aug 16/RUNBIKESWIM

run: 2.2 miles
mississippi road path, north/south
69 degrees/90% humidity/dew point 66

With my lingering cold and the thick air, it was hard to breathe. Mostly I managed short, jagged breaths. It doesn’t help when the temperature and the dew point are almost the same!

bike: 4.3 miles
to lake nokomis

I only biked to lake nokomis because Scott gave me a ride home. Two things I especially remember: 1. I can “see” the path much better than at the beginning of the summer. Is it the light that makes it better? Am I actually “seeing” it or have I just memorized all the curves? 2. Too many acorns on the path. Sometimes they crunched loudly under my wheels, sometimes they popped and went flying across the path. I was worried my wheel would hit one wrong and I’d crash, or a popping acorn from someone else’s bike would hit me in the face.

swim: 2.72 miles/4 loops/4800 yards
lake nokomis open swim

This is the best open swim season I’ve ever had. I’ve swam 4 loops 5 times this month (so far).  I only swam 4 loops once last summer, on the final night of open swim. The water was warm and calm and buoyant–at least it seemed more buoyant to me. I felt powerful and happy. Swimming back to the big beach, into the sun, I couldn’t see the big orange buoys at all. I swam mostly blind, occasionally glimpsing a stroking arm or the top of the building or a light pole or a lifeguard. I wonder if everyone else had as much trouble as I did or if it was my messed up central vision? I keep planning to stop in the middle of the lake and take a minute to pay attention to the light and the feeling of being immersed in water, but I don’t. It’s hard to stop pushing myself to the other shore. I’ll be happy if I manage to do it just once in the final week. I’m ready for summer to end, but sad that swimming in the lake is almost over too.

aug 14/RUNBIKESWIM

2 miles
dogwood coffee run
75 degrees/77% humidity/dew point 67

Scott and I decided to run together before going to vote in the primaries. So thick outside! Everything felt heavy, especially my lungs and my legs.

bike: 8 miles
lake nokomis

It’s amazing how much easier it is to bike when you have your tires pumped up all the way!

swim: 2.72 miles/4 loops/4800 yards
lake nokomis open swim

Open swim is almost over and I will miss it. 4 more regular sessions + the 2.4 mile race on the final morning are all that’s left. What a great summer. Things I remember about my swim:

  • so many weeds and twigs to swim through, some almost like webs or nets
  • something warm touched my foot, before freaking out correctly decided that it was another swimmer’s hand and not a fish
  • lots of planes flying above
  • such opaque water!
  • several swimmers swimming way out, almost past the edge of the course, others swimming straight, from buoy to buoy
  • glimpsing something out of the corner of my eye–a swimmer? a duck?–decided it was just a wave then suddenly a blue-capped swimmer popped up, someone swimming breaststroke, surfacing only for a second before hiding underwater again–good thing I didn’t swim over them!
  • realization: I love choppy water

aug 9/RUNBIKESWIM

run: 6 miles
austin, mn
73 degrees/88% humidity/dew point 70

Hot. Humid. Sunny. Difficult. Ran with Scott through Austin on a loop that was almost entirely nature trails winding through woods and fields. Nice, except for when the path was in the bright sun.

bike: 8.6 miles
lake nokomis

swim: 1.3 miles/2 loops
lake nokomis open swim

In the early stages of some sort of sickness that involves achy muscles and sore throat so I didn’t want to swim too much. Swam the first loop with goggles that were completely fogged up. I could barely see the little beach. Swimming mostly by memory. Switched to my other pair of goggles and was able to see for the second loop. Halfway through the second loop, my nose plug slipped a little, enabling air to get out on one side. Such a weird feeling.

aug 7/RUNBIKESWIM

run: 4.5 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
71 degrees/87% humidity

Dark green tunnel above the gorge. Leaves blocking out my view to the river and the sky. Later, past the old stone steps, I could see slices of the blue gray water. Lots of roller skiers. Some behind me going slow enough that they never caught up. Some ahead of me, slowing down enough that I could pass them. Why so many skiers this week? Ran to the Franklin bridge and then stopped to watch some rowers passing under the bridge. Felt pretty good, even if I walked a few times. Too many discarded acorns on the path crunching and twisting my foot. Why so early with the acorns? Will fall and winter come too soon this year?

