feb 16/RUN

1.75 miles
downtown loop
11 degrees
100% uneven, slippery, awful snow

feels like: misery, uncertainty (will I fall? injure myself on this uneven snow?), no fun

It’s rare to have a bad run in the winter, but today I did. Not because of the company–I got to run with Scott–but because of the path. So uneven and snow-covered. And it felt colder than 11 degrees. Oh well, no more runs on this loop until more snow is cleared.

The other day, I decided to tag all of the log entries on here that have other people’s poems in them. There are 31. Only 31 for 508 posts. I have been reading lots of poetry, I guess i just haven’t been putting it in my log entries. Not cool. So for the next month (at least), I’d like to put in a different poem for each entry. Or, if not an entire poem, a line or stanza or more. Today’s poem is only 2 lines because this poem is very long.

from Hymn to Life/James Schuyler

The world is filled with music, and in between the music, silence   
And varying the silence all sorts of sounds, natural and man made

I think I’d like to use these lines as an epigraph for a poem or a series of poems about sounds. As I mentioned this poem is long. You can listen to the author reading it and it’s over 30 minutes! I would like to spend more time with it, though. Strange and captivating and clever.

Here’s a few more lines:

Change in everything yet none so great as the changes in   
Oneself, which, short of sickness, go unobserved. Why watch   
Yourself? You know you’re here, and where tomorrow you will probably   
Be.

feb 14/RUN

3.3 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
23 degrees
99% snow-covered

Ran with a playlist today so I didn’t hear anything but Beck, Lizzo, Ke$ha, Queen and Justin Timberlake. The path continues to be covered with snow and is slick. Very tiring on the legs. Not much traction. The wind was blowing in my face as I ran north so I knew it would be at my back running south, which made me smile. It was almost too bright when I started but by halfway, a few clouds had moved in and it was overcast. With quick glances, I noticed: the trail of open water in the Mississippi and the snow-laden branches of the oaks and maples and cottonwood in the floodplain forest. Anything else? I can’t remember.

Yesterday I started reading Linda Barry’s What It Is. I was struck by her mention of inside and outside. “Images are found in by through the action between inside and outside. I’ve been thinking a lot about inside and outside lately. What is inside? What is outside? What is it that separates them? Skin? The self? The body? Layers of clothing? A window? Door? The gorge? The leaves of the trees?

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Inside and Outside. Linda Barry/ What It Is

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Inner and Outer Weather

Ever since encountering Edward Hirsch’s great line about inner and outer weather–“Wandering, reading, writing–these three adventures are for me intimately linked. They are all ways of observing both the inner and outer weather, of being carried away, of getting lost and returning.”–I’ve been thinking about weather and the relationship between things like wind or humidity and my thoughts, feelings, writing. I’ve been thinking about making it the focus of another chapbook. The phrase, “inner and outer weather” was originally in a Robert Frost poem.

Tree at My Window

Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.

Vague dream-head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Not all your light tongues talking aloud
Could be profound.

But, tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
And if you have seen me when I slept,
You have seen me when I was taken and swept
And all but lost.

That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.

Robert Frost, West-Running Brook (1928).

feb 13/RUN

4.4 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
9 degrees/feels like 1
100% snow-covered

feels like: chunky, slick, crunchy, hard

I didn’t intend to, but I got to practice some hurdles today. Snow hurdles. I ran before the plows had returned to clear the mini snow walls they made when they plowed the crosswalks. Got to greet the Daily Walker. Saw a few fat tires, some other runners. No dogs or skiers. A few minneapolis parks trucks. My friendly shadow. The sun was too bright. Half the river was open, the other half covered in snow. Spent a lot of time paying attention to the path, trying to avoid ice/snow chunks. At times, the path was difficult to run on–too slick and uneven. Tried to not think about anything. I’m sure I didn’t for much of the run. Spent some time thinking about my form and wondering about my knees. Imagined running the marathon. Thought about my body and how little I noticed it when I was younger and didn’t have any aches or pains or problems. Now I notice it and think about what it is and how it’s me and not me. I wish I didn’t ache or have problems with my knees, but I like having a reason to think about my body–so many interesting questions to explore, so many new things to learn about joints and muscles and chemical processes!

