april 24/5.2 MILES

58 degrees
ford loop (almost)

58 degrees! Not used to running in such warm air. Sunny. Wore my favorite 50ish running clothes: black shorts, black tank top, pink hooded jacket, green baseball cap. No headphones. No running tights. No long-sleeved base layer. Yes! Was able to run by the rim of the gorge in my favorite spot, near the old stone steps. Glanced down at the floodplain forest. A sea of brown. Brown floor. Brown branches, trunks, dead leaves. Felt like a late fall afternoon until I encountered a patch of snow not yet melted. Ran up the Summit Hill on the St. Paul side in preparation for Saturday’s race. This hill is at a weird spot where the path curves sharply around and above a big gulch* (or gully? or what? not sure how to describe it).

Running up it, I glanced down below, happy to see so much of the sloping hills of the gully gulch before the leaves return and block my view. The hill wasn’t too hard but it did tire me out. Not too long after reaching the bottom of the other side, I entered into some serious negotiations with my legs. They wanted to stop right away, my brain didn’t. We finally decided we could all take a walk break when we reached the Ford bridge, which was at 4 miles. So windy on the bridge. Looking upstream, the gritty wind irritated my eyes. About 5 minutes after restarting my run, I encountered an older man–late 60s or 70s?–plugging away on the path. Slower than me but steadier too.

* Asked Scott what he would call that area and he offered ravine which is, according the online thesaurus, a synonym for gully or gulch. Ravine does seem like the better choice here although I do like gully gulch

Walking Delia the dog around the neighborhood after my run, I kept hearing footsteps from behind. Every time I looked back it was a lone leaf, dragging slowly on the sidewalk or the road, moved by the wind. I wanted to make note of this strange sensation of mistaking leaves for footsteps and of my thoughts about how certain sounds haunt but I forgot. Now, hours later, I remembered as I reread this part of a beautiful poem by Lisa Olstein:

I expect you. I thought one night it was you
at the base of the drive, you at the foot of the stairs,

you in a shiver of light, but each time
leaves in wind revealed themselves,

the retreating shadow of a fox, daybreak.