Three Runfessions In September

Hello, and welcome to the August edition of Runfessions, a monthly post where running sins are shared, then forgiven. We emerge from our runfessions as pure as the driven snow.

Step into the runfessional, and let’s begin.

I Turned Not-Montour Four Into a Two

This runfession needs a little backstory.

For several years, I did a trail race in Danville, PA called Montour 24. You could run one of several versions of this race – either the six, 12, or 24-hour solo version or a 24-hour relay as part of a four-person team.

Some years I did the six-hour solo version, and once I ran as part of a 24-hour relay team.

This race was so much fun and so well-known that it sold out months in advance. It was one of those races where you had to wait with your finger over the “Register” button at the exact time when registration opened to get one of the coveted spots.

People from my running club who missed the registration began having their own version of the race – “The Not-Montour Four“.

In this race, you ran one-mile trail loops for four hours and recorded your mileage. There really were no official winners, but there was a cookout at the end of the four-hour time limit.

This year, Montour 24 was canceled due to COVID, but Not-Montour was held, observing social distancing measures, of course.

Attendance was light. There were never more than 10 – 12 runners making their way around a gravel and dirt trail at a local park, but there was no lack of camaraderie.

In previous years, I was able to run, albeit slowly, for the entire four hours. This year, with no big races on the horizon, my long runs have gradually become shorter and shorter.

I was ready to stop running after two hours.

The husband of the organizer was apparently ready to be done too. He asked me if I wanted him to begin grilling hot dogs, to which I replied, “Sure!

Pretty soon, all of the runners were sitting down, eating watermelon and nibbling on snacks, chatting, and waiting for hot dogs to come off the grill. I runfess, I am a bad influence.

It’s Not the Elevation, It’s the Bees

Yellowjackets, to be precise.

Our running club organizes a rugged trail race every year in the River Hills of the Susquehanna called the Conestoga Trail Race, a 10-miler.

I runfess, I have never run the race.

This year, due to COVID restrictions, the number of runners allowed to enter the race is limited. My running friend Frank, a member of our club who I sometimes run with, is one of the registered runners.

Frank has had a hip replacement and heart surgery. He is in his late 70s. He has never missed the Conestoga Trail Race. Ever.

At our last running outing, it was announced that two spots remained for runners who wanted to register for the race. Frank told me I should sign up.

I have hiked the Conestoga Trail. Twice. Once was with an Environmental Education class I was taking and once with a group of friends from my husband’s workplace.

Both times, I got stung multiple times when a nest of yellowjackets near the trail was disturbed. There have been tales of runners in the Conestoga Trail Race getting stung by yellowjackets at the same location.

Even though the elevation profile of the race looks daunting, I runfess the real reason I don’t want to run it is that I am scared of getting stung again.

Frank may think I am a wimp.

Photo by Mat Brown on Pexels.com
And Now For a Something Serious…

As the cold weather approaches, I runfess, I am anxious about visiting restaurants (indoors) with our running club.

We have fun runs every Tuesday with a social “Part 2” afterward.

This summer, we have been bringing take-out food and eating at picnic tables after our runs. We have occasionally visited restaurants that have outdoor dining.

Although I will miss my running friends, I don’t feel comfortable eating indoors at a restaurant when the outdoor option disappears. Not now. Not yet.

I runfess, I am disappointed but resigned.

Thank you for hearing my runfessions this month. I am cleaner, lighter, and grateful for the chance to shed my burden of running sins.

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

97 comments

  1. Listen, I reeeeeeally want to run a real race again, but if you tell me that means I’m going to get stung, well, I would happily leave my spot open for someone else. I also runfess that I love running, but not for more than two hours so props for being a bad influence. Winter is going to be very hard this year since 99.9% of my COVID social life revolves around being outside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I decided to volunteer at the Conestoga Trail Run, so I will get to be there but I don’t have to contend with the bees! 🙂 I am not looking forward to the isolation of winter either!

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  2. Yes, I’m afraid it’s going to be a long time before I eat in a restaurant. I don’t know how they’re still in business. Actually, Eli’s favorite, a Mexican place, has gone under. I expect more of the same.

