top of franklin hill turn around
65 degrees/60% humidity
No headphones. Heard lots of birds and cars rushing by and my feet striking the path and a school group down in the gorge and people I passed, talking. Didn’t see the Daily Walker–maybe my run is too short? Didn’t see any roller skiers. Did see one rollerblader. Admired the welcoming oaks and the pink heart yarn bomb. Wrinkled my nose at the stink coming up from the sewer, near the lake street bridge. Successfully avoided the cracks in the sidewalk, near the greenway. Didn’t see the river, not even once. Also didn’t see my shadow even though she was there somewhere. Thought I saw my dead mom again, running towards near my favorite part of the path. Practiced some rhythmic breathing: in 2 3, out 2. Tried to catch the runners ahead of me. Felt good and strong and happy. Glad I decided to run the 5k instead of the 1/2 marathon next month.
mississippi river road path, south/north
A quick run with a playlist. Ran because it’s global running day. Because I needed to forget about the difficult morning trying to get a girl to go to school. And because I could. Jogged to the river, turned right towards the falls and then ran much faster than I usually do. First mile: 7:39. Felt good. Free. I think my body likes running faster.
This morning I discovered double abcedarians and I’m in love. What a challenging form. The first one I read had 26 lines. Each line started with the alphabet going up (a b c …) and ended with the alphabet going down (z y x …).
beneath a sky
crouching low and black as onyx
The second one I read had 26 lines, with each line starting with the alphabet going down and ending with the alphabet going up.
Zooks! What have I done with my anthologies? I’ll need a
year of sleep after writing my millionth review (with aplomb).
XX bottles of moonshine litter my bedside table like arsenic.
run: 4 miles, top of franklin hill turn around
bike: 8.8 miles, lake nokomis and back
swim: 1/2 mile, lake nokomis
65 degrees. Sunny. Only a little wind. Not too much humidity. A great morning for a run. I’m writing this several hours after the run so I don’t remember too much of it. Ran in the shade. Saw some runners and walkers, no Daily Walker or roller skiers. For some reason, I thought about house keys and where you might hide a spare one. Why (and why do I remember this detail and not much else)?
I’m getting used to biking again and that feeling of not quite being able to see the path. The bike path was crowded, especially on the way back, after my swim. Passed a biker near the falls, alerting them with my usual “on your left” and they said “thank you.” I like when other bikers do that. I try to do it too. It seems rare to hear people actually alert you. Lately I’ve been working hard to not let it bother me. Noticed that sky was bright blue and cloudless. Saw lots of birds’ shadows flying overhead. Mostly small birds. Locking up my bike at the beach, I heard an older woman compliment a younger woman on “her bright yellow bike.” She had a bright yellow bike too, but it was stolen out her garage. She misses that bike.
The water was clear, but not nearly as clear as it had been last week. Still, I was a bit unsettled by it, not wanting to run into any big fish or see them swimming below me. Almost ran into a small dead fish, floating a few feet in front of me. Yuck! Noticed the sloshing of the water a few times. Looked around and saw shafts of light, more like slivers of light, cutting through the brown water. Swam just outside the beach area and saw how the lake floor dropped off. Mostly avoided the plants growing up from the bottom–I think it’s the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil–but one strand? leaf? branch? tapped at my ankle and freaked me out. Didn’t think about much except for how nervous I was about what might be swimming with me. For some reason, swimmer just on the edge of the big beach is scarier to me than swimming across the lake. Strange.
Wilson library/U of M west bank
Biked to the library at the U and then, after I was done, biked home. Read more of the book Waterlog as I decide whether or not I want to buy it. I do. Sitting in the cold, quiet library, I was reminded of something I read last year in Gros’s A Philosophy of Walking. The author is discussing Nietzsche’s love of walking and his distrust of ideas conceived while sitting inside, especially in libraries:
many books exude the stuffy odour of libraries. But what does one judge a book? By its smell (and even more, as we shall see, by its cadence). Its smell: far too many books have the fusty odour of reading rooms, poorly ventilated. The air circulates badly between the shelves and becomes saturated with the scent of mildew, the slow decomposition of paper, ink undergoing chemical change.
I love libraries and their papery, decaying smells. And I especially enjoy coming to them to get lost in words and ideas and to retreat from the hot, summer sun. Today the library was cool and mostly quiet and a wonderful place to be. Perhaps it helped that I had moved quite a lot to get there?
