Friday, January 19, 2018

Seven Hundred Fifty-Eight

January 19, 2018
7.27 Miles in 1:12:13
Mood: Warm feelings from warm temperatures and friendly folks on the trail.
Soundtrack: Fleet Foxes "Helplessness Blues"

On Tuesday, I began a run with temps at 3 degrees and three days later, it was 45 degrees warmer. It was so nice, I didn't even need a sweatshirt, and non-sweatshirt runs in January are pretty rare. I feel like I'm being spoiled, but I notice the forecast for Sunday is for snow with highs in the low 20's, so I'll pay for it later.

It has been over a week since I ran my familiar section of the Highline Canal, so I decided to revisit my very well worth path once again. One of my favorite parts of running this particular stretch is that probably 90% of the time that I run north through DeKoevend Park and on through the canal trail, I run into this older couple walking south. They are always super friendly and wave at me with smiles. I don't even know their names, but they feel like friends as we have our early morning ritual of crossing paths almost every time I run north on the canal trail. I saw them again this morning, we waved at each other yet again, and I felt just that little much better about the world as a result. So a salute to my unknown friends and a note of thankfulness that they are in my life in this tiny tiny way. I really like them.

Finally, the sky was super purple this morning. You only vaguely get a sense of it from this photo, but it was a purplicious sunrise. 

Seven Hundred Fifty-Seven

January 18, 2018
7.32 Miles in 1:13:45
Mood: Heading in a different direction than normal, just because.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law / The Memory Palace / The Avett Brothers "A Carolina Jubilee"

As the sky was rising behind the architecture at the Streets at Southglenn, I was struck by how much it looked like a Van Gogh painting. Pretty sweet sunrise, to be sure! It was nice to be treated to such a view as I circled the outdoor mall and farmed Pokemon supplies for the first third of this run.

After I was done getting stocked up on a silly mobile phone game, I decided to head south for a change and run through some parks and neighborhoods I haven't visited in quite some time. It was a nice morning, and I felt like a change of pace. I didn't really hit up anything new, but it was nice to go places I haven't seen on a run in months.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Seven Hundred Fifty-Six

January 16, 2018
8.81 Miles in 1:35:10
Mood: Getting up early and exploring new icy worlds.
Soundtrack: Twenty One Pilots "Blurryface"

My mother-in-law had been in town for Ellie's birthday weekend, and her flight was uncomfortably early in the morning. This created a situation where my running plan became intertwined with an airport trip. I awoke at 3:30 in the morning to take her to DIA, and then drove somewhat near my work with a backpack full of clothes to change into and bathroom supplies so that I could go immediately to work and shower and change there before beginning my working day.

This meant that I was running in areas I was less familiar with, and doing so much earlier in the morning. Thanks to a January snowstorm that had fallen the day before and a bitter cold snap that night, it meant that this run was going to be slippery and freezing.

Thankfully, I had bundled up significantly, so I was dressed warm enough for the chill. However, the slipperiness of the even are what led to my ridiculously slow pace. For very large stretches of this run, I had to go slow and run like a ninny so that I didn't fall and kill myself on black ice. It didn't help that it was dark for most of the run, so my vision of the unfamiliar paths I was treading were difficult to perceive. It was a tough run.

I started at Wallace Park, and the first ten minutes were brutally cold. I debated if this whole endeavor was a fool's errand, but then I warmed up enough to get into it. I headed North, and my plan was to make it back to Bible Park for the second straight run and then come back. I had figured in my head that the trip would be about a seven mile run, and I would have been correct if Bible Park wasn't a bit of a trap. If you look at the map, there are three bridges which provide  exits to the park on the East, South and West sides. I knew from my Sunday run that the bridge on the South side was under construction, but I figured I could still use the West bridge to escape the Park and get headed back to Wallace Park. However, as I ran, I discovered that the City of Denver is simultaneously rebuilding all three bridges, so the only exit possible from the park at this time is on the North side of the park. This meant that after I had run along the east side of the park to the very North end then all the way to the South End of the Park, I had to run all the way back to the North End to get out. This added a good mile and a half to my run, and extended my stay in the freezing cold. I'd be annoyed about this, but by this time, I was kind of enjoying discovering new routes that I've never before tread, so I wasn't that bummed out by being forced to spend more time in Bible Park.

When I finally got back to the car, I rushed to work where I took a very long warm shower which felt QUITE amazing, and by the time I started working at 8:30 in the morning, I had already been awake for over five hours, which is sorta insane. I started this run so early in the morning that the photo above was taken about halfway through my run, and the light is only barely starting to break on the park. It was a cold and dark run, and I pretty much enjoyed almost all of it. (Apart from that horrifically chilly first 10 minutes.)

Seven Hundred Fifty-Five

January 14, 2018
7.58 Miles in 1:12:34
Mood: Exploring new trails and looking forward to birthday celebrations.
Soundtrack: Twenty One Pilots "Vessel"

My original plan was to circle Bible Park several time, as it is home to a Wailmer nest, and that is a Pokemon I enjoy, and I've been around Bible Park enough times to know it's a solid running locale. However, after my first loop around the park, I discovered that it connects to the Highline Canal Trail, and suddenly the plan became to connect to the Canal trail and see portions of it that I've never run on before, as I was significantly North and East of my usual section of the trail.

