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Teeny Tiny Steps

It was another crappy day weather-wise in the Mohawk Valley.  We were relieved that Steven did not work till 11:30 this morning.  I should have taken some pictures when the sun was still up, but I can’t think of everything.  I did walk to the post office, since the mailman (yes, ours is a man) did not see the post cards and letter I had attached to our mailbox, so I will attempt a short pedestrian post.

Sidewalks were not consistently plowed, and I was soon out on the road, left side facing traffic, OF COURSE.  There was glare ice under the snow, so I walked very slowly, taking teeny-tiny steps.  Earlier I had seen on Facebook a post from Rock City Runners asking if anybody was braving the weather to run.  A few were.  I, alas, was not.  As my feet slipped out from under me, I realized this was the right decision.  If I had been running, I would not have remained upright.

A neighbor stopped at a stop sign offered me a ride, but I told her I was good.

“I need the exercise,” I said, which was quite true.

“You’re a brave woman!”

I was flattered.  The paths through Meyers Park were not plowed, what a surprise, but the road around it was.  I could see the ice shining at points.  I laughed at myself for the teeny-tiny steps I was taking.  I had been singing “I Will Survive” while Steven and I had shoveled the driveway (aided by a kind neighbor with a snow-blower, by the way).  I kept singing it, teeny-tiny stepping in time to the music.  It did my heart good to sing about being a strong woman, although I assure you my husband has NOT tried to break me with good-bye.

I purchased more post-card stamps after I mailed my stuff, enjoying a brief chat with the fellow behind the counter.  I did not realize or had forgotten that post-card stamps are now Forever, like first-class, so I felt happy to purchase a hundred.  Lots of postcards!

I walked up Main Street to get home.  I confess, I did not enjoy my walk as much a I usually do, because of the ice.  However, I did not land on my ass.  I’ll call that a win. Maybe I can start running again soon. Happy Saturday, everyone.

 

Don We Now Our Running Apparel

I felt glorious as I got dressed to go running this morning.  Yes, “glorious” is the exact word that entered my head as I dug out the running clothes I have not had on since much earlier this month.  I was excited to go running, and hoped to write a Running Commentary blog post (we’ll see how that goes).

Yesterday we had terrible freezing rain.  I left the house very few times for specific reasons:  to help Steven scrape ice off his vehicle, to take my dog for a business meeting, and to decide NOT to scrape ice off my vehicle and drive anywhere.  I thought today was going to be better.  Listening to Jill Reale on WKTV News this morning, I found it was going to start out warm(ish) then get colder as we go on. Obviously there was no time to waste.

The sun was not all the way up when I started.  I donned my reflective vest, because I intended to run in the road, which had a decent shot at not being ice covered.  Really, as I started down my road, narrating in my head as I like to do, I thought, “I donned my reflective vest…”  Then I chuckled at myself for using an old timey word like that.  Then “Deck the Halls” played in my head for the rest of the run. It is not a bad tune to run to.  I thought of making up new words to it (another hobby of mine), but all I came up with was “heedless of the tacky pleather”  (you know, like “heedless of the wind and weather”) (I don’t expect everybody to know all the verses).

Fortunately there was not much traffic, since the side of the road had frozen and semi-frozen puddles.  The busiest street I ran on was German.  I ran all the way to the end, rounded the corner and ran down Church Street to Main.  Main Street in Herkimer is sometimes busy, sometimes not so much.  It was a busy moment, which was bad for me, since I had to cross the street to continue left-side-facing-traffic, which I am quite the stickler for.  Then I noticed that the sidewalk was almost completely clear.  Score!

I did not run all the way down Main, but cut through the little park by Basloe Library (open normal hours today, yay!), then crossed Pleasant Street.  This way I could go by the “Do Not Enter” sign on Bellinger Avenue.  I so enjoy entering where it says not to.  I crossed my own street to run up Henry.  I had thought to run a mere 20 minutes, because it had been so long since running last.  Then I thought, it didn’t matter if I ran too long and got achey legs, because my legs also ache from not running.  As I like to say, pick your pain.

I ended up running 23 minutes then walked 11 for my cool-down.  It was a wonderful run.  Every step felt good and the cool-down walk felt awesome!  I thought, “I have found the secret to happiness!”  I’m damned if I can remember why I stopped running.  I hope to not be so silly again.

 

Back on the Road

I got up this morning with no plans at all, except for the already executed plan to sleep in.  We made it to almost 6:30, and that felt good.  We had been up a few hours.  I had eaten breakfast, written post cards and noodled around on Facebook for a while when I suddenly made the decision to go running.

