feet and just shuffling up that hill.  I was momentarily distracted by my shadow.  It looked tall and svelte.  I pretended I really looked like that, but it didn’t make running up the hill any easier.  That hill had not sucked that bad in a long time, I thought.  Then I reminded myself that I can put up with almost any amount of suck for just about as long as I decide to.

At last, at last, I reached the top.  Phew!  I began to run down the back way.  It was blocked with a few orange cones, but I thought that was just for vehicular traffic not pedestrians.  It looked quite dark.  Perhaps it was not the best way to go.  As I got closer to the dark, I saw some light further up ahead.  See, I told myself, it would be fine.  Then I saw some men working.  They wouldn’t mind me.  As I got closer, it seemed they were taking up most of the road.  Maybe they would mind me.  I turned around.  That gave me some more uphill to run, so that was good.  At least, it was good for me.

It was on the way down the hill that I started to get the terrific feeling I mentioned in the first paragraph.  As I approached the bottom of the hill, I noticed something I had forgotten about.  The road seemed to go uphill again.  What was that about?  I didn’t remember going downhill before going up this hill!  And there’s a metaphor for life, I thought.  We don’t always realize when things are easier but we sure as hell notice when they suck!  Anyways, once I got to the newly recognized uphill section, it wasn’t bad at all.  I kept feeling terrific.

I don’t feel too awful bad about this blog post, either, although as usual, I’m remembering a few things I thought or noticed while running that I have not mentioned.  It would make for a much longer blog post, I’m afraid.  Maybe I’ll write a Big Book of Running Commentary someday and include everything.  Or maybe I’ll just keep running and keep quiet.  In any case, I see I have successfully avoided having a Wrist to Forehead Sunday post.  Score!

 

Not Running on D Street

Yesterday (Sunday) I went running with the idea that I would offer Sunday Running Commentary.  Instead, as per usual on a Sunday, I wrote some nonsense instead (I always say, go with your strengths).  Now the one thing I do not feel like doing is writing.  However, the one thing I really, really want to do every day is to publish a blog post.  So let’s see what I can do.

I started out shortly after 6 a.m.  The sun was not quite up and it was cloudy, so I thought it might be a good idea to wear my reflective vest.  After all, safety first.  Naturally I started to second guess myself as soon as I left the house (once again going with my strengths).  Did I just look silly wearing a road guard vest (as we called them in the army) when I was in fact not running in the road?  I probably looked like a huge geek, which in fact is what I am, and not the good kind either.

I crossed German Street and headed right, which is not the direction I have been going lately. Regular readers may recall I have been obsessively running up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) this summer, in anticipation of the DARE 5K (I believe I’ve written a few blog posts about it).  I thought I might possibly run out Steuben Road.  For one thing, there is a pretty good hill there so I would feel bad ass.  For another reason, the sidewalk ends, so I would feel a little less silly in my road guard vest.

For the record, I really like my reflective vest, a very thoughtful gift from my sister.  I think it is definitely a good thing to wear when the light is dim and/or when running in the road.  It is just a bad habit of mine to perpetually feel that I look foolish.

Where was I?  Ah yes, still on German Street, when I saw a deer cross the road.  How cool is that?  She continued up a perpendicular street.  I thought to turn there too and see where she went, but when I looked she was standing in the middle of the road looking around.  I didn’t want to scare her.  Or have her scare me.  You never know.  That deer might have thought, “Hey, I have hooves.  I can take her!”

As I ran on, I tried to remember the name of the street, for my blog post.  D, D, something with a D.  Dorfman, that was it!  The street makes an L and comes out on Steuben.  When I got to that place on Steuben I double checked myself.  Dorf Street.  Silly me.  I must have been thinking of Ava Dorfman, a Roman of some note who recently died.  She started a senior citizen center which bears her name.  I believe my grandmother used to work for her husband, Dr. Dorfman.

Up Steuben I went.  It was a worse hill than I thought.  When I was done thinking about the deer and Ava Dorfman, I started to notice the weather.  It was dreadfully humid.  Will anybody get my reference if I tell you I thought, “This humidity is as thick as peanut butter!” “You mean pea soup.”  “You eat what you like, and I’ll eat what I like!”

I ran uphill till my watch told me I had been running for 15 minutes. I wanted my total run time to be about a half hour. I’ll go back to increasing it soon, but I didn’t feel like getting too tired yesterday. I ended up doing 33 minutes, which is how long I ran last time. Holding steady is good.

I confess I did not feel particularly bad ass at the end of my run. As usual, I was glad I had run, especially when it started pouring ran shortly after Tabby and I returned from our cool down walk. And, look at this, I seem to have written my blog post. I wonder what else I can get done today.

