Cheetah Run and Running Cheetahs   2 comments

Caitlin, Rebecca, and a CheetahMy wife took up running this year. She started running on a treadmill at the gym. Some mornings this winter and early spring, I’d go to ride a stationary bike (as conditions didn’t support going out riding), I would see her run on the treadmill. She gradually started to incorporate the indoor track, and increasing her endurance. We had an exceptionally nice summer this year, encouraging her to run outside–that’s something, given the hills in our neighborhood.

I’ve been very proud and impressed by her dedication to this.

She decided to do her first 5K run (3.1 miles), which happened this weekend at the annual Cheetah Run at the Cincinnati Zoo. This is an annual fundraiser for the zoo. The course runs both throughout the zoo and it’s beautiful gardens, to outside, looping the perimeter of the zoo.

The run was at 8 AM, but we got a tip from one of my wife’s coworkers that the parking would fill up quickly. This meant that, on a Sunday morning, we were waking up at 6:30. We made sure everyone had their gear, and headed out. It turns out it was good advice. While the lot still had plenty of room when we got there, there were a lot of runners trying to get in to the lot. Complicating matters, some streets were being closed in anticipation of the run. We got parked OK, and had plenty of time to get to the start (at the other end of the zoo).

Still, it was very early, even for a brown bear.

6:30 is Too Early for Bears

My daughter and I were there to cheer her on (and take pictures). My daughter made a sign, which got lots of compliments.
Go Mom Mom Mom!
Notice that my wife is ahead of the cheetah in this drawing.

My wife did great, completing the course in 0:40:25. I’m particularly impressed given the terrain. I’ve taken my bike on a loop around the zoo, and there is a pretty significant climb she had to go up.
DSC_1488

I know that, on foot, I could not do nearly as well.
Down the Hill

She said she pushed hard, as she wanted to watch my daughter run in the kids’ event, the Cheetah Cub Run.
DSC_1526

After the run, the Cat Ambassador Program had a special Cheetah Encounter Show, where we got to watch the cheetahs run. I somehow feel watching a cheetah run after doing a 5K is a bit like watching a house cat stretch after doing yoga: it’s a bit as if the cats are flaunting their superiority. One-year-old Savanna did the first run. I remember seeing her as a cub–it’s amazing to see what a fast, beautiful cat she’s turning in to.
Savanna's First Attempt

But then she stopped.
Savanna Looks for the Lure

The lure is pulled by an electric motor. Mid-run the motor broke down, leaving a very confused cheetah. Watching her confused pacing reminded me of when Beso loses track of a toy he’s playing with.
The Lure was Here a Minute Ago...

The backup-up rig was brought out, and the lure restrung. Savanna got a second go at it.
Savanna Tries Again

She had a great run.
Savanna Flies

Sarah, the world’s fastest mammal, shows everyone what true running speed is.
Sarah Shows Everyone What Really Running Is

The Cheetah Encounter involves other cats. Jambo the serval came out.
Sitting Jambo

Servals are to jumping what cheetahs are to running–the NBA has nothing on Jambo.
Like Floating in Space

Usually, Minnow the fishing cat jumps into the pool, however, she wasn’t there today. For that matter, she wasn’t there the last time we saw the cheetahs run. I asked afterwards–it turns out her trainer was on vacation, so Minnow wasn’t participating. They said they brought a small pool with fish in it for her. Minnow is a favorite of mine, and I was glad to hear that she is OK.

John the Lion’s enclosure is right near the Cathryn Hilker Running Yard. He was finding a shady place.
John in the Shade

I wanted to check on Nubo, my favorite zoo animal. He was asleep, like any reasonable person (or snow leopard) would be on a Sunday morning.
Napping Nubo

His friend Renji was relaxing, and simply looking beautiful. She could be Queen of the Zoo.
Renji, Queen of the Zoo

One of the black footed cats disapproved of me. I have no idea why.
Disturbed BFC

The sand cats were sleeping. One up on top of the hill.
Tails Keep Noses Toasty

The other was off in a corner.
Sand Cat in the Corner
I’m proud of this shot. I got in close, and manual focused to get a good look. However, the lighting in Night Hunters is very difficult to work with, and I suspect the shot would be in the discard pile. However, I think the lighting caught him quite well. A few adjustments in Aperture, and it became one of the best of the day.

Joe the cougar was taking time to smell the flowers.
Taking Time to Smell the Flowers

We checked in on the baby skunk. He’s gotten big!
Li'l Skunk

One animal that was surprisingly lively was the red panda, otherwise known as a firefox.
Red Panda in the Tree

Ironically, he said he tended to use Safari.
Panda on the Ground

It was a great morning at the zoo. I’m very proud of my wife for her run, and look forward to her next accomplishment.

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2 responses to “Cheetah Run and Running Cheetahs

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  1. Excellent pictures!! I thoroughly enjoyed them. Gosh Nubo and Renji are spectacular.

    • Thanks!

      I keep telling Renji and Nubo that Cincinnati is a great place to raise kids! Actually, they are a bit young for that yet–perhaps next you. You know I’ll be there every week when/if they have cubs.

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