june 28/4 MILES

69 degrees
89% humidity
mississippi river road path, north/minnehaha falls/mississippi river road path, south

The 1/2 marathon is next Tuesday and I have a running/walking plan for it. There are water stops every 2.5 miles until mile 7.5 when the water stops shorten to every 2 miles. I will stop and walk 30 seconds after 1.25 miles, then 1 minute at 2.5 (water), 3.75, 5 (water), 6.25, 7.5 (water), 9.5 (water) and 11.5 (water) miles. I tried an abbreviated version of this plan on my run today, walking at miles 1.25 and 2.5. I ran faster and finished stronger.

The key, I think, to all of this is to stay consistent and stick to my plan. I’m too good at finding reasons to alter my plans. Not because I don’t want to do the work but because I don’t trust my plan or because I think I can find a better way or because I’m restless and don’t like the obligation of sticking to one plan. I like to have options and the ability to think and imagine new ways of being and doing. And I like making plans much more than following them. Often, this is one of my strengths: flexible, creative thinking, always open to new possibilities. Being undisciplined. But, it can be a liability. Sometimes discipline and focus are needed.

june 27/8 MILES

64 degrees
the almost downtown turn around

Success! After several runs where I felt like I was too tired or too slow or too willing to stop and walk, I had a successful run. I decided that i would have a plan and stick to it, no matter what. My plan? Run 1.5 miles/Walk 1 minute. I ran up both hills without problems and kept to my running/walking schedule. The only change that I made was to skip the last walk and run for 2 miles instead of just 1.5. Lesson learned: decide on a plan and commit to it.

open swim
1 loop/1200 yards

The theme of the swim: chilly & choppy. So choppy! Big waves and rough water, especially by the big beach. Fun and exhausting. I’m glad that I’m a very strong swimmer.

june 25/3 MILES

56 degrees
mississippi river road path, north/mississippi river road path, south

56 degrees in June at 8 am. On February 19, it was 58 degrees. 58. Of course, that was at 2 pm, not 8 am. But, still. This weather is crazy. I ran much faster this morning and it felt pretty good. I think I need to add in a few faster runs each week.

58 degrees
open swim: 1 loop/1200 yards
bike to lake nokomis and back: 7 miles

Brrr. Actually, with my wetsuit on, it wasn’t too cold. The water temp was probably about 15 degrees warmer than the air temp. The water was very choppy in the middle of the lake, closer to the little beach. I don’t mind choppy. It’s kind of fun and it makes the trip across the lake even more interesting.  The bike ride was tougher. Lots of wind, some rain too. Sore legs. There was a tree down, stretching across the whole width of the street on my bike route. Must have been because of the strong winds yesterday afternoon. There were several spazzy dogs at the lake, barking and lunging at walkers, runners, other dogs.

june 24/9.5 MILES

60 degrees
lake nokomis loop, short + minnehaha creek path/minnehaha dog park/mississippi river road path, north

Oh, if the weather could be like this on every run! Ran to the lake and took in the beautiful blue water, undulating in the wind. Too cold for swimming, but just right for running and walking. I stopped to walk at 4.25 miles for a few minutes. Then ran again, with headphones this time, down Minnehaha Parkway, past the falls and turned around at the dog park. My running wasn’t fast and wasn’t non-stop, but I still enjoyed being outside and felt good about what I accomplished.

june 23/6.15 MILES

63 degrees
mississippi river road path, south/minnehaha falls dog park/mississippi river road path, north

Ran 6.15 miles (with just a small bit of walking too) in the morning and then worked on my writing assignment for my class. This week, the assignment was to write a 2-3 page disruptive or fluid narrative. I think mine might be a bit of both:

Don’t Stop (on believing)

