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Blog After Run, Such As It Was

As often happens, I neglected to make my Saturday blog post on Saturday.  This morning I thought to make it first thing, but after I had futzed about (holy crap, autocorrect recognized “futzed” as a word!) with coffee and Facebook (judge me if you will, I find Facebook sometimes comforting these days), I really felt more like running than blogging.  It was almost light out.  I decided to go for it.  For one reason, I have been trying to self-medicate my depression with exercise.  For another, the Boilermaker 15K is coming up.  Eventually.

Holy crap, it was cold!  Never mind, I told myself.  You’ll warm up as you go.  Ignoring the logical part of my brain that said my fingers and face traditionally do not warm up, I kept going.

More problematic was the ice.  There were patches of ice EVERYWHERE!  Some of it was insidiously hard to see.  I found a nice bare strip down the center of most roads I went on, but clearly it is a mistake to run down the center of, say German Street, which I happened to be on.  Well, maybe there wouldn’t be much traffic.  In fact there was not a lot, but it only takes one car to obliterate one middle-aged lady runner.  I sprinted for Prospect Street as I heard then saw one approach.

I quickly decided a long-ish run such as I had enjoyed yesterday was not necessary.  15 minutes would be OK, I told myself.  Even at my cautious shuffle, that would be at least a mile.  As it happened, I went for 20 minutes, just under a mile and a half.

As I went, I did not observe much, since I was mainly keeping my eyes on the road.  Therefore I did not enjoy the benefits of distraction which running outdoors usually brings.  Never mind.  We all know some runs are better than others.  The point is, I ran.  And now I have blogged.  Bring on the rest of the day!



One Must Begin Again

I read somewhere that wintertime running is about maintenance, not necessarily improvement.  I told myself this as I finished a fairly short run this morning.  “It’s about maintenance,” I thought.  Then I thought, “My runs are about blog posts, weight-loss goals, health, and my own entertainment, not necessarily in that order.”  I had thought  doing a Sunday Running Commentary as I set out on my run.  I last ran a week ago and quite frankly did not feel like running today, but, as I said to Steven as I went out the door, “One must begin again.”  Then I thought, “That would be a good title for a blog post.”  So here we are.

We had a couple of days of spring-like weather last week, but I, perhaps foolishly, did not run then.  For one reason, my body was in its final throes of rebellion against 10-hour days.  I know, other people work longer days at more difficult jobs, and they don’t even complain.  All I can say is, that is them, this is me.  I was dead tired all week and not up to running through all the puddles which were the inevitable result of the warmer temperatures.  Today was cold, and it had been snowing.  Snow offers traction, so I thought.

Turns out I shouldn’t think so much.  I tried to run on the sidewalk and soon found there was a LOT of ice under the snow.  After my trailing foot zooped out from underneath me for the third time (luckily my weight was already established on my leading foot at the time), I went into the road, which was a little better.  And a little worse, because of traffic.  Sunday mornings are usually pretty tame traffic-wise, but I had waited till after eleven to run, hoping for a warmer temperature.  Well, the cars would just have to watch out for me; I was staying where I was.

I did not spend much time on German Street, which is one of the busier streets, but soon turned down Margaret. That was quieter, which was good, because it was also pretty snow-covered. I went for the barest part of the road and did now worry too much about staying close to the curb, except when I saw or heard a car coming.  It did not feel too bad, running along at my usual shuffling pace.  The air was cold, but you’ll have that.

My deal with myself was that I only had to run 20 minutes.  I can worry about building up when the weather is better.  If I worry about it at all. I mean, why should I worry?  Worry doesn’t burn calories or build muscle mass.  It is a quite useless activity.  I ran, I wrote a blog post.  Let’s leave it at that.  Happy Sunday, folks.


Second Guessing my First Run of 2019

It is important to me that Saturday Running Commentary be a thing again, even if I neglect to make my post shortly after my run, which I feel is the best way to do it (that’s not a run-on sentence) (although I suppose a run-on sentence may be appropriate for a Running Commentary  post).  Anyways, I ran this morning and I am going to try to comment about it even hours after the fact.

It is my first run of 2019. I felt too tired after my New Year’s Eve celebrations (although they were tame by many standards) (then again, why should I worry about anybody else’s standards?) on Jan. 1.  Jan. 2, 3 and 4 I was working ten-hour days and TIRED, and I believe my blog posts reflect that.  I almost did not run today.  I considered going to the Mohawk YMCA and doing 30 minutes on the elliptical, I thought about taking a long walk and saying, “good enough.”  Then I said what the hell, got into running clothes and went.

It was in the low 30’s.  Weather on the One’s on Spectrum News said some freezing was still going on, so I was a bit nervous, but I thought it was not precipitating.  True, the roads looked wet… sometimes it is best not to think too long about these things but just to get out and start running.  So I did.

I did not head toward German Street, as is my usual practice, because it was close to eight and I saw a number of cars going by and I intended to the run in the road.  A mere glance at the sidewalk confirmed me in my intention.  As I ran down Bellinger Street, I saw a runner coming towards me running on the sidewalk and felt silly.  Then I thought I was ridiculous.  Normally I run on the sidewalk and feel self-conscious seeing other runners on the road.  Do I really think these other runners are judging me?  And why should I care if they do?  I choose to run on the sidewalk.  Or, like today, on the road. Similarly, other runners can make their choices.  Oh well, at least these thoughts keep me occupied while running.