bike: 8.6 miles
lake nokomis

A typical bike ride. Not too fast, on the river road. On the way back, looking out through the trees at the river, I felt lucky to live here and be able to bike on this trail so often.

swim: 1 mile
lake nokomis main beach

Looped around the white buoys ringing the big beach. 5 or was it 6 times? The water was gray and calm and cool. My arms felt strong cutting through the water, my legs powerful as I kicked. Several kayaks paddled through the swimming area, too close to me, so I spent much of my swim always looking out for clueless boaters. Swam for a little over 30 minutes. So glad I fired up to bike over. I’m going to miss these long loopy swims when I’m in the pool this winter doing countless flip turns, hoping my knee doesn’t slide out of its groove.

aug 2/RUNBIKESWIM

run: 3.3 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
57 degrees!

A cooler morning. No headphones. Lots of bikers, not as many runners. Focused a lot of attention on my arm swing again. Saw some rowers being dropped off under the lake street bridge, above the Minneapolis Rowing Club. Maybe my daughter Ro should try something like that? I bet she’d be great at it. I think rowing on the river would be really cool. Don’t remember much else from my run. No roller skiers. Not too many birds. Only one or two dogs.

bike: 8.6 miles
lake nokomis

The bike back was cool but beautiful. The sun starting to sink. The trees on fire. The light, pink. Biked with Ro and Scott.

swim: 2 miles/3 loops/3600 yards
lake nokomis open swim

Open swim is the best! The clouds before I started were puffy streaks, like someone had raked their fingers through them. The water was still. Not many people around. 2 kids swinging, entertained me with their toddler talk and their songs–including Santa Claus is Coming to Town. The air was cool but the water was warm. My feet felt like they might cramp and so did my calf so I was a bit wary of swimming too much or kicking too hard. Decided to only do 3 loops instead of 4. On the final lap, stopped in the middle of the lake, did some breaststroke and then listened to the silence. So amazing! Next time, I’d like to do an extra loop where I just swim out into the middle of the lake and tread water, experiencing the calm and the strange feeling of being out in the middle of the water.

july 31/RUNBIKESWIM

run: 4 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
72 degrees/75% humidity/dew point 63

I was going to write that last summer I had no problem getting up at 6 am for a summer run but then I checked my apple watch and saw that almost all of my runs in June and July from last year were at 8, so I guess I’ve been running this late for a few years. It would be easier to run earlier. Cooler. One problem: it’s cooler but much more humid with a higher dew point. Which is worse: high humidity with a lower temperature or lower humidity with a higher temperature. Can I get up early enough to find out? Heard the rowers on the river and my feet striking the ground. Worked on my arm swing and raising my knees. Encountered some fast bikers and a roller skier slowly passing me. Didn’t listen to music. Avoided the direct sun, which was already hot. Glanced at my shadow. Happily ran past the cars stopped at the stop sign, briefly wondering if they noticed me and wished they were out running.

bike: 4.3
to lake nokomis

swim: 2.72 miles/4 loops/4800 yards
lake nokomis open swim

Another 4 loops! This time the water was choppy. So choppy that I had to breathe on one side. And it was crowded. So many swimmers swimming across and so many people hanging out that lake. But, I did it. 4 loops! 1 hour and 16 minutes which probably means it was slightly less than 4800 yards but it was still 4 loops. I felt strong and powerful as I cut through the choppy water and lifted myself up to see the buoys. When I was almost done with the last loop, my foot suddenly started to cramp up. Instantly, I stopped and shook it out until it felt better. Crisis averted. No repeat of the calf cramp from hell that I got 3 years ago. Other random things about the swim: almost ran into several people. Was attacked by weeds that got stuck to my cap and stayed there and by a stick. Was wary of a menacing sailboat that looked like it wanted to cross over, right through the swimmers. The slightly setting sun was blinding on the way back to the big beach. The water felt warm–76 degrees.