It’s hard to hold onto a thought when you’re running, except for when it’s not. Some thoughts, the brilliant ones, can pierce through your armor, leaving you breathless with their insight and intensity. Then they quickly evaporate. Other thoughts, the doubtful ones, linger. You can’t get rid of them. They keep returning, even as you try to push them away, to crowd them out with distractions and attention to other things. Like birds chirping. And leaves gently rustling. And sandy grit lightly crunching. And trees sighing. Why do trees sigh? Is it a gesture of resigned acceptance as they absorb the negative thoughts that we exhale? Or is it an offering of gratitude as they receive the carbon dioxide that is forced out of our bodies? Do trees sigh? Sometimes I think they do as I run by them. When I’m paying attention, that is. And when I’m distracted enough not to notice the worries that hover, like the humidity on an early summer morning. Thick. Wet. Heavy. A blanket of moisture weighing me down. Or an anchor, tethering me too firmly to the ground, like the time I had to run at noon, instead of in the morning, which is when I prefer running. It was in the spring, before it got too hot, but after the sun was out. Directly overhead. Bearing down. In the morning, my shadow leads me as I travel north and follows as I travel south. But that noon, my shadow was chained to me, no matter which direction I ran. An anchor, clinging to my feet. Dragging me down, into the ground. Demanding my attention and distracting me from the joy of moving and being outside. Right after I get outside, during an early morning run, I like to greet my shadow. “Hello friend!” Never out loud, just in my head. I’m hoping to be on good terms with her. She can be so helpful, running ahead of me, leading the way while my legs slowly warm up. And, if it’s early enough, she likes to run below me in the gorge, assessing the progress of the leaves on the trees and inviting me to do the same. I glance down and wonder what’s lurking behind those leaves? and where are those voices I’m hearing coming from? I hear a lot of voices when I’m running without headphones on. Friendly voices that greet me with a “hi” or “good morning” as we encounter each other on the path. Agitated voices, in the midst of a heated conversation or a swear-filled rant, that don’t notice me or my amused smile as l pass them. Annoying voices that drone on and on about something that only register as loud, insistent bellows or whines, but that cut through every other sound: the whirring wheels, the buzzing bees, my jagged breathing. Far away voices, distorted by distance and a bullhorn, that bark out orders to the rowers rowing on the river. Cackling voices, somewhere below me, that erupt with laughter over a joke? a funny story? one of the bodies attached to the voice almost tripping over a root on the path? And a malevolent voice that interrupts everything else to remind me that I am running and that it is hard and that I don’t have to be doing this. This voice frequently surfaces when I’m 30-40 minutes into a longer run.

You could stop, you know.

In A Philosophy of Walking, Frédéric Gros claims that when you are outside, moving through the world, you are never alone with your thoughts: “Everything talks to you, greets you, demands your attention: trees, flowers, the colour of the roads. The sigh of the wind, the buzzing of insects, the babble of streams, the impact of your feet on the ground: a whole rustling murmur that responds to your presence (54-55)”. These murmurs delight and distract, but also invite us to pay attention to something other than ourselves and our limits. When I’m walking, I’m particularly fond of the trees. The tall, ancient ones, that spread their limbs wide and high, forcing me to crane my neck to take in their immense girth and wisdom. When I’m running, I often focus on the wind and its many versions: when it sizzles through the trees, its gentle wafting as a breeze, the times it howls as it rushes past my ears. That wind, the howling kind, is so awful when you have to run directly into it.

You know, you could stop.

In “Attention and Will,” Simone Weil argues that it is attention and not will or willfullness or stubbornness or clenched jaws or a better attitude or more fortitude that enables us to believe. Paying attention, pure, “absolutely unmixed attention is prayer” and faith and love. A belief detached from desire or doubt. But, attention to what? Attention to the good, the beautiful. The electric blue yarn bomb on the railroad trestle. The graceful gait of the passing runner. The clickity-clacking from the ski poles of the rollerblader/summer skier. The soft dirt absorbing the force of my striking foot. Not attention to the problem of being too tired, of wanting to stop running.

You could, you know. Stop, that is.

On the running path, I attempt to pray through breathing. In and out. In and out. Inhaling the world, exhaling the doubt. When this isn’t working, I try chanting: I am flying, I am free, I am where I want to be. Sometimes I resort to a counter-spell like the one that I created during a morning run a few weeks ago: This is my charm, against all harm. I’ll try every trick I can think of or that I’ve read about to distract myself and be fully present in the moment of running on the path. And to keep running and moving. To access another level of existence for a moment. Not to miss it by stopping.

But you could, you know, just stop, not go.

