jan 24/WALKRUN

walk: 20 minutes
neighborhood with Delia the dog

Went out for a brief walk through the neighborhood and listened to the birds. I love the sounds of birds, especially in the winter. Lots of chattering, making it feel warmer than it was. Then I heard the rapid knocking of the woodpecker. It echoed down the block. Passing under a tree, I heard a strange sound. Was it a bird, or a squirrel? I’m not sure. Did I see any of the birds that I heard? I don’t think so.

3 miles
ywca track

Ran at the track in the afternoon with Scott. We didn’t run together, but at the same time. I intended to listen to music, but I forgot the extra dongle I need for my headphones. Oh well, running without music was fine. In fact, I liked it. Hearing my feet striking the track, the basketball shoes down below squeaking on the gym floor, the battle ropes forcefully striking the ground. Did I think about anything? I can’t remember much. I do recall thinking about my form — keeping my shoulders relaxed — and noticing the time every few laps. Can i think of 10 other things?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a man boxing in the corner — I could hear him hit the punching back, see it swinging back and forth
  2. when I first got there a tall man in a blue shirt was running. Later, he stopped running and was walking
  3. a man in dark sweatpants and a tan shirt, or was it a dark shirt and tan sweatpants?, was running and working hard. As I passed him, I could hear his jagged breathing
  4. a blur below — a guy sprinting on the track
  5. a woman in black, walking and veering into the middle
  6. 2 different sets of walkers, talking and slowly traveling around the track
  7. someone on a spin bike in corner
  8. a man sitting on a bench by the door –were they watching me as I ran by?
  9. a runner in a white t-shirt and black running tights, looking relaxed
  10. near the end of the run, someone was pushing the heavy sled in the corner

While drinking my coffee this morning, I found this video abut Ice Swimming. I’m not interested in trying it out, although I wouldn’t mind swimming in an outdoor pool in the winter.

note: I’m adding this poem in a few days later because it fits with the video.

Cold Shock Response/Anna Swanson


Note: All words (with the exception of title) transcribed from garbage found in the Cape Broyle swimming hole, NL.


Gasp.
Cautionless
mouthfuls. No skill or aim,

only appetite in gloves of slush.
Gasp, we grab at the air

before asking, Is there air?
Alight with cold, classroom 

potassium dropped in water. 
Blood, punching. Our old code

calling. We gasp, cold bells
that cannot stop ringing.

Love that line about being cold bells that can’t stop ringing! A few months ago, I put together a page on my “How to Be” project over at Undisciplined. It was “How to be…a bell.” I included several poems and songs and passages about bells. Unfortunately that page was erased and I haven’t tried to recreate it. If I do, I’ll add this poem to it.

jan 17/RUN

2.2 miles
ywca track

Went to the y in the early evening, before community band rehearsal. Too crowded to swim, so I ran. Not as nice as running outside, but better than the treadmill. Listened to a playlist and forgot to count laps or notice the time. The track was crowded but not too crowded and not filled with oblivious people spread across the three lanes.

People I Encountered

  1. a woman who walked in the closest lane to the railing but often drifted over
  2. a guy, dressed in black shorts, a black shirt, and black running shoes, sprinting around the track then stopping to do battle ropes
  3. a tall guy with a blue shirt with the words “event staff” printed on it, watching over 2 young boys, shirtless, shoeless, and in sweat pants. Sometimes he held one of their hands as they carefully ran around the track. Sometimes he lifted them up at the far end so they could do pull-ups. As I left the track, I heard him say to one of the kids: you just ran a mile!
  4. 2 runners — a woman and a 10? year-old boy. Moving effortlessly around the track, their feet rhythmically rising and falling
  5. a guy in brown — not tan, but not dark either — shorts, running in a way that resembled speed walking
  6. an older woman in a white sweatshirt and dark pants, walking
  7. basketball practice below, in the gym — loud, exuberant players running up and down the court
  8. a man off in the corner doing burpees — his long torso and tall arms stretched high as he jumped up at the end of each one
  9. 2 men walking — the younger one looking out for the older one, making sure he didn’t veer out in front of any runner passing by
  10. a guy in a white shirt stretching before his run, doing leg swings

Other things I remember:

There was a white bucket for collecting drips set up in the middle lane on one side of the track. Scott peered into it and noticed that the bucket was dry. Why, he wondered, was it there?

