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Run Before G.R.A.V.E.

Good things happen all at once.  Just when this blog ought to become All G.R.A.V.E. All The Time, I find it also must become All Fireman 5K All The Time.  Yes, this Saturday, Oct. 14 I shall run a 5K in the morning and act in a murder mystery in the evening.  I know, that’s not a huge lot on my plate (I know YOU probably do more before breakfast) (you know who you are), but you know how easily I get flustered.  I just got back from running and must study my lines for tonight’s rehearsal.  However, I shall first attempt a Running Commentary post in order to avoid Wrist to Forehead Sunday later.

It was pouring rain when we got up this morning.  I was guiltily happy to postpone my run.  I even wondered if the rain would keep up enough to make an indoor run on the mini-tramp eligible.  For one reason, I never finished watching the John Barrymore silent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that I started watching the last time I ran on the mini-tramp.  However, the rain soon stopped.  When I stepped out on the front porch to get the newspaper, I noticed how muggy it was. Yikes!  I hate a muggy run, and it’s October, for heavens’ sake!  However, after Steven left for work shortly before nine, I suppressed my feelings of ill-usage and got into running clothes.

I sought out the loosest shirt I could find, which was a large, low-cut, sleeveless t-shirt I wear when I go swimming (for a bathing suit, I wear spandex shorts, a sports bra, and that shirt to cover my fat gut).  My sports bras showed, so I made sure I wore colors that didn’t clash with light pink: hot pink and grey.  I know I will never look like anything but a plodding, overweight middle-aged lady when I run, but at least my colors are coordinated.  I further decided to run with a bottle of water in my hand.  I felt desperately thirsty by the end of yesterday’s run.  Also, I planned to run to Herkimer College, which would bring me right near the spring, for a re-fill.

Oh, it was warm and muggy.  There were puddles to dodge around.  I had taken the precaution of wearing an older pair of running shoes, so that was all right.  Still, I don’t need all that dirty water splashing up my legs, so I dodged.  I felt tired and ploddy, so I decided to run up to the college the back way.  It is longer but less steep.  Also, it is in a wooded area, so there might be shade.  I treasure shade.  By the way, I do not care if ploddy is a word or not, it is how I felt.

As I approached the road I wanted, I noticed a new sign saying “Do Not Enter.”  Score!  I could feel like a rebel! The little sign below said, “Authorized vehicles only,”  so I figured it was only closed to vehicular traffic. I thought they would not object to a ploddy, overweight, middle-aged lady, especially on a Sunday.  As I plodded up the road, moving just fast enough that I could pretend to myself it was a run, I saw they are doing work on it.  I made a note to myself to keep running this way on occasion, so I can mark their progress.

My body was not loving this run.  However, one must persevere, especially when one has a 5K to run in less than a week (yikes!).  Actually, you can ignore that parenthetical comment;  I have no reason to “yike,”  I am in plenty good shape for a 5K.  I don’t expect to get a good time, but I feel sure I will have a good time, if you see what I mean.  As I often observe, one must push through the bad runs to get to the good ones. This run was not horrible, at least, not yet.  I continued on up Reservoir Road, which is uphill but more of a gentle slope.  I still struggled a little, but you’ll have that.  Finally I was crossing over and starting on my way down.

And that was when it got horrible.  The sun had come out and was reflecting off the wet pavement like a wide, bright beam of headache.  If I had been wearing my polarized sunglasses and wearing a hat with a brim, I’d have been fine.  As it was, yikes (here I have good reason to  “yike”)!  Still, I didn’t see anything I could do but keep going and hope for a cloud.  Twice I was able to in the grass and take advantage of the shade offered by a row of trees.  Ah, I love to go off-road on occasion (I know some people mean something different than that, and I like those runs too).  At last I got to Lou Ambers Drive, where the trees offered some shade.

