run: 4 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south
72 degrees/75% humidity/dew point 63
I was going to write that last summer I had no problem getting up at 6 am for a summer run but then I checked my apple watch and saw that almost all of my runs in June and July from last year were at 8, so I guess I’ve been running this late for a few years. It would be easier to run earlier. Cooler. One problem: it’s cooler but much more humid with a higher dew point. Which is worse: high humidity with a lower temperature or lower humidity with a higher temperature. Can I get up early enough to find out? Heard the rowers on the river and my feet striking the ground. Worked on my arm swing and raising my knees. Encountered some fast bikers and a roller skier slowly passing me. Didn’t listen to music. Avoided the direct sun, which was already hot. Glanced at my shadow. Happily ran past the cars stopped at the stop sign, briefly wondering if they noticed me and wished they were out running.
to lake nokomis
swim: 2.72 miles/4 loops/4800 yards
lake nokomis open swim
Another 4 loops! This time the water was choppy. So choppy that I had to breathe on one side. And it was crowded. So many swimmers swimming across and so many people hanging out that lake. But, I did it. 4 loops! 1 hour and 16 minutes which probably means it was slightly less than 4800 yards but it was still 4 loops. I felt strong and powerful as I cut through the choppy water and lifted myself up to see the buoys. When I was almost done with the last loop, my foot suddenly started to cramp up. Instantly, I stopped and shook it out until it felt better. Crisis averted. No repeat of the calf cramp from hell that I got 3 years ago. Other random things about the swim: almost ran into several people. Was attacked by weeds that got stuck to my cap and stayed there and by a stick. Was wary of a menacing sailboat that looked like it wanted to cross over, right through the swimmers. The slightly setting sun was blinding on the way back to the big beach. The water felt warm–76 degrees.
Thought about running around the lake twice, but it was too sunny and hot. My legs felt sore. What do I remember from the run? Not much. Not enough shade. Lots of walkers and dogs. A few runners. Saw two roller skiers right at the end–always a good omen. Not sure if I’ve ever seen roller skiers at the lake before.
swim: 1 mile/5 little loops
lake nokomis main beach
What a morning for a swim! Warm. Sunny. No waves. I’m so glad I made it to the lake and swam. Got into a rhythm, breathing every 5 strokes. Didn’t see any fish but had a few run-ins with lake debris–floating weeds wrapping around my arms. Saw one other swimmer and a bunch of paddle boarders. One rower. A group of kids taking swimming lessons with the lifeguards. Felt relaxed and peaceful. Heard sloshing in the water and a bit of splashing as my arms broke through the surface. Thought about my stroke: bending my elbows, doing a strong pull under the water, sometimes touching my hipbone as I brought my arm in, legs kicking slowly then quickly. Had no problems seeing the white buoys with my peripheral vision. Only thought about Jaws and the girl at the beginning swimming then being attacked once, for less than a minute. Didn’t worry about anything lurking. Heard some planes flying above. No seagulls or ducks around. I’d really like to try and swim everyday this month.
swim: 2.72 miles/4 loops/4800 yards
lake nokomis open swim
4 loops! The goal for the rest of the summer is to swim at least 4 loops as many times as I can–and also try to swim the full 2 hours at least once a week. It felt great today. The water was refreshing and calm. Hardly any wind and no waves. The sun was blinding on the way to the little beach and I couldn’t see the orange buoys at all, but I kept swimming straight and was confident enough to know that I’d make it over to the floating dock without straying off course. Payed attention to the sloshing sounds as my hands cut through the water. Thought about how many years I’ve been doing open swim (5) and how much work I’ve put into feeling confident and strong and happy as I swim back and forth across the lake. Didn’t think about much else–except how wonderful the water is for erasing my memory–I can’t remember what I thought about–and starving the strength of my anxieties–I can’t hold onto a thought long enough to turn it into a worry. I don’t (over) think in the water, I swim glide cut through slice pull stretch float crawl kick sight breathe count strokes.
1 mile with son/3 miles alone
mississippi river road path south, below, above, north
Such a great, grayish glowing greenish morning for a run. Started out with the boy. Much more walking than running. But no complaining and lots of laughing. The weather was so great, the path so inviting that I decided not to stop after we were done with our workout. Ran the other way on the river for a mile and a half and then headed back. Felt good. Heard a roller skier approaching me for several minutes. Click. Clack. Scrape. Click. Clack. Scrape. Click. Clack. Scrape. It always seems to be a good omen, hearing and seeing a roller skier. When they finally passed me, I could hear that they were listening to the Tour de France. I called out, “Are you listening to the tour? Cool.” Was able to greet the Daily Walker when I was almost finished. Another good omen.
