Category Archives: Running

Running While Carrying (My Camera) Take 2

It was a cold, blustery day – the kind of day meant for sitting on the couch and ignoring the call of my running shoes. I am very good at both of those things. But amazingly, the call of my camera was stronger, so I laced up my sneakers and took the camera out for another spin.

I headed south down 23rd street toward the Lincoln Memorial like I always do. I had plans to check out a stunning painted church in Southwest DC, but never made it there due to a disease I like to called “obsessive photography.”

I started snapping at the John Ericsson National Memorial, dedicated to the man who invented the screw propeller.

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I headed east toward the FDR Memorial, a sprawling celebration of FDR’s four presidential terms.

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The memorial hosts a recreation of the depressed bread line – men waiting on line for a scrap of bread during the Great Depression.

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A collage of bronze panels, called Social Programs, features the 54 social programs President Roosevelt initiated under his presidency. It makes for beautiful photography.

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This wall is dedicated to FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a work relief program that existed from 1933 to 1942.

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I love the way the light peaks through the trees and shines down on the grey stone.

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Here, I zoomed in on a statue of FDR. The statue was somewhat controversial because the designers chose not to depict FDR in his wheelchair. The wall in the background reads: “They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers… call this a New Order. It is not new and it is not order.”

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As I left the FDR Memorial, I cam across this tree and stopped suddenly. I can’t get over how much this tree looks like a face.

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Beautiful trees. Enough said.

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I looped around to the Jefferson Memorial before heading home. A bride sat on the marble steps, taking a pause in the cold to touch up her makeup.

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Conclusion: Running with my dSLR makes running bearable, even in cold, blustery weather.

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Running While Carrying (My Camera)

Can someone please invent a contraption that allows me to run with my dSLR camera? I would get a lot more running done, and take a lot more pictures in the process. The former keeps me relatively in shape; the latter keeps me relatively happy.

As many of you know, I’m an avid photographer and reluctant runner. But taking pictures with my iPhone just doesn’t cut it. So yesterday, I did something weird. I strapped my bulky dSLR around my chest, laced up my sneakers, and went for a run.

Yes, I looked a bit ridiculous. Yes, it was not the most comfortable way to log miles. Yes, the camera awkwardly bounced against my hip. Yes, my running got interrupted by “oh my God, I must take pictures of that” epiphanies. But…it was possibly the most enjoyable run I have had in a long time. I was actually excited to venture off my couch. The weather was brisk but beautiful – bright blue skies with steady sunshine. And Washington D.C. is full of interesting sights to satisfy any hungry photographer.

I’ve never photographed the Korean Memorial soldiers before. It was a fun challenge.

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Then I jogged my way over to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

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Look how blue that sky is.

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And then the creme de la creme: Washington D.C.’s floral library. It’s not massive, but it is beautiful. The colors are simply breathtaking.

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Full disclosure: I am not a fast runner on my best days. Running (jogging really) with a camera is that much easier if you are limited to a glacial pace (silver linings, right?). I also switched out my regular heavy lens for the smaller, lighter 50mm lens. It takes great pictures and makes running with a camera less cumbersome.

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Weed, Running, and Boating in Toronto

Four months ago, I had a crazy idea. I emailed two of my favorite people in the world and wrote: “Let’s sign up for the Nike 15K race in Toronto.” To my pleasant surprise, they agreed.

Lucky for us Americans, one of those people – my good friend Daveeda – lives in Toronto. Rachel and I had instant accommodations. Too bad, the weather wasn’t quite as accommodating.

We flew into Toronto Friday morning at the crack of dawn and spent some time soaking up the important sites in between the rain. For Rachel, this meant sampling poutine. For me, this meant taking pictures everywhere.

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Posing in front of our course map

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Rachel sampling sunglasses for the meager price of $178. A steal!

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Apparently, we are a big deal in Canada.

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After picking up our race packets, we made our way to Kensington Market which is a hispster’s dream neighborhood. Think graffiti, overpriced trinkets, dilapidated storefronts, and trendy restaurants. Oh, and lots and lots of weed.

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Hehehe…

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Kensington Market

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Just considering my career options…

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Dear Toronto, I LOVE this. Sincerely, me.

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Pretty graffiti in Kensington Market

After a lazy Saturday, race day arrived. I checked the weather for the fifteenth time, and the weather gods promised us no rain until the afternoon. Shockingly, the weather gods were wrong.

