past years

  1. 2017
  2. 2018
  3. 2019
  4. 2020
  5. 2021
  6. 2022
  7. 2023

Year One – 2017

Here is the original about page for this project:

About this Project

On October 1 2017, I will be running the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. My first marathon. I’ve been running since June of 2011 and finally feel ready to take on the distance. As part of a celebration and sustained focus on running, and to help keep me inspired and motivated over the long months of training, I’ve decided to embark on a new story project about running.

Inspired by Poverty Creek Journal, which I just finished reading, this story project is structured around a daily log of my training. As I briefly record some details of my run, I hope to add in reflections on running, reading, writing, thinking, feeling, engaging, surviving (post-2016) and being/becoming.

Update: 2 September 2017

On August 4th, my kneecap slipped out of place and then slipped back in again. It has caused a lot of problems: a swollen knee, a quad that won’t fire, a leg that won’t straighten, or lift when straight, a body/spirit that can’t run for at least a month and, most likely, the end of a marathon dream. This final verdict on the marathon will come early next week, but I’ve already (mostly) accepted that it’s over. 

Not running in the marathon is deeply disappointing, but not the end of this project, which was never really just about training for a marathon but about fully engaging, paying attention, discovering how to train, developing new relationships with my body and learning how to write and how to live, joyfully and with less reticence. I will continue to do all of these things and, when healed, to run.

What are my goals (so far) for this project? (jan)

  • To document the process of training for my first marathon for myself and for my kids, who might want to learn more about who I am/what I do and think at some point in their lives
  • To learn and write about running: on the joy of running, on writers who run and runners who write
  • To experiment with new ways to craft and share stories that are honest and that help me to more authentically express who I am and what I believe in
  • To push at the rigid split between Sara-the-thinker (mind) and Sara-the-runner (body)
  • To envision training outside of the limited model of discipline
  • To deconstruct (critically analyze/play with/transform) the narrative form of “my running story”
  • To stay healthy and injury-free and to care for my knees
  • To experiment with even more ways to tell my stories online…and to learn the skills (and the code) I need to build those projects myself
  • To work with others, especially my husband Scott, to gather more images/footage of my running and to use those in my stories
  • To give particular attention to how Best’s disease* affects my running/experiences out in the world

*Originally I was diagnosed with Best’s Disease, a form of macular dystrophy. Two years later, this diagnosed was changed to cone dystrophy, a very similar disease.

Year Two – 2018

3 Chapbooks: All three of these short poetry collections were inspired by log entries from 2018.

Year Three – 2019

Miles Run: 900.65

Poetry Project: National Park Brochure

This year, I decided to revisit all of my log entries and poems and create log summaries and a collection of my favorite poetry lines. 

Log Summaries

Favorite Lines from Gathered Poems

Year Four – 2020

Miles run: 1003!

Poetry Project: MOOD RINGS

Poems I Like

A Poem for Each Month

For my January and February poems, I read through the log entries from 2017-2020 for the chosen month, picked out some details I wanted to spend more time with, and had fun experimenting with how to shape them into a poem. In March, the pandemic hit and I felt less inspired to use a certain method. The goal now: creating poems that help me endure this difficult, scary time. The only rules: the poem is, in some way, about the month, was written during that month, and uses alliteration in the title.

Summer Experiments

This summer I’m memorizing poems grouped by themes. I spend a few days on each poem, reflecting on it individually and in relation to the larger theme. 

Year Five – 2021

Miles Run: 850.5
Miles Swum: 119.5

In 2020, I ran 1000 miles. This year, I decided to give myself a mildly ambitious, but doable, goal of 100 miles of swimming during open swim season, which is 10 weeks, from mid-June to the end of August. Technically, I added 2 extra weeks, but I also did more than 100. My average was just under 10 miles per week. I like accomplishing goals like this swimming one; they motivate me and help me to do more than I thought I could, but there’s very little at stake and no prize or award at the end other than a sense of accomplishment, a stronger body, and tons of material for my writing projects. 

Favorite Poets in 2021

  • Lorine Niedecker
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Mary Oliver
  • Maggie Smith
  • Arthur Sze

Writing Projects

Breathing Rhythms

Individual Poems

  1. How to Sink
  2. How to Float, Featured on Silver Birch Press for their HOW TO Series

Monthly Challenge

Year Six – 2022

2022 Log Entries
Poems Gathered in 2022
10 Things I Noticed, 2022
Quotes/Terms, 2022

Miles Run: 1010.6
Loops Swum: 122

Monthly Challenges

How I’m Using this Log

Year Seven – 2023

Miles Run: 912.9
Miles Swum: 131.5

Monthly Challenges

How I’m Using this Blog/My Practice