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.

may 11/5.25 MILES

48 degrees
20 mph wind
franklin loop

Brr. Colder today and a lot more humid. Overcast with rain coming soon. Everything is overwhelmingly green. Windy. Had my headphones on and my hood up for the first mile. Felt disconnected, in a dreamy state. Almost floating on the path–not flying but hovering. The floor of the floodplain forest is no longer visible. Just a sea of green. Clashing greens–mostly yellowish green, with a few darker blueish green patches. After running over the Franklin bridge I also couldn’t see the paved path down in the east river flats. Crossing back over the Lake street bridge, I saw some rowers–2 shells out on the river. I love watching the rowers. Finished my run feeling strong and fast.

may 10/3 MILES

60 degrees
mississippi river road path, north/south

Running in the afternoon is harder. Hotter. Windier. Listened to my playlist and felt pretty good. My knee felt okay, even though it temporarily displaced last night, right before dinner. Walking over to the cabinet to get a placemat, I stopped and felt a sudden shift. First pain, then shock. I could feel that the kneecap was out of its groove. I was able to pop it back in place by pushing on it and walking up the stairs. I hate that this happens. No warning. No abrupt twisting, Just a sudden, abrupt moving out of the groove. My kneecap displaced last month like this and was fine after a few hours, so I was pretty sure I would be okay. Still, it sucks when this happens. I wonder, when will it happen again?

note: I didn’t have time to write this log after my run, so I’m writing it the next day. I couldn’t remember much from the run.

may 7/5.75 MILES

69 degrees
ford loop

9:15 am and 69 degrees? No thanks. I love so much about spring and summer but not running in the heat and the bright sun. Hardly any shade. Listened to headphones and felt disconnected. Thought I was doing okay, but near the Ford Bridge, it started to feel difficult. Stopped to walk for a few minutes on the bridge. Strangely, walking today didn’t bother me or make me feel like I failed.

This very warm weather is coming too soon. Last year on May 7th it was only 51 degrees. Much better running weather. Everything is happening too soon and too fast. My view down to the river is almost gone. The floodplain forest is covered in green. A beautiful shade of green, but that’s not the point. I want to see the river and the sandy trail through the forest for at least a few days more. Yesterday when I was walking near the river I heard the rowers! They’re back. I looked down at the ravine as I ran up the hill near Summit. No water today. Tried to run mostly on the dirt trail next to the uneven path. Noticed the raging river at the locks and dam. Ran by a walker that I encountered in the same spot last week. If I keep running this loop in the morning, will he become a new Daily Walker to watch for? At some point during the run, around the time it was feeling especially hard, I wondered–am I getting enough iron? Resolved to eat more spinach and maybe take an iron supplement. Finished strong, running faster and feeling freer. Stopped at the water fountain but noticed too late that it wasn’t working yet. Saw my shadow–in front of me, then beside me. I think she likes the heat and the bright sun. Sweat a lot more. Face felt bright red. My hair was completely soaked and dripping by the end. Next time I run I’ll need to bring some water.

note: While quickly proofreading my log, I noticed a theme: water. A lost river view. Rowers. A lack of water in the ravine. The raging river below the bridge. A water fountain that doesn’t work. A sweaty, red face with a dripping ponytail. The need for water to drink.

Returning home, I discovered a new poem to love from The New Yorker: “Eating Grapes Downward” by Christian Wiman. I especially love the opening stanza:

Every morning without thinking I open
my notebook and see if something
might have grown in me during the night.
Usually, no. But sometimes a tendril
tries a crack in my consciousness
and if I remain only indirectly aware of it
and tether my attention to the imminent
and perhaps ultimately unseeable
sun, sometimes it will grow. Inevitably
a sense of insignificance intrudes: I think
of all the lives in all the places
waiting in their ways
for something to grow out of them,
into them. Is it the same God?

Love this idea of indirect awareness. So important to how I am living these days–with my writing and my vision and even my running. Want to experiment with ways to write about it/with it/around and through it.

april 30/5.75 MILES

57 degrees
ford loop

Windy. Almost raining. A great run. Signed up for a 10k in 3 weeks on the same course as the one I just raced. I’m hoping to redeem myself and feel strong in the second half. Hoping to run the route many times and practice better pacing. I ran it today, starting at a slow pace. It was great. Listened to my playlist. Felt like I was in a daze for the first few miles. Disconnected, almost floating. Love that feeling. Running across the bridge I put up my pink hood because of the wind; I was worried that my almost destroyed green hat would finally blow off and into the river. I imagined the log entry I’d write memorializing it. Encountered a few runners, not too many walkers, 1 or 2 bikers. No Daily Walker. No roller skiers. Thought a lot about keeping slow and strong. Anything else? Didn’t feel any rain drops. Didn’t see any more snow. No puddles to dodge. Just wind to run into. A few hills to climb. 2 bridges to cross.

april 21/3 MILES

47 degrees
greenway bridge turn around

Another beautiful morning. Don’t remember much because I was listening to my headphones. I think I saw my shadow a few times in the bright sun. Saw lots of runners, alone and in groups. A few bikers. Walkers. No roller skiers. No puddles. No ice, except for under the lake street bridge. Ran faster and felt the joy of working harder. I definitely need to do some more speed work to get used to pushing myself.