july 26/RUN

1 mile with son/3 miles alone
mississippi river road path south, below, above, north
61 degrees

Such a great, grayish glowing greenish morning for a run. Started out with the boy. Much more walking than running. But no complaining and lots of laughing. The weather was so great, the path so inviting that I decided not to stop after we were done with our workout. Ran the other way on the river for a mile and a half and then headed back. Felt good. Heard a roller skier approaching me for several minutes. Click. Clack. Scrape. Click. Clack. Scrape. Click. Clack. Scrape. It always seems to be a good omen, hearing and seeing a roller skier. When they finally passed me, I could hear that they were listening to the Tour de France. I called out, “Are you listening to the tour? Cool.” Was able to greet the Daily Walker when I was almost finished. Another good omen.

july 25/RUN

4 miles
minnehaha falls loop

A good run. Started with headphones but the shuffle on my playlist was stuck and I kept hearing the same 3 songs over and over again: Lorde’s “Homemade Dynamite”/Rex Orange County’s “Sunflower”/Courtney Barnett’s “Nameless, Faceless”. So I took out my headphones and listened to the chattering birds and the rushing cars and the even rhythm of my feet striking the path. I ran by the falls without really noticing it–I seem to do that a lot. My legs started feeling sore around mile 3 so I walked for a few minutes. Finished with some strong running, even though I had struggled to start running again. Somehow I made it through the moment of doubt and desire to stop and kept going, running until I reached the water fountain.

After my run, I sat on my back deck and listened to the birds:

july 24/RUNBIKESWIM

run: 1 mile
lake nokomis

Attempted a training run with Ro around Lake Nokomis but her resistance to accomplishing goals won out. Her ability to resist is impressive even as it’s disheartening. I will continue to believe that one day she will learn to harness her superpower in ways that make her (and the world) better, more just, more joyful. Some days it’s so hard to be a parent and let your kids be who they need to be. It was a beautiful day at the lake. Sunny. Breezy. Bright blue water. Even as I was angry and frustrated, I was also annoyed at myself for not being able to let go of it and enjoy the beautiful morning. Our plan had been to run around the lake and then swim out to the dock for the first time this summer. We walked around the lake and then left before swimming. Bummer.

bike: 8.6 miles
lake nokomis

A beautiful afternoon. A very slow bike ride with Ro and Scott. Right at the river, past the falls, over the moustache bridge, beside the creek, up 2 hills, down to the lake. Then, after the swim, back again.

swim: 1.36 miles/2 loops/2400 yards
lake nokomis
water temp: 73 degrees

Another great swim. Every swim, I feel more confident about not being able to see much and every swim I feel stronger. On the way back from the little beach, the sun was so blinding that I couldn’t see anything and the water was choppy enough that I had to mostly breathe on one side, but I didn’t care. Swimming out to the little beach, I kept seeing the white sail of a boat beside me. Also saw the red of the kayak and (sometimes) the orange of the buoy. The only think I remember hearing were the shouts of the lifeguards as they yelled back and forth to each other. After the swim, I met up with Scott and Rosie at Sandcastle–the restaurant at the lake. I had a beer, listened to the bluegrass musician and watched a few sailboats moving across the lake. The perfect summer evening. Recognized and celebrated. Redemption after a difficult morning.

july 16/RUN

4 miles
64 degrees/85% humidity
mississippi river road path, north/south

Finally. A cooler morning. Still humid but 10 degrees cooler. Ran without headphones and heard lots of birds. Saw lots of green. Briefly glimpsed my shadow on the way to my favorite part of the path. She was running beside me, on the left. I’m feeling stronger, fitter and faster this summer. Could it be the swimming?

Encountered a few haikus that I really liked last week. Part of a larger series of haikus in a piece called Haiku/etheridge knight. Here are 3 of my favorite:

5
A bare pecan tree
slips a pencil shadow down
a moonlit snow slope.

6
The falling snow flakes
Cannot blunt the hard aches nor
Match the steel stillness.

9
Making jazz swing in
Seventeen syllables AIN’T
No square poet’s job.

What would my haiku be for this morning’s run?

