oct 10/RUN

5.1 miles
river road/falls/creek path/falls/river road
47 degrees/98% humidity/drizzle

Ran to the river and turned right instead of left today. Wanted to check out the leaves. Beautiful soft yellow, orange and red. Not to peak color yet but getting there. It was drizzly and wet on the path which means more squeaky leaves. The most popular color of fallen leaves, covering the path: bright yellow. Heard water gushing through the sewer and trickling down the gorge. Almost avoided all the puddles. On my way back, ran below the Moustache Bridge and up through Longfellow Gardens. Not sure if I have ever run that bit before. I looked for the statue of Longfellow in the field, but couldn’t see him. He’s probably covered in tall grass.

oct 9/RUNSWIM

5.75 miles
franklin loop
47 degrees/raining

When I started my run, it wasn’t raining. But within minutes I felt some mist and by the time I reached the east side of the river it was raining. At first I didn’t feel the rain. I only heard it gently falling on the leaves. Such a comforting sound. Soon enough it was raining and I felt it on my face. I don’t mind running in the rain, as long as it’s not freezing, which it wasn’t today.

What else do I remember?

  • the squeaking sound the wet leaves made as I ran over them
  • the once yellow now glowing orange leaves near the lake street bridge
  • avoiding the cracks in the path just past the railroad bridge
  • looking down at the river as I crossed the Franklin bridge, remembering run across it in the race 2 days ago
  • hearing the trickling of water below the gorge on the st. paul side
  • hearing a dog’s sharp bark down in the gorge
  • seeing a runner up ahead on the franklin bridge and slowly getting closer, finally passing them before the meeker island sign
  • smiling as I ran back across the lake street bridge
  • seeing the Daily Walker up ahead, dressed only in a short sleeved shirt, passing him
  • running past 2 walkers with big umbrellas at my favorite part of the path near the end of my run
  • seeing red yellow orange leaves
  • encountering only one spazzy squirrel

swim: 1 mile/1800 yards
ywca pool

Until my membership expires at the end of the month, I’m swimming a mile at the y after band rehearsal on Tuesday nights. It felt good. I felt strong. And, amazingly, swimming for 30 minutes straight wasn’t boring or tedious.

oct 7/10MILERACE

10 miles
Twin Cities 10 mile
44 degrees

My slowest 10 mile by 2 minutes but I don’t care. My goal was to finish strong and to not stop and I did both of those: My last mile was my fastest by over 20 seconds and I kept going on Summit even though my left leg wanted me to stop. So many hills! So many potholes! So many beautiful yellow golden red leaves! So helpful to run with Scott!

What else do I remember about the run?

  • Listening to everyone’s feet in sync
  • Trying to not listen to a few annoying conversations
  • Feeling overheated even though it was only 44 degrees outside, sweating a lot
  • Not having too much trouble for most of the Franklin hill but struggling to find room to run once we turned and curved up to the bridge
  • Looking down and paying attention to all the cracks in the road so I wouldn’t stumble, finding out that doing this was a good distraction
  • Hearing Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby,” Van Halen’s “Running with the Devil, “YMCA” the Village People and “Back on the Chain Gang” by the Pretenders
  • Not wanting to keep going but knowing that I would
  • Scott complaining because there was a bunch of sand on the last little hill before the finish line

oct 4/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
40! degrees

Love this colder weather. Finally! Decided to take it a little faster today. Another 14 seconds per mile faster than on Tuesday. Ended up keeping up my pace by chanting in my head: strawberry/blueberry/raspberry, occasionally switching one 3 syllable word for choc-o-late or choco-late sauce or butterscotch. Because I was running faster, I don’t remember much other than my chanting or wondering how fast I was going (I wasn’t looking at my watch) or whether or not I should be concerned about the slight ache on the side of my calf.

Anything else I remember?

