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Ragnar Trail Relay – Lake Tahoe

Ragnar Trail Relay – Lake Tahoe 2016

So this was one of the three main races I was hoping to complete this year. (The other two were Escape From Alcatraz Tri, and Half Iron Michigan that I opted out of in favor of a full Iron in December)
Ragnar was first introduced to me through a buddy of mine in Florida. He had brought up the possibility of doing a relay with our group out there in the Keys. But that was the road relay. Ragnar has two styles of races. Point-to-point road running, and multiple-loop trail running and camping. As I looked at the two different options I found their Tahoe race that immediately appealed to me _because_ it was in Tahoe and I knew it would be hard.

 

I’ve lived and trained in Tahoe two different summers for Ironman Tahoe. So I knew exactly what this race would require from me.

But I didn’t know enough people to assemble a team on my own. And frankly, at the time of this writing in July, I have competed in 11 races that I can think off the top of my head. Ragnar didn’t look like it was in the cards for me.

And then I randomly found a team last minute..

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Escape From Alcatraz 2016

Everyone calls this race a “bucket list” race. Personally I think that term is ridiculously cliche and can’t stand it. I would prefer just to say “Yeah, it’s definitely one you should try and do if you’re interested”. And there’s currently a solid argument to be made that the 40% increase in cost this year is due to every triathlon writer calling this race “bucket list”.

I had first heard about Escape from friends. And then looked it up online back in 2014 for the 2015 race. I entered the second drawing, but was not selected. However I did get selected to race in the 2016 race in the next drawing that was held.

Reading about the race online was interesting because you see everyone’s underlying panic when they ask questions in forums or discuss it online. I didn’t consider the race distances to be difficult lengths. It was a 1.5 mile ocean swim in the Bay, 18 mile ride through San Francisco, and 8 mile run – including a beach section.
But my background with triathlons includes Ironman Lake Tahoe – so I now compare nearly every race to that one. People were particularly scared about the water, but when I lived in SoCal before recently moving back to the SF Bay Area I would train in the ocean. So waves don’t really bother me, nor does the salt.

And when it came down to the actual race, I knew I would have a fun time racing with minimal struggle throughout the day if I wanted. My goal would be 3hr 30min. And when race day came around I managed a 3:35:06

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Shooting with Sammy Hagar – The Red Rocker

My day shooting Sammy Hagar.

So it was a phone call somewhat out of the blue. A good friend of mine, and fellow photographer, down in LA reached out to me on a Wednesday to see if I would be around that weekend. I was momentarily caught off guard because he knows I no longer live in Southern California. But it turned out he was asking if I would be in the San Francisco Bay Area and available that weekend.
He said he might have a lead for me on a project he knew I would dig.

And after a few various emails that afternoon, and confirmation the following day, I was booked to shoot Sammy Hagar for AXS TV and Mercury Insurance!

How.Cool.

Growing up I had listened to Van Halen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and all those classic rock groups with my dad. So I knew of Sammy and his music.

This would be awesome.
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The Przybyla Wedding – Gilroy, Calif.

About a week ago I got to spend a couple days in Gilroy with Kevin and Nichole to photograph their wedding!
I want to say the three of us first met at Ernesto and Sarah’s wedding… but I could be wrong. We might have met at another wedding before that and I’m remembering incorrectly. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot for several couples within the same group of friends – which is very cool but makes it easy to lose track.

Either way, it meant that I saw Kevin and Nichole a couple times before they reached out and asked me about shooting their wedding for the two of them!
Ironically months before the wedding they moved down to SoCal, where I had been living, and I re-located back up to the the Bay Area. So instead of needing to travel for this wedding like I first thought, it was the bride and groom that had to make the trip up to the Bay.

Kevin and Nichole’s weekend was beautiful. The weather worked out great – warm but not scorching hot like the week leading up to it. Their venue in the foothills in Gilroy was lovely, and Nichole and her sister Tammy had everything planned out, made up, and ready to go when it came to decorations. Ok, to be fair the girls said they finished all the arrangements/etc in the days leading up to the wedding, but that’s normal and their work was so good you’d think they did it professionally.

So, for those ready to scroll through the Przybyla wedding.. Read on!
I have a couple hundred images from weekend to share with you all!

As usual, I saved a lot of info for the captions rather than typing it all out here..

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The Lanza Wedding, New Jersey

 

The Lanza Wedding.

