A Great Way to Start a Day of Feasting
If you’re an athlete, you love to eat. It’s one of the main reasons I run so much, so I can eat what I want without having to worry too much about putting on weight. Thanksgiving, however, throws me under the bus every year. I love sugary desserts, and can’t resist going whole hog on that one day of the year (well, except for Christmas and my birthday, of course).
The solution: run the annual Turkey Trot in the morning and start the day of feasting with negative calories. Dallas supposedly has the largest Thanksgiving Day run in the country, drawing over 36,800 runners and walkers last year. With temperatures in the low 60’s at the start this year, I have no doubt that the 5K and 8 mile races drew an even larger crowd. I was sick this year and didn’t run, but my better half, Michael, took some awesome photos of the event.
Things always get started off with pre-race warm up exercises.
Some people really get into the warm up, especially the kids.
The event begins and ends in front of City Hall, which was featured in that fine 70’s sci-fi flick, Logan’s Run (yeah, the one with Farrah Fawcett).
Everyone and their dog comes out for the big day. There are lots and lots of dogs. And strollers.
It’s more fun when you run it with good friends.
Come on, Dude. Really? You’re kind of missing the point.
If you want to race, you better start up front to escape the masses. This guy’s serious about burning off his pre-feast calories.
A sprint to the 5K finish is a fight to the end for these guys. It was neck and neck all the way to the end.
Someone forgot to tell him you never run in cotton on a warm day.
She makes it look easy with both feet off the ground in her super fast minimal shoes.
Are they giving thanks, or just posing for a photo? I love people who run in costumes, but have no desire to do it myself.
There’s always one Dead Head in every crowd, in every city.
You gotta love a guy who runs barefoot wearing a t-shirt advertising beef. Muy macho. I wonder if he’s listening to Metallica, too?
The eight mile course has a puke-inducing uphill finish. Bon appetit, guy with the banana!
Here’s the real reason most people run the Turkey Trot: to drink beer and bloody Mary’s in the cemetery afterwards with their friends. It’s carbs!
And if you can’t join them, you can at least give them a hand.
Some people remind us just how much we have to be thankful for, and to remember those who can’t be with us.
Here’s to another year of eating and turkey trotting with good friends. I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
An Autumn Trail Race in Palo Duro Canyon, TX
Running is something that makes me happy. I never feel more free, more joyful, than when I’m running through a beautiful landscape. It’s probably the main reason I love trail running.
I recently ran in my first trail race, the Palo Duro Trail Run. It was also my longest distance to date, 50 kilometers (31.1 miles). I enjoyed the experience tremendously and loved running in the desert, even though it meant seven and a half hours of running and 95 degree heat at the finish.
That’s Texas in October for you.
Trail races are very different from marathons. You have to bring a lot more gear. I always compare trail running to a small military operation.
It was 38 degrees at the start under a clear sky filled with stars. By 5:00pm the temperature would rise to 108 degrees.
Bagpipes played as people prepared for the 50K start at 7:00am. Away from the lights of the start area it was pitch dark. Headlamps were used for the first 45 minutes of the race.
What you run in is important. Skirts are always a comfy, cool alternative to shorts. Even for men.
Almost everyone carries their own water, either in their hand . . .
. . . or on their back.
You learn to eat on the go. It takes a lot of energy to run 20K, 50K or 50 miles, and the aid station tables are loaded with lots of goodies.
Some runners are able to resist the temptations of the aid stations and run straight through.
The early morning sun coats the canyon and those lucky enough to run there in a beautiful golden glow.
Even the parking lots are scenic.
The sky was a brilliant blue the entire day, with not a wisp of a cloud anywhere to be found.
There are man-made treacheries that need to be carefully navigated in trail races. These stairs were never fun, but especially not on the final loop.
Muscles tighten and protest in the harsh terrain. Sometimes it’s necessary to stop and stretch.
Trail running can be a solitary endeavor, but at times small trains of runners would come together and infuse the trail with conversation.
A lot of times walking up a steep hill is actually faster than running. By the third loop I enjoyed every opportunity to walk, even if it was uphill.
