100 Aspects of the run

This project is inspired by great Japanese artists such as Hokusai and Yoshitoshi. Be it Hokusai's 36 Views of Mount Fuji or Yoshitoshi's 100 Aspects of the Moon, their prints illustrate folk tales and real-life events that were well known to their audiences. In this project, I am taking a picture during 100 runs and writing a short essay about each picture. I hope you enjoy it. If you would like to engage in your own project, check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for runners to capture their thoughts on running or anything else. You can find the journal here: Order Now

  • November 30, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #36 Nemesis
    A few months ago, my sister-in-law sent me a picture that said simply, "Bertha". She was referring to Big Bertha, a steep hill on a local trail. I knew immediately what she meant when she said "Bertha" because it's the toughest hill on that trail.  Many running routes have a nemesis, a tough patch lurking for the runner. Sometimes the worst part for me is thinking about the upcoming battle with my nemesis. Other times, the worst part is the actual battle against my opponent and the pain as my legs and lungs give out.
    The hill in the picture below is a junior nemesis. It's not too steep or too long but comes along before I feel warmed up, and it's always a bit of a struggle to go up it.
    Heading off in the other direction is a hill Michelle, and I call "Budget Hill." The hill is just steep enough to be demanding, and we each try and get the other one to talk while going up the hill. Once, I tried to trigger Michelle into talking by saying at the foot of the hill, "we need to talk about a budget," and ever since then, we have called it Budget Hill.
    While Budget Hill is modest by any standards, I do dread it on occasion, especially early in the morning when I am not at my best. This dread of the challenge is part of having a nemesis: sometimes, it brings out my best efforts, and other times it shows me my faults and weaknesses.
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
  • November 29, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #35 Lost and Found
    Have you ever wandered along a beach, looking at what is washed up on shore? There is seaweed, bottle glass, shells, dead fish, garbage, driftwood, and occasionally, something of value that you wonder how it came to be in the ocean.
    A run can be very similar to a walk on the beach. During my runs, I come across vaping cartridges, beer cans, Amazon boxes, mylar balloons, and, recently, a sympathy card and a driver's license. I also sometimes find cash, once finding $12 scattered along a creek amongst a pile of beer cans. And then there are the mysterious items that I wonder how they came to be lost.
    The sunglasses in the picture below are a good example of a mysterious lost item. I found the sunglasses exactly as you see them. They are a brand called Solar Shield and are meant to be worn over eyeglasses. They look like the BluBlocker sunglasses made popular in an infomercial years ago. When I came upon them, I wondered how they came to be on the sidewalk; presumably, someone dropped them and failed to hear them clatter as they hit the ground. I picked them up and put them on top of a nearby garbage can where I hoped the owner would find them.
     
     
    Of course, I have lost many things while running, including hats, gloves, buffs, and, once, my car keys. I never did find the car keys...
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
  • November 27, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #34 Long Ago With Miles Between
    My Dad was not a sports guy, with one exception: football. He was passionate about football, and when I was a boy, Sundays meant going to church in time to get home for the noon kickoff of the Bears game. However, Dad was a night owl and an insomniac and sometimes woke up too late to go to church before noon. On those days, we would go to 5 pm Mass which meant watching part of the 3 pm game, and then hustling out of the house at 4:40 pm to walk to church. At the time, there was no cable, internet, or vcr's, so we had to watch games live or miss them altogether.
    We didn't own a car, so we walked everywhere. On those afternoons when we went to 5 o'clock Mass, we would set out in the fading light, wondering what we would be missing. If the game were exciting, we would wait until the last minute and walk quickly to church. When Mass was over, we would stride home, hoping the game would still be on when we got home.
    The light on today's run took me back to those walks, hurrying through the dying light, the leather soles of Dad's shoes crunching on the sidewalk. When I got home after today's run I put on the 3 pm game and thought about the light and those walks and Dad. Over 6 miles, I had run across the decades, through the past and, back again.
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
  • November 26, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #33 Blue Moving
    "A lot of the time, you just have to go down many roads to get where you are going. The important thing is to keep moving." Bob Dylan from the book Bob Dylan: No Direction Home by Robert Shelton
     
    In the last few years, I've grown slower as a runner. Maybe I would be slightly faster if I focused on speedwork, but the truth is age takes its toll. As I have grown slower, I have migrated to longer and longer distances, first marathons and now ultras, including a 250-mile race. My declining times, however, are offset by an increasing love of running. To be outside and to be moving is more glorious than it has ever been. I appreciate every run and every step and the opportunity to see new things in the world as well as myself.
     
     
    Michelle and I ran along Lake Michigan today. The sky and the water were multi-shades of blue, beginning at the water's edge and rippling to the horizon. I spent decades working near Lake Michigan and staring out the window from my office and wishing I was out on the Lakeshore trail, particularly on a day like today when the blue is infinite.
    It was good to be under a blue blue sky today and moving. Not as fast as I once moved, but happier than those speedy days in the past.
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
  • November 25, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #32 Will
    Whether running around the block or across the country,  the next step takes will. The tree in the picture below evokes the same type of will. Alone on a spit of land at the North Avenue Beach Pier, the tree is bent but not broken, and it endures. There is something about it that beckons when it is still off in the distance and draws the eye to it.
     
