A 20 Minute run with the Fuji XE-1

Going into 2016 still recovering from injuries from 2014 and late 2015, I saw glimmers of hope after making it through races that I didn't expect to see the starting line.  But that doesn't mean I avoided injury this year.  Injuries have haunted Katie and I making it an interesting year.  Amongst work, and travel for work, we have definitely found ourselves focusing on the rehab side of things so we can be strong next season.  We took a long break of proper regimented training to focus on recovery and business.  After completing our first full week of training last week we came into this week a little fatigued.  A 14 hour training week of mainly endurance aerobic exercise, I forgot how good it feels to complete a week full of my favorite disciplines.

With business being crazy busy and having the workload pile up I have been spending a lot of time on the computer.  The long hours going through photos, making albums, taking more photos, shooting more weddings, meeting with clients, emails, conference calls, paying bills, so on and so forth.  It gets to the point where I need to change it up a little.  Sometime I just need to recharge the batteries to remind myself how lucky I am that I get to do what I do for a living.

I grew up loving the art of cinematography but I have avoided it for years.  I create photos for a client monthly that asked me if I could shoot some video for some ad campaigns.  I took a few of the products that I had, created a couple 20 second clips and it lit a fire inside of me.  I forgot about my passion for video and video editing.  This was the perfect escape for me to create something different to get my creativity back where it needed to be.

When I work on photos for clients my head needs to be in the right place.  I love what I do and I couldn't be any happier with my choice of profession.  I have realized over the years that the best way to keep my head in the game is to switch things up when the mundane becomes too hard to obtain.  I'm not one to rush things out the door just because I can throw a one click filter on photos and hope people are going to be happy.  The sad thing is that one click filter is good enough for most people.  The good news is I'm not most people and I enjoy taking the time looking at each image and fine tuning things to match my aesthetics.

I have been taking my FUJI XE-1 on bike rides lately and I love that I can take a small camera  on the road that produces amazing results.  I don't have to worry about the FUJI the same way I have to worry about the Canon or the Nikon making it fun to experiment when getting a sweat on.

With the itch to create video and put more wood in the fire, Katie and I went for a 20 minute run to create this short film of appreciation.  Thanks to Saucony, Katie and I have both been pretty decked out in our favorite running gear this year.  We haven't been able to run as much as we would have liked so we thought this was the perfect way to showcase a brand that we truly stand behind.  Saucony, #findyourstrong 

FUJI Bike ride with ROGUEcs

My first time shooting video with the FUJI XE-1 and I happened to be on a bicycle...

I Took the FUJI on the road to experiment with its video capabilities...  I have been taking it on the road to shoot photos but after making a couple videos for a client with my DSLR's I wanted to test the FUJI.  I went on a bike ride with a friend, Jason, www.roguecyclesports.com I had no idea how the camera functioned with autofocus, continuous focus, rolling shutter, so on and so forth.  I played around a little bit.  Riding a bike and shooting video is not for everyone.. This is not GoPro point and shoot video that requires no attention to the camera.  My plan was to execute a 30 second video and to shoot enough angles to end up with this.  My first attempt at FUJI video while riding a bike with Rogue Cycle Sports.

 

St. George Road Trip

WARNING!  

THIS BLOG MAY CONTAIN MORE PHOTOS THAN WRITTEN CONTENT...


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2 - Thanks to Jiffy Lube for being useless...  Lucky we made it home..   MORSE

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2 - Thanks to Jiffy Lube for being useless...  Lucky we made it home..   MORSE


IRONMAN 70.3 St. George Road trip with a stop in Joshua Tree and off the grid recovery in ZION National Park.  Katie and I hit the road Wednesday evening headed for Joshua Tree to test out our camping gear from Therm-a-Rest, Zippo, and GSI outdoors.  We decided we wanted to be "half way" to St. George to minimize the driving on Thursday.  In the end we probably added on a few hours of driving but it was well worth the adventure!


If you're here to read my race report and don't care to hear me talk about cameras you can skip the next paragraph...  Or just skip through until you see RACE REPORT...


