I’m sure by now you are pretty tired of hearing about me paddling Nanticoke lake. I’ve written about it many times before and shared many images from my adventures there as well. However as I race against Mother Nature in my final attempts to keep my paddling season going I ventured to none other than Nanticoke lake this morning.
I arrived under darkness, exiting my car peering upward towards the heavens. The unpolluted night sky was alive with the moon, stars, clouds and I believe Venus. I rubbed my hands together with excitement and commented to my friend Don “I think we have the makings of a beautiful sunrise”. Don whole heartily agreed and we carried our canoes to the lake. The narrow beam from my headlamp pierced the darkness and I could feel the the damp grass beneath my feet with every step.
Don and I set out to watch the show as our paddles dipped in and out of the water whispering an elegant song. As we sat in the middle of the lake the cloud cover began to thicken and I said to Don “I think we’re going to get skunked on our sunrise”. Don laughed, shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t think so. I placed my paddle in the water, turned my canoe in order to investigate a playful beaver who was splashing a little closer to the shore. All of a sudden I could see the skies reflection in the water turn to pink, orange and blue. Another dip of the paddle, my canoe turned and I was laying witness to a blazing fire in the sky.
I remember this day well, sadly I don’t remember the date. In my haste I never logged that pertinent information on the negative sleeve. I believe this was January 2001? It was cold, brutally cold. Minus 50 degrees cold along the southern edge of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, NY.
Matthew Gibbons and I were attempting to bring a rather large freight to CSX Dewitt yard in East Syracuse. CSX averages 70+ trains per day on the Chicago main line or “Water Level Route”. Trains traveling at 50 & 60 MPH with Amtrak hitting 79 MPH would blow snow all over filling our switch where our two railroad connect.
In this scene Matt attempts to clean snow and ice from the switch points. Windchill dipping near fifty below, an eastbound CSX intermodal train roars by at 60 MPH and Matt has all he can do just to stand up. Matt now resides in Wisconsin battling the same weather conditions on the Soo Line Railroad.
I captured this moment with a Canon EOS Elan 7E on Kodak TMax 400.
Wondering the streets of London in a fog as thick as pea soup, in the distance I can hear the tolling of Big Ben echoing throughout, I’m groggy and appear to be lost. I pull myself together only to realize that it’s not Big Ben I hear but my iPhone telling me its 4:00AM and time to get up and get dressed I have the Syracuse half marathon to run. The weather report for Sunday March 22nd in Syracuse, New York is bleak. Cold, Wind and snow. Nonetheless I’m excited and make my way to pick up a few friends. Once on Interstate 81 headed north is where the fun begins. Wind is whipping, snow is blowing and yes race fans we have whiteout conditions. Seventy five miles later we arrive in Syracuse under what appears to be brightening skies and no snow. It’s cold, very cold and I question myself only briefly. The race begins and ends at Syracuse’s Oncenter right in downtown. A very large conference center with plenty of room for the 2,773 runners, of which women outnumber the men two to one. Here is where we met up with about forty other runners from the Binghamton area “Triple Cities Runners Club” and “Broome County Triathlon Club” creating the party like atmosphere. In a nutshell it felt rather like a large social event rather than a race making you forget about the cold for a while. The race start was delayed from 0800 to 0815 due to weather conditions, as volunteers had been out salting the course to make sure there wasn’t any ice. 0815 the race begins and runners move through the start like a herd of cattle. Once across the starting line we were able to break out a bit. The sun begins warming our faces but the wind is still reminding us that winter is making its final grasp. This is my first race in 2015 and my first race since New York City marathon in November 2014. I’ve also been plagued with some lower body issues for quite sometime now. My goal today was to run this race, not get hurt and just have fun. Around mile one is where the largest hill on the course is gaining gaining 120 feet of elevation in about a mile. The rest of the course through the city is rolling with lots of turns to keep it interesting. In all honesty I have to say “I Love This Course!”. I’m on the backside of the course or about mile 6, my calf is feeling good so I decide to pick up my pace quite a bit for several miles. Feeling no pain in the calf, approaching mile 10 I back off the pace and feel my calf start to complain. I’m worried a bit, my mind races and I’m thinking to myself I only have 3 miles left. I can do this I tell myself and 3.1 miles later I crossed the finish line at 1:52:20, far from my best half marathon time but I was excited and proud. Hey its all about the shorts! The post race pancake breakfast back at the Oncenter was awesome. They had pancakes, bacon and sausage which was absolutely delicious. Byrne Dairy chocolate milk, coffee, water, fruit, bagels and so forth. Definitely a nice spread. After breakfast and some stretching I changed clothes and ten of us made our way over to Alto Cinco, a Mexican resteraunt in downtown for more food and a few adult beverages. This adventure was a riot to say the least. The food was great, the beer amazing but the laughs were out of control. Finally around 3:30PM we are on our way home, tired but proud. Today wasn’t about racing, today was about running, camaraderie and friendship. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing group of people and I will cherish that. Cheers! http://broomecountytriathlonclub.comhttp://triplecitiesrunnersclub.org
364 days or 11 months and 29 days ago our family took part in the ever growing Binghamton Bridge Run http://www.binghamtonbridgerun.org. For us as a family it marked a change in our dynamic. My wife Julie who isn’t a runner but a walker has participated in several 5K’s since along with our youngest son Max. Our oldest son Michael however enjoyed running and in the Fall of 2012 joined his school’s Cross Country team and is currently competing on the schools track team.
For me on the other hand the Binghamton Bridge Run sparked an entire new lifestyle. In earlier posts I had made mention prior to this event, I had not run since high school when I played lacrosse and football which is about 24 years ago. I also had said that what hooked me on running wasn’t so much the running itself but the sense of runners community I experienced at the Bridge Run. Standing at the finish line in awe watching and cheering as the half marathoners were coming in, people around me of all types were cheering, clapping and celebrating in the accomplishments of these athletes. In my eyes they were Gods! As I approached the finish line in the 5K I could feel the same cheers and jeers as these Gods were now cheering, clapping and celebrating me and all the other runners and walkers. There was no sense of divide, it was runners of all skill levels and accomplishments celebrating one another as one big happy family and that my friends is what got me hooked on running.
Today is May 5th 2013 and another Binghamton Bridge Run is upon us. I am however saddened because I will not be able to compete in todays event due to family obligations. My dear friends running in this event I would like to send out a HUGE CHEER to you. You all are strong, talented runners but most of all you have inspired me throughout. And to all the other runners/walkers who I have not had the opportunity to meet I will be cheering you on in spirit.