Category Archives: life

Tanglewood Trail Not So Much Run

Since I began training for my 50K in the beginning of January I have yet to run any trails. Trail running is my favorite kind of running and my training is to prepare me for a trail marathon and then a 50K, so I have really been itching to get on the trails. So far timing or weather or any other of life’s many variables have conspired to keep me from trails.

Going into this week 6 of the training plan long run I really wanted to get out on a trail to run. The weather had not really cooperated with multiple days of snow into mid week. But I really wanted to run trails. Then life circumstances really started hitting home and I really just felt like I needed to get out into nature. Nature is where I can find my peace and maybe just escape from life for a while. It is what I needed. So I doubled down on my desire to hit the trails today.


Normally on a long run in the winter I would were some running tights, but aparently life prevented me from having any of those clean. I have a pair of windpants that I can run in that have a light mesh lining to them and I figured would be perfect for the temperature and at least keep me warm. So I geared up and went out to my favorite local trail spot at Trnaglewood Nature Center.

My assumption was that Tanglewood is a pretty popular outdoor destination locally. I assumed that people would have been on the trail over the past few days so that the snow would be a little packed down and more runnable. And that is where it started to bite me in that ass. I always think I have learned my lesson about assuming. You know the saying when you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME. Well I sure began to feel like an ass once I began running.


There had been almost no one on the trails. Miscalculation number 1. Especially not on the trails I wanted to be on. I was pushing through fresh 6+ inch snow with every step. I was wearing my Altra Lone Peak 3.0’s that I love but they were no help in that level of snow. There was no traction to be had. The snow was so deep every step was over my ankles. Every step pushed snow up into my open pant legs of the wind pants. Miscalculation number two. Thank goodness I did have the good sense to where nice warm and tall Smartwool winter socks. Also since the snow was pushing up into my pants and the pants had a mesh liner the snow was powdery enough at first to just pass through the mesh liner. Once the snow got between the mesh liner and the outer layer of the pants it compressed and did not come back out through the mesh. I stopped to try to get it out but that was not happening. The snow just built up inside the bottom of the pant legs. Miscalculation number three. By the end of the run it was like trying to run in the snow with ankle weights on.

I am glad I went out with the intent of taking some photos and getting some time lapse footage or I may have given up sooner. Having something else to focus on other than the inability to run helped me to want to stay out there longer. And I did get some decent footage.

It is odd how something can both be a bad experience and a good experience at the same time. Thinking about this experience as a run and it was terrible. It was a grind and miserable at times. But when I think about it as a nature experience it was nearly perfect. I was out in nature experiencing something pretty unique for me, pushing through fresh snow and taking photos. As a nature experience it was something I needed. My dog just died and I needed to get outside and connect with nature and feel some connection and try to let the tension melt off me. This was the experience I needed. It was not the run I wanted or hoped for but it was the therapeutic nature experience that I needed to help me cope with life.


There was really nothing about this trail run that was normal. The snow slowed me to basically a walk at times, especially on hills. The deep snow made finding footing difficult. I couldn’t tell if my footfalls would be on trail or on flat ground. I spent much of the time fitting the edge of the trail being of balance. Tanglewood is a place I love to run at in part because I am so familiar with it. I have been there to hike and run dozens and dozens of times. However, on this occasion the snow also made the trail in general difficult to see. The trail was so difficult to see at times that I couldn’t tell if I was even on the trail during the course of my adventure. I found myself stopping multiple times and looking around trying to figure out if I was still on the trail or not. I could not really tell. I looked around slowly searching for trail markers. It really slowed me down in my progress on the trails but I did eventually find the trail markers and succeed in getting back on the trail.


I kind of think of this as a metaphor for life. In life unexpected and unfamiliar circumstances can blind you to your usual path. The path that you are so comfortable with you can follow blindfolded. But this new life experience has thrown you for a loop and no you are struggling to find your way. So, if you find yourself stuck by some unexpected life circumstances and you are struggling to find your footing or you can’t see the path your life normally follows anymore, stop and take your time. Get your bearings. Look around and find those trail markers that will guide you back to your path and help you find your way. Look to those friends and family members that have always been there for you and count on them to get you back on your feet and help you find your way again.