I just returned home to California from Joe and Erin’s wedding out in Jersey. At I have to say spending the last three weeks with these two was a blast. Yep. Three weeks.
So let elaborate a bit more on who I am for those who might just know me as “Joe’s California friend”. I’ve known Joe for 13 years. We did the Disney College Program together. Ironically, while we knew each other somewhat during that 9 months at Disney, we moved in different social circles. So we actually never hung out. It wasn’t until a few months after returning home, and re-connecting online as all us former-lifeguards did to keep in touch, that was when Joe and I realized how much we had in common.
He’s been a very dear friend of mine ever since.

And while many friendships since our days at Disney have changed, I would quickly point out that Joe and I have only become better friends over the years.
During my many trips back out to Florida I stayed with Joe over half of them. And on those trips spending most of the time sitting around talking was pretty much the norm.
Joe would joke with me that “Your room is always available” about his guest room in his apartment. And when him and Erin recently bought their house, one of the spare rooms they both refer to as “John’s room”. It’s funny, but also very sweet.

But what the most fun part of the entire Lanza wedding as a whole? In any aspect?

That’s easy. It’s having been part of Joe’s life, and now Joe-and-Erin’s-life, long enough to go from those college-years-conversations with Joe about “I don’t think I’ll get married, John” to “Things are pretty serious with Erin, man..” and eventually “I’m going to propose.”

That was very cool.

And I love Erin – she and Joe are great together. And to be part of their wedding weekend (and entire wedding month pretty much) was great. But before I get into all that, let’s have some fun and take a stroll down memory lane. Shall we?
I have the most extensive photo record of our circle of friends since ’03… so this’ll be fun to zip through real quick ;)

What do you say, you guys ready to scroll through tons of photos?
How about you, Joe?

FLA Jan 2006 191

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The #PrincessMen return to Disneyworld’s PHM Weekend

 

It’s already been a year since our appearance as the #PrincessMen at the Disneyworld Princess Half Marathon weekend in Orlando. And while this year was much smaller than last year in terms of the size of our group, it was arguably a race we were looking forward to even more.

(For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my huge writeup from last year here: Princess Half 2015 )

Planning this year’s race was somewhat tricky in the sense that, well, Life happens. And what I mean by that is 50% of last year’s group wasn’t going to be attending. This was a huge disappointment for me because I knew how much the other runners were looking forward to our return. As I wrote last year, a lot of ladies out on the course found extra energy to continue running and paced with us for a portion of their race. And I knew they were looking forward to us coming back again.

…we even made Buzzfeed this year

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So Buzzfeed reached out to me several days after the race. We were featured in the Top 10 list of Best Costumes from the race. We came in at Number 1! How awesome is that! Thanks for the support everyone! We’ll be back to full-strength in our numbers next year!

…and on the topic of the smaller-group thing…

Half the group

This year we would be missing Charming, Mulan, Anna, and Beast. For various reasons they couldn’t make the race work with their schedules. Whether it was due to travel during that timeframe. Scheduling and simply not having time to train. Or in the case of Charming, running elsewhere in the race and not with us this year.

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So this was going to be the group.
Smaller, yes. But we were still going to have a great time.

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The Do Wedding – San Jose, Calif.

 

Two week ago while most people were focused on Thanksgiving and which sales they were going to hit up the following day, I was with Maria and Tri as they were rehearsing their wedding here in San Jose. Then, two days later, on Black Friday while everyone was shopping or laying around sleeping after the Thanksgiving holiday we were all at their wedding.
So I wasn’t originally quite positive on how exactly Maria and Tri found me. At first I thought it was simply through Maryann, their wedding coordinator and an old friend from high school. Turns out that Maria is the sister of my friend Manny – also from high school, and someone who I’ve been to a couple weddings with over the years. Ha! That turned into a funny conversation the morning of the wedding when I finally put all that together.
Maria and Tri actually live in SoCal, and even though I had been living down there timing just never quite worked out to meet in person. Maria joked that in the weeks leading up to the wedding she became mildly concerned that no one had heard much from me. Whoops! I was actually caught up in the middle of an unexpected move from LA back to the SF Bay Area. But still was looking forward to their wedding and ready to rock it out.

Maria and Tri put on a lovely ceremony in San Jose, followed by an absolutely awesome reception – I’m pretty sure their families danced the entire night as soon as the music started.
Anyway, I have hundreds of photos below for all of you to check out. Whether you missed the event or just want to relive it, I hope you guys enjoy this recap of Maria and Tri’s wedding.

And, like usual, I’ve saved a lot more comments for the captions below..

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Riker Wedding – Marina Del Rey, Calif.

