Squeezed a run in today after my daughter’s 11th birthday party at a bowling alley and before her mini-slumber party with 2 friends. Can’t remember much of what I thought about while I was running. Fleeting fragments of thought about my life, combined with a constant return to, “what’s my pulse?” and “how fast am I going?” and “this run doesn’t seem easy, but I could keep doing for a lot longer than 5 miles if I wanted.”
*franklin loop = west mississippi river road path/lake street bridge/east mississippi river road path/franklin bridge/west mississippi road
Tried something new today: 2 minute warm-up, then run 9.5 minutes fast/walk for 30 seconds x 4, finish by running fast until reading 5 miles
Ran with my headphones, listening to my cheesy playlist. It was humid, but not too cold. At some point, it started drizzling, but in the middle of a run, it was hard to tell, except for the relief from the heat of my effort that it brought. I think I would try this workout again. It helped me to go faster.
*the ford loop = west mississippi river road path/ford parkway bridge/east mississippi river road path /lake street bridge/west mississippi river road path
Today was a rest day. Like most rest days, I wanted to run but I didn’t because I know I need to rest, so I finished up an amazing book instead. Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember is about a writer who had a stroke at 33 because of a blood clot that traveled through a whole in her heart that she never knew she had. Powerfully written. Towards the end, she writes about how she had always been unable to exercise but thought it was because she wasn’t trying hard enough. Turns out, it was because she had a whole in her heart! After recovering from the stroke and then getting surgery to close up the hole, she is finally able to exercise. She starts running.
…running felt better than it had ever felt before. Every step was no longer a struggle. I understood how running felt like freedom. I was not gasping, I was taking deep and measured breaths. It was, I kid you not, as if with every breath I lifted my body off the treadmill. I no longer felt the immediate pain I’d always felt while exercising.
…I sat down on the floor to stretch, and instead of stretching, I took a breath, and when I exhaled, I exhaled sadness and disappointment and rage and my chubby childhood years and frustration, and I emptied myself until the voices in my head–a lifetime of voices that said I was not good enough that I was too fat that said I must starve that I was not good at sports that I would never be able to run or jump like anyone else for some unknown reason–went quiet (200).
Today for my run, I tried a variation on the poetry/writing experiment that I did on Monday. Inspired by my teacher’s suggestion to modify my first experiment with Bernadette Mayer’s proposal to “attempt writing in a state of mind that seems less congenial” (Please Add to This List, 12), I decided to record my thoughts while running up a steep and long hill: the Franklin hill, also known as the I-94 hill. Length: about 1/2 mile. Grade: Not sure, but it’s steep. I figured that running up a steep hill for several minutes would generate a “less congenial” state of mind.
I ran an easy 2.5 miles to get to the hill. I took a quick break to set up the voice memo app on my iPhone, then I ran up the hill while talking into my phone. I stopped at 3 minutes and 39 seconds, which was a little less than half a mile. Finally I ran home.
The following is a transcript of what I said while running. The only thing I’ve done to the words is to add line breaks. I tried to use the line breaks to mimic the breaks in my words as I caught my breath:
Starting my run
up the hill
I’ve taken a break
with a walk
I’ve definitely slowed my pulse down
The traffic above me
as I go under the bridge
The traffic beside me
as it goes by me
on the river road
the drivers think I’m weird
holding a phone
up to my mouth
while running up the
is in my eyes
my shadow behind me now
For most of the run
was ahead of me
right ahead of me
Sometimes off to the side
almost as if
it wanted to lead
be beside me
it wants to follow
Breathing here a little harder
the rest has worn off
the Franklin bridge
pulse is higher
I wonder how much of this I’m recording?
I love hearing my feet
on the dirt
in the gravel
I’m approaching a person
will I keep talking,
or be too embarrassed?
under the bridge
feels like someone’s following me
but it’s just my shadow
just passed the turn off for Franklin
I’m going to stop now
I used today’s run to complete my assignment for my poetry class by doing one of Bernadette Mayer’s experiments from Please Add to the List. Here’s what I posted for my class:
Inspired by Mayer’s suggestion on page 10: “Attempt tape recorder work. That is, recording without a text, perhaps at specific times.”
