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Back on Track? Not Exac’

See what I did there?  I was going for a jazzy kind of thing, like in “I Get a Kick Out You” when Louis Armstrong sings, “I get no kick from cocaine!  If I took a sniff it would bore me terrif’…”

That by way of introduction to a Running Commentary post.  I have not been running very much lately and in fact did not intend to run today.  I felt too tired and my legs felt stiff.  Then I thought my legs might feel less stiff if I exercised them. Maybe a nice walk, I thought.  I have been working on my feet for the past two (ten-hour) days, but pacing between machines is not the same as taking a walk.  Then I thought, oh what the hell, and got into running clothes.  I did not have to run for a long time, I reasoned.  Twenty minutes, half hour tops.  After all, I was rebuilding.  And I almost never at any time run very fast.

Today I ran even slower than usual.  It was a shuffle, it was a plod.  I figured anybody looking at me might think, “I can do better than that!” and thus be encouraged to reach their own fitness goals.  But I kept going.  I wondered if there were any 5K’s around here in the near vicinity.  Could I run 5 kilometers?  Did I want to run in a 5K?  The answers to the last two questions were yes, and no. But I kept going.

As I was running down Caroline Street, I noticed a kid on a bicycle a couple of blocks ahead of me.  Was that the chubby-legged swine that gave me the finger when I was running some time ago?  Yes, I remember petty little insults from long ago, although I try not to dwell on them.  I don’t think it was the same kid.  In any case, he was far enough and headed further away from me that I did not have to worry about further insults, if any.

It was not particularly difficult to run, but it wasn’t much fun either.  I wondered how long I should run for.  Maybe less than 20 minutes?  No, I could make it for 20.  More than 20?  Let’s not push it.  I passed a guy sitting on his porch with his feet up.  I would certainly rather be doing that, but I could not share that thought with the guy, because he was talking on a cell phone.  I like to interact with people as I run by.  I ran by a little kid on a bicycle with training wheels.

“Hey, buddy, will you give me a ride home on the handlebars?  I’m small!”

His mother chuckled.  Of course it was a joke: I know I am not particularly small, especially where I sit.  I started to chuckle myself, picturing my fat butt fitting on those little handlebars.  If I didn’t break the bike, which was likely to happen and not likely to be funny.

I ended up running for 22 minutes, my favorite number.  For once my cool-down walk did not feel terrific (terrif’?).  However, I ran, I wrote a blog post about it.  I’m calling that win on Tired Tuesday.

 

First Post-Boilermaker Run

Did anybody think I would just stop running after the Boilermaker 15K?  I have crashed and burned after running it in the past (I even wrote it on my calendar a couple of times:  Monday, Crash; Tuesday, Burn).  But I wanted to keep it up this time.  I had actually meant to start running again Tuesday or Wednesday, but, well, you know how it goes sometimes (and if you don’t, what planet do you live on?  I’d like to visit).  So Friday was GOING to be the day.

When I woke up around 4 a.m., I felt SO ready to run.  I was going to sleep a little more (hey, I’m still on vacation), then I was going to get right to it.  I might not need any coffee first.  I drank a little water (I always keep a bottle by the bed) and relaxed.

An hour an a half later, when Steven said he was getting up, I not only did not feel like running, I did not feel like getting out of bed.  It being my last real day of vacation (I don’t count the weekend, since I normally have weekends off) (YES, lucky me, don’t hate), I stayed under the covers for another 15 minutes or so.  This worked out, since due to a slight malfunction, coffee wasn’t ready till I got up anyways.  Additionally, it was raining.  I was off the hook!  I don’t have to run in the rain!

Of course, I knew I COULD run in the rain.  I’ve done it before.  Also, the rain would probably stop.  I had some coffee and awaited events. After a cup and a half,  I did not see drops in the puddles, and I felt a little more ready.  After all, this was the first run after a 15K and four days off.  I decided I did not have to run more than 20 minutes.

Off I went dodging puddles and patches of mud still left from the recent flooding.  I ran down German Street and pondered where to go.  No hills, I promised myself.   Perhaps a Dead End Run.  That is where I cross German and run up and down all the dead end streets as I work my way back.  Being me, I changed my mind about that three or four times, but ended up doing it.

