jan 15/RUN

run 1: 2.5 miles
river road, south/north
21 degrees
50% snow-covered

Such a beautiful morning for a run! Not too cold or too windy. A few flurries in the air. I’m planning to go to stadium running tonight with Scott, but I couldn’t resist getting out by the gorge this morning. It’s supposed to be ridiculously cold tomorrow morning and then lots of snow on Friday. I need to enjoy the clear path while I can. Running south today, I was able to admire the oak savanna from above. Don’t remember the trees, just the bare white stretching out. Oh–and the sound of a kid laughing and an empty stroller parked at the top of the trail that leads down into the savanna. Looked down at the river and noticed the variation in color–a pale blue then brown. Realized the blue was a thin layer of ice, the brown open water. Is that right? I’m pretty sure, but I debated it for a minute in my head. I was too far away and moving too fast to be sure. Admired the beautiful curve of the retaining wall above the ravine near the 44th street parking lot. Thought about trying out a bit of the Winchell Trail but wimped out. Too much snow. Heard groups of kids out on the playgrounds of the 2 schools I passed, out for recess.

run 2: 3.25 miles
us bank stadium

Ran at the stadium with Scott. Again, not together, but at the same time and in the same place. Encountered a wonderful human in the elevator on the way upstairs. Long white hair, a ice skating/ roller skating skirt, cool rollerblades, a mustache maybe? Scott said he’s seen them roller blading by the river a lot in green tights. Not sure if I have. They got off the elevator before us, planning to roller blade instead of run. My younger self would have loved to roller blade (or roller skate) there. In 4th grade, way back in 1984, I was the roller skating queen of Salem, VA (at least in my own head). Went to the rink as many Saturdays as I could.

They were playing much better music today–“rock and roll ain’t noise pollution” RUSH, the Police–but I still ran with my headphones. Made sure to look down at the field, which was being prepared for an upcoming monster truck rally, and out the window at downtown. Realized why I hadn’t looked out these windows on Monday. It’s at the narrowest part of the route and I was too busy paying attention to not running into carts or other runners.

Not sure what the floor of the concourse is made of–concrete?–but it’s harder on the legs. The first mile felt awkward as I tried to adjust to the increased pounding my calves were experiencing.

Yesterday, I was skimming through Theodore Roethke’s book on poetry and craft and found these:

To day there’s no time for the
mistakes of a long and slow
development: dazzle or die.

Dazzle or die.

Are there dangers? Of course.
There are dangers every time I
open my mouth, hence at
times when I keep it shut, I try
to teach by grunts, sighs,
shrugs.

jan 13/RUN

3.3 miles
U.S. Bank Stadium

Did another stadium run with Scott. We didn’t run together, but ran at the same time, in the same place. There weren’t too many people there. Mostly groups of runners. What do I remember? At the start, it felt awkward, like my legs weren’t moving quite right. Slowly it got better. There is a beautiful view of downtown Minneapolis from all of the big windows. Pretty sure I didn’t look at it even once. Also didn’t look down at the field while I was running. Didn’t really look at anything. I do remember feeling strange and dreamy, running around an almost empty stadium. And like I was running a bit too fast around mile 2. Following (20ft behind) a woman in gray who was running slightly faster than me. Passing another woman in gray multiple times who was running way slower than me.

This weekend I got some great recommendations from twitter about vision loss, including Eye Trouble by Alice Mattison. She has macular dystrophy, while I have cone dystrophy. I appreciate how she writes concretely about her specific vision quirks and her feelings around them. I’d like to do this too.

Also, randomly on twitter:

A tweet about the relationship between wonder and urgency in socially conscious art. Does it have too much wonder, no urgency, no bite? Does it have too much urgency and no wonder?

And a recommendation for a podcast about noise called Field Noise: “Field Noise is a show about the role of sound in our everyday lives. It’s a show about people who make sounds and people who listen to them. It’s a show about music and noise and silence and the politics of those categories. It’s a show about how disability, gender, race, and class are central to what we think about as “technology.” And it’s a show that is very much still finding its voice.”

