Treasure Uncovered

The other day I headed out for a run, unsure of where exactly I was going. I wanted to run to the Powerlines, but it was really hot and there’s no water available there. My measly 2L bladder would be half empty by the time I got there. The flat trail  would be mostly shaded, so I decided that would be a wise choice.

I decided to run past 1604 and explore a bit. I had followed a Hash trail out there on a run long ago, but didn’t get too far. I wanted to see how much further the “trail” would go.

Running under the bridge, I  was amazed at all the little mud bird houses built on the underside. Then I passed the spot where eons ago I drank many beers at a Hash “circle.”

As I rounded the corner, I saw the familiar junk pile. I knew that this spot had been used as a dumping ground before.

Main pile on the left side.
Main pile on the left side.
Pile on the right.
Pile on the right.

I plucked a 5×7 photograph off the ground.

This was the first photo I found.
The first photo I found.


As I scrutinized the junk, I could tell this was new stuff that had been dumped recently. My instincts kicked in: I am a scavenger. I have a fascination for looking through trash, junk, rubbish, – whatever you call it – for things that I can use somehow. As an artist,  I see value in things that might seem worthless to others. And as I poked around, almost immediately I struck gold.

More photographs. Old black and white photographs!! And lots of them. Before I knew it, that one photo had mushroomed into a  huge wad. At first I thought I would keep just a few because I could fit only so many in my pack. But the photos were all gold – I’d find a way to carry them all. No way was I leaving any behind. (At least not any black and whites, I did leave some more recent color photos behind.)

By this point, my running brain was totally switched off. All I cared about was finding more photos, I was a junkie searching for my next fix in the pile. But I knew I had to stop at some point, if for no other reason than the sun was getting low and worse- the mosquitoes were starting up. I found three or four small concentrations of photos and then it seemed like that was it.

At this point I figured out this guy died and they just dumped this stuff. Whoever did this just wanted to clean house. They were probably not related, otherwise they’d have kept the photos. Or maybe they were related and just didn’t care. Either way is sad.

I tried to roughly organize my haul in order to compact it. I found a Manilla envelope and stuffed in the photos. Then I stuck the envelope in a large Ziploc bag to protect it from my sweaty self. I could carry the whole pouch in front of me tucked under the bands of my pack. It made my chest retain heat, but it stayed put and more importantly, kept my hands free.

As I ran home,  I got some weird looks. I’m sure people wondered what the heck I was carrying. And yet even if they knew what was in the Manilla envelope, they would probably ask: “What the heck are you doing with photographs you found in a dump of some random dead person?”

And I asked myself the same thing. Why do I do this?

* * *

Grand total: about 150 photographs, (several of which are stuck together and awaiting separation,) one negative,  a few postcards, a letter, a note, a Mason’s card, a certificate of birth, and 3 lottery tickets (whose numbers I intend to play one day.)

There are many more interesting images I’d like to share, and ultimately, I will organize the photos into an album.








Another Flower Gallery

Ran for three and a half hours on 50/50 trail and pavement. Recent rains have got the wildflowers all up in a tizzy! I’m trying to document as many different types of flowers as possible. These were all shot today on the same run. Nuts, right? There were so many flowers, it was ruining my running rhythm; I’d stop every few feet to take another picture.

Focusing on iPhone is a b!tch. It’s so hard to tell in the bright  sunlight. Getting it to focus on the right thing is especially tricky.  I preset the AF/AE lock and then try to frame the image, but often can’t find the right focal range. More practice, I guess!

The run was tough. When I started, there was some awesome cloud cover. Sadly, it burned off quickly and the humidity set in .

I ran in my Hoka Stinsons for the first time. As much as I want to like them, not the best initial impression. Definitely issues on uneven trail surfaces. Unfortunate, as the reason for buying them was to save my tootsies from the rocks at Bandera.  Need more miles before rendering a final verdict, although I’m paranoid this will mean that I won’t be able to return them.

