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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!

 

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Sweat Gets In Your Eyes

You know, like that blues song, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”?  I often think of that when I run so decided to use it as a title for today’s Running Commentary post.

I ran five days in a row then took yesterday off. I was disinclined to run this morning but knew it would be a good idea.  For one reason,  my depression has been kicking my butt lately.  I just feel so sad and down!  Of course, there are many reasons for sadness, in the world and in my life, but sometimes what I feel is is out of proportion.  But one must not give way to despair.  Exercise is a potent antidepressant.  I got myself ready and went.

One way I got myself out the door was to plan a short, easy run.  Not very far, not very fast, I thought.  This would be great.

And it wasn’t bad.  My legs are getting into pretty good shape; they pump right along with few or no complaints.   I stuck to my plan for a 25 minute run, although I actually ran for 26.  Bonus points!  My mood was at its best when I paused to pet a nice dog.

As I walked my cool-down,  a lady came up behind me, walking at a brisk pace, obviously for exercise.  I got out of the way.

“You’re faster than me,” I said.  “I ran, this is my cool-down.”

When she said she didn’t run, I remarked that she was obviously doing something right, because she looked terrific.  She returned the compliment but went on to say she didn’t believe in running.

“It’s bad for your feet, your knees and your back.”

“I know,” I said, “but I love it.”

She said she didn’t understand that at all but told me to keep up the good work.

“You too,” I said, as she handily out-paced me.  I continued my cool-down walk,  blinking against the sweat in my eyes.

The run did improve my mood, as does getting a blog post published this early in the day.  Will I publish again and be one less post behind?  A little uncertainty adds interest to my day.

 

I Feel Like a Winner

I haven’t done a Saturday Running Commentary post in a while (yes, I’m too lazy to go back and check; that run wore me out!).  Additionally,  today’s was a run I don’t mind revisiting, at least briefly (yes yes, my Running Commentary posts often run long, but they don’t always) (did you see what I did there? “run long”? Well, I liked it).

Yesterday’s run equalled my last longest time, so I thought I might do a shorter run today, then increase by the recommended ten percent tomorrow.  I could decide as I went.  I carried a bottle of water with me, reminding myself not to drink too much too fast.  Then I reflected that the run ought to be a long one, since I was bringing water.  You see how I talk myself into these things.

I decided to run up the hill by Valley Health then on into the residential area I call the Suburbs.  There are some pretty good hills in that area, and I can easily go by the spring to refill my water bottle on my way back home.

Tiny sips, I reminded myself, and not too often.  This would be fine.  Soon I had made it up the hill by Valley Health. That did not feel so fine.  I called a greeting to two ladies going to work (I surmised by their scrubs).  They waved and one said, “Get that work-out done!” in an encouraging tone of voice.

I ran further into the Suburbs than I have on my shorter runs.  Here was a hill!  As I recalled, it was a long hill.  Just keep going, I told myself. I resisted the urge to turn left and not go all the way up the hill.  Then I saw that I was no nearly as close to the top as I thought I was. Oh no!

There was the right-hand turn which was where I would come out if I kept going straight.  The road goes down then up.  So  I could turn right and go down, then up, then down,  or I could go straight and go up, then down, then up.  I turned right.  I felt I HAD to go downhill at least for a bit.

Bad move, I realized.  This made for a lot longer distance going up.  The snarky voice in my head suggested I take a life lesson about choosing short-term gratification and ending up with longer-term effort.  Then I told the snarky voice to shut up.  It is a win/win situation, I decided.  Either I enjoy an easier run or I enjoy the benefits of a more difficult run.  Additionally,  I intend to run in this area all summer.  I have plenty of chances to run the other way.

Keeping an eye on the time, I ran toward the spring.  I finished the bottle just as I got to it.  By virtue of going a little ways past my house, I increased my run time by 10 percent.  Now THAT is a win/win situation.  Or do I only win once?  Discuss amongst yourselves.

 

An Unexpectedly Good Run

I went for a long run this morning and am determined to make a Running Commentary post.  First,  as often happens, I decided I wasn’t going to run.  It was humid, it was going to rain, etc, etc.  Then I went.

