Monday, March 31, 2014


March 30, 2014
9.00 Miles in 1:23:02
Mood: Competitive
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / dan le sac vs. Scroobius Pip "Angles"

Wash Park is an amazing place to run. This might explain why on a Sunday morning (or pretty much at any time) it is crawling with walkers, runners, and bikers. This is not breaking news, and I didn't just discover something that no one else knows. Still, although I knew it was a great place to run, I had never actually ran there myself until Sunday morning. If you loop the entire park, it's about a 2 mile run, so I did that twice with a jaunt down to DU sandwiched in between.

It was a pretty joyous run, as I felt great and there is always something fun about running in a new place. Hilariously enough, seeing all these runners gets my competitive juices flowing, and my pace was significantly faster than usual as I found myself wanting to pass as many other runners as I could. It didn't really matter how fast they were, I was excited to pass octogenarians and little kids. Probably if someone was rambling down the path with a walker and an oxygen tank, I'd get excited to pass them. I'm not proud of the monster I become at Wash Park, but it is a part of who I am. (I was still passed up myself a couple of times, but in general I did significantly more passing than being passed.)

I also noticed several sports flags flying as I went on this run. I saw a Wisconsin Badgers, which makes sense, as they had stamped their ticket to the Final Four less that 24 hours prior. I also saw a Colorado Avalanche flag on one of the super expensive homes with park front views, which I enjoyed and of course there was a Denver Broncos flag...which is the most common sports flag I see.

The most unusual flag I ran across this run was a Cleveland Indians flag. It was simply a flag of Chief Wahoo...a logo that I have a complicated relationship with intellectually. You see, I think that logo looks super cool, even as I cannot deny that it has rather blatant and yucky racist ideology behind it. I'd never fly a Chief Wahoo flag or wear a Chief Wahoo cap because I recognize how insensitive it is, but at the same time, I think it's a pretty cool flag/cap that looks good. So I'm conflicted when it comes to Wahoo. Although, it appears that the Chief is on the way out due to political correctness and is slowly being replaced by a much more kosher although horribly boring red "C". I can't decide if this is wonderful or terrible. It's probably a little of each...depending on whether aesthetics or human decency are more important to you. It makes me feel like a terrible person that I'm as conflicted on this as I am. (Also, I find it kind of hilarious that I went on a beautiful run through a beautiful park and college campus, yet the picture I post for this run is a partially obstructed Cleveland Indian flag hanging from a random house.)

The map looks a little different on this one, because the Endomondo app freaked out and logged things in a wonky manner and didn't provide a map for me on my phone, so I had to go to their website to pull this map. Oddly, I hit the 1, 2, and 3 mile marks at almost the exact same places that I hit 6, 7, and 8, which is why the first three mile markers don't really show on the map, because they are covered over by the other mile marks. At least it's something...and you're probably not all that worried about the map anyway.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


March 28, 2014
7.88 Miles in 1:11:04
Mood: Social
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Mediocre Show / Conversation with a KU Jayhawks fan

"There is so much negativity in the world. You have to force that out and find something positive to focus on." - Random guy that I ran with for two miles and had a friendly conversation with during this run.

I saw him coming. He was running towards the trail from a direction where I could see him. He was running at almost the exact same pace as me, and we were going to join up at the trail at pretty much the exact same moment. To be honest, I was kind of dreading it. He was decked out in a Kansas Jayhawks t-shirt and cap and I wasn't sure what to expect. I was a tiny bit ahead of him at first, but he caught up and graciously said hello. I said I wasn't sure if I could talk to him since I went to K-State. He laughed and we started a 2 mile stretch of road that we'd traverse together while pretty much talking the entire time.

Although I was dreading it at first, I must admit that it was delightful. He had just moved a few weeks ago to Colorado, and told me that he was getting back into running. He used to run marathons, but it had been a few years. We spoke about running and college basketball and finding ways to motivate yourself and the importance of exercise and positive attitudes. Dude was probably in his early 50's, and he was exceptionally nice and had a tremendous positive attitude. It made my day running with him, and to think at first I was dreading it.

