Daily Archives: December 12, 2012
Bighorn, singletrack, reindeer, and burritos. Good stuff this week.
Things are slowly, ever so slowly, turning around. Ran 62 miles. Still a little lower than I would like, but my body is just not ready for more yet. The week did include both an 18 and 17 miler two days apart, so it was nice to get some solid longer efforts in the legs.
Monday was looking to be a shutout, but I managed to squeak in a quick 7 miles in the dark on some singletrack in the foothills. That was an unexpectedly great run. Felt somewhat like my old self again.
Tuesday was a steady 10.
Ahhh, Wednesday. If I could script the perfect December day on the Front Range, Wednesday would have been it. Got an early start and put in 18 miles on Green Mountain (Lakewood) with my buddy TB who was visiting from out of town. I have been logging some solid weekend time at the office lately, so it happened to work out that I was able to get the green light to take the day off. I made the most of it!
I feel slow and out of shape, but held up much better than I thought I would on that run. Although when I tried to tack on a couple of extra miles (hoping for 20 total), I learned right away that wasn’t going to be in the cards.
Instead, I bolted for Waterton Canyon and hopped on the MTB with my camera gear to spend a few hours hanging out with the Bighorn herd.
I ended up getting some awesome portraits of a huge old ram I call Obi-Wan. He has a fantastic beautiful silvery coat and nobody ever messes with him. After observing him for a few weeks, I get the feeling that he used to be The Boss of the entire canyon. Now he is mostly solitary, associating with the rest of the herd only briefly before moving back to the cliffs on the south side of the canyon. He’s my favorite. I have named a few others – Ramzilla, Curly, Sleevie Wonder, and Rico Suave are the most prominent rams that I can recognize on sight.
I was laying low near the herd for this shot. They knew I was close by and went about their business feeding while I took photos here and there. There are days when I stay pretty far away (especially when they are bedded down) because I don’t want to disturb them or alter their behavior at all. On this afternoon, I was able to hang out and pretty much be part of the group. Anyway, Obi-Wan decided he was done with the rest of them and started making his trademark move heading to the other side of the canyon. I was getting some okay shots as he approached, but then right at the best possible moment a twin-engine turbo prop plane flew over at fairly low altitude. The different and unusual noise stopped him in his tracks and took his attention off me while I popped out of cover and went crazy taking shots from about 12 feet away. As the noise started to diminish, I slid back into cover and he went on his way. It was such a cool moment!
Even with all of that I made it home in time to pick up dog poop and rake leaves while it was still light out. Okay, so most of the day was awesome…
Goose egg on Thursday except for my 5:00 AM treadmill hike. Way too much going on with work/life.
Tried to get out Friday, but bagged it after a miserable 4 miles. My calves just will not relent. They are the one thing in this world that is proving to be more stubborn than I am.
Had a lot on the schedule for Saturday, but there was room for a run if I started before dawn. I suited up and headed out into the 22 degree blackness, with my disassmbled DSLR and 300mm lens stuffed into my hydration pack. My legs were still full of crap, and the slightest of inclines made my calves miserable, but I was determined to keep chugging along. I ran the mile and a half to the Waterton Canyon trailhead and made it there just as the sky was starting to brighten. I had the whole place to myself all the way to the top and for a couple of miles coming back down. It was cold, but so still and peaceful. I tried to ignore my leg issues and focused on the awesomeness of this place and how lucky I am to be able to enjoy it.
It took a couple of tries, but I was able to get the horizon in the mirror to match the horizon behind the mirror. Kind of a cool effect.
The pack was a serious burden with the camera gear, but I put it to good use when I spotted the herd bedded down waaaay up on a south-facing slope. I waited until the canyon was clear of people before starting my scramble up a drainage clear up to the top of the ridge. I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself or to the animals if I could help it. I was getting short on time, and while the light was pretty nice because it was still early, the sheep were all bedded down with their butts facing the sun (as they always seem to do). They make it difficult to get a decent shot!
I circled in from above and got several photos of Curly from accross the drainage I had climbed up. I didn’t have much hope for these because the lighting was so harsh from behind, I was playing with the angles and letting in a little lens-flare to see how that would look. I ended up with one non-flared keeper out of the bunch. I think this is my all-time favorite so far. The backlight worked in my favor for once and it almost looks like it was done in a studio. I have never really pursued making prints of my photos before, but I think I will definitely have this one hanging on my wall soon.
Ended up with a little over 17 miles.
We headed over to the local hardware store after I got back to go check out some reindeer. I thought they would be in a big pen outside (maybe picturing something more like elk?). They are actually quite small. Hence, eight tiny reindeer…
Sunday. I had hopes of getting in a couple of miles, but ended up stuck in the office all day fighting with some planned system maintenance that went off the rails. It got to be late afternoon and I was starving. I was expecting a super high priority call that was going to make or break my whole week, but had been told it could be up to two hours in coming. I seized the chance to dash over to Taco Bell and grab a burrito. I was sooo looking forward to eating.
I took the first giant bite, going all Carpe Diem on that bad boy (yeah, I was bloody starving, remember?), and the phone immediately started to ring. It was The Call.
I have rarely been so happy (to get the call) and so frustrated at the exact same moment in time.
I froze for a second, racking my brain desperately to find the win-win solution, but there was none to be found. I had to regurgitate that mess like a mother bird feeding a nest full of hungry chicks. Then clear my throat and act all cool. Hello?
Looking back, it sure was a great week. The icing on the cake was getting the latest Ultrarunning magazine and seeing that 3 of my photos had been published.