layers: (too many!) green shirt, orange shirt, black jacket with hood, vest, 2 pairs of running tights, 1 pair of socks, a buff, visor, gloves. During the second half of the run, I was dripping sweat.

other layers: dirt, a thin hard sheen of ice, dusting of powdery snow, small clumps of snow, loose 1/2 inch of rough snow (the path); a woodpecker pecking, a truck backing-up, a car with a loose part rattling, a plow approaching, the fabric on my vest and jacket rustling, the quick crunch of my striking feet, a plane rumbling overhead (sound)

feb 11/RUN

4.25 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
22 degrees
100% snow-covered

feels like: a different world, one emptied of others; someone drained the color out of the landscape; running in soft sand

The snow was sloppy and loose. Even so, I smiled a lot and enjoyed my run. Greeted the Daily Walker. Didn’t slip on any of the ice patches, hidden beneath the snow. Felt strong and relaxed and empty of thoughts. After not thinking for awhile, I had a thought: How glorious it is to be running and not thinking about anything! Then of course, I had another thought about time, wondering if I was even noticing it pass at all. I ran for 40 minutes but it felt like 5. Heard some disembodied voices coming from some place I couldn’t see. There was so much snow–and it was so white. Hard to distinguish between the sharp crusty snow, the soft slushy snow, the mini piles of snow or the big hard chunks of icy snow. No contrast. My bad vision needs contrast. Can someone with good vision tell the difference between these snows? The sky was all gray. But not gloomy, at least not to me. Just peaceful and quiet and removed from everything. Noticed the river had some open water. Saw a few walkers and bikers. Again, no skiers. Will I ever see another cross country skier while I’m running by the river? With all the snow on the ground and in the trees, I suddenly remembered cross country skiing with my mom up in the upper peninsula of Michigan–in Houghton–on these amazing groomed trails a mile from her house. I always loved going there with her, when she was in her late 50s and I was in my mid 20s. So much snow everywhere. And so many beautiful trees–aspens (I think) and firs. There was one stretch that I especially liked where you skied through a forest. I called it the cathedral of trees. Today I didn’t run through a forest, but I felt that same sort of delight and reverence as I ran by the welcoming oaks, their branches loaded with snow. What a wonderful gift to be able to conjure up that memory and think about a time before my mom was sick.

layers: less layers today. Green shirt, orange shirt, black vest, 2 pairs of running tights, a buff, a visor, 1 pair of socks, 1 pair of gloves. Felt fine. The gloves didn’t come off, but I folded them over. Maybe if I had run for another mile I would have removed them?

feb 6/RUN

3.4 miles
mississippi river road, north/south
15 degrees/feels like 8
100% snow-covered

Also feels like: too warm for double gloves, an ice rink, a winter wonderland, I’m the only one not in a car, yaktrax

I ran today! It snowed 4 inches last night. The path had been plowed, which was helpful, but the ice was still there. I think this is the most slippery path I’ve ever run on. Wore my yaktrax and that helped, but only a little. I wasn’t worried about falling, just about twisting an ankle or a knee. Harder to run. My legs will be sore soon. Still, it was beautiful and there was hardly any wind and I had the path almost all to myself. One or two walkers, a runner, and an actual cross country skier! Not a roller skier, but a skier with skis! I think this is the first time I have ever encountered a skier on the river road. I loved listening to the sharp crackling of their skis on the crusty path. Glanced quickly at the river and noticed it was covered with snow. Everything is white today, the river, the roads, the path, even the sky.

layers: 2 pairs of running tights, a green base shirt, orange thicker shirt, thin black jacket with hood, gray jacket, 1 pair of gloves, 1 pair of mittens, a running belt with my phone and key in it, a buff, a visor, no headphones. Slightly too warm. Mittens came off after a mile, sleeves rolled up/hood off by the turn around at the railroad trestle, the buff turned into a headband by mile 2.

