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One Week! Seriously?

It is one week before the Boilermaker 15K.  I hope all the flooding in Utica does not t put a — wait for it — damper on the proceedings (you must see that I had to make that pun).   I felt that I had to go for a good, long, challenging run this morning, especially since yesterday’s run was cut short.  Accordingly, I got dressed for it as soon as I got out of bed about 6 a.m.  I drank water as I got ready, stretched out a little (which I often neglect to do), and set out.

I expected a lot of mud so had put on an older pair of running shoes.   It was mostly in the gutters but parts of the sidewalk were covered and in places the whole road was awash.  I was running with a bottle of water in my hand but tried not to sip too fast and get nauseous.  It was not as warm and muggy as it was on Friday, but neither was the air fresh and clear.  I was grateful for the occasional breeze.

I headed for my go-to hill, the one up to Herkimer College (or HCCC as I used to call it) (pronounced “H-triple-C,” although real natives say  it “H-trip”).  I figured there would be less mud as I ran up.  There was plenty near the bottom of the hill.  I was surprised to run into more as I went up.  The road wasn’t coated, but there were a couple of places where a swath of stones and gravel angled across, even close to the top.  I maneuvered around these without too much problem.  Lack of traffic helped.

As I ran across the campus, I felt quite solitary.  I thought I would at least see Campus Security making the rounds, but no.  I did not run into any problems, though, so that was good.  As I was running up the steepest part of the hill, I reflected sadly that it was not becoming easier to run hills; merely, I was practicing my ability to keep going even when it sucks.  When the upslope became a more reasonable angle, it stopped sucking, so I felt better about things.  I ran all the way up, around the athletic fields, and down Reservoir Road.  I would have liked to run on the Nature Trail but feared it would be too muddy after yesterday’s rains.

The back road down was not as bad as I had feared.  That road is being worked on so parts are not as well-paved as one would like.  There is one area where there are plants growing up through the gravel.  I kind of admire the plants’ perseverance.  Life, as they say, will find a way.  One little plant is even growing out of a crack in the pavement.  I can almost hear it saying, “Hey, guys, look at me!  I’m over here!”  I angled around the plant as well as some stones and mud.  I changed my mind a few times about which way to run, based on which choice was less muddy, but I got pretty dirty anyways.

I was in the latter portion of my run when I stopped by the spring to re-fill my water bottle.   The stones and board surrounding the spring had moved somewhat but I managed to get close enough with little problem.  Then I headed home, debating on if my run would be exactly an hour or a little longer.  Longer won.  Then I stopped to chat with a couple of neighbors on my cool-down walk, so I was gone long enough to make Steven wonder a little.  He had expected me to run for exactly an hour, and he had forgotten about my cool-down walk.

I felt pretty damn good about myself and more confident about running the Boilermaker 15K in a week.  I still feel I haven’t run enough, but there isn’t anything I can do about that now.  I guess now is the time to begin feeling nervous about where I’m going to park and how early I ought to get there and will I be able to find my way through the crowd after the race to get my beer.  Oh, swell, now this is turning into Wrist to Forehead Sunday!


I Didn’t Wait Till Fall

So when I got out of bed this morning, knowing that I should run but that I did not want to, I heard thunder and said, “I’m off the hook!”

Halfway through my second cup of coffee I realized it had not thundered again, and I had no excuse. I hadn’t run in at least a week and was feeling rather bad about it. On the other hand, I have a fairly athletic cousin who does NOT run in the summer time, too hot. Couldn’t I follow his example and bag it till fall? Oh, how good would that feel, wait till the temperature cools off and the humidity is gone. Fall, my favorite season. I could start running again in the fall.

Yesterday was the last day of the hideous heat wave, according to certain weather reports. Today should be better, tomorrow better yet. Last night, in fact, brought some cooler temperatures. The fan in my window was not merely pushing around hot air. Phew! Still, it’s not fall. I could wait till fall.

However, as I sat playing solitaire and finishing my coffee, I started to sweat from the humidity. Now I wanted a shower. Well, I showered after four o’clock yesterday afternoon. If I was going to shower again this morning, I had better work up a better sweat than from just playing cards. I got on the running gear.

The temperature was a little better than expected. I had been afraid that waiting till after seven as I had, it might be getting hot already. I was soon feeling the effects of the humidity, though. Ugh. Well, one thing I know is how to persevere.

