Thursday, August 14, 2014

Action photography of trail runners crossing a stream at the French River Trail Run (XTERRA Trail Series MA #2) in Oxford, MA. Sports Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier, the Running Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
Stream Crossing at the French River Trail RUn (XTERRA Trail Series MA #2) in Oxford, MA (June 28, 2014)


We think of trail running and of course we think of trails.
And running.

(Maybe flying!
Leaping over rocks...
roots...
and fallen trees.)

Sometimes we do leap.
We float.
We fly like a bird!

But then nature throws a curve.

Suddenly there's no trail at all:
just a flowing stream.

And we're not running!

Barely walking.

Just trying to cross the wet barrier
without falling!

These runners were right behind me
at the French River Trail Run
 in Oxford, MA.

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

If you love trail running, you're in luck!

The next race in the XTERRA series 
is Saturday, August 16
in Oxford, MA:

Hodges Hoedown!

You can run a Half-Marathon or a 10K course.
On trails, of course.
(With the occasional stream crossing!)


Thanks, MRA MultiSport and XTERRAPlanet
for putting on this great race series!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Up-close action photo of triathlete, open water swimming at the Mad River Endurafest Triathlon in Waterville Valley, NH. Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com) The Mad River Endurafest is produced by Sun Multisport Events (SunMultisportEvents.com)
Open Water Swimming at  the Mad River Endurafest in Waterville Valley, NH (August 2, 2014)

Scream as loud as you can!
(Go ahead.  I'll wait.)

You won't exhale air more powerfully
than an open water swimmer.

And an open water swimmer does this
with every stroke.

Primal?

You'd better believe it!

I took this photo as I was swimming in the
Mad River Endurafest Triathlon in Waterville Valley, NH.

This swimmer was right next to me.

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

After swimming .4 mile in the blue water of Corcoran Pond,
these triathletes biked 20 miles on mountain roads
(or 5 miles on mountain trails)...
then ran about 4 miles on roads or trails to the finish line.

A great day for road and off-road triathletes!

Thanks, Sun Multisport Events, for putting on
this scenic triathlon in the White Mountains!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Photo of hand-made finisher medal for David's Old Silver Swim in North Falmouth MA, an open water swimming race that benefits Compassionate Care ALS. Photography by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
Hand-made Finisher Medal for David's Old Silver Swim in North Falmouth, MA (August 9, 2014)


This medal in my hand represents more
 than the fact that I finished a race.

As you can see, it was made by hand.

With love.

And it tells a story.

The caring people of North Falmouth, MA
decided to raise money for Compassionate Care ALS.

They got together and created an open water swimming race:

It's a half-mile loop in the salty Atlantic.
You swim the loop once for a half-mile, or twice for a mile.

When you run up onto the beach,
 the crowd cheers like you just made
 the winning touchdown at the homecoming game.

A volunteer peels the timing chip from your ankle
and another volunteer drapes this medal around your neck.

You feel like a champion!

I've finished dozens of triathlons
 and open water swims.

It always feels good to get a finisher's medal!

Usually a medal is professionally designed.
Cast in metal.  
Painted without a flaw.

I cherish every one of those medals!

But this this simple seashell--
 marked with a Sharpie
and hanging from a length of twine
--this one is special.

It was made by hand by someone
who was moved by his (or her) heart.

I won't put it in a drawer with my other medals.

I think I'll get a hammer and a nail,
and hang it from the wall.

for putting on this great race!

And congratulations on raising more than $25,000

So now I'm wondering:
who's going to give YOU a medal?

Photo of hand-made finisher medal for David's Old Silver Swim in North Falmouth MA, an open water swimming race that benefits Compassionate Care ALS. Photography by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
(The other side of the medal.)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Up-close action photo of triathlete, open water swimming at the Mad River Endurafest Triathlon in Waterville Valley, NH. Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
Open Water Swimming at  the Mad River Endurafest in Waterville Valley, NH (August 2, 2014)


Open water swimming is a feast for all of the senses.

You feel the water--
 with every square inch of your skin.

You taste it.

You smell the crisp mountain air!

You hear the explosion underwater 
each time you clear your lungs...

...and you see streams of water--
patches of blue sky--
and the arms of other swimmers swirl
like a kaleidoscope before your eyes!


I took this photo as I was swimming in the
Mad River Endurafest Triathlon in Waterville Valley, NH.

This swimmer was right next to me.

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

I hope it gives you some sense 
of what it feels like to be in the blender!


After swimming .4 mile in the blue water of Corcoran Pond,
these triathletes biked 20 miles on mountain roads
(or 5 miles on mountain trails)...
then ran about 4 miles on roads or trails to the finish line.

A great day for road and off-road triathletes!

Thanks, Sun Multisport Events, for putting on
this scenic triathlon in the White Mountains!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Up-close action photo of a barefoot runner (not in minimalist shoes, but actually barefoot) running--no, FLYING!--six inches above the track in Lexington, MA. Sports Photography by Ken Skier, The Running Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
Barefoot running in Lexington, MA (August 6, 2014)

We all know the feeling.