I don’t remember thinking about anything except for: this is slippery, ouch! (when my right knee shot out a quick flash of pain), I am running slow, how far should I run?, this is slippery, is that the Daily Walker? (no it wasn’t), I like the crusty snow the best because my yaktrax can grip it, I wonder what people driving by think of me running in this?, I hope no car slides off the road and hits me. No big insights or nagging worries. All wonderfully mundane.

feb 2/RUN

4.75 miles
stone arch bridge to home
28 degrees
50% snow-covered
feels like: spring, sun, dripping eaves

One way runs are the best. No loops or turn arounds or thoughts about how I’ll have to run back up the hill I just ran down. Ran from downtown, right by the Stone Arch bridge, through the flats, up Franklin, under Lake Street, above the gorge, to the 36th street parking lot on the river road.

things I remember noticing:

  • my striking feet sinking into soft mushy snow
  • very bright, warm sun but no shadow
  • running into the sun, I was blinded. All I could see were the sparkling spots of bare pavement on the path that the sun was illuminating
  • spots of slick but not slippery snow in the shade
  • passing under the light rail on the washington ave bridge, hearing it rumble then honk
  • water trickling off of eaves, bridges, down rocks in the flats
  • a dog’s collar clanging off to the side, turning and seeing it walking with its human right above the gorge
  • river was covered with snow and ice, no black holes today
  • heard voices coming from the hill up the U of M’s Wilson Library. Were they biking? Running? Walking? Not sure.

layers

two pairs of tights, green base shirt, orange warmer shirt, black vest, buff, hat, gloves, sunglasses. Today, the gloves came off, around mile 3, probably right after running up the franklin hill.

chants while breathing

I can’t remember when it happened but sometime in the 3rd or 4th mile, I started rhythmic breathing (in 3 out 2) and creating chants to match. I tried to remember them, but now I can’t. Except: raspberry/custard. mystery/is solved. who could it/be now? it could be/nothing. why is it/ something? These chants really helped by distracting me. I’ll have to remember to do these again.

Sadly, I spent a lot of mental energy paying attention to the path and thinking about which side I should run on. In the middle with the bare pavement but in the way of others? On the soft snow but out of the way of approaching bikers? Right next to the walking path? Close to the cars, on the edge?

feb 1/RUN

4.15 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
8 degrees/feels like -3
100% snow-covered

Finally I get to run outside again. A balmy 8 degrees. Ran without headphones and listened. My feet on the crunching snow in quick, sharp snaps. A woodpecker rapidly pecking a tree. Some other random birds chirping. A dog barking in a truck driving by under the lake street bridge (is this the same truck, the same dog as last week?). Park workers starting up their chainsaws, clearing out dead branches. Brittle branches breaking–such creaking and cracking!

Layers: two pairs of running tights, a black tech shirt, orange thick cotton shirt, thin black jacket with hood, gray outer jacket, a buff, a visor, 1 pair of gloves, 2 pairs of socks. Again, almost too warm, except for my fingers which were cold for a mile. Unzipped my jackets a little at the end of mile 1, took off my hood at the end of mile 2, put it back on I turned around and faced the wind at mile 2.5, zipped up jackets to my chin at mile 3. Kept my gloves on the entire time.

Wind: Running north it felt easy which meant, of course, that the wind was tricking me. Hiding behind my back, slightly nudging me along without me noticing. Encountered a runner running south, bundled up with their face covered and I knew I was in for it in the second half. Yep. Turned around into a cold wind. Just read yesterday that you should always run into the wind at the beginning of your run before you get too warm and sweaty. Running into wind with a sweaty face makes you get colder faster. Oh well. It wasn’t too bad. Wind doesn’t bother me anymore.

The Path: Totally covered with snow. Not icy or slippery but slick enough that I was sliding slightly. Now, an hour later, my legs are more sore than usual….A few times I noticed how the path suddenly felt different–more absorbent, soft, gentle on my striking foot. Then I realized the Minneapolis parks crew had dropped dirt on the edges of the path. Mostly it was already covered in snow but in a few spots the dirt was still exposed. What a relief it was to run on those few, fleeting stretches!

jan 25/RUN

4.1 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
-5 degrees
5% snow-covered