The decision came about because my sister, Victoria, commented that I would probably like yoga because of the spiritual aspect of it as well as the “just you” time, although she supposed running did that for me “but with fewer distractions”.  I commented back that running was ALL about distractions.  A drill sergeant in Army Basic Training told me that was the secret to running: you just kept finding things to distract yourself from how much it sucked (I further learned that the other secret was to keep going despite the suckiness, but right now we’re talking about distractions).

Isn’t it funny how one minute you’re talking about how much a thing sucks and the next minute you’re hustling up the stairs to get properly dressed and do it.  The fact is that there are great periods of time during which running does not suck.  In fact, it is pretty enjoyable.  I hoped for one of those periods today.

One reason for my hope is that it was warmer than it has been.  It was almost warm enough for shorts and short-sleeves, although I set a lower temperature for that outfit than many others.  I went with leggings and long-sleeves because it was borderline and I have not been running outdoors.  I still wore my toque. I do like my toque.

Before I left the driveway I was questioning the wisdom of my decision.  Quite icy.  The sidewalks did not look much better.  I had taken the precaution of wearing an older pair of sneakers, because I was certain there would be puddles.  It turns out things were still pretty frozen.  It was only about 9:20 a.m.  No matter, I was outside in my toque.  I was running.

I took the nearly unprecedented step (get it, running, step?) of running in the road.  I’ve addressed this issue before. I do not like running in the road myself and I do not approve of it in others (yes, yes, I know, my approval is not necessary for anybody, so you needn’t get all hoity-toity and self-justifying).  At least I was on the left side facing traffic.  Perhaps traffic would not be too harsh at 9:20 on a Saturday morning.

And it wasn’t too bad, even on German Street.  I ran all the way down to the traffic light next to the high school.  I had originally had some thought of running up the hill by Valley Health and into the residential area beyond (what I call the suburbs).  After all, there were no sidewalks in that area, so I did not have to feel self-conscious about breaking my own rule.  Then I decided I would did not want to take such a long run.  After all, I am easing back into it.  The only runs I have taken in the past few weeks have been in place on the mini-tramp.

I was happy to get off German and into the quieter streets.  Here traffic was light enough that I could run closer to the center of the road, which was the place where I was least likely to encounter any ice.  It was kind of annoying when a car would be coming and I would have to get over to the edge of the road where there would be ice, a puddle, or an icy puddle.  However, I did not meet with any mishaps.

At a few points I noticed stretches of sidewalk that were perfectly clear.  I felt a little bad about that.  I really do prefer to run on the sidewalk.  Then again, it seemed silly to switch back and forth.  Then again, a little detour often burns more calories.  I saw a clearish patch and ran up a driveway to the sidewalk.  So far so good.  Then my foot slipped and I said, “To hell with that,” and got back on the road.

It was not a super long run, but I felt it was long enough to count as a run.  I also took a cool-down walk almost all the way around the block.  As I walked, I felt elated.  I did not think I had run hard enough or long enough to get any of those endorphins I keep hearing about, but a joyous voice in my head declared, “This was a GOOD idea!”  As I cut through the parking lot of the apartment building on the end of my street (remember, I said almost all the way around the block), I realized that running in the road had been a good idea too.  If I had tried even a shuffley jog there I would have landed on my tuckus or a less padded  part.

I felt pretty bad-ass after my run.  I felt, as I often do, “Yeah, I’m back.”  I hope I stay back this time.  For me, it’s a good idea to keep running.

 

Maybe I Shoulda Wussed

I know “shoulda” is not a word. For that matter, neither is “wussed.” What do you people want from me? I’m just a silly blogger who is also in a play. I thought to myself after work, “Don’t have a Wuss-out Wednesday. Take your dog for a walk and write about that.” Yes, sometimes I talk to myself as if I was a separate person. It works for me.

Tabby was beyond excited when I picked up her harness and she realized we were going for a walk. We have not been out in days, because it has been too cold. Yesterday it was snowing as well. It didn’t snow much, so you local readers who are currently saying, “Waaaait a minute!” perhaps missed it. It happened to snow in the brief window of opportunity I had to decide to walk. Also, I’ve been fighting some bugaboo. Why walk in the cold and aggravate a sinus headache?

Today was supposed to be marginally warmer than previous days. High of 21, I think. Well, 21 is in the 20s. I can walk my dog in the 20s. I can even go running in the 20s, but I’ll save that for a day I don’t have rehearsal. I forgot my scarf but had coat, hat, mittens. I still haven’t located Tabby’s coat, but she has her natural fur coat. We wouldn’t take a long walk.

I hadn’t gotten to the end of the driveway when I was questioning the wisdom of walking at all. Ice, ice, ice. Well, perhaps it was just the driveway. After all, we have dripping eaves over the driveway. The sidewalks would be better. Tabby pulled me across the street. Either side was fine with me. The sidewalk plow had done its work.