  • Lots of branches on the path, blown down by last night’s storm
  • Annoying, dumb squirrels darting out in front of me on the St. Paul side
  • The bright yellow trees at the top of the Lake Street bridge
  • Stumbling slightly after misjudging the edge of the path near the Marshall Bridge
  • Studying the west side of the river at my new favorite spot to view the river (up from the bottom of the Marshall bridge), checking out which trees were changing color

oct 2/RUNSWIM

5.5 miles
franklin loop
50 degrees/96% humidity

Misty. Humid. Cool. Fall colors are appearing. Greenish yellows. Reds. Oranges. Greeted the daily walker. Felt good, relaxed. After stopping a few times to deal with a phone call in the first 2 miles, was able to run the rest without walking. Running over the Franklin bridge was beautiful. Admired an inverted image of the railroad bridge in the water. Ran around 20-30 seconds faster per mile than my last run. Saw a rafter of wild turkeys on the St. Paul side. Maybe a dozen of them just hanging out on the lawn of the Shriners Hospital. I love that I can see wild turkeys in the middle of the city. Heard water trickling down the side of the gorge. Felt water trickling off of my face. Wondered how long it would be before all the leaves would be gone and I could see to the other side. Thought about the 10 mile race I’m running this Sunday. My goal: to enjoy it and to not take it out too fast.

Anything else I remember?: cars rushing by on the river road, the gorge looking gorgeous in dark green and rich brown, the grit crunching under my feet by the lake street bridge, the yellow leaves on the trees right by the marshall bridge almost all gone already, squirrels darting frantically, no rowers, no roller skiers, any bikers?, no ducks quacking or geese honking, no bugs buzzing, no sirens wailing, no eagles or hawks soaring, no runners or walkers or bikers or drivers irritating me, my knee hurting only slightly and not too often.

swim: 1 mile/1760 yards
ywca pool

After band rehearsal, walked a few blocks to the y for a quick swim. 8:45 is a great time to go to the pool–no one else is around! There was one other swimmer a few lanes over. Far enough over that I couldn’t really see her for most of my swim. My mile went fast. So fast that I wondered if I had miscounted. But I didn’t. I often miscount, thinking ahead too much. The only way I don’t lose track is by mixing up my stroke count. I break the mile up into 200s with a 50 breathing every 3 strokes, a 50 every 4, a 50 every 5, a 50 every 6. I don’t remember much about the swim except: staring down at the blue line in the middle of the lane and then counting the tile of the other blue line that marks the drop off for the deep end: 3 tiles; looking up every so often, noticing the lifeguard walking around; trying to quickly glance at the clock as I swam by but having trouble; and noticing that there are at least 3 clocks within view as I swim, none of which I could see that well.

sept 30/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
46 degrees/86% humidity

Very quiet this morning as I left for my run. Overcast and cool. So humid. Hard to breathe for the first mile. Easier, after. The quiet stillness amplified my foot strikes and breathing. The river road is still mostly green but color is creeping in. Yellows by the lake street side of the bridge, a few slashes of orange by the Marshall side. It felt really good to be out in the world this morning. I am running well. Today is the 9th anniversary of my mom’s death. At one point during the run I thought about her and how this day doesn’t make me come undone as much as it used to. Then I talked to her in my head, telling her I loved her and missed her and that I was finally feeling happy and hopeful again, after years of struggling with many losses. Heard the rowing couch (was it the coxswain?) on his bullhorn calling out orders about straight arms and faster rates. At one point he said the name Sara–was it “you can do it Sara” or “good job Sara”? I imagined that it was my mom speaking to me, telling me that she knew I was okay. Decided to run up the hill past the bridge instead of taking the stairs so I could avoid the group of runners waiting to climb the stairs–never seen that before, they must have been a cross country team–and so I could view the river from my new favorite spot just above the Marshall bridge at a place on the path where there are no trees and you can see the river clearly.

Anything else I remember from my run? Greeting several runners. Seeing at least 2 roller skiers. Encountering a woman with a stroller, trying to wrangle a dog and almost blocking my way. Her apology was genuine and I was so happy running that I didn’t get mad, which is the way I wish I could always be. Feeling very strong at the end with a great, almost effortless rhythm. Another runner greeting me so enthusiastically as we passed each other that I wondered if she thought she knew me or if I actually did know her but didn’t recognize her.

sept 28/RUN

10 miles!
downtown loop with slight variation
46 degrees/up to 17mph wind

10 miles! 10 miles! Without stopping! I ran up 3 really steep hills without any problems. A perfect morning. My legs felt really strong and I knew that I could run the entire way. No doubts. Ran on the river road path down the Franklin hill, through the Bohemian flats, up the I 35 hill, past the Guthrie, down to Mill Ruins park, up a steep hill back to the river road then home. Occasionally my knee felt a little sore or my shoulder tight or my foot ached, but only briefly. The rest of the time I felt good and joyful and grateful to be having good runs after over a year of struggling with my knee. The last time I ran 10 miles without stopping was April 22 of 2017. 19 months ago.

