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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.

STRC New Years Day 5 Miler 2018

One of my favorite things that I have gotten the opportunity to do since becoming involved with the Southern Tier Running club is photographing their races. And that means taking a lot of photographs of a bunch of the friends I have made along the way and sharing them all over the internet and there is nothing they can do about it.

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This was my second time photographing the New Years Day 5 Miler for the Southern Tier Running Club. It was a bit colder and there I was snow on the grown this year. The runners were bundled up as was I. I staked out the spot I shot from last year, but I tried to shoot from a slightly different position so that there would be a different angle for the photos with hopefully a better background.

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Prior to the race the sun was out. Despite the cold at least it would be sunny. That made me happy as a photographer. Finally a race with some good light. I had not been so fortunate during the last several races. Then wouldn’t you know it, right as the race was about to begin, the clouds rolled in. The sky became completely overcast. This put a damper on some of my plans but I was able to get some good shots with the trees in the background. The overcast sky made it really drab if I featured any images that included large portions of the sky.

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Despite the cold and the drab sky it is always fun to get out there and watch the runners give it their best even on a less than ideal race day. It is great to see the race leaders coming down the road towards me and I know the fun part for me is about to begin. I have planned out what I want to shoot and how. Now to see if my vision will match up with the reality as the runners approach.

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As fun as it is to photograph the runners at the front of the race it is just as nice to photograph people finishing later in the race. Sometimes that is where the best and most satisfying photographs can be found. There are people running their very first race who are giving it their best and are not going to be as fast as others. There are also more experienced runners that have been getting out for runs for many more years than most of us. I believe everyone deserves a nice race photograph no matter how fast or slow you are, young or old, veteran or newbie. I want you to have a photograph to enjoy from your race.

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The runners might want to punch me for saying this but in some ways it is tougher being out there to photograph the race or volunteer than it is as a racer. When it is cold it is better to be running to stay warm than it is to be stationary taking photos, especially since you can’t where mittens and operate a camera. My fingers were about numb by the time I was done despite my ski gloves an hand warmers inside. Not only are runners warming themselves by running they are often out on the course and thus outside for a shorter period of time than me as the photographer or the volunteers. I generally don’t go inside until the final runner has passed me, which is often at the finish line. And volunteers picking up the course might be out there longer than I am. So be sure to thank your volunteers.

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I think I want to do something a little different next year and try photographing from a different location. I would like to get different looking shots with different scenery. I think I may try running the course myself since I never have and see where I think might be any other good spots to take photos.

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I hope all the runners especially my friends had a great time at the race and enjoyed the photos I shared. You can see the rest of the photos from the race on my Facebook page at Kyle Reynolds / KRNaturalPhoto. These are photographs straight out of the camera. Every single one. Nothing was deleted or edited so be kind. I stive to share as soon as possible so no editing.

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Next race up is St. Patricks Day 5k and 10k by Southern Tier Running Club. See you there. Wave and I’ll take your photo. Or just be your bad-ass self running hard in a race and I will get a great photo of you busting your ass.

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2018 Running Goals

My running goals generally revolve around types of runs I want to try and increasing distance. I think in 2018 there will be more goals involving increasing distances, but I think I also want to set some different types of goals. Some goals I have already talked about in past posts but some of them will be newer.

  1. Run a trail marathon
  2. Run my first ultra
  3. Increase my mileage from 2017 – 2018
  4. Run a sub 24 Minute 5k
  5. Run a sub 2 hour half marathon
  6. Learn more about running
  7. Learn more about proper running training
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STRC New Years Day 5 Miler

My first Trail marathon and ultra are already on the calendar. I will be running Sehgahunda Trail Marathon and Worlds End 50k. I am super excited about these races. These are sure to push my limits and help me explore ho I am as a person and as a runner. I will be running these races with some of my friends which makes it even better. Training for these races began 1/1/18 and it is something totally new for me. I have never followed an official training plan. This should have me more prepared for these races than any other I have run previously.

After my training throughout 2017 I feel like a sub two hour half marathon is within my reach. I ran at least on half marathon distance run almost every month. Now that I am starting 50k training the training plan has me running a half marathon distance long run almost every week. Seems like this should help me even more even though the long runs will not be focused on speed at all. I have a half marathon on the calendar already for 2018 at the 37th annual Skunk Cabbage Classic. The race is a bit hilly, so not necessarily a fast course but hopefully with the trail running and training I will be doing I will be able to get it done here. I am also planning to run this race with some friends so no matter what it will be fun.