I turned right at the end of my driveway instead of going towards German Street as I usually do, just for something different.   I did not intend to run for long; I often have problems breathing when it’s humid.  Besides, it was probably going to rain.

Right away it felt pretty good to run.  Maybe I could rock this after all.  Maybe run a hill, only that meant changing directions, because there aren’t many hills in Herkimer.  Should I or should I not make a detour through Meyer’s Park?   The sight of two dogs decided me.

“Can I pet your dogs?”  I always ask first, although one dog was already approaching me.

“One’s friendly,  one’s not,”  their person said.  I remembered those dogs; I petted the friendly one once before.

Feeling happy, because I love to pet a nice dog, I continued into the park, taking the V back to Park Avenue and heading towards Caroline Street.  I had decided to run up the hill by Valley Health. It took me a while to get there (YES, I run slow, I thought you knew that about me), and I began to wonder how long my run would end up being.  Could I even go for 40 minutes, which was my last longest time?  Extravagant thought!   Just keep running.

The hill wasn’t much fun but I made it to the top and kept going on into the residential area up there.  I kept talking myself into going a little further.   After all, it wasn’t raining yet.  I even went up a minor upgrade, although I avoided a couple more challenging hills.

I stopped at the spring for a quick drink, after some arguments with myself as to whether or not I deserved it.  Who am I to judge these things anyways?  Soon I was back on German Street ,  headed for home.  As I reached Caroline, I saw two friendly dogs I have encountered before, and they were headed in my direction!

“Good morning!” I said. “I’ve petted these dogs before!”

“Yes, we’ve met before, ” the nice young man said, as the dogs jumped at me as if they remembered too.

I made it to 40 minutes by virtue of going around the block of Henry and Bellinger streets.  On Church Street, I saw Chico and Bear, two neighborhood pooches, with their person.  I happily crossed the street to pet them and exchange a few words with their Mom.

As I ran up Bellinger I greeted a man standing in front of his house.

“That’ll make you healthy,” he said.

“Either that or it’ll kill me, ” I answered.

Obviously it didn’t kill me.  Not yet, anyways, and I felt pretty darn good walking my cool-down.  As I make this blog post, the rain is pouring down, so I guess I timed it right.  Time to get on with the rest of my day!

 

Let’s Hear It For Perseverance!

I woke up this morning saying, “I don’t want to run.  I’m not going to run.”  I am happy to report that I ran anyways. Now I shall attempt a Saturday Running Commentary post.

One good reason to run was that it was not raining.  Yesterday I thought I was getting out between showers, but it did not work out for me, either when I ran or later when I walked to the post office and Historical Society. Also, today was not windy and cold, altogether a much better day.

Unfortunately,  to begin with, it was not a better run.  My legs felt tired, my whole body felt tired.  I figured I would feel better as I went on, so I,  you know, went on.  I felt I should run a hill so decided to go out Main Street.  There are two chances to turn right and go back down the hill before you have to run all the way out Highland Boulevard (I may have that street name wrong; I haven’t run it yet this year).  I took the second right last time I ran it and thought to do the same today.

As I started up the hill, I did not feel happy.  I almost took the first turn but persevered to the second.  For one reason, my plan was to run for 36 minutes, my last longest time, then up it by the recommended ten percent on Sunday.  I made a long diagonal on the turn.  That was a little steeper but less time running uphill. Ugh.  Am I getting any better at running,  I wondered.

I reminded myself that sometimes my runs did not start to feel good before I had been at it for at least 20 minutes.  I looked at my watch.  Damn.

Fortunately, perseverance sometimes pays off.  My first reward was to pause VERY briefly and smell some peonies.  I had a few chances to do that.  Toward the end of the run, I got to pet a nice dog. And as I neared the 20 minute mark, I did start to feel better.

By the end of the run, I felt perfectly happy about going for 36 minutes.  It was no problem at all to keep going!  I could rock this!  I decided that long runs are the Way to Go (yes, yes, 36 minutes is a short jog for some of you; let me enjoy my little triumph in peace).

I felt glorious walking my cool-down.  Yes “glorious” was the exact word that repeated itself in my head.  I love running.  I hope it doesn’t rain too hard for me to run again tomorrow.

 

Fourth Time the Charm?