I did not run all the dead end streets.  That would have been a much longer run than anticipated. As it was I ended up running 33 minutes.  Again, being me, I debated about that, too.  Should I run past my house to the end of the street and back?  Continue around the block?  Make it 40 minutes?  35 minutes?  I decided 33 was a fine number, so I ran a little way past the house.

I’m thinking this is not much of a Running Commentary, since I have not offered a lot of observations and, well, comments.  However, it is Lame Post Friday and my last real day of vacation.  I’m going to call it a post.  Happy Friday, everyone.

Late Post, But Here Are Some Zombie Pictures

I am late making my Wuss-out Wednesday post (yes, I really wussed out this time).  Never mind why.  It’s a long story and makes me look bad. Instead, how about a few pictures of zombies, as suggested in comments of a recent post.  I don’t watch as many zombie movies as I do vampire movies.  However, one must acknowledge zombies as the scary monsters they are.

So that’s what happened to Veronica Lake.

I believe this is from Night of the Living Dead, which we have on DVD but rarely watch.  I find it more creepy than scary, and a little sad, especially at the end.  Still, it is considered a classic, so I pop it in when I can talk Steven into it.

I feel a little like this, only without the bright eyes. I do not feel particularly bright these days.

I found this in my search for zombie pictures, and to me it is apropos.  Of course, I believe in making Halloween last all year long.  In fact, I just set my DVR to record several scary movies on TCM, including the delightfully creepy Mad Love, starring Peter Lorre, whose horror credentials are impeccable.  Another find on my search took me in different direction.

I guess I can’t stop running after all.

I must confess, I have not gone running since the Boilermaker.  At first I felt too tired, then it got too hot.  I suppose these are lousy excuses (as most excuses are, but, hey, I’m only human) (and not an un-dead one at that).  I think I must begin running again, though, with a thought to taking part in a Zombie Run in November.  That sounds like fun.

 

Post Race Post

I was going to title this “To Dress or to Blog?”  but I did not want to invite unkind comments about how nobody wants to see me naked.  Also, it would not be clear that this is yet another post about the Boilermaker.  Which I just ran.  Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! (That was a triumphant laugh, by the way.)

So this is not going to be a great post.  I ran. It was not easy for an overweight woman of my age who, as it turns out, perhaps did not train enough.  However, I finished without resorting to walking.  Full disclosure:  towards the end, my run could not catch up with some of the walkers.  I will write more about the run later.  For now my purpose is merely to publish something, so I can get on with celebrating my triumph as soon as Steven gets home from work.

For anyone just tuning in, the Utica Boilermaker is the best 15K race in the nation, possibly in the world.  It seems as if the entire City of Utica as well as the surrounding area turns out to run, volunteer or cheer folks on.  Runners come from all over the world, including elite runners from places like Kenya as well as those who run for fun and fitness from places like Syracuse and Rochester.  I believe folks come from farther afield, but I did not encounter any of those today.

My challenge now is to find a cute outfit to put on such that Steven will realize that the best way to celebrate is to take me out somewhere nice.  Or I could just sit here in my bathrobe, which I put on after a delicious shower, and he will probably make me a grilled cheese sammich.  I do like grilled cheese.  It is good to have options.  Tune in tomorrow, on Mental Meanderings Monday, which I will either tell you what I wore or describe in greater detail my triumphant Boilermaker run.  Happy Sunday, everyone.

 

I’m Not Hydrated Yet!

I have have Lame Post Friday in the middle of vacation, can’t I?  Of course I can; it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.  Wait a minute, that’s something else.

I have spent all day having Boilermaker Butterflies (I think I once wrote a blog post of that title).  I mean serious, stomach-churning nervousness.  I don’t know why.  All my problems will resolve themselves at the proper time.  I will run the race.  There is no reason to think I will not have fun.  Yet here I sit, trying to drink more water and worrying.

