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Still No Endorphins

After my adventure-filled weekend, I thought sure I wouldn’t have a Tired Tuesday post. After all, I had written a post and parts of two more yesterday. Then as I wrote more on my posts before work, I got all bogged down. That was OK, though, I thought, because I was determined to go running after work. I could do a Running Commentary. As I ran, I felt I had all the more reason to be tired. However, I’ll see what I can come up with.

I ran 29 minutes on my last run, which increased my time by the recommended 10 percent. I merely had to maintain that, not improve it till this weekend at soonest. It was not far into my run that I was telling myself I did not even need to do the full 29 minutes. After all, I intend to run at least two more times before the weekend. I could make this one shorter.

My original plan had been to run up the hill by Valley Health and then into what I think of as the Suburbs. I guess they aren’t really suburbs. I don’t think Herkimer is big enough to rate actual suburbs. It is a residential area of (relatively) newer houses with no sidewalks. There is generally less traffic than in the village itself. Since the sidewalks are booby-trapped with large puddles and patches of ice, I thought running on quiet streets would be nice.

As I ran down German Street, I did not feel good. I was tired, my legs didn’t want to move, even breathing wasn’t fun. Would I even make it up the hill by Valley Health? As I approached Brookfield Park, I considered running up into it. It was uphill but not as steep as by Valley Health. It could be a shorter run. I looked up the slope and ran by. I just couldn’t do it. Maybe by the time I got to Valley Health my body would be warmed into the run and I could do the hill.

Oh, I was not enjoying this. There was the hill to H-Triple-C (that’s Herkimer County Community College, although I think they have changed their name). Would I ever be up to running that hill again? I thought I would be but it sure did not seem possible today. I saw some broken car parts on the road. Yikes, did somebody have an accident? In a parking area a few feet up I saw two vehicles parked and two people on cell phones. Ah, so the accident just happened. Bummer.

I went up the hill by Valley Health. Two people were walking down it. Did I ever envy them! I lacked the breath to tell them so. I did the trick of looking at my feet and shuffling up that hill. When did I get that big splotch of mud on that sneaker? How long was this hill anyways? At last I made it. I didn’t even feel good about having done it.

I wondered if I would reach the I Can Rock This stage on this run or, indeed, ever again. Then I heard a huge vehicle behind me. I was on the left side facing traffic, as runners and pedestrians are supposed to be. Still, the road wasn’t very wide. I got over as far as I could. It was a Yard Waste truck, and he didn’t seem too concerned about getting over. It stopped in the middle of the street. I turned down a side street to avoid it.

The area is laid out, as many residential areas are, NOT in a squared-off, grid kind of pattern. More like a plate of spaghetti. Curvy and weird. I’ve run in the area many times, but I still get lost. I wasn’t too worried about it. Sooner or later I always come out somewhere familiar. I turned down one street. I saw the Yard Waste truck parallel to me. I turned left at the next opportunity.

I know there are come cul-de-sacs and streets that loop around, often involving large hills. Did I want to go around a large loop with a steep hill? I did not. I began to look around, trying to orient myself. Herkimer was that way, the highway was that way, the college was… I would go to the end of this street and find out.

Then I heard the loud motor of the Yard Waste truck, which I was beginning to think of as my enemy. I picked another street. How long had I been running anyways? I had checked my watch a couple of times early on but I hadn’t in the last few streets. Ooh, I was going to make it for 29 minutes. I wasn’t even feeling too bad. Could I rock this? Maybe I wasn’t feeling it, but I was, in fact, rocking it.

At last I figured out where I was. The Yard Waste truck passed me one more time. I got back to Valley Health, back down the hill, and back on to German Street. The cars that had been involved in the accident were still there, this time with cops nearby. I ran on. I seemed to think there was a brief period in the middle of my run when I hadn’t felt too bad, but that time was past. Now I could only persevere.

Persevere I did. I made it home. I had lasted 29 minutes. Oh, it felt good to walk my cool-down with Tabby and even better to stop walking and go in the house. I was almost too tired to stretch, but somehow managed it. My shower felt nice. Food tasted like heaven. If only I wasn’t too tired to write a blog post.