What do I remember from the run?

  • Being able to almost see the forest floor.
  • Trying to keep a steady pace as another runner slowly passed me.
  • Watching my shadow run ahead of me, then beside me, then ahead of me again.
  • Feeling excited when I realized that they added a solid white line on the biking path in the flats for us runners who don’t want to run on the seriously slanted walking path right by the river’s edge.
  • Hearing some loud cracks over at the U, deciding it was construction work but still wondering if it were gunfire.
  • Hearing a bus rumble by above my head as I ran under the Washington Ave bridge.
  • Admiring the lush green grass under the bridge, finally returning after years of being a construction dump site for the bridge collapse debris.
  • Feel surprisingly okay running up the very long hill right before downtown.
  • Encountering the dude painting the white line that I was so excited about with a weird machine that looked like a lawnmower near the memorial for the people who died when the bridge collapsed.
  • The rough, uneven planks on the river road by the Mill City Museum and the sign that reads, “Caution: planks slippery when wet”
  • Instead of running on the Stone Arch Bridge, taking the path down to the Mill Ruins park, running past an embarrassed woman about the get her picture taken.
  • Hearing a tour guide barking out directions at a group of young kids.
  • Running up the steep path that connects back up to the path, right by the bridge collapse memorial, and passing several people, including two girls who had been running up the hill but gave up.
  • Running down a steep hill and feeling great.
  • The shimmery sparkle of the sun on the river’s edges near the flats.
  • Flashes of white boats through the trees near the rowing club.
  • Spotting at least one roller skier, several other runners, many walkers, a few dogs, some bicycles. No daily walker. No Santa runner (an older runner who is super fast and has a white beard like Santa Claus).
  • Almost being tripped by a stupid squirrel, darting out in front of me.
  • Looking at the spray painted image of a butt with wings and a heart on the left cheek under the Lake Street bridge that Rosie pointed out last weekend.

sept 26/RUN

4.5 miles
franklin bridge turn around
49 degrees/89% humidity

Fall running! Sunny. Brisk. Not too much wind. Beautiful. Glanced down at the gorge while running through the green tunnel and thought about how not being able to see the forest floor makes you feel like you’re high up, in the sky, near the tops of tall trees. I like this feeling. Ran past the Daily Walker. We were both headed in the same direction so I wasn’t able to say “good morning.” Tried to see my shadow but only got glimpses. Still too much shade from the trees. Maybe I’ll see her more in a month? Enjoyed listening to the crunch of my feet on the small patch of dirt right before the lake street turn off. Heard at least one dog barking across the river, probably at the Meeker Island dog park. Ran partly down the hill to just past the Franklin bridge and then turned around. Almost caught up to a roller skier climbing the hill too but she sped up once the path leveled off. Stopped and took the steps down by the railroad bridge. I run by these steps several times a week and I’ve never taken them. A beautiful dirt trail halfway up the gorge. I wish I had followed the trail instead of turning around and heading back up to the paved path by the road but I wanted to keep running. Sometime soon, I’ll run back, maybe with Scott, and we’ll explore the trail. Avoided darting, dumb squirrels. Smiled. Breathed. Pumped my arms. Kept my shoulders relaxed. Lost a few thoughts. Didn’t hear any rowers but I think I saw two under the bridge, either just about to head down to the boathouse or having just finished. Encountered many bikes, walkers, a few dogs. 1 roller skier. Several runners. No birds. No buzzing bugs. No rain drops. No orange or red or yellow leaves.

