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A Triumph, Or Do I Flatter Myself?

Is it as much of a triumph if, on the way to your goal, you inwardly grumbled and fussed and wished yourself elsewhere?  Or does that make it more of a triumph, that you overcame your own resistance and fought the enemy that was you?

Another philosophical question:  does it matter much if I do another post about running so soon?

The questions in the first paragraph occurred to me in the middle of this morning’s run.  I made it up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly referred to as HCCC), the first time I have done so in a while.  Even getting on the road was something of a triumph, because my first thought on getting out of bed was, “Thank God I ran yesterday when I didn’t want to, because now it won’t be so bad if I don’t run again till tomorrow.”  A cup of coffee helped me change my mind.

It was 46 degrees, according to my thermostat, one degree over my limit for shorts and short sleeves.  I had been going to rethink that rule, but I could not be bothered with thinking this morning.  I found stuff to wear and got out the door.  I soon lamented my cold hands but comforted myself with the thought that I would not try to write anything for a while after the run.

I had told Steven I might run up to HCCC, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.  As a friend of mine said once, “I don’t make plans, promises or excuses.”  I could have expounded for a while on that excellent rule, but I only would have been stalling my run, so I did not.  Instead I ran toward German Street  and turned myself in the direction of the college.  I could not see any alternative to running up that hill.  I had to do it sooner or later, I thought.  The longer I put it off, the worse it would be.  I realize that, logically speaking, that is not strictly true (do I really need both those adverbs in that sentence?  I do tend to overdo it with the adverbs).  If I kept increasing my run time, and kept running other hills (of which there are not that many in Herkimer), it would get easier not harder to run up one particular hill.  But as I said earlier, I could not be bothered with a lot of thinking this morning.

Besides, I wanted to feel bad-ass.

Going up that hill was not fun.  Looking ahead didn’t help.  Looking down at my feet didn’t help.  Looking back at how far I came helped a little bit, since I didn’t do that till I was more than half-way up.  I tried to distract myself by looking at the green on the bushes and some of the trees to the left and right of me.  I do like to see the green.  I did not see any deer or other critters.  A couple of cars went by, also headed up the hill, but I did not try to hitch a ride.  They probably would not have stopped in any case.

At last, at last, I was at the top!  I wanted to put my arms over my head and make fists, although there was nobody nearby to sing, “We Are the Champions”  (regular readers may recall that at the end of a difficult run, I enjoy to walk around with my fists in the air while somebody sings, “We Are the Champions,” if I can get anybody to do so).   I just kept running normally, though, looking forward to the downhill part of my run.

I upped my time by the recommended 10 percent, so I felt pretty pleased about that.  Then I had a hot flash while I was stretching, so a cool shower felt really good.  I used good-smelling soap and lotion (white gardenia, my favorite), so I could feel pretty. Even us bad-ass runners like to feel pretty sometimes. I meant to make my Running Commentary post soon after my run, and perhaps include more of my observations and philosophical thoughts.  Then again, I’ve approaching 700 words.  That is pretty long for me. And I have a murder mystery to get ready for.  Happy Saturday, everyone.



Can You Dig It?

Well, it is Wuss-out Wednesday today.  I got the day off work due to Winter Storm Stella (I like “winter storm” better than “nor’easter”; it makes me feel like I’m under 70 and I still have all my teeth) (was that a dreadful thing to say?  There is nothing wrong with being over 70 and toothless; I may be there myself one day) (but this is not that day).

Where was I?  Ah yes, telling you a little about my day.  The best part was going back to bed after I got up and found out all shifts were cancelled at my place of employment.  The worst part was spending over two and a half hours shoveling the driveway. However, even that had its moments.

I wanted to take some “before” pictures for this blog.  When the extent of the task became apparent, I abandoned the Tablet and just started digging.  For another reason, I was afraid the sheer whiteness of the view would make it harder to see where the snow ended.  I could barely see where the snow ended, and I was right there.

Our neighbor, who owns half the two car garage and has driveway rights, had snow-blowed a path from his half of the garage (where he keeps his snowblower) to the sidewalk.  That definitely helped, because the rest of the driveway was quite impassible.  I think he also blew out the very end of our driveway, because although it was completely filled in by the plow, it did not look as deep as other areas.  We dug and dug. I tried to keep my spirits up.

