july 20/TRI TRAINING

75 degrees
82% humidity
dew point: 69
Run: 1.55 miles
Swim: 100 yards

Another training morning with Ro. Our first run, we did .66 miles. The next, 1.32. This one, 1.55! Slowly but surely, we’ll get there. I’m hoping to convince her to run a 5K race in the fall.

Here’s our walk/run breakdown by minutes:

walk 1/run 2
walk 1/run 2
walk 2/run 1
walk 2/run 1
walk 2/run 1
walk 2/run 1
walk 2/run 1
walk 1

It was a beautiful morning at the lake. The water was glassy and smooth. At first, there was a haze, but soon the sun came out. I wish I could have stayed at the lake all day, but all be back there tonight for open swim!

open swim: fail!
bike to lake nokomis: 8 miles

I was all set to swim and then I dropped my nose plug in the water. The minute it dropped, I put on my goggles and looked for it, but couldn’t find it. Oh well. After my awful experiences last summer swimming without a nose plug and then staying up all night with a stuffed up nose, I wasn’t willing to risk it. Met up with Scott at Sandcastle and had a beer instead. Worked for me.

july 17/Tri Training

Team Mo (me, the Mom) and Ro (Rosie, 11 year-old daughter)
1.32 miles run/walk

The first real day of training for the mile was a bit rough, but we did it and we still love each other and are willing to race together. I’m proud of Rosie for toughing it out, even when she really didn’t want to.

june 18/5 MILES

60 degrees
dew point 60
lake nokomis, twice

Yes, the dew point was the same as the temperature. I guess, because it was only 60 degrees this morning, this didn’t bother me quite as much. Scott and I ran the first loop of Lake Nokomis together, then I ran the second one by myself while he got ready for his 5K race. After I finished running, I swam 2400 yards in Lake Nokomis, or two loops (the big beach to the little beach and back to the big beach). What a great morning! The run was pretty good, although I was tired at the end. But the swim was excellent. The water wasn’t too choppy. I could see all the buoys. And my calf didn’t cramp up in my wetsuit.

During my run, I chanted “I am flying, I am free. I am where I want to be” a lot. It helped.

During my swim, I thought about the dark, murky water and how I couldn’t see at all underwater. I was struck by the contrast between that dark water and the sky, with its patches of blue, some clouds and the occasional airplane.

 

june 17/7 MILES

71 degrees
dew point 67
84% humidity
all around austin, mn

Wow, that dew point’s a killer. Ran with Scott in his hometown. The first 4 miles were rough. Then we walked for about 3 or 4 minutes. After that, it was a bit easier. Managed to finish the 7 miles, which I’m taking as a victory, even though we walked twice. None of my recent runs have been pretty, but I’m still managing to get them done. Someday soon, it will get easier. I’m sure of it.

june 10/2 MILES

77 degrees
mississippi river road path, north

It was hard to run this morning. It was hot and I was too sore from yesterday’s long run. Scott and I decided to do a few recovery miles together and then end at our favorite coffee place for iced lattes.

heat feet repeat

the heat, the heat
two feet on repeat
no proper rhythm,
an unsteady beat

the heat, the heat
the need for retreat
sweating so much
that you almost deplete
the salt that you need
to maintain your speed
and avoid defeat

the heat, the heat
out on the street,
too hot to care
about being discrete
with the clothes that you wear
or the people you meet
oh the heat, the heat!

It was hot.

It was hot.
It was not a good idea
to run this morning.
Only 7:30, but
it was hot.
the day shot already.
no more running, biking, gardening,
just hiding
inside.
We should have left earlier.
Maybe 6? Before
it was hot.
I forgot how miserable 77 can be
when there’s humidity
and a high dew point.
And the wind,
it was hot too.
We only ran a few miles before we stopped
It’s too hot,
I said to Scott.
And he agreed.

june 3/4 MILES

77 degrees
mississippi river road path, south

Another hot and sweaty run. Scott and I ran together today. We were both struggling because of the heat, although running through the sprinkles when we were almost done helped. We talked about one of my new favorite poets, Chen Chen, and his book When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities. We also talked about Scott’s Stravinsky project. And we were almost successful in avoiding talking about dictators and oppressive regimes.

