ChickEkiden 2008

April 26, 2008

Last year, I heard about a run that sounded like a lot of fun, but for various reasons, I couldn’t do it. However, this year I was determined to make it onto a team and do it. Today was this day! The 2008 ChickEkiden, part of the Gainesville chicken festival. It’s a marathon length (26.2 miles) relay with a team of 6 people. The best part? The relay baton is a rubber chicken.

Our group was able to come up with 12 people, so we entered two teams: “Runners Fit” and “Runners Not So Fit”. The “fit” team was made up of the fastest people, and the rest of us, who weren’t so fast, were the other team. Needless to say, yours truly is not so fast…

Each of us had was responsible for approximately 4.3 miles. I was a little worried when Ryan told me the last mile was tough. Of course, I asked him if that meant it was his-tough or my-tough. It took him a moment to think about, but decided that it was his tough. Uh-oh, that doesn’t bode well.

Starting off, there were a lot of big rolling hills. Running next to a lady, whom I ended up doing almost the whole leg with (Coach Carmen), we joked that if this wasn’t considered the tough part, we need to really worry about the last mile!

Well, we ran. Without going through the boring step-by-step of the entire route, it was a good course. I actually didn’t think the last mile was that bad at all. The thing that makes it tough is just that you’re tired. Especially me, since I was like white lightning, running 2 minutes faster than my average. And yes, that’s two minutes faster per mile! I finished my leg in 37:50, when I was planning for 45 minutes. WooHoo!

Doing the chickendance after the handoff

One thing that may have slowed me down just slightly is I did what was appropriate: At each mile marker, I had to slow down to do part of the chicken dance. And of course, after I did the handoff, I did it again.

A shout out goes to my wife who came out to take pictures and support us. (She acted as the “team mom” for us, although she drew the line at holding our used Kleenex.) The rest of the team was great to hang out with and we all got our fill of chicken jokes in.

And for the record, this race gets a big thumbs up! The course was good, a lot of support and volunteers. The post race food was good. (I’ll let other people give their comments, but I liked the Panera breads.)

Afterwards, we planned on going to the chicken festival, but ended up shooting up to Brenau Academy, a girls school associated with the university there, where Dianna graduated from. We thought we’d take a picture of her there, but turned out they were having an open house. We ended up spending plenty of time talking to a lady who was touring it with her kids, and talked to the headmaster and a couple other people there. We also got to wander around and see the rooms and classes and stuff. It was a lot of fun.

We then stopped at RunnersFit for their spring sidewalk sale. Turns out that a number of people from our group was there, so we hung out a bit. (Felt sorta like going to Cheers, where everyone knows your name.) I met David, who ran the Sweet H2O 1/2 marathon this morning.

Note for team members: The pictures are uploaded to my gallery: Go to the races folder, and choose the Chickekiden 2008. If you want full size shots, let me know so we can figure out how to get them to you.


Missed the group

March 15, 2008

Rolling out of bed this morning, all I heard was thunder and rain. So I did what came natural; got up, threw my clothes and grabbed my camera to go storm chasing.

I decided to drive to my favorite abandoned gas station, since that would give me a bit of cover from the rain, and there was a bit of a light show on the way. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, the majority of it passed by. Well, not wanting to waste a trip, I set up and started snapping away. The pre-dawn light made for a few good shots.

I like the contrast of the building in this one:
bright green building

This is the only shot I managed to actually get lightning in (just barely). It’s in the middle behind trees, so can’t really see anything besides the clouds lighting up.
hard to see but theres lightning

This one is neat because of the plane. If you look carefully, you’ll notice how the beacon on one of the wings was flashing, causing three distinct bright spots.
theres an airplane

Now that the rain has passed, time to head out running. For the record, here are some of my better storm shots.

In praise of the sports photographer

January 31, 2008

Having recently decided to re-post the pictures from last years Thrill in the Hills race, I recalled some things that I had forgot:
Wow, I took a lot of pictures. Over 1000 of them, actually.

  • It takes a long time to go through them all. A real long time.
  • It takes almost as long to upload them to a server. We’re talking hours.
  • There were some good shots in the set.

As I started uploading them, I decided to clean house a bit, so the set now contains only about 650 shots. Maybe that will make it easier to find your picture in them. I would have cleaned out a couple hundred more, but I had already uploaded half of them and didn’t feel like going through it again. For most the finish line pictures, I took 2-3 shots are people came across. The cleaning consisted of getting rid of the worst of the shots. You’ll noticed the cleaner sets in Finish Line III and Finish Line IV and Starting Line.

This is a shot I didn’t catch in my favorites last year, but saw it this time around and thought it was great.
Guy leaping across the finish line

And here’s one of my favorites of the whole race.
Guy running behind a tree

(Unfortunately, I don’t know who either of these guys are. If this is you, let me know.)
All the pictures are here. Hope you enjoy.

Group run in the wood

January 18, 2008

This morning the Runners Fit group headed off to Elachee/Chicopee Woods for a group run in the woods. 13 of us braved the cold (31 degrees) for this grand adventure.

After the caravan over there, I headed in one direction with my camera while everyone else ran the other way. (I know there is a joke in there somewhere!) The plan was for me to meet them at the suspension bridge for pictures, and I wanted to go the slightly shorter route to make sure I beat them. I barely did, by about 3 minutes.
Having barely time to set up, I started snapping away. Once everyone made it over, we paused for a group picture. Given that this meant people had to stop for about 5 minutes while everyone gathered, it went okay. After this, everyone quickly took off for the back 3 miles. I hung back with Mark to take the short route back.

GroupRun_20080105_0094About halfway back, I split up with Mark to wait for everyone on a straight downhill section I
noticed on the way up. Seemed like the perfect spot to pick up some more pictures. After going up and down it a couple times to stay warm get some exercise, I heard the leaders coming back and barely got turned around in time to meet them. Another 5 minutes of great shots later and everyone was done.

I packed up and headed back, last in line as usual.

I managed just under 4 miles, and about 175 shots. Highlights can be seen here.