We're lighter than air!
FLOATING above the earth.

Sometimes it's true!

__________


Oh.  
You're wondering about the black
tape on the runner's calf.

It's duct tape.
Plain old duct tape.

The runner is recovering from a calf strain.
Wrapping the calf in duct tape allows him to run...
and fly!

__________


What?  
You're wondering about the shoes?
(or lack of shoes!)

I'm a barefoot runner.

Not always...but often.
And especially when I want to run
with minimal impact.

Barefoot running is a very gentle form of running.
Very easy on the knee.
(I have a bad knee.)

I'm not suggesting that you run without shoes.
But it sure works for me!




Friday, August 1, 2014

Up-close action photo of triathlete beaching like a whale while open water swimming at the Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon. Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
Open water swimmer at  the Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon in Duxbury, MA (July 27, 2014)


What is more damatic than an open water swimmer?

An open water swimmer leaping for the sky!

Like a whale breaching:

Humpback whale breaching.  (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)

I took the top photo as I was swimming in the
   Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon in Duxbury, MA.

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

After swimming 1/4 mile in the cold waters of the Atlantic,
these triathletes biked 11 miles of seaside roads
and then ran 3 miles on the beach.

Thanks, Streamline Events, for putting on
this scenic triathlon by the sea!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Up-close action photo of dwarf paratriathlete John Young, a Little Person who has run the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon, running at the Triathlon at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, MA. Sports Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier. (RunwithKen.com)
First-place paratriathlete John Young at the Triathlon at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, MA (July 20, 2014)


At four feet four inches,  John Young is a Little Person.  A dwarf.

So sure: he's short.

But he's long on endurance, and big on Getting It Done.

He's run the Boston Marathon.
The New York Marathon.

And thirty triathlons--
including three Half-Ironman events.

So it's no surprise that he's running light and easy
here, at the final turn of the Triathlon at Lake Pearl,
(a scenic race put on by the Hockomock Area YMCA
in Wrentham, MA.)

This Sprint-distance Tri is just a tune-up for John!

He swam a quarter-mile in beautiful Lake Pearl...
bicycled 9 miles over scenic New England hills...
and ran 5K.

Now he's gliding to the finish line,
and a well-earned award as the 
First-Place Paratriathlete in this race.

Go-ooo, John!


Want to learn more about John and his
accomplishments as an endurance athlete?

Then you'll enjoy:

Big: The Story of Two Little People Running Boston (Runner's World article)

The Replacement Run  (HD Video of John finishing the Boston Marathon)

John Young beats dwarfism, age, weight to complete Toronto Triathlon


Early morning swim in a New England Lake (Open Water Swimming...in Slow Motion!)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Up-close action photo of a triathlete open water swimming at Lake Singletary in Sutton, MA. Sports Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
At the MRA Multisport Swim in Sutton, MA (July 26, 2014)

Spinning your legs makes you faster 
when you run or ride a bike.

But spinning your arms doesn't
make you faster in the water!

A good swimmer looks almost lazy in the water.

Reaching long and low for the far shore.
Pulling back slowly...
...and then GLIDING through the still water.

It's a rhythm that some are born with,
 and some never master.

Long, slow, and eternal as the waves themselves.

Reach.  
Farther!  
Reach. 

Pull.
and glide.

This swimmer came alongside me 
as we swam in Lake Singletary in Sutton, MA.

  (Not a race: this was a noncompetitive swim
organized by the MRA Multisport Tri Club.)

I took his picture and we both continued our swim.

Reach.
Pull.
Glide.

See you in the open water!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Up-close action photo of triathletes, open water swimming atthe Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon. Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
At the Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon in Duxbury, MA (July 27, 2014)

Surging forward, these open water swimmers
slice through the waves!

The water was cold (57 degrees)
but the competition was HOT!

(Yes, I was swimming as I took this photo.  
Did not stop or slow my stroke.
After all--I was in a race!)

After swimming 1/4 mile in the cold waters of the Atlantic,
these triathletes biked 11 miles of seaside roads
and then ran 3 miles on the beach.

Thanks, Streamline Events, for putting on
this scenic triathlon by the sea!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Dramatic action photo of a young runner FLYING down the road at the 4K on the 4th Trail Race, at NHTI in Concord, MA. Sports photography by Ken Skier aka
At the 4K on the 4th in Concord, NH (July 5, 2014)

Running is an egalitarian sport.

Runners who are very young will fly down the course--
contesting every inch with runners 
in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's.

I ran this flat, fast course 
and occasionally passed this young runner.

But not for long!
She always burst past me.

I took this photo as she tore up the road.

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

But I don't think it was a fair race.
She had wings!

for putting on this fine race!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Scenic photo of sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, as seen from Duxbury Beach in Duxbury, MA. just before the start of the Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon--and discussion of the appeal of open water swimming. Photography by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
Calm Atlantic waters just before the start of the Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon in Duxbury, MA (July 27, 2014)


Open water is magical.