Also using Tailwind for the third time. Lemon something or other flavor. I’m not sold on the efficacy just yet. I bonked pretty good today. I left the house with only 400 calories, about half of what I should have had for a (planned) 15 mile run. After I consumed my bottle of Tailwind and two gels, I stopped at a gas station and bought a Gatorade and a Reeses peanut butter cup. I never do that. The Reese’s was righteous, and it helped a bit, but I was still dragging.

The weird thing is how tired I felt after only 10 miles or so. I thought to myself, “You think you’re tired now?? Wait till you’ve been up for 20 hours and you’re at mile 80. How the hell are you going to manage that?” Either I exhausted my glycogen yesterday, I didn’t consume enough calories during the week, or something, but this shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. Which reminds me, I want to start my running diary. That sounds so…

For the day, did a lot of walking and finished with 14, a mile short of goal.

Running / Water

We’ve had a good bit of sorely need rain the past few days. The other day I got caught in a downpour, and it was glorious. There’s just something about running in the rain that is so fun. Once you get over the fact that you’re soaked to the bone, it’s not so bad. The creek (or crick as some would say) beds are normally bone dry, but they were (alive with running water. The creek is not an active creek, more of a drainage creek, which is far less charming, but it’s nice to see it’s doing its thing.

Last night we got even more rain. I didn’t think about how that would affect my run to the gym until I saw the water. There were at least five spots where the path was flooded over. But it’s just water! I took off my shoes and socks and walked through. Putting my toe socks on five times was a bit of a chore.

The other day I saw a deer, which is not unusual. They are generally skittish and don’t stay still for pictures, but this one was in a clearing that allowed for a clear-ish shot.  One day, I’ll get a good shot of a deer. Also saw a gathering of what looked like vultures at a watering hole. They all scampered off when I ran by except for one guy. That would have been a much better shot with his friends.

Today I saw a heron (?), a vibrant green snake that surprisingly didn’t slither away before I could take its picture, and a snail. Yes, a snail. Oh and I always see cardinals, but they are so fast – by the time I think to take out my camera – they’re gone. One day… I don’t know much about animals, but it’s cool to see them on the trail.

Ran through some drainage channels in the neighborhood behind my gym. This appears to be where the a bunch of seventh grade graffiti artists hang out. (It’s not very good graffiti.) I thought perhaps I should bring a can of spray paint and see if I can do any better.

Got to the gym sweaty and stinking to high heaven. Worked out for an hour and headed back out. By then it was noon and hot and HUMID.  I was surprised I wasn’t more tired. I downed a citrus flavor Clif gel which was pretty good. It tasted like a Pop Ice, those colored frozen stick pop things. Great flavor for hot weather.

Took a shorter way home, and this time I didn’t bother to un-shoe myself through the flooded spots. Just plowed right through. The water was cool and felt great. So great in fact, I took a break and sat down waist deep in the creek. It was nowhere near as nice as sitting in the creek at the Grand Canyon, but it did the trick. And yeah, the water’s brown and filthy, but as a trail runner, so am I!

My Legs Still Work!!

I tried running the day after the race, but that was just not happening. My quads felt like limp celery and my mystery foot pain had returned with a vengeance. I couldn’t manage even one mile. Which is hilarious because on my calendar I thought I’d knock out a seven miler easily.

I did bike around town that day, and that was fine. I went and spent a good part of the day at the Art Institute. They had built a whole new wing for the contemporary art since I’d last been there. Sadly, I felt like it was the same paintings they had before, just housed in a new place. Still it was cool to see real artwork in person again.

Tuesday was a travel day and I was still holding handrails to descend a flight of stairs.

Finally, today my legs felt better. I could walk like a normal person. I went out for a run and manged to nab a seven miler easily. I felt like I was trucking and that was nice. But I could tell that my muscles were still damaged and would need some serious repair. My goal right now is to eat as much good food as possible to get my body ready for the 26th.

It may not have been the smartest thing to do scheduling two races so close together. But I’m already signed up. Now the only thing to do is to do it!

The light to dark rules! Though a good bit of detail is lost in the photo…
Love the greyness and the small dot of orange.
The detail on this piece is ridiculous, every dimple, hair and vein stands out, it makes the woman appear so repulsive. It’s a great painting.
Love the hair!
This guy is a big deal. Paints/draws like a four year old – Love it!
One of my favorite paintings by one of my favorite artists.