The other day I wondered how cold was too cold for me. I’ve decided to take this as a challenge and an experiment, part of my focus for this winter on layers. Last year, I paid careful attention to the crunching snow. This year, I’m curious about layers, literal (as in layers of clothing, layers of sound, layers of ice) and metaphorical (layers of anxiety, doubt, joy, ideas, meanings). What will this project look like? Not totally sure, but for now, I’m interested in layers in terms of clothing I wore today as I ran outside in -5 weather. There was hardly any wind so the feels like temp was -5 too. I’ve run in feels like 20 below so today wasn’t the coldest I’ve been. What is the difference between actual and feels like temp? I’ll have to research that some more. Today I was almost too warm. I wore 2 pairs of running tights, one green shirt, an orange sweatshirt, a black jacket with a hood, a gray jacket with big pockets, 2 pairs of socks, a buff, a stocking cap, sunglasses, gloves and mittens. Too much. Great for the first mile but after that, I unzipped the jackets a little, moved the buff from my head to my neck, took off the sunglasses and put the mittens in my pocket. Ice kept forming on my cheeks, just below my eyes, caused my water on my lashes. Ice also formed on the surface of my gloves. Pretty cool looking and feeling. I think it came from the ice on my cheeks that I kept wiping off. The sun was too bright. Blinding. Ran with my shadow for awhile. Greeted the Daily Walker. That dude is hard core. No coat, just double shirts. Holding his gloves while he walked. How can you get warm while walking? I can only do it when I’m running. Heard some geese so I looked up and saw them flying above me in a V. Also heard the noise of my feet crunching on snow, then thwacking the frozen, compacted path. And a dog barking in a truck as it drove by. Saw steam coming from the boat house below the lake street bridge and wondered who was there in the winter. Turned around and headed back south right as I approached a parks crew cutting down more trees. Remember looking down at the river once and noticing one small hole of cold black water and expanded into a gaping hole. How can there be more open water as it gets colder?

jan 23/RUN

3.5 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
17 degrees/feels like 10
50% snow-covered

Usually I don’t run 3 days in a row but it’s going to get very cold tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that—maybe even too cold for me!–so I decided to get one more run before the river road became an arctic hellscape (a phrase I read in a running article about winter). Sunny. Bright. Beautiful. Heard some geese honking. Smelled breakfast. Saw the path turn to sparkles in the sun. Good morning-ed the Daily Walker. Encountered some park workers chainsawing some trees near the Welcoming Oaks. Tried to look closely to make sure it wasn’t one of my favorites. I think they’re safe, but it was hard to tell. I was too far away and couldn’t focus fast enough. And I didn’t want to look like I was staring. Hardly encountered anyone on the path. Running north, my shadow was leading me. I guess she was tired today because it felt sluggish and difficult even though I wasn’t running that fast. On the way back, running south, I led her and we picked up the pace. Also on the way back, the sun was in my eyes. The path sparkled. Hard to tell when it was snow, wet pavement or ice.

I suppose 17, feels like 10 is cold but I was warm. Sweating. Less than a mile in, most of me was almost too warm. Except for my fingers, which always take the longest. Pushed my sleeves up after the lake street bridge. Then shifted my buff from my head to my neck. By mile 2, I wished I had worn a different hat–maybe a baseball cap instead of the thick teal stocking cap I had on. At the end of the run, I unzipped my jacket and took off my gloves. How cold does it need to be before I’m not hot at the end of a run? Not sure I want to find out, but I probably will if I try running outside later this week or early next week.

Writing that last paragraph makes me want to experiment with ways to describe the unlayering process that occurs as I run–both literally, as I shed gloves and buff, but also metaphorically as I remove layers of doubt, anxiety, restlessness. 

jan 22/RUN

4.15 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
18 degrees
100% snow-covered

Warmer. Snowing, slightly. Sometimes I felt the flakes as hard crystals, but mostly as wet drops. My feet crunched on the path, not crisply but sloppily. Because it was warmer, everything felt sounded smelled wet. The path was soft and muffled. Hardly any wind. So quiet. If this snow sticks and gets colder, like it’s supposed to on Thursday, it will become sharp and loud. Heard lots of birds. First crows cawing then other birds chirping. Wheels gently whooshing as they approached. No bikes or Daily Walkers or dogs. A few runners. Today I looked down at the river. So cool. Almost all covered in white with an occasional big gaping black hole of deep, cold water. As I ran, I followed a thin track made by other runners or bikers. Had intended to think about poetry and rhythms and chants but I forgot. I did pay attention to my feet though, noticing how and where they touched the ground. And then, after I was done running, I recorded the sound of my crunching feet. I held the phone down at my side and really captured the delightfully irritating crunching, grinding noise.