Before and after running, I wrote two new things:

What’s the difference

between ritual and routine?
Superstition and belief?
When is it a prayer and when is it just proper form? Efficient breathing?
When does a habit become sacred?
Does it need:
a doctrine?
a theology?
hymns about souls and rejoicing and kingdoms and conquering and reigning?
chants about fathers and spirits and ghosts and sacrificing sons?
basement potlucks with seven layer dips?
uncomfortable pews?
getting up too early on a Sunday morning?
yes, it needs this.
Could it be that one defining characteristic of the sacred is
a refusal to stay in bed?

my purple toe

Have I told you about my purple toe? It’s on my right foot and it’s the second toe, the one that sticks out just a little bit farther than the others. Did you know, that this toe, the second one, turns purple? It’s not purple all of the time and maybe purple isn’t even the best way to describe it. Eggplant? I wish it were electric purple or purple mountain majesty or grape popsicle purple. Purple is my son’s favorite color. His computer case is purple. His clarinet case is purple. His suitcase is purple. His school binder, which he dissects and disembowels in new ways everyday—first removing the strap, then shredding the front pouch, then taking out the cardboard insert that helps keep it’s structure, then doing something to the 3 ring binders that I can’t quite figure out that makes them only barely close—is purple. The purple he prefers is royal purple. Not fuchsia or pearly purple or phlox.

My purple toe is purple from running. Technically, it’s my purple toenail, I suppose, but toe is much more pleasing to write and to hear and to imagine as purple than toenail. Anyone can have a purple toenail; just slap some nail polish on it and it’s purple. But a purple toe is special. A purple toe is a sign of a runner. Before I started running, I was unaware that this was a thing: your toe can turn purple. I read somewhere that it’s called runner’s toe or subungual hematoma. It’s also called black toe. I like purple toe, so that’s what I’ll call it, or “my purple toe” or “my perfectly purple, not painful at all, toe.” Is it the second toe for everyone? I don’t know.

Here’s how it usually works for me. After some random long/longish run, my second one, the toe that sticks out just a little bit farther, feels strange. It looks like it’s splitting. At first, it isn’t purple, but i know what’s coming: in a day or two, it will be purple. The toenail never falls off. It just grows back in freaky ways: twisted, bent, doubled. Maybe I should call it “my perfectly freaky purple, not painful at all, toe.” After the nail grows back, it usually returns to its normal color. That is, until the cycle begins again. The “purple toe effect” has been happening for at least five years now.

In the same online article where I read about “runner’s toe,” it was also referred to as a “runner’s badge of honor.” I’m not sure I’d say i’m honored to have my perfectly freaky purple, not painful at all, toe. More like delighted by how it grosses other people out. Or fascinated by its freakishness. Most of the time I forget about it. It’s just a toe that’s part of my right foot that enables me to run—and walk and skip and saunter—without much pain and hardly any injury. It sticks out farther than my other toes. And it just happens to be purple or, if you prefer, which I don’t, eggplant.

may 20/5 MILES

46 degrees
mississippi river road path south/mississippi river road path north/greenway

Almost a repeat of Monday, except I ran with Scott and we ran south first. For most of the run it was raining, although it was a soft rain and I was sweating, so it was hard to tell. I greeted lots of other runners with a perky “good morning!,” partly to be friendly but mostly to check my effort level. As long as I could get out the full phrase and not sound like I was dying, I wasn’t running too fast. The last time Scott and I ran together, I suggested that we should come up with a longer phrase that we could use to check how hard we were running. I can’t remember his suggestion, but I know it involved speaking with an Irish brogue. (I just read this part to him and he told me that it was “Top o’ the morning to you.”) Maybe I should come up with some poetic line? Or what about a koan/unanswerable question?

After we got back, as I was eating my favorite breakfast–cheerios, bananas, walnuts–I started reading one of the books I just picked up from the library, Flanuese: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London by Lauren Elkin. On page 2, she writes:

women came to the city…to pass unnoticed, but also to be free and to do what they liked, as they liked.

Then she describes “the key problem of the urban experience”:

are we individuals or are we part of the crowds? Do we want to stand out or blend in? Is that even possible? How do we–no matter what our gender–want to be seen in public? Do we want want to attract or escape the gaze? Be independent or invisible? Remarkable or unremarked-upon?

My immediate reactions to these passages include:

  • Yes! want to go unnoticed so that I can do what I like, as I like!
  • You mean other people feel that way too? I’m not the only one?
  • Being able to go unnoticed requires a lot of privilege. Who can choose to be invisible (as opposed to being rendered invisible) and who is always hyper-visible?
  • Wow, I’m only on page 2 and this book already has me thinking about so many things.
  • I want to write about this in my log entry because one aspect of running that I’ve barely addressed but that certainly subtly shapes my experiences, is being a woman running in public.

