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A Run to Start my Day

How about a Saturday Running Commentary to start the day?  Well, technically it does not start my day, because I had to run, then I showered and did a couple more chores… but you know what I mean (didn’t call you Shirley that time).

Full disclosure:  I had meant to be running in Liverpool this morning, from my sister Diane’s house.  But I did not have my act together to get packed and make the drive last night.  Did I mention that in last night’s post?  I’m too lazy to go back and check.  Uh, I mean I am too pressed for time.  Yeah, let’s go with the second one.

In a rare move for me, I got dressed and out running before coffee and a chance to change my mind.  I put on shorts and short sleeves before even checking the temperature.  It was 51 F, so that was OK (45 is my arbitrary and sometimes ignored cut-off for long sleeves and leggings).  It was foggy out, or “froggy” as my husband, Steven likes to call it.  He likes frogs.  I wished I was up to running up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly known as HCCC), to get a really good view of it.  Then again, the view from up there is prettier without the fog, and I am NOT up to running that hill (at least, I might make it up out of sheer stubbornness, but I sure wouldn’t feel good afterwards).  Anyways, I could see plenty of fog just looking down the street.

I turned right onto German Street.  The air felt cool on my ears and hands, but I felt secure in my wardrobe choices.  I crossed Main Street, since there was not much traffic that early, and decided to turn down the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal.  I want to walk down it with my great-nephew Sheppie sometime, because somebody painted places with certain steps:  march, jump, crab-crawl.  We used to call it crab-walk in my younger days.  It was my favorite, but I am not sure I would encourage anybody to do it on blacktop.  We used to do it in the grass.

My previous longest run was 27 minutes last Sunday (in this latest bout of getting back into running).  My runs during the week were shorter, after working all day.  Since I am not currently building up for a specific race, I decided not to worry if this was a short run.  For one reason, I was getting thirsty.  That is one advantage of pausing for coffee: I also drink water.  I just kept encouraging myself to keep going, bearing in mind that a nice bottle of water awaited me at my house.

The run ended up lasting 28 minutes. Woohoo!  I never got any of those endorphins, which quite frankly I could have used.  However, as usual, I felt good that I ran.  And now I feel good that I made a blog post.  On with the weekend!



Remember Saturday Running Commentary?

You thought it would never return, didn’t you?  I confess to some doubts myself.  However, this morning I got out of bed, into running clothes and was on the road before 6 a.m. (with my weekday overtime rising hour, 5:30 is totally sleeping in).

It was cool out, which was a nice difference from my last couple of runs.  Oh, I felt good. I had gone to bed early last night after a mere two glasses of wine so was able to congratulate myself on my forethought. It was also delightful to run at at time when traffic was sparse.  I crossed German Street with no problem and headed toward Main.

I had the idea to run up Main and across to the beginning of the path over the hydraulic canal.  I’m not up to hills yet or I may have continued up Main where there is a pretty good one.  The path was more my speed this morning.  As I ran along it, I thought I must walk it one day soon so I can pause and read the plaques that tell its history.  Maybe when I get a dog.  The dog could sniff around while I read.  Dogs like to do that.

Crossing back over German to follow the path presented no problem, but I did not stay on the whole path as originally planned.  I got distracted by a dead end street I have run down before.  There is a little space at the end where pedestrians can sneak through to another street.  I went that way, for something different.

My run was going splendidly.  I could keep this up for DAYS!  I knew that wasn’t true, of course.  In fact, one is not supposed to increase one’s run time more than 10 percent per week.  But I was having fun.  Soon I found myself on the street that ended at the parking lot of the HARC building at the end of German.  Should I run there then back down German?  I looked at my watch and tried to calculate times. I could run back down German and make it a Dead End Run, running up and down all the dead end streets on the north side of German.  Good plan!

By the time I got to the HARC building I realized there was no way I could run up and down all the dead end streets in the amount of time I wanted to run.  That was OK. I would keep my eye on the time and run up some of them.  I got around the building and looked toward Route 28.  A big dump truck was coming.  That was OK; he was going straight, not down German.

Just before I crossed the street, I saw a penny and stopped to pick it up.  It might be a penny from Heaven!  Two steps into the street I realized a car had turned onto German and was stopped to let me cross the street.  Yikes!  I waved and yelled, “Sorry!” then darted across the street and kept going up Lake Street.  I had not intended to go up Lake, thinking it might make my run too long.  However, since the car had nicely allowed me to cross the street, I didn’t feel right going on the sidewalk in the same direction.  After all, if I had only wanted to run on German Street, why hadn’t I stayed on my own side and no bothered the car?

