july 24/RUN

5K race
downtown Minneapolis

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@torchlight5k

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Not too hot, but hot enough. Not my fastest race, but I finished strong.

What do I remember from the race? Very positive energy. Happy, joyful people. A better than average version of the National Anthem. A car trapped on the bike path because the road was jammed with runners. The woman driving calling out to her friends in frustration, “I just want to get out of here!” A woman wheezing than giving herself a pep talk. An annoying boyfriend calling out to his girlfriend, “You can do this! Only 2 minutes left. This is what all your training was for. How many people can you pass?” This was annoying because we had a lot less than 2 minute left and him saying that made me feel like we would never finish. Very demoralizing. I’m pretty sure his girlfriend was irritated too. I didn’t see her pass anyone. After the race, walking on the gravel trail through Boom Island, 3 runners passing us with such positive energy, so happy to be running on this trail.

We took the train downtown today, which was fun and much less stressful than driving. What do I remember from the train? Crowded heading downtown; Twins game tonight. A fantasy-fiction loving teenage girl trying to convince her mom to read more fantasy fiction. Her mom, calmly and repeatedly saying, “I’m more into real life.” The girl, relentlessly retorting, “Fantasy fiction is sooo much better than real life. You can learn a lot from the wise old wizards!” Okay, this isn’t exactly what she said, but close enough. On the way home, 2 pissed off Twins’ fans, complaining about the game and how slow it was going–over 2 hours in and only the bottom of the 4th! Dropping lots of f-bombs.

The Runners
BY IRVING FELDMAN

Here or there hundreds of them, phantom-like,
bobbing in place at street corners, then
lifting their knees suddenly and leaping
into the densest, loudest traffic
(of briefest trajectories, of shortest views),
in transit yet at ease, breathing, loping,
like bearers of distance and pure direction,
darting half naked out of nowhere and
where, where in the world are they running to?
swift and solitary, silent beings
who, should you now step into the path,
have dodged away, or, if you raise a hand
to stay them to speak, immediately
are gone: who are these runners who create
in their gliding such fine, singular spaces
among the street’s vociferous jargons?
—as if each one were a still, wordless message
or question one would answer if one could grasp it,
this one, that one, sliding past, going away,
while you stand there, your hand raised to no purpose,
your hidden heart rejoicing that the quick heel
won’t soon, won’t ever, be overtaken,
although you, as you have longed to, suddenly
disburden yourself and follow follow.

july 4/BIKERUNBIKE

bike: 9 miles
to downtown race and back

run: 3.1 miles
red, white and boom 5K: 27:30

For the first time, Scott and I biked over to the race instead of driving. 5 miles on the river road. It would have been less but one road was closed and we had to backtrack. Not too bad. Much less stressful than driving. The race was hot and humid. I wimped out and walked a few times but finished strong, so that was okay. Gradually, I’m working to stop caring about time and not feeling bad about how much slower I am these days. Don’t remember much about the race. Started at the back so I did a lot of passing people. Weaving through the crowd doesn’t bother me most of the time. It’s a good distraction. Anything else I remember? No interesting conversations even though I wasn’t listening to headphones. Had a popsicle and a beer after the race and then slowly walked back to my bike. I’d like to try biking to a race again. Oh–saw some rowers down in the flats–that was cool. And, biked up several hills without ever changing my gear. Marveled at the beauty of the city on the 3rd Ave/Central Ave Bridge as I walked across with Scott after the race.

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My city.

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Here’s a poem I’ve tried to write about (so far, not quite successfully) for a couple of years now. So much I love about it. Today, I noticed the line, “…Raise your/heads, pals, look high,/you may see more than/you ever thought possible,” I love her use of pals here. I read it as an almost exasperated, “look pal” which I appreciate. Much better than friend.