This cycle of attention/distraction, from believing to doubting to believing to doubting to believing, doesn’t happen on every run, although it’s been happening more lately, in the summer heat and humidity. But, when it does happen, it can happen over and over and over again until I’ve reached my destination or the number of miles that I’ve planned to run for that day. Occasionally the malevolent voice wins out and I stop early, but most of the time, it doesn’t. I keep moving until I’m finished. And, if I’m really lucky, I am changed, ever so slightly, by the effort, by my shift from will to attention and by having been able to experience the infinite if only for an instant.

june 22/XT

xt = cross-training = swim
2400 yards/2 loops open swim

The open swim was excellent. The water was very calm, no waves at all. Lots of planes overhead. Not too many swimmers because it had just stopped raining. In the first loop, my wetsuit made a weird squeaking noise underwater. Funny to hear.

I’m struggling with my runs lately. It could be the heat. It could be a loss in confidence. It could be a bit of burnout from training for 6 months. Or it could be my diet. I’m a pescatarian who eats mostly vegetables, fish about 2-3 times a month and no meat. This has been my diet for almost 4 years. I don’t miss meat at all. Occasionally I wonder, when I’m feeling fatigued, if I’m missing out on some protein and iron because I’m not eating red meat. It might be time to pay more attention to food and my diet. Not too much attention, but enough to make sure that lack of protein or iron or amino acids or something else is not the cause of my fatigue.

According to this article, here are some important food combinations to ensure that I get the 8 essential amino acids* that I need:

  • Grains with legumes
  • Grains with dairy
  • Vegetables with soy
  • Legumes with nuts
  • Vegetables with dairy.

Also important: to absorb the iron in non-meat foods, combine it with vitamin C and use an cast-iron skillet. Cast-iron skillet? Who knew.

*The 8 Essential Amino Acids

There are 20 essential amino acids, 8 of which your body doesn’t produce naturally. [source]

  • valine,
  • isoleucine
  • leucine
  • phenylalanine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • methionine
  • lysine

june 21/6 MILES

63 degrees
dew point 54
franklin hill turn around with extra

Still struggling with energy during the run. The first 3-4 miles feel fine and then it gets really hard. My heart rate goes up and my legs feel so sore. Midway through I wondered, should I ease up a little for the rest of the week? Maybe skip my long run and do a mini-taper before my half marathon on the 4th of July? Is that giving up or resting up?

Yesterday I listened to Lorde, today I listened to lots of wheels. Car wheels, bike wheels, roller blade wheels. So many wheels moving fast and slow and so many people on the road and the bike path!

june 20/3 MILES

63 degrees
dew point 53
70% humidity
mississippi river road path, north/mississippi river road path, south

Got a late start because of rain, so decided to do my shorter run today. Listened to the new Lorde album while I ran. Managed to hear the daily walker say good morning to me and answered back with my own good morning. Felt pretty good, despite the heat and high dew point. Other than saying good morning, I don’t remember that much about the run.

open swim
2 loops/2400 yards

A good swim. The waves were choppy on the way back from the little beach to the big beach, which I don’t mind. I feel tired and have a warm glow all over, from sore muscles. So wonderful. I love swimming across the lake. It’s so much better than swimming in a pool, doing endless laps and flip turns.

So, what do I think about when I’m swimming?

  • Where’s the buoy?
  • Am I still on course?
  • Any other swimmers around that I might run into?
  • There are a lot of airplanes in the sky today.
  • Is my nose plug working, or will my nose get horribly stuffed up around midnight and keep me up all night because I can’t breathe?
  • Should I do a third loop?
  • These waves aren’t bothering me too much, just tiring me out.
  • The buoys are a little screwed up and messing with my big beach to little beach trajectory.
  • My calf feels fine.
  • I can’t believe it’s summer already and I’m swimming in the lake.

My thoughts during an open swim are really mundane. Because of my vision problems, I spend a lot of time trying to site the buoys and stay on the course. I really don’t need to spend that much time on it. I’m an excellent swimmer who swims straight and rarely strays too far. Maybe I can train myself to focus more on the textures and sensations of the swim next time?

june 18/5 MILES

60 degrees
dew point 60
lake nokomis, twice

Yes, the dew point was the same as the temperature. I guess, because it was only 60 degrees this morning, this didn’t bother me quite as much. Scott and I ran the first loop of Lake Nokomis together, then I ran the second one by myself while he got ready for his 5K race. After I finished running, I swam 2400 yards in Lake Nokomis, or two loops (the big beach to the little beach and back to the big beach). What a great morning! The run was pretty good, although I was tired at the end. But the swim was excellent. The water wasn’t too choppy. I could see all the buoys. And my calf didn’t cramp up in my wetsuit.