I almost never run on Lake Street so I enjoyed to look at the houses. They run the gamut from newly worked-on to seen better days.  I especially like to see the flowers.  The street seemed long, but I ran all the way to the end.  Well, not quite the end, because at the very end some branches hung down from a tree and blocked me.  But almost the end.  Back on German Street I realized I would probably run more than 10 percent longer than my last run.  I’m sure that is all right, especially considering that I am returning to running and not building myself up for the first time.

The run was 28 minutes.  I did not run past the house.  I felt SO GOOD as I walked my cool down.  Why in the world do I ever stop running?  It is so silly of me!  Anyways, now I think I have a new Saturday run. Every week I can add another dead end street.  Then when I’m in really good shape and feeling bad-ass, I can end with a run up the hill to Herkimer College (formerly known as HCCC).  That will be something to blog about!


Hill after Headache

I went running today so that I could do a Running Commentary blog post.  The other reasons were (1) it was warmer than it has been for the past two days and (2) I had almost no headache all day.

As I left work, I reminded myself not to go crazy.  It was a little warmer.  It was not a heat wave.  I would still need to wear leggings, long sleeves and probably a hat. Still, the sun was shining.  It was a lovely afternoon.  Could it be over 40?

According to my thermostat, the outdoor temperature was 36 degrees.  Although it was sunny, there were clouds in the sky.  It is, after all, winter.  I dressed accordingly and got going.

At least the sidewalks were fairly bare.  I dodged some snow and ice as I ran toward German Street.  I wanted to run up to Herkimer College.  I thought it would make a better blog post.  Could I make it up that hill?  Maybe I should run up the back way.  Longer but less steep.  Maybe I should just run up the hill by Valley Health.  After all, I worked all day, and I had a migraine yesterday.

I looked at all the traffic and thought maybe I would not be able to cross German Street at all.  Well, I could just run around streets on this side of German.  There was no rule I had to run up a hill.  All I had to do was run and write a blog post about it.  It didn’t matter where.  There was a break in traffic.  I sprinted!  I made it!  But would I run to the college?  Maybe a run into Brookfield Park?

Oh, who was I kidding?  I wanted to run up to the college the front way.  It is the impressive way.  It is the way that makes my friend Phyllis say I am her hero.  I like to be somebody’s hero.  As I turned up Lou Ambers Drive, I looked longingly at Salvatore’s.  It would be nice to go out to dinner later.  However, I am trying to lose weight.  Additionally, Steven works till 6:30.  I would be hungry before that.

Sometimes I have to spit when I run.  I don’t always follow advice, but in general I heed the song that tells me to don’t spi-it in the wind.  I also don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger and I don’t mess around with Slim, but those situations usually do not arise when I am running.  Full disclosure:  that bit occurs to me almost every time I run, and this is the first time I used it in a blog post.

Oh, it took a long time to get up the hill.  As I’ve said before, there was no suspense.  I knew I would make it to the top.  The knowledge was no comfort.  I reflected that the bright day would make the view from the top better than the misty view on New Year’s Day.  There was more traffic than I expected.  One car slowed down and moved over.  When I gave a thank-you wave, the girl driving waved back.  I like little connections like that.

The view was very nice.  Everything around me looked nice.  I always think that sunshine is nature’s cosmetic, because almost any scene looks better in the sunlight. Then again, maybe things just looked better to me because I was at the top of the hill and I could breathe almost normally again.

My run down was not too bad.  My cool-down walk was maybe a little too cool.  The temperature was dropping by then and the wind had picked up.  By the time I finished I was cold and TIRED.  Well, why not be tired at the end of the day?  And aren’t you all happy that I’ve made a blog post of over 600 words where I did not once mention what I couldn’t write about?  I certainly am.


Not Running on D Street

Yesterday (Sunday) I went running with the idea that I would offer Sunday Running Commentary.  Instead, as per usual on a Sunday, I wrote some nonsense instead (I always say, go with your strengths).  Now the one thing I do not feel like doing is writing.  However, the one thing I really, really want to do every day is to publish a blog post.  So let’s see what I can do.

