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First on the To-Do List: Run

I had made up my mind not to do an especially strenuous run. For one thing, I ended up taking four days off (don’t judge). For another, I have many things to do today and I don’t want to peter out before I get to the fun stuff.

We had to get up at 3:30 this morning. Since I don’t have to go to work, I had originally thought to run at my preferred time of six or so but decided to get it out of the way earlier. With sunrise so early in June, I thought I might not be running in the dark the whole time anyways. For another reason, I could run before I ate, not eat and have to wait an hour to run. I had a cup of coffee first. Coffee is a beautiful thing.

It was 4:23 when I started out (I usually note the exact time, in case my stopwatch button malfunctions, I’ll still know how long I ran). The birds were singing, the temperature was perfect, and I congratulated myself on my perspicacity for getting out of the house early. I could see a little lightness in the sky and felt happy about that.

I crossed German Street, thinking to run out Main as far as Weber, then down the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal. That would be pleasant and not involve any hills. Really, in Herkimer, it is more usual to go for a run and not encounter any hills. But I had it on my mind today. I wanted to recruit my energies while still pursuing my weight loss and fitness goals.

The streetlights offered plenty of light till I started down Weber. The end of Weber was shrouded in darkness. Did I want to run down a deep, dark path at four in the morning? Then I thought it probably wouldn’t be so bad when I got up to it. If it was so bad, I reasoned, I could always turn around in a sensible if ignoble fashion.

No, it was fine. Only a big old tree made it seem dark from the end of the street. Beyond the shadow of the tree there was plenty of light. I continued my plan of running on the path. The increasing light in the distance was comforting. It certainly felt beyond psycho time if not beyond skunk time. As usual, I kept an eye out for both.

As I continued my run, I realized my folly in waiting till 4:23 to begin. I was hungry. I used that to my advantage, picturing a tasty egg sammich as my reward for a run well done (YES, it’s called a sammich! Sheesh!). How long would I run was the next question. 29 minutes was my last longest time. Match it? Beat it? Take really seriously my caveat to recruit my energies and do less? I decided with no hills and no sprints that matching it would meet all my goals.

The sun was almost completely up when Tabby and I walked my cool-down. I don’t often time it right so that I run in the dark and cool down in the light, so I enjoyed that. And I felt that frisson of virtue, accomplishing the first thing on my long list. Now I can cross out another item: making my blog post. I hope everybody is enjoying their Saturday.

Watching for Skunks and Psychos

Is there any better feeling for your legs than the cool-down walk after a run? I suppose there could be, but I’m not familiar with it.

Steven has two early shifts this week, so I thought I’d take advantage of the early rising and get a run in before the heat of the day. It only partially worked out for me.

I should have suspected the temperature would not be cool when it did not seem to cool down yesterday evening. I put the fan in the bedroom window, realized the air coming in was warmer than the air already here, took the fan out and shut the window. Of course I’m used to warm nights. I’m pre-menopausal (oh shut up, it’s a perfectly natural thing that women go through and I’m not going to pretend I’m not middle-aged). I never know if it’s the weather or hormones. My trick is to tell myself it’s hormones, then I wait quietly for the feeling to pass. It took me years to realize the benefits of waiting quietly, but we’ll save the half-baked philosophy for Lame Post Friday.

It was 3:38 when I left the house. I’m still a little nervous about running before dawn. Today being garbage day I was more wary of skunks than psychos. As I turned onto German Street, I thought I smelled one. Yikes. Um, skunk, not psycho. I don’t know what a psycho smells like.

A note about my breathing. I have dreadful sinus problems. I usually cannot follow the “in through your nose, out through your mouth” dictum, because my nasal capacities are not usually up to it. My sense of smell is unreliable. Sometimes I smell things that other people do not. Sometimes I can’t smell things that other people can. It is most inconvenient. On today’s run, I tried a nose inhale every so often to check for skunk odor. I didn’t smell anything after the initial whiff, although I later caught a nice floral scent.

It was a very lonely run. Block after block of no cars, no people and no lights on in houses. I passed a young man walking on my street almost as soon as I left my house. Heading home after a hard night out? Or a hot one night stand? These are the speculations that add interest to my runs. I either saw him two more times during my cool-down walk or I saw two similarly dressed young men. If it was the same man, perhaps he was out for a long walk pondering a problem. Maybe it was a ghost. How cool would that be?

The mugginess started getting to me early on. There was barely a breeze to relieve me. I felt a little ill-used, running in the dark and not having some cool air to run in. I cheered myself up by thinking about the bottle of water waiting on my deck for me and the cool shower after my walk.

I kept an eagle eye out for skunks. Psychos did not concern me as much, although naturally I watched for them too. I saw an animal cross the sidewalk way ahead of me. A cat, I assured myself. As I approached a trash can and bag, the rustle of an animal startled me. I hear my feet scrape on the sidewalk as I stopped short. A cat flew out from behind the bag and across the lawn. Definitely a cat. Phew!

It was really not a problem to keep running. I can’t say I reached the “I can rock this” stage, though. I am skeptical of my ability to rock anything prior to four in the morning. Then again, if I keep up these early morning runs, maybe I’ll surprise myself.

Skunks, Snow and Sick of January

Full disclosure: This Non-Sequitur Thursday was written on Wednesday for future publication. I have a Mohawk Valley adventure planned for Thursday and may not have time to blog. Also, I just wrote a serious post for Wednesday publication. It wore me out, so this one will be short and dumb.

Don’t skunks hibernate during the winter? When I got out of my vehicle at work the other morning, I smelled skunk. Which is not the same thing as smelling a rat, if you know what I mean.

That happened two days ago, before the temperature dripped, freezing all smells and most nostrils. Many schools are closed or at least delayed. I am currently lamenting my failure to bring a sweatshirt to work. Oh well, I can hang for eight hours. It’s only a problem on break, after all.

And here’s another question: How come if it’s so dang cold, the snow looks like it’s melting? Seriously, I’m looking out the window at this courtyard and I keep seeing more green and less white. What’s that all about?

I will close with my epiphany for the day: I am tired of it being January, but is is going to be January till January is over. This is similar to one of my favorite sayings: sometimes you just have to feel that way till you don’t feel that way any more.