I went for one final run today (is it bad that I have begun the last three paragraphs with “I”?  Just something else to worry about), 30 easy minutes.  It didn’t feel too bad.  I found the shirt I wanted to run in, a large yellow tee with a Superman logo which Steven purchased for 50 cents at a church thrift store some years ago.  It is a little wrinkly, and I am considering ironing it.  I rather like the thought of running the Boilermaker in a freshly pressed t-shirt.

This morning I had several errands to run: an afghan to drop off, a trip to the post office, a visit to the library to print out my Boilermaker registration confirmation.  By 11:30 I was headed to Utica to Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) to pick up my race number and goody bag.  What a crowd scene!  However, people were nice and numerous volunteers kept things running smoothly.

For dinner I had a London broil in the crock pot.  Some time ago, a nice young man at The Sneaker Store told me I should have a steak dinner on Friday and pasta on Saturday.  I substituted roast beef in the crock pot then as I did now.  I plan to use fresh basil from my container garden to make pesto for tomorrow’s pasta.  Yum!

What I am mostly worried about now is that this is a truly lame blog post.  Can I possibly expect tomorrow’s to be any better as the 15K race looms ever closer?  I should probably have an in-depth conversation with myself about whether the race is worth all this anguish I put myself through, with perhaps a side discussion about why I put myself through such completely useless worry.  Don’t worry, any minute now I will move on to the point where I start to laugh at myself.  Happy Friday, everyone!

 

Last Long Run Before Sunday

It may be time for this blog to become All Boilermaker All The Time.  I went for my last long run before the big race.  The big race, for anybody just tuning in, is the Utica Boilermaker Road Race, the premier 15K race in the country (I say it with confidence, although I confess I have not researched 15K races), which takes place this Sunday, July 9, 2017.  There is also a 5K on Sunday, a 3-mile walk on Saturday, an Expo Friday and Saturday, and many other events and attractions.  I know I’m not mentioning everything; after all, this blog is mostly about ME (I say it with no apology for my egotism) (although I confess to having a good laugh at myself).

Where was I?  Ah yes, about to do a Running Commentary post about my last long run till Sunday (hey, is that a good title for the post, or is it too obvious?).

It was excellent running weather: not too hot, not too humid, sunny and pretty.  As I ran, I felt the sun was perhaps brighter and hotter than my own personal ideal, but running in the shade was fine.  I decided to run in the residential area behind Valley Health, what I refer to as “the suburbs.”  This took me up the hill by Valley Health as a kind of a warm-up hill, and I knew I would find a long, challenging hill as I went.

As I ran toward Valley Health, along German Street which gradually slopes upward, I realized I did not want to run any hills.  My body felt like it could keep going perfecly well on level ground but would be utterly defeated by gravity if I tried to push it.  Well, naturally on my Last Long Run Before The Boilermaker, I was inclined to push it.  I remembered of what I thought on a recent run: running hills does not become easier for me; I merely learn to keep going longer while it sucks.  I wondered if that was strictly true. Most probably it sucks less as I go.  Today I tried a new tack:  I told myself that going up hills was a psychological trick;  I just had to stop NOTICING how much it sucked.  This is an extension of a trick I heard about in the army:  just look at your feet and shuffle up that hill.

I took a wrong turn and ran down a perfectly level street that turned at a right angle then ended in a cul-de-sac.  Then I found the correct corner, when down a small hill then up, up, up.  I passed a lady walking down and said good morning.

“Boilermaker!” I added, fists in the air.  “Three days and a wake-up!”

“There you go!” she encouraged.  “Good luck!”

A short while later, I saw a fellow runner, headed down the hill.

“Boilermaker!” I called to her.  “We got this!”   She laughed.

I passed a few other walkers, including a very nice couple who let me pet their dog.  Yes, I stopped running long enough to pet the dog.  I like to pet a dog.

I ran for an hour and one minute, which is how long I ran yesterday.  In training for previous Boilermakers, I have been up to an hour and a half.  However, I feel an hour is good.  I tell myself, if you can run for an hour, you can run for two; just don’t stop.  I plan shorter runs tomorrow and Friday, and a couple of long walks on Saturday.  And in between, I hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Boilermaker, here I come!

 

One Week! Seriously?

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!