I received an email from B&H with rewards money from a recent camera purchase that was the sum of enough money to buy myself a new little toy.  It was very affordable and a justifiable purchase right before heading off on race vacation.  I have been looking at mirrorless camera systems for quite a while now.  With my expensive taste in cameras it's been hard to pull the trigger to buy the system I really wanted.  After doing my research, I ended up with the perfect walk around toy.  The Fuji X-E1 with an 18mm f2 lens that converts to being a 35mm equivalent because if its APS-C "X-Trans" CMOS sensor, "crop sensor," stoked!  There's nothing I enjoy more than being away from home with a new toy to really push the limits to see what it's capable of.  I never thought I would purchase a crop sensor camera but so far, I am more than happy with my purchase.


This is what eating peanuts at 85 mph looks like...


Fuji X-E1 18mm f2 - Morse

Fuji X-E1 18mm f2 - Morse


Katie has pleaded with me for as long as I can remember to teach her how to create awesomeness with the night sky so we took 8 photos before bedtime to create this image.

-Eighth times a charm?


NIKON D810 24-70mm 2.8

NIKON D810 24-70mm 2.8


Sunrise with the Fuji exposed for the highlights, pulled the shadows in post.  Pretty impressed with this little camera...


Fuji X-E1 18mm f2

Fuji X-E1 18mm f2


Fuji X-E1 18mm f2

Fuji X-E1 18mm f2


Fuji X-E1 18mm f2

Fuji X-E1 18mm f2


Fuji X-E1 18mm f2

Fuji X-E1 18mm f2


- WE MADE IT TO ST. GEORGE IN ONE PIECE -


When we arrived in St. George we went directly to Athlete registration and took a little lay down in the Rapid Reboot tent.  It was cool to see people who have a passion for the sport bring a product to the market with a more affordable recovery boot.  While they are still working out the kinks in the product before opening sales to the public, I am still a Normatec fan.  Even with the more affordable price tag, I would be happy spending the extra money on a product that I trust that gives me the recovery and power that my body desires.  They were good enough to put Katie to sleep but it could have been the dry hot heat that quickly dehydrated us upon our arrival.  After making our rounds through IRONMAN village saying hi to friends working and racing it was time to get unpacked and settled into our condo. 


FUJI X-E1 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


After we unpacked the car and settled in the wind was picking up and the sun was setting.  We quickly put together our bikes and got on the road for a short 45 minute bike ride.  We took it easy and embraced the wind and heat putting our bodies in a state of auto pilot trying to get the blood flowing after a long day of driving.

After a long day and a late night Olive Garden dinner we woke up later than planned but kicked the morning off with a shake out run.  I obviously had to bring my new toy out with us to snap some photos and these were my first action shots the the Fuji.  I wasn't sure how they were going to turn out as most of the reviews said it didn't handle action photos well...  Some people clearly don't know how to use a camera to the best of its abilities.  Is it a top of the line sports camera?  NO!  But its fascinating what you can create with what ever tools you have access to.  If an iphone is your camera, you can crush iphone photography if you learn how to use it.


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


With our shake out run/photoshoot out of the way we headed back to IRONMAN village to get Katie squared away with race wheels from Race Day Wheels and Velo Stop.  Marc and Brian were very kind and helpful with getting Katie all squared away with a set of ZIPP carbon clinchers, 808 rear and 404 front.  If you don't own a pair of race wheels, Race Day Wheels and Velo Stop are the people to contact to make sure you find faster!   

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2 - Race Day Wheels & Velo Stop

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2 - Race Day Wheels & Velo Stop


Adventures in ZION were a bit of a struggle to say the least.  Walking for me personally was dreadful.  Both Soleus aching with every step.  It felt like the old fat Topher was repeatedly jumping on both of my legs and beating me with a tire iron.  It progressively got worse as the week went on.  It was ten times more painful than what I was experiencing on race day during the half marathon.  Most likely due to being numb from the cold temperatures.  Mile one and two I was still freezing cold.  I wont forget the pain I was in as I started the first hill on the run and telling myself to shut up and keep moving.  I was pleased to walk through every aid station to relieve the pain to justify continuing forward on the run...


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


The first few days in ZION were filled with bike rides, eating unhealthy snacks, ice baths in the river, rounded out by napping by the river.  What a peaceful place to just be still and not do anything at all.  I always struggle after races to regroup and think clearly so this was the perfect place to find my happy place.  It didn't hurt to be able to get back on my bike and take in the scenery considering I couldn't ride my bike for three weeks leading up to the race...



FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2



FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2

FUJI X-E1 - 18mm F2


NIKON D810 85mm 1.4

NIKON D810 85mm 1.4


NIKON D810 50mm 1.4

NIKON D810 50mm 1.4


NIKON D810 50mm 1.4

NIKON D810 50mm 1.4


NIKON D810 24-70mm 2.8

NIKON D810 24-70mm 2.8


NIKON D810 24-70mm 2.8

NIKON D810 24-70mm 2.8


NIKON D810 24-70mm 2.8

NIKON D810 24-70mm 2.8


CANON 5D MARK iii 16-35mm 2.8L

CANON 5D MARK iii 16-35mm 2.8L


CANON 5D MARK iii 16-35mm 2.8L

CANON 5D MARK iii 16-35mm 2.8L

IRONMAN California 70.3 Oceanside

Well, that was "fun," IRONMAN California done and dusted and my first 70.3 race of 2016 complete!


4:43:05



This was my second time racing Oceanside and my fourth time racing the 70.3 distance.  I improved my times from last year on this course and I couldn't be happier.  The best part about the race, I found myself smiling through the pain the whole way through.  Every smile I made on the bike my body relaxed, every smile I made on the run my stride felt more efficient.  There were definitely some moments of F this, why do I race this distance, but I think thats every race no matter what the distance.  My biggest improvement was having fun and supporting my competition when things were getting tough to keep moving forward.  I don't like being passed on the run nor am I going to allow it to keep happening.  I'm looking forward to putting in the time to improve my agility and trusting myself as a runner.



"Post Race Ice Bath"



RACE DAY PREP IS THAT MOMENT YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH TIME IT TAKES TO PREPARE FOR ONE DAY.

 WHICH IS REALLY ONLY A FEW HOURS OF RACING AND EXCITEMENT.

WITH THOUGHTS OF WHY AM I DOING THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

WHY DO I SPEND ALL THIS MONEY TO HURT LIKE THIS?

YOU THEN FINISH THE RACE ON CLOUD NINE.

 SPEND THE NEXT WEEK RECOVERING AND ACHING YOUR WAY THROUGH WORKOUTS.

 AND THE PROCESS STARTS OVER AGAIN IN PREPARATION FOR YOUR NEXT RACE AS YOU FORGET ABOUT ALL THE HATRED YOU HAD FOR THE PAIN YOU EXPERIENCED IN THAT MOMENT WHEN YOU SAID I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN.