It’s Nice To Be Back

Got into town, did a little sightseeing. Downtown sure had nicened up since I left! Walked around Millennium Park, and took pictures. Later ate at Epic Burger, which was anything but epic. Then walking down the street, I run into the friend I was going to meet. We get lunch for her, and then go back to her school.  Her classroom has huge windows that provide an awesome view. She gives me the grand tour of the rest of the school and it’s really nice. Them some lucky kids!

Later, went to dinner at my friend Amanda’s. We caught up and later Jen H, her guy Maurice, and friend John John finally showed up. Amanda made a great vegan dinner. And then the wine… drinking was a mistake. I was just so happy to see my friends again. But alcohol before a race is a bad idea, especially if you are unable to exercise restraint. You don’t want to have to endure a recovery day which entails laying in bed thinking about how stupid you are. And this coming off the heels of a two day cold no less. Several months of training could all go down the toilet if you aren’t in top form.

So from this day forward, I must remember: THE WEEK PRIOR TO ANY RACE SHOULD BE ALCOHOL-FREE.

I missed several days of running due to illness, and finally got out today and went for a brief 4 miler. All things considered, I felt great! My legs have lost that dullness from the constant mileage. I was floating along. I hope that’s how I feel all throughout the race.

One More Day!!!

Hood To Coast

It’s all downhill from here. Literally. The first leg is all downhill and supposedly tough on the quads.

We were almost late to the start, but made it just in time.  That’s Mt. Hood in the background. Mike was our first runner.


“This is my future, I might as well embrace it.”
This very hilarious looking fellow (on the right) had shaved his hair to more accurately reflect his future self. He totally looks like a sitcom character.


We parked next to a van that listed “PoopooHead” as one of the runners. We figured out who she was, and cheered her on when we saw her. She seemed slightly bewildered.

Look at all those beautiful trees in the background!!


At the very end of the leg, Geoff (on the right) got passed by this short, old, overly muscular Italian fellow. Geoff was unfazed.


Melissa, always happy and always looking like her feet never leave the ground.

That's what this girl says to me. "What pace are you running? We should run together." I would have liked to have run with her, but she was way too fast. I valiantly tried to keep up with her for the first mile, but knew that it was a lost cause. And then I had to stop to take a shit on the side of the road.

“You look fast.”
That’s what this girl says to me. “What pace are you running? We should run together.” I tried to dodge the question and Jason jumped in and gave some bullshit answers.  I valiantly tried to keep up with her for the first mile, but knew right away that it was a lost cause. I would have liked to run with her, but she was just way out of my league.
And as an added bonus, I had to stop on the side of the road to take a shit.

I overheard some guy say that Frank Shorter was running on the Yale team. I

I overheard some guy say that Frank Shorter was running on the Yale team.
Or this might just be some old guy.

Apparently, Mike slipped and wiped out pretty good. He wasn't as mad as he looks.

Apparently, Mike slipped and wiped out pretty good. He wasn’t as mad as he looks.

Waiting in line seemingly forever. The Honey Bucket guys show up to empty and clean the stalls. It took some time, but a clean, stocked stall would be worth it. Except our runner had such a short leg, we had to leave immediately. Even though I was practically next in line. So this is me (second from left, in the blue top) giving Jason the finger for razzing me about not getting to do my thing. And wouldn't you know it, a minute after this photo, the Honey Bucket guys show up again. I was like, "WE ARE NOT LEAAVING UNTIL THIS HAPPENS."

Second Time for #2
Waiting in line seemingly forever. The Honey Bucket guys show up to empty and clean the stalls. It took some time, but an emptied and clean stall guaranteed to have toilet paper would be worth the wait. And I was practically next in line. But then… Our runner had such a short leg, we had to leave immediately after the handoff, which occurred just as I was about to go. We drove to the next handoff point.
That’s me (second from left, in the blue top) saluting Jason for razzing me. And wouldn’t you know it, a minute after this photo, the Honey Bucket guys show up. I was like, “WE ARE NOT LEAVING UNTIL THIS HAPPENS.”
Jeremy struck this pose which seemed really out of character for him.

