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Remembering Their Sacrifices

In honor of Memorial Day, I offer a few pictures of memorials in Herkimer, NY.

As it says, freedom is not free.

In past Memorial Days, I have run up the hill to Herkimer College to this little area.  It is located right outside Wehrun Stadium.

Then I backed up and took a shot of the rock and tree.

A view of the park from the road.

I like that they list the names.

Another view, to give as idea of the size.

I appreciate seeing all the names.  Each soldier has a story of why he was there, of loved ones left behind, and of all the years unlived.  To me, it is all about people.

One more shot as I left.

As I was driving through town to the other memorial I knew of, I saw one I had never noticed before.  At least,  I remember seeing all the flags, but had not really thought about why they were there.  I quickly found a parking spot and went for a closer look.

Right on Mohawk Street, a nice little spot.

And a little closer view.

And here is the stone.

I sat on the bench and took one more picture.

Next I went to a memorial I drive by many days after work, as well as on days off when I am out adventuring (when I could go out adventuring).  It is where Herkimer meets Mohawk.  I pulled into Moves Ambulance Services.

Yes, we will remember.

A full view.

Other villages have memorial parks, too.  I must visit them for future blog posts.  In the meantime, to all our fallen soldiers and their loved ones, I offer a slow salute.

 

Not Much of a Run, Not Much of a Post, Happy Memorial Day

I ran this morning, wearing my ARMY t-shirt so I could run in honor of our fallen veterans.  I thought I might make a blog post about it. Just now I thought I couldn’t,  but let’s give it a try.

I knew it was warm.  For one reason, I didn’t get out till 7 a.m.  However,  that meant I had some coffee before running.   That sometimes helps.  It helped today.

In previous runs to honor fallen soldiers,  I ran up to the Veterans Memorial at Herkimer College.   I was not up to that today.  Still, I thought I should make an extra effort.  I decided the hill by Valley Health would suffice.  I’m sure a greater effort would have been a greater tribute,  but one does what one can.

I actually felt it was a pretty good run.   I went for 30 minutes,  which was up ten percent  from last week (full disclosure: I ran for 30 minutes yesterday).  I stopped and petted two nice dogs.

While we’re being honest (referencing that full disclosure in the previous parenthetical comment)  it is becoming evening and I have been drinking since before noon.  In my defense,  I put in great efforts in yard work.  I don’t know that I achieved great results,  but is that really the important thing?

Is not the important thing that I have made a blog post on the third day of a three day weekend?   It has not been a Monstrous Monday and it hasn’t been a Running Commentary post.   But it has been a post.

You can judge me if you are so inclined.   As always,  I try for a better post tomorrow.   I hope you are all having a delightful Memorial Day weekend.

 

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.

 

Cluttering Up the Blogosphere

I am experiencing a definite Writer’s Block this afternoon.  It is Memorial Day.  I went for a run this morning during which I had some definite thoughts about what I would write in a blog post today.  Now I feel that (a) I am not going to say it right if I try and (b) it probably wasn’t that good of a thing to write about anyways.   But isn’t this always the way with me?  I have nothing wise or profound to say.  I’ll only clutter up the blogosphere.

Now that I say that I begin to have a complete crisis of confidence and think that clutter up the blogosphere is all I do anyways.    Then I say to myself, “Oh, quit fishing for compliments.”  That is kind of what we are doing when we share our crises of confidence.  We seek positive re-enforcement.  Sometimes a voice outside oneself is easier to believe, especially when it is something positive.

Oh dear, this is not the post I started out to write.  I only wanted one of my usual Why I Can’t Write a Post Today posts.  I didn’t mean to get into any of these sticky self-esteem issues.  I’ll stop that right now.  The fact that I hit Publish every day argues that I have some modicum of self-confidence at least.  As for cluttering up the blogosphere (you know, I really like that phrase), I remind myself that there is a lot of room on the internet.  There is room for profundity and there is room for foolishness.  As I always say, go with your strengths.

 

Oh Yeah, And I Wore Blue

I am making my post late in the day on Memorial Day (although my page, for reasons best known to itself, says it is tomorrow already).  Never mind why-all I did not post earlier.  I wrote a post in my head as I went for a run.  I will attempt to recreate it now.

 

I had already intended to run every day of my three day weekend.  Then a Facebook friend posted that she and her son were running in honor of fallen soldiers under the auspices of Wear Blue Run to Remember.  You sign up on line and commit to a certain distance, one meaningful to you, and they assign you a soldier to run in honor of, if you don’t have someone in mind to run for.