Woman Waving to Trees
Dorothea Tanning – 1910-2012

Not that anyone would
notice it at first.
I have taken to marveling
at the trees in our park.
One thing I can tell you:
they are beautiful
and they know it.
They are also tired,
hundreds of years
stuck in one spot—
beautiful paralytics.
When I am under them,
they feel my gaze,
watch me wave my foolish
hand, and envy the joy
of being a moving target.

Loungers on the benches
begin to notice.
One to another,
“Well, you see all kinds…”
Most of them sit looking
down at nothing as if there
was truly nothing else to
look at until there is
that woman waving up
to the branching boughs
of these old trees. Raise your
heads, pals, look high,
you may see more than
you ever thought possible,
up where something might
be waving back, to tell her
she has seen the marvelous.

march 23/RACE

Hot Dash 5K
26:10
river front Minneapolis
30 degrees

Most of the races I run these days are on this route. St. Anthony Main to the Plymouth bridge, south on the West River Road, Stone Arch Bridge. A nice route, even if the cobblestones at St. Anthony Main are terrible. Avoided the many potholes and missing cobblestones, but ran into a big orange cone. Orange is one of the colors I struggle to see. Just happy I didn’t fall or injure myself. Perfect weather for a race–sunny, hardly any wind, cool but not too cold. Didn’t even consider running with headphones, which is funny because for the first few years of running I couldn’t imagine running without them. Don’t remember hearing any conversations or exuberant cheering. There were some drums banging near the Stone Arch Bridge. About 2.5 miles in there was a hill that I hated. Then another hill. Then, thankfully, the finish. I never wanted to stop and walk, but I was glad to be done.

nov 24/RUN

6.2 miles
37 degrees
moustache 10K race, riverfront minneapolis

Ran the Moustache 10K run with Scott for the third year in a row. Didn’t take it fast just ran steadily. I feel pretty great considering I took 10 days off for an IT band injury a few weeks ago and experienced a knee subluxation a few days ago. Things I remember from the run:

  • The women who was running (running!) while holding a to go cup of Starbucks coffee and drinking it. I have never seen that before. She was probably running a 8:30/8:45 pace.
  • Twisting my foot on the cobblestones.
  • Overhearing a guy calling out to his friend as we reached the mile 1 marker, “Ugh, we’ve only run a mile” and saying to Scott, “Wow, we’ve already run a mile!”
  • Running up the big hill at mile 5 and listing off the muscles that make up the hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris) and the quads (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, rectus femoris) to Scott because he asked–well, he didn’t ask me to list the specific names, just to clarify whether the quads were in the front or back of your leg, but I couldn’t help myself. Forgetting the vastus intermedius and looking it up later.
  • Feeling good at the end, happy to be finished but not too tired.

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

aug 26/SWIMRACE

2.4 mile swim race
bde maka ska
open swim classic

Third time’s the charm. The first year I tried swimming this race, I had just been diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration and the lake was too foggy for me to see anything–they almost cancelled it–so I had to drop out. The second year, I displaced my kneecap and my physical therapist advised me not to try swimming it. This year I almost wimped out because of sore legs, but I didn’t. I thought about how much I’ve wanted to swim this race and how I wanted to set a good example for my daughter and I did it. I swam it. I couldn’t see anything because of my vision and all of the water in my goggles, but I found someone else to follow and we made it all the way around the lake. I think she might have led us off track–my watch shows that I swam an extra 500 yards–but we made it and, according to Scott, I got 4th place.

What do I remember about my swim:

  • googles, filled up with water
  • rocks mixed in with sand on the beach floor
  • shallow water–starting the race and walking for the first 15-20 seconds. Heard one swimmer joke, “I thought this was a swimming race, not a walking race!”
  • clear water, checking out the Eurasian watermilfoil just below me
  • not being able to see anything but water and an occasional buoy
  • feeling like I (and the 2 other swimmers I was swimming with) were the only people in the lake
  • having no idea how far I had gone or how much farther I had to go
  • the swimmer next to me and the pink shoulders of her tri suit and white rims of her goggles
  • thinking: I’m actually doing this! yay me!
  • the shocking cold of the water as I entered and the feeling that I couldn’t breathe
  • watching the swimmer ahead of me stop to look where she was going and thinking: please don’t stop, I have no idea where I’m going or where the next buoy is!
  • before the race, overhearing a woman with a cast on her broken feet telling another swimmer: “I broke it at my daughter’s wedding. The doctor told me I couldn’t swim in the race and I thought that was unacceptable, so I’m here and I’ve rigged up something for my foot so I can swim.” What a badass.
  • feeling strong and proud and tired and happy to be done
  • a slightly aching shoulder

july 18/RUN

3 miles
mississippi river road path, north/south

Cooler again this morning. Writing this a day after, so I don’t remember much about the run except for that it felt good and I felt fast. A few other things:

  • Right before the greenway/railroad trestle there was a long line-up of cars, waiting at the 3 way stop. It felt great running past so many of them. What joy to be out on the path and not trapped in a car!
  • The friendly smile of a runner as I encountered her twice.
  • The green of the floodplain forest.

5K race (3.2)
walking/running with kids
last mile alone, all running
Torchlight

It was difficult racing with the kids and I probably didn’t handle it as well I could have, but it doesn’t matter because they finished it. More than 10 minutes faster than I thought they could and with smiles on their faces! Towards the end, they encountered a fast walker on the bridge, going past them. He called out, “I’m an 80 year old diabetic with an artificial hip (as he hit his hip), and if I can do it, you can too!” This inspired them to fire up and run the last stretch of the race. That story, which they both told with great enthusiasm, and the picture that Scott took of them just coming off of the Stone Arch Bridge is how I will happily remember this race:

They made it! #torchlight5k

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july 7/BIKESWIM

bike: 8.6 miles
lake nokomis

swim: 2 mile race
lake nokomis
59 minutes/1st place 35+

Today I swam in my first open swim race. And I won for my age group. So cool! I can’t quite express how proud I am of myself. Not so much because I won–which is great–but because I did the race at all. Since I was diagnosed with a macular degenerative eye disease 2 years ago, I’ve been nervous to do an open swim race. Whole sections of my central vision are gone and I have a lot of trouble sighting the buoys. I was worried I might get too far off course. No problem today. Lots of other swimmers around me for the first section. Then, I swam behind another swimmer for the rest of the race so I didn’t have to worry about looking for the buoys. I tried to do an open swim race 2 years ago, right after my diagnosis, but it was too foggy and I was too overwhelmed by my new lack of vision. I tried again last year but a month before the race my kneecap displaced and I couldn’t walk without a brace for 2 months. Now, finally, after overcoming injury and my doubts about my very bad vision, I swam and loved it.

I got to swim all around the lake, not just across it. Past the little beach, the overlook on the small hill, the big bridge and the boats. Didn’t encounter any fish, but I did swim through some milfoil. Again, the water looked pea green. Don’t remember thinking about much except for staying close to the swimmer ahead of me.

may 20/RACE

10K: 55:06
women run the cities

A beautiful day for a run beside the river! Sunny. Not too much wind. Not too warm. I decided to run this race to redeem myself for the get in gear 10K that I ran 3 weeks ago. In that race, I fell apart in the second half and walked a lot. In this race, I did much better. Starting slower and running through the bad moments. I still walked once–for about half a minute–and ran much slower than I have in the past, but I feel good about the race. What do I remember? A long line for the porta-potties. The energetic and entertaining way the women in front of me gestured with her hands as she talked. The woman behind me, describing her late night drinking and ordering domino’s pizza. The woman ahead of me in the race corral discussing meeting a random guy while running a marathon and then stalking him online later. The extremely off-key version of The Star Spangled Banner someone sang right before the race. A woman making this weird waving motion while running beside me. What was she doing? Being confused at the start of the lake street bridge because everyone was running on the sidewalk and not the road and then almost missing Scott cheering me on. Running up the Summit hill and hearing a woman encouraging her friend: “you can slow down but don’t walk.” Feeling grateful when “Back in Black” came on my running playlist and pumped me up. Trying to avoid all of the potholes. Crossing the Ford bridge and then seeing the long stretch of road before we turned down to the falls and wanting to stop and walk–but not doing it. Turning down to the falls just as the theme from Rocky started playing. Smiling as I finished.