The roads were not awful, but I did not completely trust them.  I felt there could be ice, and sometimes I knew there was ice.  A couple of times I dared to go up on the sidewalk, but I did not stay there, because I definitely encountered ice eventually.  But I kept running.  I was happy to see some people’s Christmas decorations still up.  Traditionally, decorations are supposed to stay up till Jan. 6, Twelfth Night.  I always have a hard time letting go of the holiday.

My intention was not to run too long, since I had taken four days off and only gone for a long walk the day before that (go ahead and judge me, remember I am not supposed to care who does).  As I ran back towards my house, keeping an eye on my watch and wondering how long over 20 minutes I could or should do, my legs were saying, “We cool. We got this.”  I was surprised.  Are these the same legs, I asked myself, that for three days at week were whining, “We’re tired!  We’re stiff!  We ache! Sit down!”  What the hell, legs?  But there is no point in trying to figure these things out; I am not clever enough to understand them.

I reasoned that if I ran 20 minutes, with my 10 minute cool-down walk it would be 30 minutes, the length of time I would have spent on the elliptical at the Y.  I ended up running for 23 minutes, so  I thought that was pretty good.  I was delighted with myself for running at all.  Would 2019 be the year I did not stop running in the winter but kept up running full time till next spring and summer?  Would I never again have to write “Begin again” in my running journal?  Then I thought, it is Jan. 5 and this is my first run of 2019, is that bad?  And here I am second-guessing myself again.  What the hell, me?

Next I am going to start second-guessing this blog post.  Is it really a Running Commentary?  Is it any good as a blog post?  As I have observed before, if dithering burned calories, I would have no problem meeting my weight-loss goals.


Back on the Road

I got up this morning with no plans at all, except for the already executed plan to sleep in.  We made it to almost 6:30, and that felt good.  We had been up a few hours.  I had eaten breakfast, written post cards and noodled around on Facebook for a while when I suddenly made the decision to go running.

The decision came about because my sister, Victoria, commented that I would probably like yoga because of the spiritual aspect of it as well as the “just you” time, although she supposed running did that for me “but with fewer distractions”.  I commented back that running was ALL about distractions.  A drill sergeant in Army Basic Training told me that was the secret to running: you just kept finding things to distract yourself from how much it sucked (I further learned that the other secret was to keep going despite the suckiness, but right now we’re talking about distractions).

Isn’t it funny how one minute you’re talking about how much a thing sucks and the next minute you’re hustling up the stairs to get properly dressed and do it.  The fact is that there are great periods of time during which running does not suck.  In fact, it is pretty enjoyable.  I hoped for one of those periods today.

One reason for my hope is that it was warmer than it has been.  It was almost warm enough for shorts and short-sleeves, although I set a lower temperature for that outfit than many others.  I went with leggings and long-sleeves because it was borderline and I have not been running outdoors.  I still wore my toque. I do like my toque.

Before I left the driveway I was questioning the wisdom of my decision.  Quite icy.  The sidewalks did not look much better.  I had taken the precaution of wearing an older pair of sneakers, because I was certain there would be puddles.  It turns out things were still pretty frozen.  It was only about 9:20 a.m.  No matter, I was outside in my toque.  I was running.

I took the nearly unprecedented step (get it, running, step?) of running in the road.  I’ve addressed this issue before. I do not like running in the road myself and I do not approve of it in others (yes, yes, I know, my approval is not necessary for anybody, so you needn’t get all hoity-toity and self-justifying).  At least I was on the left side facing traffic.  Perhaps traffic would not be too harsh at 9:20 on a Saturday morning.

And it wasn’t too bad, even on German Street.  I ran all the way down to the traffic light next to the high school.  I had originally had some thought of running up the hill by Valley Health and into the residential area beyond (what I call the suburbs).  After all, there were no sidewalks in that area, so I did not have to feel self-conscious about breaking my own rule.  Then I decided I would did not want to take such a long run.  After all, I am easing back into it.  The only runs I have taken in the past few weeks have been in place on the mini-tramp.

I was happy to get off German and into the quieter streets.  Here traffic was light enough that I could run closer to the center of the road, which was the place where I was least likely to encounter any ice.  It was kind of annoying when a car would be coming and I would have to get over to the edge of the road where there would be ice, a puddle, or an icy puddle.  However, I did not meet with any mishaps.

At a few points I noticed stretches of sidewalk that were perfectly clear.  I felt a little bad about that.  I really do prefer to run on the sidewalk.  Then again, it seemed silly to switch back and forth.  Then again, a little detour often burns more calories.  I saw a clearish patch and ran up a driveway to the sidewalk.  So far so good.  Then my foot slipped and I said, “To hell with that,” and got back on the road.

It was not a super long run, but I felt it was long enough to count as a run.  I also took a cool-down walk almost all the way around the block.  As I walked, I felt elated.  I did not think I had run hard enough or long enough to get any of those endorphins I keep hearing about, but a joyous voice in my head declared, “This was a GOOD idea!”  As I cut through the parking lot of the apartment building on the end of my street (remember, I said almost all the way around the block), I realized that running in the road had been a good idea too.  If I had tried even a shuffley jog there I would have landed on my tuckus or a less padded  part.

I felt pretty bad-ass after my run.  I felt, as I often do, “Yeah, I’m back.”  I hope I stay back this time.  For me, it’s a good idea to keep running.