Friday, July 21, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy

July 21, 2017
7.20 Miles and 1:12:59
Mood: Concise
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "LA DIVINE" and "Robbers & Cowards" / Colin Hay "Next Year People"

This is a middle school mascot statue. I ran slow today. I have very little else to say.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty-Nine

July 20, 2017
7.37 Miles in 1:12:25
Mood: Discovering new places
Soundtrack: Panic! at the Disco "Death of a Bachelor" / Peter Bjorn and John "Gimme Some" / Peter Mulvey "Brother Rabbit Speaks/Rain"

I discovered the entrance to a park up in Cherry Hills Village called Woodie Creek Park a few weeks ago, and I knew that it was within running distance from home. I've been meaning to stop by, but finally decided today was the day. The entrance is odd because it is very narrow with a steep incline down, so it had an Alice descending into Wonderland feel to it. Especially since at the bottom of the hill was a sharp turn and it was covered heavily with trees on either side, so I had absolutely no idea what it would actually look like.

Turns out, it's a short and lovely gravel path alongside a small creek in a lovely bucolic setting as seen above. It is basically on the Northwest corner of Belleview and University, but it is protected by a large privacy wall that makes it seem isolated and separated from traffic. Pretty cool place, and I'm quite glad I checked it out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty-Eight

July 18, 2017
7.21 Miles in 1:10:29
Mood: Weirded out by the normalness of it all.
Soundtrack: Mediocre Show / 99% Invisible / What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law / The Gist

This was the first normal early morning Colorado run I had done in 11 days. Honestly, it felt a little weird to be back to my own neighborhood getting a run in before work because it felt like it had been forever since I had done so. Like I was a stranger in my own life.

It didn't take TOO long to feel like I was back in the flow, and after running through DeKoevend Park, Ketring Park and the Highline Canal, I was back to feeling like me.

Six Hundred Sixty-Seven

July 16, 2017
8.33 Miles in 1:17:27
Mood: Happy to be back home.
Soundtrack: The Decemberists "What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World"

I pushed my Sunday run back to the afternoon because we got back from Arizona after midnight, and I wanted more than five hours of sleep. Usually I feel like afternoon runs are too hot, but after being in Arizona for a week, suddenly a Colorado afternoon doesn't seem so warm.

I arrived at Wash Park determined to get in a substantial run, and my first loop around the park was solid, but then I started looping through the middle of the park a lot and just meandering and I lost a bit of focus. I pulled it together to get another strong loop at the end, but there was a lot of aimless wandering and distractions in the middle. All in all, I broke the seven mile mark for the first time in awhile and I even did so with a moderately decent pace.

Being back in Colorado felt amazing, the temps weren't killer and I forgot how much I enjoy grass and leafy trees. I even was able to see people setting up for a wedding in the flower garden. The alter seen above is at the head of about 100 to 200 folding chairs set up just waiting for the bride and groom to make their way on over in a few hours. It was very pretty.

Six Hundred Sixty-Six

July 15, 2017
5.52 Miles in 49:42
Mood: Running like a bat out of Arizona
Soundtrack: Conversation with my brother.

I have been considering this post for sometime, as the six hundred sixty-sixth post has some devilish baggage to it. I didn't plan it out this way, but there is something appropriate that this post should originate from Arizona, as heat is one of the state's defining characteristics. Also funny that I should have a statue of a bat as the photo...for the "Bat out of hell" purposes.

The photo was actually taken at just about the midpoint of this run. It's a very cool statue of a bat riding a bike. The significance seems to be that it is positioned directly next to a path where many bikers ride and also a bridge that is home to a large number of bats. (I just Googled what a group of bats is called, and it's apparently a colony, but if it were up to me it would be a brigade of bats.)

Of the three runs I managed while in Tucson, this was the most "normal" of them all. Bruce and I ran along the Pantano Wash, a dry river bed in middle of the city that has a popular trail for bikers and runners alike. We had a pretty good pace, and ran for a respectable distance. It was probably the least picturesque running site, but the lack of amazing scenery meant that we just kept running...which is sort of the point. We had limited time to run that morning, as Bruce had to go straight from running five and a half miles to a Crossfit class and I had 12 hours of driving ahead of me that day. The distance was only moderate, but we went hard enough that I was pretty wiped by the end.