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    • I am very worried about that for my son’s sake, Jeff. He is a bar manager at a restaurant in Lancaster. They have been talking about more layoffs when the weather is too cold for outside dining. Sorry about your son’s favorite Mexican place.

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  3. Gotta say, although your love of running shines through as always, none of this exactly tilts me toward conversion 🙂 But your friend Frank — what a warrior! I could never hope to rise even unto wimp status in his eyes.

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  4. Even though I don’t run, I barely walk, I love reading your runfessions. You are absolved and shrieved, and no one could blame you for wanting to avoid the near occasion of yellow jackets. I got stung once this summer, maybe for only the 3rd time in my life. On a personal prayer note 1 of the communities I serve has had some positive Covid tests, mostly related to school, football, etc. So the school system is closed and online from tomorrow until Oct 13th. Prayers appreciated. Michele

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  5. I always enjoy your runfessions, Laurie. I know we are nowhere near being comfortable dining in a restaurant at this point, but I do hope the vaccine happens sooner than later! Yellow jackets aren’t my cup of tea, either; I got stung as a child, and I can recall the pain as if it were yesterday. 😦 Enjoy running in September!
    Blessings!

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  6. Your “runfessions” are always a great read for me! I runfess that it’s been a few years since I could run a solid hour without stopping. A hotdog on a grill and snacks make a great “pause”. I understand your concern on the get together. I do want to celebrate that on my trail last week I began interval running/walking for 3 minutes to FEEL the exhilaration I used to know and love. Unfortunately my skeletal self has a lot of injury. And after my first post of Fall the other day, as I was gong to enjoy my first hike, I was rear-ended in my car by a 75 yr old man “adjusting” his coffee mug. Alas, today, I’m taking naproxen, rubbing my essential oils, and continuing my daily stretching with some soreness! But to runfess….I must carry on even if it’s just a small trot. Thank you for encouraging me and others!! 💚

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    • Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoy my runfessions. Good for you for beginning interval training again. So sorry about your accident!!! Distracted driving is such a problem. we usually think of a younger person texting, but it can happen at any age. I am hoping your injuries are not serious and they heal quickly.

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  7. I love the idea of the Non-Montour race!
    I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief when you said you were done after 2 hours. A nice excuse for them to finish too.
    I’m also hesitant about dining indoors. It’s going to be a strange winter.

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    • My friend is a wonderful organizer. She has events like this throughout the year. I am lucky to be able to participate. It was a hot and humid day. I think most of the runners didn’t need too much persuasion to finish after “only” 2 hours.

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  8. Jason almost considered running Conestoga this year (he likes trails more than me and is way faster on them than me) after Sasquatch was cancelled. Then he saw the elevation map and changed his mind! Have fun volunteering, I’m helping at the White Rose 5 miler Saturday morning!

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    • I would like to run it sometime. I just can’t face the bees. The lead runners get them stirred up, then they run past without getting stung. It’s slowpokes like me who wind up getting stung. Have fun at the 5-miler. That’s another race I have always wanted to do, but just never signed up.

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  9. You have made lemonade from lemons this year Laurie – enjoying what races you could be in, even if they are not what you’ve been accustomed to. I like that you admit you are a bad influence. 🙂 I heard or read that wasps, hornets are especially bad this year – why not, ’tis the year for out-of-the-ordinary everything.

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    • Thank you, Linda. We all have been handed a lot of lemons in 2020. What else could we do but make lemonade? Or go a little bit crazy! I think hornets and wasps are especially bad this year too. Last week, on my long run, one bounced off my forehead! Yikes!!!

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      • Laurie – I think people our age have done much better than the younger people during this pandemic. I hear news reports of young people with mental illness as they lack coping skills for solitude and struggle to cope with not seeing friends and coworkers.

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      • I think we have done better too, Linda. I read about the parties and going out to bars that occurs among young people. They are not used to having their personal freedoms interrupted or impinged upon. They don’t realize that responsibilities go with those freedoms. They are “connected”, but not in a meaningful way.