Early morning run
in july with my shadow.
We are friends today.

A green tunnel greets
us, blocking out the shrill
sounds and the warm light.

3.1 miles
mostly walking, a little running with kids
mississippi river road path, south/north

Final training session before the kids’ first 5k. It went okay. The boy felt like he was going to throw up about halfway through it so we had to stop and rest for a few minutes. I am choosing to believe that he will be fine for the race. Encountered lots of trail runners on the part of the path that dips below the road. I’m starting to think it would be fine to try a few trail runs.

july 13/RUN

3.5 miles
38th street/minnehaha ave/falls/river road
71 degrees/93% humidity/dew point: 71

Wet. Wettish. Water-logged. Soggy. Sodden. Saturated. Drizzly. Dank. Damp. Misty. Moist. Muggy. Ran 3 miles through intermittent rain. When Scott and I stopped to walk, I thought about the rain and my skin. Touching my leg,  the surface of my skin was slightly wet. In a few spots, I was dripping, but everywhere I felt damp. Like one of those little sponges you might use to moisten a stamp. Very high dew point, which made running uncomfortable. Everything dripping. Everything a dark, deep green. Surprisingly, didn’t notice (m)any bugs. We ran by the falls but–of course–I was too busy yapping about a book I’m reading, The Wonder, so I didn’t notice the rushing gushing falls. At 42nd street, we decided to run below the road on the lower paved path. I described it to Scott as undulating. Up and down and up and down. Partly due to the terrain and partly the result of erosion–so many cracks and bumps and tiny holes in the asphalt.

A few hours later, after getting up from the couch, by bad knee suddenly popped out of place again. It’s been a week since the last one. Slowly and carefully I popped it back into its groove. These subluxations don’t really hurt, although I do feel a slight, sharp pain. Instead, they just shock, taking my breath away. Very upsetting to suddenly, without any warning, have your kneecap slide out of place. Especially for someone who is so physically active and relies so heavily on being able to move–to walk or bike or run or swim or travel up stairs or down stairs or outside. I’m getting better at not panicking and at carefully yet quickly popping it back into place.

I would like to write some more about my knee–how it feels, my fraught relationship to it, my struggle to keep running and loving it. Here’s a wonderful poem I found by Rita Dove about her right knee–my “bad” knee is the right one too. She’s writing about osteoporosis, which is different from my unstable kneecap:

Ode to My Right Knee

Oh, obstreperous one, ornery outside of ordinary

protocols; paramilitary probie par

excellence: Every evidence
you yield yells.

No noise
too tough to tackle, tears

springing such sudden salt
when walking wrenches:

Haranguer, hag, hanger-on—how
much more maddening

insidious imperfection?
Membranes matter-of-factly

corroding, crazed cartilage calmly chipping
away as another arduous ambulation

begins, bone bruising bone.
Leathery Lothario, lone laboring

gladiator grappling, groveling
for favor; fair-weather forecaster, fickle friend,

jive jiggy joint:
Kindly keep kicking.

june 25/RUN

10 miles
72 degrees/84% humidity
lake nokomis loop, long

Tried running 9 minutes then walking 1. It worked until mile 6 when I got tired and my foot started to hurt. Running isn’t as easy this year. Still not fully recovered from my knee injury. What do I remember from my run? So many cars, streaming by on the river road, heading to work or vacation or somewhere fast. Saw some other runners, bikers, a few roller skiers on the creek path. Ran beside 4 bodies of water: the mississippi river, minnehaha creek lake hiawatha and lake nokomis. Halfway around lake nokomis, the path rises up a small hill and offers a beautiful view of the water. There’s a bench there and I always contemplate stopping and sitting and watching the waves. I haven’t yet. Today, as I ran by it, I noticed how splendidly the blue of the sky, the blue of the water and the green of the trees complemented each other. Was it because of the light–was it bright? I can’t remember. After making it to the big beach, I decided to listen to music. It helped motivate me to keep running. Ran down the hill between Lake Nokomis and Lake Hiawatha and the hill after 28th avenue. Did I pay attention to the creek at all? Was it rushing? Were there any big turtles in it, like the one Rosie and I saw a few summers ago? I don’t know. So much of this run was a blur.

