dec 14/RUN

5.15 miles
franklin hill turn around
30 degrees
0% snow-covered

Hooray for Fridays and good weather and good runs and conquering big hills and paying attention to the river and noticing your shadow and imagining it leading you down the hill and then, when it’s behind you on the way back up, imagining it gently pushing you forward until you are all the way up and not exhausted and for not being bothered by bad smells like burnt toast or earth thawing near the sewer and keeping relaxed and remembering to smile and listening to Lizzo singing about being 100% that bitch and not slipping on ice because there isn’t any ice and not feeling pain or fear or doubt and for the Daily Walker who is always there on the path no matter what the weather walking and saying “good morning” to you as you run by and for the sun that decided to come out today and sparkle on the water and warm my back and make me believe in the beauty of mid December mornings.

Running Playlist

  1. Cry Me a River/Justin Timberlake
  2. The Flesh Failure/Hair
  3. Truth Hurts/Lizzo
  4. Don’t Stop Me Know/Queen
  5. Closer to Fine/Indigo Girls
  6. Landslide/Fleetwood Mac
  7. Get Lucky/Daft Punk
  8. Firework/Katy Perry
  9. I’m So Free/Beck
  10. TiK ToK/Ke$ha
  11. Can’t Stop the Feeling/Justin Timberlake
  12. Breathe/Anna Nalick

dec 11/RUN

4.1 miles
greenway bridge turn around
18 degrees
5% snow-covered

A great run, very much needed. Helped to relieve growing anxiety over getting the girl to go to school. Winter is tough for anxiety, but wonderful for running. I breathed in the crisp, cold air and felt better. Listened to music and smiled a lot. Ran faster. Felt freer. Wore sunglasses that got fogged up and gloves that became too warm after a mile. Encountered lots of dogs with their humans. Started my run with a fat tire sighting. Didn’t notice the river, only the path and the cars on the road.

nov 2-4/RUN

nov 2/3.1 miles/austin, mn
nov 3/4 miles/austin, mn

Ran with Scott on various trails in Austin, MN. Ran around east lake, beside a cemetery, near a house that had a turret, through a tunnel, by many barking dogs, in the street, on the sidewalk then a trail, over roots, under a bridge, next to a creek, by at least 2 gas stations, close to his grandparents old house and then his parent’s first house and near the fairgrounds. It’s amazing how much of Austin you can visit without running that far.

nov 4/1.75 miles/mississippi river road path

I’ve decided to join Scott in his November challenge of running at least 15 minutes a day every day of the month. Even though it was cold and wet and drizzling a little, I went outside and ran for 15 minutes. I was overdressed and overheated but felt great while I was running. I felt faster then my watch seemed to think I was going but who cares when you’re having so much fun? Not me. I loved running over the wet leaves and in the cool air.

oct 24/RUN

3.25 miles
railroad trestle turn around
39 degrees

Ran a little faster on sore legs. Are they sore from running 5 miles two days in a row or has all that hiking from last week on icy trails in Rocky Mountain National Park finally caught up to me? It seems like late fall even though it’s still October. The welcoming oaks are bare. Two days ago they were a glorious gold. The gorge is slowly revealing itself at my favorite part of the path. I can see the forest floor. Can you see the river yet? Not sure, I forgot to look. All this unleaving reminds me of a poem that I revisited this morning: Emily Bronte’s Fall, Leaves, Fall:

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

I love this poem. Not because I’m into decay or dreary days, but because I love winter, especially winter running and I love when the leaves fall off the trees, exposing the mysteries of the wood and uncovering tree limbs: the thick, gnarled, twisted branches stretching out above the sidewalk and the tiny twigged tips that turn fuzzy in twilight and when silhouetted by the moon.

Note: Perhaps in honor of the colorful leaves–mostly in golden yellows–that are still on the trees, I dressed brightly for my run. A glowing greenish yellow long sleeved shirt and a bright orange sweatshirt. When I was in 5th grade, way back in 1984, kids always yelled out, “you’ve got the hi pro glow!” if you wore neon colors. Today, I had the hi pro glow.

sept 4/RUN

4 miles
73 degrees/94% humidity/dew point 72
mississippi river road path, north/south

Intermittent rain
somewhat refreshing yet still
oppressively damp

Could this dew point be
the highest I have ever
run in? Probably.

I passed some runners
but no bikers or skiers
or dry anything.

When running in rain
it’s hard to determine which
drips are rain, which sweat.

Running under trees,
it’s hard to determine which
drips are drips, which drops.