I am hoping some of the readers of Monday’s post are curious to know if I once again found that running four days in a row is the Way to Go. I’m afraid I’m still on the fence, but I ran and thought I’d make a Running Commentary post.

The weather reports said it was cooler out today, you’ll need a jacket.  I didn’t go that far, but I did put a sweatshirt on my deck to wear on my cool-down walk if needed, and I made sure to wear a headband to cover my ears.

Right away it did not feel terrific. My legs were not happy and my knees hurt.  What the hell, body? I thought.  However, as long as I had gotten that far, I would continue.   I could make it a short run.  You can do those things when you run a few days in a row.

Kids were walking to school.  Maybe I’ll try leaving earlier next time.  We don’t usually  get in each other’s way, but I feel a little self-conscious,  especially when I am headed in the same direction as them and it takes me forever to catch up. I saw a young woman cross German Street, which was what I wanted to do, since I had it in my head to run up the hill by Valley Health.

My good time to cross made me practically run into her.  She looked amused (I probably do look comical) and wished me a good morning.  As I ran on, I heard behind me a car stop and offer the woman a ride.  From her grateful “Yes, please,” I hypothesized that she was headed up the hill to Herkimer College. I may be running that hill myself later this week.

For today,  however, I contented myself with the smaller hill.  It was enough of an effort at the time.  I continued on into the residential area, avoiding the hills and working my way back in the direction I came from.

As I went, it became not a bad run.  I don’t think I got a dose of endorphins,  but I did feel some of the antidepressant effects of exercise.  My legs settled into things, even my knees,  and my breathing felt OK.

I ended up running for 25 minutes.  As I started my cool-down walk,  I said good morning to a neighbor sitting on her front stoop.

“Good morning,” she answered.  “Do you feel good after your run?”

“I sure do,” I said.  “And the best part is the walk around the block after.”

I did feel good.  I wonder how running five days in a row would feel.  Maybe I’ll see how many days I can go.  As always,  I hope you’ll stay tuned.

 

A Run to Start my Day

How about a Saturday Running Commentary to start the day?  Well, technically it does not start my day, because I had to run, then I showered and did a couple more chores… but you know what I mean (didn’t call you Shirley that time).

Full disclosure:  I had meant to be running in Liverpool this morning, from my sister Diane’s house.  But I did not have my act together to get packed and make the drive last night.  Did I mention that in last night’s post?  I’m too lazy to go back and check.  Uh, I mean I am too pressed for time.  Yeah, let’s go with the second one.

In a rare move for me, I got dressed and out running before coffee and a chance to change my mind.  I put on shorts and short sleeves before even checking the temperature.  It was 51 F, so that was OK (45 is my arbitrary and sometimes ignored cut-off for long sleeves and leggings).  It was foggy out, or “froggy” as my husband, Steven likes to call it.  He likes frogs.  I wished I was up to running up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly known as HCCC), to get a really good view of it.  Then again, the view from up there is prettier without the fog, and I am NOT up to running that hill (at least, I might make it up out of sheer stubbornness, but I sure wouldn’t feel good afterwards).  Anyways, I could see plenty of fog just looking down the street.

I turned right onto German Street.  The air felt cool on my ears and hands, but I felt secure in my wardrobe choices.  I crossed Main Street, since there was not much traffic that early, and decided to turn down the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal.  I want to walk down it with my great-nephew Sheppie sometime, because somebody painted places with certain steps:  march, jump, crab-crawl.  We used to call it crab-walk in my younger days.  It was my favorite, but I am not sure I would encourage anybody to do it on blacktop.  We used to do it in the grass.

My previous longest run was 27 minutes last Sunday (in this latest bout of getting back into running).  My runs during the week were shorter, after working all day.  Since I am not currently building up for a specific race, I decided not to worry if this was a short run.  For one reason, I was getting thirsty.  That is one advantage of pausing for coffee: I also drink water.  I just kept encouraging myself to keep going, bearing in mind that a nice bottle of water awaited me at my house.

The run ended up lasting 28 minutes. Woohoo!  I never got any of those endorphins, which quite frankly I could have used.  However, as usual, I felt good that I ran.  And now I feel good that I made a blog post.  On with the weekend!