During my run, I chanted “I am flying, I am free. I am where I want to be” a lot. It helped.

During my swim, I thought about the dark, murky water and how I couldn’t see at all underwater. I was struck by the contrast between that dark water and the sky, with its patches of blue, some clouds and the occasional airplane.

 

june 17/7 MILES

71 degrees
dew point 67
84% humidity
all around austin, mn

Wow, that dew point’s a killer. Ran with Scott in his hometown. The first 4 miles were rough. Then we walked for about 3 or 4 minutes. After that, it was a bit easier. Managed to finish the 7 miles, which I’m taking as a victory, even though we walked twice. None of my recent runs have been pretty, but I’m still managing to get them done. Someday soon, it will get easier. I’m sure of it.

june 16/REST

I feel pretty good today, even though I ran 12 miles in the morning and then swam a loop (1200 yds) at Lake Nokomis in the evening yesterday. It was the first swim of the Open Swim season! I love swimming across Lake Nokomis. A loop, which is 600 yards to the little beach and 600 yards back to the big beach, usually takes me slightly less than 20 minutes. That time, alone in the water, half-submerged between lake and sky, is even more dreamy than running time. So many things to pay attention to and write about!

Open Swim Sensations

  • The textures of the waves.
  • The smooth sand that gets wedged between my toes and makes my feet very rough.
  • The shafts of light that, on especially sunny days, appear underwater, just in front of me, as I swim.
  • The big orange inflatable triangles that mark the route, sometimes looming large, other times disappearing in the undulating water.
  • Random encounters with fish, swimming below me, and other swimmers, swimming over me or into me or around me.
  • The slimy, scratchy vines that wrap themselves around my arm or face as I stroke through the water.
  • The mysterious sounds–the clanging and humming and buzzing–under the water mixed with the sounds of slapping and sloshing waves above.
  • The warm soreness that I feel all over my body, but especially in my shoulders, after a long swim.
  • The sand and dirt and lake sediment that gets trapped in my suit, causing me to feel itchy for hours after the swim.

june 15/12 MILES

69 degrees
57 dew point
64% humidity
mississippi river road path, south/minnehaha creek/minnehaha falls/mississippi river road path, north then south then north then south

My route today was a bit crazy. I did a series of loops and turn arounds along the river, along the creek and at the falls. Would it have been easier to run a single loop? Would anything have made this run easy? Doubtful. This 12 mile run (with several walk stops) was hard. It was slow. It was ugly. But I did it. At 3 miles in, I wanted to be done, but I kept going. I’m telling myself that keeping going is the most important thing for my training right now.

I need some tricks or spells or chants or cheers or something to keep me motivated and willing to push through the moments when the doubt starts creeping in and it feels too hard to keep running or moving. Here’s one possibility:

Come on Sara, you can do it!

There was a hill near our old house and when my daughter would have to bike up it, I would chant:

Come on Rosie you can do it
put some Puotinen power to it!

It usually worked and she could make it up the hill without stopping. That is, until she got older and was too cool for such cheezy chants. Maybe I should try a similar one while I’m running. I don’t care how cheezy it is. Besides I plan to chant it in my head, not out loud:

Come on Sara
you can do it
put some Puotinen
power to it!
use the sisu
that’s your birthright
be persistent
fight fight fight fight!

After posting the above shortly after my run, I spent some more time thinking through my struggles with motivation. Here are a few different versions:

A Difficult Run, 7 Versions

1

In the writing class that I’m taking, we just started learning about psychic distance. Here is my first experiment in trying out the various distances, from far away to closer:

I did my long run this morning.
It was slightly cooler, but the humidity and dew point were fairly high. I ran 12 miles.
I ran on several of my favorite paths, but I struggled to keep running.
So many times, I wanted to stop. It felt too hard to keep going. My legs hurt and I felt weak.
Soreness everywhere. Heaviness too. Legs thick and useless. Then doubt. A malevolent thought: You could stop, you know. At first, I stuck to my planned walk breaks and ignored the thought. But, it was persistent. You could stop, you know. By mile 9, it had dug deep into my bones, my bloodstream, my muscles. Too hard to resist or to remember that this moment would pass. I stopped and walked. Then ran. Walked. Ran. Walked. Ran. Until I had done all 12 miles.

