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Dry Martini: going green (way)

One of the downsides of living in a relatively small town is that there aren’t a huge number of unique running routes to choose from. We have no Eastbank Esplanade like Portland or Butler Trail like Austin. Most of my routes in Oneonta involve  road shoulders and sidewalks or the high school track. All are perfect for getting it done, especially when having to think about where to go feels like it takes more effort than the run itself. Still, a person can grow weary of the same old scenery.

Which is why I finally decided to give the Susquehanna Greenway a try. Eventually, the city plans to hook it into a larger greenway system (which hasn’t yet been built). Right now, it’s a two-mile loop that takes you past our lovely Wastewater Treatment Plant, Trash Dump, and School Bus Depot. Because we Oneontans know how to party.

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There's a reason it's called a greenway.

Actually, it’s not that bad. There’s maybe a quarter-mile of mixed-used industrial realness, then you get out into fields and beside the river. It’s lovely, really, if a bit close on a humid day. It was almost entirely empty last Sunday, save for one impressively bearded whippet-thin young dude in a track singlet who showed up midway through my ten miles. He seemed intent on getting his work-out in and passed me half-a-dozen times. I was content to let him be Mr Speedy McSpeederson and didn’t outrun him. Because I totally could have.

I stopped at one point to take a picture of a tree that kept stealing my hat — I thought it would make good blog fodder, frankly — when a lab-esque ball of enthusiasm nearly knocked me down. Wait a minute, I thought, as I wondered if he was about to eat my face. I know this dog.

And, reader, that was proven true when a friend I’d not seen in forever rounded the bend in mid-apology about the pup. Yes, I did pause Herr Garmin the Second as we stood for a few minutes and caught up. Turns out she walks this loop frequently and has figured it to be about three miles. I crushed her spirits when I pointed out that GPS confirmed that it was only two.

That's me. Killer of dreams. I should rent out my services.

She got me back, though, when I mentioned that I was about to start training for the NYC Marathon. She asked how long I thought it would take to run 26.2 miles. When I said “at least 5 and a half hours,” it hit me how much time that really is. I’ve decided denial is the best coping mechanism.

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After my run, I drove up to Cooperstown where Coach Christine Hinton's son was enjoying a baseball camp. You can tell we had a terrible time as I took her to see the sights.

On the training front, it hasn’t really begun begun. I’d been planning to run the Old Port Half in the one, true Portland on July 9 in an effort to redeem myself from last year’s suffer fest. Rather than run with at least one of my favorite BAMRs, I’ll be putting in a 13 mile training run on my home turf, then driving up to Albany to catch a flight to Orlando. I wish theme parks were going to be involved. Instead, I’ll be getting Mom settled in assisted living and figuring out how to empty and sell a house from 2000 miles away.

Good times.

While I’d be lying through my gritted teeth if I said the last few months have been anything other than stressful (because, oh my dears, they have sucked the big weenie), I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that running is what’s keeping me more or less functional. TRuns clear my head and keep the free-floating anxiety at a manageable level. My running schedule adds structure to what isn’t at all structured. And the actual running provides something concrete to focus on that also has clear goals. Either I ran ten miles or I didn’t. Either I did my middle mile at tempo or I didn’t. Those binary states provide a sense of accomplishment when it frequently feels that I’ve only got one oar in this particular smelly, brown creek and am merely paddling my rowboat around in a tiny, frantic circle.

My Independence Day called for five miles with the middle one at race pace. Thanks to Beyonce’s “Freedom,” which is my summer jam, as the kids say, I busted out that mile at nearly a tempo pace. Not what I should have done but what I think I needed, if that makes sense.

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My new jam.

That track is possibly the first piece of music I’ve purchased in months. I’m now thinking that maybe I need to add some more current tunes to my playlist. What’s been making you pick up the pace this summer?

14 responses to “Dry Martini: going green (way)

  1. There is something about sipping on a cocktail surrounded by friends that makes a party feel special. It doesn’t matter what the time of year, whether you are getting into the holiday spirit, or sitting on a dock by a lake. Anybody can uncork some wine or crack open a beer , but serving a cocktail takes some thought and imagination. Choosing the perfect cocktail to serve is a great way to set the mood of the party. Here are a few favorite recipes for green gin, ginger ale, and a selection of cocktails for all seasons and occasions.

  2. Adrienne, if you need a break (and a big drink) when you are here in Orlando, email me. I’d be happy to join you. #BAMRsticktogether

  3. Great job of putting into words what running can do for you when life “sucks the big weenie”! Had to giggle at that! Yes, structure when all else is out of control-ahhhhhh! The ranks of those of us caring for parents salute you and hold you up with good thoughts. Many happy miles and a smooth path (even if it does go past a waste water treatment plant!)

  4. So glad that you recognize that this Portland is the “real” Portland! Though sorry you will miss the race be sue of your mom’s health issues. Good luck with getting her settled comfortably.

  5. Blackout! That’s the other one. They play that one a lot at race starts, so much so that when it came up on Spotify, I knew the words. Not kidding.

  6. I’m trying Spotify for a few months. Also recommend Hamilton. Giants by Breathe Carolina, has a good beat, as does Lovin and …fudge..can’t remember the other one! I like the Coldplay only version of Prayer for the weekend, it’s got more funk to it than the version featuring Beyoncé.

  7. Another vote for the Hamilton soundtrack. By the way, I bought a Skirt Sports Happy Girl Skirt the other day based on your blog. Love it! So many pockets!!!

  8. I can totally relate to not having many options because of living in a small town. We have a great 1.5 mile loop, but they don’t mow it so it gets very “close”. As I was running this very “close trail” today, I met an elderly gentleman out riding his 3 wheel bike. He asked if I was enjoying my “jog”. Yes I was jogging because of HRT and keeping it under 130. He made me smile because my gpa had a bike just like his.

  9. Good luck getting your mom settled in. And getting her house taken care of.

    I have literally picked up the pace by focusing on some shorter races. But after this weekend it is time to get back to the long runs 😉 I am fortunate to have a choice of routes right out my front door.

  10. No good music lately, since all I’ve been listening to are podcasts while I’m HR training, but I had to tell Lisa: Yes! My teenage boys have to watch til the very end…

  11. “Mr Speedy McSpeederson”, LOVE that.
    I am also training for NYC, do NOT think of the whole distance (this is #5 for me) it will be too overwhelming. 10 miles + 10 miles + a 10k?
    For some reason I am digging Left Hand Free by alt-J for my runs (kind of slow), which I heard in the end credits of Captain America Civil War, because doesn’t everyone’s teenage son make them watch ALL the end credit scenes of movies?

  12. I ran the same route in the dark and in the light on weekends for over 30 years before work- it consisted of neighborhoods and the University of Arizona parking garages for “hill” work. It doesn’t matter where you run if you love to run and race.

  13. I’m totally obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack. It has a pretty good running beat for me and is over 2 hours of wonderful.

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