Lo and behold, I was not. Was it a good blog post? I’m not the best judge of that. But I got another run under my belt. Maybe on the next one I will reach that coveted I Can Rock This stage. And maybe, just maybe one day I will experience those endorphins.

Early Morning Accomplishment

Steven had an early shift on Monday, so I seized the opportunity for an early run. I was, of course, less enamored of the idea when it was time to actually get out of bed at 3:30 in the morning, but one must put up with these things.

It was a lovely temperature for a run. I later found out Monday promised to be the hottest day of the week with a high of 85. I congratulated myself on getting my run out of the way before the heat of the day.

I bypassed the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC). For anyone just tuning in, that is the killer hill featured on the DARE 5K this Saturday, for which I am registered (I believe I have mentioned it a few times, but you never know who missed it). I intend to run the hill one or two more times before Saturday, but I prefer to do it during daylight hours. Yes, I ran it before dawn last Saturday, but that day the sky was lightening even as I reached the top of the hill. Monday’s run was a full hour earlier, plus I had a whole day of work to get through.

I ran up the hill by Valley Health instead. I like to run by Valley Health on these early early runs. I find it comforting to think of the people on the night shift going about their business. At least there are lights on.

The hill turned out to require a bit of effort from me. In fact, the run started out to be not much fun at all. My legs were complaining. I had not run two days in a row in a few weeks and this was my third day in a row. I told myself that after feeling wonderful on Saturday’s and Sunday’s runs I was due to feel a little miserable. Miserable is an exaggeration anyways. In fact, I felt like I pretty much expect to feel on a Monday.

Things got better as I continued to run. My legs settled into it and stopped complaining. My breathing was fine. In short, I could rock this. If only I could see a few lights on so I would not feel so alone, I thought, my life would be perfect. I know, another exaggeration but since this one’s on the positive side, let’s let it slide.

I saw a few lights on, but I had to debate with myself: was it on because somebody was up or had it been left on all night for bathroom navigation purposes? Sometimes you just can’t tell. At one point I smelled skunk. Yikes! Well, a skunk was unlikely to bother me if I left him alone, right? I kept an eye out to avoid startling the stinker if I did encounter him.

As usual my legs were pretty happy with me on my cool-down walk. Tabby was happy with me too, because I let her stop and sniff plenty. I needed the pauses to drink water. I felt pretty happy with the run too. There’s nothing like accomplishing something first thing on a Monday.

Probably Not Disco Lights

When I found out Steven had to get up early this morning, I knew it would be a good opportunity to run. For one reason, the temperature was supposed to be over 90 later. I know, it is a good idea to train in all sorts of weather. Sometimes I have to give myself every advantage. As it turned out, conditions were not ideal in the pre-dawn hours, so I don’t have to feel like I’m too spoiled.

I got right from my bed into my running clothes and out the door before I well knew what I was about. I’ve found that is often the best method, especially when you are as good at thinking up excuses as I am. I hit the pavement at 3:36, two minutes earlier than I usually do for these early morning runs.

I congratulated myself on getting out while the temperature was still reasonable and reminded myself to watch for skunks. It was Garbage Day in Herkimer. I didn’t even see any cats and for the longest time only saw one car. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (that was the title of a movie I saw once) (I didn’t like it).

Since I had not run any hills recently (don’t judge), I thought I would do the one by Valley Health. As I approached it, I thought it really was not that bad of a hill. I could try something more challenging next time. I was only slightly out of breath at the top of the hill. Must control my breathing. I know from experience that if I have a VCD episode while running I feel just awful for the rest of the day (that’s Vocal Chord Dysfunction, a breathing problem I suffer from). Around Valley Health and down the hill.

Ah, downhill. All you have to do is move your feet a little and let gravity do the rest. Just enjoy the view, I always tell myself. Only there wasn’t much of a view, because it was still dark. I decided I would not run down by the high school as I often do. Too dark. Safety first for Mohawk Valley Girl, I thought, composing my blog post in my head.

