The Prairie Fields - Rest And Heal

Some photos I captured walking around the prairie last Saturday - the bright sunshine tempered the brisk wind, although it felt more like March than February.

Not in a Rush

Normally, I spend my Saturday mornings running - it is my designated "long run" day, but not last weekend. The previous Monday, I managed to strain my quad in yoga class while stretching it (aggressively) - the muscle "popped", then hurt and I knew that was trouble.

Put Your Hands on Your Head

Nevertheless, it has all turned out fine. I foam rolled / massaged the muscle and resulting knot, put my leg into a compression sleeve, elevated it, and (most importantly) simply rested it. Normal walking wasn't painful, but descending the stairs served as a reminder that all was not normal. I was mentally ready to take 3-4 weeks off, because the reality is unless you take the time to heal, the injury will always linger and make you pay later on.

Lead Me There

Somehow, on Friday afternoon the pain simply no longer existed. I could still feel the knot on my quad, but no other remnants of the injury.

I felt it prudent to give it another day, so I substituted a long swim in lieu of my normal long run. And added a leisurely walk around the prairie with my camera. The following day, I ran 3 miles without any issues.

Single Experiment
Photography note - I shot the above photo using the "back button focus" technique, something a little different for me and technique I will continue to practice.

So, what did I learn? One - to take it easier on the stretching in yoga. Two - 5 days off from running, interval training, yoga and my normal intense activities forced me to reset. I should take breaks like that more often. Three - the body is an incredible machine, never to be underestimated.

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February 2016 Desktop Calendar - Rose

I'm sure I've photographed countless roses for February, but you can't go wrong with this classic icon for the month of love.



To download the February 2016 calendar for free at Box.com, click on the link:
Free February 2016 Calendar - Rose

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A Place to Rest and Eat

I though this empty milkweed pod looked like a cozy chair, maybe suitable for a little bird.

Pod Chair

Or, if you filled it with peanut butter and birdseed, a place to eat. Remember those pinecone bird feeder creations you made in grade school, drenched in sticky peanut butter and coated with seed? I don't think kids make those anymore - maybe too messy... but for those stuck at home because of the weekend blizzard, perhaps a great activity to benefit the birds.

Speaking of birds, I learned about the cutest Lego Bird set while watching a Lego documentary and had to buy it. The Lego Birds features three beautiful birds, intricately designed and rendered - the European Robin, North American Blue Jay and South American Hummingbird.

Bought this #Lego set for me, then my son saw it and took over. #legobirds

While I bought it for myself, my son immediately took to building the Robin, and completed it in 15 minutes.
We Call Him Pierre. Official species name: Erithascus rubecula #legobirds #Lego

I built the Blue Jay (it was pretty complex and fun), then we shared duties on the hummingbird (truth be told, I was merely the assistance in this endeavor). Highly recommended if you are a bird fan. I believe the designer, gardener and bird enthusiast Thomas Poulsom, is developing additional birds for future sets.

Update - Lego Birds 2 is in the gathering support phase at this link: Lego Birds 2. I am excited to see the Cardinal included in this next set.

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Black And White on the Prairie

More prairie grass, wind blown and swept to the ground.

Pick Up Sticks

Thanks for all of your comments here and on Facebook. They are so appreciated.

A Life is so fulfilled as it is met with Love

My Memory Art

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Remembrance

I learned of some very sad new on Sunday - that my cousin, Lily, who was pregnant with twins, had gone into pre-term labor and as a result, delivered two precious babies. Unfortunately, at 22 weeks gestation, their little lungs underdeveloped, both wee Beatrice and Aaron peacefully passed away. These photos are for them and parents Lily and Scott.

Paper Flowers

Field of Dreams

Visit to Kew Gardens

"We do not have control
over many things
in life and death
but we do have control
over the meaning we give it.”
― Nathalie Himmelrich

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Along My Run | 21 - The End of Year Change Up

In November and December, I changed up my running by adding in new routes and trails. Weekend road trips allowed me to explore new cities. The unusually mild temperatures, compliments of El Nino, allowed me to run in shorts on the first day of winter! Overall, I finished up 2015 with two strong running months.

November:

Along My Run - November 2015
1. Moody Start, 2. Carpet - Another balmy day in November, 3. Running in Spirit With Those Rocking today's Monumental Marathon , 4. Perfect Fall Morning 1, 5. Perfect Fall Morning 2, 6. Perfect Fall Morning 3, 7. Don't Stop Running, 8. Fall's Final Splendor , 9. Ready for Winter, 10. Place of Rest, 11. Classic, 12. Hidden

Fall's glory extended well into November and the end of Daylight Savings time meant we could see the sun rise at the end of our morning runs. Many of my friends ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, effectively ending the fall running training season, but fortunately many of our group long runs continued. I visited Madison Wisconsin and Bloomington Indiana where I ran local routes, a fun way to explore a new city.
November mileage: 104

December:
Along My Run - December 2015
1. The Abyss, 2. Room With a View , 3. Clearing, 4. River's Edge, 5. Chasing the Sun, 6. Got the Morning's run in before it started to pour

I took fewer photos in December, probably because the mornings are now dark when we start and finish. We ran some trails and signed up for a trail race in January. I want to run more trails because of the technical challenge and scenery. I think trail running will improve my overall fitness and work different muscles, hopefully making me a stronger runner. Of course, you can't "zone out" while running those uneven surfaces or you'll end up tripping and falling (as I learned the hard way). I ran in shorts and a t-shirt for 3 runs in December, probably a first for the transition to winter.
December Mileage: 114, my biggest December total ever.

I finished 2015 with 1,088 miles, about 100 miles less than 2014, but a great total considering I took 6 weeks off from running in May - June.

2016 Running Goals:
Run more trails in order to start training for an Ultra Marathon in early 2017, before I turn 50.
Target 100 miles / month, 1200 total. Stretch goal is 1300 miles.
Incorporate Speed work into my running routine
Complete at least one marathon (Chicago) and convince as many of my running friends to run it with me!

Running quotes that recently caught my eye:
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
– Robert Collier

As a runner, you have to face the truth about yourself on a regular basis, and it makes you more honest. You can't pretend to be faster than you are. You can't pretend that you are better prepared than you are. You cannot pretend to be a runner, you actually have to run.
– John Bingham

Truth, for sure

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In the Dead of Winter

I was surprised by the amount of lingering green I spotted while I was out for a walk over the weekend. I was happy to be out in the sunshine, as the prior week's rain and constant cloud cover rendered the landscape a dull, grey, depressing wasteland.

Cornucopia
While I don't make "resolutions" in the new year, I recognized my photography has been experiencing a lull - specifically, the use of my DSLR has been almost non-existent. So, I took off for a walk with the big camera slung over my shoulder and chose not to take any iPhone photos. The sun-tinged glimmer of frost on the green down at my feet caused my pause.

Listen To Your Heart
I'm using a lens that hasn't seen much action in the past year. I was having issue with the focus until I realized the wide open aperture of f2.8 may have been overkill. Two stops higher at f3.5 appears to give me a wider focus plane that works with the dead stuff on the ground.

Laid Down
My goal - to get out more with my camera, slow down and actively create something new.

Linking with Little Things Thursday

Little by Little

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All images on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of Shirley LeMay Photography and Shirley Behind the Lens (© 2005-2014). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

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