Crunching Snow/ Jan 22, 2019

jan 19/RUN

4.85 miles
left on river road to downtown
2 degrees/feels like -12
75% snow-covered

Winter running is the best. The sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing too much. Decided to listen to my running playlist even though I probably should have been listening to the crunching snow, so tightly compacted in the cold. It’s extra annoying when it’s this way–a constant grinding noise, almost sounding like twisting styrofoam. Anyway, I was happy to listen to John Legend and Barry Manilow and Justin Bieber and Gonzo and Crowded House and Styx. When I wasn’t carefully watching the path to avoid chunks of snow, I looked down at the river. Totally covered with ice. A beautiful, desolate gray. Didn’t see many walkers–no Daily Walker–but several runners, including 3 men all in red jackets gliding by so quickly and gracefully. The flats, just down from the Franklin bridge were colder and windier but not miserable. Was proud of myself for pushing through as I approached the big hill right before downtown. Nearing it, my legs were sore and tired. I told myself that it was fine to walk. But when I got to the hill I kept going. Still tired, I told myself that I could walk halfway up. Then I reached the halfway point and kept running. I told myself I could definitely stop at the top of the hill and walk for a minute. Then I reached the top and sped up instead. I’m always pleased when I can work on my mental toughness.

Anything else I remember? At one point, I realized I was just running and not thinking about my form. Of course, realizing that made me think about my form. Didn’t see any dogs or geese or squirrels or fat tires or groups of walkers or skiers. I did see my shadow though. She was just ahead of me, leading me down the franklin hill, having as much fun as I was. No smells. My feet felt cold. My face, flushed. My fingers, fine. My right ankle hurt a little but I think it was my shoe, not an injury, causing the pain.

jan 17/RUN

4.3 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
20 degrees/feels like 10
50% light snow covered

Snowed last night. Barely even a dusting, but still snow. It’s been a strange, bare January. The biking path was mostly clear, with streaks and stripes of light snow. Tried running on the walking path for a bit but kept stumbling over small chunks that I couldn’t see. Always wondering, is it my bad vision or does everyone have trouble spotting these chunks. Looked down at the river. Clear. Grayish-brown. Open with no ice floes. Also looked down at the gorge. Brown trees with a white sliver of trail winding through the woods. Heard chirping birds. Music from a bike’s radio. Some voices. A few squirrels scurrying around. Greeted the Daily Walker near the beginning of my run. Encountered a few fat tires. Any other runners? I can’t remember, but I don’t think so. A few walkers, some with dogs, some without. Most of my thinking was about my form and whether or not my legs were up for running again less than 24 hours after I had run at the stadium. At one point I thought: I should stop thinking about my body and running form and get distracted. And, I did. I think that’s when I focused on the snow in the gorge and noticed that the sky was mostly gray with a hint of blue. Almost forgot about the smells–walking out of the house, I got a whiff of fried something. Must have been coming from the bar a block and a half from our house. Later, a mile into the run, running under the lake street bridge, I smelled breakfast–toast, eggs, bacon–coming from longfellow grill. Found it strange that the smells were so strong when it was so cold. Usually, when it feels like 10 degrees all I smell is cold. At different points in the run, I felt smooth. Sleek. More machine than gangly human.

jan 14/RUN

4.25 miles (40 minutes)
minnehaha falls loop
31 degrees

Felt strong and relaxed. Slipped a few times on ice patches as I shifted from the running to walking path. Ran past a woman calling out, “there’s a bald eagle sitting in this tree!” Didn’t stop because I probably wouldn’t have seen it anyway and because I wanted to keep running. For about a minute I wondered what she thought of me for not stopping. The sky was light gray. Gloomy, I guess, but I liked it. Made the river seem even more vast, majestic, other-worldly. The falls were almost roaring. Minnehaha creek was flowing. There are some disappointed cross country skiers out there, missing the chance to ski on the iced over creek. I wonder if there’s any open water at Lake Nokomis? So strange. Saw the Daily Walker just starting on the path as I was ending. Too far away to greet.