This portion is inferior to my normal section, as it is almost all paved. In fact, I think I may have found the least beautiful portion of the entire 70 mile trail, as most of the time as I was running I was on a paved trail that was in the midst of uninspiring apartment complexes and only augmented by a few uninspiring trees. However, at the very end of my exploration of this section of the Highline, I found a section where it intersects with the Cherry Creek Trail, and there were some beautiful views and nice areas right along the creek which redeemed the run.

It was nice getting to see new sections (even if they aren't the best sections) of my favorite trail, and in general, this was a pretty great feeling run. It was made even better by the fact that it was a Sunday morning, and I knew I didn't have to go to work the next day because of Martin Luther King Day. Plus, there was Ellie's Birthday Party to look forward to, as well as a stay at Great Wolf Lodge later that day which was also to celebrate my daughter turning 13, so I was in a great mood that morning.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Seven Hundred Fifty-Four

January 12, 2018
7.36 Miles in 1:11:45
Mood: They're buildin' stuff!
Soundtrack: Tired Pony "The Place We Ran From"

I did a very normal route on the Highline Canal trail, and I found some big news regarding a spot I like on the trail. Apparently this spring they will be building an overlook in this very pretty area that has a view of a giant field, a farm, and the mountains. Not sure when it'll be done, but it's supposed to be getting under way this month, so I'll keep stopping by to check on the progress.

As for this run, it felt pretty solid, for a change. Lately I've not felt super great, but this run was a refreshing return to moving well and getting miles that felt somewhat easy.

The photo for this run was taken just as the sun was getting ready to rise. The morning had a very bluish feel to it. There was a little bit of orange as the sun came up, but blue dominated the skies. It was a pretty blue, though.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Seven Hundred Fifty-Three

January 10, 2018
7.85 Miles in 1:18:00
Mood: The sun and I were both in a hurry today.
Soundtrack: Passenger "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"

The sun rose in a bright burst this morning. It felt even quicker than normal, as for about two minutes, the skies were bright orange, and then it was over and everything was gray and overcast. Felt pretty unique in the moment, as the transition from pretty to muted so rarely happens THAT quickly.

I was also in a bit of a hurry this morning, as I wanted to finish up a little earlier than normal, since I had decided to run on a Wednesday and I had to get in a full day at work and still get off in time to run basketball practice for my fourth grade boys team. That meant that I was resting less and trying to keep pushing to get in my miles. I did a pretty decent job of keeping moving, which I guess led to somewhat less than great speeds, but it was still a pretty sweet run.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Seven Hundred Fifty-Two

January 7, 2018
7.82 Miles in 1:14:19
Mood: Sweet tree carving, man!
Soundtrack: Passenger "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and "All the Little Lights"

I have been running around Wash Park for quite awhile, but I never until this run ran just a little north and west of the park which would allow me to see this super cool tree carving. Thankfully, due to a little bit of prodding from a desirable Pokemon in Pokemon Go, I found this amazing work of art on my run. It's the bottom ten feet of an actual tree that was cut down and then carved into, so it's hard to get a good angle for a photo. However, it's a really cool thing to see in person.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Seven Hundred Fifty-One

January 5, 2018
7.28 Miles in 1:11:32
Mood: Happy and pink.
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "LA DIVINE"

The beauty of the sunrise this morning was pretty spectacular. The prerequisite is amazing clouds, and as you can see, there were amazing clouds this morning. Then God got the pinkness levels just right and it was a pretty glorious morning to look up. Also, the run was on point. Great morning, fun run, and it was pretty warm (for a January morning). Yay running!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Seven Hundred Fifty

January 3, 2018
7.23 Miles in 1:12:26
Mood: Somebody stole the moon.
Soundtrack: The After Disaster / 99% Invisible / The Bill Simmons Podcast

It is insane how the morning moon disappears in iPhone photos. The picture taken above has the moon in it, only I can't tell where because it refuses to show up in pictures. If you were at this spot on the Highline Canal on Wednesday morning, the moon was huge and bright and magnificent, yet when you try to take a picture of it, it completely disappears. It's kind of a bummer too, because when you're looking at the morning moon and it's this bright, it's quite beautiful. I guess it's another of those "You had to be there" kind of things. I'm sad you can't see the moon I saw, though.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Seven Hundred Forty-Nine

January 1, 2018
7.15 Miles in 1:07:12
Mood: A change of venue is sometimes required.
Soundtrack: Hamilton Original Cast Recording

My original plan for the first run of 2018 was to circle Huston Lake Park, because it was a nest for a very rare Pokemon called Carvahna. As you can see by the split maps below, this plan did not last long. The first reason that I bailed on the plan was that the park was not as large as I had hoped it would be. The second, and more pressing reason, was that as I began my second lap around Huston Lake, my body began to rebel against me in a most unpleasant way. It made me stop running and immediately focused my attention from getting exercise to getting to a toilet as fast as humanly possible.

I wish I could tell you that I was able to hold it together and didn't have to poop in the middle of a public park in Denver. I would, unfortunately, be lying if I told you this. Thankfully, the park was super empty, as it was early in the morning on New Years Day, so pretty much NO ONE was out. I found a secluded a place as I could find, hidden behind a giant tree, and quickly took care of the issue at hand that was quite clearly not going to wait one minute longer. After that, I beelined it to my car and then headed to a nearby Safeway to clean both my body and my spirit.

About 20 minutes later, I had relocated to Wash Park, and put in another six miles without incident. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to show my face again in Huston Lake Park. Not that anyone but me knows what happened there (apart from whoever might find their way to this blog, of course), but I will know what happened and that might be enough to keep me away from there forever. Of course, I am doing a bang up job if my New Years Resolution happened to be "Get back to nature".