Jeremy struck this pose which seemed really out of character for him.
Geoff hands off to Jeremy and Jeremy smiles? Jeremy HATES running. Or that’s what it seems like.
One of the exchange points.
The jokes on me again.
After my misadventures with going #2, they thought it would be funny to do a toilet paper tape. I was really moving at that point (so fast I was a blur!) and totally missed the joke.
They were thinking I might keep some of that toilet paper, just in case.
Jason looking bummed after getting chicked. (I know he could care less.)
Mike raising a beer after the finish. It was his first Hood to Coast. Hopefully he’ll be back on the team next year.
My buddy Jason, all smiles.

Art Jag Part Deux

On another super art jag!

This is the progress on the Lady Painter. It’s coming along well. I decided that I am not going to add any other imagery or text over top. Just need to start thinking about framing.

Work in Progress - Lady Painter 2
Work in Progress – Lady Painter 2

This Bambi piece has been hanging around for two weeks (?) now. Doesn’t seem to want to get finished. Had wanted to add some text that was cut out of foam-core. Maybe I’ll do that and see if that’s what the hold up is.

Work In Progress - Been trying to work this Bambi image, but it's just stuck.
Work In Progress – Been trying to work this Bambi image, but it’s just stuck.

I found three boards I had prepared weeks ago. Had intended to do some colored washes with them, but never got around to it. So they became this mini series. I almost wish (50/50) I had left them alone and not added any new layers (the gold diagrams). I should have at least sat on them a day and seen if they could stand on their own. But impatient person that I am… I projected the tree image on top of one of the boards and it looked cool… I quickly found another diagram, and that was it. They would receive a second layer. But two is not enough, I will do have to figure out at least a third layer. The good thing is, the process is easy to repeat. So, worst case scenario, I start over.

This mini – series is / are not really “paintings”. More like poly-chromed graphite drawings. I don’t know, but it just doesn’t feel right to call them paintings. Regardless, I’m very happy with the procedural discoveries I’ve made with these. Specifically, I’m loving the graphite; when it’s thick and metallic black, and then you smear it! Great effect.

(Actually, I learned about this from the Bambi piece, the background text was done in graphite.)

Work in Progress - Awaiting Diagram and... ?
Work in Progress – Awaiting Diagram and… ?

This is preliminary stage. (Below) I do like this as is. I don’t think viewers would “get it” though.  I’m worried the additional imagery may have ruined them.

But the heck with it: “Hold nothing sacred.”

Work in Progress - Awaiting Diagram and... ?
Work in Progress – Awaiting Diagram and… ?

Small detail, you may notice those are Behr house paint samples. Yup! I’ve gotten over my paint snobbery. For some colors, it works just fine, and it’s cheap.

Work in Progress - Awaiting... ?
Work in Progress – Awaiting… ?

I’m super loving the color palette of these, especially with the gold. But unless you shoot at an angle, the gold doesn’t photograph well, which may pose a problem for purposes of posterity.

Work in Progress - Detail of Gold
Work in Progress – Detail of Gold

Finally, another small happiness. I stenciled the text on these, and it came out pretty well. Which is possible only because I’m working on board and not canvas. However the grain of the wood is slightly annoying, I may move to masonite. [To clarify, these are just cheap stretcher frames with Luann tops. What’s even crazier is these were made from scraps, you can see the joint running across the bottom third on all three pieces. Poor man WIN!]

Stenciled Text
Stenciled Text

This is next in the rotation. The window offers obvious opportunities image placement… Glad this is a one off and not part of a series!

Work in Progress - This image found its way onto the canvas at 12:30.This is the first stage.
Work in Progress – This image found its way onto the canvas at 12:30.
This is the first stage.

And the magic revealed! Lest you think I’m some crazy artistic genius, behold! An opaque projector. My imagery is projected onto the canvas and I simply trace it. I could do it the old fashion way and grid it out, but the result would be the same. My point being, I used to think this was “cheating”, but I’ve gotten over that idea. Mostly. I’ve has this thing since the late 90’s. Best $300 I ever spent. But it may be on its last legs, it seems to be blowing bulbs with greater frequency. And those bulbs are kinda of expensive – $8 a piece. It takes two bulbs, but you can get away with just one.

