Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lexington, MA (December 31, 2013)

"Streak Running" is not what you might remember from the 1970's--
when "streakers" ran naked through college campuses! :)

It means running every day, for at least a mile
each time, for a number of days.  (A "streak")

On January 1, 2013, I made a New Year's Resolution:
Run at least a mile outdoors every day of the year.

Today (December 31), I ran for the 365th consecutive day.
On every one of those days, I ran at least a mile outdoors.

Rain.  Snow.  Blizzard.  
Summer heat that threatened to melt the street.

I ran.

Today it is 19 degrees, and a howling wind 
from Canada makes it feel like single digits.

But I don't mind.  I am FLYING!

I don't notice the temperature.
Just the fact that this is Day 365.

This run marks my first year as a Streak Runner!

(A camera I placed by the side of the path took this photo
as I ran.  So this is a self-portrait.)

A little background: I took up running in 2004.
Never ran a mile before then.

Every year since then I've had an injury 
that made it impossible for me to walk for weeks.

A different injury each year.  Several required surgery.
So I never imagined that I'd be able to run every day.

Certainly not for any extended time!

But this year I figured it out:

 I run a mile of hills each morning.
(I never run more than two miles unless I'm in a race.)

It's a very simple plan, which owes its
success to two principles:

I
1) By running every day, I maintain the 
fitness to race without getting hurt.  

2) By limiting my weekly miles, I avoid the overuse
injuries that always sidelined me in the past.

Compared to other long-term runners, 
my single year of streak running is no big deal.

But it thrills me--because it means I have found a way
to run, and race, without injury!

See you on the road!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

At the Feaster Five in Andover, MA (November 28, 2013)

Is there a more wonderful moment than this?
These runners have all hit their stride!

They were just behind me as I took this photo.

(Yes, I was running.
Did not stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)


Saturday, December 28, 2013

At the Jingle Bell Run in Somerville, MA (December 22, 2013)

Sure, he could wear a technical shirt or a singlet from a running club...
but SAM's got more style than that!

He was just behind me when I took this photo.

(Yes, I was running.
I didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Friday, December 27, 2013

At the Jingle Bell Run in Somerville, MA (December 22, 2013)

I love the intensity of this runner!
He was leaping toward me just as I took this photo.

 I was running one step ahead of him.

(Yes. I was running.  
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

At the Jingle Bell Run in Somerville, MA (December 22, 2013)

We runners are a curious lot.   

We love to run together!  

More than 3,000 of us ran together at this race--
the Marathon Sports Jingle Bell Run in Somerville, MA.

But every runner knows: you've got to run your own race.
So sometimes--even in a pack of thousands--we run alone.

I took this photo while running.  This runner was just behind me.

(Yes, I was running.  Did not stop or slow my pace.  
After all--I was in a race!)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

At the Jingle Bell Run in Somerville, MA (December 22, 2013)

Rare photo of Santa Claus preparing for the physical challenge of
climbing up and down millions of chimneys on Christmas Eve.

I took this photo at the Jingle Bell Run, a 5K road race
 in Somerville, MA held a few days before Christmas.  

Santa and these other runners were just behind me.
Santa was sprinting at a very respectable 7-minute pace.

(Yes, I was running,.  Didn't stop or slow my pace. 
After all--I was in a race.)

I wanted to speak with him after the race, but he was gone.

All he left behind were some tracks in the snow from a big sled...
and from way up above me, I heard a booming Ho, Ho, Ho!

Monday, December 23, 2013

At the Jingle Bell Run in Somerville, MA (December 22, 2013)

It's almost Christmas--but unseasonably warm weather invites thousands 
of runners to romp down the street in shorts and festive outfits!

I took this photo as I was running.  
These runners were just behind me.

(Yes, I was running.  
Did not stop or slow my pace.  After all, I was in a race!)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

At the Greater Lowell Road Runners Christmas Run in Lowell, MA (December 21, 2013)

Sixty runners from the Greater Lowell Road Runners (GLRR) gathered 
on the Saturday before Christmas for the club's annual Christmas Run.

I ran with one group, and took this photo of four runners as we flew down the streets of Lowell.

