When I lived in Ithaca, I shifted my focus from running road marathons to mountain ultramarathons. In my first year of training, I discovered an 8-mile loop of beautiful, twisting singletrack just outside my door that I used often for building volume. There were days I would do four loops and limp home with more than 30 trail miles in my legs. Within this circuit was a short excursion from the deep woods out into the open field shown in this photograph - the only part of the run where a road crossing was necessary. Certainly there were days where the sun drenched the field, but most that I remember looked like this, with the field blanketed in fog.
I sat there, with butterflies in my stomach and the remnants of the day's burden on my shoulders, staring into that hotel room mirror. The smell of industrial detergent hung in the air. I thought I had convinced myself I wasn't going to be nervous; that the outcome wouldn't matter. After all, did I really have anything to lose? I didn't sleep that night, nor many thereafter. But now, years later, I can look back and laugh.
You might not notice it, the way the days get a little longer each day after the winter solstice. It's hard to remember, now, what it feels like to run shirtless in the golden, evening sun at 7:00pm. There's something in the way winter passes us by in January and February, like a slow and steady progression toward something new. It's a period where summer gets to rest; where the sun gets to relax for a while; and where nature prepares to be reborn. It's still there, though... Summer. Hanging in the air and clinging to the sides of the roads as I run along.
It's not every day one gets the chance to walk through a brand new industrial installation, camera in-hand, with free rein to photograph the various equipment. As an engineer working in the aerospace industry, I've seen some pretty incredible facilities over the years, but the proprietary nature of my work has always expressly forbid any type of personal photography. This is a great shame, because in the cold, complex arrangements of metals and wires, I've always seen great beauty.Read More