bonus: Later, Scott and I biked to the game. 12 miles total. We weren’t biking too fast, but it was some nice cross-training. It’s always easier for me to bike when I’m following someone else. With my vision, I can bike but it can be difficult. Sometimes–not every time–it takes a while for me to really see the path, especially when going down hill. I see that it’s there, but I can’t quite find the edges. Usually, I trust that I’m following the path, even when I can’t completely see it.

april 28/RACE

45 degrees
6.2 miles/55:43/get in gear
ford loop

A beautiful morning for a bad, disappointing race. As usual, I ran too fast in the first mile and then fell apart in the second 5k.

What do I remember from the race?
  • the giant American flag and Scott remarking, “not sure where it fits on the ‘perkins/gander mountain spectrum’ but it’s big!”
  • the funky black and white shorts on the runner just in front of me
  • listening to other people sing along with the national anthem and feeling unpatriotic, tired of nationalism
  • feeling like the 15 minutes we were waiting in the start corral was taking forever
  • not seeing or hearing any of the annoying pacers
  • hearing the steady striking of moving feet of all the runners around me
  • a runner who hovered near me smelling like watermelon, which made it hard to breathe.
  • running close to the curb in the grit (mostly soft dirt, some sand), shuffling along–a satisfying, calming noise.
  • feeling like I wanted to stop, feeling like the St. Paul side of the river road was taking forever
  • a runner running by blasting heavy metal music through her headphones, so loud I could hear her approaching from a few seconds back
  • hearing a kid calling out, “mommy, mommy” as we approached the ford bridge and then a runner stopping to get a hug and drop off their hat
  • running on the sidewalk of the ford bridge with most of the runners while only a few ran on the blocked-off road
  • a car horn honking loudly–was it in support of us runners? annoyance for blocking the road? a warning?

feb 10/RACE

5 degrees/feels like -something
lake nokomis
5K: 25:52

Cold but sunny and not much wind. I learned today that the Valentine’s Day 5K is the oldest winter race in Minneapolis. This is my third year running it. Random things I remember:

  • the dude who sang the national anthem before the race started was good.
  • my big toes were very cold waiting before the start. I kept singing “my big toes are froze.”
  • loved seeing bright, electric blue shoes. One person had an electric blue jacket to match. Someone else had hot pink running tights. Not too many costumes. I remember a zebra. No one in shorts or a tank top or short sleeves.
  • I can’t get Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” out of my head because they played it after we were walking back to the car.
  • Scott and I split up about 1/4 of mile from the start. I went ahead because it was too crowded to run together.
  • The road was completely clear–no ice or snow at all–but at least two people were wearing trax that made an annoying clacking noise with every step.
  • Managed to say “thanks” to several of the volunteers.
  • Did I look out at the lake even once while I was running next to it? I don’t think so.
  • Don’t know my splits because I didn’t have my watch on but I’m pretty sure each mile was faster.
  • Noticed several people wearing bright yellow shirts.

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nov 25/6.2 MILES

33 degrees
downtown minneapolis
moustache run 10K race

A great race. Slow but successful. Ran the whole thing with Scott. Biggest accomplishment: running the big long steep windy hill without stopping! also, finishing with a big smile and sense of accomplishment. Not too bad considering I’ve only been running for about a month since my injury.

Beautiful sun.  Not too cold although I recall saying to Scott about a mile in that I had cold fingers, hot hands and a burning face. Not quite slipped on ice a few times. There were patches of it near the cracks in the road. Tried to distract myself from the BIG hill by focusing on the ice patches.