(Yes, I was running as I took this photo.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a group run!)

Friday, December 20, 2013

At my Black Friday Run in Bayside, NY (November 29, 2013)

On the day after Thanksgiving, I found myself running through
a beautiful small park overlooking the Long Island Sound.  

Without warning, I came upon a rustic staircase that climbed a steep hill.

Hello!

This is what I live for!  
I'm a mountain runner!  I eat hills for breakfast.

What a treat to find a steep staircase climbing the dark earth--
here in the dense heart of the greatest city on Earth!

(If you came upon this staircase while running, would you smile and pick up the pace?
Or would you look for a route around it?)

I ran up these stairs like a man leaping for a winning lottery ticket!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

At the 1-mile Sharkfest Swim across Newport Harbor in Newport, RI (September 28, 2013)

This is a terrific race.  I had a camera with me as I was swimming,
and took this photo of a swimmer next to me.

(Yes, I was swimming as I took the photo.
Didn't stop or slow my stroke.  After all--I was in a race!)


Friday, December 13, 2013

At the CYO Ho Ho Ho 5K in Norwood, MA (December 7, 2013)

This young runner is well off the ground!
He was just behind me when I took this photo.

(Yes, I was running as I took the photo.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

At the Milton 5K Gobbler for Best Buddies in Milton, MA (November 23, 2013)

Sometimes a race comes down to the final stretch!
Here, with the finish line in sight, two runners duel on the final hill.

(They were just behind me when I took this photo.
Yes, I was running.  Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)
At the CYO Ho Ho Ho 5K in Norwood, MA (December 7, 2013)

I took this photo a couple of minutes into the race.
This runner was just behind me.

(Yes, I was running as I took the photo.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

At the Feaster Five in Andover, MA (November 28, 2013)

I took this photo about a minute into the race.
These runners were just behind me.

(Yes, I was running as I took this photo.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


At the First Snowy Run of the Winter in Lexington, MA (December 10, 2013)

I usually publish photos of runners (or cyclists or swimmers) during a race:
a road race, trail race, open water swim, duathlon, or triathlon.

But of course every runner/cyclist/swimmer
 spends a lot more time training than racing!

So I thought I'd post a photo of a runner on a solitary training run.


(In this case, I'm the runner...and the photographer.  A camera 
I'd set up by the side of the path captured this photo as I ran.)

Look at that ribbon of asphalt...winding into the distance.
Don't YOU want to run down that path?

At the CYO Ho Ho Ho 5K in Norwood, MA (December 7, 2013)

This is the moment we look forward to, all week!
Released from the start line, we fill the street!

I took this photo as I was running.  These runners were just behind me.
(Yes, I was running.  Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)


Monday, December 9, 2013

At the Mill Cities Relay in Lowell, MA (December 8, 2013)

Throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire,
runners look forward all year to the Mill Cities Relay--a race that runs
27 miles along the Merrimack River from Nashua, NH to Lawrence, MA.

Logistics for this multi-club, multi-state race require
meticulous planning and flawless execution on race day.

Yet it always goes off without a hitch!
Hundreds of relay teams enjoy every mile!

What is the secret behind this success?

Now we know!

Race Director Jessica Costa has enlisted the help of no less powerful an ally than...
Santa himself!

Photos don't lie.

As you can see, the Mill Cities Relay has the Big Guy himself
 making everything work to perfection!

At the Feaster Five in Andover, MA (November 28, 2013)

Some runners are filled with so much JOY...it's infectious!

I took this photo just a few seconds after we crossed the starting line.
These runners were just behind me.

(Yes, I was running as I took this photo.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Over 11,000 of us ran on this cold Thanksgiving race.
We all had a terrific time!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

At the Feaster Five in Andover, MA (November 28, 2013)

I love this moment!

11,000 runners burst from the starting line at the Feaster Five 5-mile and 5K road race.

I took this photo as I was running.  These runners were just behind me.
(Yes, I was running.  Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all-I was in a race!)

Friday, December 6, 2013

At the Pentucket Pride 5K in West Newbury, MA (December 1, 2013)

I love the look of concentration on this runner!

She was behind me when I took this photo.