Question

  • What does it mean to be a woman running in public?
  • What does it mean to be this woman running in public?
  • What does it mean to be this white woman running in public?
  • What does it mean to be this white, middle-class woman running in public?
  • What does it mean to be this white, middle-class, healthy-looking woman running in public?
  • What does it mean to be this white, middle-class, healthy-looking woman running in public spaces that are well-maintained and safe?
  • What does it mean to be this white, middle-class, healthy-looking woman running in public spaces that are well-maintained and fairly safe, but still seem haunted, perhaps only slightly, by the threat of an unwanted encounter or assault?

In thinking about running in public l want to link my experience to the larger history of women in running (less than 100 years ago, a woman wasn’t supposed to run for fear that her uterus would fall out! Kathryn Switzer was attacked by the race director while running in the Boston Marathon in 1967. The woman’s marathon wasn’t in the olympics until 1984.) and women in public, including: women and safety and women and sexual harassment/assault. Of course, you also can’t leave out exploring an intersectional history of who is allowed to occupy public space and how running bodies get read by others–are they seen as exercising or running from a crime, for example. Both of those are heavily shaped by race. And, what about the types of public spaces runners have access to–dedicated paths? busy sidewalks? In what parts of the city do they exist?

Scroll over the first paragraph to reveal the hidden poem.

may 13/10 MILES

60 degrees
mississippi river road north/hennepin bridge/stone arch bridge/mississippi river road south

Scott and I ran together this morning. A tough run. Why? Not sure. Maybe it was the hills: the Franklin hill and the I-35W hill. Or maybe it was the temperature. Warmer with more sun. My body hasn’t adjusted to it being warmer yet. Had a few moments on the run where I wanted to stop and probably would have if Scott hadn’t been there to encourage me to keep going. My legs felt so tired. Not injured, just tired. Favorite part of the route was running downtown. Scott stopped at the halfway point to take this photo on the Hennepin Avenue bridge:

A post shared by Scott Anderson 📎 (@room34) on

march 18/RACE

Hot Dash 10 Mile
Minneapolis
1:29:04 (8:55 pace)

A great race. Well organized. Decent weather (a bit chilly and windy, but no snow or ice). Challenging, but interesting course (tons of hills). I achieved all of my goals: running all the hills, not walking and negative splitting the second five miles. Perhaps the best thing about this race was that my husband Scott and I were able to run it together, which is a big deal because we’ve never run more than 5 miles together. In the past I’ve been too fast for him. But since I slowed down a bit to build up strength and endurance, we’re more evenly matched. Maybe we’ll run the marathon together?

Before the Race

#hotdash #hotdash10mile @twincitiesinmotion

A post shared by Scott Anderson 📎 (@room34) on

During the Race

Crossing the finish line at yesterday’s #hotdash10mile with @undisciplined right behind me.

A post shared by Scott Anderson 📎 (@room34) on


After the Race

Done! 1:29:05ish. Ran pretty much the whole thing together. #hotdash #hotdash10mile @twincitiesinmotion

A post shared by Scott Anderson 📎 (@room34) on

feb 3/4 MILES

70 degrees
u.s. bank stadium

Scott and I had a great run tonight at the U.S. Bank Stadium. On some Fridays, they open up the upper deck of the brand new Vikings stadium to runners. We only had to run 9 laps to complete 4 miles. Much better than the track we usually run at it where 4 miles = 24 laps. After the run, Scott said it felt like “his easiest 4 mile run ever.” I consider this a huge victory. Scott and I rarely run together. In the past, he has complained that I run too fast and am too intense; it stresses him out. Not this time. I actually made him slow down because I felt he was running too fast! I’m proud of myself for figuring out how to slow down and to keep a steady pace.

addendum: Almost forgot. While we were running, they played, rather loudly, music from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, including Bing Crosby. Scott and I decided on a new test to see if we were running too fast, the “sing with Bing” test. As long as we could croon along with Bing by singing loudly and with much vibrato, our pace was good.

9 times around = 4 miles!

A photo posted by Scott Anderson 📎 XXV.4 (@room34) on

jan 14/4 MILES

18 degrees
bde maka ska lake

I switched my 8 mile long run out so that Scott and I could run together. We ran really slow, which was nice. It allowed me to watch other runners as they passed us. I like watching runner’s legs move as they run, especially the good runners. The rhythm of their feet steadily rising and falling is mesmerizing. One runner looked like he was almost floating across the snow-packed trail. I love witnessing confident bodies moving through space. It’s such a beautiful thing to see.

Back out there! Nice and slow 4 mile run

A photo posted by Scott Anderson 📎 (@room34) on

Me and Scott, just after our run.