So… maybe I am going a lil photo crazy lately…

Welcome to the Thursday Tacoma Farmers Market

Love this truck. How gorgeous would it be if all trucks had grafiti designs? Art on the move…

So… maybe I’d only eat the blueberries…

And look at those strawberries — I thought I only had May / June as good strawberry months!

This photo makes me so happy.

Fiery hot curry lunch (not mine – cannot handle the heat).

Teriyaki Steak Sammich

Best place to find flowers!

Love love love.

Musical stylings…

Delicious!

I love taking photos.  It is incredibly convenient to use my phone because it’s always within reach.  I have several photo apps on my phone but I only consistently use Instagram.  The problem is that everything on Instagram is square – do you know how hard it is to find frames for square photos?  (Note to frame makers: get on board!)

Check out the new apps I’ve added this week.

Gig Harbor – the original photo

the Instagram version

My new favorite app – Big Lens – you can change a photo to HDR in the “editing” room instead of prior to taking a photo. Photo love!

Picture Magic – negative filter.

Picture Magic – painting filter

Photo Effect Studio (PE Studio)

Pixlr-o-matic

Picture Frame + Phonto: The beauty of picture frame is you can adjust the frame size but there are so many options – you may not need it. Before I was using picture stitch – not nearly as many options & not nearly as flexible. Phonto allows you to add text to photos.

Big Lens – $0.99
Phonto – free
PicFrame – $0.99
Instagram – free
Pixlr-o-matic – free
PE Studio – free

All these apps are for the iphone – unsure if they also work for droid.  There are some overlapping filters between the apps but there are also other additions – different layers you can add to a photo.  I love how easy creating photos has become.  I remember working in the dark room; it wasn’t nearly as easy to get some of these filters.  And then it was a lot of hit & miss.  You may go through a dozen of attempts before you reached the perfect photograph.

Happy photo editing!!

Horses, an elephant & a walrus: I’m sure there is a joke in there somewhere.

After a walrus serenade (they sound like a lion roaring on the plain), running up a hill, we saw this elephant near the edge of his zoo home.

After a long run, the horse races beckoned.  My first visit to Emerald Downs.  Totally recommended.  Cheap entry plus you can bring your own food & drinks (factory sealed non-alcoholic beverages).  Sold.

And you get to wear big floppy hats!!

And they’re off…

The bugle man bugled “Love & Marriage” to buttahcup

A trot back to the stalls

Fiesty Lass (on the inside) garnered me a free day at the races! #teamscotland

so much fun!!!

Point Defiance has long been one of my favorite running spots.  Early weekend mornings, a portion of the loop is closed to cars and the whole section of road is free for runners, cyclists & long boarders to use.  And if you’re lucky, you may run to the cadence of monkey laughter because the zoo sits at the entrance.  Where else can you run (without fear) and have a hungry tiger licking his chops as you pass by?

Running by lounging water buffalo

Or a family of raccoons… who will sit pretty in a row along the road waiting for handouts. (DON’T DO IT!)

Early summer morning fog (good fishing??)

The sun & the trees make my heart pitter pat

Early morning light along the back stretch

Fall at the park

Cannot wait for fall running!

the ferry from owens beach

more ferry from Vashon Island

Summer running

Every season in the park

I am currently reading 14 Minutes: A Running Legend’s Life & Death & Life.  I came across this passage last night & it resonated with me – minus the high level distance runner part.

“I don’t want to misrepresent the nature of high-level distance running.  Along with pain & effort, the sacrifice, and the sense of self-loathing that arrives when you fail to perform to your own expectations, the sport is also a tremendous amount of fun.  Actually, “fun” is way too pallid a word.  The sense of exhileration you feel when you’re riding your pain, when after long & exacting work you’ve become pain’s master rather than its servant, is almost indescribable.

Often these peak moments arrive during training rather than in competition.  Maybe you’re running a series of 10 x 800-meter repeats in which each step is run faster than the previous one.  At the end of the sixth rep, you know you’re maxed out, that you can’t possibly run the next two laps around the track any faster or harder.  But after your minute’s rest, you throw yourself into the next rep & something happens by the backstretch of the first lap, some instinctive switch gets flipped.  You reach the edge that you intellectually know you can’t go past, but instead of easing back from the edge, you find yourself taking one small step over it.  That step is terrifying at first; any rational person would move away from the edge.

But a runner born, like the Kenyan or Ethiopian athletes, or a runner made, the kind that I was, learns to move toward it.  over time, you even learn to welcome it and then eventually you crave it.  What you assumed to be your ceiling actually forms your floor.  You look in the mirror & feel better about the person you see.  All you can think about is running back to the edge, and moving one more step beyond it.  You are moving on pure will.  The journey to the edge become intoxicating; dangerously so.”

Two man team (runner 2)

There were a lot of undies on the course.

Lucy on leg 9

Leg 12 hand-off

Water stop in the middle of a 10.8 mile leg

More undies – except this dude was mean. “Nice tan lines.” “Don’t touch.” (Not even a thought running through my head.)

Major exchange 18 – the beginning of our 2nd set of legs.

This is what it was like …running in the dark. {awesome!}

Van Smash – our pimped out mirrors

Lucy in Skeletor’s clutches

Crossing the finish line – 200 miles later.

Van 2 runners rock!

Team Long Distance Relay-tionship – Nom de plume winners!

Ragnar, oh how I love thee…

1) Meeting my van mates for the first time.  Not the scary airport meeting of my team – because that reception line (being the 11th team member to arrive) was awkward.  But the hysterical chit chat as we drove north to our hotel – the rambunctious mascot hatching plans that bonded us immediately.