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STRC New Years Day 5 Miler

My other time related goal is to run a sub 24 minute 5k. I haven’t run a 5k in years and I seldom push myself to run as hard as I can like one would in a 5k race. This is the one goal on my list I am least confident I can achieve. I am planning to take some time off running long distance post 50k to try and train myself up for a 5k in the summer. If anyone has ideas for a fun 5k to run preferably in the Finger Lakes region of NY or a good training plan to follow let m know in the comments.

My other goals amount to just becoming smarter and more well informed about running. So everyone share with me their favorite running columns to read to learn more about running and become a better runner. I’d love to see what is out their besides articles by Runners World.

Get out there and enjoy a run. Talk to you again soon.

Over The Hurdles

Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. What hurdles will you be jumping over on your way to a great 2018?

Now check out this series of photographs of a sheltie clearing a hurdle during agility trials at the Wine Country Circuit dogs Show at Sampson State Park in 2017.

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2018 Goal and Project

I have talked a lot about how my photography often combines with my other passions that become parts of my life over the years. The last few years running has become a huge part of my life and my photography has reflected that. As my experience in running evolves and I develop new goals my running leads me to attempt new photography projects.

There is a chance you will see more GoPro photos of me taking a selfie.

In the first half of 2018 I will be running my first ever marathon, a trail marathon, at Sehgahunda. Then I will run my first Ultra Marathon at the Worlds End 50K. My training plan for these faces officially begins on New Years Day. I can’t think of a better way to start of the new year than with the the official beginning of the pursuit of a new goal and amazing challenge. Something that I never thought I would ever do.

There will likely be photos of my fellow runners crushing some trails.

I expect this to be a huge challenge and not something that will come easy for me. Between the challenge of finding time to run, the actual stress of running, finding time to work on other projects, and keeping my life balance it is sure to be a true test. For this reason I am going to make this a totally immersive process. I am going to make this not just a running goal, I am going to make this a photography project as well.

I am going to attempt to document as much as I can of my training and life experience as I work through my training plan and the rest of my life on the way to completing my first marathon and 50K. This will include photography, video, and writing. I will publish as much content as I can on my social media and Patreon channels. You can find me on just about any Social media or photography related websites: Facebook Kyle Reynolds, My Facebook business page Kyle Reynolds / KRNaturalPhoto, Twitter @KRnaturalPhoto, Instagram personal Kyle_Reynolds_KRNatrualPhoto, and Instagram business KRNaturalPhoto, Tumbler KRNaturalPhoto, Pinterest KRNaturalPhoto, LinkedIn KRNaturalPhoto, 500px KRNaturalPhoto, Google+ Kyle Reynolds, Google+ business page KRNaturalPhoto, Viewbug Kyle Reynolds, and Flickr KRNaturalPhoto.

You’ll see excellent scenery while out on trails or roads.

If you are at all interested in what it is like for someone to train for a trail marathon of 50K and want to hear about it first hand no sugar coating then follow me hear and on any of my other pages above. Or if you just want to see the amazing artwork that I am hopefully able to create as part of this adventure you should also follow me. I plan to write and post as much as possible. Be back soon to share more.

And hopefully what you will see is photos that show how much fun it can be trying to reach for that next challenge and goal.

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.

Kira The Gentle

Kira came to be part of our family in a funny way. I had been volunteering my time at the Chemung County SPCA to photograph the dogs and cats there that are available for adoption. I love just about all the dogs that I have worked with there. But when I photographed Kira there was just a connection. I went home and posted her photos online and I half-jokingly commented with the photos that someone better go adopt her before I do. We were not looking for a dog at the time and despite the connection I felt with her I was not seriously thinking about adopting her. At this time my wife, Debby, was working at the Chemung County SPCA and shortly after I photographed Kira she said she thought she really liked Kira and maybe we should adopt her. And that was all it took. I was fully on board and Kira went home with us.

