april 19/REST

Resting my left hamstring today and reflecting on this story project, which I’ve been working on for almost 4 months. This log entry is my 87th one.

What I’ve Done (and Run) since January

In that time, I’ve run almost 374 miles in the rain, snow, sunshine, fog and wind. I’ve run when it was 2 degrees but felt like 6 below in January, 59 degrees in February and more temperatures in-between. Haven’t experience heat yet, but that will come soon enough.

I’ve run in 2 races: a 5K and a 10 mile, both in Minneapolis and both part of the build-up to the marathon next October.

I’ve run at an indoor track, in the US Bank Stadium, north on the river road, south on the river road, and on both the Minneapolis and St Paul sides, on and under the Franklin Avenue, Lake Street and Ford Parkway bridges, over part of the Stone Arch Bridge, around Lake Bde Maka Ska, by Minnehaha Falls, on the Minnehaha Creek path to Lake Hiawatha and then around Lake Nokomis.

I’ve run up and down the 1/2 mile Franklin hill, the steeper and longer I-35W hill, the steeper and shorter Summit hill, the Marshall Avenue hill up to Cretin and a handful of other hills, some steep, some long, some barely noticeable as hills.

I’ve run on icy paths, cobble-stone paths, snow-covered paths, muddy paths, leaf-covered paths. Paths with tons of pebbles that get wedged in the treads of my shoes, paths with gritty sand that makes a satisfying crunch when you run over it and paths with big puddles that are impossible to avoid.

I’ve run without headphones, listening to birds chirping, dogs barking, squirrels shrieking, geese honking, kids howling, women cackling, ski poles clacking, conversations starting, runners breathing, car horns blaring, motorcycles revving, bicycle wheels spinning,  traffic moving, water flowing, wind blowing, feet shuffling and the zipper pull on my jacket clanging.

I’ve run with headphones, listening to cheesy anthems with swelling melodies, catchy pop songs with quick tempos and loud rock songs with driving beats. And I’ve heard podcasts that make me think, feel, cry, remember, forget, wonder and laugh, sometimes out loud, in spite of myself.

I’ve run with a sore right knee, a sore left hamstring, sore feet, aching legs, tight calves, cramped toes, a stuffed-up nose, watering eyes, fuzzy vision, a burning face—from the cold, from the heat, from the wind and from the salt that I was sweating out. Plugged up ears that echo in my head whenever I try to talk or breathe. GI distress that makes me panic and frantically search for a porta potty. Stiff shoulders and a tingling arm that was almost numb from the angle at which I was carrying it. And a smile so big and wide that I was sure that anyone I encountered was wondering what I was on and how they could get some.

I’ve greeted strangers, waved at fellow runners, yelled at clueless pedestrians, glared at path-hoggers, snorted at reckless drivers, giggled at funny dogs, whistled, hummed, sang, softly, and talked to myself, with and without my voice memo app.

I’ve felt too hot, too cold, too tired, too fast, too slow, too joyful, and too far from the end of my run.

I’ve focused on my breathing, raising my head, relaxing my shoulders, making sure my pulse stayed low, leaning in when running down hills, lifting my knees when running up them, keeping my feet straight, keeping a steady pace and keeping out any doubts about whether or not I can run the entire long run.

I’ve run by myself, with my husband, with the shadows that haunt me and playfully taunt me and with my memories of my mom, as a runner, as a kindred spirit and as not dead and not yet dying from stage four pancreatic cancer.

Wow, that was fun. I’m sure that I can keep adding to this list. I realized, as I was writing it, that it’s inspired by Roger Hart’s great story about running which I wrote about in one of my early assignments for this project.

Note: I’m not turning this entry into an erasure poem. The list almost seems like a poem already.