This morning, just before sunrise, I took my dog for a walk. The sky was a smudged gray. Such a pleasing contrast to the bare branches of the towering trees.

jan 12/RUN

6.2 miles
the flats and back
23 degrees/feels like 16

Another good run. My second time trying a 7 minute stretching warm-up before sheading out. I think it helps. Heard lots of crows cawing–no ducks or geese honking or chickadees chirping. Overcast. No wind. Humid. Not too cold. Didn’t encounter that many runners. No Daily Walker. Several fat tires. Ran down the Franklin hill to the flats. The river was mostly open with an occasional chunk of ice. Beautiful. Desolate. Recited “sick” my Shel Silverstein again. Peggy Ann McKay had the measles and the mumps at least 10 times. It was helpful, but I think it’s time for a new poem. I need another one I can chant–nothing too deep just rhythmic and rhyme-y. Scott and I are thinking about trying to do the marathon again this year. Slowly the idea is creeping in and taking hold.

Anything else I remember? My zipper hitting my jacket. The faint sound of a key (or keys?) jangling somewhere. The stinky stench of the sewer near the lake street bridge. Almost slipping on a hidden patch of ice right as I was turning around to head back. Wanting to walk the entire franklin hill but keeping running by chanting, “there’s a bridge, there’s a bridge, at the top, at the top, look at it, look at it, never stop, never stop.” Feeling strong. My eyes watering from the cold. Dodging ice chunks on the walking path and trying to time my foot falls so I wouldn’t land on a slippery patch. No snow, dead, crunchy leaves. Thinking it was late November and not mid January. Stopping to stare down at the floodplain forest at the end of my run. Hearing some voices somewhere down below–maybe at the beach?

jan 10/RUN

4 miles
almost the franklin bridge turn around
15 degrees/feels like 6

What a day for a run! Sunny and clear and cold. Hardly any wind. Only small chunks of ice left on the side of the path. So calm and filled with noises. Everywhere. Chirping birds. Honking geese. Whooshing wheels. The low hum of traffic rumbling from across the river. Decided to listen today. My zipper pull made a small rhythmic thud as it hit my chest. My striking feet thwacked. Was able to run on the lower path, above the gorge. Looked down at the floodplain forest and enjoyed the cool visual effect of sun flashing through tall, thin tree trunks as I ran by. Said “hello” to a walker about 3 miles in. Encountered a fat tire just past the lake street bridge.

Stopped and took a minute video of the view from the end of my run. Had difficulty standing still and holding the camera straight. The camera rises and falls as I breathe.

mississippi river run jan 10

jan 7/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
38 degrees/98% humidity

Wet. Warm, but not warm enough. Lots of slick spots, more on the sidewalk than on the path. A gray day. Humid. Felt pretty good during my run, although I found myself worrying constantly about my back or my IT band or my knee. At one point I wondered, what would it feel like to not notice my body? To simply run? Of course, this did happen many times during the run, but I remember more the times when I was too aware of my body. Speaking of the body, when I crossed over the franklin bridge and was running on the St. Paul side, I started reciting Sick by Shel Silverstein in my head. All sorts of ailments: measles, mumps, wrench’d backs, crooked spines, chicken pox, cold nose, numb toes. This winter, I’d like to think more about my body (and the body) and my sometimes strained relationship with it as I’ve gotten older and it doesn’t work as effortlessly as it used to.

I looked at the river a lot this morning. Mostly frozen over, it looked like a weird wasteland. So gray and vast and empty.

Starting my run, everything was wet. Felt wet. Sounded wet. Whooshes and drips and gushing water out of drain pipes. Splashes. It was so humid I thought it was drizzling. Was it?

jan 5/RUN

3 miles
downtown loop
41 degrees

Ran with Scott downtown again. This must be our new Saturday morning ritual. We ran up the river road, over the Plymouth Bridge, through Boom Island and Nicollet Island, beside the cobblestones on St. Anthony Main and then stopped at the Stone Arch Bridge. The path was slick on the edges, wet in the middle. Hard to believe, but a lot of the snow has melted. I don’t remember much from the run except that it felt difficult. I also remember:

  • Feeling the bright sun on my face as we ran across the Plymouth bridge.
  • Being slightly annoyed by the flashing light from the sun as I ran by the railing on the bridge.
  • Watching our shadows ahead of us as we entered Boom Island park.
  • The shshsh sound of soft snow as we shuffled across it on the dirt path in the park. (As I learned last week, this shshsh sound is a sibilant sound. I like sibilant sounds.)