I love twitter for recommendations on essays, poems, documentaries. I dislike it for almost everything else–well, I also like the random threads when people share stories about their childhood. 10 years ago, I taught students how to use twitter and wrote/taught about its ethical possibilities. Now, I mostly think it’s broken and confusing. Why is it no longer in real time? Why does responding to a thread seem so difficult? Why is it the word count gone? And, of course, why is Trump not banned yet?

dec 2/RUN

3.25 miles
us bank stadium

Scott and I ran inside the stadium for the first time this season. The Minnesota Distance Running Association no longer manages it so it was a little more expensive and lot more fiddly–purchasing tickets, taking 2 separate elevators. I strongly dislike elevators. Maybe because of the change or the increase in price, there weren’t that many people there. We had a nice run. Not sure how many times I’ll do it this season but it’s always cool to get to run inside the stadium, especially in the evening. Not much I remember about the run except the music: every song sounded like Selena Gomez…excerpt the brief respite when they played Lizzo.

December
David Baker

Instead, there is an hour, a moment,
a slight fading of the light like a loss of power

in the neighborhood. Then it’s dark. You can’t see
the trees any more, the old snow, the dog that barks

from the door of his shed because it’s night now
and time to be fed. Is he huddled now, over his paws?

—And one Canada goose so low in passing
above the barn you still hear the shadow.

This weekend I heard a lot of geese over head. Too high in the sky to hear their shadows passing, but I did hear their honks. Such beautiful, haunting sounds! This season, my favorite. I really like this poem and what it captures. and how it de-privileges vision–hearing the dog bark, the shadow of the goose, feeling (when unable to see) the tree, the old snow.

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.

 

feb 16/2 MILES

ywca track
65 degrees

Ran a quick 2 miles at the track. People I saw at the y:

A woman, about my build, my hair color, my age, wearing an orange tank top similar to one that I wear. Scott almost called out to her, thinking she was me.

A short runner in a bright blue shirt, running much faster than me but only running a lap. Is it wrong that I felt some satisfaction when I passed them, still running, while they were walking?

A couple I’ve seen for years, both at the y and on the Mississippi River Road near the lock and dam by the falls, running and jump roping and pulling sleds or lifting heavy weights. Today one of them was pushing a sled by the wall, while the other was doing some leg exercises, then they both walked around the track carrying huge weights above their heads. One time, last summer, I saw them jump roping! up a steep hill.

An impatient woman in the locker room who became even more impatient waiting for one of two pool lanes–the others were filled with older women in an aquablast class–to open up.

The track wasn’t too crowded. The run wasn’t that memorable. Oh–I thought I packed a pair of socks, but actually only packed one, so I ran without socks. No blisters…yet.

feb 6/3.1 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

Ran inside at the track. More crowded than I expected for 2pm on a Tuesday. I guess you could call what I did a tempo run. A little faster but not too fast. I’m writing this the day after the run, so I don’t remember much. Not too many runners, many more walkers. Saw a walker who seemed to be limping wearing thick black socks. He made it around the track for a few laps before sitting down on a chair. Also passed a woman using a walker. Didn’t recognize anyone else that I’ve seen before. No one pulling a sled or crawling. Did see someone using the long ropes–the ones that you grab in your hands and shake, making them look almost like snakes slithering or a wave rushing away from you. What are those called? Looked them up–battle ropes.

feb 4/1.5 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

Another Sunday run at the track. The guy who runs at a lean was there, running fast and running with his head tilted slightly to the right. Saw an older women–in her 70s? 80s?–running around the track, looking strong even as she was hunched forward. Also saw an older guy–I’d guess he was in the his 70s too–running. Earlier in the day, driving on the river road, saw the Daily Walker and thought about running outside instead of the track, but it was cold and I wanted to go to the hot tub with Scott, so I didn’t.

jan 30/1.8 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track
+ 1250 yard swim

Swam in the pool before running. Felt pretty good. I like swimming outside in the lake much better. The air is nicer and the swim is more interesting. Plus, less flip turns and less opportunity to stop. Once you start swimming across the lake, you have to keep going. Even so, this swim was fine. Ran almost 2 miles on the track after the swim. That felt good too. I’m definitely running faster than last year, but I wasn’t paying attention to my pace. Found myself trying to keep an even distance behind a runner ahead of me who was going at a fast (for me) pace. His right arm moved back and forth awkwardly with each step and his whole head leaned slightly to the right. Does he know this happens? I wonder how I look to others as I run? Scott told me I look a bit stiff–almost like a machine. Do either of my legs swing out awkwardly? Are my feet in line? My head straight? Someday, I’ll have to get some video of myself running.

jan 28/1.5 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track
+ 500 yard swim