Haunting.

It calls to us with an irresistible pull.

Ask any swimmer!

Swimming in the short narrow lanes of a pool 
is nothing like swimming in natural water,
under the great bowl of the sky.

Here is the the sight that greeted me at sunrise,
shortly before the start of the Marshfield-Duxbury Triathlon
in Duxbury, MA.

The Atlantic:

Wide.
Calm.
Beckoning.

Do you hear its call?



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Photo of a small powerboat, and discussion of how to stay safe while open water swimming.

If you love open water swimming
(as I have, all my life)
then you've heard your friends express their concerns.

The two big ones, of course:

     What if you drown?

and:

     What about SHARKS?

I swim in New England, and it is true that
Great White Sharks frequent the 
Atlantic waters off our coast.

But I never worry about sharks.

The real killer is not some creature from the Jurassic Age,
but one from our modern mechanized era:

Boats.

Power boats.

Boats with propellers.

If  you swim in the open water, please be SAFE!

Some lakes and ponds prohibit motorcraft.
Others allow them.

Know the rules for the waters where you swim.

A small outboard can kill you faster than any
shark from a scary movie.

Be safe, my friend.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Up-close action photo of an aero cyclist, tucked low while bicycling at the Whaling City Triathlon in New Bedford, MA. Sports Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier. (RunwithKen.com)
At the Whaling City Triathlon in New Bedford, MA (July 6, 2014)

If you had to pick one word for this photo,
 what would it be?

Speed!

SpeedSpeedSpeed!

Maybe.  But I think:

Joy!

Just look at her face!

This happy cyclist is slicing through the wind,
tucked low on the aerobars of her Tri bike.

Oh, she is loving this moment!

A camera on my bike took this picture.
She was just behind me.

But not for long!
She passed me a moment later,
and flew on down the road.

(I wasn't nearly as fast. I sat more upright...enjoying 
sweeping views of the water all along the course.)

for putting on this scenic triathlon!

Up-close action photo of a triathlete, open water swimming at the Triathlon at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, MA. Sports Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier, the Swimming Photographer. (RunwithKen.com)
At the Triathlon at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, MA (July 20, 2014)

What is it about the open water that draws us
with such a powerful pull?

In a word:
the open water is alive!

It has texture...
temperature...
motion...
and moods!

It's nothing like a road!

We ride a bike on a road.

We run on a road.

But we swim IN the water.

It wraps around us...
embraces us...
and reaches up to connect us to the sky

I was swimming in the Triathlon at Lake Pearl 
in Wrentham, MA when I saw this swimmer.

Taken by the dazzling spray of water 
as it flew from her fingers,
I snapped this photo.

(Yes, I swim with a camera.
Don't want to miss a moment like this!)

Thanks, Hockomock Area YMCA
for putting on this great race!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Up-close action photo of Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon, running at the Triathlon at Lake Pearl in Wrentham, MA. Sports Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier. (RunwithKen.com)
Dave McGillivray running at the Triathlon at Lake Pearl (Hockomock Triathlon)  in Wrentham, MA (July 20, 2014)

Every runner in the world knows the Boston Marathon.

(As do hundreds of millions of non-runners!)

"Boston" (as runners call it--no need to say "The Boston Marathon")
is such a focal point of the running community that it has
spawned its own acronym:

BQ

Runners around the world strive for a BQ--
a Boston Qualifying time!

--that will allow them to wear a bib number 
in Hopkinton, MA on Patriots Day,
and run 26.2 miles to Copley Square in Boston.

The race and its lore are larger than life.

How much larger?

The response of Boston-area runners
to the murderous Marathon bombings
spawned the phrase:

Boston Strong

(When you say it, say it with awe.
Respect.
And solidarity.)

Central to the smooth running of this amazing event
is its long-time race director, Dave McGillivray.

Beloved by tens of thousands of runners
who line up in Hopkinton each year.

We know he makes the Marathon work.
We know he keeps us, and many miles of spectators, safe.

But what does Dave do when he's not running the
oldest and most legendary running event in the world?

Yup.

He runs.
Swims.
And rides his bike.

On this day he swam a quarter-mile, 
biked 9 miles on the rolling New England countryside,
and ran 5K.

(This was at the Triathlon at Lake Pearl,
a scenic race put on by the Hockomock Area YMCA
in Wrentham, MA.)

I snapped this photo as he rounded the final
turn towards the finish line.

Go-ooo, Dave!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MRA Multisport Triathlete, open water swimming at Lake Singletary in Sutton, MA (July 19, 2014)

Look at him go!

Cleaving the blue water on a summer morning,
this open water swimmer sends spray
FLYING to the blue sky.

I was swimming as he came alongside.
(Yes, I swim with a camera.)

I snapped this photo and we both continued
swimming in this quiet New England lake.

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