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Getting on the ferry for the Toronto Islands

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Daveeda and Rachel

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Me pretending not to be exhausted

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The stunning Toronto skyline from our ferry

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Getting ready…

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In case you’re curious, I could not find the clothing optional beach

The course was beautiful. I wish I had more pictures, but since I’m pretty slow as it is, I refused to drag my time down further by stopping to take pictures. We traversed pavement, grass, gravel, and even a stunning boardwalk along the water. I managed to take this picture while running, as we made our way through Billy Bishop Airport and Toronto’s skyline came into view.

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I am happy to report that I finished the race, and I am the proud owner of my second Nike Tiffany necklace. I am also very proud of my friends who made excellent time. Daveeda and Rachel – you are legit runners.

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By the time we finished, however, it had started raining. I was wet, freezing, and just a little bit grumpy – a terrible combination. The euphoria of running 9.3 miles was quickly washed away by the urgent desire to take the longest and hottest shower known to mankind.

That was not an option – at least not yet. First, we had to get back to the mainland. Instead of waiting three hours for the communal ferry, we hopped a ride on a private boat owned by Daveeda’s friend, Addler. This was a brilliant move on our part, except for the minor fact that it was still raining, and we were still cold and wet. As we squeezed ourselves into the boat, (including Daveeda’s husband and four kids) and zipped along Lake Ontario, the wind slapped our faces, and the water seeped into my bones. I didn’t know it was possible to be so miserably cold and deliriously happy at the same time.

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Our brilliant/disastrous boat ride

Daveeda’s seven-year-old daughter, not the least bit pleased with the prospect of a rainy boat ride, summed up the entire experience best: “Mommy, why did you run this race???”

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Glutton for Punishment

As many of you know, I do not like running. Not even a little bit. But I love the idea of being a runner. I love the idea of being in shape and conquering the miles one by one. Of course, I have never quite become the glorified runner of my imagination. Instead, I hobble along, complaining about each mile and wondering why I put myself through this. Why? Because, clearly, I’m a glutton for punishment.

Nike Confirmation

That must be why I signed up for the Nike 15K race in Toronto in June. Fortunately, I have two good friends who agreed to participate in this torturous journey with me. I’m super excited to see my friend Daveeda in Toronto even if I need a 9.3 mile excuse to make the trip. So now the training – and the complaining – begins in earnest!

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13.1

13.1 miles is  a lot of miles. I know because this morning, at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m., I ran 13.1 miles.

This was my first half marathon, and my emotions ran the gamut. When the alarm went off at 5:15 a.m., all I could think was, “Why? WHY?????”

And then, “Must. Have. Diet. Coke. Immediately.” Which I promptly did. Trust me, you don’t want to ignore the voice in your head at 5:15 a.m.

But as I stood at the start  line waiting for the race to start, surrounded by 15,000 thousand  women, the exhaustion faded into exhilaration. And I thought: “I’m running a half marathon!!! That’s kinda awesome of me.” Scratch kinda. Just plain awesome.

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Waiting for the race to start

The exhilaration of the race and my natural competitiveness helped push me a long. I promised myself I could walk after I hit the 10-mile mark, but I kept running (err…jogging), one foot in front of the other. Somewhere around mile 7, the pain set into my leg muscles, but it is amazing what your body can do when you don’t give in. I marveled at the sheer persistance we humans are capable of. I has always been the kind of person who promised up and down I would never subject myself to a half marathon/marathon. Why in the world would I willingly subject myself to such agony? But there I was, knocking down the miles one by one, running farther than I have ever run before. And when I crossed the finish line after 2 hours, 27 minutes and 6 seconds of running, I felt pure joy. I gobbled down a banana, collected my Tiffany necklace and my finisher’s t-shirt and exulted in my accomplishment.

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These suit-clad men handed out Tiffany necklaces to all the finishers

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The famous Nike Tiffany necklace

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ME!!!!!

The exultation lasted about 15 minutes.

Then, I remembered how much my feet hurt, and my stomach started making odd noises that I’m pretty sure a stomach is not supposed to make. I moaned and groaned as I shuffled my way home and collapsed into bed. But even this pain has a silver lining. The stiffness in my legs is a reminder of my accomplishment, a reminder that the limits I set for myself are meant to be crushed.