2

Run 3 miles.
Walk 3 minutes.
Run 3 miles.
Refill water bottle.
Walk 3 minutes.
Run 2 miles.
Walk 2 minutes.
Run 1 mile.
Walk 1 minutes.
Run 1 mile.
Walk 2 minutes.
Run 1/2 mile.
Refill water bottle.
Walk 1 minute.
Run 1/2 mile.
Walk 1 minute.
Run 1/2 mile.
Walk 1 minute.
Run 1/4 mile.
Walk 1 minute.
Run 1/4 mile.

3

3:3
3:H2O:3
2:2
1:1
1:2
1/2:H2O:1
1/2:1
1/2:1
1/4:1:1/4

4

3 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1/2 + 1/2 + 1/2 + 1/4 +1/4 = 12

5

Start long run: 6:04 AM
End long run: 8:14 AM
Average pace: 10’47”
Fastest mile: 9′ 28″
Slowest mile: 12’47”

6

Started without headphones because I wanted to feel the stillness of the morning and hear the birds chirping. At mile 3, decided that I needed the extra distraction of my running playlist. Listened to it for the rest of the run. It helped. A little. The first song I heard was Rufus and Chaka Khan, Tell me Something Good. And somewhere in the middle was It’s Too Late by Carole King.

7

Hover over the poem to see the full lyrics used from “Tell Me Something Good” and “It’s Too Late”

Somethin’ inside died
no
fire
just
pride
good

june 14/3.1 MILES

72 degrees
77% humidity
62 dew point
mississippi river road path, north/mississippi river road path, south

In Please Add This to the List, one of the writing experiments is:

Attempt writing in a state of mind that seems least congenial.

In earlier, happier times, when it wasn’t so hot and humid and my long runs were only 10 miles, I tried out this experiment by composing a poem while running up a steep hill. That “least congenial state of mind” lasted for about 4-5 minutes and then I was back to “gee, isn’t it fun to run in the most pleasant weather ever!” Sara. That was early April. Now it’s June and unusually hot and humid and almost every minute running outside seems to put me in the “least congenial state of mind.” It’s difficult to be creative and curious when you feel so tired and drained.

Dew Point, 6 Versions

1

Looking through a running forum about humidity and the dew point, I found a great phrase: The dew point as an index of human misery. I want to create an index of human misery, relative to me. What would it include?

Sara’s Misery Index, some ideas in no particular order
  • Waiting in lines, especially lines with aggressive people trying to cut ahead of you or clueless people not moving up.
  • Sitting through a ceremony that lasts over 2 hours in very uncomfortable chairs.
  • Flying through 2 hours of non-stop turbulence.
  • Being stuck in very small spaces or in the middle of a row or next to someone wearing too much perfume.
  • Not being able to breathe.
  • Waking up in the middle of the night with restless legs.
  • Ending your swim and getting a charlie horse in your calf.
  • Being forced to listen to smooth jazz, especially Kenny G, at the Mall of America on a Saturday in June.

2

Do point me to the pool, please. It’s 80 degrees. But the heat index, taking into account the dew point, is 95. Too miserable to run.

3

Dew point, shmew point
I hate you too point.

4

How much dew can the dew point do if the dew point can’t point dew?

5

The higher dew point, the more you sweat. Are you a salty sweater? I am. Here are a few signs that you might be too (according to Runner’s World): Your eyes sting when you get sweat in them or your sweat tastes salty or your skin feels gritty or your hat has white streaks, called “cake sweat”,  after you run. What to do, if you’re salty sweater too? Remember, salt is your friend. Eat a pickle. Drink an energy drink. Don’t talk about salt behind her back, telling everyone that she’s mean and unhealthy and trying to kill you.

6

When you mix up the words in dew point you get: not wiped. Not wiped? I guess if the dew point is low. Anything under 50 would work. Otherwise, it should be totally wiped, but those aren’t the letters in dew point. You also get: wit open’d. Really? Could more miserable conditions = more wit? I suppose for some comedians, this is true. And you get: owed pint. Owed pint of what? A pint of blood that traveled to the surface of your skin to help cool you down instead of flowing to your heart? Or the pint of beer that you owe your body for putting it through the misery of running in the heat and humidity?

june 13/3 MILES

68 degrees
88% humidity
mississippi river road path, south

The air was so thick and heavy this morning. Hard to breathe, especially through my nose. Ugh! I hate humidity. I need some sort of counter-spell or charm or way of deranging or paying attention to humidity so that I can endure it.