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      • It is sad as this is our future … the future where people crumble from what they are denied. It is not fun, but it is not permanent … unless more people choose to stop following the rules. The latest here in Michigan is a bill that has passed and awaits being voted and put into law to let bars be open until 4:00 a.m. Sorry, but that’s not the answer to replacing COVID-19 money lost (their reasoning). I didn’t think it was a great idea allowing alcoholic drinks “to go” when you are not supposed to have open alcoholic beverages in your car. That was the answer to not being allowed to go into a bar.

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      • Yes, I thought the to-go rule may be problematic but not everyone is on board with this 4:00 a.m. idea. They are ironing out the details whether mayors of cities can decide whether to keep it at 2:00 a.m. or go to 4:00 a.m. or whether each bar owner will decide.

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      • In PA the time used to be 2:00 that all alcohol sales used to have to stop. During the pandemic, the governor first passed a rule that said it had to stop by 10:00, then, under pressure from restaurants (which have been hard hit by the pandemic), he relented and moved it to 11:00. You must buy food with alcohol, though. You can’t just go out for a drink. I think a lot of the spread was caused by people just out at the bars rather than people going out for dinner.

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      • We have had 5,000 restaurants/bars close in Michigan due to the pandemic and they say more as they cannot have outdoor seating in place. Some are mentioning those domes like I showed back in early March, just before the pandemic shut down everything. They look like igloos and can seat up to 8 people. I guess it will be fine if they are all family members because otherwise it won’t fly as it is not all that big so you might as well be inside. I was surprised our Governor, who is strict for everything else, allowed the purchase of alcohol without food to go – the only restriction is you must be 21 years or older. We had such a bar that caused a lot of spread near a college town and it was in the Summer – so fewer students. But the problem in this case was a lot of the students went to Harper’s, then they all went to a beach party/bonfire event the same evening. Then they went home and most were on break from school and living at home. The bar was a major super spreader event here in Michigan and the owners have had to completely retool their operation which must have cost a fortune.

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      • Yikes! College kids seem to be oblivious to the danger they post to the community at large. Even if they are not worried about contracting the virus themselves, keeping the virus spreading in the community endangers a lot of people.

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      • Yes, most of them have a devil-may-care attitude which is really too bad. As I get older I hear them and people in their 30s or 40s talking about old folks’ limitations due to COVID and making disparaging remarks about people who feel they must stay home in a protective bubble to avoid risk of getting COVID. They seem to joke about it a little too much to my liking.. Maybe I’ve become more sensitive in this “Hey Boomer” era, but I resent their attitudes.

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      • I agree – makes me angry and I don’t feel like an old-timer and neither do you. Today the ruling came down from the Michigan Supreme Court that our Governor can no longer use her “executive privilege” to restrict Michigan residents from doing anything we did pre-COVID. So she is stripped of her emergency powers, but it does not take effect for 21 days, so she will appeal. Good – I picture people “going to town” with this newfound freedom, namely masks in public places. SMH.

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      • No – we always think “old” people are those who are older than us. I remember whan I was kid and I thought someone in their 40s was old! Ha!!! The same thing happened in PA. The appelate court issued a stay, though, so the restrictions are still on. You would think with the president now with COVID, people would wise up!

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      • I think the Governor will ask for a stay and she was on social media and the news staying her orders are in effect for 21 more days. You would think people would be more savvy about masks, but you probably saw on social media that the president went out in a car/motorcade to wave “hi” to supporters. I was reading the story – the presidential limos are hermetically sealed against chemical warfare and the two Secret Service agents now will have to quarantine 14 days – the crowd was all unmasked!

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      • Ugh! All of these people fighting the rules. If there were no mask rules, people would not wear masks. I know – they didn’t have mask rules in the Midwest and people did not wear masks. I did read that story about the motorcade. Just crazy!

