dec 17/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
28 degrees
0% snow-covered

Ran the Franklin loop today. Noticed the river. Clear, moving. No ice. Not quite above freezing. Warm, well warm compared to last week when it was in the teens. The path was clear with only a few slick spots. The last time I ran this loop was on October 29th. And because they don’t clear the path as well over on the St. Paul side, I might not have too many chances to run it before spring. In addition to paying attention to the river, I looked at the Franklin flats, below me, and over to the Minneapolis Rowing Club. I heard a single goose honking, flying high above me. Also heard some music in the distance. Where was it coming from? A bike approaching me from behind. I played chicken with a few walkers who were supposed to move over for me but didn’t seem to want to until I made them. Anything else? Oh–I smelled toast up above, on lake street. Decided I didn’t like the smell but also decided that the toast wasn’t burnt, but just on the edge of being over-toasted.

dec 15/RUN

3.5 miles
downtown loop
30 degrees
10% snow-covered

For the third week in a row, Scott and I ran while FWA was at his clarinet lesson. It’s fun to run downtown by the river. Started on the Stone Arch Bridge. A wedding couple were getting their picture taken. The bride was only in her wedding dress, which had sleeves but no back. Brrr. Boom Island was beautiful, with the snow on the small hills and the sun and the wooden bridge. The light on the Mississippi was almost blinding–a sparkling path leading to shore.

dec 14/RUN

5.15 miles
franklin hill turn around
30 degrees
0% snow-covered

Hooray for Fridays and good weather and good runs and conquering big hills and paying attention to the river and noticing your shadow and imagining it leading you down the hill and then, when it’s behind you on the way back up, imagining it gently pushing you forward until you are all the way up and not exhausted and for not being bothered by bad smells like burnt toast or earth thawing near the sewer and keeping relaxed and remembering to smile and listening to Lizzo singing about being 100% that bitch and not slipping on ice because there isn’t any ice and not feeling pain or fear or doubt and for the Daily Walker who is always there on the path no matter what the weather walking and saying “good morning” to you as you run by and for the sun that decided to come out today and sparkle on the water and warm my back and make me believe in the beauty of mid December mornings.

Running Playlist

  1. Cry Me a River/Justin Timberlake
  2. The Flesh Failure/Hair
  3. Truth Hurts/Lizzo
  4. Don’t Stop Me Know/Queen
  5. Closer to Fine/Indigo Girls
  6. Landslide/Fleetwood Mac
  7. Get Lucky/Daft Punk
  8. Firework/Katy Perry
  9. I’m So Free/Beck
  10. TiK ToK/Ke$ha
  11. Can’t Stop the Feeling/Justin Timberlake
  12. Breathe/Anna Nalick

dec 13/BIKE

I ran on Tuesday and Wednesday so in an effort to not aggravate my back or knee or hip or IT band or whatever it is on my left side that is happy now but wasn’t for most of November, I did not run today. Even though I wanted to because the path is clear, there’s not much wind and no snow or ice. Instead I biked in the basement, which was fine. Biking in the basement is useful but rarely (if ever) exciting or beautiful or transcendent. I don’t really enjoy trying to pay attention to the hum of the heater or the dust as it creeps across the floor or the light as it filters through a dingy window, half blocked by cobwebs and a bush that should have been trimmed before fall was finished. But, as I write this, maybe I should start paying more attention. What sort of strange poetry could I create?

After biking, I started working on a poem about the versions of the wind that I experience out by the gorge. I re-visited the Beaufort wind scale and had fun thinking about wind that’s a 6 as causing wires to whistle and umbrellas to be difficult to open and wind that’s a 7 making walking inconvenient. I also learned that white horses are another term for whitecaps. Cool.

In continuing with my research on wind and poetry, I came across Theodore Roethke (because a name of one of his collections is Words for the Wind) and then discovered 2 of his charming children’s poems. I wanted to post them here to remember.

The Chair

A Funny Thing about a Chair:
You Hardly Ever Think It’s There.
To Know a Chair is Really It,
You Sometimes have to Go and Sit.

