It is one week before the Boilermaker 15K. I hope all the flooding in Utica does not t put a — wait for it — damper on the proceedings (you must see that I had to make that pun). I felt that I had to go for a good, long, challenging run this morning, especially since yesterday’s run was cut short. Accordingly, I got dressed for it as soon as I got out of bed about 6 a.m. I drank water as I got ready, stretched out a little (which I often neglect to do), and set out.
I expected a lot of mud so had put on an older pair of running shoes. It was mostly in the gutters but parts of the sidewalk were covered and in places the whole road was awash. I was running with a bottle of water in my hand but tried not to sip too fast and get nauseous. It was not as warm and muggy as it was on Friday, but neither was the air fresh and clear. I was grateful for the occasional breeze.
I headed for my go-to hill, the one up to Herkimer College (or HCCC as I used to call it) (pronounced “H-triple-C,” although real natives say it “H-trip”). I figured there would be less mud as I ran up. There was plenty near the bottom of the hill. I was surprised to run into more as I went up. The road wasn’t coated, but there were a couple of places where a swath of stones and gravel angled across, even close to the top. I maneuvered around these without too much problem. Lack of traffic helped.
As I ran across the campus, I felt quite solitary. I thought I would at least see Campus Security making the rounds, but no. I did not run into any problems, though, so that was good. As I was running up the steepest part of the hill, I reflected sadly that it was not becoming easier to run hills; merely, I was practicing my ability to keep going even when it sucks. When the upslope became a more reasonable angle, it stopped sucking, so I felt better about things. I ran all the way up, around the athletic fields, and down Reservoir Road. I would have liked to run on the Nature Trail but feared it would be too muddy after yesterday’s rains.
The back road down was not as bad as I had feared. That road is being worked on so parts are not as well-paved as one would like. There is one area where there are plants growing up through the gravel. I kind of admire the plants’ perseverance. Life, as they say, will find a way. One little plant is even growing out of a crack in the pavement. I can almost hear it saying, “Hey, guys, look at me! I’m over here!” I angled around the plant as well as some stones and mud. I changed my mind a few times about which way to run, based on which choice was less muddy, but I got pretty dirty anyways.
I was in the latter portion of my run when I stopped by the spring to re-fill my water bottle. The stones and board surrounding the spring had moved somewhat but I managed to get close enough with little problem. Then I headed home, debating on if my run would be exactly an hour or a little longer. Longer won. Then I stopped to chat with a couple of neighbors on my cool-down walk, so I was gone long enough to make Steven wonder a little. He had expected me to run for exactly an hour, and he had forgotten about my cool-down walk.
I felt pretty damn good about myself and more confident about running the Boilermaker 15K in a week. I still feel I haven’t run enough, but there isn’t anything I can do about that now. I guess now is the time to begin feeling nervous about where I’m going to park and how early I ought to get there and will I be able to find my way through the crowd after the race to get my beer. Oh, swell, now this is turning into Wrist to Forehead Sunday!