Now, about that picture. I can honestly say that I would never in a million years want a mailbox like that, but I also have to say that I'm glad it exists. To know that someone opens the mouth of a trout to get their mail each day makes me feel a little bit better about the universe. Someone intentionally installed a fish mailbox at their home. It's just indescribably wonderful that it happened, despite how horrifically tacky it is. I must say, I kind of love the chutzpah of someone so willing to flout* good taste and so horribly abuse the goodwill of his neighbors. I salute you, Mr. Fishlover. Well done! I saw this mailbox on my Thursday run, and so badly wanted to get a photo of it on the blog that I purposely tailored my route to make sure that I could get a picture of it for this run.

*Update: I had incorrectly used "flaunt" instead of "flout" in the original version of this error my wife pointed out to me which led me to this interest post on grammar about the differences between flout and flaunt and how prior to the 1920's apparently no one seemed to confuse the two, and how after the 1920's a ton of people started confusing the two. Potentially interesting if you're a word nerd like me:

The first 7.76 Miles

The Final .12 miles

Friday, March 28, 2014


March 27, 2014
7.77 Miles in 1:14:18
Mood: Exploratory
Soundtrack: This American Life / Uhh Yeah Dude

I did it! I found the Northwest Passage! I took a slightly different angle on a normal route and found a trail I didn't know existed, this led me on a very scenic path to Pirates Cove and the softball diamonds at Windermere and Belleview. I was amazed at how easy and direct it was to get there, and how lovely the trip was. It helped that I started out a few miles North of my house, but I can foresee myself hitting this path again at some point. The greatest part of finding a new route in an area that you think you know backwards and forwards is the feeling of exhilaration as you're boldly heading somewhere, but you're not really sure where. I love that feeling. Exploring rules.

Another weird coincidence from this run. I listened to two podcasts while I was running, and both of them in completely different contexts mentioned feeding Kangaroo meat to dogs. I mean, that is epically weird, right? I love odd coincidences that don't really mean anything, but are just so bizarre that they stand out in your day, but since there is no real meaning behind them, they remain just odd situations that exist in the universe...that was dogs eating Kangaroo for me yesterday. So weird, wacky and random.

I started and ended this run at Trader Joes. The more I shop there, the more I love it. Now, here's the map.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


March 25, 2014
8.69 Miles in 1:21:31
Mood: Solitary but positive
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go! / 99% Invisible

There is something wonderfully weird about the fact that Lady Liberty pops up on street corners everywhere come tax time. Liberty and Taxes are two things I wouldn't immediately associate with each other. This girl seemed just hopelessly bored with this job. I asked her if it'd be okay if I took a picture, and she said it'd be fine and continued to do her job with all the enthusiasm of a soggy noodle. I know there are many jobs that would be worse than this, but not too many immediately pop to mind. Being persistently nosy, I asked her how much she got paid to wear this silly costume and stand on the corner waving people towards a tax service. She responded, "Minimum Wage" in a flat yet friendly manner. She wasn't nasty, just obviously lacking in enthusiasm for life...which is what I would look for if I were hiring a girl to dress in a Statue of Liberty costume and drum up business. I guess when you're paying only minimum wage, you can't afford to be too picky.

As for this run, I was feeling pretty good and running strong. The weather was just about perfect, and I felt in no way rushed as I knew that it didn't matter how quickly I got home since my family was in Kansas, and no one was waiting for me except two precocious pups who didn't care if I made it home in time for dinner. Not that I usually feel rushed to get back at a certain time when I'm on a run, but I knew that I could take extra time if I so desired because the house was empty. Perhaps it was just because I myself was in a very positive mood, but everyone on the trails seemed happy. There was a good vibe outdoors, and I was enjoying my time being outdoors and getting exercise. Despite having a slight low blood sugar at the very tail end of the run, which affected my performance over the last half mile, overall it was an ideal run. Runs like this are what keep me motivated to keep going I got to meet Lady Liberty!

Also, this run put me over 100 miles for March, so Operation 12x100 is now one quarter complete as I attempt to hit triple digits in miles every month in 2014!

Monday, March 24, 2014


March 23, 2014
8.04 Miles in 1:15:49
Mood: Stepping out
Soundtrack: The Because Show / The Film Vault

I'm running down a nicely paved path in Littleton, CO when I come to it...A roundabout. In the middle of a running/biking trail. No cars, just foot traffic and bikes, and yet someone thought it necessary to install a roundabout at the intersection of two trails. I was flabbergasted. I took a photo of it, and even considered using it for today's picture. Fortunately, I found this cool statue (which I'll discuss in a moment) as the roundabout, while far more confounding, was far less picturesque. I was so confused when I saw the roundabout...had there been multiple accidents of joggers violently hurling themselves into each other at the intersection and someone said, "This is madness, We need to put a stop to this dangerous situation at once!"

I'm just going to say it, the idea of putting in a roundabout for a non-car situation is at best way overly cautious and at worst just plain dumb. Making it even more confounding, it's not even THAT busy of a path. Sunday mornings are one of the busiest times for running traffic, rush hour if you will, and it was a nice day. Still, in the three or four minutes I was pondering and photographing the roundabout, I saw nary a bike nor runner enter the safety circle. The rebellious part of me wanted to run to the left directly flaunting the safety provided by such a construct, yet for some reason, I decided to go with the flow. Still...this is pretty silly stuff.

As for the statue, this statue is in the midst of a very large and majestic traffic island which welcomes you to Historic Downtown Littleton. While I dig the statue, I have absolutely no clue what or who it honors. It appears to be a farmer pointing out stars in the sky to a space shuttle enthusiast kid while a girl with super long hair and apparently no interest in the proceedings reads a book with her back to them. Not sure what is going on here, and I hope it's not a subtle nod to some evil secret society, but I think I like it. I had to trample a bunch of prickly bushes to get this close to the statue, as it's not readily available to the public, but even at the tail end of my run, I wasn't afraid to stomp some vegetation to get my shot. Such is the nature of my dedication to getting a good picture for Run and Shoot.

(Edit: The research department, aka my wife, found out the details of this photo. Apparently there is also a mom back behind the boys.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


March 21, 2014
5.72 Miles in 52:58
Mood: Abbreviated
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Because Show

I had to cut this run short due to a late start time due to a plumber stopping by the house. This meant that I had to try and squeeze a run into a shorter than usual time frame. The resulting run was solid, but made me feel like I was slacking a bit...that is ridiculous, as there is nothing too slacker about running over five miles, but I've become accustomed to more, so this felt light.

The highlight was finding this beautiful old-timey truck. (I'm starting to really have a thing for old trucks.) As I was taking pictures of it, a guy in a car stopped in the middle of the road and asked if I was looking to sell this truck. A more conniving soul might try to sell a truck that doesn't belong to him, but I just told the guy it wasn't mine, but I liked it so I was taking pictures of it. I felt almost as if I had let him down, like I should have tried to coordinate a sale for this guy with the actual owner of the truck. The guy drove away with a sad look on his face, while I felt almost guilty for having been taking pictures. An odd feeling, as I have every right to photograph whatever I like on my run, and that guy had no reason to think that truck was for sale...other than me taking pictures for what he believed to be the upcoming listing, I guess.

Apart from that odd interaction, I also bought an ice-cream cone on this run to help raise my blood sugar which of late has been running rather low. I always carry emergency sugar, but I prefer not to use that unless I'm a McDonald's cone tastes better anyway.

When I finished this run, it felt too early to quit, but I welcomed the end of the run, as the previous day's 10 mile run had really taken it out of my legs. I was fine with quitting at that moment.

Friday, March 21, 2014


March 20, 2014
10.02 Miles in 1:34:56
Mood: Testing my thesis
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / 99% Invisible / This American Life

So, I have developed this very scientific medicinal theory. And when I say "very scientific" what I mean is that it is total quackery, but here it is: The cure for the common cold is a long run.

That sounds ridiculous, but since I have started running, every time I start getting the sniffles I go on a long run. Every time I'm finished, I feel much much better. Not "completely healed" better, but "instantly on the road to recovery" better. It's a wonderful treatment that I wholly endorse, and it worked yet again. I woke up on Wednesday feeling awful, and even worse on Thursday morning, so Thursday afternoon I engage on a 10 mile excursion, and have felt quite a bit better ever since. This treatment has worked several times for me in the past year. If that's not certifiable science, then I don't know what certifiable science is!*

*There is a very good probability that I don't know what certifiable science is.

In other news...this giant Marine Corps truck was sitting in this suburban driveway. It looked more out of place than Michael Dukakis in a tank.

"Hi Honey, I'm home...and I brought the whole unit with me. Could you fix us some lunch before we invade Ted's house and go all Afghanistan on his butt to get him back for not returning my golf clubs?"

(That's how I imagined it all going down in my head, chances are good it was less dramatic and violent.)

Anyhow, I'm feeling better and am visualizing United States Marines taking out their aggressions on their neighbors, so that's probably a good place to end for today. Here's a map!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


March 18, 2014
9.33 Miles in 1:24:58
Mood: Nervous
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go!

This Jaguar logo is much too large. I understand that it's a sign for an entire dealership, but all I wanted to do when I saw it was take it down and take pictures of it next to everyday things to show how cartoonishly oversized it is. Then I got to wondering how much it weighs, and realized that it is probably much lighter than one would imagine an enormous bright silver jaguar to be. Otherwise, if it blew down and someone was crushed to death by a corporate logo, the big wigs would probably get angry and start an investigation as to who ordered the super heavy jaguar, heads would roll, it'd be a whole big thing.

Apart from contemplating the weight of enormous hood ornaments in the shape of deadly big cats, I also felt a bit of apprehension at the outset of this outing. My blood sugar had been running low all day, and I feared that I might run myself into a situation. I ate up a fairly large snack before leaving, and as a delicious precaution, waltzed my sweaty body into a McDonalds where I purchased and quickly consumed a fruit and yogurt parfait halfway through the run.

 In addition to blood sugar concerns, I was worried it'd be a really cold run, as the wind was blowing and snow had fallen earlier in the day. It was mildly chilly, but the wind subsided and once I really get moving, I very rarely feel cold unless it's REALLY cold outside.

So, despite my apprehensions, I had nothing to fear on this run...other than the potential of getting wounded (but not killed, as we have previously discussed) by a giant Jaguar logo. Turns out, I survived.

Monday, March 17, 2014


March 16, 2014
6.34 Miles in 1:00:56
Mood: Reluctant
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Film Vault

Sometimes you just know you're going to struggle. I woke up feeling a little sluggish on Sunday morning, and I knew that I would not be at my strongest on the run. I kept putting off going out, at first because it was fairly cold, and then just because I wasn't feeling up to getting on the road. Finally, I decided I needed to get my run in, so I left. I didn't start running directly, but I drove to a nearby grocery store first to get a slightly different starting point, and so that I could pick up a few groceries at the end of my run without having to go home first.

Despite the fact that I was not feeling 100%, it was actually a nice run. It was a gorgeous March day with hardly a cloud in the sky. The piercing blue skies deceptively hid a bit of chill in the air from a crisp wind which left the air cool, but not cold. I ran further east than I usually get, and I found a great spot with some wonderful views, and a nice paved path which intersected several different neighborhoods. On my way I saw a cool "Don't Tred On Me" flag and found a backyard that was almost as overwhelmingly decorated as Crazy Town, only in a much more put together way. It seemed less like the work of a hoarder, and more like the work of someone who put together the Storybook Land ride at Disneyland. I even came across some Hip Hop gnomes for sale at King Soopers, something so off putting that I found them hilarious. I took pictures of many of these things, and yet, the picture I chose for this run is just a kid's basketball hoop.

I like this picture, because it captures how quickly teams within a league change their iconography. This hoop was created sometime in the period between 2008 (When the OKC Thunder came into existence) and 2012 (When the New Jersey Nets became the Brooklyn Nets). Despite the fact that this hoop is at most six years old, there are somewhere between 10 and 12 teams that have different logos than when it was created. I love how this hoop captures a moment in time with something not terribly significant. It allows me to see how the world is always changing. It's why I like this blog, because it allows me to snag a bunch of random places in random moments in time. Things that will undoubtedly change, but that I get to capture. I suppose that's what all photographs do, but I like the idea of cataloging and remembering things that most people might never notice. Most people driving down this street will probably never notice that this hoop was put up, and will likely think nothing of it the day it is finally taken down...but it is captured here on this insignificant least until Blogger gets taken down some time. And the transitory nature of life on earth continues...

Okay, that's a bit needlessly deep for a picture of an NBA licensed kids hoop. I'll try to reign it in a little.

I noticed that the Nuggets logo hasn't completely changed, they use that logo, but also have another one that gets used as well. As a fan of the Nugs, I kind of hope that within the next six years they get a makeover themselves, as I'm so over the baby blue and yellow.

Anyhow, suffice it to say, it was a sluggish run, but mostly enjoyable, and I bought a loaf of bread after it was all over. Also, the physical world is in constant and unstoppable tumult. This is what we have learned this post. I should probably stop rambling now. Here's the map...

Saturday, March 15, 2014


March 14, 2014
8.02 Miles in 1:13:40
Mood: Happy, then annoyed, then happy again
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / Alpha Rev "Bloom"

Nothing can put a sudden halt on a run like a headphones malfunction. In my year and a half of running, I've burned through several pairs. It finally reached the point that I decided that it would be for the best to invest in some earbuds that were made for running. So I went to Best Buy a few months back and bought a pair of earbuds made specifically for running by the Ironman company.

Flash forward to Friday afternoon. I was running North and in a jolly mood on a glorious early spring afternoon. The temps were in the low sixties, and life was good. I was enjoying an episode of The Film Vault, and suddenly...silence. I came to an immediate screeching halt. I checked to see if the podcast was uploaded with audio difficulties, I checked to see if any other audio files would play, I listened to see if my phone's speaker would work where the earbuds would not. I shut down my phone and restarted it to see if there was a hardware issue with my pocket computer.

After troubleshooting, I determined that my earbuds had bought the farm. This was irritating to me, as I had just bought them a few months ago, and here they were already dead. I immediately changed direction (You can see how abruptly I switched directions on the map. Just look at the Northwest most point of the run, and see how I immediately reversed course.) and headed south towards the Best Buy where I had purchased the earbuds. Thankfully, I was just a mile or so away from it, as I had fortuitously ran in a direction which didn't put me super far away. I walked into Best Buy a bit sweaty and went to the customer service desk. They graciously allowed me to exchange the earbuds for an identical pair, and I ripped open the box and put them to immediate use. I was feeling very thankful to Best Buy for treating me well.

Four or so miles later, it appears that the new earbuds are working great. Hopefully they last longer than their predecessors, especially since they are supposedly built for running.

The rest of the run was solid and uneventful. The picture from this run is a cool lawn frog. I don't have much to add other than saying I thought it was cool. People put all sorts of weird stuff on their lawns. This frog has a much nicer vibe than most of the odd things I see. Nice job, frog guy or gal.