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Kira at the Chemung County SPCA

Kira might have been the perfect adoption for our family. She was just the right dog for us. We have always had multiple dogs in our home and adding another dog to the mix can be complicated. Kira was the perfect fit. She got along fine with all our other dogs. She didn’t need to be crated. She didn’t cause any problems when left alone in the house. She might have even been too well behaved for us. We love to sit with our dogs all snuggled up on the couch and we had to teach Kira that it was OK to get on the furniture at our house. One thing I did learn quickly is that Kira was not a dog to let off leash. One day shortly after she came home I unhooked her from her leash thinking we’d just walk the few steps to the door and into the house. Wrong. She bolted across the yard and down the road. Luckily she was a big dog and I caught her pretty quickly. And that is how our lives together began.

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It’s really tough when you adopt an older dog. There is this ever present feeling of uncertainty. You never know what to expect. While nothing in life is certain, when you commit to an older dog you know that there is a god chance that their best days may be behind them and the life you experience with them might be short and limited. It is something that you try not to focus on but it is a consideration. We tried to make the best of things with Kira and for the most part she was healthy and loved to do all the things that any other dog would love to do and we tried to get her out there doing as much as possible.

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She enjoyed walks, and hikes, and going to events with us. She loved us and loved being with us. We tried to give her the best life we could and she ave us everything she had until her last day. It’s hard not to feel like it was unfair that we had such a short time to spend with her. She was such a loving and comforting dog. She didn’t want to do anything but sit with you. The only thing on Kira’s agenda was sit with my humans. Be with my humans.

Kira at Seneca Lake
Kira at Seneca Lake

It’s funny now thinking back on our time with her, that there aren’t many crazy stories to tell about her because she was just that kind of dog that didn’t require much. She didn’t do crazy things. She was just mellow and melted into the background of the home. She was the calm one. The one that waited her turn and when all the other dogs were done she would approach to get her turn with you and be petted and loved on. When you lose a dog like that you have lost something special. A dog that didn’t require any extra work. A dog that was just there for you and accepted whatever you had to give. I think that my favorite memory of her is after finishing my first half marathon Debby and Kira were waiting for me at the finish line. She was there to cheer me on and support me just like family does.


It’s odd how much an impact it is or a void that can be left by the quiet and calm presence of one dog when they are no longer there. There isn’t this huge dog who quietly saunters down the all to my office and nudges my hand while I work so I will pet her and then lies down quietly on the floor while I work. I won’t have that warm heart just a few feet away as I type or edit photos anymore. There is more room in my office now, but I would give anything to be crowded again and have to type one handed.


I spent the last week we had with Kira wanting to get some photographs of her. But as a photographer I have this need for the photos to be perfect. Even if they are just personal photos that I might be the only person to see them. I still want them to be nice. I want the photos to be as good as they can be and I want my dogs to look good in the photos. So I kept putting off taking photos until I had time to get out my cameras and lashes and take some nice indoor portraits of Kira so that I would have really nice photos to remember her by. Then one night I decided to lie on the floor with her and just snuggle her. It was then I decided I needed to just take photos now and capture the moments as they were. The real moments that we had together. Because we never knew how much more we would have. I am so glad I made that decision. I took photos of her with my cell phone two nights in a row and then she was gone. If I hadn’t taken those photos I would not had any images to remember her in her last days by. So don’t wait for it to be perfect. Don’t wait for the best possible circumstances. If you have an opportunity to create memories do it now while you have the chance. You never know if you will have the opportunity again.


Coming home from work to find that Kira had passed was not how we wanted it to go and it might have been one of the hardest things I’ve experienced. But, Thankfully we have amazing family and friends that when we shared the news of Kira’s passing were so supportive and loving. There really are no words to express how grateful I am to have all these people in my life. I don’t know how we would get through the times like this without them. So many people shared words of compassion with us and told us exactly the right things that any dog lover needs to hear in these tough times. We also have the most amazing vet who took the time to talk to us and share her thoughts and kind words with us. Knowing that she didn’t believe that Kira suffered meant so much to us.


In the end Kira died at home the way she lived. Without fanfare and without drawing attention to herself. She died peacefully and in a way that we didn’t have to make that most terrible decision that any dog owner has to make. In hindsight I believe Kira was hanging on those last few days for us. She still got up and followed me to my office even though it was obvious she was laboring. And that was when we knew it was time. But she had other plans. For the last few nights once we knew the time was close, before I went to bed I got down on the floor with her and whispered in her ear. I told her I loved her and if it was time for her to go tonight that it was OK and that she didn’t have to hang on for us. And that is what she did. Once we were gone for the day and she didn’t have to be with us anymore she could leave us for the last time. The hardest part is just not being able to be there in the last moments and say goodbye.