A short run and a shorter swim. Saw several cute kids running–or was it trotting?–with an adult. And a young boy–maybe 12?–running with his dad. An older man–guessing he was around 70–running slowly and steadily and for at least an hour. He had on a marathon shirt and you could tell he was a serious long distance runner. I’d love to be running like that when I’m 70. Saw a 30-something guy who would walk a lap and then sprint two-thirds of a lap. I think I saw him at the track last week too. Wonder if he ever runs straight without stopping. Soccer games were going on below the elevated track, but I didn’t really pay attention to them. My watch seemed off–7 laps to make a mile, not the usual 6. Since the indoor distance is based on number of steps, I must have longer strides at the track and more foot strikes outside.

jan 26/1.25 MILES

55 degrees
the dome in austin, mn

Was planning to run outside on the sidewalk but it was too wet and sloppy. So Scott and I went to the Dome–which is the Austin High School football field covered with a bubble–and ran a mile. Started out rocky with walkers walking in the opposite direction and getting in our way, but we worked it out.

jan 21/5.75 MILES

36 degrees
25% snow-covered
the franklin loop

Wet air. Icy paths. Not a bad run. Very calm. A little tougher than the last run outside. My left hamstring hurt a little 4 miles in, so I stopped to walk for 30 seconds or so. Started running again right as I encountered the daily walker. Actually did 5.25 outside and then, because Scott wanted to run at the y in the afternoon, I tagged a long and did another 1/2 mile there. I’m writing this hours after my run so I’m probably forgetting a lot of what happened. One thing I do remember: running across the Franklin bridge and noticing the tree line along the river. Not sure how, but it was glowing. The sun was illuminating it from somewhere. One other image: at the y, a woman was stretching in the corner of the track right next to the window. She was extremely flexible. At one point, she looked like an alien or a spider as she did a strange squat with her legs open and her knees in line with her torso. After that she went down into the splits and stayed in that position for a few minutes.

jan 16/4 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

Went to the track again today because it was cold and because I wanted to try out a speed workout. My first ever, I think. Here’s what I did:

1 mile, easy run
1 mile, 7:55 pace
easy walk, 4 minutes
2 x 1/2 mile, 7:50 pace
easy walk, 2 minutes after each one
2 x 1/4 mile, 7:45 pace
easy walk, 30 seconds after each one
1/2 mile, easy run

It went well and was much more interesting than just running 24 laps around the track. I think I’ll mix it in once every couple of weeks. Too many speed workouts can be bad for training and writing/thinking–I didn’t really think about anything else but my pace and how many laps I still needed to run.

What did it feel like to run faster?

lighter, freer, bouncier, more breeze, less breath, hotter face, less distractions, more focus, more fixation on time pace effort, less awareness of others except for when I wondered what they thought about me running by them so fast or at least so much faster than them

Listened to my playlist and had a strange combination of effort + song: during one of my sprints, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” came on. I added this to a playlist for longer runs and didn’t realize it was on the one I was listening to. Maybe I should put together a speed playlist?

jan 14/2.5 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

Not much to write about this run. Felt fine. Runs at the track tend to be more boring and less inspiring. Listened to my running playlist and tried to run a little faster. How to summarize the run?

lune

slick snow cold
outside inside warm
dry boring

acrostic

Trying to
Remember what lap I’m on is
Always a struggle–why is
Counting so hard? Why can’t I ever
Keep track?

Tanka

Running in circles
around the track—-more effort
than inspiration
never quite getting anywhere
but back to where you just were.

jan 4/3 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

Scott was going to the y this morning so I decided to join him. We didn’t run together, just at the same time. It’s nice to run inside occasionally. Not crowded and much warmer than outside–almost 70 degrees warmer. Really can’t remember what I thought about while I was running. Oh–at one point I noticed the sun rising up and coming through the windows. A peachy, orangy, yellowy glow. Someone was pulling a sled off in the corner. At least two other people were crawling using their fingers and toes. None of this looked fun. A class was running on the other track below me. Listened to a song my Justin Bieber and was bothered because he sang “serious” when he should have sang “seriously.” Wondered if he knew and maybe just didn’t care because he wanted to rhyme it with delirious.

dec 30/2 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

-14, feels like -35 outside? No thanks. Even I have my winter running limits. Went to the YWCA track instead—my third track this week—and achieved my goal for the year: 950 miles. Originally the goal was the marathon. Then, when I was injured it became 1000 miles. But because I couldn’t run for 2 months, that goal was too ambitious. So I settled for 950 miles. Still a big accomplishment and probably more than I’ve run in a year before. And really it was 950 miles in 10 months.