Friday, March 14, 2014


March 13, 2014
9.28 Miles in 1:30:27
Mood: Cheery but slightly disappointed
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show

So this is the front of Crazy Town's house. (See Run and Shoot post 54). I'm not going to lie. I was disappointed. I mean sure, there is way more haphazardly strewn stuff in front of this home than 99.9% of homes I run past, but it lacked the panache of the backyard. A few highlights included a sign that reads, "Autumn" which is perfect for March, as well as a few Christmas wreaths. The disappointing thing is that it looks much less like Crazy Town was trying to decorate, and more like the front yard is just where she stores her decorations. Sure, the backyard also had a decoration hoarder feel to it, but it was so much more overpowering, what with the large wooden bears and wildcats.

So I was dealing with a bit of disappointment from this home not being as crazy as I had hoped, AND I was also dealing with me forgetting to pause my run on a couple of different stops, which threw off the recorded pace on my app. These are small let downs to be sure, ones which I got over quickly, but they were the slight bummer on an otherwise glorious run. The weather was so perfect it was like someone ordered it online from Zappos. (Zappos delivers weather, right?) And I felt like the energizer bunny for most of this run...I just kept going and going. This run was exactly what I needed on a Thursday if I can just get crazy people to be more eccentrically crazy, I'll be all set.

Map #1 (Pre-Yogurtland)
 Map #2 (Post-Yogurtland)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


March 11, 2014
6.09 Miles in 51:35
Mood: Soggy
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go!

It occurred to me two-thirds of the way through this run that I may have lost my mind. This was the point that I pulled out my phone and took a picture of myself. That smile is realization that sane people probably don't go running in heavy snow. The photo doesn't do justice to the amount of snow falling on this run. It was pretty intense most of the way through. I was soaked. My light running shoes providing no barrier to the puddles, my socks were heavy and sopping wet. My hoodie was snowcaked. (My hat was falling apart, but that's pretty much every run.) In short, I was a ghastly mess. I regret nothing, for I got my run in. (As an added bonus, one runs faster in cold.)

So yes, that smile is someone coming to the realization that his sanity is on the edge, but it's also the smile of someone who is okay with that.

Monday, March 10, 2014


March 9, 2014
7.36 Miles in 1:09:40
Mood: Grinding it out
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Because Show / LCS Hockey Show
Even when you really love something, there are still times when that thing you love can almost be drudgery. Nothing is always wonderful, even things you really value and enjoy. Sunday my run was definitely more of a grind than a highly enjoyable experience. 
I attribute a large portion of that to the fairly unimaginative route I took which kept me mainly on the sidewalks of larger streets running in straight lines. I started this run with a quick drive to a slightly more northern starting point, and so my run was pushed through areas which I am familiar by car, but not so much on foot. As a result, I didn't stray far from the big streets. Running in a straight line is not as much fun as weaving and wobbling a wonky way. (That was a fun sentence to construct.)
When I wasn't running on a big street, I was slogging through a muddy trail. I had originally intended to take this trail much further and avoid the streets entirely, but I abandoned the trail at my quickest availability due to the fact that it was riddled with large patches of sloppy mud. Trail running rules when said trails are dry, but when you're slopping through terrain a pig would find endearing, it quickly loses it's luster.
So this run left something to be desired...not all was lost. I got to see a horse that looked so bored with life. I felt this was an appropriate picture because you usually think of a horse in a passionate and exciting manner, much as I usually associate running with fun and enjoyment. However, here was a horse, the icon of excitement, looking like he really wished there was something good on TV. I felt a kinship with my friend the bored horse on this day. They can't all be the best runs of your life, I persevered through this one with the belief that a great one is just around the corner. Plus, a bad day of running still beats a day without running. Until next's the map. 

