dec 17/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
28 degrees
0% snow-covered

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

dec 12/RUN

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

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

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

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

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

dec 9/RUN

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

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

dec 8/RUN

3.5 miles
downtown loop
26 degrees
50% snow-covered

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

dec 3/RUN

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

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

dec 1/RUN

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

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

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

nov 28/RUN

4.2 miles
minnehaha falls
20 degrees

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

nov 26/RUN

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

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

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

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

Triad

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

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

A Late November Run

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

nov 24/RUN

6.2 miles
37 degrees
moustache 10K race, riverfront minneapolis

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

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

nov 18/RUN

3.2 miles
greenway bridge turn around
9 degrees

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

nov 13/RUNBIKE

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

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

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

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

nov 5/RUN

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

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

nov 1/RUN

6.2 miles
38 degrees
Franklin bridge + extra turn around

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

oct 30/RUN

4.2 miles
minnehaha falls and back
52 degrees

Ran to the falls, stopped. Looked at the falls above, then below. Took the 100+ stone steps down to the lower bridge. Beautiful. Decided to run on the dirt path that follows the creek until I reached another bridge. Ran over it and then walked back up the steep incline. It was fun to run on a dirt path by the river. I was much less concerned about how fast I was going. Started running again and, just after reaching the double bridge (a bridge for bikers, another for pedestrians) at 44th street, I followed the trail that snaked down a hill to another dirt trail, halfway above the river. Well, some of it was dirt, some of it leaves, much of it abandoned asphalt, worn and rutted. I encountered a few walkers, but mostly had the trail to myself. My legs felt sore–maybe because I had run 3 days in a row?–but I liked looking at the river and St. Paul on the other side. Running on this trail reminded me of training with the kids this summer. Both of them preferred running on it over the main trail right by the road because they could be hidden from view. Summer seems so long ago.

oct 29/RUN

5.3 miles
franklin loop
45 degrees

A beautiful morning for a run! Sunny. Hardly any wind.

Favorite views: the reflection of the railroad bridge in the water from the Franklin bridge and the reflection of the Lake Street bridge from the top of the hill on the river road near Marshall.

Most annoying re-occurrence: stupid squirrels stopping right in front of me or darting out in front of me. At least twice, I had to pause my run for them.

Most interesting thing about the squirrels: saw at least 2 black squirrels.

Best noise: sh sh sh shuffling through the dead yellow leaves on the ground.

Worst noise: the wheezing, coughing, gasping of a woman running in front of me just past Meeker Island.

Prettiest leaf color: butterscotch.

Toughest part of the run: After running up 2 hills and crossing the road to the sidewalk just before Marshall.

Easiest part of the run: Running on a gentle downhill for several minutes after reaching the top of the curve on the Franklin bridge.

Best dogs: The pure white dogs I encountered at the end of my run as I walked back, one walking the other proudly perched in a stroller being pushed by a woman. Not sure what kind of dogs they were.

What made me happy to see: glimpses of the blue river through the trees at my favorite part of the trail, right above the gorge. A roller skier in a bright orange shirt speeding up the hill. The forest floor.

What I missed seeing: The Daily Walker. Rowers. Glowing orange leaves. Wild turkeys.

vacation, oct 11-oct 20

estes park, colorado (elevation 7500 feet)
run: 3.8 miles
fish creek road

glenwood springs, colorado (elevation 5700 feet)
run: 4 miles
glenwood canyon hiking biking trail

Didn’t have much time to run for a week and a half. Partly because I was busy doing other things, partly because I had never run in such high altitudes before. Glenwood Springs didn’t bother me but Estes Park’s 7500 foot elevation kicked me in the ass. Wow. This past year I’ve heard so much about the altitude training that pro athletes do so it was cool to (sort of) try it myself. Here are some notes I took after my first 1.5 mile run:

25 degrees/50% humidity, dry/
ran next to some elk, heard their bugle mating calls
snowy mountains, a misty glassy crystal lake
screaming lungs, jagged breaths
poop-covered paths
an unfamiliar land

The 4 mile run with Scott in Glenwood Springs was easier and more interesting. We ran next to the Colorado River on the old highway, which has been converted into a hiking biking trail. Maybe one day will have time to run much farther on it. Didn’t see any elk there, but did have to run by some big horn sheep. Scott estimates that they were about 25 feet away.

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