The Ceiling

Suppose the Ceiling went Outside
And then caught Cold and Up and Died?
The only Thing we’d have for Proof
That he was Gone, would be the Roof;
I think it would be Most Revealing
To find out how the Ceiling’s Feeling.

Here’s another poem I’d like to remember–I should memorize it–by Christina Rossetti, found after typing “wind” into the search box on the Poetry Foundation’s site:

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Another random thing found in my research:
sibilant: having, containing or producing the sound of or sound resembling an s or sh–like in sash. I discovered this word in the phrase, “sibilant drift of dried leaves” in Winter Journal: Wind Thumbs through Woods by Emily Wilson from her collection The Keep, which I am hoping to find at the library.

dec 12/RUN

3.2 miles
ford bridge turn around
27 degrees
less than 1% snow covered

A nice, easy run. Turned right instead of left today, running towards the falls. No headphones. No music. What sounds did I hear?

  • elementary school kids playing outside–lots of laughter and joyful yelling
  • the wheels of a fat tire approaching me from behind, not whirring but clunking or clanking, almost sounding like the wheels were studded
  • a snow blower and a truck pushing what sounded like pipes across the lot of a new house

What I don’t remember hearing: rushing water, birds, the grit on the path crunching, dogs barking, people talking, cars approaching

Took advantage of the lack of leaves to inspect the gorge as I ran above it. The river looked cold and still, more frozen than flowing.

dec 11/RUN

4.1 miles
greenway bridge turn around
18 degrees
5% snow-covered

A great run, very much needed. Helped to relieve growing anxiety over getting the girl to go to school. Winter is tough for anxiety, but wonderful for running. I breathed in the crisp, cold air and felt better. Listened to music and smiled a lot. Ran faster. Felt freer. Wore sunglasses that got fogged up and gloves that became too warm after a mile. Encountered lots of dogs with their humans. Started my run with a fat tire sighting. Didn’t notice the river, only the path and the cars on the road.

dec 9/RUN

3.35 miles
greenway bridge turn around
30 degrees
10% snow-covered

Ran again today, since I felt so good yesterday and because it’s so nice and warm–almost above freezing! Sunny skies. Clear path. Saw a few fat tires biking on the path. Several runners. Lots of walkers. A mom and her son singing holiday songs. No puddles on the path, but no slick spots either. Didn’t wear headphones, but don’t remember hearing anything–except for a runner passing me early on in my run, a biker alerting me to his approach with a always appreciated, “on your left” and the singers singing their holiday songs. Is that really it? I guess. I can’t remember any crunching snow or honking cars or trickling water or rushing wind or cawing birds. Guess I wasn’t paying attention today.

dec 8/RUN

3.5 miles
downtown loop
26 degrees
50% snow-covered

Ran with Scott again while our son was in his clarinet lesson. There were a few slick spots but nothing too bad. Lately my lower back has been sore so I’ve cut back on running. For now, 3 times a week. Seems like I’ve been in a fight with my body–at least my left IT band and lower back. Felt better today. Not sore when I was running. What do I remember about the run? Hearing water trickling down below the Stone Arch Bridge in Mill Ruins park. Being surprised that it wasn’t frozen by now. Mentioning it to Scott–he couldn’t hear it over a noisy truck driving by. Saw a couple squatting down, taking a selfie with a selfie stick. Was so distracted by talking politics that I forgot to notice Boom Island park at all. I don’t even remember running over the beautiful wooden bridge. Saw a group of bikers (peloton) and a pack of runners (a trot–that’s what I like to call a group of runners). Don’t remember hearing or seeing birds or any boats. No roller skiers. No loud, honking cars. No music or trains. Felt wind occasionally and a few wet flakes on my face. Didn’t smell anything that I can recall–no burnt toast or dead leaves or delicious donuts–not even my stale breath from under my buff.

dec 3/RUN

4 miles
greenway bridge turn around
27 degrees
50% snow-covered

Winter is here. It snowed a few more inches this weekend and I’m pretty sure that we won’t be seeing the grass until spring. It’s not too cold, but cold enough to make the snow stick and the path icy. I didn’t slip much but had to be cautious on my walk before I started running. Tried to remember to listen to the sound of feet crunching the snow but I kept forgetting. A distracted morning. I managed to look at the river a few times and greet the Daily Walker.