(Yes, I took the photo as I was running.  Did not stop
or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race.)

A moment later she passed me...and then she was gone!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

At the Feaster Five in Andover, MA (November 28, 2013)

How many stars do you see in this photo?


I'll tell you how many stars I see!


Fifty on the flag, of course.  (Whipping violently in the arctic gale

sweeping down from Canada on this Thanksgiving morning.)

Plus a constellation of stars on the stage:

brilliant runners, who have inspired all of us in this crowd of 11,000 at the start line.

Bill Rodgers: (4-time winner of the Boston Marathon.)


Joan Benoit Samuelson: (just "Joanie" to any runner in New England)--

who proved to the Olympic Committee that a WOMAN from New England
can run 26.2 miles with speed and grace and style.

Rick and Dick Hoyt: who proved many times

that NOTHING can stop a champion.

John Young: at the microphone--

triathlete, marathoner, and my friend:
the biggest man I know.

and Celeste Corcoran: survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings, 

who teaches us every day what it means to be "Boston Strong."

Stars?  No.  A constellation of strength and humanity up there on stage,

filling us runners in the street with inspiration for this race.



Copyright (c) 2013 by Ken Skier.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

At the Feaster Five in Andover, MA (November 28, 2013)

Nearly 11,000 runners fill the streets of Andover, MA 
on this cold, blustery Thanksgiving morning.

I'm one of them.

Soon we'll burst forth and like a river cresting a dam--
a kaleidoscope of motion and Joy!
--in this much-loved holiday race.

At the Pentucket Pride 5K in West Newbury, MA (December 1, 2013)

I took this photo just a few seconds after 
the race director released us from the start line.

(Yes, I was running as I took this photo.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

At the Milton 5K Gobbler for Best Buddies in Milton, MA (November 23, 2013)

This runner was just behind me as we ran in the race.

(Yes, I was running as I took this photo.
I didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

At the Milton 5K Gobbler for Best Buddies in Milton, MA (November 23, 2013)

I took this photo as I was running.  These runners were just behind me.

I love how every runner is different.
Some show power.  Others...a kind of weightlessness!

(I took many photos as I ran.  I have a whole series of the woman
in bib #4359--the one who is "floating."  And in every one
of those photos, both of her feet are off the ground!  Amazing.)


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

 Milton, MA (November 23, 2013)

In any race, a lot of runners are serious and focused.
   Some look like they're in pain.

But a lucky few are just relaxed and happy--
SMILING as they run down the street!  

(Like these two runners at the 
Milton 5K Gobbler for Best Buddies.)

I took this photo in the first minute of the race.
These happy runners were just behind me.

(Yes, I was running at the time.  
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)


Friday, November 22, 2013

Lexington, MA (November 22, 2013)

My feet have always been large. (Size 13)

 But years of barefoot running has made them much larger.
Now most size 14's are too small.

So a lot of my shoes look like these moccasins!

At Piggys 5K in Waltham, MA (November 16, 2013)

I love this image.  This runner is racing her shadow.
Who will win?

She was just behind me for most of the second mile of the race.
I took this photo as I was running.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

At the Piggys 5K in Waltham, MA (November 16, 2013)

A special moment!
These two friends high-five--without breaking stride!

I took this photo about a mile into the race.
These runners were just behind me.

(Yes, I was running as I took the photo.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

 I was running as fast as I could.
But these guys were just having a good time!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

At the Piggys 5K in Waltham, MA (November 16, 2013)

I took this photo as we ran up the first hill on the course.
It's not very steep, but it forced all of us to change stride and dig.

This runner was just behind me when I took the photo.
(Yes, I was running.  Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

At Piggys 5K in Waltham, MA (November 16, 2013)

Look at him go!

He's wearing Vibram FiveFingers minimalist shoes
(often called "toe shoes" or the oxymoronic "barefoot shoes".)

He was just behind me when I took this photo.
(I was running, too.  Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all, I was in a race!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

At the Piggys 5K in Waltham, MA (November 16, 2013)

These runners were just behind me when the race director told us to Run!