I struck out down German Street, my goal being the hill at Valley Health. A good enough hill after taking time off. I crossed the street, to avoid what I recalled as some egregious mud further down.

As I ran, I reflected that I had been telling myself I “should” run. Obviously that was silly of me. I’ve spoken about that before: as soon as you think you should do something, it is the last thing you want to do! I thought to myself, “I knew it was a good idea to go running.” In fact, I had said no such thing to myself earlier, and that no doubt explained my reluctance to wriggle into the sports bras. Now that I was out and doing it, I reflected that it was a good idea, and I was happy.

Then I saw some mud even more egregious than what I had crossed the street to avoid. After being really annoyed with myself for forgetting this stretch (after all, I knew that was where the flood had done some pretty extensive damage), I went out in the road to avoid it.

And realized I was NOT on the left side facing traffic. OH NO! That is one of my pet soap boxes. I bitch all the time about people walking and running in the road (often when there is a perfectly respectable sidewalk) in the same direction as cars, sometimes two or three abreast. Grrr! At least there was only one of me and not much traffic. Cross the street to maintain my integrity? Oh, it was less than half a block. I picked up the pace and got back on the sidewalk as soon as I could.

I’d been running a little over ten minutes when I remembered, I like to run. I was coated with sweat in an uncomfortable fashion and I was not running very fast, but dammit, I liked it! Who saw that coming? Not me!

I continued through the streets of Herkimer, feeling pretty good about myself. I almost slipped in some mud and landed on my butt, but avoided that disaster. I took short shuffly steps through the mud after that. Soon I came to a stretch of bare sidewalk and lengthened my pace.

Oh, I was going great! I achieved that loping stride the young folks seem to do with no effort. At least, in my head it was that stride. In reality it was probably only a little longer and faster than my usual middle-aged shuffle. But I enjoyed it.

I ended up running the same length of time as the last time I ran. Incidentally, it was over two weeks ago; I looked it up when I got back home. Tabby graciously walked my cool-down with me. As we walked, the most delicious cool breeze blew in my face. What a great start to my Saturday!

Running from the Flood

Oh, I just noticed, I did NOT do a post about Thursday’s run. Therefore I am certain a Saturday Running Commentary will be welcomed by such readers who like to read about a run (you know who you are).

Steven and I were up early, having not slept very well. Steven, because he was obsessing over how we are so clueless about flooded basements and such. Me, because the neighbors were all sump-pumping their basements. Not that it was so loud (and I would NEVER fault my neighbors for making noise for such a reason even if it was), but it got me to obsessing about how I really ought to be doing something about pumping out my own basement.

So we got up early for a Saturday and got some coffee, available to us because I had sensibly boiled some water before our gas got cut off. Oh dear, halfway through the third paragraph and I haven’t gotten to the run yet. Well, I thought I would include some background on my mood and motivations.

In the first place, I thought some endorphins might help. More importantly, we have no hot water since the gas is off. I thought that after a hot, sweaty run, a cold shower would feel pretty good. So off I went.

The sidewalks on North Bellinger are covered with mud. Well, I like to run off-road. I told myself this was just nature’s way of bringing off-road to me. I ran carefully, because mud is slippery. My middle-aged shuffle served me well. No mishaps. Oh, I know, the cold shower would wash off the mud as well as the sweat. I still didn’t want to take a header into a puddle.

Two blocks from my house the sidewalks magically cleared. I had a nice run through residential streets on bare paths. I started to get tired a little over halfway through my intended time, but I persevered.

At last it was time to head in the general direction of Bellinger Street. Oh dear, would it be muddier this way or this way? Having at last attained the bare sidewalks, I was loath to give them up. That actually may have lengthened my run considerably, if I had run around and around looking for bare sidewalks. However, I sternly told myself there was GOING to be mud, just go with it.

A little trickier was the cool-down walk with my schnoodle, Tabby. She is getting to be quite the dirty dog as it is; I didn’t want to make her too much worse. We accomplished it with some back and forth walking, utilizing the apartment building at the corner of our street. It is set up on a little hill and the sidewalks leading to the front doors are bare.

I felt better after my run, and my cold shower was an invigorating blast. As the day progresses, we are slowly dealing with our other flooding woes. At the risk of becoming tiresome, I may write about them in tomorrow’s blog post as well. As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.