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Not Quite the Run I Planned

YES!  Saturday Running Commentary is BACK!  I ran this morning and less than an hour later, I am sitting down to write my blog post about it!

I had actually planned  better blog post.  I am still unsure of my plans for the day, so I thought I  would think about what I was going to do while I ran, then I could write about the run and my plans.  Well, I thought about my run while I was running, probably because I kept changing my plans about where and even how long I was going to run.  So I am going to tell you about that.

My thermostat said it was 38 degrees out, well within my parameters for leggings and long sleeves.   A long-sleeved running shirt was handy, because I had worn it under my sweatshirt when greeting the trick-or-treaters on Tuesday.  It took a little longer to find leggings and winter running socks.  I guess I could have done without winter socks, but the leggings I found are a little short and I did not want that little half-inch of bare leg between sock and legging.  It’s the little things.

At last I was off.  Ooh, it felt cold.  And I felt a little self-conscious in my form-fitting shirt and leggings.  I usually run in very large t-shirts.  Indeed, most of my long-sleeved t-shirts are on the baggy side as well.  But one must not let these things keep one from pursuing fitness.  I kept running.  My main concern was that the cold would give me a sinus headache, as it sometimes does.  I made up my mind that if it started to I would have a short run.  I have things to do today (even if I have not planned it out yet); I can’t be down with a headache.

I ran toward Valley Health, my go-to hill when I am building myself up.  From there, I could run to the high school and over the little footbridge.  That is often my Sunday run, but it would do for a Saturday.  As I approached the hill, I could see something was going on at the school: a school bus and several cars were right where I planned to run.  I revised my plans.  I thought the sight of my lumpy body outlined in such detail by my outfit, which was not even all that warm, might traumatize high school students.   I decided to run into the residential area behind Valley Health and make my way back to German Street via Lou Ambers Drive or Maple Grove.

As I approached Lou Ambers, I thought I would go to Maple Grove, where there were sidewalks to run on.  Then as I got toward Maple Grove, I saw that it went uphill to the next street over.  A little uphill would be a good thing.  Beyond that was the back way up to Herkimer College.  I was not up to running to Herkimer College.  Then I noticed the “Do Not Enter” sign.  I felt I just had to run by a “Do Not Enter” sign.  I thought I would only run to the path that goes into Brookfield Park (previously known as The Unknown Park in this space).   This put more uphill in my run.

The path into the park added more uphill.  As I ran, I hoped I could actually get into the park.  The path leads to a picnic area, which is separated from the rest of the park by a little footbridge over the brook.   The bridge and brook are surrounded by a chain link fence.  Sometimes the bridge is blocked.  If the bridge was blocked, I would have to turn around and run back the way I came.  I did not want to do that.  I was tired of running and wanted to go home.  I made up my mind that if the bridge was blocked, I would just climb over it.

I could not tell until I was right at the bridge whether or not it was blocked.  In that length of time I was able to picture myself ripping my leggings on the fence, falling into the brook, spraining my ankle, and having to drag myself out of the brook to limp home.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just run longer than I intended.  The bridge was unblocked, so that was good.

By now I realized I MIGHT make it home in 30 minutes, the length of last Sunday’s run.  Then again, it might end up being 33 minutes, the intended length of tomorrow’s run.  I felt pretty good either way. My legs and body had warmed up nicely and I felt I could continue running with no problem.  This was all right!  I ended up running by my house to the end of the street and coming back for a 33 minute run.  Yes!

As I walked my cool-down, I felt pretty damn good about myself.  If I keep this up, I will be in great shape for the Reindeer Run 5K!  Now to get on to planning the rest of my Saturday…


Snowy Sunday Run

I was maybe half-way into Sunday’s run when I remembered something:  winter running socks do not keep your feet warm once they are soaked from running through slush.

Winter came to much of the northeast between Saturday and Sunday.  The Mohawk Valley did not get hit as badly as other areas, but we got some.   Still, it did not seem terrible to me when I got up shortly before six.  There was snow on the back lawn but not an inordinate amount.  After a cup of coffee I thought I might take a run.

The sun was not all the way up, or maybe it was the clouds making it seem that way, so I decided to wear my road guard vest (it is a reflective vest, I suppose, but in the Army we called them road guard vests).  I sometimes wonder about wearing the vest when I run on the sidewalk — am I being overly cautious and look like a big geek (which I guess I am but you don’t have to rub it in).  However, I also had it in mind to run up the hill to Herkimer College (previously known as HCCC), where there is no sidewalk.

Steven approved of my wearing the vest, “Because it’s still snowing.”

“It is?”  It was hard to tell in the dim light.  I don’t usually run through precipitation, but I already had my warm running gear on — leggings, long-sleeved ARMY t-shirt, winter running socks, hat and mittens.  The vest added another layer.

Almost as soon as I started out, I abandoned the sidewalk for the road so did not have to worry about looking overly cautious.  I wasn’t sure the road would be a whole lot less slippery, though.  I felt even more worried when I turned onto German Street.  There is generally more traffic on German so I knew I might have to get right over to the curb.  There were some major puddles by the curb and not a little ice.  Damn!  Luckily there wasn’t much traffic.  I made it to Lou Ambers Drive without mishap.

As I ran I debated whether I would actually run up to the college.  I had settled for the hill by Valley Health on Saturday.  Surely that would be good enough again.  I could go into the suburbs (that is what I call the residential area back behind Valley Health) where I would find a few more hills.  For one reason, if I slipped and fell flat on my face, somebody in a house might come out and help me.  More likely they were still asleep.  I headed toward the college.

A man was in the driveway of a house near the bottom of the hill.  I think he came out to get his newspaper and stayed to smoke a cigarette.  We waved at each other.

“I don’t know what the hell I’m thinking,” I said.

“I wasn’t going to say anything,” he said.

The worst part about the snow falling was that it accumulated on my glasses.  I had sensibly remembered to switch my good glasses for an old pair of safety glasses, so I could wipe them off on my shirt and not worry too much.  It was a little awkward with my mittens on.  Additionally, the snow had accumulated on my shirt as well.  Never mind, I told myself.  I can see well enough.

I did wish I could see a little better, though, because the trees looked so beautiful with the snow on the branches.  It was a lovely winter scene.  It would have put me in quite the Christmasy mood if the slush wasn’t soaking through my sneakers and into my socks.  I kept going, though, because I knew I would not be out long enough to get frostbite.  I comforted myself with the thought that a little extra weight on my feet would burn a few more calories.

I ended up running for a longer time than I had meant to, but I felt pretty good about it.  Full disclosure:  I have not been running since.  On the other hand, that is only two days.  I’ll run again tomorrow, I hope.  I might even write a blog post about it.