 

My only problem was that I do not know how far I run.  I run for a set length of time.  It would be nice to think I was doing at least a ten minute mile, but that is by no means certain.  Additionally, I was not sure how hard core my Monday run would be.  I have not been running days in a row lately.  My body might rebel by the fourth day.

 

Finally I signed up to run two miles.  It was meaningful to me, because I learned to run in the army because of the two-mile run on the PT (Physical Training) test.  I felt a little foolish putting such a small distance, especially since my friend and her son were both doing 10 kilometers.  However, it seemed important that I actually do the distance I had committed to.  I knew I could eke out two miles, even on a very bad day.

 

My run did not start out auspiciously.  I wondered if I was having an every other day thing, because my Sunday run was terrific, my Saturday run was terrible, and I don’t remember my Friday run.  But I was running for a soldier.  I had to keep going.  I made up my mind to run up the hill to Herkimer College.  It is an impressive hill to many people.  I feel it is good to run an impressive hill when you are running in tribute.

 

I did not know which soldier I was running for.  Wear Blue had not emailed me back.  I wondered if I had made a typo when I gave them my email address.  I later found out that I had registered too late for them to assign me someone.  There were places I could go and pick someone to run for, but I did not do that.  I just ran for a soldier.

 

As I ran, I worried that the soldier I was running for might feel a little cheated, since his runner was running such a short distance and running it very slowly at that.  I pictured the soldiers up in heaven, discussing it over a beer (I don’t believe the polka that says, “In Heaven There Is No Beer”).

 

“Who’s running for you?  I got this soldier’s wife who runs marathons.  She’s doing 10K.”

 

“Cool.  I got some middle-aged lady, used to be in the army.  She’s doing two miles.  Oh well, I guess the old ladies like to feel they’re doing something for us.”

 

“Yeah, better luck next year.”

 

I made it to the top of the hill and it sure wasn’t easy.  Since I was only doing two miles, I had thought I would just go back down the back way.  But halfway up the hill I remembered the little Veteran’s Memorial Park up near the athletic fields.  I should run to that, I thought, since I am running in tribute.  Then I felt so tired I thought I wouldn’t make it.  Then I realized that I could not possibly write in a blog post that I had thought about running to the Memorial and decided not to.

 

“This is how writing a blog helps runners,” I said to myself.  I continued, utilizing the determination that had gotten me through Basic Training.

 

When I got to the Memorial, I stopped the CHRONO on my watch and walked through it.  It is a small area with trees and benches.  Marble slabs are engraved with the names of Herkimer veterans.  Some of the benches and trees have plaques saying who sponsored them.  I would like to return to the Memorial and spend a little more time, really pay my respects.  Today, however, I soon started my watch again and headed back down Reservoir Road.

 

Somewhere along the way, I realized the run had stopped sucking.  I had not noticed when that happened, but I would hazard a guess that it was about the time I started downhill.

 

For more information on Wear Blue Run to Remember, you can visit their website at www.wearblueruntoremember.org.  They also have a Facebook page.

 

Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

I confess to some affection for a silly movie called Galaxy Quest. I won’t write about it today, but I flashed on it during this morning’s run, and I thought this line from it would be a good title for Saturday Running Commentary.

Full disclosure: I ran some hours ago. Usually I like to write my commentary soon after the run and shower (in case any of you thought I was being gross). Today not so much, but I’ll try to remember the highlights.

I was determined to run, since I ate chicken wings at Happy Hour last night and woke up quite fat. I don’t imagine the chicken wings alone are to blame, but they’ll be the handy scapegoat (ooh, I could have called this post, “Good-bye, Chicken Wings”). I first walked Tabby to the post office and went to the grocery store (I bought things to enhance the tossed salad I shall virtuously eat later). Yes, I had plenty of time to talk myself out of it, but I did not.

Sorry to be too personal, but one problem I’ve been having with my running these days is I need to purchase new sports bras. I had a boo-boo due to some chafing. I tried to cover it with a pad, which really needed some adhesive tape, although I figured the pressure of the sports bras (I wear two) would hold it OK. At least it is finally at the temperature where I don’t have to ponder short or long sleeves.

Off I went. And it didn’t feel too good. Once again, I felt that I was running slowly. No gazelle in my head today. That is where “Never give up, never surrender” came in. I didn’t give up.