For the past 3 mornings, I’ve been starting the day with some yoga stretches–I’m using a 30 minute video on youtube. I took one yoga class in college but it was mostly meditation and sitting and breathing, not much stretching. Yoga is no joke. I thought I was flexible but I’m not that flexible…yet. I’m hoping that these stretches will help prevent injuries this year.

jan 4/RUN

4 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
33 degrees
less than 5% snow-covered

Sun! Warm(ish) air! Clear path! Almost clear lungs! A great morning for a run. Listened to a playlist and floated above the path. Saw my shadow a few times but focused more on the sky–some wispy white with bright blue. The river is almost frozen over. Saw the Daily Walker twice, but both times I approached him from behind, so no “good morning” greetings today. Also saw a few fat tires and a runner running far ahead of me with a glowing yellow shirt and black shorts (of course shorts, it is above freezing after all). Experienced a runner’s high around mile 3: a big smile spread across my body, from my head to my toes, and I felt Joy. Speaking of the runner’s high I was just talking with my son yesterday about endocannabinoids and how they contribute to our feelings of elation. I wrote a poem about it two years ago:

I See Wonder in the Chemicals

suddenly, without warning I am
exhilarated
euphoric
effervescent, bubbling over with feeling

sometimes I feel ecstatic
beside myself with joy
beside my shadow with delight
beside the world with reverence and awe
beside my mom with longing, regret, enduring love.

sometimes I feel enormous
capacious
if I stuck out my chest
and opened my mouth a bit wider
I could let in the whole world.

sometimes I feel electric
amplifying sounds
lighting up paths
nothing but pure energy,
a flow of electrons moving through the universe

how to explain these feelings?
are they chemically-induced delusions,
brought on by elevated levels of endorphins or endocannabinoids?
why do we need to explain?
can we bear witness to their wonder,
be curious about their origins and impacts
write about them
study them
experiment with them
propose scientific theories about them
without knowing them?
naming and classifying them?
reducing them to chemicals?
claiming that we own the Truth?

I see wonder in the chemicals
their poetic names
their purposes
their possibilities
but only when our theories about them
don’t foreclose
other explanations
other ways of feeling and being.

I reworked bits and pieces of this poem into other poems. I’m not happy with this poem as it is, but I would like to re-visit and further explore this idea of wonder in the chemicals.

jan 3/RUN

4 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
25 degrees
5% snow-covered

Much warmer today. Bright sun. Beautiful! But running was hard. Since my cold has settled in my chest I can’t take in enough oxygen. Oh well. Even with the difficulty breathing, I enjoyed the run. Glanced down at the river and noticed it was almost all frozen. Heard a dog barking in the gorge. Let my shadow lead me–she loves the sun. Heard a train horn blaring for at least 10 seconds. Saw the shadow of a bird flying overhead. Wondered whether the noise I was hearing by the Lake Street bridge was water trickling, wind blowing or a car driving by. Wiped out my fogged up sunglasses several times. Blew my nose, cleared my throat. Stopped at the halfway point to catch my breath. Tried to keep my shoulders relaxed and my hips high. Encountered a few fat tires, a stroller, some walkers and runners. No Daily Walker. No running groups. Couldn’t smell anything. Felt the warm sun on my face running north, a cold wind on my wrists running south. Can’t remember thinking about much else but breathing. Inhale deeply, slowly, through my nose and mouth.

jan 1/RUN

3.2 miles
greenway bridge turn around
2 degrees, feels like -10
95% snow-covered

Cold! Wouldn’t have minded it except that I have a cold and a bunch of junk in my chest. It was hard to breathe. So I stopped and walked a few times. Still glad I got out there. A beautiful morning without much wind. Listened to the snow crunching under my feet. Right before starting my run, as I was walking, I heard the 2 distinct sounds of crunching snow: the quick snap of the one foot striking and the perpetual grinding of the other foot leaving the ground. I heard these two sounds less when I was running. Much more snapping, less grinding. Noticed the river today–almost frozen. Greeted the Daily Walker-a great omen for 2019.

Learned a new word today: spoonerism. Named after Minister William Archibald Spooner, spoonerism is a term for of wordplay in which a speaker switches the first letters/sounds of words. Like a blushing crow instead of crushing blow or truck fump (or tuck frump) instead of…well, you know. Anyway, I’d like to play around with some spoonerisms in relation to running. Here’s one I just came up with: instead of long run, wrong lung.

Here I am in all of my layers: