oct 30/RUN

4.2 miles
minnehaha falls and back
52 degrees

Ran to the falls, stopped. Looked at the falls above, then below. Took the 100+ stone steps down to the lower bridge. Beautiful. Decided to run on the dirt path that follows the creek until I reached another bridge. Ran over it and then walked back up the steep incline. It was fun to run on a dirt path by the river. I was much less concerned about how fast I was going. Started running again and, just after reaching the double bridge (a bridge for bikers, another for pedestrians) at 44th street, I followed the trail that snaked down a hill to another dirt trail, halfway above the river. Well, some of it was dirt, some of it leaves, much of it abandoned asphalt, worn and rutted. I encountered a few walkers, but mostly had the trail to myself. My legs felt sore–maybe because I had run 3 days in a row?–but I liked looking at the river and St. Paul on the other side. Running on this trail reminded me of training with the kids this summer. Both of them preferred running on it over the main trail right by the road because they could be hidden from view. Summer seems so long ago.

oct 29/RUN

5.3 miles
franklin loop
45 degrees

A beautiful morning for a run! Sunny. Hardly any wind.

Favorite views: the reflection of the railroad bridge in the water from the Franklin bridge and the reflection of the Lake Street bridge from the top of the hill on the river road near Marshall.

Most annoying re-occurrence: stupid squirrels stopping right in front of me or darting out in front of me. At least twice, I had to pause my run for them.

Most interesting thing about the squirrels: saw at least 2 black squirrels.

Best noise: sh sh sh shuffling through the dead yellow leaves on the ground.

Worst noise: the wheezing, coughing, gasping of a woman running in front of me just past Meeker Island.

Prettiest leaf color: butterscotch.

Toughest part of the run: After running up 2 hills and crossing the road to the sidewalk just before Marshall.

Easiest part of the run: Running on a gentle downhill for several minutes after reaching the top of the curve on the Franklin bridge.

Best dogs: The pure white dogs I encountered at the end of my run as I walked back, one walking the other proudly perched in a stroller being pushed by a woman. Not sure what kind of dogs they were.

What made me happy to see: glimpses of the blue river through the trees at my favorite part of the trail, right above the gorge. A roller skier in a bright orange shirt speeding up the hill. The forest floor.

What I missed seeing: The Daily Walker. Rowers. Glowing orange leaves. Wild turkeys.

oct 25/BIKESWIM

bike: 7.5 miles
to ywca and back
50 degrees

My last bike ride of the fall? Could be. Pretty sure it’s my last bike ride to the Y. My membership ends when October does. No choice, I’ll have to run outside all winter, which is fine with me.

swim: 1 mile/1850 yards
ywca pool

This could also be my last swim of the year at the y. Don’t know if I’ll get back there before next Thursday when my membership ends. It was a good swim. I noticed the sounds–so loud! Everything amplified by the water. Sloshing and thumping and splashing. I need some better words. At some point during the swim, I imagined swimming next to a younger version of myself. Then I imagined all 6 lanes filled with differently aged-Saras, younger Saras and older Saras. What would we think of each other? Strange and magical. I liked imagining a Sara-filled pool. Later, I noticed the shadows of the trees, just outside, dancing on the pool floor. It looked like the pool bottom was alive. I liked being in this world, free of gravity and the need to see anything too clearly.

oct 24/RUN

3.25 miles
railroad trestle turn around
39 degrees

Ran a little faster on sore legs. Are they sore from running 5 miles two days in a row or has all that hiking from last week on icy trails in Rocky Mountain National Park finally caught up to me? It seems like late fall even though it’s still October. The welcoming oaks are bare. Two days ago they were a glorious gold. The gorge is slowly revealing itself at my favorite part of the path. I can see the forest floor. Can you see the river yet? Not sure, I forgot to look. All this unleaving reminds me of a poem that I revisited this morning: Emily Bronte’s Fall, Leaves, Fall:

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

I love this poem. Not because I’m into decay or dreary days, but because I love winter, especially winter running and I love when the leaves fall off the trees, exposing the mysteries of the wood and uncovering tree limbs: the thick, gnarled, twisted branches stretching out above the sidewalk and the tiny twigged tips that turn fuzzy in twilight and when silhouetted by the moon.

