july 20/RUN

3.3 miles
2 trails + extra
74 degrees
7:45 am

I don’t remember much from my run because I’m writing this entry a day late.

7 Things I Remember More than a Day After my Run

  1. it was hot and sticky, and I sweat a lot
  2. the trail was crowded with bikers and walkers and a few runners
  3. I could hear the rowers, faintly, below
  4. I chanted a lot of my triple berries: strawberry/blueberry/blackberry
  5. oh — just remembered! — a jackhammer and some other construction sounds. At the beginning, one of them sounded like the noise a roller coaster makes at the start of the ride, when it’s slowly climbing up the first hill
  6. instead of running through the oak savanna, I climbed up the 38th street steps to the paved path. Before starting again, I turned on a playlist
  7. as I ran with music, I picked up the pace, to match my feet to the beat

Seven was all I could remember today. That’s cool. I’m happy that I remembered the roller coaster sound. When I hear that sound, I don’t have one strong memory of a roller coaster ride — I used to ride roller coasters as a kid, but I was never really into them — just a swirl of fragments and feelings: that scary and exciting anticipation of the speed to come, the painfully slow climb of the car, the clicking/groaning/turning of the belt louder than anything else.

july 14/RUNSWIM

run: 3.6 miles
marshall loop
67 degrees
8:40 am

Another beautiful day! After all the biking yesterday, feeling tired today. The run felt good, but now I lack motivation to write or remember my run. Still, I’ll try. This week in my class, we’re shifting gears to talk about rhythm, breathing, and translating wonder into words. I decided I’d try to think in triples as I ran: strawberry/blueberry/raspberry/blackberry. Now I’ll try to summarize my run in triples:

singing birds
daycare kids
playground yells
lake street bridge
up the hill
one lane closed
passing cars
feeling tired
sweating lots
stop to walk
cross the road
avoid bikes
yellow vest
trimming trees
shadow falls
up the steps
down a hill
music on
Taylor Swift
Paper Rings
lifting knees
quick fast feet
ending strong
check my stones
wipe my face
breathe in deep

That was fun! Writing out, “singing birds,” reminded me of the birds I first heard as I walked out my door and up the block. Their 2 note song (not the black-capped chickadee “feebee”) sounded like they kept telling me to Wake up! Wake up! No rowers on the river, which was a pretty shade of blue. Admired how the trees along the shore cast a gentle shadow on the water.

Last night, or was it very early this morning?, I woke up and went downstairs to get some water. Something bright was behind the curtain. The moon? The moon! So big, so bright, so perfect hanging half way up the sky over my backyard. I went out on the deck and marveled at it for a moment. The moon, never not astonishing! Here’s an acrostic poem (I love acrostic poems!) about the moon.


for the world.

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
85 degrees
5:30 pm

Writing this the morning after. Arrived at the beach: so windy! The water was choppy, but not too bad. Tried to think about rhythms and breathing as I swam. I remember thinking about how chanting words can help in many different ways: connect you with your breathing, keep you focused and on pace, open you up and make words strange which could lead to new (and better?) words, and is a way to hold onto/remember ideas that come to you while you’re moving (try to remember the idea through a few words or a phrase). I thought about that for just a few minutes. The rest of the time, I was preoccupied with breathing, staying on course, avoiding other swimmers, and worrying that my calf and feet might be tightening up. Can I remember 10 things?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a silver flash below me — this has to be fish, right?
  2. one dark plane hovering in the air, hanging in the sky for a long time
  3. nearing an orange buoy, it shifted in the wind and the waves. Hard to get around it.
  4. the green buoy was closer than it often is to the big beach, so was the first orange buoy
  5. clouds, no sun
  6. far off to my right: steady, speedy swimmers, approaching the buoy at a sharp angle
  7. a lifeguard kayaking in just before the beginning of open swim, apologizing for the wait (even though it was just 5:30). My response, “no worries,” and I meant it. The lifeguards really have their shit together this year
  8. wiped out after the 3rd loop, I thought I tucked my cap under the strap of my suit. Nope, it must have fallen in the water. Bummer
  9. lots of muck and sand and a few little bits of vegetation under my suit when I got home and took a shower
  10. feeling both so much love for the lake, the lifeguards, and the other swimmers AND also feeling irritated by and competitive with any swimmers near me.