I pondered Memorial Day. I was wearing my ARMY t-shirt in honor of the weekend. Of course people are all over Facebook telling us how to celebrate: it’s not barbecue day, thank a veteran, don’t thank a living veteran, remember a dead one. Oh, I don’t mean to get controversial and sorry if I offended anyone. But I thought in my head I might be honoring veterans who gave all by maintaining the fitness I learned in the army. I can’t say I learned to persevere in the army, because I knew that going in. But I honed my ability to persevere.

I ran in a different direction from the way I ran on Wednesday. I noticed a porch on a house that wasn’t there before (the porch, not the house), and the absence of a hole that had been in front of another house. These innovations may have been there for weeks, but I just now noticed them. I continue to hone my skills at observation.

I saw some dark purple tulips that I quite envied. We were up to three tulips this year. When we moved in, one yellow tulip bloomed. I keep forgetting to get more bulbs to put down, but I guess this one multiplied on its own. Must work on the yard soon.

When I walked Tabby earlier, I had an eye out for cans and bottles, but didn’t find any. Then I saw a guy carrying an almost full bag of them and guessed he had beaten me to it. He didn’t look very well off, so I guess I’m glad he got the nickels. I did find one can. As I ran, I saw a plastic bottle and briefly considered picking it up. Some people run with a water bottle in hand, so I wouldn’t look too foolish. But I decided against it. I’m carrying too much excess weight as it is.

The run lasted one minute longer than Wednesday’s. To increase my time by the recommended weekly 10 percent would be two minutes. Sunday is my usual increase day, so I think I’m doing OK. I’m glad I ran, although I’m wondering if the post about it is any great shakes. Oh well, with blogging as with running, I will not give up, I will not surrender!

I Love a Parade

I may have used that headline before.

One reason we were happy Steven had Monday off was that we could attend the Herkimer, NY Memorial Day Parade. We went last year and enjoyed it very much. I do love a parade.

The parade was at one. I spent a short time doing yard work then the rest of the morning trying to get over my latest bout of lightheadedness (allergies? the last bit of my stomach bug? Who knows). I was feeling OK by 12:45 and we set out.

The parade was to end at Meyers Park, a mere ten minute walk from our house. That was where we caught it last year. It was a beautiful day, sunny and bright. Perhaps not as warm as one might like on Memorial Day (depending on who one is), but I thought it good parade weather.

We could hear the band warming up in the pavilion. The parade was to be followed by a ceremony in the park, but we did not plan to stay for that. For one thing, I had neglected to bring a bottle of water and I was thirsty.

At first we stood under the same tree we had stood under last year. The shade had been much appreciated then. This year not so much. Eventually we moved down to a sunny spot on Park Avenue.

A lot of people and a few dogs (including ours) had turned out to watch the parade. We especially admired a Great Dane-looking hound in a yard across the street. He was big.

At last the parade started. The American Legion and the Elks were represented, as were Herkimer Now and the Girl Scouts. Herkimer County Community College’s mascot, the General was there.

“We took a picture of him last year,” Steven remembered. I waved at him and got the two finger point in return.

My favorite part was the classic cars, most notably a Cadillac convertible. It was long and white and I said, “It’s not just sweet; it’s suh-weet.” My other favorite was a group of young men playing drums.

“Dig that rhythm section,” I said, quite unable to keep myself from dancing a little.

The parade was short but very fun. I love hometown stuff like that. Perhaps they’ll do another parade for the Herkimer Days later this summer. And there’s always Ilion’s Doodah Parade. All kinds of stuff to look forward to.

Muddled Musings

Well, I avoided Wrist to Forehead Sunday, but I’m going to have to have a Middle-aged Musings Monday. And I’m thinking they are not going to be any too profound.

I actually spent most of the day waiting to not feel so lightheaded. During a brief time I didn’t feel so bad, we were walking down to the park to enjoy a Memorial Day Parade (about which I hope to write tomorrow) (preview of coming attractions). I finally realized, I’ve got to write the damn post or — well, I was going to say die trying, but really what will happen is just that I won’t have a post. Can’t have that.

I wish I had something wise to say about Memorial Day. As a veteran myself, one might think I would have something valuable to add to the chorus of praise for our service members who have given their all for our freedom. Unfortunately, all I can think of to say is, “Yeah, what they said!” One feels proud and humble when one thinks of these things. One doesn’t necessarily think of anything that hasn’t already been said.