     
    In the second picture, there is a group of bikers who have stopped and placed their bikes next to the tree. Something about the tree's will drew them to it and made them comfortable stopping there.
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
     
  • November 24, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #31 Gray
    It is late November, and we are now descending into a long season of gray. While the gloom can sometimes bother me, I begin to feel better once I get outside under the gray sky.
    There is a beauty to the gray that is easy to miss. The gray is multi-hued and ever-changing. The first picture below was taken on one of my favorite trails; I love seeing the big sky opening up after coming through some woods. I call this section of the run "Big Bowl" because it is like being in a big bowl of light.
     
     
     
    The second picture shows how beautiful gray can be. I like how the water reflects the sky and is almost black in places. If you look closely, there is a tiny patch of blue in the gray sky, a dollop of hope for the days ahead.
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
     
  • November 23, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #30 Light
    I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house." Nathaniel Hawthorne
     
    Natural light moves me.  Perhaps this is one reason I love running outdoors because it exposes me to the light. As we move further into fall, the sunshine becomes thin and brittle and, therefore, more precious and treasured.
    Seeing the shadow of this oak tree in the picture below in the thin, hazy sunshine was special, and I was happy to be outside in the sun and moving, moving.
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
  • November 22, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #29 Doubt
    Today I ran on a cold, frosty morning. Heading to the trail, I realized I was nervous about the run. Would I struggle? If so, how much would I struggle? If it went well, what would that look like?
    Each run begins with uncertainty. There is no way to know how it will go; I can only adapt to whatever happens. To be like the path in the picture below became my approach; flow with whatever appeared.
    I struggled to breathe at times during the run; I have asthma, and the cold weather can make it difficult for me to breathe. Struggling to breathe, I had to stop and walk twice. Instead of becoming frustrated at my body's failure, I accepted the walking and tried to be like the path, flowing forward even if it was a slow flow.
    And then the run was over, and now I knew the rest of the story. I had struggled and dug deep to push forward, and the world was still spinning despite my struggles. And now the run is receding, the next run begins to loom, and I begin again.
     

    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.

     

  • November 20, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #28 Creeks
    I am drawn to creeks and rivers. I love exploring them, and if I can run along one, I will gladly do it. There are many secret worlds along the water; the spot where animals come down to the creek to drink, the places along the bank where fish hide, and the brush on the shore where birds shelter. I once played a game of tag with a kingfisher who would fly along the bank ahead of me as I trotted down a game trail bordering the creek. The kingfisher would stop ahead of me and then fly off as I approached, and this happened over and over again for a few minutes until the kingfisher grew weary of our game.
    I took this picture on the banks of Salt Creek on a cold and windy afternoon in November. There is a trail that leads to the creek bank, and I walked down the trail and stood on the bank. The level of the creek was low, and I stood on the dry mud, getting as close to the ice and water as possible. There were some Canadian geese in the water, and they glided away as I approached. It was quiet and peaceful there, and I stood there taking everything in, feeling the wind drying my sweat and the first edge of the cold. On another day, I might have happily explored the creek, but I had miles yet to run and places to go after the run was finished, and I reluctantly took myself back up the trail and began running again, the wind at my back and putting the creek away for another day.
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
  • November 19, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #27 Crazy
    One aspect of a run is seeing other people crazier than I am. For example, at the start of the Cocodona 250, a 250-mile ultra race through parts of the Arizona desert and high mountain forests, I noticed one of my fellow competitors was running the race barefoot. I was already nervous about the race, and seeing someone running the race barefoot was enormously intimidating.
    In the picture below, you can see a bare-chested man in Lake Michigan on November 19, a day full of snow squalls and a water temperature of 46 degrees. Seeing him in the water while I was fussing with my gloves and being buffeted by a cold wind, brought a smile to my face and I picked up my pace for the rest of the run.
     

    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.

  • November 17, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #26 The Bridge
    Man, how I love a bridge. A bridge lets me cross a body of water and gives me a perspective from above that I wouldn’t have from the shore. One of my top 10 runs was from downtown San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. I had run in San Francisco many times but never made enough time to run across the bridge and then back again. I ran across the bridge on a quiet Sunday morning in August as the sun began to burn the fog off and the world began waking up. It was everything I could have dreamed of and one I sometimes return to in my mind.
    Each run is a bridge from who you were before the run to who you are after the run. I think of runs as little bridges bringing me to some far shore where I will be a better version of myself, forged by hundreds of runs.
     
     
    Are you interested in capturing your thoughts about a run? Check out Chasing Twilight, the best running journal for capturing your inner miles. You can find it at www.bestrunningjournal.com.
  • November 16, 2022 100 Aspects Of The Run: #25 Secrets
    The world is full of secrets. Running helps me uncover some of them, making me feel like the running version of Sherlock Holmes. It might be a grove of trees in the woods that I would not otherwise experience, the dark, out-of-way spots kids go to drink, or when the leaves fall, the bird nests that I missed seeing all summer. Some of the nests are shockingly in plain sight, yet unseen when the leaves are on the trees. Each fall, Michelle and I become fascinated with the now-revealed nests and vow to look for their inhabitants come the following summer. But when spring comes, we have forgotten about the nests until fall when summer again gives up its secrets.