2 miles, some running but more walking
training with daughter
mississippi river road path south, north

Did second training run with daughter. Slowly, she’s getting better. Small, subtle positive changes. Running when she’s supposed to run. Not stopping. Not freaking out and refusing. Still complaining but with less anger. Today, she sang as she ran about the bing bong (or sometimes the ding dong) that the running app makes as it alerts you to start running again. Oh, the menacing “bing bong”! Why must it bing and bong at all and once it has, when it will it do it again so we can stop? The voice that tells us to “run!” or “walk” is named Allison. According to my daughter, we don’t like her. In fact, we hate her. She is the cause of our pain and suffering as we struggle to run in the heat. (I wonder, in a few weeks, will Allison become our bff? i doubt it, but maybe we won’t blame her quite so much?)  Soon, the bing bong is no longer the sound that the app makes, it is the pain that Ro feels in her chest or her foot. “oh, I have a bing bong in my chest!” By the end of the run, Ro has figured out what these “bing bongs” look like: bullet bills from the video game, mario kart. I love her imagination.

june 23/RUN

run: 6.1 miles, 4.1 alone, 2 with Scott
70 degrees/86% humidity/dew point: 63
minnehaha falls + dogwood coffee

Ran to the falls by myself and then met up with Scott to do our Saturday morning run to Dogwood Coffee. Hot and sticky this morning. Was very steady with my pace and felt pretty good. The last 2 miles with Scott were tougher. Sunnier. Warmer. Thankfully, he did all the talking, which was a good distraction and allowed me to grunt one-word replies instead of talking in full sentences. Lots of bikers out, alone and in pairs or pelotons. Lots of runners too. Fewer walkers and no roller skiers. Heard the rowers on the river but couldn’t see them through the veil of green. All the surreys were lined up at the falls, waiting to clog up the paths and to irritate Scott. The falls were rushing. 2 separate bikers were listening to talk radio as they rode. One jogger, MPR. Overheard 2 women having an animated conversation about an irritating friend, running slow enough to really emote their frustration. After I passed them, I could hear their complaints for almost 30 seconds. Don’t remember seeing any dogs or hearing any birds. I did get to see my shadow for a few minutes. She led me to the falls then left–maybe she wanted to hike down by the river instead?

june 17/RUN

10 miles
68 degrees/94% humidity
downtown loop

A tough run. How did I run 10 miles so easily last year? Not sure. Enjoyed most of it, especially the first 5, which I did run without stopping. But I was very tired by the end and I took 2 long walk breaks in the middle. I’ll blame it on my nemesis, humidity. The theme for today’s run was water.

water

  • sloshing water in my hand held water bottle
  • water dripping from the dark green trees
  • feeling dreamy and untethered, only connected to the world by the feel of the wind hitting the sweat on the surface of my skin
  • sweat pooling on my face, not drips accumulating, just pools of water soaking my skin
  • my soaking wet pony-tail, hard strands of hair hitting the back of my neck and shoulders
  • the paper towel I keep in the bag attached to my hand held water bottle all wet because my water bottle leaks
  • the messy, sticky, wet skittles clumped together in that same bag
  • the rain falling, mostly from the sky, occasionally from a tree or a bridge
  • lots of puddles
  • the model posing for a photographer first above the mississippi and mill ruins park, then below
  • my wet shirt clinging to my back
  • the mississippi river below while I run above on the stone arch bridge, rushing and gushing and tumbling over itself at st. anthony falls
  • the bright green grass looking like glowing jewels next to the river
  • wondering whether I should stop and fill up my water bottle by the flats because it’s getting low (I don’t)
  • the three bikers stopping to drink water out of their bottles after climbing the BIG hill, blocking the entire path
  • my eyes stinging from the very salty sweat dripping off of my hair
  • running by several people taking shelter under the lake street bridge because of the rain
  • running in the rain, hearing a rumbling near franklin and wondering, is that thunder or a truck? Pretty sure it was a truck
  • finishing by the water fountain and drinking drinking drinking the cold water

Also, two not water related memories that make me happy: the line of roller skiers–maybe 15 or 20 of them!–passing me near the greenway and the tunnel of trees in my favorite part of the path, all green with a small, circular light at the end.