Words for Humidity

  • muggy
  • thick
  • moist
  • steamy
  • wet
  • sultry
  • damp
  • irriguous (well-watered)
  • dank
  • sticky
  • oppressive

Oh you! You muggy, buggy thing. So thick it makes me sick! Why can’t the water you contain be refreshing like the rain? Why must you make me feel so moist, a word I detest hearing almost as much as I despise feeling its effects: sweat that drips and sticks, heavy air that presses down on my body, sinking me deeper into the ground, making it almost impossible to fly or even to lift my legs up off the damp earth.

Hum/i/dity

hum a ditty
maybe, you’re as cold as ice
or ice ice baby
or freeze frame
or cool it now?
yes, cool it now.

Hey You!

Hey you.
Under that tree.
Maybe you could spare some water?
I’m thirsty and I
Didn’t remember to bring my water bottle. Normally,
I always remember to bring it. But not
Today which is the day I need it most, when the air is so thick and hot and heavy.
You know what I mean?

Sensitive

Have you ever said,
Under your breath, in the
Middle of your run,
I really don’t like humidity & humidity heard you & replied: Well, I
Don’t like you either!
I am going to make you even more miserable because of your
Thoughtless comment!
Yesterday I think that happened to me.

3 ounces per mile

How many cups of sweat can fit
Under the brim of my baseball cap?
More than 2?
It’s hard to
Determine but
I keep
Trying to figure it out while I run through the thick air. I think my cap has
Yielded at least 3 ounces of water per mile.

june 12/REST

A rest and recovery day. Tomorrow is the first day of Open Swim season where I get to swim back and forth across Lake Nokomis as many times as I want for 2 hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays!

This morning I experimented with writing about what I think about when I’m running:

Mundane Thoughts Mixed with Sacred Revelations

Running through my mind, almost
Unrelenting.
Mundane thoughts about my run: breathing, pace, how hot
I am. Mixed with bursts of insight, deep revelations,
New and
Ancient wisdoms, breaking

Through the noise, briefly
Introducing clarity
Only to evaporate in the heat. The
Noise returns. Chatter that
Shatters the sacred.

Listen up Over-thinkers

Is thinking overrated? Yes and
No. Sometimes you need to
Think through problems, possibilities. But
Everything, even thinking, needs to be
Regulated and balanced. Over-thinkers like me need to give it a
Rest. To
Undo the knot of this or that
Problem later…or never.
To stop thinking.
Impossible? It can be but
Often it’s
Not.
Something breaks through rumination. A chirping bird? A sighing tree? An aching calf?

june 11/5.65 MILES

Before the thunderstorm:

4.4 miles
74 degrees
mississippi river road path, north

After the storm:

1.25 miles
63 degrees
mississippi river road path, south

Went out for the first part of my run extra early this morning, so I could fit it in before the severe thunderstorms hit. I started at 6:15. I like running this early. It’s so quiet and calm outside. Very little noise, hardly any chattering. The neighborhood was still sleeping and I felt (almost) alone.

In A Philosophy of Walking, Frédérick Gros writes: “one never truly walks alone: Everything talks to you, greets you, demands your attention: trees, flowers, the colour of the roads. The sigh of the wind, the buzzing of insects, the babble of streams, the impact of your feet on the ground: a whole rustling murmur that responds to your presence (54-55).” As I think about it, I suppose that this was true of today’s run too. I greeted several other runners and was distracted by the heat and impending storm. But, I still felt alone out there, in another world.

I picked up a really cool book from the library the other day: Robert MacFarlane’s Landmarks. It’s a massive collection of words used to describe landscapes and moving through them. No words for running, but there is a section on walking that included, among others, these words:

bamble: to walk unsteadily

beetle scrunchers: big feet

flinks: to ramble in a rompish manner, as a frolicsome girl might

bippit: stiff in the hips

bit the grit: to start a journey

slomp: to walk heavily; noisily

I’d like to archive or create a list of terms for running.