sept 25/RUN

5 miles
franklin hill turn around
52 degrees/91% humidity

Overcast. Sky, white with gray smudges. A few drizzles. The green down below the road aglow. Cool. A great morning for a run. Decided to tackle the Franklin hill. Managed to run the whole thing without stopping. Victory! Wasn’t too hard running up it today. What do I remember? Saying “good morning” to the daily walker. Catching a glimpse of a big bird–an eagle? a hawk?–between lake and franklin. Marveling at a super fast roller skier zooming by me on the path. Wondering why a car was parked on the sidewalk just in front of the franklin avenue bridge with its headlights on. Running up the hill, almost to the top, and noticing how the tree line carved out the sky, making it almost look like a river, wondering if the world was upside down. Hearing the buzz of a weedwacker down by the rowing club blend into the swirl of the wind and the whoosh of a car. Wanting to stop and take the steps by the railroad bridge down to the river to see what was down there. Feeling strong. Feeling joyful. Feeling hot, my face burning bright red. Noticing the leaves turning yellow on the way up from the bottom of the lake street bridge. Wondering when the leaves by the creek near the duck bridge will be turning golden. Thinking I should run that way sometimes this week.

sept 23/RUN

6 miles
ford loop
52 degrees

Fall running! Very sunny and bright. Studied the welcoming oaks at the start of my run: the two straight trunks at the beginning,the one leaning in to whisper in my ear, the other leaning back, its limbs spread out almost as if to yell, “watch out!” Also noticed the light piercing through the trees at my favorite part of the run, below the road, above the gorge. Glowing. Radiant. I decided to pay attention to the noises I heard: a siren, the feet of an approaching runner, the bullhorn of the rowing coach, cars driving by, music being blasted from a bike’s radio, the shuffling scratching sound of my feet on the gritty gravel, the dripping of the water from the drain on the st. paul side, the clickity clacking of a roller skier’s poles, the wind in the trees, the quiet steady buzzing hum of bugs in the green tunnel. Crossing the lake street bridge, I watched a shell with 4 or 5 rowers on the river. Sometimes they were blocked by the railing. I craned my neck to catch another glimpse of them. Later, I noticed them as I crossed the Ford bridge. A small blip in the middle of the big river. I didn’t see much fall color–maybe I wasn’t paying attention?–but I smelled fall on the path, traveling down from the Ford Bridge to the locks and dam #1. Musty, earthy leaves decaying in the dirt. Didn’t encounter too many runners and no big groups. Felt strong and decided to run a bit extra so I could reach 6 miles.

sept 21/RUN

8.2 miles
franklin loop + extra
52 degrees/wind: 21 mph with gusts up to 32 mph

8.2 miles without stopping. This is the most I’ve run without stopping since before my knee injury in June of 2017. It felt good. I was originally planning just to run the Franklin loop but I was feeling good and decided to keep going. Running an extra 3 miles is a big mental victory for me. I rarely can get myself to run extra. And I didn’t it in the wind. I used to hate the wind, now I love it. Strange. The only time it was really bad was on the lake street bridge heading back to Minneapolis. I was running straight into it. A couple of times I was worried I would be blown across the path.

What else do I remember?

  • the gray sky, how it made the green glow softly
  • saw a roller skier (west side of river) and a rollerblader (east side)
  • the runner passing me from behind, his long stride looked relaxed but slightly strange
  • the clicking of a gear being changed on a bike
  • Minneapolis parks people out repainting the walking/biking signs on the path
  • hearing one of their vehicles rapidly approaching from behind, then watching it speed by beside me
  • flashes of yellow and orange almost hidden in the green trees
  • the blue gray Mississippi
  • my left shoulder aching every so often
  • feeling warm, then cooling off because of the wind
  • noticing the metal steps on the st. paul side that Scott, Rosie and I walked up last weekend when we checked out Meeker Lock and Dam
  • running above, trying to look down below to see where the dog park path is
  • the beautiful view of the river and the tree line on the path just past the lake street bridge
  • the orange vest of a gardener digging up dirt by the side of the road
  • feeling strong and not bothered by how strong the wind was
  • turning onto the river road path and falling in behind a runner in shorts and a gray sweatshirt. Not sure how fast she was running, but it was faster than me

sept 20/RUN

4.2 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south/north again
60 degrees/rain

A steady rain. Not torrential but constant and very wet. Today might be one of the first times I went out to run and it was already raining. Usually I try to get a quick run in before it starts but end up getting stuck in it. Today it started to rain before I could leave and I went anyway. And I didn’t mind. I think I might be done ever running inside on a track. I’ll run in heat, snow, rain, wind, below zero temperatures. Lot of conditions…except thunderstorms.