2) The actual chicken napping & the “ransom” photos we sent along to van one. Also, covertly tagging other vans brought much joy & laughter.

3) Exchanges 6-12: Brandy who we almost missed midway through leg 6 because she was extra speedy.  Donald with his Hulk hands (even if it was a bad idea to run in them).  Lucy with the biggest smile in the world while she ran.  Handing off the slap bracelet to Thomas who picked up 15 road kills (I’ll take the assist on one or two of those).  And John with a 10.8 mile leg and ran it like he was taking a leisurely stroll.  I don’t know how I feel about leg 10 (my leg) because I felt like I was running faster than normal because I thought it would be the only leg I was going to run well.  Except I didn’t run it faster than normal.

4) Getting to change out of my sweaty clothes at exchange 12 and attempt to sleep.  Futile effort.

5) Fell in love with my ear plugs & my eye mask.  Godsend.  (Also, totally helpful with the early morning sunrises in the Pacific Northwest, especially if you like to sleep in.)

6) Leg 22.  4.8 miles starting in Anacortes (where my family’s sailboat was docked) at 3 a.m. in the morning.  And feeling so energized & alive as I ran in the dark.  The red blinking lights of runners ahead, sometimes forming a line of fireflies in the distance.

7) Running in the dark.  Period.  End of story.  On my list of all time favorites.  Not being able to see but a few feet in front of you.  Sometimes, seeing the tall pine trees lit up as a van passes.  And then total darkness.  Nothing but my own feet & the steps directly in front of me.

8) Crossing Deception Pass in darkness & remembering what its like to sail below it.

9) One point five hours of sleep.  In a noisy cafeteria.  (Thank you earplugs!)  Surrounded by leagues of sleeping bags & running shoes.

10) Running my last leg.  (But not the heat.  Or the hills.)  Seeing my teammates 4.2 miles into it with cheers & water.

11) Running down hill into my last exchange knowing I’d just accomplished a pretty amazing feat.  13.7 miles on 1.5 hours of sleep.

12) All the “way to go’s” and “keep it ups” I received from runners.  (Okay, so it was as they passed me – I was an easy road kill mark.)

13) Sitting in the van knowing I had no more legs to run.  Waiting for our last runner to meet our team at the finish line & running across as one big team.

14) Dinner in Seattle with my favorite Canadians who reminded me we’re all on a running journey.

15) My love for running (and my confidence in running) was restored.

A lil inspiration…

This year has been a roller coaster when it comes to how I feel about running.  Rang in the New Year eligible to join the Half Fanatics.  I joined a new training group & had some strong training runs; I also met a GREAT running buddy.

Then March came in like a lion & I hated running.  Overwhelmed with my schedule, I let running fall to the side.  Several times I tried to find motivation to finish training for Big Sur.  Do I run as far as I can & let them sweep me off the course?  Do I not show up at the starting line?

I hated running.

So much, I was ready to walk back to my car from the starting line for spring races – twice.  The medals I received for those races were not worth the 13.1 miles it took to earn them.  And the miles upon miles of tirade playing out in my brain.

I went into Rainier to Ruston unsure I could even run a mile.  It had been a few months since I had really run and the treadmill miles did not add up.  Running outside again was a huge godsend.  Running well with Wink (her nickname until I can come up with something better), training for a half marathon in September, the joy started to come back.

Enter Ragnar: Northwest Passage.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun.  Beyond that, I’m really happy with my performance.  I was worried I would peter out with my last leg.  I ran slower & slower with each leg in Rainier to Ruston and I had less mileage each leg!  With Ragnar, my mileage would increase each leg, culminating in a 5.8 mile leg.

Something else happened over those 200 miles.  I don’t know if I can even explain what happened.  What I do know is that between my first leg Friday and saying good-bye to my team Sunday morning, I was transformed.  That feeling has stayed with me all week.  It’s the same feeling I had after completing the 30 day yoga challenge.

Whatever ‘it” is, I hope its around to stay.

A few years ago my co-worker told me her uncle was running from the Canadian border in a 200 mile relay.  At the time, I thought the idea was insane, preposterous… unbelievable.

That was all before I was exposed to the world of running.

And this weekend, I will be joining a group of strangers (soon to be friends) for the same crazy adventure.  This adventure starts tomorrow!  Holy running shoes Batman!  I’m sure like all adventures, they seem like they are far in the distant future and then BAM!: one finds oneself on the eve of fun.

I’m part of Team Long Distance Relay-tionship. Click on the photo to meet my teammates.

I’m not ready!  I’m training ready but I am not packed.  I don’t even know what you bring or what you pack your stuff in.  Is a weekend bag enough or should I pull out my trekking backpack?  Do I need a sleeping bag?  Blanket?

If you’re on twitter you can follow us at #RagnarLDR or #RagnarNWP.  I will also try to update twitter.

Some logistics:  our first van starts at 8a on Friday morning.  I’m in van #2.  We are estimated to finish running 190 miles by 1:15p on Saturday afternoon.  Sixteen hours of insanity.

Leg 10 – my first leg is 3.1 miles. I start around 3:40p on Friday.

Leg 22: 4.8 miles at 12:58 a.m. on Saturday. This is way past my bedtime! And I have to run 4.8 miles in the dark! (I can’t lie, kinda stoked.)

And my last leg #34: 5.8 miles around 11a on Saturday morning.

So there you have it!  Let the insanity begin!

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