“If you can’t ride, can you fall?”
“I supposed anyone can fall,” said Shasta.
“I mean can you fall and get up again without crying and mount again and fall again and yet not be afraid of falling?” — The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis
This is not a New Year’s Resolution. I came up with The Picture Runner idea months ago, but it has taken this long to be in position to really get it off the ground. That being said, the new year is a great time to start something new even if it isn’t a resolution.
Right now I’m an out of shape runner. I was in better running shape before the move, before I injured my hamstring, before I spent a year fitting in short runs anytime I had a babysitter. I used to run on the indoor track during my daughter’s violin lesson. On the track, 14 laps = 1 mile. I would strive to run 3 miles during her 25-30 minute lesson. Or I would run at 3:30 in the afternoon during her gymnastics class when the Alabama heat was at its worst. And then I usually took the dog with me to run through the not great part of town during children’s choir. It was not ideal. In fact, I started to really hate running in Alabama. But I
was am hard-headed and determined to maintain some semblance of running fitness.
With our move to Kansas and my husband back in the states, 2015 is shaping up to be a great running year. Today, I went on my first Real Picture Run. I ran with my pack for the first time and with my site up and ready, I can share it here, kicking off my brand new blog.
If you have time to read the Trial Run, then you will appreciate what a stark difference today’s run was compared to that one. It was frigid today. Here I am all bundled up before I set out:
I had on my hiking boots, wool socks, two pairs of pants, three shirts, winter snow coat, headband, and gloves. I was poofy and everything swish-swished as I ran. For the first 3/4 of a mile, I battled the wind. It was not strong but crept it into the little opening around my neck and chilled me to the bone. I was out of breath running up the hills and took several walking breaks. In fact, I was beginning to feel like The Picture Walker instead of The Picture Runner. Good grief. What kind of start was this? But I pressed on. Finally I made it to the section of road that was more protected and I could actually breathe and look around.
Last night we had gotten about three inches of snow. A lot of it had whisked away in the wind and with people driving on the road, the roads were clearing up by the time I ran. In the protection of the trees and brush, I was almost hot as I stopped to take a few pictures. I felt like it was a delicate balance of stopping to take pictures and keeping moving so my sweat didn’t make me too cold.
It may not sound like it, but going on a Picture Run is mentally and physically challenging. You have to keep your mind alert to the surroundings. You have to keep running to achieve the mileage. You have to be creative and athletic at the same time. I’m constantly thinking: Have I gotten the picture? If not, should I keep running to find something better? Or turn around and see what I missed? And then, do I want to stand in the freezing cold to readjust my camera settings for a better picture? Or do I want to keep my heart rate up and continue running? I feel like the possibility of failure is at every turn. I want to be an awesome runner, but not at the risk of injury. I’m out of shape; there is no reason to push myself to the brink when I’m trying to build back up. I want to be an awesome photographer, but I can’t waste time on every run trying for the perfect shot. I’m a novice; sometimes I have to just fix the white balance on my editing software. Sometimes you’ve got it and sometimes you don’t.
The question at the end of the day is Can you fall? “Can you fall? […] I mean can you fall and get up again without crying and mount again and fall again and yet not be afraid of falling?” This entire Picture Runner venture is a risk. Can I really find something to photograph on every run? Can I be creative enough to look at my scenery in an exciting way? Will anyone even want to read what I have to say? I have had a lot of running injuries in the past. Is my body strong enough to keep going? I hope so.
In spite of today’s freezing temperatures, I had a great run. I had already turned around when I snapped this picture of Milford Lake. I had checked the GPS and I knew I didn’t need to over do it today. It was time to turn around regardless of whether or not I had gotten The Picture. I had actually stopped to adjust my pack and I happened to notice I could see the lake from the crest of the hill. When we first moved here I had made a mental note of this view, but I had completely forgot about it. Once I snapped this picture, I knew I could relax and run the rest of the way home. The wind had died down a little and I was warm from head to toe when I came in the front door. It was a start and that was all I could ask for today.