Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Run Forest, Run!

I spent the last week working in Cheyenne, WY. I don't even know how to begin blogging about that town. Woah.

After 9 straight days of 14 hour work days my guys rebelled and told me I was giving them the day off. I complied. They took a tour of the Budweiser factory in Fort Collins. I decided to check out Estes Park and Rock Mountain National Park.

It was a running day but once I got to the parking lot and looked around the long-dormant mountaineering spirit deep down in my gut wriggled it's way out and made other plans. Spectacular 12, 13 and 14,000 foot peaks surrounded me on every side, each of them flaked by massive cliffs, escarpments and vertical granite buttresses. In my minds eye I saw myself ascending every one of them. I had to get to the top of one of these babies so I devised a plan; run to the top of a mountain. Diabolical!

I was anxious to see what effect my running/training would have on my stamina and cardio system at that altitude. Six months ago getting to the tree line would have killed me. I feel better than I have for a decade, though, and this was the perfect opportunity to see what I was capable of. I chose a well traveled trail to the top of Flat Top Mountain. The map said it was a constant grade with no quad and calf burning steep stuff near the top. Perfect. I also chose it because I was alone but knew that there would be plenty of other hikers along the way. Dying of heart failure or oxygen deprivation is best done with a little company, even if it is a perfect stranger. I loaded a small pack with the essentials, donned the new boots I bought at the Sierra Trading Post the day before and took off up the trail.

The long and short of this story is that I made it to the top and the summit was spectacular. The guts of the story is that it was five miles to the summit and 3200' in elevation gain and I did it in 2 hours 23 minutes. And, I went from the truck to the summit without stopping. Well, I stopped for about 3 minutes at mile two to put some moleskin on a blister and at mile three I had to explain to someone that the little critter was not a mouse but a Pika. It's actually in the Rabbit family. That took about 30 seconds.

I was passing people left and right and never felt excessively winded. I actually got a huge ego boost when a group of girls I passed told me that I made them feel bad about stopping to rest. Am I wrong to feel good about that? Anyway, it felt great! I'm pretty sure that ALL of my friends, including Kristi, Amy, Kim, Cory, Joe, Hillary, Jared, Jaren, Tracy, Curtis, Jamie, Chris...could have shaved 45 minutes off of that time with little effort. But I know for a fact that six months ago I would have hacked up my spleen making it to the top of that hill.

I rewarded myself with a Gatorade and Wheat Bagel with Nutella then fell asleep under a huge boulder. It was bliss. Then I ran most of the way down and made it back to the car in 1 hour 12 minutes.

It was, like, the best run E-V-E-R.

And I was told that the Budweiser factory is pretty interesting.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Look a little closer

I've been working closely with four of my employees for a week and our current project coincides with the purchase of my new lighting system. While eating my "Pork (insert some fancy Italian word)" at the Olive Garden and pondering a shoot at the local wind farm I noticed that my guys had amazing faces, incredibly expressive in their own way. I'd never looked so closely at them but I saw them differently and suggested that we do a photo shoot - as soon as we were done eating. Forget the wind farm.

And we did.

Using the shower as a lightbox.

Zane has more sarcasm in his little finger that most people do in their entire body. He'll go hours or even days without saying a word - then without warning a smirk comes over him and something unbelievable comes out of his mouth. Ky is level headed and cool and exudes contentment. A little tuft of hair makes an understated smile seem even smaller. Cole is deadpan except when someone or something strikes him as funny. He cocks his head to the side and peers with a slightly larger distant eye to avoid smiling. But a smile always pokes through. Wesley, unlike his brother Cole, always looks like he either just pulled a prank or is about to.

The more I shoot people the more I love it. Trying to capture that defining expression is super fun. Thanks to "my guys" for being subjects.

BTW: you don't get overtime for this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I love beef. And Bacon. (yes, capitol B)

But I don't do horses. I don't do livestock at all. Doesn't interest me in the least. I downright hate dogs. So, it was unusual that I would find an image watching my neighbors unload a hay wagon the other day. I couldn't resist wandering into the yard to take a picture.

You just never know...

Kristi is my Hero

Kristi rocks. She's the bomb, the real McCoy, my hero. In June she ran the Wasatch Back RAGNAR relay with 11 friends. I drove the support vehicle and generally shared the misery. If you want to read one of the most inspirational blogs written, take five and read this .

In fact, it inspired me so much that I actually took up running. In middle school I was the kid cutting through old ladies yards to shorten that 1.5 mile loop during PE. But during the Wasatch Back I saw first hand something you only read about in glossy magazines or great novels - you know, the stories that MOVE you. Check out Kristis blog for the tug-at-your-heartstrings details.

Long story short, I was inspired, took up running and signed up to be team captain of my own RAGNAR team. I'm in my fourth week of running and everything about it feels great. Even the suck.

Good things come to those who shoot 9000 frames

So I'm pretty excited about having an image in Rock and Ice magazine. I lucked out, too It's not just ANY issue...it's the 25th Anniversary issue AND the Outdoor Retailer issue.

Thanks to Brendan for letting me hang in his way for hours on end!