I started out shortly after 6 a.m.  The sun was not quite up and it was cloudy, so I thought it might be a good idea to wear my reflective vest.  After all, safety first.  Naturally I started to second guess myself as soon as I left the house (once again going with my strengths).  Did I just look silly wearing a road guard vest (as we called them in the army) when I was in fact not running in the road?  I probably looked like a huge geek, which in fact is what I am, and not the good kind either.

I crossed German Street and headed right, which is not the direction I have been going lately. Regular readers may recall I have been obsessively running up the hill to Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) this summer, in anticipation of the DARE 5K (I believe I’ve written a few blog posts about it).  I thought I might possibly run out Steuben Road.  For one thing, there is a pretty good hill there so I would feel bad ass.  For another reason, the sidewalk ends, so I would feel a little less silly in my road guard vest.

For the record, I really like my reflective vest, a very thoughtful gift from my sister.  I think it is definitely a good thing to wear when the light is dim and/or when running in the road.  It is just a bad habit of mine to perpetually feel that I look foolish.

Where was I?  Ah yes, still on German Street, when I saw a deer cross the road.  How cool is that?  She continued up a perpendicular street.  I thought to turn there too and see where she went, but when I looked she was standing in the middle of the road looking around.  I didn’t want to scare her.  Or have her scare me.  You never know.  That deer might have thought, “Hey, I have hooves.  I can take her!”

As I ran on, I tried to remember the name of the street, for my blog post.  D, D, something with a D.  Dorfman, that was it!  The street makes an L and comes out on Steuben.  When I got to that place on Steuben I double checked myself.  Dorf Street.  Silly me.  I must have been thinking of Ava Dorfman, a Roman of some note who recently died.  She started a senior citizen center which bears her name.  I believe my grandmother used to work for her husband, Dr. Dorfman.

Up Steuben I went.  It was a worse hill than I thought.  When I was done thinking about the deer and Ava Dorfman, I started to notice the weather.  It was dreadfully humid.  Will anybody get my reference if I tell you I thought, “This humidity is as thick as peanut butter!” “You mean pea soup.”  “You eat what you like, and I’ll eat what I like!”

I ran uphill till my watch told me I had been running for 15 minutes. I wanted my total run time to be about a half hour. I’ll go back to increasing it soon, but I didn’t feel like getting too tired yesterday. I ended up doing 33 minutes, which is how long I ran last time. Holding steady is good.

I confess I did not feel particularly bad ass at the end of my run. As usual, I was glad I had run, especially when it started pouring ran shortly after Tabby and I returned from our cool down walk. And, look at this, I seem to have written my blog post. I wonder what else I can get done today.

Could I Be Getting Fit?

I was so determined to have a Saturday Running Commentary this week that I got out of bed and into my running gear, not even pausing for coffee. Um, I did take the time to wash my face and brush my teeth. Who wants to run with morning breath? Yuck!

Steven has a short day at work, and we have plans for this afternoon, so I did not want to do too strenuous of a run. The sad truth is I had not run since Sunday. Well, these things happen and we must make the best of them. I decided no hills and perhaps a shorter run than my last one, which was 38 minutes.

I thought I would enjoy a dead end run, out German Street and German Street Extension, then back down Germany Street, detouring onto the many short dead end streets off it. I wanted to check out German Street Extension anyways. I heard they had some problems with flooding. Of course I would not run where the road was closed. Safety first for Mohawk Valley Girl.

It was perfect temperature for running, not so cold my hands got icy, not so warm I would sweat too much. That was good, because once again I forgot my headband. I could neither cover cold ears nor protect my eyes from sweat running off my forehead. No matter, it wouldn’t be too long a run, would it?

It seemed to take a long time to get to the end of German. I enjoyed looking at people’s flowers and decorations. One house has a fox lawn ornament, a little the worse for wear, which they decorate seasonally. This morning he sported cool sunglasses and red, white and blue decorations. I need something seasonal on my front porch.

German Street Extension is a nice, quiet residential road, as one might expect a dead end road to be. I plodded along admiring the scenery. Time was passing. How far should I run? I like to run all the way to the end, but how long would that take me? I wasn’t going to run all 38 minutes, remember? Oh well, maybe I would. But I shouldn’t run more than half of 38 before I turned around, right? I didn’t want to run more than 38 minutes, did I? I wonder if it burns more calories if I run and dither at the same time.