Here’s another great quotation from Nietszche that I liked to remember:
How quickly we guess how someone has come by his ideas; whether it was while sitting in front of his inkwell, with a pinched belly, his head bowed low over the paper–in which case we are quickly finished with his book, too! Cramped intestines betray themselves–you can bet on that–no less than close air, closet ceilings, closet narrowness.
59 degrees/16 mph wind
top of franklin hill turn around
What a great run! Ran much faster today and it felt good. Ran without headphones and listened to the wind swirling and whirling. Admired the green glow of the gorge. Heard the rowers on the river. Spotted a few roller skiers and the 4 rollerbladers. As they passed me, one said to the rest, “you overanalyze things too much.” Croaked out a “good morning” to a runner who greeted me first. Tried to be patient as a runner slowly approached me from behind, his feet constantly rustling in the strip of grass between the path and the road. Hit a wall of wind about a mile in. Didn’t smell anything. Didn’t inhale a bug, although one got stuck in my eye as I ran up from under the lake street bridge. Didn’t encounter any large groups of runners. Didn’t want to stop. Didn’t think about much except for trying to keep my shoulders from tightening up and my left fingers from rubbing together too much. Glanced at the light pink heart yarn bomb. Ran down the hill by the lake street bridge fast, leaning forward, letting gravity do the work. Felt joyful and free and glad to be out early on a Sunday morning.
to dogwood coffee
My 7th anniversary of running. It was supposed to rain so I didn’t think I’d be running outside today, but the rain held off and Scott and I were able to do our new summer Saturday tradition: run 2 miles to Dogwood Coffee for a latte, either iced or hot. Today, hot. Then walk home.
With rain on the way, the sky was a light gray, making the green glow. Not glowing brightly but darkly and deeply, vividly. Everything felt green. Looked green. Smelled green.
Almost at the end of our run I heard the distinctive clickity-clack of ski poles. A roller skier! Why do I enjoy spotting them on the trail? I guess because it seems so Minnesotan to be skiing with wheels in the summer, just waiting for winter to come back. About a minute later, Scott and I also saw a group of four roller bladers with their coach. As we passed them, I heard the coach say, “Ok, get in formation.” I’ve seen these speedy bladers for a few years now, sometimes on the path, sometimes on the road. Skating in a tight single-filed line, swinging their arms widely and rhythmically. Growing up in North Carolina and Southern Virginia, where it hardly ever snowed and the only ice was at the big indoor rink at the Charlotte mall, spotting these roller skiers and serious bladers will probably always seem strange and exciting.
run: 4.5 miles
swim: 680 yards
67 degrees/80% humidity
water temp: 75.9 degrees
First, I ran around the lake (almost) twice. Slightly cooler today but still humid and very sunny. Ran without headphones, trying to work on rhythmic breathing and staying focused. Encountered lots of walkers with other walkers or strollers or dogs. Crowded. Almost all the way around for the first loop, I noticed a paddleboat hiding behind a tree on the shore. Was it abandoned or tucked away or just waiting for the paddlers to come back? Is this the same paddleboat that I saw on the grass near the fishing pier last week? Is someone taking paddleboats from the rental place? Did the paddleboat manage to escape–seems like there’s a fun poem just waiting to be written about the bright yellow paddleboat that wanders the lake.
After finishing the run, I decided to swim. The water was warm which is amazing considering the lake still had ice at the end of April! Guess all those 90+ degree days really warmed it up fast. The water was also clear. Freak-me-out clear. I could see the bottom and the algae plants growing up from the bottom and the fish swimming below me. I have decided that it is better to swim without being able to see what I’m swimming with. If I can’t see it, I can pretend it’s not there, which is probably what it would like too. The coolest part of the clear water was seeing all the shafts of light piercing through the lake. 3, 4, maybe more. I also liked being able to look at the bottom in the beach area–I think I counted 5 or 6 hair bands, lost to their owners forever. I might have swam longer but there were a few school groups at the beach and I was concerned that some of the kids would mess with my stuff. I couldn’t tell if they were in elementary or middle school, but they sure knew how to yell out “fuck” at the top of their lungs. A kid that will brazenly yell out “fuck this” or “fuck you” or preface many words with “fucking” on a school trip might find it amusing to throw my towel in the water or take my sweatshirt. But getting back to how clear the water was, part of me wishes I had spent more time exploring underwater and studying the bottom–how deep it gets, what’s really down there. But, another part of me–perhaps a bigger part–likes the idea of keeping it a mystery. Knowing more might make me more anxious or disappointed in how un-mysterious it is.
Next time I swim, I’d like to pay attention to the sounds and sensations of swimming. What exactly do I hear besides sloshing?