16 Miles in Minneapolis

My arms swing in time to my legs, fists pummeling upwards as I pump. My sweat, sticky and salty, pools in places I don’t care for: my forehead, streaming into my eyes; my crotch, sopping my shorts and offering the swish-swish, slosh-slosh as I move along; my chest, the fabric of my sports bra darkened with the buildup.

I move. Beneath the skywalks of the city, feet trampling overhead as people move from building to building. Sidewalks sweep up against cafes and restaurants, metal chairs and small tables with their patrons sipping coffees, morning mimosas and juices.

The Sculpture Garden almost offers a smile as I glide through it, small tents with information, food and people erecting as I pass. A large spoon sits in the center, a deliciously red cherry balancing atop it.

I move. Through the Keniworth Bike Trail, the Cedar Lake Trail behind me and the Midtown Greenway beckoning me closer to her. The tree branches on either side of me shake their hellos, their leaves knowingly preparing for the reddening of Fall.

The sky offers little refuge from the playful sun. Clouds that I awoke to now disintegrate from the slow sizzle of heat, a blanket of protection slowly slipping off the bed of sky. The ground is spotted with puddles of brown and green, giggling in gurgled reaction to my sidestepping in vain.

I move. Down Excelsior and toward Lake Calhoun, where the celebration of Summer continues to sizzle amidst the city. Towels, although few, sprinkle the beach side. A labrador jumps into the water with crowd-pleasing SPLASH, chasing after a volt green tennis ball. Strollers accompanied by mothers and fathers mosey along the pathway, toddlers straying to the grass as their clumsy feet maneuver the ground. Sailboats sit quietly alongside the lakefront, a gathering of old friends enjoying the summer’s end.

My headphones, now cemented to my salted ears, introduce me to a new song, the music becoming part of the scenery. High notes hit the birds taking flight, the instrumental breaks guiding me around the lake-goers, sidestepping to the melody.

I move. Alongside the Lake of the Isles, snaking around the canoes in their natural habitat. Benches seat couples, warmly embracing, the softness of the water reflecting their affection. Large and impressive houses overlook the water’s edge, manicured lawns displayed as though it were a magazine cover.

The little lakeside neighborhoods—the STOP signs and inlets of driveways, dog walkers and lawn mowers—gently accompanied my final few miles back to the city. My legs growing heavier with each step rejoice upon familiar ground: The Sculpture Garden. Little Loring Park across the way opens up as I fall onto her pathways, cutting across her to reconnect to Hennepin Ave once again.

I move. I move east on Hennepin. 12th street, to 9th street, to 5th St. I turn, parallel to the tracks of the light rail. My body has become a single entity of pain, of fatigue, of movement. No longer do I feel my legs as separate from my arms, my mind as separate from my on-edge stomach. 16 miles in Minneapolis has brought all my parts together.

I stop. In front of my new apartment building, bent over, my body pleased with my efforts, I stop.

I am here to stay. For now.

Thanks for the love. Run with your heart, xo Babs

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