may 5/7 MILES

58 degrees
mississippi river road path, south/minnehaha falls/minnehaha creek/lake nokomis/minnehaha parkway/falls/mississippi river road path, north

7 miles without stopping. I ran slow, but I still did it. A beautiful morning. Low humidity, slightly cloudy, light breeze. Everything had a hint of green. The lake was open–no more ice. The ice out (which is what they call it when the ice is completely off the lake) happened on April 30th. Last year: March 7th! Saw a rower at the lake. Heard some rowers on the river. Ran on my favorite part of the creek path. Encountered lots of bikers. A few groups of runners. Some serious rollerbladers. Heard lots of birds. People chatting, including a woman who exclaimed, “well, they shouldn’t have the job!”–whatever that means. Around mile 6 started to have that dazed feeling. Not quite a runner’s high, but a feeling of disconnection, like I was in a dream, just me and the path stretching out in front.

3 times I encountered people stopping on the path, slightly blocking it. First time: near my favorite part of the path 2 women stopped to admire some chalk drawings that were covering the entire path–I didn’t stop to read them. Who drew them? Second time: at Lake Hiawatha, right before the bridge. 2 bikers stopped on the edge of the path, right before the bridge, at a blind corner. Lamenting something that wasn’t there this year–not sure what. I was too distracted imagining a bike going 20 mph, rounding the corner and hitting them. Third time: almost to the top of the hill on the river road path between the locks and dam and 44th street. A shirtless runner was stretched out on the ground, blocking part of the path, holding up his phone to take a picture. Strange.

may 3/5.9 MILES

66 degrees
ford loop

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.

may 1/2 MILES

63 degrees
mississippi river road south/north

A quick run in the bright sun. Shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. No jacket. As predicted we’ve jumped straight from winter to summer. Time for my body to get used to warmer temperatures and higher humidity. No more pure cold air to breathe or crunchy, crusty paths to hear. I’m excited for summer–especially open swim, but I will miss the cold, clear air and the distraction of layers and snow-covered paths.

What do I remember from my run? It was warm. Encountered several people pushing strollers. A few bikers. Another runner–just one? No squirrels. No snow. Lots of chirping birds that I tuned out. No rowers on the river. No more fat tires. A few flowers by the side of the path.┬áCan’t remember anything else except keeping an even pace. I think once or twice I tried to steady my breathing, swing my arms, straighten my back.