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Feeling Creaky, Not Friday

How about some Friday Running Commentary?  For one reason, I went running.  For another, I’m just not feeling Friday today.  For a while I even thought I had to work tomorrow, which would have made this a real non-Friday.  Unfortunately, that fell through, so I was left with a Friday that did not feel like a Friday for no good reason.  However, I do not repine.  Instead I went for a long run and now I intend to write about it (yes, yes, I know, Truman Capote said, “That’s not writing, that’s typing,” but I don’t think he was talking about me).

Today was cooler than yesterday and overcast, much better running weather.  I put on sunscreen, though, because I know you can still burn on a cloudy day.  I had a vague idea that I would take a long run.  When I had thought I was working tomorrow, I thought I would make it the run where I upped my time by the recommended ten percent, in case I did not run tomorrow.  Since I do not have to work tomorrow, no doubt I will run.  Still, a long run seemed like a good idea.  Accordingly, I took a bottle of water with me, to sip at while I ran then re-fill from the spring.  That gave me a direction to run in.

To re-cap my recent runs:  Last weekend I ran for an hour and 14 minutes both Saturday and Sunday, hills on Saturday, none on Sunday.  I ran again on Wednesday for 42 minutes with a couple of small hills.  That was a painful run; I felt like I was barely going to make it.  Running more hills than I managed seemed quite out of the question.  So I was not sure how I would feel about running long or running hills today.  But I was going to try.

Well, I did not do as well as I had hoped but neither was it as heinous as I had feared.  I ran a few minor hills.  There were moments where I felt grim and hopeless, when I questioned my choices, and I felt fat, old and creaky.  There were other moments when I believed what I always say to myself, that I can pretty much keep going for as long as I decide to.  I had wild thoughts of upping my run time, as I had thought to do earlier.  Then I had daring thoughts of equaling my longest time so far.  Then I wondered what the hell I was thinking.

I finished my water and made it to the spring.  I decided to do what I did Saturday, that is, run by my house, drop off the full bottle, and finish the run empty-handed.  I still didn’t know how long the run would ultimately be.  A little suspense adds interest to my runs.

By the end of the run, I had changed my mind several times:  “I’ll run here… no, here…  oh wait, there’s that ‘Do Not Enter’ sign, I have to go here!”  I ran up Bellinger Street, across the street from where I live.  I usually run all the way up to German Street then down my side of the street home. Today I was directly opposite my house as my watch ticked the last seconds to the one hour mark.  So I stopped at one hour.  I thought that was pretty good.

I can’t say I felt marvelous as I walked my cool-down, but I felt pleased enough with myself.  I had a glass of chocolate milk after I showered, because I had read recently that this was a good recovery drink.  It was pretty tasty.

Just over three weeks remain till the Boilermaker.  I confess, I am questioning the fitness of my knees.  Then again, what are a few creaks on my way to 15K glory and beer?


A Month and Two Days till the Boilmaker

I did not run for the last two days, so I knew I must run today.  The Boilermaker 15K is a month and two days away and I do not feel ready.  I feel old and creaky.  So I went on a long, challenging run and now I feel — you guessed it — even older and more creaky.  I suppose one will have that when one is, in fact, old and creaky.  However, I planned earlier to make a Running Commentary post, so here it is.

The Mohawk Valley weather gifted us with a beautiful, sunny day today.   It is a day which calls us to spend time outdoors (I say is, because the sun is beckoning me onto the deck as I type this)  (in fact, what am I thinking, being in here?  My laptop has batteries!  I’m going to finish this post outside) (That took a few minutes.  Now where was I?).  I got home and got right into running clothes and out the door as soon as possible.

I knew it would be a good idea to run a hill or two, but all the hills are on the other side of German Street.  Would traffic allow me to cross the street?  I ran toward German and hoped.  Wow, lots of cars.  And my body was NOT in the mood to run.  Oh, my legs were tired, it was not easy to breathe, my back was sore, I was incapable of moving very fast.  However, I WAS capable of moving.  Maybe no hills today.  After all, if I couldn’t cross the street… but maybe now… no, cars kept coming.  Well, if I couldn’t cross the street, I couldn’t feel guilty for not running hills, could I?  Oh, here was an opportunity.  Damn.  Uh, I mean, good!