Of course the shade did not last.  However, a handy cloud gave some temporary relief, and as always, I tried to count my blessings.  Another blessing is the wide shoulder on that road, because a couple of cars were coming up it.  This is why I like to run on sidewalks when possible.  Occasionally the wind would pick up, and that was another blessing.  It was not enough to dry my sweat, but I was sweating profusely.  Sorry if that gives you an unfortunate mental image (but not real sorry).

I ran for 44 minutes, which was last week’s time.  Normally I try to up it by 10 percent each week, but today I must recruit my energies for this afternoon’s G.R.A.V.E. rehearsal.  Additionally, it should take me less than 44 minutes to run the 5K, so I can feel confident about that.  If the headache the bright sun gave me goes away (can’t say the sun never gave me nuthin’), my life will be perfect.

For more information about the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K, visit their Facebook page.  For more information on A GR.A.V.E. Murder, visit its Facebook event.  And Happy Sunday, everyone.

 

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I’m Also a Witch

First a quick postscript to yesterday’s post (postpost?):  the crock pot applesauce was DELICIOUS, especially with the vanilla ice cream.  It was also yummy today for my lunch without the ice cream.  Unfortunately, my digestive woes continue.  I only mention it as a partial excuse for today’s Wuss-out Wednesday post.  Earlier this afternoon, I seriously considered cancelling the blog due to weather.  I thought, why not?  They call sports games for rain, snow or severe heat.  Lightning causes all sorts of cancellations and plan changes.  Why am I expected to function normally in unreasonably warm, muggy weather? (The weather folks call it “unseasonably warm,” but I calls it like I sees it.)

I know, I know, stop being such a baby.  That and, when have I ever functioned normally?  And when have I ever needed an excuse for Wuss-out Wednesday?  When have I ever used an excuse that was not immediately discounted, at least by those pesky critics in my head?  How many questions do you suppose I can fit into one paragraph?  Would you believe one more?

I think this blog is spinning out of control, even for a Wuss-out Wednesday.

What I may look like tomorrow morning.

When in doubt, look for a Halloween picture.  I went to the downloads on our laptop and found this.  I couldn’t quite see what it was in the downloads (too small), but I saw pumpkin, darkness, and said, OK.  Pumpkin spice coffee.  Ah, the thought of that encourages me.  It is the taste of autumn.  I could use some autumn.

I’m the one on the right.

I do not now where Steven got this picture, but I love old-fashioned stuff like this.  Ah, the thought of Halloween approaching makes me feel better about everything.

This time I’m the one in the middle.

Wow, my husband finds some great stuff online.  And too late I remember, I could have thrown in the pictures, called this Wordless Wednesday, and had done with.  I never do anything right!  On the other hand, if that’s what I am, I’ll embrace it.  Happy Wednesday, everyone.

 

Sandy Start to Scattered Saturday

I actually don’t know how scattered my Saturday will be, but you know how I love alliteration.  This is actually Saturday Running Commentary, which I have been wanting to bring back for some time now.  I didn’t run far, I didn’t run fast, but I think I can get a few paragraphs out of it.

Of course I did not feel like running as soon as I got out of bed about 5:30 this morning.  No, I didn’t party hearty last night.  I fell asleep on the couch then went to bed early.  Yes, I’m old, don’t judge.  I had thought about getting right out, since I love beginning my run in the dark and ending it in the light.  I decided to have some coffee first, comforting myself with the thought that it is fall.  Days will get shorter, and I will have plenty of dark runs.

Sure enough, after a little caffeine I felt more inclined to exercise.  The sun was up, but it was foggy, so I put on one of my ARMY t-shirts with the reflective decal on the back.  Additionally, I revised my plans for where to run.  I had wanted to go out Main Street and up a steep hill, coming out on Steuben Road.  I decided to go someplace with less traffic and/or a larger shoulder.  True, there isn’t always a lot of traffic on Steuben on a Saturday morning, but some people really like to gun it up that hill.  I like to give myself every advantage.  Accordingly, I ran down German Street in the direction of Herkimer College.