dec 1/RUN

3.4 miles
27 degrees
25% snow covered
stone arch loop, downtown minneapolis

After taking an extra day off because my hip hurt, I was able to run 3.4 miles this morning with Scott downtown. Hooray! Not too cold, but windy (14 mph with 24 mph gusts) and icy. It was beautiful running over the bridge in Boom island, even if I twisted my foot times on ruts. Ran up the hill to the Plymouth bridge on west river road, through Boom island and Nicollet island, over to St. Anthony Main and finally over the Stone Arch bridge. Almost, but not quite, the reverse of our race a week ago. After starting November with IT band issues, I’m very happy to be feeling better at the beginning of December.

addendum: Just read somebody’s facebook post in which they mentioned hearing lots of birds today. I did too during the run. Such a strange experience to hear so many birds noisily chirping in the cold and snow.

nov 28/RUN

4.2 miles
minnehaha falls
20 degrees

When I got to the river, I turned to the right today. Decided to check out the falls to see if they were frozen yet. Not quite. I could tell as I approached, hearing the rushing water. Half falling, half frozen. Beautiful. Waved at a cute little kid, bundled up in bright orange, as I left minnehaha park. Looked at the river a lot as I ran. Big ice floes. The gorge was burnt orange and brown. My lower back ached a little after I was done. Do I need to stop running for a few days? I hope not. Checked my watch and noticed I had a message from my daughter, “hands down, you are the best.” At first I was confused, then pleased, wondering what I had done to deserve such a sweet message. Then I read it closer and realized that she had gotten the alert for my completed workout and was sending me one of the stock responses. Oh well, I’ll take the compliment anyway. Anything else I remember? Running by some park workers in their bright yellow vests, doing some work around the park. Noticing how cold and lonely the empty playground seemed. Hearing a bus belching as it crossed the 46th street bridge, heading toward ford parkway. Listening to my feet striking the path, trying to make them softer by stepping lighter. Passing only 2 runners (I think), no bikers or roller skiers or daily walkers.

nov 26/RUN

3.3 miles
greenway bridge turn around, mississippi river road
16 degrees, feels like 4

Bundled up in my new favorite winter running outfit: two pairs of running tights, green shirt, orange pull-over, black vest, socks, buff, hat, gloves. Didn’t feel cold at all, except for my fingers around the 1 mile mark. Got to greet the Daily Walker. Forgot to notice the river. Did see steam rising up out of the rowing clubhouse below the lake street bridge. Did I see any other runners? I don’t remember. Saw at least 3 bikers. The ground is bare, except for some dead leaves. No snow. No ice. Just a cold path.

For some reason, I am suddenly into cinquains, a poetic form with 5 lines. I particularly like Adelaide Crapsey’s version (what a name!). 5 lines with the following syllable count: 2/4/6/8/2

Here’s one I found, that I especially like:

Triad

These be
three silent things:
The falling snow . . . the hour
Before the dawn . . . the mouth of one
Just dead.

And one of mine, inspired by this poem and my morning run:

A Late November Run

Running
by the river.
No snow. No ice. No leaves.
Just me and bare ground absorbing
my steps.

nov 24/RUN

6.2 miles
37 degrees
moustache 10K race, riverfront minneapolis

Ran the Moustache 10K run with Scott for the third year in a row. Didn’t take it fast just ran steadily. I feel pretty great considering I took 10 days off for an IT band injury a few weeks ago and experienced a knee subluxation a few days ago. Things I remember from the run:

  • The women who was running (running!) while holding a to go cup of Starbucks coffee and drinking it. I have never seen that before. She was probably running a 8:30/8:45 pace.
  • Twisting my foot on the cobblestones.
  • Overhearing a guy calling out to his friend as we reached the mile 1 marker, “Ugh, we’ve only run a mile” and saying to Scott, “Wow, we’ve already run a mile!”
  • Running up the big hill at mile 5 and listing off the muscles that make up the hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris) and the quads (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, rectus femoris) to Scott because he asked–well, he didn’t ask me to list the specific names, just to clarify whether the quads were in the front or back of your leg, but I couldn’t help myself. Forgetting the vastus intermedius and looking it up later.
  • Feeling good at the end, happy to be finished but not too tired.

