Category Archives: Outdoors

Kids Fun Run held by Southern Tier SOAR

Yesterday I donated some time to photograph the Kids Fun Run held by Southern Tier SOAR​. Check out the photographs from the event at the link below.

http://krnaturalphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery/STRC-Kids-Fun-Run-5-25-17/G0000tdBU3zzl.rU/C000027pp2D0NzKk

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Running Challenge

Last night I set a running challenge for myself to complete this morning. I had no specific goals in mind regarding pace or anything. I had one simple target. Finish the run and, spoiler alert, I did. I finished one of my most challenging runs to date.

I have been wanting to start running more trail runs and run distances of half marathon or a little more. My biggest challenge has been figuring out runs that would allow me to stay in shape for those type of events. A friend suggested I run from my house to a nearby nature preserve, Plymouth Woods.

For some people that might not sound too bad, but for me it is a little different. I live nearly at the top of a 1500+ ft high hill. I am not good at hills and have relatively little experience running them. Earlier this year for the first time I ran down my hill and then right back up. But on that run I did not add any more mileage than just down the hill and back up, plus that run was on the less steep side of the hill.

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Today I ran down the steepest side of the hill. I ran down the hill and out along the highway and reached the nature preserve at just short of 5 miles. I felt pretty tired on this first part. Surprisingly so. But once I started on those trails I felt so much better. There is just something about getting out in nature. Those leaves crunching under your feet. Alone except the mammoth trees towering over head. These are the things that propel me.

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I used that energy to hit all the trails available at Plymouth Woods. The Red Trail, The Blue Trail, The Orange Trail, and Another loop on Red. It was a tough hilly run but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t fast, but that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to get out for a run and enjoy myself and just see what I could do. While I was at Plymouth the weather started to turn against me. I am pretty sure I was being pelted with ice pellets at one point.

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This photo captures a lot of how it felt running in the gloom and darkness of overcast skies and bad weather. But I still enjoyed it.

I left Plymouth woods and headed back down the highway towards home and the hill that lie ahead. The way back was a little down hill so I actually achieved a decent pace for me. But the whole way back I was consumed of thoughts of the hill that loomed ahead of me.

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This is what it looks like if you look out straight ahead from one of the slopes you descend at Plymouth Woods.

I got to the bottom of Combs Hill Rd felling pretty good, but I knew I could never run up that slope. So I didn’t and I didn’t feel bad about it. I did the best I could so that I could cover the rest of the distance to get back home once I got to the top. If I had tried to run I would likely have ended up just slowly walking the last mile or two back home and I was not having that. I wanted to have something left in the tank to get me home. It did not help that the weather was turning or it was just getting colder due to the increased elevation, but it was getting windy and cold. But I pushed on. It actually helped to motivate me to run. It was too cold to walk.

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This is what the slope actually looks like if you look down the hill, and it gets steeper as you go.

When I got back home I wasn’t quite to 12 miles so I actually ran past my house and then back to it so I could get to 12. I was hoping the run would be closer to 13 miles but it wasn’t quite as long as I thought it would be. Maybe I will add another loop in the woods next time.

I got back and I was exhausted. My legs were wobbly and sore. I walked more than I would have liked, particularly after surmounting Combs hill on the way back, but I made it. I achieved my goal. I challenged myself and I pushed myself and I did it. This is why I love running. I can challenge myself. I can test my limits and I can learn about myself and I can adapt and get stronger. Now, what is the next challenge…..

Check out the profile of this run on Garmin Connect.

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I arrived back home happy and tired. Feeling accomplished.

STRC Pie and Glove 5K

I spent Thanksgiving Morning volunteering at the Southern Tier Running Club Pie and Glove 5K. I photographed the event for the organization and posted the photos online for all the participants to see. Here are a few that I liked.

Don’t want to run? Run anyway.

I went to bed last night planning to run in the morning. I woke up this morning and I did not feel like running. I was able to convince myself I was going to run and get my gear on to get out the door. As I was going out the door I was obviously going to run but I didn’t really feel like I was going to have a good run. I was in the mindset that I was just going to go out and get a run in. I was thinking that I was just going to run a nice easy coasting run. I just wanted to get the miles to keep my body in tune.

After I started running at about 1/4 – 1/2 mile I realized I actually felt pretty good. I was cruising along pretty well. My legs felt good and my mind felt good. It felt like a good run was in progress. I wasn’t running for a particular pace. I was just going to run my normal approximately 5k distance I run from outside my house up on Mt. Zoar. I know the route and the distance it covers so I never even looked at my watch. I like to run these runs by feel.