Arriving to the harbor with plenty of time to get organized, I took my time laying out my gear in transition and making the usual stroll to the porta potties.  It was about 6:30 and my wave start was at 6:59.  I passed the porta potties and made my way to the waters edge as I thought peeing was all I needed to do and I would be good to go.  Took a nice pee in public and starting heading back towards transition.  Then it hit me, maybe I should make sure I don't have to poop.  I waited in line patiently for a last minute colon check up when I hear over the loud speaker they were closing transition at 6:45.  Shortly after that the Mens pro wave gun goes off meaning it's now 6:40 and the race is officially underway.  I wasn't too worried about it as I slowly made my way to the front of the line and eventually making it out of the little boys room heading back to transition around 6:45.  I had to work my way passed the herd of athletes corralled together with literally no room to move let alone breathe amongst the nerves of a bunch of intense triathletes awaiting their wave starts.  I made it to my transition area immediately grabbing and applying body glide along with vaseline to avoid chaffing and creating slippery ankles.  I started putting on my kit that I had half way on, suited up and immediately put on my wetsuit with a last minute vaseline bath in all the right places while making funny faces at Katie while she snapped pictures of me with basically no one else around in transition...  I double checked all my gear was good to go, turned around to head to the race start as I see hall of fame IRONMAN legend Julie Moss.  I stopped to say hello, picked her up, gave her a big hug, paused for a couple quick photos, and wished her luck in the race.  I was about to hop the fence to get to my wave start that was already right up at the front of the corral.  I was immediately stopped by a race director telling me hopping the fence was not about to happen.  I smiled and said, ok, I totally get it and I start my run to the other end of transition where all the other athletes were being herded.  Again, working my way through the cattle was my next battle, I stayed calm, put my hands in the air and kept saying excuse me coming through trying to be as skinny as I possibly could and avoided being the obnoxious guy screaming, MOVE PLEASE!! MOOOOVEEEEE PLEEEEASSSEE!!  After making my way through wave 23-14, mind you there were 3,253 participants.  There was a gap in the corral that the race directors created for the men's and woman's pro field so they had room to run through transition.  This helped me get closer to my wave as I hear Mike Reilly, the voice of IRONMAN, say, "Topher Riley, where are you, put your hand up if your here..."  HAHA I start laughing because this meant my wave start was clearly on the ramp and about to head out to the buoys as I say I'm right here laughing out loud because I am still working my way through the cattle...  I have Known Mike Reilly since I was a little kid if you're wondering why he was calling my name over the loud speaker.  Luckily there was some room to get by as everyone was herding to one side of the corral.  I made it to the waters edge, Mike Reilly says, "Where are you Topher Riley," as I turn and wave with a smile, and laugh a little, I put my ear plugs in, throw on my swim cap, get my goggles on, with one last wave to my parents who looked shocked and confused with what the hell I was doing starting at the back of pack, the last athlete in my wave to start swimming towards the start line buoys...  What was I doing??!?!?!  I was cruising!!!  I leisurely swam to the buoys and positioned myself in the second, if not third row of athletes.  I wasn't in the mood to play water polo with the guys in the front of the pack.  I turned to my left and saw Brady Bailey, gave him a big hug and wished him luck as they announced 30 seconds to start.  I thought to myself, I made it to the start line, no jitters, no butterflies, it's go time, I start my Garmin and patiently wait for the gun to go off.  BANG!!  OFF goes the gun and the 2016 IRONMAN California 70.3 18-24 and 25-29 age group wave start was underway!



This year I have been doing a lot of long kick sets, long endurance sets in general so the swim doesn't worry me to much.  Could I be faster, yes!  Considering I felt fresh coming out of the water and found myself in cruise mode throughout the swim thinking I was going to have a slow swim, I surprised myself with a 30:05 swim and ended up swimming 1.33 miles according to my Garmin putting myself in 10th place in my age group!  I may have zigzagged a little bit somewhere through out the swells and sea of humans that started ahead of me.  I found a comfortable glide that made me feel like I wasn't working to hard. So far, every 70.3 my swim split has been uniform across the board, 30 minutes and change.  With a cramp in my calve at St. George, a lack of drive to want to "race" "race" at Vineman, I think there may be room for improvement on my swim splits.  After noticing a lot of people's swims were a little slower this year compared to last year.  I was very happy either way with my swim split and I look forward to smashing this swim course with a bit more fight next season!


WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T HAVE FUN AND WAVE AND THROW SHAKAHS TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY DURING THE SWIM?



WITH THE SWIM OUT OF THE WAY IT WAS TIME FOR ME TO GO TO MY HAPPY PLACE...

WHEN IM ON MY BIKE, THERE'S NO PLACE I WOULD RATHER BE...


Running out of T1 smiling and laughing sticking my tongue out to mum, dad, and Katie as i do a flying mount onto my bike and my seat slips about an inch as my "fat ass" lands on the seat hard and aggressively.  My initial reaction to this is, "Uh oh! I'm going to need to pull over and fix this."  This is not going to be an easy bike ride in this position.  I started turning over the pedals, got up to speed and started to get my feet into my shoes.  A year ago, this situation would have ruined my enjoyment of the bike course and I would have pulled over within a couple of miles.  But as I was riding and playing around with different body positions on the saddle I found peace in the uncomfortable and looked inside of myself to make it a positive misfortune.  I took the first 20 miles very conservatively yet still making up time on my competition.  I know the bike course and I know I can ride a bike.  I focused my energy on high cadence and control while making sure I got the right amount of calories and took in enough salt.  This is the first race I haven't lost a bottle of nutrition on the bike.  Im not sure whether my mind or body suffers more when losing a bottle of nutrition, personally, it mind F@&!'s me, then my mind F@&!'s my body.  I found myself smiling while acknowledging anyone I passed and anyone I played cat and mouse with I encouraged to keep pushing.  There were definitely moments of, ok mate, time to go if you're attempting to make a pass because I'm not slowing down and having to remake a pass to prevent drafting is not a game I like to play.  I eventually made my way into the back end of the woman's pro field, watched a few athletes completely ignore the 25 mph speed limit zone, and spent the last 15 miles all alone eventually catching Carlos Santiago 18-24 AG from my wave start that I know has a killer run split always!  At that point I knew I was having a solid bike, I felt great, no fatigue like last year, I wasn't having to sit up to stretch constantly and I was looking forward to running...  WEIRD, I was genuinely excited to run.  This was my first race on my new bike and I had the same exact bike split as last year..  literally, on the dot...  2:24:20 and biked my way into 2nd place in my age group on a no name frame, no name wheels, accompanied by SRAM red etap wireless shifting.


