Posts Tagged ‘Photos’

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My friends, I am obsessing with the thistle in this damn picture (a trail at my office I try to spend my lunch on running once a week). I wanted to post a few close-up shots I took of it, except…I already did. A few posts ago – down there vvv.  In fact, the picture I am specifically obsessing about is that one. I have no idea why other than that there has been some type of monsoon hitting Southern Ohio and the gray and rain just. WILL. NOT. STOP.

This picture is not gray and rain. If I reach for it, I can smell the perfect weather air around this thistle. It smells like warm with that slightly dusty feeling. I run past the foreground at the top of this section of trail before turning a corner to go over the bridge you see. At far left, that hill is a steep set of stairs which lead up to an overlook before heading back into the buildings of our office complex. All in all, this section is probably just over a tenth of a mile, but it marks the usual halfway point of my lunch run. I always stop at the overlook. I like to breathe there and look for deer and birds down in that pool of tall grass. Remind myself for a moment that I am more than spreadsheets and cubicles. Then I turn around, head back down the stairs and return whence I came – back past the thistle and through the woods on campus back towards the building where waits my cubicle and spreadsheets.

It is early, on a Tuesday and I am with my coffee. I have a new coffeemaker – it has a “bold” button. A BOLD button. There is now a button with BOLD on it in my life. That I can push. And be made BOLD by dark beverage.

I am sore. And I woke up STARVING! which is annoying. I do not like waking up to my stomach complaining.

After an entire week of too much excellent food and missing workouts for work, my body was begging for movement. So yesterday lunch came with a treadmill and no thistle, because rain & gray. (Did I mention it just won’t stop raining?) A 30-min progressive run following by 10 more minutes of bringing it back down gradually on pace.  Then I hit up a Slow Flow yoga class after work. I needed that bad! But slow is a speed, not a skill level – so it was a good workout too. Today = sore, and probably a pool day this afternoon. I need to get back in the water too.

Germantown Gem 13.1 is in less than 2 weeks and I need to get my ass moving if I’m going to feel even remotely ready for that. Eric & I joined ORRRC for 2016 – which is RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP for membership. So add those to the races I’ll be doing regularly.

It’s also time to start training for Run the Bluegrass 13.1. I’m pretty excited to be run-ambassadoring for that again for 2016 and leading the yoga classes at the hotel the next morning. Every time I think Eric & Rachel can’t possibly come up with anything new to add to race weekend, they add more. This year, a big addition is Running Nannies – people who watch your children while you go run. How awesome is that?!

The Topo Winter Series has already passed race #2. Race #1 was back at East Fork. After some rain earlier in the week, it was muddy but WARM.

Friends, some day I will run East Fork when it is not a muddy mess.

Can you even believe running a trail race in Ohio in December in short sleeves?! 60-degrees! I’m proud of how I did on it. Eric took Fred’s leash and started with her at the very back, then quickly caught up to me. We ran most of the 5.2 mile loop as a family, with me setting pace and finishing together. So that was really cute. When I looked later, I’d beaten my Summer series race time on the same loop by more than 6-minutes!

Topo #2 was at Big Bone Lick State Park in Ky. We bagged that one because of rain and gray and weather radar that looked like Pac Man was about to gobble up the course. Friends who ran said it didn’t start to rain until the last mile, but photos tell me it was still a mudpit of a run.

We’ll miss Race #3 because it conflicts with Germantown. 😦

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It was A Midsummer Night’s Trail Run that started it all. Like I said, I’ve been cramming an entire racing season into the past few weeks, so when I started to write about this I would have sworn to you that this event was in July. It seems so many runs ago, but NOPE, MNT was on August 12th. Just 8 weeks.

A 5-mile trail run through Mt. Airy, the run is sponsored by RCGC, which makes a point near and dear to my heart of keeping run fees CHEAP and swag minimal. I remembered having my eye on this one in 2013, mainly because I liked the name of it, but I hadn’t done any trail running at all other than the trail at my office and I didn’t know anyone else going.  Basically, I talked myself out of it.