nov 22/RUN

3.2 miles
austin, mn
25 degrees

Last night, while sitting on the carpet with my legs stretched out straight, my kneecap slid out of place and didn’t immediately pop right back in. No pain, just the feeling that something wasn’t in the right place. I didn’t panic and walked over to the stairs to pop it back in place. Why does walking up and down the stairs work? I don’t know but it does. My knee is a little stiff but I was able to run 3.2 miles without a problem this morning. It’s annoying to have a kneecap that does this but at least I’ve figured out how to live with it.

nov 18/RUN

3.2 miles
greenway bridge turn around
9 degrees

A great run. Sunny. Clear. Fresh cold air. I love winter running. My second run back since taking 10 days off for a minor IT band injury, my first run of over 3 miles without stopping. It felt fine. No pain in my knee or IT band. Payed attention to the river at my favorite part of the gorge: as you run down the hill, below the road, after the welcoming oaks, the trees open up for a keyhole view of the river, which you can see much better when you’re running back from lake street. Reaching the edge of the gorge, above the floodplain forest, it’s still hard to see the water. Too much brown, all the way to the st. paul side. The river is beginning to freeze over. I saw a few ice floes. My fingers were freezing for the first mile, then they warmed up. I saw some bikers, runners and walkers. No roller skiers or fat tires or fat squirrels. Heard a weird bird or a squirrel–or was it a chipmunk?–in a tree chirping shrilling or maybe squeaking.

nov 13/RUNBIKE

run: .5 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
13 degrees, feels like 1

Was excited to go outside and try running in the cold today. For the first 3 or 4 minutes it felt fine but then my left knee started to hurt a little. So I stopped, walked for a few minutes and then started running again. It felt okay, then not okay, then okay again. Decided not to push it too much so I turned around and headed back home. In front of my house, I felt pretty good, like I wanted to keep running, but I decided to be safe. Am I being too cautious? Not sure. I don’t want to re-injure it or miss my race in 2 weeks or not be able to walk outside for a month. Biked in the basement instead. Bummer.

Picked up Linda Pastan’s Traveling Light from the library the other day. Love this line from her poem “Flight”:

They have examined
our luggage made me
remove my shoes
and then my scarf, as if
I might strangle someone
in its silky purple.
But they let my fear
of flight on board,
though its weight
and turnbulence might
bring down any plane.

nov 6/RUN

2 miles
mississippi river road path, north
37 degrees

I’m writing this entry almost a week late. During this run, about 1/2 mile in, as I felt the joy of winter running, I felt something else: my left leg didn’t want to bend. For a scary second it was stiff and recalcitrant. I kept running and it started working again but when I stopped my left knee hurt and by the time I got home I was having trouble walking. For a few days I was freaked out as I limped around the house wondering what had happened, but finally I realized (with the help of Scott), that it was probably just my IT band. An IT band injury is no fun, but it’s more likely than a tear or a subluxation to not be serious or need surgery or doctor’s visits or physical therapy or MRIs, as long as I let it rest and not run for a while. So, I haven’t run for almost a week now. Up until Friday, I barely walked. Since Saturday, I’ve been biking on my bike, set up on a stand in the basement. It’s feeling much better. I think I might be able to run tomorrow. Since stopping running, a lot has happened, like midterm elections and band concerts and snow and ice and arctic temperatures. Today’s feels like temp? 7 degrees. I wonder, will I be relegated to the bike path until spring now? I hope not. Perhaps the biggest bummer of this minor injury is that I most likely won’t reach my running goal of 1000 miles this year. Last year I failed with 950 miles. How many miles will I lack this year?

So, the I T in IT band stands for Iliotibial. It’s a tendon that extends from your ilium (a wide, flat bone at the top of your hip) to your tibia (shin). What other fun things could IT stand for?

