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Getting My Feet Wet

Yes! Today was the day! I started running again. Naturally I’m going to write a blog post about it.

I told myself all day I would run, so went right upstairs to put on my gear as soon as I got home. It was a lovely 40 degrees out, still cool enough to cover my legs and arms, I decided. I put on a pair of long johns I had been wearing under my skirt on Sunday plus my Army long-sleeved t-shirt. When I started putting on socks and sneakers, I hit a snag.

My running socks are all very short. Did I really want 5/8 inches of ankle exposed? I did not. I found my one pair of winter running socks. These were long enough. And very thick. I pictured them all soggy after I had run through a couple of the puddles I was sure to encounter. Finally I settled on a pair of just regular socks that looked like they might be athletic socks. For heavens’ sake, I was only going to run about 20 minutes. How bad could they be?

I had contemplated running in the road instead of on the messy sidewalks. After all, almost everybody else walks and runs in the road. What am I so wimpy about? Well, it isn’t exactly being wimpy. It is a matter of principle. When I am driving I HATE encountering pedestrians in the roadways. It’s scary! I don’t want to hit a pedestrian! And I don’t want to bash into another car trying to avoid the pedestrian. Yes, I am capable of navigating the roadways with pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, cars and the myriad unexpected obstacles one encounters. But I like to give myself every advantage. Thus, I prefer to give other motorists the advantage of NOT having to avoid hitting me when possible.

All that said, I may have still run in the road, but when I was driving home I observed that the only really dry surface was in the center of the road. As long as I was going to run through puddles, I reasoned, I might as well be in the safer space.

The sidewalks weren’t completely covered with puddles. There was also lots and lots of gushy, mushy snow. Not slush, mind you. That’s wetter and gushier. This was soft enough to make for a really challenging running surface. I kept telling myself how many more calories I was burning with the extra effort. And breathing prayers of thanks for the occasional patch of bare sidewalk.

I changed the direction I was running in a couple of times to avoid pedestrians walking in the road. I just felt too stupid slogging along through the gush while they strolled at their leisure down the center of the road, with a fine disdain for their own safety and the peace of mind of any drivers they encountered. I crossed the street a couple of times in search of better sidewalks, but I don’t know how much good that did.
At least it added a few more seconds to my run. After all, I was running for a certain length of time, not a certain distance.

It did not take long for my sneakers to start to squish. You know how the sidewalks get: snowbanks on either side holding a lovely reservoir of cold puddle in the middle, with or without ice. Sometimes I tried to run on the sides where there was ice or snow, but it was really easier just to plow through the middle. Most of them did not have ice on the bottom.

Breathing was not the most pleasant, but I persevered. Soon my legs were… not exactly hurting. Were they… yes! They were WORKING! Then they started hurting. Well, I was prepared for that. I knew it was going to be one of those runs where the only satisfaction I get is the fact that I ran. One of those “Dammit, I did it!” runs.

Incidentally, today’s title occurred to me early in the run, when a little water had seeped through to my socks but they weren’t soaked yet. You know that expression “just to get your feet wet,” when you do a smaller version of something big you intend to do. Like having a walk-on in a play before going for a major role. Or running a 5K while you train for a marathon. Writing a silly blog while you work on your novel.

Well, I thought I was being clever. If you don’t agree with me, just chalk it up to Tired Tuesday. At least I ran (dammit).

No Spring in My Step

So there I was, having Wrist to Forehead Sunday. I had managed to grocery shop, do dishes, put in a load of laundry. Where, I asked myself, was the Mohawk Valley adventure in that? Then my husband Steven came home from work and graciously agreed to go with me and our schnoodle Tabby on a walk. I decree that it is perfectly acceptable to write a blog post about a walk.

It wasn’t bitter cold out; in fact, it was above freezing. This was evidenced by the fact that the snow was melting and making some major puddles. Still, I wished I had remembered my mittens. I compensated by pulling my hands into my sleeves. Unfortunately, I was wearing the coat that fits, not the insulated sweatshirt where the sleeves are way long, so this was not as helpful or as comfortable as one could have wished. Did I mention it was Wrist to Forehead Sunday?

As we walked down the sidewalk (can’t trust the cars around here to be careful of a cute little doggie after all), we saw a major lake of a puddle up ahead.

“Let’s not plow through that,” I said. “Let’s cross the street.”

The other side of the street had been neglected by the sidewalk plow, but there was a beaten path. Mushy snow offered less moisture to penetrate our sneakers. Tabby didn’t care either way: wade through water, plow through snow, she was happy.

We spent the rest of the walk skirting large puddles, crossing the street to avoid larger puddles, and walking through small puddles. It felt good to walk, and I did feel grateful that, after all, melting snow means spring is on the way. As happened on my run, though, I was not able to enjoy the scenery as well while watching where I could put my feet for the least soaking possible.

Then Steven got the bright idea to leap over a puddle. He got a running start. He leaped! He made it!

“I am not going to try that,” I said. And me the athlete of the family. I hang my head in shame as I type.

As we walked down Main Street, we came to a long expanse of bare sidewalk. Awesome! We sadly observed closed businesses. Less awesome. There are some signs of life. Pete’s Tavern still does a business. Collis Hardware is still around. Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner is a going concern. The lady in Hummel’s Office Plus waved at us as we went by. Tabby likes to go in and say hello sometimes, but I thought her muddy paws were best kept outside. Belly Up Pub was open too.

We went through Meyers Park and started up Bellinger Street. I saw a puddle up ahead.

“Are you going to jump that one?” I asked. Then as we got closer, “Oh, no, that one’s bigger now that I look at it.” Steven attempted it anyways. He got a running start! He leaped! He didn’t make it! I should perhaps mention that he had not changed out of his work pants before we started out. “Oh, no, and I already did laundry,” I lamented.

“Water dries,” Steven pointed out.

“Mud doesn’t,” I said. “At least, it does and then it’s dirt.”

I did enjoy our walk, even though I am SO looking forward to warmer temperatures and no snow. For one thing, it gave me a 500 word blog post. Unless I read the draft to Steven and he insists I take out the part about him jumping the puddles. Some of you are probably still thinking I should have attempted it, too (you know who you are).