Since I’ve been training with Team RWB though, there’s definitely been a shift in my thinking about my training – and even better for me, there’s a trail running contingent in the group. When I saw the run event for 2014, I realized I would KNOW people AND after months of listening to my knee groan, FINALLY I’d gone a few consecutive runs with no flare ups on my knee. Now mind you, those runs were paved, and only 3-4 miles max, so I wasn’t exactly ready for this one. I also know that Mt. Airy is not wimpy trailing. Eric and I spend part of every Summer hiking the trails with the dogs. There are a LOT of elevation changes in Mt. Airy, that’s why it’s MOUNT Airy and not INCREDIBLY FLAT Airy.

So knowing I wasn’t fully ready to race it, I set the intention for myself of not worrying about it. Just get it done. Monitor the knee. Enjoy myself. So long as I started the line and crossed the finish, my Eagles would be there waiting for me when I crossed. Also, Maine decided to meet me there and run along too. Since my injury, I haven’t been able to run with her as much as we did before, so having her meet up was a nice bonus. I can never pass up on a chance to connect with my BFFs.

I had no problems parking, getting there about 20-mins before the start. Packet pick-up was race day, organized, quick and easy. (Am I the only one whose heart swoons over an uncomplicated packet pickup?) My car was close enough to walk my little swag back right back to it and get back to saying hello to my RWB peeps. I saw Maine getting out of her car. The event was that uncluttered – all of this was very easy – and there was plenty of space to stretch and socialize.

Then the race began.

The first mile was the getting used to it – trail running. I set myself at the back to start, so as we streamed into the trail, there were 2 girls ahead of me, 1 almost directly behind and another a little further back. I knew we were towards the end of the line but there were still another few runners a little further back than that. The trail was a single-file trail, no running 2-or-3 wide. As soon as I spied a broader spot, I stepped off right and let the girl right behind me pass. We’d been chatting but I could tell she was itching to speed it up and I didn’t want anyone breathing down my neck.

First mile split was around the 15-min mark. I can walk faster than that. Except that I hadn’t done any walking at all.

This, my friends, is the weird voodoo of trail running. You can be running the entire time, but the pace that you have to slow to when navigating tree roots and rock beds to keep from busting your ass, makes it seem like it would be quicker if you just walked it. Except in the same breath, you know that isn’t true. If you were walking, you’d still have to slow down your walk to navigate obstacles. Slowing down your slow. But your mind does this thing where it starts to compare your WALKING ON PAVEMENT times against your trail RUNNING times, and you realize you’d PR if you were walking. But then you look around, kinda laugh, and decide you don’t care. This is trail running.

After the first mile, I was mostly by myself for the next three. In a pavement race, that would be utterly depressing to me, but watching the greenery go by – Mt. Airy is forest, so trees, shrubs, rocks are most of your view – I still felt like I was flying. Plus, you have to concentrate on what you’re doing in the moment of trail running. You get lost in your head comparing this and that, you fall down and go boom. Fact. If the first split on my Garmin at 15+ mins gave me food for thought, my next split was just about 17 minutes. There’d been a lot more rock bed to navigate and I’d taken a pause to keep from getting hit by the same mountain biker twice.  But somewhere in miles 2 and 3, I went from being cautious to feeling really happy about what I was doing. Mile 3 brought me back down into the 15-min range, and as the run opened up into the ONLY point where it broadens into meadow for a split second, there was the water stop.  The gentleman running it asked “Are you Cynthia?”  Yes.  “Your friend is a little ahead of you, she said for me to keep an eye out for you.”  Awww.

I wish I could tell you more about the trail, which trail names turned on to which and this one was this way and that cool thing about that one. I can’t. When I’m focusing, distance starts to blur into swatches of greenery. Plus, I have the sense of direction of a dryer sock. The one that never reappears when you’ve finished folding everything and are left with one unmatched sock. Yeah. I’m the lost sock.