“We are bad-hyphen-ass,” I assured Steven.  Many things become more bearable if you can feel that you are bad-ass when you do them.  I paused to admire the bare trees against the grey sky.  No, I did not make it back outside to take a picture of those.  Sorry.

I sang, “High Hopes,” you know, with the verse about that little old ant who thinks he can move a rubber tree plant.  I tried to put new words and make the song about us, but I could not think of a word for “old farts” and a word for “snowbank” that rhymed.

“How you doing, honey?  How you feeling?”  I kept asking Steven.  This was not just me being silly.  People have heart attacks while shoveling snow all the time, and my husband is not a young man.  He also does not lead the healthiest of lifestyles, but perhaps I can help him improve on that.

At one point, the neighbor kids were out playing.  The boy did a cannonball off his deck into the snow.

“I wanted to do that!” I said.  Unfortunately, I did no such thing.  As we shoveled, my feet and hands were becoming more and more cold.

Finally we decided that good enough was good enough.  Both vehicles are clear enough to move, with enough space to make it to the road.  It ain’t beautiful, but it’ll do.  I hit the showers.

And almost cried when the warm water hit my toes! My thighs, which were bright red, stung like hell as well.  What a dreadful feeling!  It is good we did not take any longer than we did with our shoveling.  I do not need to lose any toes to frostbite; I need them to count to twenty!


Off to a Running Start on Sunday

It’s Sunday Running Commentary!  When I got up this morning (at a leisurely but not as late as I would have liked) 6 a.m., I said, “It would be a good idea if I went running.”  I was bearing in mind a recent note to self: do not go three days without running.  It had been two.  Regular readers may recall that it is a trick I use to get myself to do what is good for me:  I say, “It would be a good idea if…” as opposed to, “I should…”  Sometimes it works.  Today it did.

I wore my ARMY t-shirt with the reflective doo-dah on the back, because it seemed the sun was not quite up.  By the time I had wrestled myself into two sports bras (do NOT tell me, “TMI!”), it was not as dark as it had seemed, but a bit of reflective stuff is not a bad idea on a run.  Off I went.

As I reached the end of the driveway I saw the most beautiful sky.  The rising sun was making a lovely pink texture on the bottom sides of lots of clouds.  It was to the left of me as I ran towards German Street.  I wondered if it was a red sky at morning (sailors take warning). I pondered, as I have since I first heard that expression, if there was a qualitative difference between red skies and pink skies.  And how about orange skies?  Anyways, I’m not a sailor, so I have never been too exercised over the whole idea.

I turned left onto German, so I could enjoy the sky.  I saw our paper deliverers across the road and waved at them.  Our paper deliverers are awesome.  So prompt and reliable, and they seem to have a vast territory.  My plan was to run up Main Street, down the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal (does that path have a name?) then on to the end of German, via a street that runs parallel, and back down German, going up and down the dead end streets.  It is what I think of as my Sunday Dead End Run.  As my run time increases, I can add more dead end streets.  My run time is back down (I’ve had a bad summer, running-wise), so I wondered how few dead ends I would make today.

As it turned out, very few.  OK, just one. And I suffered an injury. Not much of one.  As I approached the end of the street that ends near the parking lot of the HARC building (another dead end but not one that forces me to turn around, so ah ha ha), I ran around a car parked across the sidewalk.  I thought to get back on the sidewalk for the little bit of it that was left, then I tripped on the curb and went down.  Damn!  How clumsy of me.  I scraped my knee but did not pause to check how badly.  It didn’t feel too bad.  I had landed on one hand too but thought I had done even less damage there.  Mostly some gravel.  This was fine. I would be bad ass enough not to worry about it (although I planned to mention it in my blog post).

It was not, however, a particularly bad ass run.  I was ready for the cool shower portion of my day well before I stopped running.  I enjoyed it, despite being sweaty, tired and (slightly) injured. I like looking at people’s houses, envying features like screened-in porches and wondering if I can imitate certain garden features.  For example, I saw a chair with a potted plant sitting underneath the space where the seat was missing, vines climbing up the chair back.  Do I have a broken old chair I can use that way? Maybe I could find one at a garage sale.  I saw a very long clothesline.  My clothesline is not nearly that long but I like it.  Is it supposed to rain today?  My bunions are non-committal.

