jan 31/3.75 MILES

26 degrees
99% snow-covered
mississippi river road path, north/south

Woke up in this morning, opened the door and was completely shocked to see a fresh dusting of snow. About an inch. I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, but I was. This dusting is the annoying kind, hiding the icy patches that have lingered on the sidewalk after the big warm-up/melt last week. Yuck. It was a bit treacherous walking to the river, but once I started running on the path it was fine. I had a good run. Listened to my playlist and enjoyed the warmth of the sun. I continue to run negative splits without trying.

For my poetry class this week, I had to write a haiku/haikus. I decided to create some about the condition on the running path:

An ice-covered path
is slick but not slippery
when you run, not walk.

Dry snow on a path
makes a satisfying snap
under running feet.

The wet snow muffles
my striking feet as I run
above the river.

An inch of powder
conceals ice chunks and slick spots.
I run cautiously.

Ice doesn’t sparkle.
It taunts and teases and hides
under the new snow.

Warmer air. Melting
snow. Paths with puddles soak socks
before refreezing.

Sunny. A clear path
and a clear mind allow me
to have a great run.

Running through wet snow
is like running on warm sand
except much colder.

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 29/4 MILES

10 degrees/feels like 2
mississippi river road path, north/south

Cold again. Didn’t bother me. Actually, it didn’t seem too cold. Maybe it was the number of layers I was wearing. Or maybe it was the fact that I’m used to running in the cold. Ran without headphones and heard some birds chirping. The path was almost completely clear and dry and hard. Did it feel harder because it was colder? Couldn’t hear my own feet on the path but did notice a lot of crunching under the feet of a woman running south as I was running north. Started with sunglasses but took them off when they started to fog up. Too hard to see any hidden ice patches or chunks of hard, icy snow. Almost twisted my foot on one of them, early in the run.

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 27/5 MILES

33 degrees
franklin hill turn around

A good run. I went faster than I usually do and ran the whole thing without stopping–even the Franklin hill. Encountered a lot of puddles, wet spots, slick spots, messy spots. My socks and shoes didn’t get soaked but they did get wet. A few times I ended up running straight through some deep puddles. Yuck! I do not like when it gets warm in winter and the snow melts onto the sidewalk, making it wet during the day and icy at night. But, it didn’t bother me too much. Still had a great run, listening to my headphones and getting pumped up by Beck’s “I’m so Free.”

words to describe a path that is mostly clear but still slightly covered with puddles and patches of ice and an occasional chunk of snow:

soppy gloppy goopy slick icy thawing melting defrosting loose/loosening/looser softening messy soaked saturated soggy slushy slippery

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 24/4 MILES

23 degrees
85-90% snow-covered
mississippi river road path north/south

A little colder today. The path was slicker and, in some places, thicker. The snow was heavy and hard to trudge through. Both yesterday and today, my left thigh got tight around the third mile and I stopped to walk for about a minute to loosen it up. I’m hoping it’s not a problem but just a reminder that I’m running on a loose, slippery path that forces my legs to work harder. Not too much wind or sun. I listened to my playlist–mostly because I added Beck’s song, “I’m So Free” from his new album. So good. Too bad it was the first song that came up on my shuffle–while I was still walking and warming up. I’d like to listen to it in the middle of a run.

jan 23/4 MILES

25 degrees
85% snow-covered
mississippi river road path north/south

I love Minneapolis Parks and Rec. Last night we got 12.4 inches of snow and when I went out running this afternoon, the path was already clear. In some parts I could even see bare pavement. Impressive. Such a beautiful day for a run! Blue sky. Not too much wind. Warmer temperature but not warm enough to be sloppy.

About an hour before I went running, my daughter and I took Delia the dog for a walk and we saw people cross country skiing in the street. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.

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 19/4.6 MILES

33 degrees
75% snow-covered
franklin hill turn around

Yesterday’s warm temperatures melted some of the snow and ice which turned back into super slick and slippery ice this morning. It looked scary but it wasn’t that bad. I had a decent run. I managed to run down and up the Franklin hill without stopping. The gorge was beautiful. So open and light and still. Yesterday I took Delia the dog down on the Winchell trail below the path. The sun was barely above the path making the walkers and runners on it glow. Speaking of the sun, this morning as I got up off the couch after drinking my coffee to wake my daughter I opened the curtains and was greeted by one of the most beautiful sunrises that I’ve seen in years. Neon orange and pink. Within 10 minutes it was gone and I wondered how many other sunrises I had missed without even knowing it. This illuminating moment came only minutes after I wrote a few words about the difficulty of getting older and finding it harder to wake up:

early morning sitting
on the couch waiting
to wake up
I hear noises
the staticky hum of my son’s computer
the roar of a distant plane
the traffic a mile away
the resigned sigh of my dog sleeping
next to me but wanting
to be chased
through the downstairs
the heat kicks in
a car drives by
I sip my coffee
and lose my words
and my will
to move
and I wonder—
is this what it means to grow old?
to wake up every morning and really have to work at
wanting to do anything but go back to sleep or
sit and stare blankly at the wall as the light
slowly gradually almost imperceptibly
enters the room?

When I saw the sunrise, I realized that I would never have appreciated its beauty when I was younger. So maybe appreciating a sunrise is also what it means to get older, which sounds cliché, but this morning it was true for me and it mattered to make note of it.