And a few other images: the way the straps of the tank top on the runner in front of me twisted off to the side–were they twisted because of his gait or the sticky humidity or what?; 2 walker and a big dog up ahead, taking over much of the path;the guy on an electric skateboard with bright LED lights on the front, traveling on the stone arch bridge; the biker who kindly warned me, “on your left”; the intense rushing of the cars on the river road as their drivers hurried to get where they were going; the group of kids walking down the road to the rowing club, near the lake street bridge, that same group walking back up it as I returned almost 90 minutes later–did they recognize me?

june 17/RUNSWIM

run: 3.25 miles
77 degrees/80% humidity
lake nokomis

So hot! The heat index was in the upper 80s, at least. Ran 1 loop with Scott and then a little bit extra on my own before open swim. I don’t remember much of the run except that we went slow, it was very hot and I didn’t feel tired just unmotivated. Maybe music could have helped? My entire face was dripping with sweat. The top of my head, my hair, my forehead, my cheeks, right below my nose. I do not like running in this heat but I still did it and I’m glad.

swim: 1.35 miles/2 loops
80 degrees/choppy water
lake nokomis

A great swim! Decided to be much more deliberate at the start, making sure that I could spot the buoys. Also looked for other swimmers and the lifeguards. After a few minutes, the buoy had completely disappeared but I was okay. I just kept swimming and stayed calm. Soon enough it came into view. For me, open water swimming is always unsettling–even as it’s exhilarating too–because I swim most of the time without being able to see where I’m going. I have to trust that I’m swimming straight and that the buoy will eventually appear. Most of the time it does. I’m sure that open water swimming is hard for everyone but it’s especially difficult for me and my messed up central vision. Whole sections of my central vision–especially those in the top quadrants are blacked out. When the buoy first appears in those areas, I can’t see it all. It’s a void, just endless blueish brownish undulating water. Often, I have to turn my head and use my peripheral vision to try and spot the buoy. A bit of a drag, really, but also good practice for learning to function with very limited vision. What else do I remember? Mostly breathed every five strokes except for when the water was too choppy on one side. Then I picked the side that wasn’t choppy, I think it was my right, and breathed every 6 to that side. Don’t remember seeing any planes or birds in the air. Didn’t notice any particular trees. No strange sounds. Just water. A overturned rowboat, its silver bottom exposed and glimmering in the sun at the little beach, and the white top of a building and the yellow paddle boats at the big beach. Had a few run-ins with other swimmers. One swimmer kept unintentionally pushing me off the far side until I abruptly stopped swimming and went around them the other way.

Speaking of breathing every 5 strokes, here’s a poem I started last year and then edited more this spring:

Every 5
Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

I used to breathe every 3 strokes
Now I breathe every 5
lifting my head out of the water
1 2 3 4 5 breathe right
1 2 3 4 5 breathe left

I breathe every 5
Breathing oddly allows me to alternate sides
1 2 3 4 5 breathe right
1 2 3 4 5 breathe left
When I breathe every 5 I can stay underwater longer

Breathing oddly enables me to swim straighter
I don’t look underwater—
who can see through the dark murkiness?
I stay under longer, feeling the water lapping over my head
And forget that I am not a fish

I hardly look above the water—
all I see are flashes of white sails green trees orange buoys
I count my strokes 1 2 3 4 5
And try to forget that there are probably fish
swimming below me through the brown nothingness.