The Riker Wedding this past weekend was only my third wedding that was local here in SoCal – and it was awesome.

Joel and Jenny got married on Saturday on a yacht in Marina Del Rey. And surprisingly there were no “I’m on a boat!” jokes – at least none that I heard.
So I met Joel 12 years ago. We also both worked at DisneyWorld (like Ryan who’s wedding I shot last week). And even though Ryan, Joel and me all worked at the same place, Joel and I were in different social circles. He told me last summer he always thought I was quiet. I’m actually far from quiet, but Joel was in a supervisor/coordinator role when I worked there. So.. that’s my reason for never really talking to him. HE was the quiet one doing manager-ish stuff back at Base at the water park we worked at. So we never really got to know each other.

Last summer at some point I was referred to him by our mutual friend Theresa. Theresa was a lifeguard, too, and even though I was a guest at her wedding years ago I took some photos for her while in Washington for her and Scott.

So somewhere along the line in planning Theresa referred me to Jenny and Joel, I met them very briefly last summer, and they later got in touch with me about shooting their wedding.

And here we are now.
The new Mr. and Mrs. Riker are married, and I have 450 images of the whole celebration to share with you!

Click past the break for a ton of images of Jenny and Joel’s weekend. I saved more comments for the captions as usual. So I hope you have some time to kill, because there are a lot of fun moments to enjoy below!

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Bedford Wedding – Livermore, Calif.

Last weekend was Ryan and Lisette’s wedding reception here in California.
So although the two of them had actually flown to Hawaii for a destination wedding, they waited til they were back on the mainland to celebrate with a reception for the rest of their family and friends.
Unfortunately I was busy at a triathlon the weekend of their ceremony on Maui – they had actually reached out to see about me coming with them to shoot the wedding day, too. And honestly that would have been a lot of fun and I’m bummed that I missed it. However I was still able to be a part of their reception and photograph that, as well as meet their friends and family.

Ryan and I go way back. We met twelve years ago, in college, while we were working at DisneyWorld as lifeguards. So I have a ton of great memories with Ryan and he’s remained part of our core group of friends that still keeps in touch and gets together occasionally for reunion trips.
I met Lisette a couple years ago during our 10-year reunion trip. Ryan brought her along to introduce her to this “last” group of friends of his that she hadn’t met. I remember talking to Ryan and he told me something along the lines of: “This is it.. If she can put up with me around you guys then I’m going to ask her to marry me.” For those who don’t know, our old lifeguard group is still pretty close. And when we get to together it’s a lot of laughing, joking, giving each other a ton of crap, and all around just having fun. But whereas some people might not like getting thrown into a group of old friends like that, Lisette seemed to have a great time with everyone that week. And a few months later (if I recall correctly) I was hearing more about proposal plans from Ryan when we caught up briefly.

Their wedding reception was held in Livermore, on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in the South Bay Area, so it was simply a matter of going home to visit around the time of Ryan and Lisette’s reception.

I’m going to save some other comments for the captions, as I usually do in my blog write ups.

But first, let’s go for a brief stroll down memory lane with Bedford all the way back to our Disney College Program days, yes? Yes.

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The Rettke Wedding – Portland, OR.

Just over two weeks ago I was in Portland, Oregon, for a couple days for the Rettke wedding.
Rhett and Kendra are the brother, and sister-in-law of my brother-in-law… you guys follow? My sister is married to Matt, Rhett’s brother. So when Rhett and Kendra started planning their wedding they reached out to me to see about my availability for their wedding.

It was a beautiful weekend up in Portland – although we managed to be there during a brief heatwave and some very warm weather for the late-summer timeframe. But it made for an absolutely beautiful evening with guests being able to enjoy warm weather long into the night during the outdoor ceremony and reception.
That weekend was also a very busy weekend for me, too. Which is why there has been a delay on my typically quick updates after shooting a wedding. You see, the next morning my sister, mother, step-dad, and father all had to fly back to California and drive out to Santa Cruz for a relay triathlon I was going to be doing with my Mom and Sister two days after the ceremony. And then my step-dad and I left from that triathlon and drove back to Lake Tahoe where we had been living and training for the Lake Tahoe Ironman for several weeks.
So even though I was in the middle of my own training, it was a really fun break to see extended family and be able to do something like this for Rhett and Kendra.

I’ve made a large selection of photos and edits to share with you all below. I’ll save more comments for the captions, so, click past the break for just over 300 images from Rhett and Kendra’s wedding weekend!

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