Hard Core Dithering

I knew I was going to run on Thursday. It was a foregone conclusion. I thought I would do a hard core run up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) then do a short run or a long walk on Friday. My only worry was that it would rain. I could always jog in place on the mini-tramp, but there is nothing hard core about that.

As the end of my work day approached, I began to second-guess myself. As many of you know, that is pretty much what I do. Perhaps hard core was not the way to go. Perhaps I should be taking it easy even two days before the race. Then again, I would have a full day to recover. Maybe something in between hard core and taking it easy was the way to go. Yes, I am a hard core ditherer.

“Hey, who here runs?” I asked my co-worker who, I believe, knows everybody in the plant. He gave me a couple of names, but there was nobody I could seek out in the next hour. I explained my dilemma.

“So I don’t know if I should work out hard core or soft core or medium core,” I finished.

“Medium,” he advised. He further advised me to not merely walk my dog on Friday but to power walk, leaving the dog home if she does not like to power walk, which in fact she does not. He used to be a high school athletic coach, so his advice was no doubt good.

I confess I don’t know why I’m getting so exercised (so to speak) about a mere 5K. It’s not as if I think I’m going to win. While I pride myself on not walking, I do not hesitate to waste breath making silly jokes for the amusement of other runners, spectators and myself (at least somebody’s going to be amused). I run because I ENJOY running. There is no reason I should put myself under such stress.

The rain cleared up and it became quite the lovely afternoon. The sun shone, a breeze blew, it was unseasonably cool. A perfect afternoon for a run. My husband was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, my most favorite outfit to see him in.

I got ready to run, still dithering. Just before I went out the door, I looked in my running journal (I have a journal for everything) (I don’t really, but wouldn’t it be cool if I did?). The other two times I ran the DARE 5K I spent the week before running way shorter times than I am running now. I was going up the hill to HCCC, but my longest run was 33 minutes, not 47.

Well! It turns out I’m in GREAT shape for the DARE 5K, no matter which core I decided to run on Thursday! In fact, it turned out being between medium and hard. Perhaps I will write about it tomorrow. Today is Lame Post Friday, so I felt free to write about dithering.

What Do Those Crickets Know?

I’m afraid the blog will be veering into All DARE 5K All The Time as I begin to obsess over the event in a most unbecoming fashion. The good thing is that I don’t just obsess, I also run. And I do like to write about my runs.

Steven had to get up at four this morning. I had one cup of coffee with him then got on the road about a quarter till five. I put on my reflective vest and LED light, because it was still completely dark. I remembered there were streetlights up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC), so I planned on running up that hill yet again. There was no traffic to speak of and the temperature was just right. This was going to be great.

The road to HCCC is still in the village of Herkimer, but it feels like it’s leading right out of town. The houses grow sparser and there is no sidewalk. Still, there are streetlights. That makes it civilization. There are some wooded areas. I suppose people who live in the real wilderness are laughing at me: “That’s not a wooded area, those are just some trees!” Well, I know deer live in the trees. How do I know what else lives in them? What could live in them? Badgers? I’m not even sure what a badger is. I probably would not meet a badger. I probably would have heard if there was anything real dangerous. Wouldn’t I?

Those streetlights did not throw as much light as the streetlights in the village proper do. What was that shadow up there in the distance? Probably just an overhanging branch. Or, you know, just a shadow. Was that an ELEPHANT? No, just a minivan. Now I was being silly. I heard a bunch of crickets in the woods, I mean bunch of trees next to me. Yeah, I guess the elephant joke was pretty bad, I told myself (you know, how when a stand-up comedian lays an egg, all you hear is crickets? That’s what I was going for just there).

So I continued up the hill, thinking of all the funny lines I could but only hearing crickets. I got pretty amused over thinking how not funny I was being. I wish I could remember some of the jokes, but no doubt some wise-ass reader would have commented with, “Crickets,” or the overused, “Don’t quit your day job.”

After I got to the top of the hill I just turned around and ran back down the way I came. I don’t think college is in session yet and I didn’t care to run around a dark, deserted college campus at five in the morning. I didn’t think there were streetlights on the back way down from campus and that is a more heavily wooded area.

When I made it to the bottom of the hill I felt pretty good, which was fortunate because I was not quite halfway to my goal time of at least 45 minutes. I forgot to mention that halfway up the hill I had made myself a promise: after the DARE 5K I would not run up a hill for at least a week. I amended that to add “unless I felt like it.” The vision of a long run on all or mostly level ground seemed very appealing.