Miserably hot.
So why did my run feel fine?
My pre-run fruit shake?

Not one glance at the
river today. Too busy
avoiding puddles.

Running down below the road, above the gorge, into the dark green, momentarily hidden from the road, I thought about running as a woman and what I would do if I someone popped out at me. Then I remembered something I read the other day: a satirical essay on women and running over at McSweeney’s: How to Jog: A Guide for Women

aug 28/RUN

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

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

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

aug 27/RUN

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

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

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

aug 20/RUN

5 miles
franklin loop
72 degrees/87% humidity/dew point 68

5 miles without stopping. The first time I have done this, without stopping to walk, since May 21st. Wow. How did I run in these conditions? Usually I HATE running in such muggy weather. Today, it didn’t bother me.

aug 13/RUN

5 miles
75 degrees/77% humidity/dew point 67
franklin loop

Ugh! Hot and hard. Walked about 1/2 of the 4th mile, but I did it. What do I remember?

buzzing bugs

Cicadas buzzing so loudly. Not chirping or humming but buzzing like a live wire. Crackling. Deafening. Unpleasant. Whenever I think of cicadas I think of the movie Lucas–that’s the first time I ever really thought about cicadas. I do not like the sound and neither does my dog. So I listen to my playlist while I am running.

dangerous acorns

So many acorn shells scattered on the sidewalk and the path near my favorite part of the gorge. Sometimes they make a satisfying crunch but mostly they cause problems, making my foot roll and slide. Luckily no twisted ankles today. Why all the acorns in August? Shouldn’t they fall in September or October?

the gorge’s edge

Running down below the road and the bike path, the trail was dark and green. I peered over the edge and look down through the layers of trees and think about why this spot matters so much to me. It’s steep but not really that steep–just a hill with the forest floor not too far below.

aug 6/RUN

7.25 miles
to lake nokomis and back
70 degrees/90% humidity/dew point 68

Ran to the lake, swam to the dock, then ran home. It was harder than I thought it would be but after checking the weather, I know why: so humid and that dew point? Yuck! Things I remember about the run (with some walking mixed in):

Auto-pilot. For large chunks of the early run, I was moving without thinking.

Buzzing bugs! I listened to my playlist but when I got to one of my favorite parts of the creek path I decided to take them off. It was still and quiet except for the electric buzzing of the bugs.

Creek crud. As I was crossing the mustache bridge near Longfellow Gardens, I looked down at the creek and noticed the big streaks of crud–weeds? algae? scum?–in the water. Gross.

Diving. When I reached the little beach, I swam out to the dock and stood, looking at the calm water. After a few minutes I stood on the edge and then dove into the water and swam back.

Empty. Made the mistake of not eating anything before my run. I was hungry and lacked energy.

Foot, left. I’m a little worried about my left foot. It started to hurt again about 3 miles into my run. Just a little pang, nothing too bad…yet.

Grass. After I got out of the lake, I tried to carefully wipe the sand off of my feet in the grass. I didn’t have a towel and I didn’t want sandy grit stuck between my toes causing blisters. That happened last year.

Humidity. So hard to breathe at the beginning of the run. The air was thick and warm and damp.

Impossible. Near the echo bridge, only 2.5 miles into the run, it felt impossible to keep going. I wanted to stop. So I walked for a few minutes and then started running again.

Justin Bieber. Listened to “Sorry” as I ran along Minnehaha Parkway.

Kayak. At Lake Hiawatha on the way to Nokomis, right after the bridge with the blind turn, there’s a dock and a stand with kayaks and canoes. Running/walking by it, I almost stopped to see if there were any boats in the water.

Lonesome loser. “Have you heard about the lonesome loser? Beaten by the Queen of Hearts every time.” Listened to Little River Band’s song as I ran.

Muggy. Moist. Miserable.

Nokomis. My favorite lake to swim in but not necessarily to run to or around. Not sure why, but I have a mental block with this route and often have to stop and walk while running on it.

Off the main trail. On the last stretch of running, north on the river road, I decided to take the lower, less-maintained trail, below the road. I’ve been walking/running with the kids on this all summer. A nice change of pace and beautiful, being that much closer to the river, running under a canopy of green.

Pulse. Average: 168. My heart rate is high when I run, usually in the mid 170s. It’s very low when I’m resting: 57.

Quick-dry. My running tank top dried quickly after my swim, but my shorts did not. They were dripping water for the entire run back, which felt weird and uncomfortable.

