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A Run on the South Side

Perhaps Sunday Running Commentary will become a thing for me. I used to be motivated and dedicated and run both weekend days. Lately, not so much. However, I got myself out the door and on the road today so thought I’d write about it.

It was shortly after 6 a.m. when I set out. It was light out and I intended to stick to sidewalks so I did not wear my reflective vest. For another reason, it was at least sixty degrees and possibly still humid, so I did not want the extra layer. For me, 60 degrees is doable, but I prefer 10 or even 20 fewer degrees. But there is no point in repining over what one would like. I set out.

I decided to run in the opposite direction from the one I usually take, which is toward German Street. I went toward State Street, also known as Route 5, meaning to cross to the south side of town. I don’t usually run there, to avoid crossing the busiest street in town, but I like to shake things up occasionally.

As I ran, I reflected that I was going to the south side of Herkimer, “the baddest part of town,” to quote an old song. It isn’t really (don’t hate one me, south side!), but it used to be considered “the other side of the tracks.” I learned at a program at the Herkimer County Historical Society that the south side was where most of the immigrant families settled. These included the children who attended South School, which later became the Tugor School. I believe the school is now senior citizen apartments.

The railroad tracks used to run where State Street is now, so “wrong side of the track” was true. I’ve often thought it doesn’t matter which side of the tracks you live on; if you live close enough to the tracks the trains are going to be too loud. But I don’t really know about these subtle social distinctions. I just wanted to go for a run.

I sprinted across State Street, because I had the green light. I made it with no problem, which I thought was a good thing, because there was a big old pick-up truck stopped for the red light. I don’t want to get a big old pick-up truck mad at me. I continued down Bellinger to the end of the street, which I thought was Marginal Road.

My body had settled into the run by the time I was on the south side. It had not been best pleased with me when we started out. Once again I wondered if I should warm up and stretch out before leaving the house. Only it goes against the grain with me to run in place for a minute when I’m just going to be running down the road soon. It feels like wasted effort, and I have little enough oomph as it is.

As I continued my run I realized I was not on Marginal Road but on Steele Street. There was no sidewalk but also no traffic, so I did not regret the lack of my reflective vest. It was pretty much full daylight by this time anyways, if not bright and sunny. My body stopped complaining. In fact I was much more absorbed in looking at the sights than in noticing how well the run was going. That is my usual trick.

I could see that the south side was no longer the baddest part of town, if it ever was. The proportion of well-kept houses to houses that have seen better days was about what you see anywhere in town. I admired porches, flowers and the usual stuff. It’s kind of nice to look at different houses once in a while.

Steele Street became Protection Avenue with no effort on my part. Then I took a couple of side streets and ran across the K-Mart parking lot. That was where I petted a nice black pug named Miss Daisy. Her person told me Miss Daisy was trying to lose weight too. I wished her an easier time than I am having and ran on. I know, I need to run a little more and eat a lot less.

Another sprint brought me back to my own side of State Street. I ran by Folts Home, noting their pavilion, where I first saw Fritz’ Polka Band (I’m Facebook friends with Fritz now) (I’m something of a name-dropper; you may have noticed). And there was the Baptist Church, host of Coffee and Conversation with a Cop. Next I ran by Municipal Hall, where the Herkimer Police Station is.

In Meyers Park I encountered my friend Nicky and his person. I petted the good dog and exchanged a few remarks with the nice person. On the other side of the park I saw two dogs I know named Chico and Bear, with their person. More pets and greetings. I love to stop running for a few seconds to pet a dog.

I ended up running 38 minutes, longer than my last few runs. It was in fact, more than a 10 percent increase, which is the recommended amount, but I’m sure that is OK. I guess it will have to be, because I did it. My dog Tabby nicely walked my cool-down with me.

I have not been very dedicated with my running lately. I let the hot and humid weather last week discourage me. However, fall approaches and I feel another burst of motivation coming on. Maybe I will be able to lose as much weight as Miss Daisy.