Favorite spectator: the women standing at the top of the hill congratulating us for having run up the hill and saying “That hill sucks but you did it!”

Least favorite pacer (for the 1/2 marathoners): the women who called out 1/2 mile into the race “only 12.5 miles to go!”

Least favorite bro-runners (brunners?): the guy who said to his friend, just in front of us, right before we passed them, “I like running the half, more time to look at runners’ butts.”

Second least favorite bro-runner: the guy very near the end who was walking and then suddenly yelled out “are you guys ready?!” and then started to full out sprint like a spaz.

Least favorite road on the route: the Cobblestones!

I hate these cobblestones.

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oct 27/3.1 MILES

32 degrees
Halloween 5K
Riverfront Minneapolis

I raced a 5K! I raced a 5K! And I didn’t stop or feel much pain. Only the second time I’ve run that much without stopping in 2 months. It wasn’t fast, but it felt good and Scott and I did negative splits on each mile. Many people were dressed up because it was a Halloween race. I saw 2 Mr. Incredibles, a bunch of Waldos, a Gilligan, a few Wonder Women, Thomas the Train, the Doodlebops, a bright blue fuzzy monster with fabulous fuzzy legwarmers, a donut, a reindeer, a mother and son as black and white striped robbers, Dwight from The Office, a few Minnie Mouses and Cruella deVille. That’s all I can remember. No zombies. No vampires. No ghosts. No homicidal maniacs. And no witches. Why no witches? Well, I did hear someone say they saw Hermione, but that doesn’t count. Scott and I agreed that this 5K was one of the easiest we’ve ever run.

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july 19/3.3 MILES

71 degrees
86% humidity
5K race/downtown minneapolis

This race was supposed to be a 5K (3.1 miles), but they measured it incorrectly and we ended up running extra. This error was very upsetting for Scott because he would have achieved a great PR, but not for me because I didn’t care. It wasn’t my fastest time and I was just happy to have only briefly stopped once and to be done. My time ended up being decent: 27 minutes for 3.3 miles/8:10 pace. I’m very happy with that!

Things I Remember From the Race

  • It was really cramped and uncomfortable in the starting line. A young runner (in high school) was standing/stretching/jumping up and down right in front of me. I was afraid he might land on my foot.
  • Hennepin Avenue was in bad shape. Lots of manholes and deep impressions that could twist an ankle.
  • For much of the first 2 miles, I ran near a mother and son. The mother was wearing a red clown-hair wig; the son was probably 9 or 10 years old. The son kept bolting ahead. The Mom kept saying, “slow down!” until she gave up and said, “Go ahead. I can’t run any faster.” He stayed with her while I ran ahead. They passed me again around mile 3.
  • Running on the Stone Arch Bridge, not quite near the end, I heard someone’s timer go off: “You have run 3.1 miles.” I was confused until later, when I found out that the race was long.
  • Hearing “Whoot there it is” playing as I passed two male runners who were blasting it as they ran in daisy duke shorts and no shirts.
  • Listening as one runner ahead of me thanked every volunteer and police office as he ran by them.
  • Nearly getting hit by a clueless, speeding biker who was biking recklessly on the race route.
  • Nearly twisting my ankle on the cobblestone right after exiting the Stone Arch Bridge.
  • Just as I was passing one runner, another runner approached and called out, “Hi Sara.” I looked over and then quickly realized that he was greeting the other runner, who must have been named Sara too. I wonder, does she spell her name the right way, without an h?
  • Usually it is very hot at this race. One  year: 95 with a heat index of 99 or 100! This year, only 70 degrees. It still felt hot to me. I really dislike running in hot weather.

july 4/13.1 MILES

72 degrees
77% humidity
Half Marathon Race/Red White and Boom

I’m not disappointed with my race, even though I did not stick to my plan, which was to stop every 1.25 miles and walk. I stopped many more times. I had several problems. The first problem: I couldn’t stop at 1.25 miles because it was too crowded. Second: the double hills around 3.5 miles sucked up a lot of energy. Third: the hills around mile 8 were also exhausting. Fourth: It was too hot not to be carrying a water bottle with me. Getting water every 2.5 miles was too long.