Even as I love winter running, I’m getting excited about summer swimming. Found out yesterday that there will (finally) be an open swim race at Lake Nokomis this summer! So awesome. I’m hoping to write more about swimming in the lake this summer.

28 dec/4 MILES

60 degrees
us bank stadium

Scott and I ran inside at the US Bank Stadium for the third time this season. It’s closed for all of January to get ready for the superbowl so I’m glad we were able to go one more time. A nice run. We managed to sprint at the end. Much better than running outside in the cold snowy dark. On our drive back, near the Bohemian Flats, saw the Crows. Hundreds (thousands?) of them–a cawing congregation. A few of them flew off the trees just above my head almost looking like leaves falling. The sky was a strange mix of light brown and purple.

dec 26/1 MILE

45? degrees
the dome
austin, mn

7 below, feels like 25 below outside. Wind. Bright sun. Icy streets. No running outside today. Decided to try out the new dome at the old Austin High track. Scott thought the dome would be covering the old track (it didn’t) and heated (it wasn’t). Instead, it was cold and cramped and only covered the field. We managed to run for a mile on the astroturf, sharing it was more walkers (about 10) than runners (2 others). Lots of tight corners. Not ideal running conditions but better than running outside or not at all.

dec 20/3.8 MILES

65 degrees
US Bank Stadium

Ran at the stadium again with Scott. Felt pretty good for most of it, but sore at the end. Scott ran another lap while I stopped to walk.

Working on a poetry chapbook about my running and inspired by the phrase I encountered in a poem–“who must change your life.” One poem is about fall and how exciting it is–crackling with energy. alive. electric. Wondering if I should try and focus on words that seem electric and that crackle. Hard Cs. Short vowels. Sharp crisp endings. Words like:

brisk
electric
bold
brusque
dark
bright
spark
sharp
prick
crisp
frantic
quick

dec 17/3 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

My first time running at the track since last spring. Listened to my little iPod with an old running playlist and tried to stay relaxed. Running inside is not nearly as meaningful as running outside, but it’s fine. Better than not running at all. Not too many people–more walkers than runners. And after the run–the hot tub!

dec 6/2 MILES

60 degrees
us bank stadium

Scott and I ran inside at the Vikings Stadium this evening. In the winter, the Minnesota Distance Running Association sponsors indoor runs. Pretty cool.  We were planning to run 4 miles but neither of us were really feeling it. Side aches + groin aches + knee aches = only 1/2 the distance planned. This was my first indoor run since mid April. It was cool to run around the new stadium but I definitely prefer running outside by the gorge.

april 26/3 MILES

80 degrees
ywca track

Most likely the last indoor run until next October, which is fine with me. I don’t really enjoy running inside. It’s dry, often crowded and repetitive. Before running at the track, I said goodbye to both of my kids who were leaving on school trips: the 11 year-old went 90 miles north for two days, the 14 year old went across the Atlantic to Budapest, Vienna and Prague for 10 days. It’s exciting, strange and a little scary. I also spent time crafting a poem in terza rima form (3 line stanzas with an aba, bcb, cdc, ded, etc rhyming scheme) about the single most important running advice I’ve tried to take, and have to repeatedly remind myself about: slow down!

Running Advice

Here’s a trick: at first, run slow.
Don’t start with too much speed.
Try to find a rhythm, a flow.

Let your shadow take the lead.
You should really stay behind
because that is what you need.

If you ignore this advice, you may find
that your pulse will become elevated.
This can put you in a terrible bind.

Too much lactic acid is created.
Muscles ache and you’re exhausted.
Hitting the wall, all energy has faded.

At this point, you’ve lost it.
You feel very sick.
But, you know what’s caused it.

You took it out too quick,
and forgot what I suggested:
go slow, that’s the trick!

Even if you’re invested
in training for a PB,*
this method has been tested.

Running slower, experts agree,
is good for preventing pain
and avoiding injury.

Running creates a strain
on various parts of the body,
like your joints, the experts explain,

and the tendons surrounding your knee.
So much pressure with every stride!
But slowing down could be,

when properly applied,
a way to reduce some of these tensions.
How slow? Here’s a guide

to a theory that gets lots of mentions:
Take your 5K per mile pace
and add at least 90 seconds.