I saw two bunnies in a yard, standing perfectly still. I guess many predators’ vision is based on motion. I was just as glad not to see any predators. I know, predators have to eat too, but I don’t want to see it. Really, I ought to be a vegetarian myself, but I was not up to pondering the morality of carnivorousness.

I ended up turning around at just about 19 minutes. I saw where the road was closed up ahead but did not go all the way to the barrier. I was at a very well-maintained looking apartment complex. I thought I might drive out later to see how far I had run distance-wise. I could turn around in the complex lot.

On the way back I could see the river, or is it the canal (how embarrassing that Mohawk Valley Girl doesn’t know these things), over the bank. A tiny bunny was on the bank. How cute! I was really glad not to see a predator get the baby.

As I got back onto German Street proper, I decided I did not have time to run all the dead ends. I took one detour down Willow Street. I wanted to check the name of the street that the path over the hydraulic canal runs to. Suiter. I should be able to remember Suiter, and you see that I did, although now I don’t recall if it is street or avenue. Silly me.

My detour added just a little bit to my run time, and I did 40 minutes. I felt pretty terrific as I took my cool-down walk with Tabby. And I don’t feel too tired out now, a few hours after the fact. Could I be getting fit? Awesome!

Walking for the Blog

So I said, “Let’s take Tabby for a walk, then I’ll write a blog post about it.” That usually works.

My plan was to walk out German Street, towards where the flood damage was pretty bad. They have cleaned up a lot, of course, but I know one street is still blocked off, and there is still a big empty spot where a garage used to be. These things I drive by on my way to work. I thought at a pedestrian’s pace, we could take a closer look.

At first my plan seemed to be working, because Tabby agreed to walk in that direction. She often wants to walk the other way on German Street. I know, one can usually win an argument with a 17-pound schnoodle, especially one with as sweet a disposition as Tabby’s. However, the walk is for her entertainment as well as ours. I don’t like to be mean.

First we saw a lady with a couple of Shi-tzu-looking dogs across the street. I may have petted those dogs while out running one day. Unfortunately, I have not been running in a while. We waved to the lady and she waved back. Then we saw a lady coming up Margaret Street with two little Scotty-looking dogs. They saw Tabby and barked and pulled on the leash. She continued down German, in the same direction on the same side of the street as we had been heading. We turned down Margaret.

Well, Margaret is a pleasant enough street to walk down. We admired several gardens and screened-in porches. We saw a couple of For Sale signs and indulged in a little “What if?” We went almost all the way down Margaret, then turned down Park Avenue (doesn’t that sound swank?). Our new plan was go go through Myers Park. Then we saw a labrador-looking dog up ahead, so we turned up Henry.

About this time, I asked myself (I was writing this post in my head as we walked) why I feel I must add the suffix “-looking” when I guess which breed a dog is. In the first place, most of the people who read this blog won’t know which dog I’m talking about, so how would they know I was wrong? “A black dog on Park Avenue? That COULDN’T have been a labrador!” Yes it could! It was a different black dog from the one you’re thinking of! In the second place, I just might be right about the breed. Stranger things have happened.

The only really flood-related observation I made was that some stretches of sidewalk are still covered with dirt, from where people did not rinse off the mud. But I hope you enjoyed reading about our canine encounters. We enjoyed our walk.

Nowhere to Go But Up

I have not been running enough lately but did not feel I could use that as an excuse to not run today. Steven left for work at 6:20 a.m. I left at the same time.

I turned toward Steuben Street, thinking to go up that hill. Full disclosure: I could not remember the name of the street till I got to it and saw the sign. That’s how little I’ve been running lately, because that is a usual Saturday morning run for me.

As I turned down German Street the sun was right in my eyes. How annoying. At least I could see the sidewalk a few feet in front of me, so no danger of tripping and falling on my stupid face. At least, less danger. I’m so clumsy I guess there are no guarantees. However, I reached Steuben without mishap (making a mental note of the name) and started up.

Who remembered that the hill was so steep and long? Not me! Oh no. There were only a couple of opportunities to turn off. Should I take the first, easier one? No! I was going to be tough!

What the hell do I have to be so tough for? I thought that hill was going to go on forever. The sidewalk ends pretty quickly and there is no shoulder to speak of. Traffic is light early Saturday morning, of course, but I encountered a few cars and trucks. Most of them at least crossed the center line for me. I suppose I can’t expect them to slow down much as they are going downhill. I at least gave them the little thank you wave for getting over.