Just Get Started

Yesterday I read a tweet by someone that said he would gladly pay someone to write the beginning and ending lines of whatever project he was working on. I responded that I find the opening line of anything I write to be painful to get out. Just like this post. I could overthink and be paralyzed thinking of the best way to open the post. But instead I decided to just start writing and let it go from there. And now I am off and going and hopefully you will keep reading despite a less than perfect beginning.

In life though I think that is the most important thing. Don’t over analyze. Don’t get paralyzed by the anxiety of just getting started. That is something that has haunted me my entire life, always the fear of the unknown instead of the excitement of starting something new. But I am working to change that.

I just started reading the book Quiet. It’s been sitting on my virtual bookshelf on my Kindle for a long time now. Every time I need to begin a new book I agonize over what to start and never choose this title because I feel like it may be revealing for me. But now I am reading it and it is good. Just get started. Once you get started then you can enjoy the process.

I’ve always struggled making friends. Always afraid to put myself out there. A couple years ago I made it my new years resolution to join a running club. I put myself out there. I didn’t really talk to anyone the first couple of runs I went on but now all my running friends are probably thinking, “We can’t get this guy to shut up.” So just take the leap and put yourself out there. You don’t have to walk the tight rope without a net, but put yourself in the situation where things can happen for you.

This applies to running and getting in shape itself. I had always been the kind of person that thought if I wanted to get into better shape I could whenever I wanted. But that is just an excuse to never start. Once you decide to start you will find how much you really can do, but you have to start first.

I even feel this fear and hesitation in things I have loved to do for a long time. Photography is something I have loved to do for a long time, but starting a new project or even just getting out the door to take some photos gives me pause. But, once I get out there and start clicking the shutter that all dissipates. The joy and passion flows and I am off and running, often shooting hundreds to thousands of photos. I love doing it but it takes a renewed commitment to starting each time to get me going in the right direction instead of procrastinating.

Life is hard. There is no easy way. There is no perfect beginning or time to start. The time to start is now. If you want to do something do it. Start now. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Do not let the paralysis by analysis set in. Get going. Do that thing that you have always wanted to do. Once you get going to momentum will build on itself and you will get where you are going. But you cannot get there if you never start.

Stop planning to start and waiting for the right time and just start. Life long dreams and goals don’t come easy. It may seem like there is not enough time to make significant progress on a goal right now and that may be true. You won’t accomplish it right now in the moment, but you can get started. Get started making progress toward a goal. A goal is rarely something that you can just go out and do right now and attain it. It is something that requires steady progress toward the end result. You will never get there if you don’t get going.

Join me in this experiment that we call life and get out there and start that thing you have always wanted to do today. Let m know in the comments what you are starting.

Communicating and Connecting

Sometimes I am not sure if the things I say or write have any meaning or if anyone cares. I am not sure if that even really matters. I hope that some people find some meaning or enjoyment in the things that I write, but really I write for me.

I write about the things that are on my mind. I write about the things I love. I write about my experiences. I hope that in some way my experiences and my passions can have an impact on others, but maybe my writing is purely a selfish act.

I write to express my joy. I write to express my sorrow as well. Writing is therapy for me. I am not good at talking to people about the way I feel, but I have always enjoyed writing. I even like to think that I am at least a little bit good at writing. This may not be the most shining example of being a good writer, but once again, it’s not really about that.

Photographer: Kyle Reynolds
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This is still about me. Hopefully it is also about you. Hopefully you can see in me the things that you experienced, the feelings you have felt, and the thoughts that you have had and in that way we can connect. We all experience this world differently. But I think we also have a lot in common.

We may not look the same, we may not talk the same, and we may not act the same, but we are all humans out there in this crazy world trying to make sense of things. Things happen. Things we can’t understand. Maybe it’s not for us to understand. Maybe we don’t need to understand. Maybe all we need to know is that there are other people out there in the world going through the same thing as us.