So since you run 8 minute miles in a race,
your training runs should be in the range
of 9:30, or even 10, in case

you decide that you want to change
your pace and make it even slower.
The slower, the better! Sounds strange,

but it might make your finish time lower.
That is if your running form stays efficient and neat
and you mix in a few tempo runs or

intervals or maybe some mile repeats.
But only once in a while.
Speed work is something you treat

as a small portion of your weekly miles.
Slow, easy runs should be the biggest part
of what makes up your training percentiles.

Take this advice that I impart:
Sara, remember to go slow!
Or don’t. But you’ll be finished before you start.

*PB = personal best/your fastest time recorded.

Note: I have added an edited version of this poem to the my running stories section.

april 15/2.5 MILES

80 degrees
ywca track

The rain and threat of thunderstorms forced Scott and I to go to the y track. It was hot and steamy and crowded. Even so, for the first twenty minutes it was great. I ran slow and did not care if other runners passed me. I wasn’t even bothered when Scott passed me.  I kept my heart rate down and felt relaxed. Then a class descended on the track and took over. They started with a burst of speed and then slowed way down, first to a jog and then to a walk. Dodging them required speeding up and weaving. My pulse rate soared and I decided to stop. Partly because I was going faster than I wanted, but mostly because I was annoyed that the spell of my happy, relaxed run had been broken. I was not annoyed with the class; they seemed new to running and a bit overwhelmed. I think I heard one class member call out to the other in fear and disbelief when her instructor told them to run a mile: “Is he fucking kidding me?”

Hover over the entry to uncover the erasure poem.

march 10/3 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

Wouldn’t have minded running outside in the 10 degree weather, but it worked out better for my schedule to run at the y. I need to stop running there. I run faster than I want (or should) and my knees or feet or some other part of my body always hurts more after running 20 times around a track than running outside.

march 7/4 MILES

65 degrees
ywca track

I’ve been trying to run in windier conditions but today’s 25 mph wind was too much. Decided to run at the Y track with Scott before lunch. Experimented with tempo, running fast and slow. I can tell my legs are getting stronger; the run felt good.

Early on in the run, a group of preschoolers were on the track. Tethered together with a rope, they walked the perimeter of the track. They were led by two caregivers and (mostly) stayed out of the way as I ran by. Sometimes when I run around the track in the evening, I encounter little kids who want to race me. A small part of me wishes I appreciated this and that I could enjoy running beside them, but I don’t. I find it irritating and try to avoid it. Most of me is okay with my grumpy attitude.

After the run, went to library and picked up four more books that I requested for this run! project:

So far, I’ve read a wide range of things about running.

what I’ve been reading, a list

  • personal narratives about why runners run
  • race reports
  • training tips
  • academic essays on running and philosophy/feminism/rhetoric
  • dissertations on running and identity/feminism/narrative
  • interviews about running habits
  • memoirs about learning to love running
  • popular books about running as sacred
  • anthologies of running stories
  • tweets and news reports about elite athletes
  • fictional accounts of runners
  • stories about pacing and/or coaching other runners
  • accounts of suffering injuries; accounts of recovering from injuries
  • essays about running and grieving.

These readings have come in many forms.

  • books, almost all of which were checked out from my public library
  • blog posts on online journals, running sites, individual runners’ sites
  • tweets
  • newspaper and magazine articles
  • online short stories in literary journals
  • academic articles
  • dissertation chapters

I’m trying to develop a reading/researching plan for myself, in the form of a syllabus. It includes weekly reading lists, assignments and running challenges. Not sure how well it’s working because I keep changing it up. I’m all over the place with my reading, but that’s what makes it fun and undisciplined.

feb 25/5 MILES

34 degrees
mississippi river road walking path

A nice, fast (er/ish) run of 4 miles. Felt good as a way to get rid of some frustration caused by my 10, almost 11, year old daughter.

65 degrees?
ywca track

Ran the last mile at the Y track so that I could join Scott in the hot tub after he finished his run. Lately, I’m not enjoying running on the track. It seems to aggravate my right knee and it’s not nearly as fun as running outside. Even so, today I did enjoy watching the 6 (or was it just 4? Neither Scott or I could remember) simultaneous boys basketball games happening below the track, in the Minnesota Sports Center, while I ran my last mile.

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