Mile 4 the path started undulating more aggressively, but the track itself was wider and smoother, less rocks. 13+ on the mile 4 split and right about mile 3.5, one of the runners behind me came into view again. Sometimes just over a block’s length behind me. and sometimes much closer, I decided I would not be passed. I was fighting the good fight for my run, slow as it was and I wasn’t going to give up to someone behind me this late into it. I made concerted effort to keep my time up and navigate obstacles more aggressively.

Finally, the vegetation started to clear and I could hear people – UP THE HILL. Bless the hearts of up hill finishes everywhere – my, my, don’t they make us stronger.  As I crossed the line, Maine was right there with a high-five. Some of the RWBers I don’t know yet were there, but the ones I did know came back to the finish as soon as they saw me. Apparently there were snacks up at the pavilion! Seeing as how I mainly run so I can eat what I want, knowing there were snacks made me happy too. When someone tells me it’s a “no frills” run, I don’t expect snacks. Snacks are frilly. AWESOMELY frilly!

Maine & I wandered up, got some GOOD sandwiches and chips. Included in the swag was a cute pint glass, but I didn’t really want a beer. Just lots of water.  Y’all, trail running is HARD! I mean, regular running is hard for me too, but trail running is HARD!! That run really took a lot out of me! In the best way possible though – I was exhausted but I felt AMAZING. Happy. Content.  It was a completely different thing than I normally feel when I’m racing pavement.  I knew there were only a few runners left behind me to finish, but I honestly could have cared less. We stayed to listen to the awards, and I ended up winning a tote bag as a door prize.

A five-miler might have been a little aggressive for a first trail run choice, and the soreness of my hips and abs the next day let me know that was fact, but I’m glad I chose to try it.

This is on my ‘must-do’ list for next season.

LATE ADD-ON: That runner that I promised I wouldn’t let pass me – when I dug in deep and committed to really working the course, ended up checking in 4-minutes behind me. Amazing what you can do when you decide to try! (Phhhht.)

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Since I don’t usually run with my phone or camera, picture is another one from the Northern Cali tour this Summer, taken by Eric. Yup, that’s my butt.

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Apparently, it is not only great sleeping weather in the Tristate, it’s great dreaming weather. My noggin was chock full o’nuts while I slept.

Spent most of last night in the hunting section of Dick’s Sporting Goods hanging out with a guy (unknown to me) that I swear was the human version of Elmer Fudd. Complete with red checked flannel.

Not really doing anything, maybe a little shopping but not really – talking product quality – and just hanging out.  Because my dreams are *that* interesting.

My brain. I don’t even try to explain it anymore.

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If you look just past the guy at left with the…busy…shirt, that’s me. About 15ft from that rather large elk, shooting with my camera.  Another one from the Eric photo file.

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A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently, saying someone had inquired if he was happy, and so he found himself asking “What is the meaning of happy? Is it a feeling? Is it a material thing?”  He felt he knew his own answer, but wanted to see how others felt. So I answered him:

It’s knowing you wouldn’t change your life – even the rough edges of it.

My birthday was yesterday. Launch of a new decade. Or as my runner-brain has been thinking of it, the dawn of a new age-division.

For the past few weeks, whenever my birthday has come up, I’ve heard it called “the big one”, or had people ask me if I’m having trouble with it as if it should induce some depression, or is comically old, or is catastrophic. Meanwhile, all I can think to myself is “my god! I am so grateful not to be 20 anymore.”  My thirties were pretty good to me. I have no doubt that this new decade will contain it’s own notes of adventure.

I put up my first photo show at the yoga studio last week.

I have posts I want to write floating about in my head – 2 of which are race recaps for trail runs. At 40, I have just begun trail running.

In a few hours, I debut my first guided meditation class as a teacher.  Then I need to go through my prep for my first intensive yoga series that I’m teaching which starts Monday.

And that’s after I’m taking off for a weekend to go teach yoga at The Rugged Red Trail Half-Marathon at Red River Gorge. Eric & Fred are coming along so that we can get our own hiking in between run-related activities and camping with Team RWB.

I have things to do which leave no time for lament, depression or catastrophe.

Too busy being happy.

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Another photo from Eric from the Cali collection.