Note: Perhaps in honor of the colorful leaves–mostly in golden yellows–that are still on the trees, I dressed brightly for my run. A glowing greenish yellow long sleeved shirt and a bright orange sweatshirt. When I was in 5th grade, way back in 1984, kids always yelled out, “you’ve got the hi pro glow!” if you wore neon colors. Today, I had the hi pro glow.

vacation, oct 11-oct 20

estes park, colorado (elevation 7500 feet)
run: 3.8 miles
fish creek road

glenwood springs, colorado (elevation 5700 feet)
run: 4 miles
glenwood canyon hiking biking trail

Didn’t have much time to run for a week and a half. Partly because I was busy doing other things, partly because I had never run in such high altitudes before. Glenwood Springs didn’t bother me but Estes Park’s 7500 foot elevation kicked me in the ass. Wow. This past year I’ve heard so much about the altitude training that pro athletes do so it was cool to (sort of) try it myself. Here are some notes I took after my first 1.5 mile run:

25 degrees/50% humidity, dry/
ran next to some elk, heard their bugle mating calls
snowy mountains, a misty glassy crystal lake
screaming lungs, jagged breaths
poop-covered paths
an unfamiliar land

The 4 mile run with Scott in Glenwood Springs was easier and more interesting. We ran next to the Colorado River on the old highway, which has been converted into a hiking biking trail. Maybe one day will have time to run much farther on it. Didn’t see any elk there, but did have to run by some big horn sheep. Scott estimates that they were about 25 feet away.

oct 10/RUN

5.1 miles
river road/falls/creek path/falls/river road
47 degrees/98% humidity/drizzle

Ran to the river and turned right instead of left today. Wanted to check out the leaves. Beautiful soft yellow, orange and red. Not to peak color yet but getting there. It was drizzly and wet on the path which means more squeaky leaves. The most popular color of fallen leaves, covering the path: bright yellow. Heard water gushing through the sewer and trickling down the gorge. Almost avoided all the puddles. On my way back, ran below the Moustache Bridge and up through Longfellow Gardens. Not sure if I have ever run that bit before. I looked for the statue of Longfellow in the field, but couldn’t see him. He’s probably covered in tall grass.

oct 9/RUNSWIM

5.75 miles
franklin loop
47 degrees/raining

When I started my run, it wasn’t raining. But within minutes I felt some mist and by the time I reached the east side of the river it was raining. At first I didn’t feel the rain. I only heard it gently falling on the leaves. Such a comforting sound. Soon enough it was raining and I felt it on my face. I don’t mind running in the rain, as long as it’s not freezing, which it wasn’t today.

What else do I remember?

  • the squeaking sound the wet leaves made as I ran over them
  • the once yellow now glowing orange leaves near the lake street bridge
  • avoiding the cracks in the path just past the railroad bridge
  • looking down at the river as I crossed the Franklin bridge, remembering run across it in the race 2 days ago
  • hearing the trickling of water below the gorge on the st. paul side
  • hearing a dog’s sharp bark down in the gorge
  • seeing a runner up ahead on the franklin bridge and slowly getting closer, finally passing them before the meeker island sign
  • smiling as I ran back across the lake street bridge
  • seeing the Daily Walker up ahead, dressed only in a short sleeved shirt, passing him
  • running past 2 walkers with big umbrellas at my favorite part of the path near the end of my run
  • seeing red yellow orange leaves
  • encountering only one spazzy squirrel

swim: 1 mile/1800 yards
ywca pool

Until my membership expires at the end of the month, I’m swimming a mile at the y after band rehearsal on Tuesday nights. It felt good. I felt strong. And, amazingly, swimming for 30 minutes straight wasn’t boring or tedious.

oct 7/10MILERACE

10 miles
Twin Cities 10 mile
44 degrees

My slowest 10 mile by 2 minutes but I don’t care. My goal was to finish strong and to not stop and I did both of those: My last mile was my fastest by over 20 seconds and I kept going on Summit even though my left leg wanted me to stop. So many hills! So many potholes! So many beautiful yellow golden red leaves! So helpful to run with Scott!