No ducks, or seagulls, or dragonflies, or swans (peddle boats)…not too many people at the beach — are they on vacation this week?


bike, round 1: 8 miles
lake nokomis and back
66 degrees
9:00 am

Biked to the lake with FWA for our swim training. I can tell he’s getting more fit on the bike, which is great. As we biked on the side streets he told me all about the walking dead episode he just watched. All I remember it that it was a beautiful day and that I felt so happy to watch as the lake come into view. Such a wonderful lake!

swim: 3 white buoy loops (= .5 loops)
lake nokomis big beach
68 degrees
9:30 am

Told FWA he had to push himself a little more. He did 3 loops with almost no stops. For the last 1/2 loop, we raced. As he said, “I really went for it.” I think he’s almost ready to try swimming across. How wonderful it is to be able to share this with him, and to spend this time with him!

bike, round 2: 17 miles
river road/hidden falls/crosby farm/st. paul riverfront/summit/river road
78 degrees
2:00 pm

It was such a nice day, that I asked Scott if we wanted to go for a bike ride. We biked to our favorite tap room, City House, right on the river in St. Paul. Very cool. The biking was definitely harder in terms of seeing, but I did it. Biking through Crosby Farm was bumpy and hard to see potholes, but it was beautiful. I heard so many wonderful birds! We biked around a lake on a wooden boardwalk that was overgrown — so strange and cool.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. big, fluffy clouds
  2. chirping, trilling, singing birds!
  3. the smell of pot
  4. rowers on the river, 1 or 2 at a time. One pair was taking it very slow. I watched (and heard) their paddles double-slap the water
  5. protestors on the lake street bridge — no war with Russia
  6. the huge houses on summit ave — thinking about how my grandpa would drive my mom down summit every sunday and dream about having one of these houses
  7. going the wrong way on an overgrown, crater-filled path in Crosby Farm
  8. a plane, very high in the sky, white. With my vision, I first thought it might be the moon. For a few glances, I could see it in my peripheral, but not my central vision. Finally, it appeared.
  9. lots of speedy, e-bikes in the bike lane as we biked back on Summit
  10. a tall, crooked, flagless flagpole at the University Club

july 11/RUN

3.25 miles
2 trails (long)*
78 degrees
dew point: 67
10:30 am

Another hot morning. Couldn’t go out for my run until after 10. Would it have mattered if I went earlier? Already at 7, it felt uncomfortably humid and warm. For much of the run, I was thinking about the lecture I’m working on for next week and trying to work through a problem. A little over a mile and a half in, part of a solution came to me. I stopped and recorded my thoughts.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. overheard: a neighbor saying to someone else as she watched me run by, “I’m sweating just watching her run.”
  2. a bike behind me, very slowly approaching. First, a bell, the sound of bike wheels, a little kid talking. Then, a woman with a young kid in a bike trailer, and another little kid on a bike behind her passed by
  3. at least 2 women chatting far behind me — were they on bikes? on foot? how soon would they reach me? Never saw or heard them again
  4. the steady buzzing/thumping of a jack hammer
  5. the coxswain speaking through a bullhorn to her rowers
  6. the rush of wind through the trees sounding like water falling or rushing or being forced out of a hose
  7. the trickle of water out of the sewer pipe near 42nd street
  8. even through all of the clouds, the sun cast shadows of the trees on the sidewalk…a strange, slightly muted, image
  9. looked for my usual view of light and water piercing through the leaves near the tunnel of trees. It’s not there this year — why not? more vegetation? the angle from which I looking?
  10. the little stones I stacked on the ancient boulder yesterday were gone. Did the wind blow them off? Did someone/something knock them over? Were they there and I just didn’t see them?


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
75 degrees
9:00 am (there) / 10:45 (back)

More people on the trail this morning. Less chance to notice anything other than how close I was to other people. Even so, I’ll try to remember 5 things on the way to the lake, and 5 things on the way back.