But just for the record: I will NOT be signing up for a full marathon anytime soon.

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I Like This

The cover of Boston Magazine:

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Countdown to the Big Day

Nike has invaded Washington D.C. Race day is only two days away!

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Nike has set up shop on the bank of the Potomac in Georgetown.

Marathon Route

The route

 

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She’s Baaaaaaaaaaaack!

I’m back. At least for now. I’ve been busy — happily so — but as I rode the Amtrak train from New York City to DC today, I realized how much I miss writing and complaining about life’s big and little adventures. So I’m back.

Speaking of complaining…

This Sunday, I will will be running 13.1 miles in Nike’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. along with 15,000 other runners. The training process has been painful — both physically and emotionally. I am not a natural runner. I don’t love running. In fact, sometimes, I downright hate it.

Giving up my Sundays to run 10 miles is not my idea of a good time, but it has been a fascinating experience in pushing my own perceived limitations. I never thought I could run 10 miles, and now I have. Multiple times. I never thought I could run a half-marathon. And next Sunday I will (hopefully).

I still don’t understand how people do this all the time. After four years of running, I’m still waiting to turn into a RUNNER – you know, the kind of person you see on the street and go, “oh yeah, she’s a runner.” The kind of person who misses running after skipping a day or two. The kind of person who doesn’t have to reward herself by downloading new movies on iTunes for every treadmill run since it’s a pretty expensive reward. None of those things have happened, and they may never will, but for now, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Check back next week for pictures and results from the grand event.

P.S. Please, please, please pray for the below weather predictions to change.

Weather 04-28-13

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HAPPY JANUARY: THINGS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO

Is there anything more depressing than returning from a great vacation to a cold and dreary January and the prospect of another two months of freezing tempuratures? Probably, but I’m having trouble getting past the two more months of winter and the lack of any big travel plans on the horizon. Have no fear! There are still a number of big (and small) things to look forward this month.

1. New job: I’ll be switching jobs later this month. Here’s to all the adventures and craziness that big life changes inevitably bring. I shall embrace thee.

2. Running: Yeah, I never thought I’d utter such a blasphemous statement, but the downside of vacation is that I always come back feeling like a female version of the Pillsberry Dough Boy. No matter how many times I vow to use the hotel gym on vacation, it never actually happens. It’ll be nice to start running again and feeling more like a person and less like a dough girl.

3. Charlotte: I’ll be going to Charlotte, NC for work later this month. Granted, it’s not the most exotic destination, but I like exploring new cities.

4. Planning new trips: I love planning trips almost as mich as I love taking them. I’m not sure what our next big trip will look like, but I’m hoping to plan some weekend hiking outings in the spring. Any suggestions for the Northeast?

5. TV shows return: No more being forced to watch dopey holiday movies on the ABC Family Channel.

6. Music: On a similar note, the end of Christmas music on every radio station.

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Frack. Now I Have To Run 13.1 Miles

Remember when I did something really, really, really stupid? Let me refresh your memory. A couple weeks ago, I signed up for the Nike half-marathon in Washington D.C. At the time, I didn’t freak out because I was entered into a lottery system. I had the luxury of feeling awesome for signing up while I convinced myself I wouldn’t actually have to run. It was a win-win. Then this showed up in my inbox today.

Congrats! You just paid $160 to subject yourself to 13 miles worth of torture.

Congrats! You just paid $160 to subject yourself to 13 miles worth of torture.

Now, I actually have to run. And run. And run some more. This is the route:

Half Marathon course

I’ve actually run and walked this course many times. It’s a great route, weaving in an out of the national monuments with exhilarating views of the Potomac. Of course, I’ve never done the entire course at once or at 7 a.m. in the morning.

So why? Why am I subjecting myself to this masochistic torture? It’s not for the Tiffany necklace Nike hands out for finishing because I’m not a necklace-wearing kind of gal, and if I really wanted a Tiffany necklace, I’d go out and buy one. And it’s not because I love running, because my relationship with the sport vacillates between unadulterated hatred and mild ambivalence. So that’s definitely not it.

Rather, I’ve managed to convince myself that running a half-marathon will not only make me a better runner, it will make me a better person. Running 13 miles always seemed like an impossible task. Like flying or walking through walls. And if I can conquer the seemingly impossible task of running a half-marathon, then I can do anything, right?

Right?

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