During a 3 mile run, I recorded my thoughts as they occurred to me by pulling out my iPhone mid-run and speaking into it using the Voice Memos app. Total recording time: 4 minutes and 16 seconds. Total run/walk time: 30 minutes.
Un-edited transcript from voice memos recording:
Pre-run. The chattering of the birds. I’d really like to learn all the different bird sounds and I’d like to be able to identify them but I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to because that’s just not something that I remember. But it made me think about how, when I try to focus on something and reflect, how overstimulated I get by the experience.
At the beginning of my run, just as I try to steady my breath, I try to calm my mind.
Mid-run. Attempting to formulate thoughts into words that I can speak without breathing too heavily. It’s a good test.
It’s the first day of spring, but it looks like late fall. I love running this time of year when the trees are bare. No leaves. And you can see to the other side.
Still feeling a bit self-conscious talking into this phone. Wondering what people think if they see me. Also, thinking too much about what I’m saying and whether or not it’s thoughtful or clever or deep, all of which it is not.
I always forget to remember: if when you’re running, you don’t feel the wind in one direction, when you turn around to run back, it will be in your face.
The wind makes so many different sounds. A whoosh through my ears. A sizzle in the trees. I wish I could figure out how to express it and capture those sounds in words.
Familiar landmarks: the fluorescent yellow cross-walk sign at 38th. I wonder how many times I’ve run this this winter.
2 and a half miles in. Feeling very warm and over-dressed, which I shouldn’t be surprised by but am because I was so cold earlier today walking home.
Just ran by a single black glove in the middle of the path. Wondering who it belongs to and what the story behind it is.
Just encountered a biker biking with no hands on the handlebars. I never understand how people can do that.
Just finished my run. Wanted to capture the sounds of all the birds I’m hearing. I think Scott says those are chickadees. What other birds am I hearing?
One possible poem:
As I start my run,
I work to steady my breath
and to calm my mind
I’m definitely self-conscious pulling out my phone and talking into it. Also self-conscious because I know that I’m recording everything I say and typing it up. I’m hoping that once I get into to it more, I might be able to record thoughts as they happen, not thoughts that I’m attempting to craft into clever or coherent ideas. But I like this experiment as a way to help me express how I feel/what I think when I’m running and as a way to develop a relationship between running and writing.
I want to try this experiment again and maybe experiment with it even more. Possible variations:
Run one mile and then, while walking for 30 seconds, talk about what I experienced and thought about while running. Repeat at least 6 times.
While running, speak into the phone in regular intervals (every 1 or 2 or 3 minutes?) even if I don’t think I have anything to day. Do this on a long run that is at least 90 minutes in duration.
While running, speak into the phone whenever I feel moved to do so. Do this on a long run.
Question: Does the recording of my thoughts count as writing or is it merely the raw material to be crafted into something more polished?
It’s the day after the race and I’m resting my legs. I’m a bit sore, but not too bad. Just started an online poetry class about Bernadette Mayer and her list of experiments (Please Add this to the List). Really cool. I’m thinking about trying to write about running for my poetry experiments. In a post for class I wrote the following:
In the editor’s note it’s mentioned that Mayer writes hypnogogic poems. I looked up the word and found the definition (a state between waking and sleeping, when drowsy) and an interview with Mayer about how, after suffering a stroke, she experimented with using a tape recorder to record her thoughts in this drowsy/dreamy state. So cool. Currently, I’m writing about running and I’d like to experiment with ways to express the dreamlike state I sometimes enter during long runs.
A great race. Well organized. Decent weather (a bit chilly and windy, but no snow or ice). Challenging, but interesting course (tons of hills). I achieved all of my goals: running all the hills, not walking and negative splitting the second five miles. Perhaps the best thing about this race was that my husband Scott and I were able to run it together, which is a big deal because we’ve never run more than 5 miles together. In the past I’ve been too fast for him. But since I slowed down a bit to build up strength and endurance, we’re more evenly matched. Maybe we’ll run the marathon together?