I soon realized that although the temperature was reasonable it was quite humid. Once again I had forgotten my head band. If only my glasses wouldn’t fog. They fogged. I may try running in contact lenses.

It occurred to me that I had not seen any lights on in any houses. I started looking for some. It always makes me feel better to see lights on in houses. I feel that way when I’m traveling too, especially all by myself on a Greyhound bus (although I have not been there in a number of years, thank God). Good grief, not even a bathroom nightlight to lighten my load.

As ran down Prospect Street I thought I heard a vehicle driving through a parking lot. I was immediately suspicious. Why would a car be going through a parking lot at this hour? It was coming up behind me. And slowing down! It was my paper deliverers. They have a wide territory. I believe I’ve mentioned how much I love my efficient paper deliverers.

The lady waved to me as she walked up to a house with the paper. I waved back. I was close enough to exchange Good Mornings before she got back in the vehicle. I tried to think of something clever to say, but nothing came to mind. When I caught up to them at the next house I said, “I’m stalking you.”

“I don’t mind,” she said.

Then I turned a corner and went on alone. I saw a few lights on, which made me feel happy. Then I saw some flashing blue lights. Probably television, I thought, but I also thought it might be a secret after-hours club with some unusual disco lights. I speculated on what the password would be if I knocked on the door for admittance. Yes, these are the silly thoughts that amuse me as I run.

As usual, I debated with myself how long I should run. I ended up doing 30 minutes ending on not really a sprint but an accelerated pace, followed by my usual cool-down walk with Tabby. I confess that when I got out of bed and for at least the first third of the run I was NOT in the mood for it. That changed about the time I realized that the complaints were all from my grumpy brain. My legs were just quietly pumping along as if they could run for days. I felt pretty pleased about that, and happy that I could spend the rest of the day telling myself, “At least I ran.”

Summer Solstice Run

When I went to bed last night I realized I don’t like running prior to four in the morning. Still, Steven had to be up early for work. I wanted to do laundry at six. I went.

First I was delayed by hitting the wrong button on my watch. That took more hitting of more buttons, which I could not see very well in the dark. I tell you, sometimes it is not easy being me. It was 3:40 instead of the usual 3:38 when I actually began running.

I know some people have big, elaborate (I guess not physically big) devices that tell them exactly how far they run and what speed and how many calories they burn and how their heart behaves… I use the stopwatch on my Timex and only worry about how long I move my feet. Point and laugh if you must.

I had decided to run the hill by Valley Health. I had in mind the bold plan of running up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) on Sunday. I’ve always considered that my Sunday Run, although I do run it other days as well. When I run it, which I have not in many months (must check my running journal to see when the last time was).

As I crossed German Street, I waved to our paper deliverers. They waved back. A pick-up truck made a loud bang as it went over a pothole. That is a sound I have been hearing a lot lately. I know there are a lot of potholes around here but I had no idea there were so many pick-up trucks with empty trailers. Perhaps there are other things that make similar noises.

German Street has a small upgrade as one approaches Valley Health. I was soon thinking that I will NOT be ready for the hill to HCCC this week. Well, I don’t have to make that decision till tomorrow.

I ran slowly up the hill I was ready for, taking long strides so I felt a little stretch in the back of my legs. Some lights were on at Valley Health. I thought about the people working the night shift. They would be approaching the end of their shifts. I hated the night shift. I don’t get good sleep during the day. Of course a nap on one’s day off can be a beautiful thing, but it is not the same.

I did not run down by the high school as I often do after the hill by Valley Health. There did not seem to be any nefarious characters hanging about, but there was no point in taking chances. I started down Church Street. I saw one of the pretty cats I had run by Tuesday morning (oh yeah, never wrote a blog post about that run). The cat crouched down and watched me suspiciously. I wondered if it was a stray or belonged with anybody.

I realized I was headed towards Main Street. Main Street has kind of a bad reputation these days. I often walk there with Tabby and have never had a problem, but I decided not to try it at 4 a.m. I would turn at Prospect Street. It seemed long enough to get to Prospect.