Maybe you remember overhead projectors from school? This works the same way, except you don't have to use transparencies, you can use opaque paper as well.
Maybe you remember overhead projectors from school? This works the same way, except you don’t have to use transparencies, you can use opaque paper as well.

*   *   *   *   *

Haven’t run for a few days, since…. Thursday. Wow, only two days? It feels like it’s been four days. Missed a volunteering opportunity yesterday because I was working on my paintings. I feel kind of guilty about that, but I have to keep painting when it’s going well. I should try and do a long run today, depending if I can tear myself away from painting. But it’s a beautiful day out right now, it’d be a shame not to get out and enjoy it.

Have two weeks until the Culinaria 5K. I don’t know what my PR’s for any distance, so I am going to run this race like a crazy person so I can PR. (Since I don’t really have a 5K PR, whatever I do will be a PR.) But my goal is to run under 20 minutes. Yeah, I need to run today.

“Sweaty Gorilla’s Roadtrip: Enchanted Rock”

The R-U-N group went out to Enchanted Rock, a state park about an hour and a half from San Antonio. It was a chilly morning, but it turned into a beautiful afternoon. (“Sweaty Gorilla” is the trip organizer’s nickname.)

We ran a brief 5 miles on a trail filled with hikers. Everyone and their mother and their dog and their dog’s mother was out enjoying the day. After we finished the run, we hiked up the super steep main dome and climbed some big rocks and just hung out for awhile taking pictures. Apparently everyone else realized how nice an afternoon it was going to be; from the top of the dome, you could see a line of cars waiting to enter the park.

For lunch, we went to Luckenbach, possibly the world’s smallest town. Its population is supposedly 3. The “town” is composed of almost as many buildings. There’s a retired post office turned general store, a saloon, and a dance hall. It’s crazy small enough that they were closing the town at four for a wedding!

I was majorly hungry by the time we arrived. Waiting to order at the little food shack, I was torn between getting the pulled pork or the bratwurst. The pulled pork won, and unfortunately, it was mediocre. According to two other runners, the bratwurst was also a loser, as it was bland. But the jalapeno poppers I got were mighty tasty. Super hot and crunchy, big cheese flavor, but not very (spicy) hot. I could have easily downed another order of those. (I guess you can tell I’m not part of the Instagram world since I didn’t even think to take a picture of the food.) And despite seeing everyone else enjoying a beer, I was perfectly fine having a cherry limeade.

We hung out for about an hour, enjoying the warm sun, drinking beer, and shooting the breeze. A great way to spend a Saturday in a tiny town where “everybody’s somebody.”

*   *   *   *   *

Today I felt like I was on more of a sightseeing tour, rather than a “real” run. So I did what you’re supposed to do on a tour, I took pictures. I will repeat my disdain for using an iPhone to take pictures. As convenient as it is, it’s hard to tell how your photos will turn out until you get home. And then you discover that the images are overexposed. Sigh… I think I’m going to have to break down and buy a small point and shoot. (To replace the one I lost. Because I was sh*t-faced.)

I don’t know if there’s any “real take-away” with this post, but perhaps you can just enjoy it as a snapshot tour of sorts.

Sunday Long Run @ Government Canyon

Another beautiful day to run. Plan was to run five hours, but had to cut it short after four hours. Walking back to the parking lot, Rachel asked how far we’d run: 20.74. She then said we had to keep running to make it an even 21, so we ran around the parking lot.

Tried to get a picture of the sunrise as we were leaving. This was the best I could do.
Tried to get a picture of the sunrise as we were leaving. This was the best I could do.
The group taking off at 7:30 am.
The group taking off at 7:30 am.
Honest to God dinosaur tracks, two of 'em!!
Honest to God dinosaur tracks, two of ’em!!
I love whatever these red berries are, so beautifully red.
I love whatever these red berries are, so beautifully red.