But which hill to run?  That sun was certainly warm.  I decided to run into Brookfield Park and down the path in the woods, which comes out on the back road up to Herkimer College (HCCC, to long-time locals).  The road goes up as soon as you go into the park.  Oh, that was painful.  It’s not even that long or steep of a hill.  Good God, I only took two days off!  What the hell, body?  It seemed to take a long time to get into the park, but soon I came to the bridge over the brook, which leads to the picnic area beyond which is the path through the woods.  I decided to go beyond it, to the end of the road, then back to it.

The stream babbled towards me, over rocks, moving rapidly and splashing busily.  The recent rains were no doubt having their effect, but it did not look in any danger of flooding.  At the end of the road is a fenced off area.  I could see a path at the edge of the fence, where apparently pedestrians bypass the fence and walk into the woods.  I,  however, did not do so. I had had the damnedest time getting this far; all I could think was that if I could go no further, I did not want to be too far from civilization.

Soon I was headed into the woods, along the path, which also took a long time.  I was not going to go the rest of the way up to the college. I would keep running.  Then I would stop.  Ooh, stopping sounded good.  But I kept going.  Finally I got back onto the road and headed down.  Then I had another idea.  There were a couple of dead end roads that went uphill.  I could run up those and still get some hills in.  I turned right onto the first one.

And realized that it was not exactly a dead end. It led up to the college by the dormitories, a way I have dubbed the kick-butt way.  Well, I did not have to run up the college the kick-butt way, just because I accidentally went on that road.  I could turn around.  I WOULD turn around.

I did not turn around.  Instead, I got my butt kicked.  It is a good idea to get your butt kicked a month and two days before the Boilermaker 15K, I think.  When I ran down the hill from the college, I stopped at the spring and got a drink.  As I ran onto my street, I passed two ladies and a baby on a front porch.  The baby was crying piteously.

“That’s exactly how I feel right now,” I said.  One of the ladies laughed.

I tell you, it was a lousy run, but I ran and I’m glad I did.  Tomorrow I am scheduled to donate blood at a blood drive at my work, so I will probably not run or walk.  And the Boilermaker 15K will be a month and one day away.  Yikes!


Memorial Day Musings on a Run in the Rain

I said yesterday I was going to do a hard run today, in honor of fallen soldiers for Memorial Day.  When I got up it was pouring rain, and I was tired.  I don’t usually run in the rain, and it was raining quite heavily.   I really felt too sluggish to do anything.  At last I bestirred myself and went upstairs to put on running clothes with the intention of running in place on the mini-tramp.

As I sought out proper attire, I felt I must run outside in the rain.  Was this a tribute to fallen soldiers or was it not?  How could I justify making things more comfortable for myself?  Maybe I wouldn’t make it for an hour and a minute (the length of my last longest run), but dammit, I was going to run in the rain.  I put on an ARMY t-shirt with a reflective decal on the back.  ARMY for the soldiers, reflective decal for me.  Headlights would catch the decal even in broad daylight, wouldn’t they? Cars should have their headlights on in the rain.  I would be fine.

I headed in the direction of Herkimer College, thinking up that hill would be a good, tough run.  I dodged around and jumped over puddles, eventually landing in one so that my shoes went squish, squish.  I expected that.  I wondered if my plan was a good one.  For one reason, I think the hill I ran up the last time I ran in the suburbs was a longer, steeper one than the one to HCCC (can’t get out of the habit of calling Herkimer College by its old name).  For another reason, I did not think there would be any people up at the college. I like to run where there are people, in case I run into problems.  Suppose I got cramps or sprained an ankle?  I like to think somebody would notice.

“Hey, there’s a crazy old lady, out running and came to grief.  I’ll call 9-1-1.  Better not get to close, though; I hear they’re dangerous when wounded.”

Halfway up the hill, I remembered Campus Safety would probably still be around.  Anyways, I’ve never come to grief running.  I think it’s something my body tells my brain to think about in hopes I will decide to stop running. Soon I was happy for the lack of traffic, because I went out almost to the middle of the lane to avoid a deep puddle.  I didn’t want any more squish in my shoes than I had to have.