Life is a mystery and I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that fact will ever change. So we might as well accept that. We can accept the things we can’t understand and try to move on. We can join in with the rest of our community of people who are all running this human race. We can be together and we can work together to make this life we have the best we can make it despite its imperfections. It won’t always be fun or easy but it will always be rewarding. So take some time and connect with others in whatever way you prefer to connect. Say hi. Say thanks and be kind. I will continue to strive to connect with words and with photos and I will try to be here connecting when times are tough. Come find me, connect, and join the conversation.

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Little Kira

Sometimes in life you get some bad news and your are not sure it can get any worse. But then to your dismay it gets even worse. Literally twice as bad as it was before. How do things like this happen?


Two weeks ago our gentle giant Big Kira was diagnosed with cancer. That hit us like a sucker punch. Totally unexpected. Now we had to take Little Kira to the vet for an ultrasound of her bladder. We had been treating her for what we were hoping was some type of bladder infection for several weeks. However, as the infection persisted despite treatment our vet recommended we take Little Kira to get an ultrasound to see if there was a mass or something else going on with her bladder.


Little is such a good girl. She was in and out of her ultrasound in no time. Unfortunately, that is where the good news ended. There was definitely a mass in her bladder. It is most likely cancer.


I called Debby and told her the bad news. She met me in Ithaca and we made a day of it for Little Kira. We had fun exploring Stewart Park. She is such an easy dog that loves everyone. As soon as we arrived at the parka gentleman approached and wanted to say high to Little Kira. She nuzzled him for some head scratches and the kind man remarked about how sweat a dog she was. Little played in the water and saw some new sights.

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After that we headed over to the dog park, which is always an odd experience with her. She is a very good dog but doesn’t care to leave our side much. She doesn’t go play with dogs. She is good with them and says hi in the typical dog way if other dogs approach but she doesn’t seek them out. She will go over to other humans at the dog park to be petted but only if we are near by.

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We sauntered around the park enjoying basically a nice casual off leash walk. Just appreciating the nice day and the time we have with our girl. We just want her to be happy in whatever time she has with us and she is a happy girl. She enjoys life and enjoys being with us.

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After the dog park we went and explored a little more of Alan Treman park along the waterfront. Little whined and signaled it was time to go home. We pilled back into the car and headed for home. In spite of the terrible news we had a good day with our dog and I hope she had a good day with us. I only hope there are not too few of these days left for us.

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A Buck’s Purpose

I feel like all the dogs we have had have brought something new into our lives. They have each had their own purpose. Buck and his sister Cami were our introduction to the world of Berners. Through them we have discovered so many wonderful things. We started going to dog shows because of them and that lead to some great days even when we didn’t have them with us.


In 2008 we attended our first dog show to see the Bernese Mountain Dogs. We have attended dog shows regularly ever since.

I have taken 45,000 photos of dogs at dog shows because of these amazing dogs that entered my life. I have all of these amazing memories thanks to them. I would have never went there and done that without them. They have helped make me the person I am today.


Buck Loved people!!!!!!!

I on the other hand, not so much. I have always been an introvert. I never want to talk to people I don’t know and I don’t like to be in large groups. I never just walk up to someone to ask them a question or strike up a conversation. I am uncomfortable in most social situations. If I go to a party or gathering I literally pray that there will be a dog for me to pet so I will feel more comfortable.

Photographer: Kyle Reynolds Subject: Location: Date Taken:

Buck did not allow me to sit back and stay in my shell. Buck drew people in. People saw Buck and were drawn to him, and that meant they were drawn to me. Buck was always so happy to see people and have them approach us and say hi. He wanted to be everyone’s best friend. People often stopped to see him and talk to me about him and dogs. Having the conversation be about my dogs and dogs in general makes it easier for me to talk to people. I love my dogs and I enjoy talking to people about my dogs and their dogs.

Photographer: Kyle Reynolds Subject: Location: Date Taken:

It is impossible to take Buck somewhere without people stopping to say hi, so I have had lots of practice getting outside my comfort zone. If we go to the park people stop to pet him and visit. Driving in the car people smile and laugh at his antics. He livens up the day at any drive through window we have to stop at and brightens up the day for the employees.