So intent was I on my walking plan that I had not bothered to change out of my steel-toed work shoes. I soon made the observation that “non-slip soles” must refer to factory floors not icy sidewalks. Yikes! I walked slowly. Tabby was eagerly trotting but nicely moderated her pace to accommodate me. When she stopped to sniff we were both happy.

I have to confess the walk was not the most pleasant I have taken. I did observe the beautifully clear blue sky when Tabby was sniffing once but other than that I mostly kept my eyes on the sidewalk watching for glare ice and poop left behind by inconsiderate dog owners (at least I think it was dog poop; I shall not indulge in further speculation). Soon I realized my face was quite cold. Well, a scarf does not always fix that, I comforted myself. Then again, the scarf would have kept the wind off the back of my neck. However I refused to repine but concentrated on remaining upright.

It was a struggle. When we went through Meyers Park I gave up on the path and plowed through the snow alongside. Many footprints showed I was not the first to do so. It was a great deal more effort, but I felt safer. Tabby stayed on the path, where she found herself once modifying her pace to accommodate me. After the park I saw a lovely stretch of bare sidewalk and almost wiped out getting to it.

After several other scares we made it home. I confess, there were times when only Tabby’s pulling on the leash kept me upright. Thank goodness I don’t have a smaller dog; we may have both gone flying. So now I am left with the question: was this any better than a post of me dithering about how I can’t write a post when I’m in a play? It doesn’t matter. This is today’s post. Now I must get ready for rehearsal.

And My Feet Are Wet, Too

I dare to make Running Commentary posts two days in a row (I bet you thought I was going to say “two days running”), because today’s run was different. And not in a good way.

The weather report called for falling temperatures as the day wore on. Therefore, I thought an early run would be a good idea. Then too there is the get-it-out-of-the-way-before-I-talk-myself-out-of-it aspect of an early run. My thermostat said the temperature was 36. A perfectly respectable temperature to run in.

I put on a pair of leggings and searched out one of my long-sleeved ARMY t-shirts. It was grey and gloomy out, and these shirts have a reflective emblem on the back. Safety first. I decided to go without hooded sweatshirt and mittens but wore my toque. Tabby sulked on the couch, but I knew all would be forgiven later when I took her with me on my cool-down walk.

I quickly made the discover that four degrees above freezing is really not that many. One effect that became immediately apparent was melt-then-freeze-again. Those sidewalks were icy. I figured my middle-aged shuffle would help me here, and the sidewalks couldn’t all be icy. Could they? They could not. For one thing, stretches that had never been shoveled were still covered with snow. God bless the snow!

Yesterday’s run had gone so well, I turned left down German Street with the intention of running up the hill by Valley Health. Of course my real goal is to run the hill up to Herkimer County Community College again, but one must start somewhere, especially after a long layoff.

It was not much fun searching for non-icy patches to run on. I reflected that it’s always something: during the summer months I seek out patches of shade. Ah summer, it won’t be here any time soon, but it will get here.

Going up the hill on icy sidewalks, I discovered, was even less fun. Progress was slow, but I didn’t slip and fall all the way back to the bottom, so that was all right. How could I have forgotten that the upslope continues around the corner?

Then I thought about the hill back down and got a little worried. That could be even more dangerous than the way up. Luckily, that sidewalk is bordered by grass. God bless grass! I liked the sound of the frozen blades crunching. It was the sound of me not falling on my ass.

I almost took a header running into the Herkimer High School parking lot so got back on some grass for as long as it lasted. By the time I got over the little footbridge, I had decided to just head back home by the nearest route. This wasn’t fun. Don’t shake your finger at me and tell me work-outs are not supposed to be fun! They are too! I go to work forty hours a week if I want to not have fun! (actually, my job is kind of fun, but I don’t blog about work)

Oh, it seemed a long way home. My legs were tense, my body was tense. I ran on snow when I could find it, which was more effortful, but I didn’t feel the least bit pleased with myself for making the effort. I was tired. Would I ever make it home? I told myself I could stop and walk if I wanted to, but that would have taken longer.

I ran for longer than I had expected to when I decided to go straight home, probably because of the stiffness and snow. When I reached the end of my driveway I had gone just over 24 minutes. I like to stop on a full minute, so I thought I would run up and down the driveway for 50 or so seconds. Then I hit a patch of ice, went into a lunge, and stopped running. 24 minutes was good enough for me.

Tabby was indeed happy to walk my cool-down with me. I felt ill-used. I usually enjoy running. Then again, it is Wrist to Forehead Sunday. I guess there is nothing for it but to persevere till Monday.