Was that the slightest bit profound? To say that I can’t think of anything to say? After many posts of writing how I can’t think of anything to write, at least it makes a change of pace.

I always say the best defense for these nothing posts is, at least they’re short. As always, let’s hope for something better tomorrow.

Just Like PT!

It really was not just like PT, but I thought that might make a catchy headline. PT, in case you did not know, stands for Physical Training in the army. That is where I learned to run, among other things.

In honor of Memorial Day, I put on my ARMY t-shirt to run in. This did not make it like PT, actually, because I also had on some comfy spandex shorts, not the doofy PT shorts they issue you. It was also not like PT because in army PT, you do not DARE untuck your t-shirt from your doofy shorts. I remember once running at army PT another soldier said, “I WANT to untuck my shirt!” To do her one better I said, “I want to take mine off and wave it over my head!” Then I added, “Under strobe lights, to a pulsing disco beat!” for good measure. I was actually shouting this after her, because she ran faster than me. I used to have fun during army PT.

I actually did not want to run this morning. I had two long, hilly runs the last two days. I usually take Mondays off. But I also usually work a 10-hour day Mondays. Today I do not work. I was up shortly after 6 a.m. (a very late sleep-in for me). It was plain silly not to run.

To make things more tempting, I promised myself no major hills. Then I thought I would try to cross State Route 5, which runs down the middle of Herkimer, and run in an area I rarely run in. I figured earlyish in the morning on a Monday holiday, I could cross without too much trouble.

I further decided to run to the canal path, which you can get on where State Route 5 crosses Route 5S, where Herkimer meets Mohawk. I was not sure how long it would take me to get there or how long down the path I could run, but it fulfilled my quest for Someplace Different and a running/walking/biking path might be fun.

Crossing State Route 5 was no problem. There is a button that will give you a WALK signal, but I managed to sprint without waiting for it. Ooh, now I was in different territory. Not unfamiliar, because I have run there before or even been there numerous times in a car. Past some businesses. A computer repair place, a bike repair place. I really ought to get my bike back on the road. Pedaling a bicycle is much easier on the joints than running. I noticed they also offered snowshoe sales and rentals. Snowshoeing sounded good to me. Any sport that you can do slowly sounds good to me when I am running (which, of course, I also do slowly).

It did not take me too long to get on the path, but now I started to fret. How far down the patch should I go? I knew there was a bridge over the canal that brings you to Washington Street. It would be good to run that far then go home by way of Washington, but how long a run would that make? I kept looking at my watch. The bridge was nowhere in sight. I’m sure it is further away when one is running than when one is driving.

A small group of ladies was walking toward me. I said good morning, but they ignored me. They were having a conversation. Still, a little wave would have been nice. I was exerting a lot more energy than they were, so I felt a little virtuous about that. But they were being easier on their joints and being sociable with each other, so they could feel virtuous about that, if they so chose.

I would run out 20 minutes then turn around. Or maybe 25. After all, I was up to a 50 minute run in my training regimen. Was it a good idea to run out a full half of what I wanted for my total? Did I want to run out and back? I would run to that curve in the path up ahead and see if I could see the bridge. Well, maybe a little further.

Of course, if I got to the bridge, I would have to go out on the road to cross it. The path goes underneath the bridge. There was the bridge! Was there a way to get easily from the path to the bridge? I didn’t think so, so I got out on the highway. Not a wide shoulder, but a shoulder. I thought I could hear a HUGE truck coming toward me. It turned out to be a garbage truck, not a negligible size by any standard. He nicely hugged the center line and even crossed over it a little as he approached me. God bless him.

Almost to the bridge. I could see that I would have had to crash through some grass and climb over the rail to get from there to here. Well, I will do that next time. Highways are scary. A small but existent shoulder on the bridge. There was a narrow lip by the railing, but I did not get on that. For one thing, the railing would have been at the bottom of my hip. I could just see me tumbling over and falling down, down, down to the water below.

Then I was on Washington Street. It wasn’t going to take me any time at all to get home. Would I even fulfill my 50 minutes? Of course it took longer to get home than I expected, but I still had to go around the block then past the house and backtrack. It was a pretty good run.

When I got to the computer, I went on a Facebook page of Veterans of Rome, NY and posted that I had run in my ARMY t-shirt in tribute to soldiers past and present. A couple of people liked it.