Roller skiers! So many out there this morning. I guess fall is coming. Solo skiers and big groups too. Saw them by the falls, on the creek path, by the river. Running below the road, I could hear their clicking and clacking above me.

Satisfied. Not by best run. Slow. Difficult. But I’ve wanted to try running to the lake, swimming to the dock and then running back all summer and I finally did it so I’m satisfied.

Tired. My legs felt tired for most of the run and now, a few hours after finishing, I want to go back to bed.

Underwater. Contemplated running with my googles so I could see underwater as I swam, but decided that it would be too awkward to carry them. Next time, I’ll probably bring them. I couldn’t see anything, above or under the water, as I swam the short distance to the dock.

Verdant. Green everywhere. The river road, the creek path and the lake trail are all surrounded by large patches of green grass. And tons of trees. Sometimes, the green leaves form a tunnel above me.

Water. The Mississippi River. Minnehaha Creek. Lake Hiawatha. Lake Nokomis. I run by all of these bodies of water on this route.

X. Having written a lot of abecedarian poems, I’ve decided that x is the biggest problem. I’ve used x-ray and x marks the spot. The X on my socks. Even eXactly of eXtreme. I’m tired of x.

Yield. There are 2 crosswalks that I have to run through at Minnehaha Falls. Sometimes drivers pay attention and yield, sometimes they don’t. Today they did.

Zig-zag. Encountered a walker on the trail and we had one of those awkward moments when she zigged instead of zagged and I zagged instead of zigged.

aug 4/RUN

2.35 miles
mississippi river road path, south/north
73 degrees/89% humidity/dew point 66

It was supposed to rain/thunder/storm this morning but after waiting an hour without anything happening I decided to risk it and go out for a run. Felt a few rain drops but that was it. Hot. Sticky. Humid. It didn’t bother me today. Ran with my running playlist. Encountered bikers, runners, walkers. No roller skiers or birds or dogs. My foot, which felt weird yesterday–the left one, felt okay today. Don’t remember much from my run except how I was trying to evenly swing my arms and run with my shoulders relaxed. Oh–and when the song–“Loving is Easy” by Rex Orange County came on my playlist, I thought it was Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Might need to add that to a new running playlist.

Addendum: After finishing this log, I read an essay by Devin Kelly about running and his dad. Beautiful. I want to spend more time thinking about its substance and structure. I really like how he weaves the different threads together.

july 30/RUNSWIM

run: 3 miles
lake nokomis

Thought about running around the lake twice, but it was too sunny and hot. My legs felt sore. What do I remember from the run? Not much. Not enough shade. Lots of walkers and dogs. A few runners. Saw two roller skiers right at the end–always a good omen. Not sure if I’ve ever seen roller skiers at the lake before.

swim: 1 mile/5 little loops
lake nokomis main beach

What a morning for a swim! Warm. Sunny. No waves. I’m so glad I made it to the lake and swam. Got into a rhythm, breathing every 5 strokes. Didn’t see any fish but had a few run-ins with lake debris–floating weeds wrapping around my arms. Saw one other swimmer and a bunch of paddle boarders. One rower. A group of kids taking swimming lessons with the lifeguards. Felt relaxed and peaceful. Heard sloshing in the water and a bit of splashing as my arms broke through the surface. Thought about my stroke: bending my elbows, doing a strong pull under the water, sometimes touching my hipbone as I brought my arm in, legs kicking slowly then quickly. Had no problems seeing the white buoys with my peripheral vision. Only thought about Jaws and the girl at the beginning swimming then being attacked once, for less than a minute. Didn’t worry about anything lurking. Heard some planes flying above. No seagulls or ducks around. I’d really like to try and swim everyday this month.

july 23/RUN

5.15 miles
67 degrees/85% humidity/dew point: 65
franklin loop

No wonder my run felt harder today: 85% humidity and a dew point of 65! Ran the Franklin loop for the first time in a few months. The first 3 miles felt fine, the rest did not. Ran most of it, but walked a little. Listened to a running playlist. Did I notice anything? Starting my run, right before the path dipped down below the road, I noticed a brief flash of blue river that I’d never noticed before. A few minutes later, I noted the progress of the leaves: completely filled in, absolutely no view of the river or St. Paul or anything but green leaves and brown trunks. As I crossed the Lake Street bridge, I noticed a lone rower, their single scull (is that the proper way to refer to it?) carving a shimmering path through the calm mississippi. Farther up the river, another single scull. After crossing back over on the Franklin bridge, a white semi traveled slowly on the river road, backing up the traffic–over 20 cars trailing behind it? I enjoyed passing them all as I ran.

july 20/RUN

6.2 miles
66 degrees/65% humidity/dew point: 65
franklin turn around + extra

Running in the rain, I’m running in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again! Just like I don’t mind swimming in the rain, I don’t mind running in the rain. I didn’t even notice the 96% humidity or the dew point of 65. When I started, it was barely sprinkling, but at some point, it was raining. Not quite light, but not heavy either. Steady. Soft. Straight down. Under the brim of my baseball cap, I could hardly feel it at all. Refreshing. When I was done, my shoes were soaked but I didn’t care–well, I will care if they’re still soaked tomorrow.