Free (IT) Band Name

  • the isosceles triangles
  • imperious tina and the intolerable treaties
  • insatiable teresa and the intimate tulips
  • the intrepid toddlers
  • the irritable tigers
  • intelligent tom and the incubating theories
  • the iambic torsos
  • the important tubas
  • the inelegant toadstools
  • the infringing tableaus

nov 5/RUN

4 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
40 degrees

Day five of the November running challenge. Cold, damp and overcast. A gray-smudged sky. Wet leaves covering the sidewalk on the way to the river. Felt like I was in a dream or another world or dazed or something that was almost but not quite real. Beautiful. I like these gray, bare mornings. Near the beginning of my run, as I greeted the welcoming oaks, I stepped on a pile of leaves that wanted a ride–several of them stuck to the bottom of my shoe, squeaking for another minute or two. Gone by the time I started the descent below the road, beside the gorge. I looked down at the forest floor and then tried to get a glimpse of the river. Nothing but brown–not leaves anymore but branches and trunks. Can you ever see the river at this part? I can’t remember. I’ll have to check again next month or the month after that. Focused on trying to swing my right arm as much as my left. Still doesn’t feel natural but it’s getting better. As I neared the railroad trestle, I looked down at the dirt path below me. I think I’ll try to take it before the snow comes–which could be soon. Do I remember much else? I said “good morning” to the Daily Walker. Nodded my head at a few runners and walkers. Reluctantly ran on the grass for a few steps to avoid 2 walkers hogging the path. Didn’t see any roller skiers and only 1 or 2 bikers. Didn’t hear any loud conversations or horns honking. No stupid squirrels got in my way. I didn’t have any magical moments of great insight. But it was a nice run.

nov 2-4/RUN

nov 2/3.1 miles/austin, mn
nov 3/4 miles/austin, mn

Ran with Scott on various trails in Austin, MN. Ran around east lake, beside a cemetery, near a house that had a turret, through a tunnel, by many barking dogs, in the street, on the sidewalk then a trail, over roots, under a bridge, next to a creek, by at least 2 gas stations, close to his grandparents old house and then his parent’s first house and near the fairgrounds. It’s amazing how much of Austin you can visit without running that far.

nov 4/1.75 miles/mississippi river road path

I’ve decided to join Scott in his November challenge of running at least 15 minutes a day every day of the month. Even though it was cold and wet and drizzling a little, I went outside and ran for 15 minutes. I was overdressed and overheated but felt great while I was running. I felt faster then my watch seemed to think I was going but who cares when you’re having so much fun? Not me. I loved running over the wet leaves and in the cool air.

nov 1/RUN

6.2 miles
38 degrees
Franklin bridge + extra turn around

A wonderful morning run! A slow, easy pace. The kind of pace that you feel you could maintain indefinitely. For me, today, that pace was a little less than 9:30. A few years ago, that pace would have seemed way too slow, but I’ve been working on not caring about time and speed and trying to remember what’s really important–enjoying the run–so 9:30 is fine with me. What I’ll remember from this run is feeling strong and free and grateful to be outside in the colder air. I successfully tackled the Franklin hill, chanting in my head: “there’s a bridge, at the top, look at it, never stop.” After reaching the bridge, I chanted, “there’s a sign, at the top, look at it, never stop.” Then, after reaching the sign: “There’s a tree…”. It helped. Payed attention to my breathing. Tried rhythmic breathing for a while: In 2 3. Out 2. Didn’t have any run-ins with stupid squirrels or out of control dogs. Got to see a roller skier and greet the Daily Walker. Followed my shadow at the beginning of my run and then led her home at the end. Didn’t really notice the river until I reached the flats and I was right next to it. Had to lower my visor several times to shield my eyes from the bright sun. Thought about: breathing, form, keeping my shoulders relaxed, making sure my right shoulder was going back as far as my left. Anything else? I can’t remember. Heard water trickling down the rock below the U. Noticed how green the grass was at the riverside park. Didn’t see any boats on the river. Not many bikes on the path. No groups of runners or rafters of wild turkeys or eagles or crows. There were lots of dead leaves on the ground but no acorns. I don’t recall how the wind or the cars sounded but I remember hearing an annoying, high-pitched buzz cutting through everything else. Also heard the deep voice of someone descending the stone steps by my favorite part of the gorge.