march 12/4.3 MILES

31 degrees
clear path!
mississippi river road, south/minnehaha falls/north

The temperature may be below freezing but it still feels like spring. The water at the falls was gushing. The path was clear. The sun was shining. The elementary school kids were outside, gleefully shouting. Thought about my mom while I was running and looking over to St. Paul. Is this one of the reasons I like to have an obstructed view to the other side of the river? To see St. Paul, the city where my mom was born and raised (technically, she lived in West St. Paul, but close enough)? Running back towards the end of my run, I saw the shadow of a small bird flying behind me. It seemed strange and I wondered, how often do I see the shadows of birds? Not often, I think. I tried to keep my run steady and slow and my pulse low. It worked. A good run. Now, a good day.

march 11/3.05 MILES

36 degrees
15% puddle covered
mississippi river road path, north/south

The day started out rough. Adjusting to daylight savings time. Being trapped indoors at the biggest, most crowded mall. Failing to find what we needed. Shifting knee-caps. But I got to run outside by the river and look over at St. Paul and the white slopes of the gorge. And I got to breathe in fresh cold air and listen to Beck sing about being free. So, who cares what happened before that? Any day I get to run is a great day!

march 10/4 MILES

30 degrees
5% snow covered
mississippi river road path, north/south

A great run! Faster. Freer. More flying less plodding. A lot of runners out on the path, doing their long runs. Not me. I’m taking it easy this week, making sure my right knee is happy.

The favorite part of my run: 3 miles in, at the top of the hill that dips under the lake street bridge. Finding my rhythm. Pumping my arms perfectly in time with my feet. Left arm right foot. Right arm left foot. Not having to remember to move my legs, almost like they’re moving on their own. Flying through space. No effort. No attention to form or mechanics. Magically moving for almost a mile.

march 8/3.5 MILES

21 degrees
15% snow-covered
mississippi river road, north/south

Low wind. Bright sun. Clear path. Great run. My knee hurt a little as I was walking to the river, but once I started, it felt better. Focused on my form–keeping my chest out and my arms closer to my sides. Listened to my headphones and smiled a lot. Occasionally glanced over at the river and down into the gorge. So beautiful! Blue-gray river with white slopes and dark brown branches. I like being able to see everything. In a few months, all I will see is green. As I was breathing in the crisp, cold air I realized that these winter runs will be ending soon. As much as I am ready for spring and summer, I will miss the cold and winter running.

march 6/3 MILES

33 degrees
70% snow-covered
mississippi river road, north/greenway/mississippi river road, south

It snowed yesterday. Almost 5 inches. Here in Minnesota, winter doesn’t end until April or May. The snow didn’t stop until early this morning. Of course, the awesome Minneapolis Parks and Rec had the path plowed in just a few hours. Being able to get outside in the winter makes all the difference. I’m still ready for spring, but I can endure the endless white and gray and cold and slippery sidewalks if I can run by the river. The snow today is heavy, dense and wet. When I walked on it, it didn’t make a sharp snap or a crackly crunch. It was more like a thick, heavy pressing down–what sound is that?–of the snow, the air, the moisture in the snow.

I only ran 3 miles because I’m trying to be gentle with my right knee. Lately, my kneecap likes to slide around and slip out just a little. So far these wanderings haven’t been a problem, except for some soreness. To keep it that way, I’m not running too much. The run felt good. Strong. My knee wasn’t perfect, but it also didn’t hurt and now, an hour after my run, I’m fine.

In the middle of the run, I felt dazed, transported somewhere else, almost blinded by the snow and the bright white, occasionally brilliant blue peeking through, sky. Pretty cool.

Walking back to my house after my run, the sky looked so heavy. A dull, dense grayish white–almost like the sky was a ceiling of snow looming, hovering. Not quite waiting to collapse. Weird.

march 3/4.5 MILES

40 degrees
18 mph wind/26 mph gusts
mississippi river road, north/franklin hill/washington bridge/franklin hill

Windy! Was planning to do 7 miles but made it to the Franklin Hill and thought that I better take it easy on my knee. It feels okay, but a little weird. So I stopped at 4.5 miles. The gorge was beautiful. Bright blue sky with white snow and bare trees. It was so windy that down in the flats the river had white caps! The path was wet but clear. Don’t remember much about the run except for the annoying runner who was slowly creeping on me. I could hear her feet crunching. She passed me on a hill and then stopped at the top, right in front of me. I kept going and she started running again. She passed me and then stopped again.

march 2/3 MILES

31 degrees
15% ice-covered
mississippi river road path, north/south

I ran today!
I ran outside today!
I ran outside today without my knee hurting!
I ran outside today without my right knee or my left thigh hurting!
I ran outside today without my right knee or my left thigh hurting in the sun!
I ran outside today without my right knee or my left thigh hurting in the sun and it felt good!

Well, mostly good. Not fantastic. But not like I was doing anything bad to my knee. Listened to my headphones, so I didn’t hear much on the run. Near the Lake Street bridge, I was wishing I didn’t have my headphones on. I thought I heard some birds–maybe some geese–making a lot of noise. The river was open. I wonder when the rowers will be out there?

I recorded myself walking home at the end of the run. A very different crunching of my feet, coming from the grit–the salt or sand or whatever they use to treat the road and the path to make them less slippery–was rubbing on the bare, slightly wet ground. Occasionally I walked over some crusty snow. Not sure the recording picks it all up but there were lots of sounds today: a wind chime, wind, a car driving by, birds, water dripping off the roof, a car starting.

march 1/BIKE

70 degrees
front room, bike stand
30 minutes

It’s hard not running, but I want to make sure that I don’t get into another cycle of subluxations, so I’m not out by the gorge today. It makes it a little easier that the sidewalk is covered in sheer ice which will soon turn into a puddle than a pool than a river or a lake all hoping to enter my boot and soak my socks. I wonder what the mississippi river road path looks like right now? Yuck. I despise the Great Melt that happens every almost-spring. Thawing. Dripping. Soaking. Oozing. Pooling. Freezing. Thawing. Dripping. Soaking. Oozing. Pooling. Freezing. When will it end? Not anytime soon. It’s supposed to snow again on Saturday.

It was last March that I (re?) discovered poetry in my first class at the Loft. To honor that discovery, I’ve decided to work through Bernadette Mayer’s list of writing experiments–the same list we used in class last year. Some of these will involve being by the gorge, running or walking, some of them will not. Today’s did not.

The assignment:┬áPick a work or phrase at random, let mind play freely around it until a few ideas have come up, then seize on one and begin to write. Try this with a non-connotative word, like “so” etc.

I settled on the phrase on my coffee mug, “Let it Be.” Quickly into the exercise I wondered, what is IT in this phrase? I turned IT into an acronym: information technologist, impending tests, icky tacos, incanting toads, inky trails, infinite troubles…I made a list of 25 or 30 nouns that IT stood for. Then I wrote a poem using some of them:

Let it Be

Let ink trails be the secret way
into a world waiting to save us
from ignorant tyrants.
Let those trails lead us to intelligent trees–
the ones that know better than us
with our immovable theories and our
irritating tantrums.

We–
the inexplicable termites
possessing indefatigable troubles
wasting all the important tissues
on our indigo tears.
Why can’t we be more like those indifferent trapezoids–
not interested in even, parallel lines
not caring to reach infinitely upwards?

Let incanting toads be what finally
sings us to sleep
so we can dream better dreams
imagining terrains that believe in us.

Let invisible threads reveal themselves
so we may see how we belong
connected, tethered to each other–
vulnerable to violence yet
also to the inviting touch of another.