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From our California coast trip. Seriously can’t think of a more relaxing vacation that we’ve taken together. I’m not usually fond of  pictures of myself, preferring the other side of the lens, but this one is just very…me.  Probably due to that guy reflected in my sunglasses. He inspires that smile.

I crossed a starting line this morning, friends.

To my recollection, I haven’t done a race since a fateful 10k in March that I should have stopped at 5k. My knee aching badly, I hobbled across the finish dead last with the bike dude picking up cones as I passed them. I wish I were joking, but I’m not. Talk about having your ego tarred, feathered and left for dead checked! I decided it wasn’t worth writing about at the time because I wasn’t in a good place with it. After that, I decided I wasn’t registering for a damn thing until I was certain my knee could hang with me for the distance. And I haven’t, watching the races go by on the calendar.

As the clock has kept ticking through prime running season, a friend of mine decided to run for the first time. Ever. And something clicked in her, in that funny way that running makes things click for people, and it said to her “if you stick with me, I’ll change your life”.  So right now, she’s trying to stick with it. Working the Couch-to-5k program, about 3 weeks in, and while I’d like to say I offered to run a 5k with her for the purely selfless reason of being a supportive friend, I’ll be honest in saying that  I offered to go along if she picked out a 5k for more selfish reasons – it inspires the hell out of me to see someone step out of their comfort zone like that.

To get into the struggle, squash the fear, and try.

My friend, she jumped into the struggle this morning.  There were intervals, and hard points, and surprises. We did some breathing and tapped into my running toolbox. The smaller details in between the start and finish are her story to write, not mine. But Peeps, my friend finished her first 5k this morning! With her husband and her son by her side.

And while she was getting through her first 5k, I was getting through my third pavement run this week with no knee pain.  It’s been a SLOW recovery to get this kneecap moving right again, but it finally seems to be working proper.

Bashful Ostrich 5k is a small race, probably about 150 participants. A thing that makes it perfect for a first 5k, by the way.  We lucked out with the weather having a chill in the air to start, as most of the course around the Scarlet Oaks college campus is without shade. One water stop, which today was enough. A hotter day, you’d need a second, which pains me to write since I usually don’t take water at all for a 5k anymore.  FLAT! If you are trying to PR and need a flat course to do it, this is FLLLLLLLAT! Making up for the lack of interesting things on the course, the volunteers were all VERY pleasant and helpful, and there was a hat in the swag bag. I really love baseball hats.

It’s a sweet race. That seems like an odd word to describe a race for me. Sweet. But Bashful Ostrich is sweet, and small, and has that little community feel to it – like if I went back to it next year, the same runners would be there and remember you.  It’s also sweet, in that with 150 participants, almost everyone makes top-10 in age groups. There are LOTs of door prizes. You end up with more loot than just your swag bag – I added a knit Winter beanie from Monumental Marathon & a luggage tag to my stash. I also bought a $5 messenger bag from the previous years’ swag stockpile that was up for sale. $5. For a messenger bag!  If they gave away bubblegum, it would be about the cutest 5k ever! I’d need to pet it on the head, call it Ted and give it treats.

In asking myself whether I would do the race again, the course would make me a little ‘meh’ about it, but the cute factor would probably get me to say ‘yes’. Also, there was a guy there dressed head to toe in a homemade Captain America outfit that he had put SERIOUS thought into. How can you not love that? Someone said he dressed as Batman last year. I may show up next year just to see what he’s wearing – it was a GOOD costume!

Up next:  Midsummer’s Night Trail Run, a 5-miler through the trails of Mt. Airy Forest this coming Tuesday.

Because once your knee stops hurting, one of the first things you should do is register for a 5-mile trail run. Jeez-Louise! I need my head checked!

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If this weren’t a collage of faces blended together, changing every few seconds…men, women, all colors, nationalities, ages…showcasing diversity in our city, then blasted all huge size across the face of one of Cincinnati’s most legendary icons – Music Hall…

It would probably be very weird.

Anyone else remember General Zod, and all the talking heads in Superman 2 (I think it was 2)?