Six Hundred Sixty-Five

July 13, 2017
3.68 Miles in 35:29
Mood: Distracted by desert plants and Pokemon.
Soundtrack: Conversation with my brother

It was a beautiful Tucson morning, and after mixed results running in nature the day before, my brother and I decided to make the lovely campus of the University of Arizona the scene for our run. Our original intention had been to get in more miles on this morning than we had previously, but we were sidetracked by some intense Pokemon Go playing as well as my insatiable need to take photos of cacti and palm trees.

I was able to see big chunks of the campus for the first time and get in some quality time and conversation with my brother, so the fact that we only gave a half effort to running was okay. It was an awesome morning and I now know what the outside of the Wildcat's football stadium looks like. (It looks like a football stadium.)

Six Hundred Sixty-Four

July 12, 2017
4.19 Miles in 40:08
Mood: It was the best of runs, it was the worst of runs.
Soundtrack: Conversation with my brother

I was ready for Arizona to be a lot of things, but humid was not one of those. However, with the arrival of monsoon season and the accompanying heavy rain storms, it was downright muggy in Sabino Canyon as my brother and I headed up the trail and began running. We were quickly drenched in sweat, which was not really unpleasant, just wet. The problem was that the entire trail up the somewhat steep hills into the canyon was brimming with gnats. These gnats were everywhere, to the point that at times we had to cut our conversations to keep them from flying into our mouths and providing us with unwanted protein. The wetness of our sweat at times caused the gnats to stick to our faces. Also, there were stagnant pools which looked to have been full of standing water for months. There was an odor emanating from many of these pools which was downright foul, although I will admit that the large frogs we saw swimming in one of the puddles were pretty cool.

That first paragraph makes it sound like this was a miserable running experience, but actually it was pretty great. Sure, it had it's downsides like noxious odors and bugs in such high numbers that it was on the verge of being classified as pestilence, but hanging out with my brother was great, the sunrise this morning was outstanding, and as you can see from the photo, the scenery was beautiful with saguaro everywhere. However, if you want to run in Sabino Canyon, I'd recommend NOT going during the beginning of monsoon season. I hear it's lovely in winter.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty-Three

July 9, 2017
3.11 Miles in 28:20
Mood: Getting out in front of a road trip.
Soundtrack: Milk Carton Kids "Prologue"

With a 12 plus hour drive ahead of me, I knew I wouldn't be able to take a lot of time to run this morning, but I also wanted to keep my Sunday 5K streak alive on the Nike + Running app. I also knew that if I didn't get some activity in early this morning, that I wasn't going to get any in all day. So I got up a little early, and pounded out a very quick three miles. I stopped running exactly one time, for about ten seconds to take this photo at the halfway point of the run, and apart from that I ran without breaks for the entirety of the run. I rarely run without stopping at all, and this run felt fairly intense as a result...even if it was less than half of a normal run. Now I'm prepped for a long car ride, and hopefully an uneventful one at that.

Six Hundred Sixty-Two

July 7, 2017
8.07 Miles in 1:17:38
Mood: There's no place like close to home.
Soundtrack: The Shins "Port of Morrow" and "Wincing the Night Away"

I had to keep rather close to home on this run so that I could be available on the home front if need be, so I ended up just circling around DeKoevend Park for the majority of this run. It was a beautiful morning, and I was able to run on the Highline Canal trail, just not very much of it and basically the same parts over and over. Although I noticed that there were a few other runners doing a very similar thing, so I got to wave hi to them a few times.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty-One

July 6, 2017
7.28 Miles in 1:10:04
Mood: Enjoying a very contemplative selfie attempt.
Soundtrack: The Wood Brothers "Paradise" / The Shins "Heartworms" / The Avett Brothers "I and Love and You"

This man looked very serious about his photography. He was spending a lot of time adjusting things to get the picture just right. I stopped to take this picture covertly while pretending to be doing something "important" on my phone because I was intrigued by his very deliberate preparations. As I was running away, I looked back to see that he was taking his own photo by the wagon wheel bench using a timer on his tripod enabled camera. I enjoyed this, for some reason.

The first mile on this jaunt was a slow struggle, and I worried I'd have a hard time getting any significant mileage. After that first mile, however, I shook loose the cobwebs and found my stride and it went from being a struggle to a lovely run. I think I started feeling better almost at the exact point that I saw the photographer shown above. He was my good luck charm, I guess.