Running the short end at the top, near the double doors, I saw a double shadow — 2 of me. At first I thought someone was about to pass me, but I was alone. Must have passed in front of the light just right. Strange and cool.

It was very dry on the track. My throat burned after a few laps.

As I turned the corners, I unintentionally tilted my head to the side. Corners are irritating.

At the far end, near where the man was doing the burpees and the kids were doing pull-ups, a banner was spread above the railing, blocking my view of the corner as I neared it. I imagined running straight into a group of walkers who might be hiding there

Did I think about anything? Did I look outside at the lights? I don’t think so.

After the run, Scott and I changed and met at the hot tub. The Otters swim team was having a practice. RJP’s and FWA’s old coach was still there, joking with the kids and calling out sets.

later: That night, I had a dream that I was swimming in a pool — the Y pool? Not sure — and a swim team coach — was it Whitney, FWA/RJP’s old coach? — said, Congratulations! You’ve made the team in the 100 free!


dec 26/RUNSWIM

run: 2.5 miles
ywca track

Went to the Y with Scott and RJP this morning, so I ran there. First time running on the track in 4 or 5 years. Wasn’t too bad — not that crowded. Very quiet. I forgot to count laps so my distance is approximate — my watch never seems to be accurate indoors. Listened to “swim meet motivation” playlist and observed people as I passed them.

10 People I Noticed on the track

  1. a man, sometimes running (slowly), sometimes walking, wearing black gloves — not boxing gloves but also not winter gloves
  2. another guy, pulling a sled at the far corner
  3. a woman running, the key to her locker jangling in her pocket with every step
  4. an older white woman with white hair — was she wearing a pink sweatshirt, or was it blue? I can’t remember now. She walked pretty fast on the track, but was slow on the stairs when I was behind her earlier
  5. RJP, walking — I waved at her every time I passed by. Was it annoying?
  6. someone using rattle ropes, off to the side, furiously lifting them up and down
  7. a woman on an eliptical machine in front of one of the windows
  8. an older white guy with white hair in jeans and a maroon shirt walking around the track
  9. Scott, running
  10. another older white man wearing gray shorts, walking

I don’t remember thinking about much, or noticing anything that interesting, or overhearing some strange conversation.

swim: .25 miles
ywca pool

Only needed a quarter of mile to reach my year goal of 120 miles. Not a very ambitious goal for an entire year of swimming; this goal was mostly for the open swim season. I’m thinking this year, since I’m swimming in the pool, I need to make it a lot bigger. 200 or 300? Not sure. Split a lane with RJP. Crowded today because of the break. All I remember was swimming next to a bunch of swim team kids, feeling sluggish in my first lap underwater, and noticing how the water was clearer than it had been last week.

Found this hybrid journal online. A call for submissions from jan 1-2. I want to submit something — either a mood ring or a colorblind plate, but which? One note: some of the site is almost unreadable for my bad vision. Not nearly enough contrast! Thankfully the journal pdf is easier to read.

I love lists, so I was excited to see this poem in the first issue:

List of Things to Make a List of/ Beth Mulcahy

Make a list of
things that sound like thunder but are not conversations to have
hard conversations to have
what makes conversations hard what makes conversations easy
things to do to get through a hard day
songs that helps with getting through a hard day
people to tell about it what to tell them
people not to tell
ways to prevent it
how to describe it
how to tell people the truth when to tell people the truth things you have said
things you should not have said things you should have said things you should say
to someone specific to anyone
to no one
how to let go of retroactive anxieties
things you used to care about that you don’t anymore things you wish you cared more about
things that used to be different
examples of passive aggressive statements examples of things that are too direct (harsh)
ways of beating around the bush
ways of cutting to the chase
how to calm yourself down
apologies you owe
things you can’t forgive
things you can’t forget
things you should forget
things that are your fault
things that are not your fault
the hardest things you’ve had to do
how to make things easier
for self
for others things you can explain
things that you cannot explain things you can’t describe things to write through
things that are private
people who love you
people who love you and also like you
things you have to offer
things to say to people you love things to say about the weather people you talk to every single day people you don’t know anymore people you loved who are dead ways to let things go
how to keep from having to let go ways to pay attention
things to pay attention to
things to ignore
places to fly away to
ways to be where you are

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.