Since, as I mentioned, I have not been running enough, I could not quite remember how far up the tough girl turn-off was. Around this curve? No. The next curve? No. Oh dear. Lots of curves on this road. Was that a hoof print in the gravel? Any observation to distract myself is useful. I looked around for deer, which you occasionally see on that road.

I started looking through trees to my right. You can see the road you turn on to through them before you actually get to it, and that’s kind of an encouraging sight. No far nothing but trees. Darn. Wait, surely that was the turn off? No, just a driveway. Well, I was certainly toughening myself up, wasn’t I?

At last! I could see the road I wanted through the trees. Now it was only a question of where the damn turn off was. The sharper the angle, the longer till I got to the turn. Damn, it must be a V! At last I reached it. Aaah!

And remembered that after a very short down-slope the road goes up again. What’s that all about? I felt so ill-used. And annoyed with myself for forgetting that little detail. No matter, I told myself. It was not all that steep an up-slope, and it was a quieter, residential area. I admired a few houses. I didn’t think I remembered any dogs on this stretch.

Then I was on the down-slope again. Which I had forgotten was so steep! It’s a little scary going down a steep down-slope. My husband, Steven, tells the story of running down a hill when he was a kid and being unable to stop. I suppose if it was a race I might throw caution to the wind and see how fast I could get. As it was, I leaned back and took advantage of gravity without letting gravity take control of me (how’s that for a sound bite?)

It was actually a pretty good run. I even encountered my friend, Nicky and his person when I got back on German Street. Naturally I stopped long enough to pet Nicky (such a good dog) and exchange greetings with his person. As Tabby graciously walked my cool-down with me, I felt pretty terrific. I might even run another hill tomorrow.

Disreputable Run

I guess Saturday Running Commentary is back.

This morning I ran a couple of errands (OK, one errand), so got running after 9:30. That is the joy of this time of year: you don’t have to get out the door prior to 7 a.m. to run in a comfortable temperature.

I have taken 13 days off running (I went to the calendar and counted). I can explain this as I explain many of life’s vicissitudes: shit happens. I almost talked myself out of it yet again, but then I thought I might be glad if I ran.

One good thing: all my running clothes were clean. I didn’t even have to search the laundry basket for socks. Bonus! I set out with determination and high hopes.

And at first it was not too bad. I knew I would not run any hills, and I knew I would not run very far, and I think everybody knows I do not run very fast. But I ran. I crossed German Street, because I saw a pick-up truck parked across the sidewalk. I did not feel like running around it, and I had a good opportunity to cross. Then as I got closer to it I was glad, because a guy was standing near it talking to two ladies on the porch. Not that I mind running by people and even saying hello, but to interrupt their conversation and run around their pick-up truck seemed a little complicated.

So there I was on the side of German Street with all the hills. Surely one little hill wouldn’t kill me. I decided not to take the chance. I ran up a block of Main Street so I could cross over and run down the nice path over what used to be a hydraulic canal. I looked at the houses now next to a nice path not a nasty ditch and thought they must like it. I saw a lady waiting outside a house. Waiting for a ride to work, I speculated. Then I speculated she worked someplace with a lax dress code, because she was wearing sweatpants. As I got closer she turned so her back was to me. I guess she didn’t want to take a chance I would say hello, but maybe I am again speculating.

I continued down German Street and ran up Dorf Street. I like Dorf. It looks a little back roadsy, because it is very quiet and there are no sidewalks. It curves around too, and that adds a little interest. Dorf crosses Prescott, a dead end street. I started to go up Prescott but saw a pit bull looking dog which may or may not have been on a leash. I turned around. He may have been a perfectly nice dog, but most dogs get a little agitated at runners.

I went back down Prescott onto German and quickly found a place to cross back to my side of the street. I saw a pedestrian walking on the side I’d just been on, coming towards me. I waited till she got closer to wave or say good morning. She kept her eyes pointed studiously ahead. I thought I must look more disreputable than I thought. I wondered if the pick-up truck people would have greeted me but turned off German before I got that far so I will never know.

After a while I got a little tired of running, but I persevered. It wasn’t a bad run at all, except for the people who acted like they didn’t want to look at me. But perhaps I’m reading too much into it. Still, before I go running again I may spruce up my running outfits a little. Too bad I don’t know how to post a picture.