A good run. Started with headphones but the shuffle on my playlist was stuck and I kept hearing the same 3 songs over and over again: Lorde’s “Homemade Dynamite”/Rex Orange County’s “Sunflower”/Courtney Barnett’s “Nameless, Faceless”. So I took out my headphones and listened to the chattering birds and the rushing cars and the even rhythm of my feet striking the path. I ran by the falls without really noticing it–I seem to do that a lot. My legs started feeling sore around mile 3 so I walked for a few minutes. Finished with some strong running, even though I had struggled to start running again. Somehow I made it through the moment of doubt and desire to stop and kept going, running until I reached the water fountain.
After my run, I sat on my back deck and listened to the birds:
Attempted a training run with Ro around Lake Nokomis but her resistance to accomplishing goals won out. Her ability to resist is impressive even as it’s disheartening. I will continue to believe that one day she will learn to harness her superpower in ways that make her (and the world) better, more just, more joyful. Some days it’s so hard to be a parent and let your kids be who they need to be. It was a beautiful day at the lake. Sunny. Breezy. Bright blue water. Even as I was angry and frustrated, I was also annoyed at myself for not being able to let go of it and enjoy the beautiful morning. Our plan had been to run around the lake and then swim out to the dock for the first time this summer. We walked around the lake and then left before swimming. Bummer.
bike: 8.6 miles
A beautiful afternoon. A very slow bike ride with Ro and Scott. Right at the river, past the falls, over the moustache bridge, beside the creek, up 2 hills, down to the lake. Then, after the swim, back again.
swim: 1.36 miles/2 loops/2400 yards
water temp: 73 degrees
Another great swim. Every swim, I feel more confident about not being able to see much and every swim I feel stronger. On the way back from the little beach, the sun was so blinding that I couldn’t see anything and the water was choppy enough that I had to mostly breathe on one side, but I didn’t care. Swimming out to the little beach, I kept seeing the white sail of a boat beside me. Also saw the red of the kayak and (sometimes) the orange of the buoy. The only thing I remember hearing were the shouts of the lifeguards as they yelled back and forth to each other. After the swim, I met up with Scott and Rosie at Sandcastle–the restaurant at the lake. I had a beer, listened to the bluegrass musician and watched a few sailboats moving across the lake. The perfect summer evening. Recognized and celebrated. Redemption after a difficult morning.
67 degrees/85% humidity/dew point: 65
No wonder my run felt harder today: 85% humidity and a dew point of 65! Ran the Franklin loop for the first time in a few months. The first 3 miles felt fine, the rest did not. Ran most of it, but walked a little. Listened to a running playlist. Did I notice anything? Starting my run, right before the path dipped down below the road, I noticed a brief flash of blue river that I’d never noticed before. A few minutes later, I noted the progress of the leaves: completely filled in, absolutely no view of the river or St. Paul or anything but green leaves and brown trunks. As I crossed the Lake Street bridge, I noticed a lone rower, their single scull (is that the proper way to refer to it?) carving a shimmering path through the calm mississippi. Farther up the river, another single scull. After crossing back over on the Franklin bridge, a white semi traveled slowly on the river road, backing up the traffic–over 20 cars trailing behind it? I enjoyed passing them all as I ran.
66 degrees/65% humidity/dew point: 65
franklin turn around + extra
Running in the rain, I’m running in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again! Just like I don’t mind swimming in the rain, I don’t mind running in the rain. I didn’t even notice the 96% humidity or the dew point of 65. When I started, it was barely sprinkling, but at some point, it was raining. Not quite light, but not heavy either. Steady. Soft. Straight down. Under the brim of my baseball cap, I could hardly feel it at all. Refreshing. When I was done, my shoes were soaked but I didn’t care–well, I will care if they’re still soaked tomorrow.
Here’s a poem I encountered about a heavy summer rain, by Jane Kenyon:
BY JANE KENYON
The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now
absent, animal must have passed the night.
The hay will right itself if the day
turns dry. I miss you steadily, painfully.
None of your blustering entrances
or exits, doors swinging wildly
on their hinges, or your huge unconscious
sighs when you read something sad,
like Henry Adams’s letters from Japan,
where he traveled after Clover died.
Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
lie shattered on the lawn.