My time was slower than I’d like and I resorted to walking, then running a little, then walking again for the last 2-3 miles. My biggest feeling at the end of the race: I’m done and I don’t have to race this again! This is the second time I’ve run this particular race and I think it’s clear to me: I don’t like it. The race is organized well. I just don’t like it. The route. The heat. The super early start (we got up at 4:45 and left the house by 5:45).

Random Things I Remember:

  • Waiting in line for the porta potty before the race started and just barely making it to the start line.
  • The very slim and tall young woman ahead of me in a white tank top with bright blue shorts.
  • Stepping on something and having my feet stick to the ground on every step for about a mile.
  • How crowded it was for the first 2 miles.
  • Feeling wiped out by the first big hill at around 3 and a half miles.
  • The guy who was fat shaming Rosie O’Donnell.
  • The other guy who yelled to his friends as they passed the 2:05 pacing group: “come on! unless you want to run as slow as this group!”
  • Initially being annoyed by the pacer running near me because of his loud trivia game but then seeing him as a fellow runner and person when he had to stop pacing because the humidity was making it difficult for him to breathe. An important reminder to see the humanity in everyone first, before anything else.
  • The loud “woo hoo” that erupted behind me by some runner–it couldn’t possibly be the same one every time–when we approached a water stop.
  • Hearing a race volunteer yell out to a runner pushing a stroller, “Alright! Making it a family affair.” And then another runner yelling out, “That’s illegal!” I’m pretty sure it is. Almost always, races like this don’t allow strollers. 
  • The women on the bus yelling at the cops directing traffic to stop the runners and let the bus go through so that she could get to work. That same woman yelling at the runner just in front of me because the runner was giving her a snarky look. I struggle with how to feel about this one. Shutting down streets for the race can be a big burden for non-racers who need the roads. This incident seems to highlight the privilege involved with racing. Yet, I appreciate that the roads are shut down.
  • Encountering a woman who was breathing so heavily that I thought she might pass out as she passed me while I was taking a walk break. Passing her when I started running. Then having her pass me when I walked again.
  • Listening in as two women planned their future training runs. “When should we do our next 10 mile run?”
  • Watching as two runners stopped so that one of them, a woman in a bra and skirt, could stretch her ankle, which seemed to be hurt.
  • Walking up a hill that never seemed to end.
  • Listening in on another conversation as one woman told the other, “We already passed her. I hope she isn’t mad that I didn’t say hi. I think it’s rude to say hi when you’re passing someone.”
  • Approaching the halfway point, and the place where the first member of the relay teams finished and then next one began, and hearing a guy who was running in the relay yell out “which way to I go?” as he approached some orange cones dividing the road. Because it was very clearly marked, with a sign and volunteers directing you, I wondered if he was joking or serious.
  • The annoying volunteer that kept yelling out, “come on, smile! smiles are required!”
  • Not smiling and hearing him say, “I guess we’ve got some tired runners out there.”
  • Watching the pacer who had stopped pacing earlier in the race pass me at around mile 11.
  • A tall man running with his head tilted sharply down to the right. I wondered, was he exhausted or does he always run that way?
  • Overheard several times by several different groups: Are you okay? Can you keep running?
  • Overheard by a woman to her friend as they approached a porta potty with a long line: “Are you going to stop?” The woman answered: “Nah, I’m good.” Her friend: “Are you sure?”
  • Giving a few high-fives to kids who had their hands stretched out on the route.
  • Hearing one runner say, “Hey, what’s that?” Their running buddy: “A monument.” The first runner, again: “Cool. Hey, check out that library. They don’t make libraries like that anymore. I want to go there.”

That’s all I can remember.