Running Words

  • run
  • jog
  • trot
  • gallop
  • sprint
  • plod
  • shuffle
  • fly
  • clomp
  • stride
  • glide
  • light up the path
  • float
  • crawl
  • dart
  • dash
  • tear off
  • bolt
  • lope
  • race

After the storm passed, and before the next one arrived, I decided I wanted to run a little more so that I could reach my training goal for the week: 30 miles. Much cooler, but also much more humid (47% before storm/ 86% post storm). Saw some trees down, near the path, but no big damage from the hail and 60+ mph wind that ripped through the area a few hours ago.

june 10/2 MILES

77 degrees
mississippi river road path, north

It was hard to run this morning. It was hot and I was too sore from yesterday’s long run. Scott and I decided to do a few recovery miles together and then end at our favorite coffee place for iced lattes.

heat feet repeat

the heat, the heat
two feet on repeat
no proper rhythm,
an unsteady beat

the heat, the heat
the need for retreat
sweating so much
that you almost deplete
the salt that you need
to maintain your speed
and avoid defeat

the heat, the heat
out on the street,
too hot to care
about being discrete
with the clothes that you wear
or the people you meet
oh the heat, the heat!

It was hot.

It was hot.
It was not a good idea
to run this morning.
Only 7:30, but
it was hot.
the day shot already.
no more running, biking, gardening,
just hiding
inside.
We should have left earlier.
Maybe 6? Before
it was hot.
I forgot how miserable 77 can be
when there’s humidity
and a high dew point.
And the wind,
it was hot too.
We only ran a few miles before we stopped
It’s too hot,
I said to Scott.
And he agreed.

june 9/11.25 MILES

76 degrees
the downtown loop, long

Inspired by a Bernadette Mayer poem that I just encountered, here’s a summary of my run today:

11 miles to run

11 miles to run
10 fingers to flex
9 toes that aren’t purple
8 bridges to run under
7 times to wonder, why am I doing this?
6 dogs to encounter
5 hills to climb
4 weeks until the 1/2 marathon
3 water breaks
2 bridges to run over
1 river to run alongside

And here are some things that I thought about today on my run:

  • I am hot.
  • My legs are tired.
  • I am thirsty.
  • I like running down this long hill. Why can’t my run be one long downhill? Not a steep downhill, but a gentle one. I could live in a small cottage, near the banks of the Mississippi, at the bottom of the hill. I would drive, or take a tram, up the hill, before starting my run. Then I would only have to run down that hill to get home. So much easier than having to run up and down, up and down these hills along the river.
  • Nooo, I didn’t mean to put Patsy Cline’s Crazy on my playlist, I wanted the Gnarls Barkley version! Oh well.
  • I am hot.
  • I am thirsty.
  • I should try an energy drink instead of water. Is that why I’m feeling so drained? Could an energy drink help or would it just make me feel sick?
  • Why is it so much harder to run longer these days? Is it because I’m almost 43?
  • Hi shadow. Who are you today, my friend or foe?
  • Running downtown is nice.
  • The view from the Stone Arch Bridge is wonderful.
  • Am I really going to be able to run a 1/2 marathon in 3 weeks?
  • Today is another lesson in humility.
  • Oops. I should have put on sunscreen before I went out. I hope I don’t get burned.
  • Why is my water bottle leaking? Did I break this one too?
  • Uh oh. My calf is hurting a little. I really hope I don’t get a cramp or a knot.
  • “Stop a bullet cold, make the axis fold!” [the “Wonder Woman” theme song came on my playlist]
  • My legs are sore.
  • All this walking I’m doing better mean that I recover from this run faster!
  • Done!

june 8/REST

I’m experimenting with an account of my first injury. It’s really no fun to think about and try to remember it, so after I offer up the facts, I’ve decided to have fun with them:

Hover over the first paragraphs to reveal an erasure poem

The Facts*

On April 2, 2016, while doing a flip turn in the pool, I felt something pop in my knee. When I got out of the pool, my knee hurt and I was limping.

I had previously experienced a pop in my knee on February 14th of the same year which forced me to take a break for running for the rest of February.

After the second pop in April, my leg felt stiff and I was having difficulty bending it. Within a few days, the limping had increased. My right knee wouldn’t bend and I was struggling with the mechanics of walking, especially lifting and bending my right leg. My knee didn’t really hurt, but it wouldn’t bend.

