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2014 Year End Stats

Well, there you have it.  One of my lowest training years in quite a while.  It’s still a significant chunk of time and miles by many standards, but I felt like I was just barely scraping by most of the time.

2014 stats table

2014 stats

I spent a significant time behind the camera this year, photographing 19 races.  While my trigger finger got a great workout, and I did log over 75 miles packing the camera gear during the events, my fitness felt on the low side while my weight remained on the high side for most of the year.

I would be a lot more thrilled with 2,500 running miles IF there were about 1,500 bike miles to go along with them.  The bike miles are seriously lacking lately.

Ok, enough of that.  I did what I could with what I had, and I’m all set for a great 2015!  Really looking forward to embracing the training again and focusing on getting back to the kind of level I know I can reach.  I already have some 2015 race shoots booked, and my own racing calendar is starting to take shape.

Looks like I will be skipping the Leadville 100 this year after being part of it every year for 8 in a row (volunteer, DNF, then 6 consecutive finishes).  I’m torn about passing on it this year, but it falls a week later than normal, and the scheduling is problematic for me for a variety of reasons.  No absolute deal breakers, but enough so that it would seem like making it through the lottery would only result in my own little lottery of whether or not I was going to be able to make it to the race or not.  I don’t feel like training with that hanging over my head this year, I want to select some events that are free from any scheduling conflicts and then really do my best to train hard and prepare well for them.

Thanks everyone for your support, inspiration, and motivation – and Happy New Year!

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Catching Up

I won’t be anywhere near caught up with this post (Leadville report, anyone?), but I gotta oil this blog up and get some content flowing again.

After doing the Leadville 100, Little Grand Canyon marathon, and the Bear Chase 50 miler in a six week span, my legs were crushed. I’ve been able to pull off similar stunts in the past without too much bother, but this year I am operating on a very thin base of training. I was holding out hope until the very last minute to hop into the new Indian Creek Fifties (50k, 50 mile) because it was taking place just a few miles from my house on trails that I have run on frequently. The legs said NO.

They are coming around, though. After taking most of October off, I am back to regular training again and finally starting to feel a bit better.

I hit Waterton Canyon last week for my long run (17 mi) and spent half an hour at the top watching some rams battle for control of the herd. It was awesome! Because there is construction going on in the canyon, it is only open on the weekends right now. There just happened to be this big 6′ tall concrete junction box on the opposite side of the road from these guys and I was able to hop on it and have a front row seat to the action.

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Image quality is crap because it was just my cell phone, but the the timing could not have been any better. Love the power evident in their hind legs.

That turned out to be my most liked photo I have ever posted in 5+ years on Facebook. Just goes to show that all of that $$$ camera gear I have doesn’t mean squat when stacked up against an image that draws a true emotional response from the viewer.

Then poof, October was gone. It was even a tame Halloween for us. Nothing to extravagant on the costume side of things, but the girls had fun.

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A couple of my cycling team buds from a previous life were running the ICF race and I wanted to try and get up on the course to see them. I debated whether or not to haul the big camera along, but finally decided to just take the point and shoot and enjoy the run. To my great surprise, when I rolled out my front door early in the morning, my legs actually felt good! It has been too long.

As I headed up Waterton I took a photo – and saw the dreaded message on the back of the camera. No memory card inserted… Oops. Rookie. I’d be limited to just the few shots it could store on the internal memory. I don’t look very happy, and I probably wasn’t with that news, but I was still having a good time rolling along to Thirty Seconds to Mars thumping in my ears. I must have hit repeat 40 times on “Do or Die”. Check it out if you want an awesome running song.

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Just past the dam I ran into Brad and the crew (Stuart, Robbie, and Terry) setting up the Steven’s Gulch aid station for the race. I thought I would have 20 minutes or so to goof off as I waited for my buds Luke and JP to roll through. I jumped in and started helping with the setup and the 50k leaders came flying in before we were quite open for business. Wow, the race was on now!

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All my previous thoughts of jogging around the course for a while went out the window. I started running up the hill that dropped runners into the aid station and grabbing bottles to refill. I’d sprint back to the aid station and in many cases have them topped off and ready for the runner when they came in. That was fun. I just left the Garmin running and accumulated 4 miles worth of hill repeats (miles 8-12 below). Good training.

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I had a ton of yard work waiting for me, so had to break it off after a couple of hours and get back home. Really enjoyed it, and much respect to the real volunteers that put in a massive day up there. Luke won the 50 mile and JP did awesome in his first ultra. Totally blew me away by how comfortable he looked coming into mile 20.

I got work to do, but I’m eager to get back at it.

Topped the day off with an evening dog walk. It’s just a duck, but man that light was sweet.

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Photo Shoot: 2014 HRCA Splash Mash Dash Triathlon

This was my second triathlon shoot, and it proved to be every bit the challenge I remembered from the one prior. A lot of it has to do with it being a pool vs. open water swim event. There are only so many lanes, so a limited number of racers can be in the pool at any one time. The solution from a race perspective is the wave start, which is a great way to utilize the limited resource. This type of tri is primarily raced against the clock, with the placings sorted out after everyone has finished.

Photographically this means you are never really sure where the leader of the race is at any given time. People are still doing their turn in the pool, while others are halfway through the bike course. For a single photographer covering the event, a lot of compromises and on-the-fly decisions have to be made when it comes to figuring out where to be and what to shoot.

I used my mountain bike to cover a little more ground this time as my primary bike shooting spot was some distance from the pool and start/finish area. It was a fun event and a great time to practice techniques such as wide angle pool shots, and panning the bikes with slow shutter speeds to blur the backgrounds. Easier said than done.

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Full gallery here.