People run ridiculously long distances for a multitude of reasons. Some to challenge themselves, some to fight their demons, and others to remember someone they loved.
Some of the fastest runners stay so focused they barely register anything around them. Others make it look much easier than it really is.
Nothing means more to a runner than seeing the finish line–except maybe having their husband waiting there for them.
All photos taken by my awesome boyfriend, Michael Friedhoff, who spent the entire day lugging heavy camera equipment up and down the course. He fell asleep before I did that night.
Palo Duro, the Grand Canyon of Texas
West Texas is flat. Really flat. And treeless. It’s easy to imagine thousands of buffalo roaming the plain, or tornadoes barreling across the horizon. Amidst all this flat emptiness, it’s tough to believe there’s a canyon anywhere close by.
But there is a canyon, and it’s the second largest canyon in the country.
This past weekend some friends and I camped in Palo Duro Canyon in preparation for our trail race there in October.
Jay loved camping in his new tent. Because of it’s McMansion dimensions compared to the other two tents, it was quickly dubbed “The McTent.”
Some places in the country have snow drifts. In West Texas, we have mud. Flash flood warning signs are everywhere in the park. It’s obvious Palo Duro had a significant rain event in the canyon sometime before we got there.
But it wasn’t as significant as the rain and flooding they had there in 1978.
Though not deadly, spiders as big as your hand are nevertheless scary. There are tarantulas in the park. Supposedly they jump.
Looking for evidence of other animals in the canyon is easy in the soft sand. Other than these raccoon tracks, we saw other evidence of deer, hogs, coyotes, and lizards.
It was extremely hot during the day in the canyon. 114 degrees was the highest we saw. We had been hoping to have cooler temps, but at least it was cool in the mornings and evenings.
Even Shasta felt the heat.
To avoid the intense sun, we stayed under our shade shelter and played Uno, Monopoly, read, snacked, and played with the dogs.
Hari is like the overindulgent grandparent when it comes to Shasta.
Kurt braved the elements and went for a ride.
One morning we got up before the sun and went for an eleven mile trail run on the Givens, Spicer & Lowry Running Trail. It was the best trail run I’ve ever been on. It was exhilarating to run through such amazing scenery.
Our trail took us to the Lighthouse formation, which is an iconic Texas landmark.
Hari and I took a break at the top of the Lighthouse. Kurt took photos.
The trail winds through the canyon. We had it to ourselves for hours.
We took the Little Fox Canyon Trail loop for a few extra miles. It was starting to get warm, but it was nothing like the humidity we’re used to running in.
Tired, dusty, trail legs after a run are never pretty. Even Jay was impressed enough to take a photo.
Our last morning, Kurt and I got up once again before the sun and took a short 3.5 mile hike on the Rojo Grande and Juniper Trails. I love the desert light in the early mornings.
West Texas is a dangerous place. On the way back to Dallas, even stopping at a rest area (which also doubles as a tornado shelter) can be treacherous.
It was a great trip. From the coyotes howling in the middle of the night, to the full moon rising over the ridge, to the turquoise blue collared lizard I thought was a bird, and the Milky Way and Big Dipper stretching across the night sky, Palo Duro Canyon is beautiful. And of course, everything is more fun with good friends. I can’t wait to go back in October for the trail race.
Lighthouse trail run photos courtesy of Kurt Cimino.
No Words Needed
Sometimes a picture really is worth more than a thousand words.
I have always been a lover of words. As a child, I loved nursery rhymes and limericks, fairy tales and songs, and I lost myself in books. I learned early the power of words, how they could make you feel invincible, or hurt you worse than any other weapon. As I grew older, I loved writing and manipulating words, expressing sorrows, joys, and petty jealousies in long-lost diaries and journals. I went to college and analyzed and argued the classics, and became a teacher to convince children of the power of words.
It’s the unspoken words, however, that are the most powerful and sometimes tell the best stories.
And nothing tells a story better than a great photograph.
My dog, Shasta, is very high energy. Her looks tell all. After Christmas dinner, while everyone else is hooked up to their gadgets and distractions, and all she wants is a little attention.