I count my strokes 1 2 3 4 5 breathe right
1 2 3 4 5 breathe left
and listen to the water lapping over my head
gliding rhythmically through the brown nothingness
as I swim straight across the lake to the other side.

june 14/RUN

3 miles
gitchie-gami trail, north shore
60 degrees

Partly cloudy. Calm. Ran with Scott while we were up at the north shore for a few days. Shared the trail with some noisy crows and lots of hills. Ran next to speeding trucks, impatient cars, the sweet smell of pine trees and the beautifully blue lake superior.

Earlier this week, I discovered a new form: double abcedarians. Love the challenge! Here are 2 I have created so far. The first has the first letter traveling up the alphabet and the last letter traveling down. The second, does the opposite.

Walking in the woods, you hear a noise

A thump. A crash. A bzzzz.
Bugs or birds or something big and hairy?
Counting calmly, deliberately to six
Does not help slow
Elevated heart rates that rev
Fast. You
Grimace and try to reach the magic digit
Hoping it saves.
It doesn’t. Your
Jumping heart races loudly roughly. The biorhythmic eq
Kept out of sync as lungs fail to expand, heart valves don’t pump.
Laboring, a frantic vibrato.
Mouth jaggedly inhales than
Nose reluctantly releases air from
Overworked lungs until
Pulmonary veins do their work.
Quick beats slow soften are quiet. The noise returns. Maybe it’s only a blue j
Rustling in the woods vigorously, loudly, sounding as big as a yeti
Scratches amplified in the dry brush?
Tricked again into contemplating
Uncomfortable thoughts of
Violent demise.
What, you wonder, could
eXtremely large humanish-y bears do to you, alone in the woods? Don’t panic.
You don’t want to startle this type of bear. Running off frantically is dumb.
Zoologists know this. They have done the research. They have all the gruesome data.

the yellow bike

Zoom. a
yellow bike passes by the curb
extra close to me, making the air feel kinetic
wild, unrestrained.
Veering into my path, the
unapologetic rider pedals off
to terrorize someone else who is running.
Silently, I fume and rehash.
Red-faced, a tsunami
quaking with over-blown outrage. I wonder, what would J
P Sartre think
of my reaction? Would he condemn it as bad faith? An existential
no no, giving other ways of being no room?
Maybe the yellow-biked rider had a reason,
like they were riding closer to say hello or to
keep me company as I ran on the path or to offer up
jokes—corny, idiotic ones that don’t require a high IQ?
I suppose these are plausible. Or
how about this:
gnats flew in his ear, down his throat
flustered, he failed to call out, “hey you!”
Edging close, all he could do was a hasty improv—
deftly swerving, just barely avoiding me, our escape from collision, narrow.
Could this be why? Stop with all this theorizing and relax—
bikers will bike by too closely
and it might just be because they’re a spaz.

june 12/RUNSWIM

run: 8 miles
lake nokomis loop, short
70 degrees/80% humidity

Began the morning with a longish run. It was hot and humid. I was sweating before I finished the first mile. Overcast. So many cars on the river road whooshing past. Was it something about the air quality–the humidity?–that made the whooshing noise seem more hurried or was it just because people were rushing to get to work? Ran slow and steady. Decided I would run to the lake without stopping and then, on the return trip, take walk breaks. Enjoyed running beside the creek. I can’t remember running on my favorite part of the path at all–I remember running right before it and right after it, but not in it. Strange. The creek water was subdued. Surprised with all the snow that we got in April that it wasn’t gushing more. Almost to the lake, ran by the Dinosaur park at the rec center and remembered when my kids were younger and would play here. Both kids had their earliest pre-school classes here over 10 years ago. The lake was refreshing. A nice breeze that mixed with my sweat to make me extra cool. While running there, I kept thinking about how the first open swim of the season is tonight! Can’t wait. This year, I’m hoping to swim more and write more about swimming. Walked for .3 miles and then started running again–10 minutes of running, 2 minutes of walking. Nice. Much easier. And I ran much faster. I think these breaks will help my legs recover faster–I hope. Tried very hard to not think about how I will need to run what I ran today plus 5 more miles in a 1/2 marathon race on the fourth of july. I was mostly successful.