Friday, March 7, 2014


March 6, 2014
8.52 Miles in 1:19:55
Mood: Contrast
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / Snap Judgment

So I was listening to a podcast about the Berlin Wall in 1964. West German students were digging tunnels into East Germany to help free their friends and family trapped behind the most concrete iteration of the iron curtain. As I'm running, I notice that I'm in a particularly brightly colored neighborhood...several of the houses almost obnoxious in their brightly painted hues. Clearly an artistic, almost bohemian (if such a thing can be said about the suburbs) neighborhood, free to express their individual souls in house paint form without fear of reprisal from a draconian homeowners association.

Then, as if I've crossed some invisible and figurative Berlin Wall, I find myself in the middle of Beige-town. It's startling how quickly the homes have gone from bright and distinctive into a terrible bland sameness. I have no idea what homes looked like in East Germany, but this group of homes feels like what I imagine it would have felt like. Someone in charge really likes beige, a bland and callous color which practically screams, "I have no art in my soul."

The stunning contrast of the home colors matched the contrast of the two sides of Germany, and these contrasts could be seen throughout my run. Even the picture I selected has a sun with two distinctly contrasting sides. There were a few other contrasts with this outing. If you look at the map, you can see the first half of my run was marked by many sharp turns and small concentric geometric shapes, then the second half of the run is basically one giant loop.

Beyond all that, the second half of my run was also the much faster portion, as halfway through, I decided that I was annoyed by my slow pace, and despite any pain it may cause, I was going to push hard the rest of the way. The result of this effort was that many of my 5 minute laps paced at under 9 minutes per mile while in the first half of the run a bunch of those laps checked in at over 10 minutes per mile.

It's weird how split and contrasting this run was in so many ways. It made for a completely unintentional, yet unifying theme for the days run.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


March 4, 2014
8.06 Miles in 1:16:51
Mood: Amused
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go!

Welcome to Crazy Town, Population: This House. I'm feeling like this HAS to be a lady going this nuts with the decorations. Just feels like female insanity. I feel like this picture doesn't do it justice, either. There is hardly a square foot of space in this backyard that isn't adorned with some manner of decoration. For crying out loud, she has not just one but two fake trees with fake animals all over them. You can only see one of the fake trees in this's the one with the fake bear in it. She also has another fake tree that has a cougar, an eagle, and an owl in it.

I discovered this amazing backyard as I was running through Medema Park. This nutty backyard backs up directly to a public park. Yup, Crazy Town has her own platform for freaking out the public. As I was standing there taking a plethora of photos of this eccentric backyard, a guy walked down the path, turned to me, and said, "You don't see something like that everyday, huh?"

You can say that again, brother. My only regret is that I didn't run to the front of the home to see how she decorated that end of her home. Make no mistake, getting back to this neighborhood and checking out the other side of this home is quite high on my running priority list. I must see the front of this home. The only thing that would shock me is if it looks normal.

As for the rest of this run, I saw a real fire truck adorned with a gorilla logo and I saw a piece of playground equipment that looked like a fire truck. I also bought a granola bar, saw an entire work crew in hardhats (about 12 men strong) digging a giant hole in someone's backyard, I discovered a new passage between two areas that I run fairly frequently yet I had no clue they were so close together, AND I stopped by a friend's house because I really had to pee only to discover she was in Vegas and her mom was babysitting their kids at their house while she and her husband were gone...and I still managed to talk her mom into letting me use their bathroom.

Clearly, this was not a normal run...I mean, I bought a granola bar, for crying out loud! (Plus all that other weird stuff and Crazy Town's backyard, too. I guess.) It's always interesting here in suburbia, if you only look in the right places at the right times. Here's the map...

Monday, March 3, 2014


March 2, 2014
9.20 Miles in 1:25:49
Mood: Cold and Happy
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / The Because Show / Lupe Fiasco "Food and Liquor"

How awkward would it be to ring the doorbell and just ask for cookies? I suppose that is what they are going for, but still. "Hi total stranger, here are four dirty ones, give me a box of sweets." This is an odd transaction. Maybe you get caught up in cookie selling mania and this is not weird in the least. I don't want to live in a world where randos knocking at my front door to buy a box of confections feels normal.