Soon I started second guessing my whole “Run for the soldiers” theme.  Who did I think I was, anyways?  Wasn’t I just glorifying myself:  “Oh, look how tough I am, running up the hill in the rain.”  Of course I did not feel particularly tough. I felt wet and old, but oddly good about myself.  Naturally I become suspicious when I start to feel good about myself. I feel I am not the best judge of what I ought to feel good about.

Oh, it took a long way to get to the top.  Did I think this hill was easier than the others I run?  I must be crazy!  But I knew I could make it.  I was running with a bottle of water in one hand but did not feel inclined to take a sip on the steep incline. When I got to the top, I promised myself.  When I got to the top, I kept going across the campus, which I have not done yet this year.  After all, you can cover a lot of ground if you want to keep going for an hour.

Campus was almost deserted.  I saw one car moving and a few empty ones parked. Nobody told me to get off campus, and I enjoyed the solitude.  Things look kind of interesting when they are grey and soggy.  I was pretty grey and soggy myself, and not just my hair; the t-shirt was grey and by now it was soaked through.  I ran all the way around behind the athletic fields to Reservoir Road, which quite frankly seemed a lot longer than the last time I ran it.

I continued my run, moving back and forth between feeling I was making a respectful tribute and wandering what the hell I was thinking.  I also ran the gamut of “this really sucks” to “I LOVE running.”  Sixty-one minutes is a pretty long run.  I finished my water and re-filled the bottle at the spring.  Then I saved the spring water for my husband Steven.  I had left another bottle of tap water on my deck to drink during my cool-down walk.

And that is how I remembered and honored our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.


Perhaps Not an Epic Post but an Epic Run

I was twenty minutes into my run when I remembered I had not put on any sunscreen, not even my usual Oil of Old Ladies with SPF 15 on my face.  Of course, sunburn has not even been on my radar with our late spring.  Additionally, I usually run before 9 a.m. on a Saturday.  However, today I did not hit the streets till almost 1:30.  Yikes!  Naturally I kept running and tried not to worry about such things.

I had slept in this morning, after a late night at the murder mystery party where I had been plied with gin and champagne (full disclosure:  I did not put up much of a fight).  I had a headache and only myself to blame.  No matter, I told myself briskly.  I had not been running in three days and I was determined not to make in four.  I ran with a bottle of water in one hand.  I seem to remember that this is against the best running advice, but that was something else I couldn’t worry about.  My plan was to sip as I ran and when it was empty, refill it at the spring.  Accordingly, I headed towards Lou Ambers Drive, where the spring is located.

My plan was to run up the minor hill by Valley Health and around the residential area there I call the suburbs.  I guess technically it’s not a suburb, but you know how I like to have names for things.  There is an epic hill in that area as well as a few more of varying slopes and distances.  I did not feel up to anything too strenuous.  I wanted a slow, long, easy run.

Guess where I ended up running. Yes, it was the epic hill.  I sort of automatically headed in that direction and once I was on it just kept going.  Oh, that hill goes on for a long time!  Partway up, I thought it would probably be OK if I just turned around and ran back the way I came.  Then I reminded myself how stubborn I was.  I wasn’t rocking it, but I would not be defeated.  The road is a long loop, it goes up, up, up, then down, then up a short ways to meet up with itself.  I was SO HAPPY when I FINALLY got to the down part!  I noticed that the downhill did not last nearly as long as the uphill before I was headed uphill again.  And there’s a metaphor for life, I told myself.

As I ran, I narrated in my head, thinking my blog post would be a long as my run.  Now that I am typing, I’m not remembering the good parts.  For one reason, my headache is back.  No matter.  It will go away again.  In the meantime, I upped my run time by the recommended 10 percent and I am well on track to being in shape running the Boilermaker 15K.  Anyways, do you really want to hear about my puffing and panting?  Well, if you do, don’t despair.  I will no doubt do more running commentaries soon.  Happy Saturday, everyone!


Trying to be Cheerful on a Mid-Week Run

So I went running this morning and started to make a Running Commentary post, but I was just too distracted.  I thought I would feel less distracted as the day wore on, although I confess I don’t know why I thought that.  Never mind, I’ll just start the post and see if it works.