Here’s a poem I encountered about a heavy summer rain, by Jane Kenyon:

Heavy Summer Rain

BY JANE KENYON
The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now
absent, animal must have passed the night.
The hay will right itself if the day

turns dry. I miss you steadily, painfully.
None of your blustering entrances
or exits, doors swinging wildly
on their hinges, or your huge unconscious
sighs when you read something sad,
like Henry Adams’s letters from Japan,
where he traveled after Clover died.

Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
lie shattered on the lawn.

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 📎 (@room34) on

july 12/RUNBIKESWIM

run: 3 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south

bike: 4.3
lake nokomis

swim: .36 miles
open swim
18 mph wind/choppy water

Even though severe rain/thunderstorm was coming, decided to bike to the lake and try to swim a little before we were evacuated from the water. So choppy! And such a dark, ominous sky. Purplish gray. Managed to swim out to the second buoy, about halfway across the lake, before turning around. A little less than 10 minutes in the water. Got out just before lightening was spotted. What a bummer. Still glad I went. I will remember that sky for years and how choppy the water was and the image of the orange buoy as I rounded it. I’ll also remember getting caught in the rain–suddenly the clouds unzipped–and walking my bike in the downpour to the awning at Nokomis Beach coffee then calling superhero Scott and waiting for him to drive over and pick me up.

july 5/RUNBIKESWIM

For some reason, I’m resisting writing in my log this week–maybe because I’m nervous about my 2 mile swim race on Saturday? Instead of forcing it, I’ll just add the distances in my log with no entries.

run: 3 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south7
76 degrees

Needed the run to change my attitude after becoming too frustrated with the kids for not wanting to do their training this morning. Listening to Lizzo helped. She’s great. Do I remember anything from my run other than trying to stop thinking about how irritated I was by my kids? No.

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis

Biked to the lake for open swim. A beautiful late afternoon. Now that I’m used to it, biking is much easier, although the early evening sun and the shade on the path made certain spots very difficult to see. Did I think about anything while I was biking other than trying to stay on the path and not run into anyone or anything? Not today.

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

I feel ready for my swim race this Saturday even though I’m really scared. What if I can’t see the buoys? Trying to calm myself down by asking and answering, “what’s the worst that could happen?” If I can’t see the buoys, I can stop and look until I find them or wait until a lifeguard finds me and points me in the right direction. I’ll be fine. Even so, I’ll be happy when this race is over. It’s been stressing me out. Today I looked down at the water below me and I’ve decided it looks pea green, almost like pea soup. I don’t like pea soup but I don’t mind it as the color of the lake water. Noticed lots of planes flying above me. Rarely was able to see the orange buoys, but that didn’t stop me from staying on course. Felt the best in my third and final loop after I had already been swimming for 45 minutes.
.

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.

june 29/RUNSWIM

run: 2.15 miles
87 degrees/ dew point: 75!
lake nokomis

Even though it’s really hot and the dew point is ridiculous, I ran around the lake on my birthday. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad and I went much faster than I usually do. Listened to a new mini-playlist with a few songs from Lizzo that made me smile, some Courtney Barnett, Lorde, Prince, Cream and Corinne Bailey Rae.  Ran over the bridge and passed a bunch of cars at a standstill because of the light. Saw a few other runners and not too many walkers. Haven’t seen any lone bright yellow paddle boat in a while.

swim: .2 miles/350 years
big beach, lake nokomis

Okay, I didn’t swim much–only one loop around the white buoys off the big beach–but it was really choppy and I feel pretty sore from last night’s 2 miles. Still glad I did it. Don’t remember much about the swim except: the rough water pushing me into a pink buoy, being able to see the bottom of the lake in the shallow, swimming area, noticing a few sailboats way off in the distance, feeling my sore shoulder as my arm cut through the water, trying to work on pulling through the water with more power.

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.