10 Things I Noticed While Biking

on the way to the lake

  1. a park worker in a bright yellow and orange vest, weeding, on a part of the path that was blocked off with orange cones
  2. several walkers on the biking side of the trail
  3. pounding from the construction site across from the DQ that I momentarily thought was my bike pedal doing something weird
  4. wind rushing past my ears
  5. a close encounter with several ducks — under a bridge, as I hugged the far edge of the trail to avoid an approaching pedestrian and biker: ducks, right there!

on the way back from the lake

  1. getting stuck behind 2 slow moving bikes — difficult to pass, difficult to bike slowly enough to not run into them (6 mph?)
  2. behind another slow-moving biker — as they went up or down a hill, they shifted gears with slow, awkward clicks
  3. another biker behind us, too impatient not too pass: “on your left”
  4. the lines on the bike path have been touched up, but the big bump on the trail hasn’t been fixed
  5. road closed sign for july 13th. No, not again!!

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees
9:45 am

Every time I come to an open swim, I am deeply grateful that this program exists. To be able to swim across the lake for 2 hours, 6 times a week? Sometimes I can’t believe that something this wonderful is actually allowed to continue without being “improved” in ways that make it worse.

It looked like it might rain and it was a little windy, but the water was fine. Warm, not too choppy. Mostly, I breathed every 5 strokes. Sometimes, 3 or 4 or 6. Once, when a wave hit me as I surfaced, after 2 strokes. Saw some more planes, but no dragonflies or birds. Where are the seagulls? I’m trying to remember the last time I noticed a seagull on the water.

I just remembered: just before I started the swim, I could hear the creeaakk of the swing at the top of the beach. I think they’ve needed to oil that swing for 10 years now.

Leila Chatti has the most amazing abecedarian poem in The Nation. Here’s a portion of it:

from Google/ Leila Chatti

july 7/RUNSWIM

3.25 miles
2 trails, the mostly dirt version*
76 degrees
humidity: 81% / dew point: 70
9:15 am

*I ran south on the dirt trail between Edmund and the river road. Crossed over at 42nd to the river road trail, then down to the Winchell Trail. Through the oak savanna, up the gravel by the ravine, down through the tunnel of trees, over to the dirt trail at 33rd and Edmund.

A dew point of 70? That’s pretty miserable. It didn’t bother me today. I was thinking about attention and listening to all of the sounds: birds, trucks, lawn mowers, cicadas, cars, roller skiers, singing bikers.

one thing I remembered, one I forgot

remembered: As I ran by the ancient boulder, I remembered to check if there were any stacked stones. Yes! 4 tiny stacked stones, hidden in the curve of the boulder. I saw these stones yesterday too, but forgot to write about them. Seeing these small stones, I wonder how many times I’ve glanced at the boulder and thought there were no stacked stones on it, when there were these tiny ones, hidden.

forgot: I forgot to look at the river even once. I even ran closer to it, down on the Winchell Trail, then forgot to turn right and look. Was it blue? brown?

Near the end of my run, I stopped for a few minutes to record my thoughts:

thought after run / july 7

letting attention flow through you, not holding onto it, letting it go
things remembered: the steady soundtrack of my striking feet and my labored lungs because of the humidity
people talking loudly in the background
trading off of lines between birds and cicados, no constant soundtrack, in and out
cars zooming by, a loud truck, bikers singing
what were the bikers singing? ridiculously delightful
overheard: a biker listening to talk radio
more cars whooshing by
all the things I’m curious about: surfaces and how they’re made them — who made them and through what process
birds chirping, the steady striking of my feet on the dirt

As I listen back to the recording, I’m struck by all the background sounds, some of which I notice and remark on, others which I don’t. It’s funny how much of our surroundings we tune out — like the cars or the birds or the people.

Here’s a poem I found on twitter this morning. Love Carl Phillips!

My Meadow, My Twilight/ Carl Phillips

Sure, there’s a spell the leaves can make, shuddering,
and in their lying suddenly still again — flat, and still,
like time itself when it seems unexpectedly more
available, more to lose therefore, more to love, or
try to…

          But to look up from the leaves, remember,

is a choice also, as if up from the shame of it all,
the promiscuity, the seeing-how-nothing-now-will-
save-you, up to the wind-stripped branches shadow-
signing the ground before you the way, lately, all
the branches seem to, or you like to say they do,
which is at least half of the way, isn’t it, toward
belief — whatever, in the end, belief
is… You can
look up, or you can close the eyes entirely, making
some of the world, for a moment, go away, but only
some of it, not the part about hurting others as the one
good answer to being hurt, and not the part that can
at first seem, understandably, a life in ruins, even if —
refusing ruin, because you
can refuse — you look
again, down the steep corridor of what’s just another
late winter afternoon, dark as night already, dark
the leaves and, darker still, the door that, each night,
you keep meaning to find again, having lost it, you had
only to touch it, just once, and it bloomed wide open…