In the summer, we don’t get much rain, but when it does rain it can be dramatic. Even if it spoils your Saturday afternoon plans of sitting on a restaurant patio, tossing back a few cold ones with your buddies, an unexpected rain storm can be a joyous occasion.
On the flip side, nothing says West Texas like a windmill and cattle next to empty railroad tracks on the Llano Estacado. If you follow 287 into Amarillo, this is pretty much what you’ll see, for miles and miles and miles.
Remember when you were a kid and you thought if you hid behind something, no matter how small, as long as you couldn’t see the other person they couldn’t see you either? And remember looking at the world through a balloon, and how the world suddenly became wrapped in yellow and you almost stopped breathing because it was so familiarly strange?
You don’t have to run a marathon to know they’re not easy. In most races the last mile is always the hardest, and at mile 25, with the end in sight, you sometimes need a little help. All you have to do is look at her face to know how many miles she held on, waiting for that hand to give her the strength to finish.
Photos capture things from the past. We remember the events, but we forget what it felt like to be there. Was it really that beautiful? Did I feel as small and insignificant that day as I look in the photograph? Did I gasp at the grandeur of the vista, or was I too tired to notice? Did I feel joy? Did I appreciate it then as much as I do now looking back at the photograph?
Words are important, whether spoken or unspoken. Words can paint a scene or an emotion, or they can twist and corrupt with their silence. Be careful what you say–or where you point your camera.
Here is a great website started by National Geographic photographers who tell stories without words.
Heartfelt thanks to everyone who liked and left comments on my last post. No one was more surprised than me to get the email that it was going to be Freshly Pressed. I am so honored to have been featured there, and even more humbled to see my little icon amongst such great blogs. You guys really kept me busy replying to all your lovely comments, and I look forward to checking out everyone’s blogs. It may take me awhile, but I can’t wait to see all the great writing and photography that’s out there.
Thanks also to those of you who signed up to follow Mind Margins. What a daunting task I have ahead of me to make it worth your while to continue reading and visiting. I especially look forward to discovering your own blogs and reading what you have to tell the world.
Most of all, a special thanks to those of you who’ve been reading my blog for the past year, which is when I really got serious about writing and keeping up with the posts. It took me awhile to slog through the changes and find my niche, from Walls with Doors, to chasing now, to Mind Margins, but you guys were patient with me! You are my blogging family, and I appreciate all the time you put into keeping up with my take on the world.
You guys rock!
During our week of camping in the Tetons, followed by my daughter’s wedding, we were audience to the continually changing beauty of the Tetons. I wanted to post a few photos of the Tetons, to show how different they looked at various times of day, but rather than just “a few,” decided to post all of the best photos.
After unzipping the tent each morning, the Tetons were always my first sight. It became a game each morning to discover how the mountains would look that first hour of the day.
The afternoons were very warm, and the sunshine at altitude was intense. Everyone got sunburned the first day within the first hour. Each afternoon seemed to bring dramatic weather, with winds and dark clouds, though many times the rain never hit the ground.
The evenings were simply gorgeous. Each evening was different from the one before, depending on the clouds and colors. Our first night there, the Milky Way arced across the sky like a white rainbow.
Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons: The Need for Wildness
Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks are two of my favorite places on earth. I’ve spent many summers there, camping and hiking and visiting my daughter, who was a park ranger in Yellowstone for several summers, then a geologist in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Going to Yellowstone every summer was like going to church, meeting God everywhere you turned. Even though it’s one of the most visited national parks in the nation, once you leave the main road you truly are in a wild, untamed place.
Being there, to me at least, is like returning to sanity. Things make sense and the world is as it should be. When life back home becomes crazy with busyness and stress, I close my eyes and turn my thoughts to Yellowstone. Just knowing it’s there is enough.
Tibetans say that Mount Meru is the center of the universe; in my world, the center is Yellowstone.
We need the wild for renewal.
We need the wild to remind us who we are.
We need the wild to keep us from getting lost.
We need the wild to keep us humble.
We need the wild to remind us what is real.
We need the wild to take our breath away.
We need the wild to show us what we’re most afraid of.
We need the wild as a guide, showing us we don’t need anything more than we already have.
We need the wild to show us the way to stillness.
We need the wild to remind us that life goes on without us.