I saw a house with solar lights in a front yard flower bed. Our solar lights do not all light up. Then I saw one of these people’s lights was out and felt better. Nobody is perfect, I thought. Then I saw a house with eight solar lights lining the front walk, all lit, and felt inferior again. Just kidding; even my fragile self-esteem can stand up to somebody else’s solar lights being on. But it wasn’t giving me any ego boosts.

I headed towards Meyers Park. Signs say the park is closed from dusk to dawn, so I ran around it. I don’t imagine anyone would mind if I ran through it, but I think around is slightly longer to go around. I wanted to run 29 minutes, which is how long I ran last Sunday. I plan to up my time by 10 percent tomorrow. Earlier in the run I had my doubts about making it to 29 but now I wondered if I wouldn’t actually go over.

I did not go over but I made my 29 minutes. The sky was lightening when Tabby and I took our cool-down walk. Today is the summer solstice. I guess I celebrated summer with my early morning run. And let’s hear it for getting the run done and on to the rest of Saturday!

Junk Run

Once again I ran after almost talking myself out of it. I thought I would go for that awesome feeling during the cool-down walk again. Today I would run the hill near Valley Health. I want to build up to the hill up to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC).

So off I went, and it didn’t feel too terrific right away. It wasn’t too bad though, so I kept going. I saw a pair of plastic sunglasses in the road, near the curb. I picked them up, thinking to place them somewhere prominent, where they were in less danger of getting run over and where somebody looking for them might see them. Then I realized there was not such a place handy and I had to keep running. I kept the glasses in my hand. After all, no point in letting them get wrecked now that I’d rescued them.

They appeared to be cheap but nice sunglasses with not a scratch on them, child size. Well, I could always give them to somebody who can use them. Really, they just would have gotten run over or kicked if I had left them lay there.

Then I saw a piece of a silver poinsettia plant, that had perhaps come off a Christmas decoration. It, too, was in pristine condition, other than apparently being broken off from whatever decoration it had graced. Having set a precedent, I picked that up, too. I could use it as a decoration on my container garden. I felt a little silly, running along with a pair of red sunglasses and a silver poinsettia, but then again, I am a bit silly. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I was so busy thinking of my newly acquired junk that I made it up the hill by Valley Health without even noticing I was doing it. Score! Well, maybe the last few steps were a kind of an effort, but it’s a good thing to make an effort when you are running.

Sunday is usually my day when I up my run time by 10 percent. That meant I should run 29 minutes instead of 26. You see, I round up. Then I thought maybe I should not round this time and run 28 minutes and some seconds. I would have to do some math for that. It seemed like a lot of trouble.

My legs were certainly getting tired. I started asking myself, what’s wrong with plateaus anyways? You can enjoy the view from a plateau. There’s always the future to improve. I pictured a plateau but could not see where the mountain went up from there. Then I thought, “I’m not so much on a plateau as pausing for breath on an outcropping.” I pictured myself precariously balanced, then decided to drop the mountain metaphor and just run however long I ended up running.

Up a street, over a block, down another street. Admiring a garden or a window box. Trying to peek into a back yard to envy the screened in porch. I was startled by a bright, almost iridescent magenta sports car. What a beautiful color. And wouldn’t it be nicer to drive somewhere instead of running there? No, no, running is fun. Then again, so is sitting on a porch like that one over there with the padded wicker chairs.

It looked as if I was going to make my time or close to it. I ran by Meyers Park but not through it. I saw a white peony somebody had picked and dropped. That wasn’t junk, that was a poor innocent flower that was going to dry up and do nobody any good. I picked it up. Now I had sunglasses and a poinsettia in one hand, a peony in the other, but I was almost home.

That wonderful feeling I get during my cool-down was within sight. And it was at least going to be 26 minutes. Let’s make it 27! Go past the house, I urged myself.

I ended up running my 29 minutes, by virtue of two laps around my driveway before I stopped. Steven put the peony in some water while Tabby and I walked my cool-down. I put the poinsettia in with one of the plants in my container garden. I felt pretty pleased with myself.