Highlight of the run: Almost finished, I saw an older biker up ahead with a red, wide brimmed hat over her helmet. Never seen that before. How wonderful it is to be old and not give a fuck about how ridiculous you look!

swim: 1.37 miles/2 loops/2400 yards
lake nokomis open swim!

Started open swim with a bang: got the farthest off course that I ever have. Way off course. So far off course that I was almost to the other shore. The lifeguard had to come get me. As I swam back to the buoys I wondered, has my vision got that much worse? But, once I finished the loop and switched out my dark googles for the light ones, I realized that it was the googles. Ugh. I hate not being able to see where I’m going, to feel completely blind, just swimming into nothing. That’s how it felt. I’m glad I did another loop and that I could actually see the second time. Hopefully that won’t make me too freaked out next time I get in the water. I will have to chant to myself: it was the googles, not my vision. In good news, I wore my nose plug and I don’t seem stuffed up at all.

june 11/RUN

2.25 miles
mississippi river road path, south/north
65 degrees/78% humidity

2 fast miles with a 1/2 mile warm up. A storm coming. Dark sky, dark green trees. Heavy air. Turned right instead of left. A lone rollerblader. A few runners. A walker with a stroller. A walker without a stroller. Birds chirping. Lots of wind but none of it bothering me. Greeted a few runners. Flew over some dips in the pavement. After several years of running this path, I think I’ve memorized all the hidden holes that wait to trip me. Didn’t look down at the river or notice the trees or smell the gorge or hear the noise my foot made as it struck the ground. Also didn’t hear the sound of my belt rubbing my shorts or my jagged breaths. The faster I run the less I remember.

june 10/RUN

6 miles
65 degrees/84% humidity
the flats

A great run! Walking towards the river, before my run, everything was still and quiet–except for the birds, which were chattering. Not too many people out yet even though it was past 7:30. Near the start of my run, greeted the welcoming oaks and a few runners. The part of the trail that dips below the road and above the gorge was dark and green and mysterious.

wheels

Near the old stone steps, saw 2 parents helping a kid ride their bike. Then heard a bike’s brakes squeaking loudly and longly behind me. The wheel of truck made a clicking noise as it traveled–something must be caught in the tread. Behind me, slowing approaching, a bike gear clicked into place. A lone rollerblader bladed by.  Heard, but didn’t see, a roller skier heading for the greenway path. In the flats, running on the bike path because the walking path is in terrible shape, heard a biker call out “bike path!”–or did they say, “biker behind.”  Stewed over it for a minute. Imagined calling out, “you try running on that path!”

Turned around at the top of the hill and headed home. Made it up the Franklin hill without stopping and kept going–a big victory. Took a short walk and then ran the last mile faster, finishing strong.

Thinking about wheels and bicycles, decided to look for a poem on the subject. Found this fun one:

Nun on a Bicycle
by Jonathan Edwards

Now here she comes, rattling over cobbles,
powered by her sandals, the gentle downhill
and the grace of God. Now here she comes, her habit

what it was always waiting to become:
a slipstream. Past stop signs, the pedestrian
traffic at rush hour, the humdrum mopeds,

on a day already thirty in the shade:
with her robe fluttering like solid air,
she makes her own weather. Who could blame her

as the hill sharpens, she picks up speed and smiles
into her future, if she interrupted
the Our Fathers she’s saying in her head,

to say Whee, a gentle Whee, under her breath?
O cycle, Sister! Look at you now, freewheeling
through the air conditioning of the morning –

who’s to say the God who isn’t there
isn’t looking down on you and grinning?

june 9/RUN

2 miles
dogwood coffee

Sticky, thick air. Overcast. A sky more white than gray. Body felt heavy, tethered to the ground. Didn’t see any roller skiers but Scott and I did see the serious rollerbladers. 6 this time. In formation. Swinging their arms. The view from the rim of the floodplain forest was nothing but green. How buggy is it down there, I wonder? Heard the rowers on the river practicing or were they racing?