In May, I went to a sports medicine doctor and discovered, after an exam and x-ray, that I had a bone spur on the interior side of my right knee and that the tendons—or was it the ligaments?—were rubbing up against the bone spur and causing inflammation. I was instructed to seek physical therapy, to undergo the R.I.C.E treatment: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and to take 9 ibuprofen tablets a day until the swelling went down.

At the end of May I was able to start running again. I had not run for about 6 weeks.

This was my first serious injury. It freaked me out. I was so freaked out that I failed to pay careful attention to the details that both the doctor and physical therapist offered. All I remember is “bone spur” “knee” “Inflammation” “RICE” “ibuprofen”

I have a vague memory of the doctor explaining that a bone spur, or osteophyte, can be caused by arthritis. I have no memory of whether or not he mentioned if my bone spur would stay or go away.

*at least, the facts as I’ve tried to recall them. I have trouble remembering “facts,” especially when they’re medical and technical and related to injuries to my body.

SOME FUN WITH THE FACTS:

Hi bone spur! This is Sara. Quick question: are you still there? if not, cool. if so, when are you planning to leave? No pressure. Just curious. BTW, thanks for not causing any problems for the last year.

Osteophyte, some anagrams:

O, the pest, yo
yo, the poets
oh, to set type!
hot eye post
they step too
oh, toes type?
set too hype
he poots yet
hot pot eyes
the soy pet
O testy hope!

R.I.C.E. doesn’t just stand for Rest Ice Compress Elevate, it stands for:

Rude Idiots Can’t Explain
Really, I Care Enough
red indigo copper ecru
ribbon ink carbon electromechanical
rancid icky curdled eggs
Rosie is currently elated
rapture is coming early
Rats! I can’t enumerate.
random isotopes create elements
rhode island can’t eat
Right, I can’t even.
respect is carefully earned
rudeness is considered evil

june 7/5.85 MILES

74 degrees
mississippi river road path south/minnehaha falls/mississippi river road path north

A tough run. I should have, but didn’t, bring my water with me. I really dislike the heat. Until my kids are on summer break, which starts next Thursday, I can’t start running until 8:30. By next week, I’ll be running by 6 or 6:30. It should usually still be cool then. I hope.

This is when my training starts to get really tough. The miles are increasing, along with the temperature. I’m not lacking motivation; I want to be out there running. It just feels hard. I would like to blame it on the humidity, but it’s not humid, just warmer. And, it’s not even that warm yet. So, what’s the problem?

In trying to work through this question, I did the following writing experiment:

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

It’s not the humidity, it’s the heat.

It’s not the heat, it’s the atmospheric moisture.

It’s not the warm temperatures, it’s the moisture in the air.

It’s not the warm temperature, it’s the moisture in the air and in your hair, on your skin, in-between your toes, on the back of your neck. And it’s the stickiness between your fingers as you rub them together, trying to keep your hands relaxed. And it’s the fibers from the cottonwood seeds, the catkins, that fly into your eye or your mouth or get stuck in the sweat on your face.

It is the heat and the humidity and the effects of both on your body as you run:
the increased sweat,
the depletion of electrolytes,
the flagging energy,
the dehydration,
the pumping of more blood to the skin and less to your heart or your muscles,
the sweat that can’t evaporate to cool your body,
the elevated heart rate.

It’s not the heat or the humidity it’s the dew point, the temperature at which water condenses. The closer the dew point is to the temp in the air, the longer the sweat will stay in your hair because the air is too saturated and your sweat can’t evaporate, which is how your body cools you down.

But, here’s the problem:
Today, as I slogged through my run, struggling to stay upright for 60 minutes, the heat wasn’t too bad, only 74—still high, but it could have been more. The humidity was a mere 37 percent. And the dew point? Only 45! The chart that I found online didn’t even bother describing a dew point so low. It started with 50-54, marking it as very comfortable running conditions. Very comfortable?!

So it’s not the heat, not the humidity, not the dew point? Could it be me? Maybe. But, today’s run was no failure of will; it was a test of fortitude. I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t fly or breathe in the world or even run the entire time. But I kept moving, accepting, and not resisting, my limits.

It’s not defeat, it’s humility.