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      • Some of the counties are instituting a “wear mask outdoors” rule, but not our county yet. The Governor is trying to get a workaround by having the Michigan Health Department intervene – she’d better hurry and find a Plan “B” soon. I am sorry I am so behind here. I was busy in the house over the weekend, then I had to work late yesterday/tonight – I may have to return to work tonight. My boss is on vacation and left things unfinished. I have never been so far behind here.

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      • Well, he wanted me to work on the weekend and I was not keen on that as I had things that I needed to do. He is on vacation now – we had to get a lot done to make that happen. No, I do not get overtime, but I am going take it as comp time, tomorrow. Unless there is an emergency that happened since I left tonight at 6:00 p.m.

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      • Thanks Laurie – it wasn’t a full day, but that was okay. I got things done and was away from here. I’m with you on the comp time … we simply don’t get enough time away from the grind to just enjoy ourselves or get things done. I hate using a weekend for mundane things – it seems like a waste.

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      • I hope to get more walking in Laurie – in Winter, I don’t always get out as there is ice on the pavement, but by mid-day, it is melting so I could go in the afternoons.
        Many times, I’m walking home, especially on this very warm week we just had, wishing I could stay out a little longer. The lack of time constraints will make me the happiest.

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      • Ah bliss – I will devote more time to reading too Laurie. I miss reading but just never seem to fit it in my schedule. I bought several books last Fall, intending to read them over the Winter and I only finished three, all on the long holidays. Must. Do. Better!

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      • Funny you say that Laurie because I decided to get Amazon Prime this Summer. There were several things I wanted on their site, not available in stores and besides I wanted to stay out of stores right now due to COVID. I like the free shipping and I like that you can track to the second when a package will arrive. They have books, TV series and movies that come free with Prime. (So far I’ve not taken advantage of any of them, but will during the Winter – I’ve picked a few TV series and movies I’d like to see – I don’t have Netflix and not rented a movie in over a decade. I think eventually I’ll end up getting a Kindle and just read books that way. I cancelled my cable because the basic cable I had had for 10 years no longer carried a few of the channels I watched necessitating getting a new box/contraption and upgrade, so I said “forget it”. I’m a bit of an oddity I know.

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      • I have a Kindle but don’t really like reading books that way. I like the paper book better, even though I know it’s worse for the environment. The one advantage of a Kindle is that you can load up a bunch of books so that if you are traveling, you don’t have a big pile of books to lug around.

        I can’t imagine when you would have time to watch TV! 🙂

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      • I have heard other people say they like the tactile feel of a book rather than the Kindle or any e-reader. I have a lot of books in the basement, all paperbacks, as my mom and I had similar tastes in authors. She was an avid reader and I read on the bus and at work at lunch, but after my boss/I moved, I rode to work with a few people over the years and paid them rather than using the bus and so could not read. I have a closet upstairs with books too – my mom did not get to those books yet … we kept them straight by taking them into tubs in the basement.
        I watched TV up to about 12 years ago … I have some movies I taped from cable when I had it … I don’t know when I’d get time either to be honest. I am very far behind in Reader right now as I’ve been getting groceries in for Winter … finished up today and hopefully that will free up some of my weekend time. And I have a ton of Fall photos to sort through that I’ve taken in late September and through October so far.

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      • I think I should figure out how to get the most out of my Kindle. I have an old one and it’s not easy to jump around from page to page or highlight sections I want to remember. They are probably easier to use now. I usually donate most of my used books to the library but they are not taking any more books right now because the library book sale was canceled due to COVID. I have boxes piling up! You will have post ideas for months to come with all those photos!

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      • I was looking over the Kindles last year when I heard of several books I wanted to read and wondered the cost of just downloading on a Kindle. I saw a newer version (the Kindle Oasis) which had some amenities for reading that seemed easy on the eyes, but it was still pricey and I do have the books to read downstairs … I would think about it eventually though – the price will likely go down and they’ll probably improve it even more by the time I’m ready to get one. We had an ugly weather day and I went through the photos, 800+ of them and divvied them up – yes, at least through November I’d think.

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      • This is true – lots of those pictures ended up on the cutting room floor. 🙂 To be honest, some looked too similar. I see birds or squirrels and take pictures from afar but if I get an opportunity to approach closer, I do so and then don’t need the first pictures.