This was taken at Lumenocity last night. I’m sure there are 1000’s of pictures all across the web from the weekend, and that a lot of them are far better than this one. But sometimes, you leave the camera at home, take one shot of something cool with your phone, then you shut the thing down and enjoy the show with a husband that busted his ass to make sure you had a SWEET spot all set up.

Somehow, in a crowd of 17,000 people, we had chairs and a picnic blanket and a cooler of snacks & beverages. Space. We could see. We managed to grab a no-fuss bite at A Tavola ahead of the show and weave straight through to our seats afterward. A lucky contact meant free parking in a secured lot a block away. No long lines, no waiting. Traffic smooth enough that we were home 20 minutes after it was over. I was absolutely astonished at how smoothly everything worked.

The show was AMAZING!!!!!!

It doesn’t hurt that I adore Charlie Harper art and a large portion of the show was a tribute to his work. I honestly didn’t expect that this would be much more than a light show (and shhhh! maybe a little boring), but it was way more than that. Funny. Creative. SPECTACULAR! Other arts brought in during the twilight hours waiting for it to be dark enough for the light show – ballet, opera. A friend of mine sings with the May Festival Choir and I’ve never heard it, except that she was volunteering with their performance last night. What an excellent venue to expose the community to all the arts available in the city! (and point out that Music Hall needs some preservation funding!)

They’re going to have to change some things next year – all the grumblers bitching about not getting FREE tickets, and all – but honestly, I hope they don’t change too much.  It was truly a fantastic event – and one of the most civilized groups that large that I’ve ever been in.

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No session out at the lake this morning. Head cold I’ve had since Monday still has me a little fogged in my noggin’ and I didn’t think getting lake water up my nose would be beneficial.

From the California file, the Golden Gate bridge is out there somewhere beyond the wall of fog. On any other day, or maybe even later on the same day, that overlook is an amazing view of the bridge. On this day, it was foggy and chilly, and even the wind had a bit of fierce to it. One of the new words we learned in San Fran: MICROCLIMATE.

Blame it on Caesar

Posted: 07/29/2014 in Photos, Uncategorized
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Had a huge wave of fatigue drive me into an early bedtime last night, and sure enough, woke up with a headcold. Body feels it a bit too – like someone graffiti’d tiredness all over my quads and eyeballs.

It’s a fine excuse to stop by Myra’s and pick up some Avgolemono soup. Seriously, there is nothing better than avgolemono soup when you’re sick.

 

 

 

Morning session #4

Posted: 07/27/2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

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Me: It’s as hard as I make it look, isn’t it?
Eric:  Yes. Yes it is.

From the comfort of the kayak after finishing the half-mile of stops & starts with which I’d tasked myself. Most of the training group was competing in Northern Ohio, so it was just the two of us out there ~ Eric adventuring out as my water safety crew since no one should swim alone.

Seriously,  how awesome is my husband that he’ll get up at 5AM on a Saturday to make sure I don’t drown?

When I was done, we switched places. He’s been listening to me talk about swimming form for almost a month. Decided to try it out.

Last time it was 10-12 strokes before the panic sets in & the feet have to find ground.  Yesterday, 14. Sometimes 20. Working on finding my breath. Staying calm. 

Half a mile in 14-20 stroke increments takes a lot longer than running it, that’s for damn sure.

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I’ll explain about the cover story thing later. Let’s just say I have an idea to see how long I can keep up a streak. Tomorrow will be day 3.

In triathlons, there is always some type of water safety in place for the swimmers. Kayakers. Boats. Something that represents safe haven for those that struggle or tire or become injured.

I’m kind of jealous of those kayakers, if I’m being honest. I like to be the cheerleader and the coach that’s right there next to the struggle – to be the person that helps talk a person through the hard spot. I would also be honest to say that I’m good at it. Watching a friend of mine struggle in the swim portion, and having to yell from so far away as the beach – I didn’t like it.  I wanted to be on the boat. Looks like I’ve got another skill set to research to figure out how to be on the boat – do I need a lifeguard certification? water safety course?  Lots to think about.

At least until I’m a strong enough swimmer to be in the water.