dec 30/RUN

3.25 miles
greenway bridge turn around
30 degrees
15% snow covered

Much warmer today. The feels like temperature is 25 degrees warmer. The path was clear but wet. Lots of runners out there. What do I remember about my run? The sidewalks were slippery but the path by the river was not. Encountered 2 fat tires. Didn’t notice any birds or squirrels or the river–did I look down at it even once?

dec 29/RUN

3.15 miles
greenway bridge turn around
10 degrees/feels like -2
100% snow and ice covered

I think this is the coldest run of the season. Feels like -2! It didn’t seem too cold to me. But it was super slick. Decided to run in my yaktrax for the first time ever. Not too bad. With their spikes, they made a much louder crunch on the snow. I barely slipped at all. Encountered a handful of runners out on the trail. Not too many walkers and no bikers. Was this the last run on 2018?

dec 25/RUN

3.1 miles
austin, mn
35 degrees

Ran with Scott around Austin Christmas day. Hardly any snow and not too much wind. What do I remember? Wishing Merry Christmas to a man walking his dog that crossed our path. Noticing that the sky was almost all white with gray smudges. Checking to see if Bessie–the big plastic cow at the county fairgrounds–was wearing a scarf (she wasn’t). Watching a rabbit haul ass across the road–they can run fast! Listening to a dog’s bark echo across the open field. Cutting through the parking lot of the Japan Panda (Japanda) restaurant and noticing they were open and one car was in the parking lot. I don’t remember seeing that many holiday decorations. No Santa Claus. Didn’t hear any Christmas music. Or smell any good food.

dec 23/RUN

3.25 miles
greenway bridge turn around
25 degrees, 100% (light) snow-covered

The dustings have begun. A slow gradual accumulation of snow on the path, 1/4 of an inch at a time. I loved my run this morning. Cold, but not too cold. Slick, but not too slick. White ground, blueish gray water, grayish white sky. Listened to a playlist so I didn’t hear any gorge sounds. Greeted the Daily Walker. Saw a guy who sorta looked like Santa Claus walking a dog. Noticed that the river was clear, no ice. Didn’t smell any sewers or almost burnt toast. On the way back from the turn around, 1/2 mile left, 3 runners, dressed all in black, were running on the road. Very dangerous. I’m glad they decided, after the third car passed them, to move up onto the path.

dec 21/RUN

5.2 miles
franklin loop
23 degrees
0% snow-covered

Decided to run the franklin loop because the weather was nice and almost all the snow had melted. Was able to run on the walking path for about half of the run. A nice gray day. Easy on the eyes–not too bright. I thought that we wouldn’t be seeing green grass again until spring, but the warmish weather (above freezing) has melted most of it. When will it snow again? Are we not going to have a white christmas this year? The run felt easy, which was good. I stayed slow and steady and somewhere on the st. paul side, I got the idea to repeatedly chant a poem I had just re-memorized: Shel Silverstein’s “Sick.” It was a little challenging because the poem has 218 words and 32 lines, but it was fun and made the run go by faster. Not sure how it would work with other poems that are less rhyme-y and rhythmic. I’ll have to try it next week!

dec 17/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin loop
28 degrees
0% snow-covered

Ran the Franklin loop today. Noticed the river. Clear, moving. No ice. Not quite above freezing. Warm, well warm compared to last week when it was in the teens. The path was clear with only a few slick spots. The last time I ran this loop was on October 29th. And because they don’t clear the path as well over on the St. Paul side, I might not have too many chances to run it before spring. In addition to paying attention to the river, I looked at the Franklin flats, below me, and over to the Minneapolis Rowing Club. I heard a single goose honking, flying high above me. Also heard some music in the distance. Where was it coming from? A bike approaching me from behind. I played chicken with a few walkers who were supposed to move over for me but didn’t seem to want to until I made them. Anything else? Oh–I smelled toast up above, on lake street. Decided I didn’t like the smell but also decided that the toast wasn’t burnt, but just on the edge of being over-toasted.