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  10. I enjoyed this – a fun, lighthearted read. Your Not-Montour sounds fun especially the cookout at the end, lol. I understand your misgivings about indoor restaurant, I haven’t been to any at all since March – I’m just not comfortable with it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Wemi. I think a lot of us are uncomfortable with indoor dining. I hope we can resume soon, but I won’t be dining inside at a restaurant for the foreseeable future.

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  11. Those yellowjackets are brutal! I was very pregnant with Thing 2 years ago when I found myself under assault by yellowjackets. I unknowingly disturbed their nest and they somehow got to the back of my neck under my hair. Ugh. I don’t blame you for having reservations about indoor dining. Every time we stand in line outside at Trader Joe’s, I wonder how willing we’ll be to wait outside when winter comes. Thanks for ‘fessing!

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  12. Several years ago, several runners reported bee stings after a half marathon…and I was one of them. I have no idea what kind of bee it was, but it was freaky! I have done a 1-mile “looped” ultra event twice; one year I ran the 6-hour, the following year I ran the 12-hour. Funny how running loops can usually be boring, but in a race setting (with a huge spread of real food near the timing mat), it was a lot of fun.

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    • My trail running partner got stung by hornets during a trail race a few years ago. He collapsed and had to be hospitalized. He almost died! Now he carries an EpiPen when he runs trails with Bill and me. we would use it if we HAD to, but it would be unsettling.

      At first, I thought the loops would be boring too, but they were not at all. Good for you for doing the 12-hour option!

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  13. Chance of yellowjackets would absolutely give me pause about doing a race. Heck, they often chase me off my own deck!

    My husband s going to an indoor meeting today. There’s actually a dinner before, but thankfully he’s not going to that. I am not super happy about it. AND he used to volunteer at the Humane Society by photographing the animals. Next week he wants to go in and photograph kittens (usually he does the people outside walking the dogs). Not terribly happy about that either. It all makes me have to weigh when the right time to go see my Mom is.

    The good news is that cases are still quite low in our area, so sometimes you just have to have faith, right?

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  14. I think it’s great that your club is organizing these unofficial races to keep you all motivated. We have stopped our fun after socializing parts unfortunately. I am also not ready to eat inside at any restaurants. It’s going to be a long winter!

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  15. While I absolutely miss in-person races, I’m in no rush to get back, unless it was a super small local race. Most of the races I’ve done in the past have had thousands or runners and that just scares me at this point.

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  16. I don’t blame you for wanting to avoid bees or any stinging thing, either. I am also not comfortable eating inside a restaurant yet. Thankfully the rest of the family feels the same way. I thought it ironic that after all this social distancing, I unexpectedly landed in the hospital a couple of days last week with atrial fibrillation. God gave me grace not to worry about COVID while there, and so far, it looks like we didn’t encounter it. It was nice not to eat my own cooking for a few days, though!

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    • I think a lot of us are not comfortable eating inside. I feel sorry for the small mom & pop restaurants. They have to be struggling to stay afloat, but I am not going to do something I am not comfortable with right now.

      Praying for you with your a-fib, Barbara! Your attitude is remarkable! Good for you!!!

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  17. Yikes on the yellowjackets. I’m not allergic but after being stung by a hornet and a wasp this summer, I’ve had enough! I’m with you on the dining inside. I’ve only eaten out outside once anyway. We will continue our weekly take-out.

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  18. I am not comfortable doing anything indoors yet, and going to a restaurant to eat inside just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s going to be a tough winter when we can’t do things outdoors!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Yikes. I love bees, but yellow jackets are a no go. How scary.

    I probably would have been down for hot dogs instead of running. That would have been great.

    I don’t feel comfortable eating inside yet either. Our governor just opened our state up pretty completely, and so that has me a bit freaked out, I don’t blame you at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I would be a little freaked out if I lived in Florida too. My sister lives there in the winter and we usually come down to visit. Not sure if we will be able to come down this year or not!

      Like

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