The theme for today’s run: water

List: types of water experienced

  • soft, steady rain falling straight down
  • rain collecting on the bill of my visor, always a single drop sitting in the corner of my peripheral vision
  • a soaked shirt sticking to my stomach
  • soggy shoes and socks
  • huge puddles on the sidewalk on the way to the river, hard to run around, hard to leap over
  • wet, slick leaves on the path, not slippery just saturated
  • drops playing a constant downbeat on the trees grass dirt….I wondered as I ran: is rain always steady, in 4/4 time? Anyone ever heard triplets or a 16th note rest?
  • running too close to the edge of the path and getting a face full of wet branch
  • water dripping on my head, dripping through my visor, mixing with the sweat on my forehead
  • spray from my very wet ponytail
  • tiny drops of rain landing on my watch face
  • cold wet legs shoulders fingers
  •  car wheels whooshing by
  • the river, a contemplative blue
  • only one quick break from the unrelenting rain: running under the Lake Street bridge

I enjoyed running in the rain. Mostly because it was cooler but also because it was different and unusual. I felt a kinship with the 2 or 3 other runners I encountered, we the weirdos willing to wade through the water-soaked path in order to run outside.

sept 16/RUN

4 miles
74 degrees/77% humidity/dew point 66
mississippi river road path, north/south

Running at 7:30, already hot. Humid. Heavy. Thick. I’m ready for fall and over this hot weather. What do I remember? The sound of a runner, gradually approaching from behind. He said “good morning” as he passed. I noticed how one strap of his running belt was askew. Later, passing a group of 4 runners, one of them was talking so loudly that I could hear her for several minutes. I was glad I was going fast enough to get clear of her voice quickly. I heard the rowing coach down by the river, barking into his bullhorn. A biker’s wheel made a thwack thwack noise like something was caught in it. Close to the end of my run, entering the green tunnel below the road, at my favorite part of the path, it smelled like early fall: earthy. I didn’t see any roller skiers or pay attention to the river or dodge large groups of runners or marvel at red or orange or yellow leaves.

 

sept 13/RUN

5.7 miles
the ford loop
70 degrees/15 mph wind with 22 mph gusts

For some reason, I’m liking the wind this month. Who knew? Last year, I hated running when it was really windy. I avoided it, if I could. But this September, two of my best runs have been when it was 15+ mph wind. The only time the wind was really bad was on the Lake Street bridge, a mile into my run. I had to hold onto my visor so it wouldn’t blow off into the river.

What are some memorable things about my run?

  • the windy bridge
  • the moments when I ran in the sun and wasn’t sheltered by the shade
  • peering down at the trees in the ravine as I ran up the river road path towards Summit. So pretty and mysterious and inviting. Looking at a map the other day, I discovered that this place has a name: Shadow Falls Park. I must hike there before the winter!
  • feeling okay as I ran up the hill right before Summit, imagining how I’ll feel when I run it in less than a month at the TC 10 mile race.
  • listening to my feet striking the paved path with a thud, then crunching on the dirt
  • watching the relaxed, strong stride of a runner as she passed me, finally passing another runner who was running on the dirt path
  • speeding up to pass a group of 6 or 7 runners
  • checking out the trees–no color yet–while running across the Ford bridge
  • noticing 3 police cars passing me on the river road, not all at once, but within 5 minutes of each other
  • feeling hot and flushed

I wasn’t listening to music. Even so, I don’t remember many distinctive sounds. No roller skiers. Only a few bikers. Some walkers with dogs or backpacks. Several runners. No unusual whooshing wind sounds or barks. I do remember noticing, as I started, how intense (and intent) the cars seemed to be as they rushed up the road. No rowers or quick snatches of conversation overhead as I passed walkers. One brief song blasting from a radio on a bike. No water sounds. Some water sparkle on the bridge as the sun created a path of light across the river. A few bright orange leaves hidden in the trees just above the Lake St/Marshall bridge.

sept 10/RUN

7 miles
bohemian flats turnaround
59 degrees 71% humidity

Ran down the Franklin hill, feeling good. Later, ran back up the hill too hard. Walked for a few minutes but still finished strong.

