In my sudden rededication to El Blog, I have realized that the inaugural winter running hat photos didn’t get their final say at the end of winter.  Keep in mind that the end of winter was in Spring.  The last hat photo I took was in May.  May!

Stephen and I trained together for our first long distance race, the Soldier Field 10-mile, which was May 24.

March 18, near Scooters.

March 18, near Scooters.

March 23rd.

March 23rd.

Still cold in April.

Still cold in April.

Early mornings at the lake.

Early mornings at the lake.

Yes, we even attempted speedwork.

Yes, we even attempted speedwork.

April 28, my friends.

April 28, my friends.

Finally, the hat came off in May. Our first 10-mile effort, however, was in a howling windstorm on the lake. We had a tailwind for the first three miles, but those last three were a killer.

During a calm portion of the first 10-miler.

During a calm portion of the first 10-miler.

The Soldier Field 10-mile!

The Soldier Field 10-mile!

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Wow. I was hit with a virus and sick for three weeks. Still have a lingering cough that makes me sound like a 5-pack-a-day smoker. I’ve gotten a lot of reading done, but my progress on training for the Soldier Field 10-mile race in May slowed quite a bit. During day two of the illness, my birthday, when I thought it was a 24-hour thing I was getting over, I went on a short 3-mile run. I spent the next week in bed. But I’m back on my feet now (if a big wheezy)…and so is the hat.

Mr. TurdThis guy lives about a mile and a half from my place. I think of him as Mr. Potato Turd. FountainThe courtyard of Beyond Design. What they do there is beyond me, but the fountain is pretty and they have stalks of wheat on their gate.
St. Pat's?A harbinger of green beer and drunken revelry. The sign says, “St Pats Weekend Giant Party”
The Greasy NuggetMy local greasy spoon. Pancake anyone?

More selections of me and the hat. I am now officially training to run a 10-miler in May. The hat is getting a lot of action. And it’s cold. Cold and snowy.

Door of Fernando'sOutside Fernando’s yet again. JesusMe and Jesus.
Inflatable alligatorJim and I in front of our local inflatable alligator. Dark and snowyDark and snowy.
three pre-brunchStephen, John and I on a pre-brunch Sunday romp. sunriseStephen and I on our first early-morning training run by the lake. Valentine’s Day sunrise was gorgeous (can’t tell on the phone photo).
no drinkingJohn and I on a six-miler in the forest preserve over snowpack. We drank afterwards at home. ron paulIn the hood. Windchill of 3 degrees.

Stephen and Jim S. gave me a Sugoi brand running hat and scarf for Christmas. It sealed my fate as a year-round runner. I loved my hat so, that upon its first outing I decided it needed to travel even further than it had on my head, and I sent this picturemail

Stacey near Fernando's

from my phone to Stephen and Jim from the middle of the run (with the subject line, “Sugoi!” which means “Fantastic!” in Japanese). A tradition was born.

Outside our favorite Mexican restaurant on Lincoln, Fernando’s.

You see where this is going, don’t you? Every time the hat goes out, the phone comes, too. The pictures are low-res and often just plain bad, taken at arm’s length from my head, but, if they had given me a garden gnome for Christmas, well, the results would have been pretty much the same.

Stacey and the NativityMe, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and some reindeer.The pictures that follow are a sampling of the large and important body of work that is The Voyage of the Hat. I will continue to update at random intervals until the spring.
Jim and Stacey in KentHome in Kent for the Christmas holidays with Jim. Stephen and Stacey outside the Golden NuggetNew Year’s Eve with Stephen, earning our future drinks.
Stephen and Stacey at playAt play after work in the dark of winter. Bring your own StaceyCraving a cocktail early in the morning?
John and Stacey in the forestShortly after this moment, we were met by a herd of deer! Fellowship of the RavenswoodCue the music, the fellowship of Ravenswood (one hat to rule them all, and in the darkness…)
Stacey at the police barrierNear the famous Montrose Sinkhole Just the hat, ma'amNot every run is a good run. The wearer declined to be photographed.
Where will Stacey and her hat go next? Stay tuned!