HONGFU - YOELEO - SRAM - XLAB - GARMIN - BONTRAGER - TRP



I hear people talk about buying speed when buying new bikes, wheels, so on and so forth but you are the engine that drives the machine .



Yes, my helmet is sitting funny on my head, I prefer my shield to not get foggy running out of transition and looking like a barney is something I'm really good at...

If you can't tell by the photos I was having a lot of fun...


Then it was time to run!  I came out of transition full of life happy as can be and putting all of my focus on slowing down.  My first split was 6:37 and in my head if I kept that pace going I was going to buckle early on in the run.  I was trying to run 7 minute mile pace and checked in with my garmin a little too much seeing my current pace was always under 7 minute miles so I kept slowing down with the mental block from allowing me to let go and just run!  JUST RUN YOU IDIOT!!  HAHA, I was having too much fun running, smiling, saying hello to friends, fully capable of talking means I could have been pushing a bit harder but I wasn't looking to kill myself nor did I want to ruin my season with injury.    I slowly slipped into 3rd in my age group, then to 5th, tried to keep it going but mentally I didn't have much in the tank.  I eventually slipped back into 6th place when Reid Butsko made the pass at mile 8.  Still not sure how I stayed in front for that long.  Reid had made a pass earlier on when we were heading in opposite directions of the course warning me that he was coming.  I laughed and responded with an I know you are as he looks fresh, bouncing along in typical Butsko fashion.  When Reid made the pass I let him know where he stood in the race in hopes he could catch the guys ahead of us.  As Reid started pulling away I did all that I could in the moment to pick it up but couldn't justify the hurt with where I was positioned in the race.  I was enjoying my control, enjoying my moment, my race, and that was good enough for me.  There were signs of fatigue and serious slowing at mile 9 and even slower at mile 10 that really brought my averages down towards the end of the race.  This was about the time I was spotting the competition as they made the final turn around heading for the finish and I started counting the separation between them and Reid.  I multiplied by two to give him a rough calculation on how much time he had to catch them.  I see Reid and cheer him on as I scream its roughly a 2 minute gap, you got this.  My fatigue was starting to show as I reached mile 11.  Just before mile 12 a runner with the age 27 on his calf makes a pass.  I had had enough being passed on the run and it was time to work.  I picked it up to fight for position.  I ran hard on his heels from mile 12 feeling strong waiting to make a move as we entered the finish shoot lined with spectators.  As I untucked from his draft to make my move we both start sprinting, gritting our teeth while spectators, volunteers, family and friends start cheering louder the closer we get to the line.  It was an exciting finish to say the least finishing side by side with tenths of a second between us, as I fell back another position finishing 7th place in my age group.


It's safe to say I had more fun racing this event than any other race I've participated in and I think the smiling had a lot to do with it.  I know I can run more aggressively if I keep putting in the work but I am super stoked on my race and I have nothing to complain about.  2016 is off to a solid start!!


A cheeky passing on the run course from friend and fellow age group competitor,

"I'm coming for you."

-Reid Butsko



Thank you to the volunteers, spectators, friends, family, and everyone else that made this day so much fun and awesome to be apart of! It's days like these that make life worth living, we are all one.



Always a pleasure chatting with Julie Moss.  All around amazing person and can't wait to see her keep racing this year!!



Always a good laugh with this guy and crushing it with the new Oakleys!  Jocking my style with that shirt mate...



Brad brought me some laughter while on the run course and captured this snap!



2016 Results



2015 Results




Race Photos: Katie Morse