Monday, September 20, 2010


Minnesota Monday: Running in leaves

Minneapolis is a little bit sports-crazy. It is a small market with all four major pro leagues represented, and all four have fervent fans (though not as "fervent" as the Baylor fans who seem ready to slit their own throats because Baylor got creamed by a great TCU team on Saturday-- I'm not sure what they were expecting).

It's not spectator sports I have noticed, though, since I haven't been to any. Rather, this seems to be the most fit community I have ever seen. I live not far from a beautiful natural lake, Lake Harriet. It is circled by parks and trees and paths, and is constantly surrounded by people walking, running, biking, or (in the winter) skiing. I often will find myself in line for coffee or something behind someone fresh off the trail, and they all seem so... well, happy.

The thing that is hard about that is that I cannot do any of those things. I long to be on a bike, or running, or even out on a long walk, but I broke my ankle as soon as I got here, so all I can do is look forward to that day when I can join their ranks.

The trees are beginning to turn here. When I was seventeen, on Saturday of the fourth week of September, I was wearing a gold jersey and green shorts. Running is a quiet sport, and I mostly heard the sound of my own breath as I created some distance between me and a guy from Clintondale as we followed the white chalk line and turned through a tunnel of trees. We would get frost that week, which is early, and the trees seemed to know this. Soon, along with my own breathing, there was this singsong sound of the leaves under my feet, not so much of a crunch as a sigh. It was a rhythm, almost like breathing, matching my own, music. I still remember that.

When I am in line at the coffee shop in my cast, I see the people in running clothes and long for it again. We are who we are, wherever we find ourselves, and those longings live very deep inside of us, calling out our truest name.

I feel you pain--literally and figuratively. Ever since I tore the PCL and medial meniscus in my right knee last May, I have been unable to enjoy the same active lifestyle as I did before.

Our paths diverge, I suppose, when you consider that running in Texas is never so pleasant as you have described it in Minneapolis...and rarely would you find someone grabbing a bite to eat at the coffee shop after a run (due to the profuse sweating brought on by intense heat and humidity).
I see cross country skis and curling in your future.
I only discovered running at age 41 and really learned to love it. I ran in two marathons and several 10 milers, 10ks, 5ks, etc.

But my turf toe has gotten so bad that I fear my running days may be over. I have trouble walking for days even after running a mere 4 miles.

When you lost that toe to frostbite, you should have had it replaced with something other than turf.

Also... thanks to DiaDelKendall for the shout out.
Gosh I thought that post was going one way and then it went in a totally different direction.
Perhaps the men in this photo should reunite and see who is able to run up Vernier Hill.

Were you one of the fabled "Timettes"?
I've never understood how Baylor football could inspire that kind of loyalty. I mean, if they wanted to have a good football team, those students could have just gone to UT, saved a boatload of cash, and been hippies instead.

OK, now that I'm done digging at RRL (don't feel bad; Texas looked pretty lackluster against Tech, of all people), I would run too if I weren't in danger of being swept away by hurricanes every time I venture outside my fortress/home. As it stands, however, I have a treadmill machine in my second bedroom that I enjoy running on. Problem is, so do my cats, who think the treadmill game is great fun when they trip me. If I didn't know better, I would think they are trying to murder me.
Wow,great picture!! Brings back many memories. I'm still running (although slower since the pursuit of a PhD and cancer has gotten in my way).

I was not one of the fabled 'Timettes'. I spent my time in the swimming pool. My friends were all Timettes. They got the guys; while I got to stare at a black line on the bottom of the pool.
Careful, there. Your next career may be as a poet.
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