I ended up running 30 minutes.  My goal had been 28, approximately ten percent over the 25 minutes I ran last Sunday.  I felt pretty pleased about it.  I feel pretty pleased that I have made my blog post prior to 8 a.m.  What other ambitious things can I get done today?  The sky’s the limit!  Incidentally, it stopped being pink soon into my run.  I think I’ll check and see if it’s grey.


Not a Bad Run, But Perhaps Bad-ass

Did you ever make up your mind to something bad-ass then partway to actually doing it, realize you are perhaps not quite bad-ass enough to do it.  There I was, running down German Street in Herkimer, NY, writing my blog post in my head about how I ran up to Herkimer College the front way (a rather impressive hill, for new readers, if any), and I thought Hmmmm…..

I did not run last weekend due to, oh never mind why, just don’t judge.  Then I only ran on, what was it, Monday?  Too lazy to reach for my running journal or see if I posted a Running Commentary about it (and I have menopausal brain fog and purely cannot remember) (oh yes, I remember now it was Monday. Take that menopause!).

Well, I was not going to write a blog post about how I did NOT run up that hill, so up that hill I went.  It really wasn’t too bad.  Following advice I got many years ago, I just looked at my feet and shuffled up that hill.  I did look up a few times, glancing both ahead and behind me.  Not too far up ahead, enough to feel proud of behind.  This was going to be no problem, or at least a not insurmountable problem.

One reason I had wanted to run up the hill was that earlier in the week a friend had posted a picture of the view on Facebook.  I wanted to see that view again myself.  Accordingly, I looked to the right as I got to the top of the hill.  Hmmm… a bit misty in the distance.  No matter, it was pretty enough and I can run that hill again.

I failed to mention my running attire earlier, but I was in shorts and a t-shirt.  I had wondered if that was quite right since it has been cool for June these last few days.  My hands were feeling pretty cold.  One thing that did not help was I was carrying a small bottle of water in one of them.  You see I was at a very fun party last night and was a trifle, shall we say, dehydrated this morning (again, don’t judge).  I was sipping water as I ran and planned to refill my bottle at the spring on the way back down.  Now I looked at the Herkimer College sign that flashed the date, time and temperature.  45 degrees.  That is my cut-off temperature for shorts and short sleeves, so I should be good.

I ran down the back way, which is a quiet, woodsy road.  Of course the main roads were pretty quiet at the time I was running.  I do love getting up and getting right on the road when possible.  I finished my water about four or five minutes before I passed the spring again.

I had run 31 minutes the weekend before last and 24 on Monday.  I thought it was not unreasonable to shoot for 33 today and I saw I was handily going to make that.  I was at 26 minutes when I got to the spring.  I stopped my watch while I refilled. Straight home would give me 33 minutes, or perhaps a bit more.  No matter.  I was bad-ass.  My legs felt pretty good, although they would not have minded stopping.  My breathing was a bit labored, but I felt I was getting sufficient oxygen.

On Church Street I encountered two neighborhood dogs and their owner.  I quickly ran to them.  For one reason, as regular readers know, I love to pet dogs.  For another I wanted to tell their person about our pending pooch.  I knew she would be pleased.  She said she hoped she would be out sometime when we are walking him.  No doubt we will encounter one another.

I had stopped my watch again while I petted and chatted. Now I turned it back on again.  I was a mere block away from my house, so I felt a little silly doing so, but why not run the last bit?  I ran past the house to make my total 35 minutes.  I went into the house for a sweatshirt before my cool-down walk, which felt wonderful (both the sweatshirt and the walk).  I have big plans to run tomorrow.  Up that hill again?  Up a different hill?  Maybe just a long run.  My plan is definitely to run!  Then later I will walk our new dog.  I’ll probably write a blog post about it.


Midsummer Monday

I began the week determined to write my blog posts in advance.  I would not spend the week composing nonsense at the keyboard, mostly about how I just can’t write a real blog post.  I was going to Write Real Blog Posts.

So far, not so good.