What do I remember from my run?
one roller skier holding both of their poles in one hand
two (or was it three?) police cars driving by
noticing how the parks crew was mowing down all the wildflowers on the side of the path
watching my shadow, checking out my form, trying to keep my shoulders even and relaxed
for a second, trying rhythmic breathing
listening to my feet strike the ground

sept 8/RUN

run: 2 miles
dogwood coffee run
65 degrees

A quick run with Scott to Dogwood Coffee. Our Saturday morning tradition. Lots of runners out. Some bikes. A team of rollerbladers, three with matching kits. According to Scott’s apple watch, we ran 2 miles. According to mine, 2.09.

In the afternoon, we took Delia the dog to Meeker Island. Pretty cool. We didn’t have a chance to walk it, but there’s a dog park here that we’ll have to check out some other day.

sept 6/RUNBIKE

run: 2.5 miles
62 degrees
mississippi river road path, north/south

This is my fourth day in a row of running. Feeling good. Woke up to 53 degrees. Fall is here!

bike: 9 miles
lake nokomis and back

Was planning to swim at the lake today but I got there just as a boat was taking out the last buoys. Last year, they kept the buoys in until the beginning of October. I’m sad but slightly relieved to know that it’s over–no more doubts about whether or not I should try biking over the lake to swim. I can’t, it’s closed. See you next summer, beloved Lake Nokomis.

sept 5/RUN

6.5 miles
the franklin loop + extra
63 degrees/72% humidity/dew point 54
wind: 16 mph/gusts up to 25 mph

What a run! The best I’ve done in months. Felt strong and steady, like I could have kept going for another hour. Didn’t look at my pace or my pulse. Didn’t listen to music. Oh, if all runs could be like this one! Spreading open possibility!

Overcast. No shadow today. Instead the wind was my friend, not by pushing me along but by giving me something to listen to and think about. I felt the gusts on the lake street and franklin bridges but it didn’t bother me. The wind sounded like a lot of things today. It blended in with whirring wheels of an approaching bicycle, the sprinkler set up on someone’s lawn across the street. I liked listening to it shake the leaves in the trees, making them sing, “fall is here! winter running coming soon.”

Running up from below the lake street bridge, glanced at a tree and was delighted to see slashes of bright orange peeking through. Soon all the leaves on the river will change and then fall and I’ll be able to see the river and all the way to the other side: the banks, branches, beaches. Right before seeing these leaves, I payed attention to the sign for the Meeker Island Lock and Dam. I want to check it out before winter. It’s so close. Only a mile and a half from my house.

I remember thinking about things, but I can’t remember what those things are
or were or whatever verb tense makes the most sense.

aug 28/RUN

4 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
62 degrees/97% humidity/dew point 61

Light, steady rain. Dark skies. Darker tunnel of trees littered with acorn shells. A great run. Didn’t stop, kept getting faster. Right after the Greenway bridge, a bright orange shirted runner passed me, running fast. We became running partners. Not running together, but on parallel paths, encountering each other every so often. I think he was doing strides. Sprinting, walking, jogging, sprinting back and forth on the river road. He passed me, then I passed him, then he passed me again. I liked how his bright orange shirt glowed in the distance when he ran past me.

This run felt good after a difficult morning with the girl–getting her to school, that is. No major breakdowns, but signs that we might be in for another difficult year of anxious, “I feel sick” mornings.

aug 27/RUN

3 miles
mississippi river road path, south/north
79 degrees/77% humidity/dew point 71

Yuck! So humid this morning. Hard to run. Humid, sticky, moist all day. My kids complained that every paper their teachers handed out in school was damp. No fun for running or walking or being in humid classrooms. Ran 2 miles, then walked a little of the 3rd. Started running again and impressed myself by not stopping after I started.

Last week, a thread was started on twitter about the dangers of running alone as a woman: This is the last place I ran alone and carefree. A thread on Mollie Tibbetts and running alone as a woman Nothing has ever happened to me while I’m running but I definitely feel the fears and the lack of freedom expressed in these tweets. There are many wonderful places near the river that I will never run alone, even though I’d really like to try them out. Often when the path I run dips below the road or behind the trees or under a bridge I become anxious and hyper alert, looking for places to escape if someone jumps out or blocks my way.