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.

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 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 18/RUN

3 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south

Cooler again this morning. Writing this a day after, so I don’t remember much about the run except for that it felt good and I felt fast. A few other things:

  • Right before the greenway/railroad trestle there was a long line-up of cars, waiting at the 3 way stop. It felt great running past so many of them. What joy to be out on the path and not trapped in a car!
  • The friendly smile of a runner as I encountered her twice.
  • The green of the floodplain forest.

5K race (3.2)
walking/running with kids
last mile alone, all running
Torchlight

It was difficult racing with the kids and I probably didn’t handle it as well I could have, but it doesn’t matter because they finished it. More than 10 minutes faster than I thought they could and with smiles on their faces! Towards the end, they encountered a fast walker on the bridge, going past them. He called out, “I’m an 80 year old diabetic with an artificial hip (as he hit his hip), and if I can do it, you can too!” This inspired them to fire up and run the last stretch of the race. That story, which they both told with great enthusiasm, and the picture that Scott took of them just coming off of the Stone Arch Bridge is how I will happily remember this race:

They made it! #torchlight5k

A post shared by Scott Anderson đź“Ž (@room34) on

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 14/RUN

2 miles
dogwood run
76 degrees/85% humidity/dewpoint 71

Another hot, humid, sticky morning. So hard to breathe! Scott and I ran up the river road through Brackett Park and to Dogwood Coffee. Our Saturday morning tradition. I don’t remember much except for that I could handle the heat better than Scott. How does that happen?

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

This Wednesday is the kids’ first 5k race. They won’t be running that much of it, but at least they’re doing it. Today we settled on a race plan: run 1 minute every 1/2 mile. This seems to be manageable for them. I’m hoping that the race will inspire them to want to do more training and running. As we ran/walked along the river road, we watched all the bikers racing in the lifetime tri. Such a hot and sunny day for a race! I raced in this triathlon a couple of years ago and thought about doing it again this year but I don’t like the biking part–too hard and dangerous to train with my vision.

 

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.

july 2/RUNBIKE

3.75 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
70 degrees/79% humidity

Listened to a new playlist and ran towards lake street. Encountered other runners, a few bikers and at least two roller skiers. Did I see my shadow? Not sure. Felt good running, although now I wished I would have kept going the extra .25 to run the full 4 but I was thinking about how I would be running with Ro too.

1.92 miles, walking and running
winchell trail, below the river road
75 degrees/66% humidity

After finishing my run, I walked home and woke up my daughter. It was a struggle getting out the door, but we made it to the river. A big victory! Ran on the Winchell trail, below the river road. Mostly shaded with the first half dirt, the second half paved. So many dragonflies–my mom’s favorite insect. We thought about her as we ran, imagining she was with us. Saw some cute dogs and sparkling water. The paved path gently undulates, like small waves. It was fun to run slightly up then slightly down on the edge of the gorge. I’m glad Ro likes trail running. I’d like to try some more of it myself. It seems like a great way to lose yourself in a run.

bike: 11.6 miles

downtown and back
87 degrees/45% humidity

Biked downtown with Scott to pick up our bib numbers for the 4th of July race. It was supposed to be a half marathon, but was downgraded to a 5k (1 loop) or 6.75 (2 loops) because of extreme heat and humidity. Fine by me. I was not ready for a half and really wanted to just run a 5k.

july 1/RUN

2.1 miles, training with son
68 degrees/96% humidity
austin, mn

Ran/walked around a park in Austin. Humid. Thick air. Hard to breathe. But not hot. The sky was gray with rain coming. The clouds were low and moving fast. The boy (which is how Scott refers to him) complained a little, but kept going. I could tell he was mad at the running, but not me. He must want to actually giving running a try this year. We have 2.5 weeks before the race. I’m hoping he can at least double the amount of time he runs, from 9 minutes to 18. Too ambitious?

june 27/RUN

3 miles
68 degrees/89% humidity
mississippi river road path, north/south

Ran faster. Only 3 miles because I was also running with Ro later. Felt pretty good. Listened to music and didn’t pay attention to much else. For some reason, this summer I’m having trouble writing a lot. Too busy, I guess. I think it’s also the pressure of the upcoming 1/2 marathon. I hate this race but I always manage to be signed up for it.

1.95 miles, mostly walking, some running with Ro
mississippi river road trail, south/north

Third training run with Ro. Hardest yet. She wanted to stop and was complaining about how much it hurt and how I didn’t care that she was in pain. I told her that I cared, but she still needed to do it and that we needed to see what was on the other side of her pain, which (as expected) wasn’t really pain but a strong resistance to pushing herself. The running was slow but she still did it. Hopefully she’ll remember that she did and our next run will be better. We ran mostly on the lower pedestrian path, halfway down the gorge, closer to the river. Still. Heavy air. Overcast sky. A green glow. So surreal and dreamy. Ro also wanted to try running on the dirt path near the mesa. Fun! I can see why people like running on trails. You feel even more a part of the landscape and the soft terrain feels much better on your body. I’d like to try more trail running.

june 26/RUN

2.2 miles, some running, some walking
training with son
mississippi river road path north, south

Ran with my son this morning. Today we moved onto week two of couch25k which is harder. He was not happy but he did it–all but 30 seconds at the end. He didn’t talk as much about his new favorite video game because he was working too hard.