The thermostat said it was 40 degrees out, well within my range for leggings and long sleeves.  Only I couldn’t find a pair of leggings I didn’t mind getting dirty (hey, sometimes you have to plan your wardrobe ahead and you can’t count on being able to do laundry in a timely fashion).  I finally found a pair of spandex tights which I put a pair of shorts over.  What a late ’80’s/early ’90s fashion flashback! I used to LOVE wearing leggings or tights with shorts!  This was back in the day when one covered one’s butt while wearing leggings, unlike our current permissive times.

I only got a house or two away from home when I realized I had forgotten my hat.  That would never do.  I ran back home and pretended that was a warm-up.  I started out the second time running in the opposite direction to what I usually take: toward Meyers Park.  I ran through the park and over to Main Street.  There was a fire on Main Street last night.  I refrained from going down and rubber necking while it was going on, but surely it would not be too inquisitive to run by on the opposite side of the street and view the extent of the damage.

It didn’t look good.  The business on the ground floor seemed untouched, but upstairs windows on one side of the building were black holes.  Windows on the other side appeared to have been knocked out.  Damn!  I continued up Main Street, looking for something more cheerful.  Unfortunately, there are several un-cheerful sights on Herkimer’s Main Street.  I like to keep this blog positive, so I’ll go ahead and skip to the rest of the run.

My head was feeling the cold, despite my toque (it was the knitted watch cap I got in the Army; Steven calls it my toque).  I pictured a warm scarf wrapped around my face and thought that would feel good.  No matter, I told myself.  I could take a hot shower when I got back home.  I looked around at flowers in people’s yard and reminded myself that things WOULD warm up.

I only ran 32 minutes, but I thought that was all right for a mid-week run.  I had things to do that I felt I must recruit my energies for.  In fact, I’m still recruiting them and not getting a whole lot of things done.  But at least I made my blog post.


Run Before Lots of Running

I have not done an out of bed, out the door kind of run in a long time.  And it has also been a long time since I made my Running Commentary post so soon after said run.  Well, I have an extremely busy day planned, so getting my blog post done and out of the way is a good idea.

I thought it was supposed to be cold last night and this morning (I confess, I did not pay a great deal of attention to the weather), but our thermostat said 51 degrees.  Excellent running temperature!  It was just past 5:30; the sun was up but the world was not fully lit, so I put on one of my ARMY t-shirts with the reflective decal on the back.  Safety first for Mohawk Valley Girl!

During my last couple of runs, I have been wondering when they were going to stop sucking.  Then I told myself, wait for the weekend.  Running first thing in the morning is DIFFERENT from running after a full day’s work, I thought.  And for once I was right!  Yay me!  It was a great run!

I crossed German Street and ran down the sidewalk towards Main Street.  I had it in mind to run at least up the first part of the hill beyond the “Dead End” sign, up to where part of the road collapsed but pedestrians can still get through.  I saw a car way ahead of me with the emergency flashers on.  Now what was that all about?  Was it broken down?  I remembered hearing how if on the highway you see somebody broken down waiting for help, you should NOT be a good Samaritan and stop, because they might be bad people, decoying you over there to rob you.  I could not imagine anybody doing that in the middle of the village of Herkimer.  Anyways, I didn’t think I was going to run by the car.  Eventually it moved and turned onto Main Street, in the direction I intended to go.  Oh, it was probably somebody delivering papers.  Silly  me and my bad guys with the decoy broken down cars!

I did not see the car again, so I’m not sure where it went, but soon I was on that steep hill and had other things on my mind.  The first part of it wasn’t too bad.  Not fun, of course, but not too bad.  I decided to continue on up, maybe go all the way out Highland Avenue.  That is a good Saturday morning run.  There are no sidewalks, but it is a quiet road.  Steuben Hill, which Highland leads to (oh dear, I think I mean Steuben Hill; how can I possibly check these things?  Google continues to mystify me) is a little busier, but this early in the morning that should not be a problem.