Photographer: Kyle Reynolds Subject: Location: Date Taken:

When we started going to dog shows to see other Bernese Mountains Dogs like ours it opened up a whole new world for us. Buck allowed us to meet other people who shared our passion for Bernese Mountain Dogs. Even if I went to dog shows alone I would never have dared to approach anyone, but Buck was a conversation starter. It was always all about Buck. We met a dog who competed at Westminster after we met him. We met local breeders of Bernese Mountain Dogs. We went to a gathering of people all who had Bernese Mountain Dogs. I met and became friends with a woman who showed her dogs at one of our regions biggest dog shows. Her dogs are so fabulous. She asked me to photograph her and her dog. At our most recent trip to a dog show we met several members of our regional Bernese Mountain Dog Club and had lunch with them at the dog show. Buck never cared about what was going on as long as he could see people.

Photographer: Kyle ReynoldsSubject: Location: Date Taken:
Buck was up for anything if it meant getting to see people. He sat in the rain with us at the 2010 Hickories Circuit Dog Show just so he could be around people.

The more obvious it became that Buck thrived on meeting people the more we tried to take him to where the people would be. We took him to community events where he would always draw a crowd. It was like he had his own fan club.


Walking down the street with Buck at a community event was slow going because so many people wanted to see him and he wanted to see so many people. He snuggled up against everyone and solicited their touch. Buck was just that bighearted dog that made everyone smile and laugh. Buck loved events on market street in Corning. We would take him and he would stroll down the street just looking for the next person to pet him. His favorite event was probably Sparkle. There was just so many people. It was constant human contact. Pretty much heaven on earth for Buck.


I never imagined that Buck being at community events had much of an impact other than just for us and for him. but this past Christmas season we went to Sparkle and he wasn’t well enough to go with us, so we took our other Bernese Mountain Dogs. As we were walking around we ran into some people and they asked us about Buck. They said they were going to be looking to see if he was here at Sparkle this year. So maybe Buck touched more lives than just ours out there. Maybe there are many more people than I could image out there with memories of him keeping him alive.


As Buck got older and couldn’t get around as well as he used to, we desperately sought a way to keep getting him out into the public he loved so much. We knew that even though he couldn’t walk much he would still want to see people. We finally found a garden wagon that was big enough for him. It would take to cars to take him places but it was well worth it to see him happy out in public meeting people. We were able to take him out several times using this wagon.

Buck enjoying a treat on Christmas.

After Buck’s accident and injuries we were reluctant to take him out even in the cart because we didn’t know how that would affect his leg. When Buck had to go to Ithaca for vet rechecks I made it a point to stop at the park and hang out with him so he could have some time outside. He always loved to go out and do stuff and I wanted him to get as much of that as he could even when recovering. At his last vet recheck the vet said he was really happy with the range of motion in his leg and that it looked like his fractures were well healed. The next day Buck had an acupuncture appointment. He did so well getting around despite his bad leg and was so happy. We decided that since he was doing so well it was a good day to take him to the park. We went home and got his wagon and his sister Kira and we went to Eldridge Park. Buck was so happy riding around in his wagon. We all sat at the pavilion and enjoyed the day for a while. I can’t help but think that there was a reason we took him there that day. It was his last happy day with us. Three days later he was gone.

Three days before Buck passed he was happy and excited to be out for an adventure. What ended up being Buck’s farewell trip. We just didn’t know it yet.
Buck’s last day with us. He still had that look in his eye.
Photographer: Kyle ReynoldsSubject: Location: Date Taken:
Buck as a puppy when we first brought him home.


Ideas that never see the light of day

I find that throughout the day I have a variety of ideas come to mind.  Bet this happens to you too. I often have enough ideas pop into my head that at some point I have forgotten at least one or more of the ideas I thought of. Some ideas are not important and are little frivolous things with really no significant consequences if I forget them. Other ideas are more important to me and may have to do with business, photography, art, dogs, or a variety of other topics that interest me. Some of these ideas are things that I would like to research a little more or read up on. Some of them I would like to write down and see if I can find a way to make these ideas work for me in some real way and incorporate them into my life. To help me do this I have started writing things down more (typing them up in my Evernote app). This way I at least don’t forget them and can come back to them and reference them and rewrite things and make changes and updates as I find out more information.