Encountered a wonderful poem that reflects my feelings about the slow arrival of spring:

april 8/4.4 MILES

32 degrees
10% snow-covered
almost Franklin hill turn around

Took several days off from running because my kneecap seemed liked it had displaced on Friday night, while I was sleeping. I was certain that I would be out for another month but suddenly, it felt better. Still sore, but much better. Very grateful. Whenever I injure my knee, I don’t worry as much about running as I do walking. Running is great, but walking is necessary.

Today’s run was wonderful. Cold and windy, but I didn’t care. I got to run without pain or uncertainty. Listened to my running playlist and blocked out the noise of the wind rushing past my ears. Didn’t encounter too many runners or walkers. What do I remember? I noticed the runner with the bright yellow shirt and thought about how my orange shirt was just as bright. I smiled a lot and almost spread my arms wide in a big hug. Encountered several runners going fast. Thought about running all the way to the bottom of the Franklin hill but decided to stop just under the bridge and turn around. Noticed that my right knee was a little sore and wondered if it would be a problem when I finished (it wasn’t). Was able to mostly run on the walking path instead of only on the bike path. Didn’t see any bikers or roller skiers or big packs of runners. Twisted my foot a little on a patch of ice.

A few days ago, I discovered a new poetic form: contrapuntal. I decided to write one about 2 sounds that crunching snow makes when I walk on it.

Here are my notes:

First, I noticed the noise: a crisp, sharp, snap. Delightfully dissonant, cutting through the quiet and the soft settling of my foot on the snow-covered path. Did I like it partly for its grating, grinding quality?

Then, I noticed its counterpoint: a soft, steady crush of crystals that never ceased. Sometimes creaking, occasionally squeaking. Always there, buzzing, humming under the other noises—birds chirping, planes rumbling, a car door slamming.

Before I had only made note of the noise and how it shattered my idea of snow as silent. Now I wondered how the different noises fit together. Why two? What was causing the multiple melodies? The crack crack crack with the crushcrushcrushcrushcrush?

Then, I understood. The two sounds traveled, trading off between my feet. As one foot cracked, the other crushed. Right crack left crushcrushcrush left crack right crushcrushcruch. The biomechanics of a step amplified! My body singing through snow!

And here’s my poem:

april 2/5.1 MILES

30 degrees
franklin loop

In a few hours, it’s supposed to snow again. 1-3 inches today. 1-3 inches tonight. 1-3 inches tomorrow. Wet, heavy snow. Yuck! I decided to get out and run before the path was covered again. Was able to run most of the way on the walking path instead of the biking path. Had to stop and walk twice because it was windy and I was running too fast. Listened to headphones. What do I remember? Hearing some sort of howling or barking or moaning down in gorge that I could barely hear over my music. Thought about taking off my headphones to listen more closely but didn’t. I wonder what it was? Tried to focus on keeping my shoulders back and my chest forward, with my arms swinging straight back, relaxed. Looked to see if the eagle was perched on the dead tree by the bridge. They weren’t. Saw the Daily Walker. Admired the beautiful Mississippi as I ran over the Franklin bridge. Noticed that it felt humid and hard to breathe. Glanced down at the east river flats and thought about how hidden they will be once the leaves return to the trees–will I ever try running down there alone? Probably not. Took note of the paved path leading down into the gorge, towards the Lake street bridge–it’s much closer to the road down to the east river flats than I thought.

Read a poem by Mary Oliver earlier this morning and encountered the phrase, “deep, moist summer.” I don’t like how summer is moist. I also don’t like the word moist. I hate humidity and I don’t like how overwhelmingly green and thick with vegetation summer is, even as I love so much about the season. I will miss winter running–so quick, crisp, sharp and slick.

april 1/2.1 MILES

60 degrees
ywca track

A quick run on the indoor track. Cold outside. Most likely wet, slushy snow tomorrow and the day after that. Where is spring? Read a headline from the MPR weather guy–Will we skip spring and go straight to summer? Nooooooo!!!

The track was crowded with an irritating walker who stubbornly refused to follow the rules (that were painted on the track) and walked in the center lane, making it difficult to pass on either side.

 

march 27/4 MILES

35 degrees
mississippi river road path, north/south

About 5 minutes into my run, I noticed my nose was bleeding. I always bring a kleenex but, of course, I didn’t have one today. Thought about turning around and going back home but I didn’t. I wanted to keep running. So I pulled over, looked at the river, hoped my nose would stop and then started running again. I tried to remember to keep my head tilted slightly up as I ran. My nose used to bleed a lot when I was a kid. In high school, it would often start while I was in the pool for swim practice. I’d have to get out and do dryland exerices. So annoying. Today, it wasn’t too bad. I’m glad I kept going. I don’t remember too much else about my run. Listened to headphones. Got to be on the walking path for awhile. Passed a few runners. Greeted the Daily Walker. Don’t think I saw any bikers. Maybe one dog. No puddles. No big ice chunks or snow banks. Ran into the wind at the beginning and had it at my back at the end. Saw some grass, not just snow. Wore less layers. No more bulky gray jacket or gloves. One pair of running tights. No buff. Spring will be here soon!