The weather was freezing on this run, but I didn't feel cold. Body heat is an amazing thing. A hoodie over a running shirt is more than sufficient even when the snow is falling softly and the thermometer reads 21 when you start out. Losing weight has meant that during the winter I'm basically always cold. The exception occurs when I run.When I'm running, I'm pretty much always fine. It's pretty glorious to not get chilled even when the temps are in single digits when you wake up in the morning. I didn't hit the road immediately upon waking, because although I usually stay warm, 7 degrees is crazy. However, with the forecast foretelling of dizzying high temps for the day in the mid-thirties, I knew I was going to get a good run in.

Early on in the run, both to avoid falling snow and for the potential of slightly warmer temps, I ran to the top of a parking garage. I enjoy running the ramps, although I was a bit weirded out, as I kept hearing sounds which made me believe that someone was doing their own Pikes Peak style hill climb race up the garage. I didn't want to get leveled by someone going too fast in an empty parking garage, so I ran in the area that a speeding car would be least likely to traverse and engaged my highest level of situational awareness to avoid death. Despite the sounds, I never saw any vehicles, although I will go to my grave certain someone was racing up the structure.

The greatest moment in my walk came when I was six miles in and decided that it was time for a warm beverage. I waltzed into McDonalds and procured a large coffee with extra cream and sugar and plopped down onto a bench that was way more comfortable than a bench at the Golden Arches has any business being, and I just blissed out in the land of hot java, Words With Friends, and cozy fast food seating for about 20 minutes. I don't usually take such a break in the middle of a run, but it was a gray Sunday morning, and I felt I deserved a break today...what more appropriate place could there be?

After my vacation in McDonaldland, I abandoned podcasting and went to my go-to hip-hop-apotamous, Lupe Fiasco. With coffee in my belly and a hop in my step, I made my way home to rap music, and felt very happy about it.

For some reason, I can't pull up the map on my Endomondo app for this run, but I could get it from their website. So that is why the map looks different today. I know people were worried about this...

Saturday, March 1, 2014


February 28, 2014
8.78 Miles in 1:23:25
Mood: Pouring it on
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Film Vault

With my February goal already achieved before I even started, there was literally no need to go out running other than my desire to do so. I guess "need" is a strong word, since I am under no compulsion to ever go other than goals I want for myself, but this was even more extraneous. Still, it was a gorgeous afternoon, and I was all in. Why settle for 100 miles in three weeks when you can go 109?

Two things stand out from this run. The first can be found in the picture I selected for this run. Although I've run on the Highline canal countless times, I cannot ever remember noticing this particular pagoda. The sun was shining through the trees on it giving it an almost ethereal look. The picture makes it look very secluded, as if I am in the middle of some nondescript Asian nation far from home. In reality, this is less than three miles from my suburban home, but it's kind of cool how something so close can look like it belongs so far away. I was rather taken with the scene.

The second thing that stands out from this run was a chubby female in her mid-twenties that I saw at the very tail end of my run. I was only a few hundred feet from home when I passed this larger girl with BRIGHT pink hair. It wasn't just the color, but it was also the style. It was like Flo from Progressive let her hair grow out until it was waist length and then dyed it pink. Not just any pink, mind you, this girl's hair could probably be seen from space. I was running, so I didn't get a close look, so I'm not sure if it was a wig or just a very poor decision with her natural hair. Either way, it's not what I would describe as an attractive look, but it does make you take notice. In hindsight, I wish I'd have taken a picture, but at the time I was too afraid. Afraid that I'd appear to be the creepiest of creepers and maybe a little afraid that she'd take it as a come on...a message I was trying VERY HARD to not send for a multitude of reasons. So no picture, I'm sad to say, but here is the map...