In my defense, quite a full weekend, ten hour day today, rehearsal tonight (you know, for the play I’m in?).  Oh, and temperatures in the 80s (92 in Little Falls, which is not that far away).  I do not work in an air conditioned building.  When I did work in an air conditioned building, I wore  sandals skirts with no pantyhose.  Now I wear steel-toed work shoes and BDU pants.  I say this with pride, not complaint.  I am bad ass.

Unfortunately, “bad ass” does not necessarily translate into “able to write awesome blog posts.”

I tried, I really did.  Actually, what I first tried to write was an article for Mohawk Valley Living magazine.  I thought perhaps I could publish a shortened version for the blog.  It did not go well.  I tried to work on my novel.  I wrote one sentence on a scene I had previously written.  That effectively brought the scene to an end.  I started another scene.  Then I couldn’t remember if one character did or did not believe in ghosts.

How could I forget such a thing?  How long have I been living with these characters?  What kind of a writer am I?  I was too traumatized to write anything else.  I looked over my lines for the play then helped a co-worker with a crossword puzzle.

Now I must finish getting ready for rehearsal.  For anyone just tuning in, it is for Roxy, at Ilion Little Theatre.  I play Roxy.  And I just realized something:  yesterday was Severed Head Sunday.  Today I am going to rehearsal for a play in which I CHOP MY HUSBAND’S HEAD OFF!  Oh how delightful to have something in common with Joan Crawford!

So what if I can’t always write an awesome blog post?  I’m still bad ass.


Not Bad Ass Yet, But Getting There

Earlier this morning I made a note to myself: When you plan to run Friday afternoon instead of Saturday morning, do not talk yourself out of it. You will regret it Saturday morning. However, shortly after I made that mental note, I realized I was enjoying my run quite a bit and ceased to repine.

We got snow in the Mohawk Valley Thursday night. Friday it started sticking to the ground. Not a huge amount. We did not have to break out the shovels. Still, it was snow, and it was not warm, even by the standards of someone who spent years living in the North Country (that would be me). I almost talked myself out of it again. After all, I could run in the afternoon, when it might be warmer but would certainly be daylight. Surely a better time to run.

No, no, I told myself. Just put on some leggings and long sleeves. Find your winter running socks. Get going. Steven had cleaned out the living room closet yesterday so it was no problem finding a hat and gloves. I put on a sweatshirt for good measure. I hesitated about the sweatshirt, because I also intended to wear my reflective vest. If the sweatshirt got too warm it would be awkward to take off with the vest on top of it. Then I thought, it’s under 30 degrees. Put on the sweatshirt.

Snow covered the sidewalk but not thickly. I ran with a low, shuffling gait, in case of slick spots. You would think with the amount of padding I carry around my hips and midsection that falling would hold no terrors for me. Well, let me tell you, fat can bruise painfully, too. Spoiler alert: I didn’t fall today.

I was happy I had worn the gloves and hat. I only wished I had something covering my face, because that got cold in a hurry and never warmed up. No matter, I didn’t intend to run very far. 20 minutes would be sufficient, I told myself. I have been running 25 minutes. I thought I ought to think about increasing it by the recommended 10%. After all, I’ve been running for more than a week. Not as many times as I perhaps ought to be running, but I can work on that. For now I just kept going.

Occasionally my trailing foot would slip as I shifted weight to my leading foot. Nothing too worrisome at the speed I was going. I did not increase my pace. I felt so comfortable. Sometimes when I run a slow pace I feel it is too slow. I feel I am plodding like a fat snail, just slogging along in a pathetic, embarrassing fashion. Today it did not feel too slow. I felt awesome! I was so glad I was running!

I knew I would not end on a sprint. Too dangerous. I decided as I went which way to go. When I had mapped out in my head which streets would bring me back home, I thought I would just get home when I got there and that would be how long I ran. I was on the opposite side of the street. As I approached the house, though, I ran by to the corner then crossed the street and ran back. Yeah, I felt bad ass.

It ended up being 27 minutes, an increase of less than 10% but an increase nonetheless. As Tabby graciously walked my cool-down with me I started to feel cold. I suppose that means I did work up a sweat, even at my slow, shuffly pace. I still felt pretty damn good about myself. I will build up my run time. I will be bad ass.