So I finished my run on lovely, mostly level ground. The sun had been coming up since I was at the top of the hill. I watched the gradually lightening sky with gratitude. Dawn and dusk are my favorite times of day. I love to be outdoors and watch it get dark or light. Oh, running is the best thing in the world!

I was feeling WONDERFUL! I LOVE running! I asked myself, could this be those endorphins I hear so much about? Or was it just that frisson of accomplishment? Or the anticipation of fulfilling that promise to myself next week? Perhaps just joy of a Saturday morning when I do not have to go to work. Oh, who cares why, just enjoy the feeling!

I made it 47 minutes. I’m not worrying about increasing my time by a strict 10 percent these days. If I’m running over 40 minutes I know I’m in great shape for a 5k. I’m just happy my run time is up to where it is now. And I don’t even care if the crickets are not amused by my jokes.

Couldn’t Call a Cab

I purposely did not write a blog post while at work today, because I KNEW I would go running and could write a running commentary. I would NOT try to talk myself out of it, I would NOT wimp out, I would accept NO excuses.

When it started pouring rain at lunchtime, I was not worried. It would be sure to stop, and it did. The sun came out. There. When I talked to Steven shortly before I left work, he told me it was POURING in Herkimer.

“It might stop before I get home,” I said, not thinking it would. “Or I can run on the mini-tramp.” Not really wanting to. “It isn’t even raining here.” I work in Ilion, which is five minutes away. It was raining by the time I left, pouring by the time I got to my vehicle. I was laughing. Bad weather has that effect on me.

I drove home into blue skies. It was a miracle! Or another example of if-you-don’t-like-the-weather-wait-five-minutes Mohawk Valley. I changed into running clothes and got going.

The rain had cooled things off. This would be great. I thought I heard a rumble of thunder as I left the house. Maybe I should break out the mini-tramp? No, no, I wanted to run up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC). The DARE 5K is next weekend. I would be prepared IF I ran today. And a few more days between now and August 16.

I looked at the sky and started running. Those were not thunder clouds and there weren’t very many of them anyways. Maybe it hadn’t been thunder anyways.

I turned toward HCCC and found a place to cross German Street. Then I saw my friend Pudge the pug with his person on the other side of the street. If only I had waited to cross, I could have petted Pudge! His person waved to me and I waved back.

I could see dark clouds off in the distance. I was headed vaguely in their direction but doubted I would be running that far. When I headed up to HCCC I would be going right away from them. So there.

The run up the hill was not too bad. I won’t be good at it by next Saturday, but I’ll make it up. I even continued uphill on the walkway to the buildings before turning towards the way back down. The sky was blue with a few pure white clouds. The sun was warm but not too hot. My legs were pumping along with no complaints. My breathing was fine. This was great.

After I went back down the hill I ran to another hill I had run up on another run. Not a huge hill, but it was an effort. It’s good to make an effort. At the bottom of that hill, my legs started complaining. They were tired of running. They were ready for the sitting with my feet up portion of the evening. I ignored them. What else was I going to do? I had to get home. Maybe I’ll start running with my cell phone so I can call for a cab.

After my cool-down walk, on which Tabby graciously joined me, I felt pretty good about myself. I didn’t hear any more thunder till much later. Now I’m on to the sitting with my feet up portion of my evening.

I Didn’t HAVE To

With the DARE 5K bearing down on me, I thought it would be a good idea to run today. I had proven to myself on Saturday that I could so run with a bad cold, so that fact that I was feeling only marginally better would not be a sufficient excuse. It was warm, but that was good, I told myself. The DARE 5K begins at 9 a.m. The sun will be high in the sky. What finally convinced me was that I told myself I didn’t HAVE to run up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) and I didn’t HAVE to run 45 minutes. If I ran AT ALL, that would be enough. I set out.

It was warm. The sun was hot. I didn’t like it. But I persevered, trying to take comfort in the fact that it seemed less humid than it had earlier. There was a bit of a breeze, and I could look for shade.

I crossed German Street in the middle of a block, because I found a good opportunity. This is what you have to do with 4 p.m. Herkimer traffic. This put me on the right side of the street to run up to HCCC. But I didn’t HAVE to run there. Maybe I could run up the back way to HCCC. Not as steep, a little longer. A good run. I went by that street.

Oh, but it was not fun to run in the heat. Never mind, just keep going. Here was the street up to HCCC. I didn’t have to run up that hill. I could turn off before the steep part. I didn’t have to run 45 minutes, or even 40 minutes. I could run up the hill till I had run 10 minutes then run back down. But I ought to run more than 20 minutes. 30 minutes would be an OK run. I could run up the hill for 15 minutes then turn around, I bargained with myself. I didn’t fall for it. I knew that by the 15 minute mark I would be too far along to turn back.