When I got done running and stopped my watch (My brand new Garmin Forerunner 230 by the way.) I was pleasantly surprised to see the readouts. I ran a sub 29 minute 5k which is pretty good for me. I ran a 9:18/mi pace which is pretty fast for me. The fact that I had such a good run when I didn’t feel like even running it made me vary happy that I had forced myself to run. I had overcome the psychological hurdle that was trying to prevent me from running.

When you don’t feel like running, run anyway. You might surprise yourself. You just might have one of your best runs yet. Once your feet hit the road your mindset can shift and your body can shift and you become the runner you know you are.

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Today’s Running Partner

The more I develop myself over the years the more I learn that things I love and that are important to me fit together. I have been a long time dog lover. And over the last few years I have become an increasingly avid runner. I have been making more time to run than to do most other things in my life these days. I never thought I would say that. As I have been getting more into running I have really been wanting to be able to run with one of my dogs. I have tried in the past to run with one of our dogs but it didn’t really work out well for either of us. But I am thinking that I may try to get more dedicated to this idea. So today I set out with my new running partner today.

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Running together will require a lot of learning and training on both our parts. Brynn will need to work on walking and running on my left so we can stay on the proper side of traffic when running and stay away from cars (something I should have been teaching her all along, my bad.) Brynn will also need to learn to stay by my side and not get too far out ahead. She will also need to learn to stay constant and not stop to sniff or investigate interesting things while we are running.

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I will need to learn to modify my running plans to suit Brynn’s needs. Now I have to think about both of us instead of just me. That means extra water for her as well as for me if we are out for long runs as well as extra night lights if we run before or after the sun is out. More planning will be required on my part.

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The best thing is that on what was basically our first run together it went pretty smoothly. Brynn didn’t get too distracted to stop and smell things or try to rip my arm off to run and chase things like squirrels and other dogs. I owe this to the hard work with training my wife and I put in when we first got her, although we need to be more consistent with it. “Leave it.” is a magic phrase that will make your life with your dog much easier if you teach them that cue. Trust me.

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Brynn can dust me in a sprint or in repeated sprints over and over. She seems to have limitless energy playing n the back yard and fetching her Chuck It ball. or even just ramming around the house playing with her infinite number of toys. It was kind of nice to see that even though she can wear me out in short bursts of energy I can outlast her in distance running thanks to my training. We went out for what is a short run for me these days, just a 5k. Brynn started off strong, perhaps too strong. An error that I am sure many of my runner friends can relate to. I started off relatively slow for me.  Brynn started off out in front of me at the end of her leash. She still looked like she was just trotting along out in front, and not really exerting herself. However, by the time we were inside of a mile left to be done she had slowed considerably. She was either beside me or just behind me most of that last mile.

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She didn’t seem to be working too hard nor panting much, but she was definitively slowing down and getting tired from the sustained exertion. It’s nothing like the heavy panting and raged breathing and rapidly expanding chest she exhibits during her sprints across our yard to fetch her ball. She is definitely a sprinter and not a distance runner at this point. Something I definitely would have said for myself at one point, even though I really never was even a sprinter.

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So, Brynn and I will continue to work together. Hopefully frequently to work on her running with me on leash in hopes that I can run with her at events that welcome dogs some day. The sad part is I like that she is currently tired out and sleeping under my desk as I write this after our run. I am not sure if I really want to keep taking her out regularly and build up her stamina so that she will have even more energy and be able to run longer and longer and then require longer and longer runs to tire her out so she comes home and is peacefully sleeping at my feet. I like tired Brynn. I like that it only took 3 miles to tire her out. Here’s to the future of a new running-mate.

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Now I just have to work on incorporating photography into my actual runs. But I have a few ideas about that too. Stay tuned.

Meet Your Next Best Friend

I’ve made a lot of friends over the years and if you are a dog lover like me you count a lot of dogs among them. Two of my best friends became part of my lives completely by coincidence. We met our dogs Brynn and Kira at the Chemung County SPCA and they became family.
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Kira watching lure coursing.
You can meet your next best friend at the Chemung County SPCA too.
 
I am working on a project to highlight some of the amazing dogs that pass through the Chemung County SPCA on their way to their forever homes. This project will feature large print photographs of some of the dogs that have been at the shelter to see. It will be on display at the Chemung County Historical Society Museum for all to see.
 
Help me make this project the best it can be by contributing to my crowd funding campaign Shelter Dogs at the Museum and sharing it with all your friends and family on social media: https://igg.me/at/ShelterDogsattheMuseum/x/13239346
This is the final push to get this project fully funded. The campaign ends in one week. Please donate to help me support our local shelter animals.
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Brynn all muddy after playing in the yard.
I want to thank the Chemung County SPCA and the Chemung County Historical Society for making this project possible. I couldn’t be doing this without their support.