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
80 degrees
5:30 pm

A great night for a swim! Calm water, overcast, not too crowded. I swam without stopping for 45 minutes, and I swam straight to each buoy, even though I hardly saw them. As usual, just the smallest flash that something was there. Sometimes I could tell it was orange or green, but usually it was just the idea of a hulking shape way ahead of me, or the smallest smudge of something. So strange.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. no fish below me
  2. the orange buoys were in a straight line, the one closest to the little beach wasn’t that close
  3. most of the buoys tethered to torsos were yellow
  4. a flash of green, then a swimmer directly ahead of me, way off course — I had to swing wide to avoid them
  5. another swimmer, pushing me off to the side. I had to stop and swim behind, then around them (this happened at least twice)
  6. the far green buoy was in line with at least two white sailboats, which made it hard to sight
  7. a plane overhead, no blue sky, only clouds
  8. breathed every 5 strokes: 1 2 3 4 5 breathe right 1 2 3 4 5 breathe left
  9. encountered a family of ducks out in the middle of the lake
  10. the water was slightly clearer than on Tuesday, but not as clear as at Cedar Lake. I could watch my hand stretch out in front of me, but only saw dark green below

july 4/RUN

4.1 miles
minnehaha falls and back
72 degrees
humidity: 97% / dew point: 70!
11:00 am

Scott and I were supposed to run the Red, White, and Boom 4 mile race this morning, but they cancelled it because of bad weather (thunderstorms). After the storm, which wasn’t really that bad, at least here in south Minneapolis, I decided to go out and run my 4 miles. It was hot and sticky and the dew point was terrible, but I had a good run. I was inspired by Jorie Graham’s line from her poem, “All”:

After the rain stops you can hear the rained-on.

When I was running, I couldn’t quite think of the line; I didn’t remember it being specific to hearing, so I tried to notice all evidence — visual, aural, etc — of the rained-on.

10 Things: Evidence of the Rained-on

  1. sound: a constant drip drip drip
  2. branches of trees and flowers bent down, heavy with rain
  3. running too close to the vines on the side of the trail, getting my shorts wet
  4. running under some dripping trees, 1: feeling like it’s raining again
  5. running under some dripping trees, 2: hearing a loud ping ping ping
  6. my feet striking the grit makes a deeper, heavier sound than when the grit/dirt is dry
  7. the slick whoosh of wet tires
  8. the roar of the falls, the rush in the ravine
  9. puddles on the path, and on the edge between the sidewalk and the road
  10. sometimes the grass was beaded with drips, othertimes it squished under my feet

Around the 5k point, I stopped to record some thoughts into my phone. Here’s a transcript:

I had a thought about next week’s lecture, which is on wonder and delight. I was thinking about this idea of wonder as knowing and 2 important moments of it, as least for me.

  1. `There’s the wonder and curiosity, where you wonder about something because you don’t know about it, and there’s this kind of magical time before you find out what it is — there’s room for all these possibilities. Of course, what you find out that it is, isn’t necessarily what it actually is, but what we’ve determined it is. This is the moment of possibility. It’s important to not shut this down, to leave room for speculating and imagining possibilities.
  2. When you wonder about something and then go in search of answers for your questions, and instead of delivering certainty to you, it just raises more questions, and enables you to see that what you thought was magical and amazing is even moreso. In fact, learning things, becoming more familiar with them, doesn’t have to make them boring and settled. It can open up more questions and doors into wondering about them.

july 3/SWIM

3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees
9:30 am

A beautiful morning for a swim! Calm water that felt faster, more buoyant. Was the temp of it colder today? Not sure, but it felt easier to be higher and easier to breathe. Swam 3 loops — 54 minutes — without stopping once, not even to tread water at a buoy. Other than in a race, that might be the longest I have swum stroke after stroke without stopping. Breathed every 5 strokes. Throughout the swim, I tracked the clouds above me. At first: when I breathed to my left there were clouds, to the right, clear. Later: no clouds at all. Finally: clouds to the left, clear to the right. Not heavy clouds, just streaks of fluff covering part of the sky.