The sun was bothering me more than the upslope. There was the steep part. In the sun. Wait a minute, no it wasn’t. There were two distinct patches of shade. There you go, I told myself. Run till you’re out of shade, then turn around. What a deal!

As I reached the second patch of shade I realized the shade continued, with varying degrees of patchiness, at least till the road curves. Once you get to the curve, you are just too close to the top to turn around. As I continued to shuffle up the hill I wondered if I had really had any thought of turning around. Of course not, I thought. For one thing, I knew I was going to write a blog post about it. Write a blog post about NOT making it up the hill to HCCC? That’s crazy talk!

I am sorry to report that the run did not for one minute become fun. I never once felt that I could rock this. I told myself that I was rocking it, pointing out to myself that no complaints were coming from my legs, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

That hardly mattered. What mattered was I did it. I can look forward to the DARE 5K with less trepidation. And it got me a blog post for Monday. I say OK.

A Pretty Good Hill for a Monday

I did not run on Wrist to Forehead Sunday (don’t judge). Then I failed to write a blog post as Monday (today) progressed. Finally I determined to go home, run, then write about the run.

My plan for Sunday had been to run up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC), a ferocious hill, for those of you who are not familiar with it. I did not see how I could do such a thing today. Then I thought about how triumphant I would feel, posting on Facebook that I had done it. I thought about being at the top of the hill saying, “Yeah, I’m bad!” Still, I argued with myself, it is not easy to cross German Street at 4 p.m. on a weekday. Herkimer traffic can be heavy at that time. At last I decided that if I COULD cross the street, I would take that as a sign and run the damn hill.

The thing I mostly don’t like about running in the afternoon is that my dog, Tabby, is so happy to see me come home. She doesn’t want me to leave right away. She wants me to stay and pet her or take her for a walk. I reminded her that she does not like to run with me; she likes to stop and sniff and frequent intervals. She lay down underneath the coffee table. Ah, she understands, I thought. Then she jumped up with a hopeful look on her face as I opened the door. No, Tabby. I was in kind of a down mood to start with. A sad dog did not help.

Nonetheless, I set out. And right away the warm temperature and humidity did not feel good. No matter, I thought. A good sweat never hurt anybody. And I managed to cross German Street. Ah, my bold plan was working.

Only it wasn’t working very well, because as German Street sloped slightly upward as it does, I realized I was in no shape to run up a hill like the one to HCCC. The hill by Valley Health, perhaps I could manage. Then I got to the gate to the unknown park. I think it is called Brookfield Park, but as it is not clearly labeled, I persist in referring to it as the unknown park (not capitalized). The ground sloped up as I ran in. It was an effort. A good enough hill for a Monday

I have not run through this park in over a year. I wondered what effects of flooding remained. It is not a very extensive park. A road runs up into it and by a couple of large sports fields. I’ve seen soccer games going on as I’ve run by, and once I heard a bagpiper practicing up in some trees. Further down the road, across a footbridge there is a picnic pavilion and some grills. Beyond that is a path that leads to the back road to the college. In August the DARE 5K goes from the college down that path, in the opposite direction to what I was running today.

I had it in mind to run on that path, if it was still intact. Of course, I would not do anything stupid. If it was half collapsed, I would not run that way. Then I saw that the footbridge was blocked on both ends with some chain link fencing, a stern-looking CLOSED sign on the end near me. So much for that plan.

There are probably a lot of bugs near all those trees anyways, I thought. I ran to the end of the road I was on and turned around. My legs were not happy with me, but they did not collapse under me, which I found encouraging.

Back onto the village streets, a sprint across German as soon as I had a chance. How long was I going to run for? 29 minutes, the same as I had done Saturday? 32, to increase by 10 percent as I had planned to do Sunday? Neither seemed within the realm of possibility. I thought, it’s hot, it’s humid, I worked all day. I am out here running AT ALL. This is good.

It seemed to take a very long time to get back to my street. When I was almost there, I passed a neighbor sitting on her porch. Her dogs greeted me with barks.

“It’s too hot to jog!” she said.

“I know!” I answered. “But I gotta do it!”

My run ended up being 28 minutes, which I thought was pretty OK. Tabby walked around the block with me for my cool-down. A breeze finally started blowing as we were almost home. Nice. A shower felt even nicer. And it will also feel nice to hit “Publish,” and know I’ve made another post.