dec 15/RUN

3.5 miles
downtown loop
30 degrees
10% snow-covered

For the third week in a row, Scott and I ran while FWA was at his clarinet lesson. It’s fun to run downtown by the river. Started on the Stone Arch Bridge. A wedding couple were getting their picture taken. The bride was only in her wedding dress, which had sleeves but no back. Brrr. Boom Island was beautiful, with the snow on the small hills and the sun and the wooden bridge. The light on the Mississippi was almost blinding–a sparkling path leading to shore.

dec 14/RUN

5.15 miles
franklin hill turn around
30 degrees
0% snow-covered

Hooray for Fridays and good weather and good runs and conquering big hills and paying attention to the river and noticing your shadow and imagining it leading you down the hill and then, when it’s behind you on the way back up, imagining it gently pushing you forward until you are all the way up and not exhausted and for not being bothered by bad smells like burnt toast or earth thawing near the sewer and keeping relaxed and remembering to smile and listening to Lizzo singing about being 100% that bitch and not slipping on ice because there isn’t any ice and not feeling pain or fear or doubt and for the Daily Walker who is always there on the path no matter what the weather walking and saying “good morning” to you as you run by and for the sun that decided to come out today and sparkle on the water and warm my back and make me believe in the beauty of mid December mornings.

Running Playlist

  1. Cry Me a River/Justin Timberlake
  2. The Flesh Failure/Hair
  3. Truth Hurts/Lizzo
  4. Don’t Stop Me Know/Queen
  5. Closer to Fine/Indigo Girls
  6. Landslide/Fleetwood Mac
  7. Get Lucky/Daft Punk
  8. Firework/Katy Perry
  9. I’m So Free/Beck
  10. TiK ToK/Ke$ha
  11. Can’t Stop the Feeling/Justin Timberlake
  12. Breathe/Anna Nalick

dec 13/BIKE

I ran on Tuesday and Wednesday so in an effort to not aggravate my back or knee or hip or IT band or whatever it is on my left side that is happy now but wasn’t for most of November, I did not run today. Even though I wanted to because the path is clear, there’s not much wind and no snow or ice. Instead I biked in the basement, which was fine. Biking in the basement is useful but rarely (if ever) exciting or beautiful or transcendent. I don’t really enjoy trying to pay attention to the hum of the heater or the dust as it creeps across the floor or the light as it filters through a dingy window, half blocked by cobwebs and a bush that should have been trimmed before fall was finished. But, as I write this, maybe I should start paying more attention. What sort of strange poetry could I create?

After biking, I started working on a poem about the versions of the wind that I experience out by the gorge. I re-visited the Beaufort wind scale and had fun thinking about wind that’s a 6 as causing wires to whistle and umbrellas to be difficult to open and wind that’s a 7 making walking inconvenient. I also learned that white horses are another term for whitecaps. Cool.

In continuing with my research on wind and poetry, I came across Theodore Roethke (because a name of one of his collections is Words for the Wind) and then discovered 2 of his charming children’s poems. I wanted to post them here to remember.

The Chair

A Funny Thing about a Chair:
You Hardly Ever Think It’s There.
To Know a Chair is Really It,
You Sometimes have to Go and Sit.

The Ceiling

Suppose the Ceiling went Outside
And then caught Cold and Up and Died?
The only Thing we’d have for Proof
That he was Gone, would be the Roof;
I think it would be Most Revealing
To find out how the Ceiling’s Feeling.

Here’s another poem I’d like to remember–I should memorize it–by Christina Rossetti, found after typing “wind” into the search box on the Poetry Foundation’s site:

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Another random thing found in my research:
sibilant: having, containing or producing the sound of or sound resembling an s or sh–like in sash. I discovered this word in the phrase, “sibilant drift of dried leaves” in Winter Journal: Wind Thumbs through Woods by Emily Wilson from her collection The Keep, which I am hoping to find at the library.

dec 12/RUN

3.2 miles
ford bridge turn around
27 degrees
less than 1% snow covered

A nice, easy run. Turned right instead of left today, running towards the falls. No headphones. No music. What sounds did I hear?