On the second part of the hill, things got a little more difficult.  Just keep going, I told myself.  I remembered an old piece of advice I heard while in the Army, “just look at your feet and shuffle up that hill.”  I made it.   The road continues with some downhill but mostly uphill, but the slope is more doable as you go.  I looked around at all the houses I had not seen since I last ran that hill, sometime in 2016.  Finally I reached the end and was headed back to town.

It was not till I saw the sign reading “Village of Herkimer” that I remembered this run goes outside village limits.  Hello, Herkimer, I thought.  Did you miss me?  I don’t think anybody did.  Houses got closer together.  I encountered a couple of vehicles before I got to the sidewalk.  The truck that went by going downhill seemed to be trying to slow down, but the one on my side of the road (I run left side, facing traffic, as one is supposed to do) was speeding up.  Of course you must trounce on your gas as you go up a hill, or you may not make it, I thought.  I try not to judge.

When I got to Dorf Street and turned onto it, I noticed the “Do Not Enter” sign.  Why did I not remember that sign?  I LOVE to enter where it says “Do Not Enter,” just to be that way.  Oh, I know, they mean vehicles not shuffling middle-aged ladies.  Just let me enjoy the moment, please.

Soon I realized I was quite thirsty.  What to do?  The spring is way on the other end of German Street!  I did not think I could make it there without extending my run well beyond the recommended 10 percent more than last week.  When I got to German I turned in that direction (which is the direction of my house anyways).  I kept looking at my watch, figuring minutes, and turned around before I got to the spring.  I had, as usual, left a bottle of water on my deck for my cool-down run, so I did not suffer from dehydration for long (yes, I am one of those self-dramatizing types that say “dehydrated” for “thirsty.”  I thought you knew that about me).

I felt awesome at the end of my run and quite delighted that it had been a long, challenging run.  I WILL be ready for the Boilermaker 15K!  And now, on to the rest of my challenging Saturday.


Thunky Run on Tired Tuesday

I think a Running Commentary post is good on a Tired Tuesday.  At least it gives me a good excuse for being tired.  I definitely planned on running today but was not sure if I would run outside or inside on the mini-tramp.  One minute it was pouring rain, the next minute the sun came out.  I reminded myself of one of my favorite sayings, “I ain’t sugar; I won’t melt.”  As I walked out of my place of employment with my friend Karl, I pointed at the bi-polar sky.

“Look at that, dark clouds over there, bright sunshine over there.”

“Run in that direction,” he advised.

As I got ready to head out the door, I could hear rain on the tin roof of the back porch but could not tell if it was still raining or just blowing off the trees.  When I left the house, it was not raining.  I checked the sky, trying to decide which direction to run in. As I reached German Street, neither direction looked threatening.  Even the road was bare for the moment, so I darted across.  Now what did I do that for, I asked myself. I was just going to have to cross back later, and now I felt obligated to run one of the hills on that side of the street.

I headed towards Main Street, considering my options.  I could, rather that going up the hill on Main, cut over and run on the nice little path over what used to be the Hydraulic Canal.  I started up Main, thinking to do just that.  Then right when it was time for me to cross the street to cut over to the path, a car was coming.  You know how I hate to backtrack.  I said to myself, “Do you want to challenge yourself or not?”  I did not answer but by this time I could see the hill and it really did not look too bad.  Up I went.

And it wasn’t fun.  However, once I start up a hill, I usually make it to the top, and today was no exception.  I thought the rest of the run would probably be easier and congratulated myself on meeting a challenge.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  I plodded along, feeling heavier and older with each step.

The point is, I kept plodding.  I had not completely decided how long I intended to run for, but I went farther than the minimum I had in mind.  It was in the last quarter of the run that I started to feel not too bad.  This is how it is, I told myself.  Every run sucks until it doesn’t suck any more.  I was at that point tired enough that the thought struck me as profound.  I see now that it isn’t, but it is closely aligned to a thought that has often given me comfort:  Sometimes you just have to feel that way until you don’t feel that way any more.

So on this run, I felt old, tired and thunky.  And then I felt not too bad.  During my cool-down walk, I got rained on.  Then I felt wet and cold.  However, as I predicted in the first paragraph, I didn’t melt.  Now I feel pleased that I ran and moderately pleased with my blog post about it.  Now I’m wondering what I can possibly come up with for Wuss-out Wednesday.