10 Things I Noticed While Swimming (other than the clouds)

  1. difficult to see the buoys, especially the far orange one
  2. usually I hardly ever see the color, but today I managed to see orange a few times
  3. more bits of algae in the water, not long strands, but medium-sized chunks, and very small bits
  4. on the way back to the big beach, on the back half of the loop, I always felt a little tired. By the time I reached the big beach, I was energized again
  5. no planes
  6. one bird, bombing through the air — so fast!
  7. no menancing sailboats or what swan paddleboats* or kayaks
  8. heard a few voices once, wondered what was happening
  9. lots of gentle sloshing of water over or beside my ear
  10. back, a little sore; fingers too, and a little numb; no problems with knees or feet or calves or neck!

*a few days ago, I wrote something about the yellow paddleboats, which have been parked in the shallow water just off the north side of the beach. I just noticed yesterday (having already swum for a month!), that the boats aren’t yellow this year, but white, and they’re swans. Nice paying attention, Sara!


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
72 degrees
9:00 am (there) / 10:45 am (back)

10 Things I Noticed While Biking

  1. more than 1 dragonfly flying in my face
  2. a car recklessly passing another car on the narrow river road, honking furiously
  3. less wind today — the only wind today was the wind I made moving on my bike
  4. 2 birds having an intense exchange of chirps and cheeps — CHEEP! chirp! CHEEP!
  5. my bike rattling as I went over the big cracks that I was unable to avoid
  6. a pair of speedy bikers talking loudly as they passed me — what were they talking about? now I can’t remember
  7. hearing a lifeguard’s voice through the speaker, directing other lifeguards on where to put the orange and green buoys as I neared the beach — I learned today, after overhearing the lifeguards talking to each other, that they direct some of the lifeguards by talking through the speaker and others by taking secretly through walkie talkies
  8. so much more crowded on the way back — lots of bikes and walkers and runners using the bike path instead of the walking trail
  9. biking back from the lake, there were kids at the Nokomis Rec Center for summer camp — my kids did those camps for 8 years. It was awesome
  10. passed a surrey on the path on the rim of Minnehaha Falls park

swim: 2 loops
lake nokomis beach
72 degrees
9:30 am

10 Things I Noticed While Swimming

  1. half of the sky was a clear blue, half was convered in feathery clouds
  2. the water was smooth — no chop today!
  3. I couldn’t see the orange buoys at all until I got within 20 or 30 feet of them, but it didn’t matter because I used the silver bottom of the rowboat the guide me
  4. a few silver flashes below me
  5. entering the lake, the water was green at the edges — why was the water green? what does that mean? looked it up and it means there’s lots of algae near the surface
  6. a black (at least it looked black to me) plane flying above the lake
  7. one duck floating near the yellow paddleboats
  8. exiting the lake, a kid calling out to an adult, “why is the water so green today?” “green?” “yeah, green right by the edge.”
  9. very small particles, illuminated by the sun, floating in front of me, being stirred up by the motion of my hand
  10. the far buoys — the orange one near the little beach, the green one near the big beach — were closer to shore than usual, almost right next to the white buoys. I didn’t mind; more of the lake to swim in!

june 29/RUN

river road trail, north/south
69 degrees
9:00 am

A birthday run with Scott. Beautiful out by the gorge. Greeted Dave, the daily walker as we ran through the Welcoming Oaks. Too busy talking about something to remember to notice running through the tunnel of trees or past the old stone steps or even under the lake street bridge. Running with Scott was great, but it was hard to notice much. Can I remember 10 things I noticed? I’ll try:

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a roller skier and their poles singing, click click click click
  2. a man talking on a bluetooth phone with his arm extended across the path pointing — at what?
  3. some blue jays whispering their screeches
  4. a few narrow streaks of blue river through the thick thatch of green
  5. faint voices of rowers talking below near the boathouse
  6. a runner on the path, accompanied by a young girl on a bike
  7. no memorial flowers at the trestle today
  8. the sweet rot of the sewer near the ravine
  9. the cracks in the asphalt just past the trestle bridge, remembering the peace sign spraypainted at this spot last summer
  10. the satisfying crunch of the sandy gravel under my feet as I ran on the side of the trail up to the greenway

Whew! I did it. The last 3 took some time to remember.