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 24/BIKESWIMRUN

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis

Hot and sticky this morning. Slightly overcast. What do I remember from my bike ride? Not really anything except for that it felt good to be up and moving in the morning and biking over to open swim.

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

Yes! Another 3 loops. The first 600 yards was difficult. Hard to breathe–was it the sticky air? The water also felt slower–was that because it was warmer? These were the things I thought about as I swam, in-between focusing on my strokes and sighting the big orange buoys. I also thought about my strokes and how I was mixing it up. Sometimes I breathed every 5 strokes. Sometimes I would breathe after three then four on one side, then three and four on the other side. Seven. My favorite number. The floating dock is finally up by the little beach! I love that dock and swimming around it every loop. So glad it’s back.

Speaking of 7, I wrote a poem about 7 last year. Just like my breathing, the lines are 3 syllables then 4 syllables:

Lucky Number

I used to
wake up worried
too early
in the morning
to do a
thing about it
except be-
come more worried
I’d lay there,
anxieties
increasing
multiplying.
Then one day
I read something
that said not
to think about
anything
when you wake up
too early
at 2 am.
Try as hard
as you can to
not make plans
or process or
feel regret
about your life.
Clear your mind
distract yourself.
Count by 3s
or count by 9s
or count by
any number
as long as
it stops your thoughts.
Me—I like
to use sevens.
Three plus four
odd then even
trinity
earth wind fire
& water
magic mixed with
the mundane.
Not helpful if
you want some
resolution
this then that
on repeat—a
back and forth.
But pleasing to
my love of
balance not too
odd, not too
even just both
together.
Sevens work. I
stop thinking
worrying and
waiting for
sleep and it comes.

run: 2 miles, some walking, some running
training with son
mississippi river road path, south/north

The second day of training with my son. I can’t believe we was willing to go again! And he did the whole thing. Halfway through he started talking to me about the video game he’s playing (Rust) . He used to do that all the time when he was younger. So sweet to be able to do it again and to spend this time with him at one of my favorite places: the river. Before we started running I joked that we could probably get to see some surreys. We did: 3!

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 21/RUNSWIM

run: 2 miles, some running, some walking
first training session with son
mississippi river road path, north/south

This morning I ran with my son who is exactly three years older than his sister. I am amazed and excited that he’s willing to try running this summer. We didn’t talk that much but it was fun to be with him on the path. He usually spends most of his time in his room. What do I remember from our run? Allison, the voice on the couch25k app telling us to “run!”–which was the inspiration for the title of this blog. She says it so urgently and in such a prim, British accent that is always makes me laugh. It made my son laugh too.

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

I did it! 3 loops. It took me an hour. I only stopped after each loop for less than a minute. Swimming in the 2 mile race will be a challenge in a few weeks. Swimming across the lake is an other worldly experience. Partly because I am in the water, unable to see or hear or feel much. But also because I’m so focused on getting across the lake. I don’t think about too much. I count the number of strokes I’m taking before I breathe. I constantly check for the big orange buoys or other swimmers or landmarks on the shore. Seeing the orange buoys is difficult, especially coming back to the big beach. Blinded by the sun, I rarely see more than the hint of orange or the vague sense of a looming triangle. It’s amazing how little I need to see to guide me. What did I notice on my swim? The water was brown and opaque. A few planes were flying overhead. The lifeguards had their kayaks set up too close to the buoys. My left leg started to hurt and so did my neck. The water was fairly calm and cold.

june 20/RUN

2 miles: some running, some walking
first training session with daughter
mississippi river road path, north/south

This summer I’m trying to get my kids to move just a little. Without constant prodding, they’d hole up in their rooms for their entire break. So, I’m making them run/walk a 5k in July. We started training this week with the first day of couch25k. 60 seconds of running + 90 seconds of walking x 9. Today was my daughter’s turn. We’ve tried this before with not much success, but she did much better this time. It still takes a lot of patience, but it was better. What do I remember from our run? Not much except for the annoying squirrel, incessantly chirping, from below.

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 2/RUN

2 miles
to dogwood coffee
62 degrees

My 7th anniversary of running. It was supposed to rain so I didn’t think I’d be running outside today, but the rain held off and Scott and I were able to do our new summer Saturday tradition: run 2 miles to Dogwood Coffee for a latte, either iced or hot. Today, hot. Then walk home.

With rain on the way, the sky was a light gray, making the green glow. Not glowing brightly but darkly and deeply, vividly. Everything felt green. Looked green. Smelled green.

Almost at the end of our run I heard the distinctive clickity-clack of ski poles. A roller skier! Why do I enjoy spotting them on the trail? I guess because it seems so Minnesotan to be skiing with wheels in the summer, just waiting for winter to come back. About a minute later, Scott and I also saw a group of four roller bladers with their coach. As we passed them, I heard the coach say, “Ok, get in formation.” I’ve seen these speedy bladers for a few years now, sometimes on the path, sometimes on the road. Skating in a tight single-filed line, swinging their arms widely and rhythmically. Growing up in North Carolina and Southern Virginia, where it hardly ever snowed and the only ice was at the big indoor rink at the Charlotte mall, spotting these roller skiers and serious bladers will probably always seem strange and exciting.