  • elementary school kids playing outside–lots of laughter and joyful yelling
  • the wheels of a fat tire approaching me from behind, not whirring but clunking or clanking, almost sounding like the wheels were studded
  • a snow blower and a truck pushing what sounded like pipes across the lot of a new house

What I don’t remember hearing: rushing water, birds, the grit on the path crunching, dogs barking, people talking, cars approaching

Took advantage of the lack of leaves to inspect the gorge as I ran above it. The river looked cold and still, more frozen than flowing.

dec 11/RUN

4.1 miles
greenway bridge turn around
18 degrees
5% snow-covered

A great run, very much needed. Helped to relieve growing anxiety over getting the girl to go to school. Winter is tough for anxiety, but wonderful for running. I breathed in the crisp, cold air and felt better. Listened to music and smiled a lot. Ran faster. Felt freer. Wore sunglasses that got fogged up and gloves that became too warm after a mile. Encountered lots of dogs with their humans. Started my run with a fat tire sighting. Didn’t notice the river, only the path and the cars on the road.

dec 9/RUN

3.35 miles
greenway bridge turn around
30 degrees
10% snow-covered

Ran again today, since I felt so good yesterday and because it’s so nice and warm–almost above freezing! Sunny skies. Clear path. Saw a few fat tires biking on the path. Several runners. Lots of walkers. A mom and her son singing holiday songs. No puddles on the path, but no slick spots either. Didn’t wear headphones, but don’t remember hearing anything–except for a runner passing me early on in my run, a biker alerting me to his approach with a always appreciated, “on your left” and the singers singing their holiday songs. Is that really it? I guess. I can’t remember any crunching snow or honking cars or trickling water or rushing wind or cawing birds. Guess I wasn’t paying attention today.

dec 8/RUN

3.5 miles
downtown loop
26 degrees
50% snow-covered

Ran with Scott again while our son was in his clarinet lesson. There were a few slick spots but nothing too bad. Lately my lower back has been sore so I’ve cut back on running. For now, 3 times a week. Seems like I’ve been in a fight with my body–at least my left IT band and lower back. Felt better today. Not sore when I was running. What do I remember about the run? Hearing water trickling down below the Stone Arch Bridge in Mill Ruins park. Being surprised that it wasn’t frozen by now. Mentioning it to Scott–he couldn’t hear it over a noisy truck driving by. Saw a couple squatting down, taking a selfie with a selfie stick. Was so distracted by talking politics that I forgot to notice Boom Island park at all. I don’t even remember running over the beautiful wooden bridge. Saw a group of bikers (peloton) and a pack of runners (a trot–that’s what I like to call a group of runners). Don’t remember hearing or seeing birds or any boats. No roller skiers. No loud, honking cars. No music or trains. Felt wind occasionally and a few wet flakes on my face. Didn’t smell anything that I can recall–no burnt toast or dead leaves or delicious donuts–not even my stale breath from under my buff.

dec 3/RUN

4 miles
greenway bridge turn around
27 degrees
50% snow-covered

Winter is here. It snowed a few more inches this weekend and I’m pretty sure that we won’t be seeing the grass until spring. It’s not too cold, but cold enough to make the snow stick and the path icy. I didn’t slip much but had to be cautious on my walk before I started running. Tried to remember to listen to the sound of feet crunching the snow but I kept forgetting. A distracted morning. I managed to look at the river a few times and greet the Daily Walker.

dec 1/RUN

3.4 miles
27 degrees
25% snow covered
stone arch loop, downtown minneapolis

After taking an extra day off because my hip hurt, I was able to run 3.4 miles this morning with Scott downtown. Hooray! Not too cold, but windy (14 mph with 24 mph gusts) and icy. It was beautiful running over the bridge in Boom island, even if I twisted my foot times on ruts. Ran up the hill to the Plymouth bridge on west river road, through Boom island and Nicollet island, over to St. Anthony Main and finally over the Stone Arch bridge. Almost, but not quite, the reverse of our race a week ago. After starting November with IT band issues, I’m very happy to be feeling better at the beginning of December.

addendum: Just read somebody’s facebook post in which they mentioned hearing lots of birds today. I did too during the run. Such a strange experience to hear so many birds noisily chirping in the cold and snow.