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Second Verse, Not Same As The First

So I ended yesterday’s post declaring it was a two-parter (even though my computer seems to think “parter” is not a word).  Additionally, I read in yesterday’s or Thursday’s paper (I forget which) that beginning a sentence with “So” is one of those overused verbal things that some academic group loathes and despises.  Ha ha, I like it and I’m using it.

Where was I?

Ah yes, on my way up the hill to Herkimer College, otherwise known in this space as HCCC.  In yesterday’s final paragraph I intimated that there was some suspense as to whether I made it to the top.  According to earlier paragraphs (and I believe earlier blog posts), there is not much suspense once I start up a hill.  I rarely wimp out halfway and turn around.  However, looking at the first paragraph, I realize there was in fact no suspense.  I pretty much said I set out to do something and I did it.

Nevertheless, you have tuned in for part two and I shall write it.  If I can remember it.

I debated back and forth in my head as I approached the hill, but I pretty much knew I would do it. And, sure enough, up I went.  It seemed to take a long time.  When I was partway up, I decided to turn around and see how far I had come.  I thought it would help.  It did not, and I felt a little dizzy from turning around.  I did mention that I had a raging headache, didn’t I?

When I made it to the top I felt relieved.  I did it.  Sometimes when I make it to the top of that hill I feel a triumphant desire to walk around with my fists in the air while somebody sings, “We Are the Champions.”  Yesterday I felt merely relief.  I remembered to look to my right to see the panoramic view of the Herkimer and the other mountains.  Most of it was shrouded in fog.  That was OK.  I knew where I was.

I took the earliest turn to get to the back road back to Herkimer.  It is a less steep, less traveled road.  There were cones across it, blocking traffic.  Surely they meant vehicular traffic.  One mildly overweight middle-aged runner would be OK (and I’ll call you Shirley if I want to).  When I was running up the hill I noticed they had repaved it.  No doubt they had repaved this road or sections thereof.

I always feel a slight amount of trepidation when I run past cones.  Perhaps they are there for a better reason than I can see, and I am behaving in an inexcusably foolhardy fashion.  As I said, this was not a well-traveled road.  Houses were further down, out of earshot.  No one would hear me if I called for help.  Still, I could crawl to safety. Couldn’t I? I pictured the road giving way underneath me.  I would remain there, trapped, while the snow continued to fall.  Eventually I would be a frozen statue, like what happened to Jack Nicholson in The Shining (I hated that movie).

That road seemed to take a long time, too, but at least it was downhill.  At last I was back in the residential area.   Not much longer now till I was home.  I would share my triumph on Facebook.  I would write a blog post about it.  I would take a hot shower with lots of soap.

As it turns out, I got lots of Likes on my Facebook status and two blog posts out of it.  I had a headache for the rest of the day, but that was probably going to happen anyways.  Looking at my “related posts” that popped up at the bottom of my post, I see that I do so spend a lot of time here complaining about my headaches.  Sorry about that.  I’m afraid I can’t promise much for tomorrow, though. After all, it will be Wrist to Forehead Sunday.


Early Morning Accomplishment

Steven had an early shift on Monday, so I seized the opportunity for an early run. I was, of course, less enamored of the idea when it was time to actually get out of bed at 3:30 in the morning, but one must put up with these things.

It was a lovely temperature for a run. I later found out Monday promised to be the hottest day of the week with a high of 85. I congratulated myself on getting my run out of the way before the heat of the day.

I bypassed the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC). For anyone just tuning in, that is the killer hill featured on the DARE 5K this Saturday, for which I am registered (I believe I have mentioned it a few times, but you never know who missed it). I intend to run the hill one or two more times before Saturday, but I prefer to do it during daylight hours. Yes, I ran it before dawn last Saturday, but that day the sky was lightening even as I reached the top of the hill. Monday’s run was a full hour earlier, plus I had a whole day of work to get through.

I ran up the hill by Valley Health instead. I like to run by Valley Health on these early early runs. I find it comforting to think of the people on the night shift going about their business. At least there are lights on.

The hill turned out to require a bit of effort from me. In fact, the run started out to be not much fun at all. My legs were complaining. I had not run two days in a row in a few weeks and this was my third day in a row. I told myself that after feeling wonderful on Saturday’s and Sunday’s runs I was due to feel a little miserable. Miserable is an exaggeration anyways. In fact, I felt like I pretty much expect to feel on a Monday.

Things got better as I continued to run. My legs settled into it and stopped complaining. My breathing was fine. In short, I could rock this. If only I could see a few lights on so I would not feel so alone, I thought, my life would be perfect. I know, another exaggeration but since this one’s on the positive side, let’s let it slide.

I saw a few lights on, but I had to debate with myself: was it on because somebody was up or had it been left on all night for bathroom navigation purposes? Sometimes you just can’t tell. At one point I smelled skunk. Yikes! Well, a skunk was unlikely to bother me if I left him alone, right? I kept an eye out to avoid startling the stinker if I did encounter him.

As usual my legs were pretty happy with me on my cool-down walk. Tabby was happy with me too, because I let her stop and sniff plenty. I needed the pauses to drink water. I felt pretty happy with the run too. There’s nothing like accomplishing something first thing on a Monday.

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.

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.