I find that actually making my ideas happen is where my shortcomings factor in. I love to think of things and think about things. I have a constant flow of information that I like to read and listen to and this inspires me with new ideas and thoughts frequently. And these ideas get added to my list. I write them down and describe what I think I would like to do. And then……. And then nothing. It fizzles out. That nice long list of ideas and goals and projects that I have generates very little actual action. Nothing gets produced. Nothing gets done. It’s not that I stop thinking about the ideas or topics I have noted. It’s that I just can’t bring myself to make any further progress. I am a world class procrastinator for one. I can always find a reason to put things off or something else I can do instead. Like write down more ideas. I also, as many people probably do, experience significant anxiety about taking any further action on a variety of tasks. This part of making it real creates some real, at least in my mind, fear. Fear of exposing myself to the world, or that one person I have to send this to, to try to move on to the next step. I am afraid I will be rejected. Afraid to be exposed as a fraud. Afraid to succeed? If I take that next step and I am not rejected then I have to do more work and then probably expose myself to even more people and possibly even more rejection. Is it in my head or is it real? I don’t know. Maybe it’s both.

While the fear and anxiety may be real, is it justified? If I am rejected what have I really lost or suffered? There is no real physical threat but the threat is to my psyche and my psyche is very sensitive to that threat. I should be able to overcome it. I tell myself this all the time. It is not logical to fear sending an email, making a phone call, or submitting my photography to an editor. What is the worst that can happen? They can tell me no thanks or just ignore me. And I have been told no in the past and it hasn’t hurt me and it hasn’t closed the doors to those opportunities. I can contact other people with my ideas and get a yes eventually if I keep trying. So why is it that I have such a hard time moving on to this phase of idea and project fulfillment? Perhaps I will never know. Maybe I am not meant to know. It seems so simple. Just write a letter and hit send. But it is so much easier for some reason for me to sit here in my cozy box in my comfort zone where I do not have to take that chance. I don’t have to reach out and make contact and expose myself. Will I ever be truly happy in my career that way? Probably not, but I will be safe. Do I want only to be safe? No I want to be happy. I have spent my whole life with the single-minded idea that I want a career I enjoy and find fulfillment in. SO why is it so hard for me to take the necessary steps to make that happen. Why am I afraid of finding happiness, of fulfilling myself? Maybe I am afraid that after all of this work and thought I will be wrong and I will not be fulfilled by my choice of pursuits. Maybe that is the real fear that is holding me back.

Devastating news for our dog Cami

Received some pretty devastating news today. Our dog Cami has been having a lot of health concerns over the last several weeks. She hasn’t been eating much lately so after trying a wide variety of food with very little being eaten we took her to the vet. The vet initially thought she may have been having a bad reaction to the pain meds she was on resulting in an irritation of her GI tract causing her to not want to eat. She prescribed some antibiotics and gave her a couple of shots. I was glad to hear this diagnosis from the vet as it gave me hope for Cami’s recovery and return to good health. But something in my gut told me that it was something more than that. After several more days of Cami not eating she went back to the vet this morning for a more extensive work up. My wife Debby was going to drop her off and then I was going to pick he up when I got out of work. Fortunately Debby ended up staying at the vet. The vet was able to determine very quickly that Cami has lung cancer and Debby was able to take her home so she didn’t have to stay at the vet’s for any unnecessary time. Sometimes being right is not a good thing. I love our vets they always lavish love, attention, and empathy on our animals when they are there and I appreciate all the work they do as they patiently answer our questions and provide us with the information we need. I am glad we have been able to find such great veterinarians to provide wonderful care for our animals as I know they will work tirelessly to guide us through this difficult time as we decide how best to care for Cami.  I am glad that at least for now Cami still seems very happy and active despite her reluctance to eat so I am hopeful we will have more time with her. So now Debby and I will summon the strength to confront the difficult times that all animal lovers must go through as our beloved companions face the ends of their all to short lives. We will do everything in our power to make sure she has the best life possible for what time remains.