However, as I ran I felt not up to tackling that hill.  I have not run it since before the Boilermaker 15K.  I mostly like to run it so that I can post on Facebook that I did and impress my friends.  I thought I could save it till Sunday, when I usually increase my running time by the recommended 10 percent.  I ran up the hill by Valley Health and into the residential area I call the suburbs.  I knew I would find some major and minor hills there.  I want to start running more hills, to build myself up, but I really felt like sticking with the minor ones this morning.

I hoped to run on different streets from the last time I ran in the area, but of course I could not remember where I turned, so I just picked a street.  I saw a man in his front yard with a very cute little puppy. I think she was a yellow lab.  They were apparently having a business meeting, but the pup looked as if he wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do.

“Can I pet your dog?”  I asked.

“Sure,” he said.  “She might nip you; she’s only eight weeks old.  Her name is Sandy.”

Sandy jumped up eagerly while I petted her. She didn’t nip me, but she licked my hand and in general acted like a sweet, friendly pooch.  The man and I wished each other a good day, and I returned to my run.  As I did, I thought of the title for today’s post.  Just now I think maybe some of you thought I went running in the sand.  That would be nice, but I know of no handy beaches around here.

My run was not bad.  My legs felt pretty OK, with a few twinges in my knees and one bunion.  I was puzzled by the bunion’s pain, since it is not supposed to rain before next Wednesday.  I realized my breathing felt fine.  This delightful state of affairs deteriorated towards the end of the run, but I kept up for a full 36 minutes, which is how long I ran last Sunday.  I feel sure I will be up to forty minutes tomorrow, yes!

As I finished my run, I saw a neighbor and her sweet dog, Rocky, out walking.  I was happy to meet them on my cool-down walk.  Around the corner, I met and petted another nice dog.  I do love to pet a dog.  As I continued my walk, I reflected that I am now in 5K shape.  I ran for 36 minutes; I can run a 5K in 36 minutes.  And if I can’t run it in 36 minutes, by the time I am 36 minutes into a 5K, I can certainly finish.  Now, to find a 5K nearby…

 

What Does My Body Know, Anyways?

I felt sick to my stomach this morning, so I did not feel like going running.  However, I’ve found that sometimes the counterintuitive thing is the right thing to do (OK, why is my computer underlining “counterintuitive,” one of my favorite words by the way.  I looked it up in Webster’s, it is so spelled right!)  (OH, computer wants me to hyphenate it, counter-intuitive.  Well, I’m not going to, so there.)

Where was I?  Ah yes, running, although my body seemed to be telling me not to.  Oh well, my body is a well-known lazy bum, as is my mind on many occasions.  Additionally, I wanted to work up a good sweat so a shower would feel extra good.  So I got ready to go.  No worries about being cold, as we’re getting a last little bit of summer before the equinox.  Oh, anybody who is going to screech, “TMI!” if I mention bras, don’t read the rest of this paragraph, because you know I don’t want to hear that.  I took the unprecedented step of wearing three sports bras.  The first two I put on did not feel secure enough, and I was too lazy to take them off and start over (others who wear D cups or above will understand).

It was grey and foggy out.  I like fog.  It’s so mysterious.  I headed down German Street toward Valley Health.  That is about the only hill I am up to these days, but I hope to build myself back up.  As I slowly made my way up, I reflected that at my age I can’t just jump on and off the running wagon.  It takes much less time to get out of shape and a lot longer to get back in.  By the time I reached the top of the hill I was seriously considering bagging the running and switching to walking.  Ah, long leisurely walks.  How pleasant would that be?  Other people stay in great shape by walking.  That could be me.  Then I thought of a few of my friends that run and felt that I really am not ready to quit that club just yet.

I had originally meant to run immediately back down the hill and around the sidewalks nearer my house.  Then a street that went downhill and ended in a cloud of fog beckoned me.  Of course I knew what was there:  it is a housing development I have run through many times.  Still, it felt like more of an adventure to turn.  I ended up not going down the hill (which I would only have had to run back up) but took the next left.  I admired some of the houses.  Many were ranch houses build into hills so the garage was in the basement.  That would be handy.

