In true "Sound of Music" fashion, I just wanted to share some of my favorite "Best of" things from Two-Thousand and Nine. First off, my favorite pictures that I claim full copyright over!
I accidentally found the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia. This was taken at the trail head at Unicoi Gap before I headed out for a few hours. Taken in January 2009. There's this vegan restaurant in Athens, GA that I absolutely love. As a meat-eater, many were surprised that I sought out this place but I quickly fell in love with it. This was my meal on my first visit in January 2009. I went back for dinner again the next day. I can't wait to return this March! Cooling off at Falls River Square in Cuyahoga Falls, OH after running the final 30 miles of the Burning River 100 course in July 2009. It was a hot one!
At the top of Rocky Mountain on the Appalachian Trail on January 31, 2009 in northern Georgia. 4032 feet elevation, and due east of Unicoi Gap. Could I be any happier? My lady of nearly 17 years on one side, and my Oil Creek buckle on the other. As Master Yoda would say: "Stir up emotions, this picture will." I was promoted in September 2009 to the next rank as a Supply Officer in the U.S. Navy. My favorite uniform, the dress whites, or "chokers" are rarely worn so I dressed up in them on a warm day in September and had Marjie take some shots. This one is my favorite, by far. Dangit, I love serving in the Navy. We stopped by the little-known Western Reserve National Cemetary this year on the way home from the apple orchard. I loved walking around, reading the headstones, and just "feeling" the incredible feel of patriotism and dedication to country. On our 17th wedding anniversary and on Marjie first trail run at West Branch State Park. Just prior to this pic, Marjie said "I do!" once again! Love ya, Babe! During our Florida trip in May 2009, we had front-row seats for Shamu's "Believe" show. I was very foolish to have such a new camera in the splash zone. It still acts up from time to time from some of the water that got on it. Stupid, Nick. Stupid. But some great pics, nonetheless! "Bring them up in the way they should go." -- Labor Day 2009 Ignore the time stamp...this was just about Mile 100 of the Burning River 100 in August 2009. Steps later, I crossed the finish line of my 2nd 100-miler with both of my girls in hand. Hallelujah! Perhaps, in my humble opinion, one of my best photos ever. I just love it. Taken during my 25th marathon, the Bobcat Trail Marathon. One of my most favorite self-portraits that I've ever taken...and it's not even a whole-body shot. Taken during the Bobcat Trail Marathon in November 2009. I don't know his name, but while snapping 171 pics during the Bobcat Trail Marathon, I caught this guy doing this during the marathon behind me. I asked him to do it again and he did. This pic should be in a magazine or something! Beth (in blue) hugging Emily after finishing the inaugural Bobcat Trail Marathon in November at Burr Oak State Park in southeast Ohio. I love this picture.
My prize from my first 100-mile finish on June 7, 2009 In my car after running...and completing my first 100-mile trail run in southern Wisconsin at the Kettle Moraine 100. I had first taken an ice cold shower with a garden hose at the finish line with nothing more than a bar of soap then curled up in my car surrounded by my feather pillow and wearing lots of SmartWool. My legs turned to cement as I rested. The drive through Chicago a few hours later was interesting, to say the least. Taken along the boardwalk above the Cuyahoga River in Kent, OH during my 36 mile, 36th birthday run in April. Spring was blooming on this day! On April 16th, I celebrated my 36th birthday by running 36 miles. About 12 miles or so, I passed through Kent and took a break besides the Cuyahoga River. That's the Pufferbelly Restaurant up and to the left, too. This is a really cool place to visit and relax during the spring and summer months.
Early in December, I took Marjie to Mill Creek Park for her 2nd trail run. We had a blast and Marjie went further than ever before. Unfortunately, she fell later in this run and broke her left arm. She still finished that run strong and can't wait to go again!
Taken on December 26, 2009 at Buttermilk Falls during my 3rd installment of the Waterfalls Run, visiting Brandywine, Blue Hen, and lastly...Buttermilk Falls. A fantastic way to end the year!
Just after Thanksgiving 2009, I organized a reverse running of my December Waterfalls Run. It was a lot of fun! I snapped this picture afterwards before saying my goodbyes. A fun picture capturing the overall fun we all had that day.
Father's Day fun in June 2009 with my girls
Oh yes, a wonderful set of ultra-runners feet after 31+ miles of muddy trails (taken in 3/2009 in Mill Creek Park after the Covered Bridge FA 50K)
The "Love Log" at the top of the Monkey Hills on the YUT-C course in Mill Creek Park (taken in 3/2009 at the Covered Bridge FA 50K)
So those are the pictures. I have a favorite video post, too. It would have to be David Goggins inspirational video. Runner or not, you can't help be inspired by this. Enjoy!
Also, I love "stuff" as Dave Ramsey likes to say. (singin') "Here are a few of my favorite things...":
- I love Smartwool. I love Smartwool. I LOVE SMARTWOOL!!! Whether it's running, laying around the house, or plunging through the mud, I've got it on and swear by it. Love it!
- I love to take pictures when I'm on the trails and in my opinion, no camera brands beats Canon when it comes to biggest bang for the buck. Marjie got me a waterproof Fuji for Christmas and after taking it on the Waterfalls Run, I realized how superior Canon is and that camera got an express trip back to Best Buy. In it's place? My newest member of my trail running picture taking arsenal, the waterproof Canon D10. In my hands by January 5th. Yea, baby!
- Rest in Peace, my dear Keen trail shoes. Keen has discontinued production of my most-favorite trail shoes on the planet. I've got 3 pairs but I'm in a huge need of something new. Considerations are Montrail's Mt. Masochist, Brooks' Cascadia, or Vasque's new Transistor FS. Soon baby, soon.
- Crazy Monkey Baking Granola. Oh my...beware of opening a bag of this organic granola on the way home because you may not be able to stop. Introduced at the Bobcat Trail Marathon, it is now stocked (and often sells out) at Vertical Runner in Hudson.
- Vertical Runner: heck, I can't talk about my favorite things without a shout-out to a store that does so much for the local running community. Continued growth, no advertising, and a continued up-tick in giving back. Like I tell many first-time runners, step one is to be wearing the proper type of shoe for you...you can't get that off the shelf at Kohl's. You need "fit" for them and only at a specialty running store will you get that. Plus, all the gear and nutrition plus advice to go along with it is available as well. I will continue to be a part of VR Training as well into 2010. Kickoff run tomorrow at 8am at the store in Hudson! Support your local running shop! (wherever you may live)
- Princeton Tec: hands down, in my opinion, no headlamp manufacturer comes close to the quality, reliability and warranty that comes with these. FIVE YEAR warranty and MADE IN THE USA, too. I use the Fuel (a minimalist option with 4 LEDs) and the Apex Pro for my long, long trail runs in the dark. You simply can't find better than Princeton Tec.
Have a Happy TwentyTen and Happy Trails, everyone!