Sunny. Low humidity. Low wind. Warm. Too warm. 55-60 would be perfect. Struggled with this run for the last several miles. Had to convince myself to keep going by chanting, “I am flying, I am free. (And) I am where I want to be.” It worked. I didn’t stop, but the run still felt difficult. Mainly, my legs hurt. Still, I did it. I kept running and I pushed through several moments when I really wanted to stop.
Things I remember? So many birds! The bright, light (almost lime) green of new leaves on the trees in the floodplain forest. My view of the river will be blocked too soon! My feet, sometimes shuffling, sometimes sizzling, on the gritty path as I crossed the lake street bridge. Hearing a sound near the Summit ravine and wondering, is that the rush of air or water gushing out of a pipe? After hearing more water gurgling under the path as I ran over a manhole, decided it was water. Looked down in the ravine and noticed only a trickle of water in the creek bed. Is this part of Bridal Falls–the waterfall that I wrote about last fall when I discovered east river flats? Running mostly on the dirt trail next to the path on the St. Paul side. Getting a quick glance at a runner just behind me, then looking again a few minutes later and not seeing them anymore. Where did they go? Running under the ford bridge and up on the other side–much easier, the hill isn’t as steep. Negotiating with myself: keep running until you get to folwell. now keep running until dowling. now keep running until the florescent crosswalk sign. now keep running until..no? okay stop (just short of 6 miles).
Started reading a new book about running, Footnotes: How Running Makes us Human. In the introduction, here’s how the author describes the runner’s high:
The sun warms the earth beneath my feet, everything looks saturated with pigments, and if I can keep going long and steady enough a wave of ecstasy will soon break over me. And when that comes, the burrs, the static and the clamor of the everyday will be washed clean from me. Virginia Woolf called them ‘moments of being’: those few seconds when we are only ourselves, and our senses reverberate with the pleasure of the present (xi-xii).
He uses words like immediate, raw, urgent, overwhelming, calm, invincible, super-sensitive. I have felt all of these things to some degree but also other things: grateful, at peace, removed, joyful, capacious, generous, open, machine-like. I did not feel any of these things today. Today, I was too focused on keeping going to feel much of anything.