What else do I remember about the run?

  • Listening to everyone’s feet in sync
  • Trying to not listen to a few annoying conversations
  • Feeling overheated even though it was only 44 degrees outside, sweating a lot
  • Not having too much trouble for most of the Franklin hill but struggling to find room to run once we turned and curved up to the bridge
  • Looking down and paying attention to all the cracks in the road so I wouldn’t stumble, finding out that doing this was a good distraction
  • Hearing Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby,” Van Halen’s “Running with the Devil, “YMCA” the Village People and “Back on the Chain Gang” by the Pretenders
  • Not wanting to keep going but knowing that I would
  • Scott complaining because there was a bunch of sand on the last little hill before the finish line

oct 4/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
40! degrees

Love this colder weather. Finally! Decided to take it a little faster today. Another 14 seconds per mile faster than on Tuesday. Ended up keeping up my pace by chanting in my head: strawberry/blueberry/raspberry, occasionally switching one 3 syllable word for choc-o-late or choco-late sauce or butterscotch. Because I was running faster, I don’t remember much other than my chanting or wondering how fast I was going (I wasn’t looking at my watch) or whether or not I should be concerned about the slight ache on the side of my calf.

Anything else I remember?

  • Lots of branches on the path, blown down by last night’s storm
  • Annoying, dumb squirrels darting out in front of me on the St. Paul side
  • The bright yellow trees at the top of the Lake Street bridge
  • Stumbling slightly after misjudging the edge of the path near the Marshall Bridge
  • Studying the west side of the river at my new favorite spot to view the river (up from the bottom of the Marshall bridge), checking out which trees were changing color

oct 2/RUNSWIM

5.5 miles
franklin loop
50 degrees/96% humidity

Misty. Humid. Cool. Fall colors are appearing. Greenish yellows. Reds. Oranges. Greeted the daily walker. Felt good, relaxed. After stopping a few times to deal with a phone call in the first 2 miles, was able to run the rest without walking. Running over the Franklin bridge was beautiful. Admired an inverted image of the railroad bridge in the water. Ran around 20-30 seconds faster per mile than my last run. Saw a rafter of wild turkeys on the St. Paul side. Maybe a dozen of them just hanging out on the lawn of the Shriners Hospital. I love that I can see wild turkeys in the middle of the city. Heard water trickling down the side of the gorge. Felt water trickling off of my face. Wondered how long it would be before all the leaves would be gone and I could see to the other side. Thought about the 10 mile race I’m running this Sunday. My goal: to enjoy it and to not take it out too fast.

Anything else I remember?: cars rushing by on the river road, the gorge looking gorgeous in dark green and rich brown, the grit crunching under my feet by the lake street bridge, the yellow leaves on the trees right by the marshall bridge almost all gone already, squirrels darting frantically, no rowers, no roller skiers, any bikers?, no ducks quacking or geese honking, no bugs buzzing, no sirens wailing, no eagles or hawks soaring, no runners or walkers or bikers or drivers irritating me, my knee hurting only slightly and not too often.

swim: 1 mile/1760 yards
ywca pool

After band rehearsal, walked a few blocks to the y for a quick swim. 8:45 is a great time to go to the pool–no one else is around! There was one other swimmer a few lanes over. Far enough over that I couldn’t really see her for most of my swim. My mile went fast. So fast that I wondered if I had miscounted. But I didn’t. I often miscount, thinking ahead too much. The only way I don’t lose track is by mixing up my stroke count. I break the mile up into 200s with a 50 breathing every 3 strokes, a 50 every 4, a 50 every 5, a 50 every 6. I don’t remember much about the swim except: staring down at the blue line in the middle of the lane and then counting the tile of the other blue line that marks the drop off for the deep end: 3 tiles; looking up every so often, noticing the lifeguard walking around; trying to quickly glance at the clock as I swam by but having trouble; and noticing that there are at least 3 clocks within view as I swim, none of which I could see that well.