There are some major hills in that area (I call it “the suburbs,” although I know that is not strictly accurate), but I managed to avoid them.  Eventually I made my way to Lou Ambers Drive so I could stop and get a drink at the spring.  I looked up the hill to Herkimer College and sighed.  Another week, maybe two, and I might be ready for that one again.  The spring water tasted good, but I still had a ways to go to meet my goal of 36 minutes (I did 33 last week).  I’m sure those times don’t seem very impressive to some of you.  Well, it’s where I’m at, I might as well own it.

I ended up running faster as I neared the 36 minute mark, because I wanted to get all the way home and not run for more than 36 minutes (hey, don’t judge, I was tired!).  I almost ran too fast and had to go by the house or run up and down the driveway a couple of times (don’t judge, but you can laugh at me if you like, I do).

As I finished my cool-down walk, I realized I was still sick to my stomach.  At first I thought, so much for the counterintuitive solution.   Then I thought, hey, I’m no worse off.  My stomach may still have been upset and this way, I got a run in.  And now I’ve gotten my blog post written.  On the rest of my Sunday chores!  I hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

 

Tired, But I Ran!

I have been trying to get back into the running habit, with some small amount of success.  I ran two consecutive weekend days, took yesterday off, and managed to run today.  Having written no blog post earlier (I DID write while on break and work AND after I got home, but it was not a blog post, sorry), I will attempt a Running Commentary, even as the little devil on my shoulder (you know, like they used to show on the cartoons, angel on one shoulder, devil on the other?) is whispering, “Tired Tuesday!  Make it another Tired Tuesday! You qualify!  You deserve it!”

Ahem, trying not to be distracted, I continue.  It was chilly and foggy this morning, but this afternoon was one of those when Mother Nature reminds us that it is still summer, even in the Mohawk Valley. I prefer to run in the fall weather.  I told myself that it certainly was not in the 80s, which I have run in, so I should just get out there and do it.  So I did.

Very slowly.

I had gone about three steps when I began to wish I had remembered to stretch before running.  I have gotten out of the habit of stretching before a run.  It is hard enough for me to start running anyways; I figured stretching was just more time for me to talk myself out of it (although full disclosure:  I have never talked myself out of running once the sports bras were on or even out of the drawer).  Additionally:  most sources say you should run in place for a minute and then stretch.  Oh, that is way too much trouble.  I thought, I begin running slowly, that will be my warm up.  And it has worked all right.  However, lately I have been thinking a few little stretches before the run might be a good thing to do.  Only now I am out of the habit.  Oh, the trials and tribulations!

So today I thought, should I pause right now and stretch?  I had just waved at a couple of neighbors sitting on their front porch, so I felt self-conscious.  Then again, they probably would not think anything of it.  Then again, stopping running was what I wanted to do more than anything else just then, so I was afraid of my ability to begin again once stopped.  I kept going.

It was soon apparent that I was not up to a long run.  That was OK, I told myself.  This was a mid-week run.  Twenty minutes was all right.  Just enough to get a little exercise, stay in the running habit.  No problem.  Oh, but it took a long time.  And it was warm.  Every bit of shade I ran through, I appreciated.  Of course I have had much hotter runs, and certainly more humid runs.  I have had runs where my feet, knees and back hurt more, where I have been longer without running, where it has been more difficult to breathe.

In short, I need to count my blessings.  I ended up running for 30 minutes.  This is how long I was running last week.  Sunday I upped the time by the recommended 10 percent to 33 minutes.   Oh, don’t shake your head at me and ask if I couldn’t possibly have lasted three minutes more!  Maybe I could have.  And maybe that three minutes would have tired me out so much that I really would have had a Tired Tuesday post, after NOT getting done the writerly chores I finished before making this post.

I’m going to call that a win.  I hope to see you all on Wuss-out Wednesday, for which I will make no promises.

 

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.

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!