I took this photo as I launched into my race pace.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

At the Piggys 5K in Waltham, MA (November 16, 2013)

Self-portrait

A camera I'd set up near the finish line, 
captured this photo as I ran the final 100 yards.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

At the Boston Barefoot Running Festival 5K in Boston, MA (September 14, 2013)

Yes, his name is Miles.
(I guess his parents knew he'd grow up to be a runner!)

Miles was just behind me when I took this photo.
I was running, too, in a terrific 5K for barefoot runners.

I'd stayed ahead of him for 3 miles, but a moment after I took
this photo, he sprinted past me like I was standing still!

Friday, November 15, 2013

At the Lisas Lung Cancer Awareness 5K in Lowell, MA (November 10, 2013)

How does she do it?  Her feet never touch the ground!

At Lisas Lung Cancer Awareness 5K in Lowell, MA (November 10, 2013)

This runner pushed me hard for much of the race.

(I took this photo as we were running.)

I love her focus.  Her concentration!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

At Lisas Lung Cancer Awareness 5K in Lowell, MA (November 10, 2013)

Here in the Boston area, each of us knows we could have been
 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off in April.

For many of us it feels like yesterday.  You might remember:

In the days following that dark event, runners did not cower.

We ran.

In groups to support each other,
and alone because we can.

We are Boston Strong.

I took this photo very early in Lisa's Lung Cancer Awareness 5K.
These runners were just behind me.

(Yes, I was running as I snapped the photo.
Did not stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

What do you see in this photo?

I'll tell you what I see:

We run.

Seven months after those cowards' bombs went off.

We run.

They can't stop us.

We run to defy terrorists.

We run to defeat cancer.

We are Boston Strong.




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

At the Monster Dash 5K in Marshfield, MA (October 27, 2013)


Many of you have asked how I take race photos that "look just right."
I have replied that it's a rare photo that looks just right when I snap it.

I put a lot of work into each photo, before you ever see it.
There are four major steps:

1)  The most important step is winnowing down the hundreds or thousands of
raw photos to select a few that really capture a moment worth sharing.

2)  Then I crop the photo, to make the element(s) of interest stand out.

3)  If necessary, I remove any distractions.

4)  Finally I adjust the contrast, highlights, shadows, and color balance.

Of course, those are just words!
So here are a few pictures, to help you visualize the process.

Take a look at the photo at the top of this post.
It's not the photo I snapped with my camera!

Here's how that photo came to be:

As I stood with other runners at the start line of the Monster Dash 5K
in Marshfield, MA, I snapped many photos of the race starter.

(If I had an SLR, and could ask the race starter to wait a minute or two,
I could have zoomed in and gotten a really great photo of her.

But of course she wouldn't delay the race for me!  So I just took a quick series of
photos with my point-and-shoot, while I readied my legs and lungs to run.)

After the race, I reviewed my photos of the race starter, 
and decided that this one was the best:




So that was step 1: Selecting a candidate photo.

But the photo above is not ready for publication.  
It has nothing to draw your eye.  No subject worthy of interest.

(Unless you want a photo of power lines.  Those draw the eye quite nicely here!)

So I cropped it.  That gave me this image:



That was step 2: Cropping the photo.

It gave me an image where the subject is prominent, and draws you into the image.

But it's still not ready for publication!

Your eye is not drawn solely to the starter, and to her megaphone.
There are distractions!  
A pile of granite blocks.  A woman sitting on those blocks.  A discarded ladder.

So I removed those distractions, using a photo editor.
Then I adjusted the contrast, highlights, shadows, and color balance.

That gave me this image:



No more distractions!
The contrast is sharper.  The earth is darker.

You eye is drawn to that megaphone,
and it's quite clear that this woman is speaking directly to YOU.

Just to be clear: I am not saying that this is a great picture.

Merely that it captures a moment, and does so without distraction--
due to the steps I took after I snapped the original image.

I do this with every photo I publish.
Hope you enjoy them!

At the Lisas Lung Cancer Awareness 5K in Lowell, MA (November 10, 2013)

I took this picture during the first minute of the race.  
This runner was coming up alongside me.

(Yes, I was running as I took the photo. 
 Didn't stop or slow my pace. After all--I was in a race!)

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