Wednesday, April 30, 2014
April 29, 2014
8.19 Miles in 1:17:17
Mood: Blown away by wind and feeling shoe nostalgia.
Soundtrack: Dan Lebatard Show with Stugotz / Nerf's LOL's at 505 / 99% Invisible / The Truth / This American Life
After 745 miles of running, plus a rather unfortunate appearance at the Super Bowl, my orange and blue running shoes are now officially retired from running duty. This was their final run, and they performed admirably to the very last. It was an emotional goodbye, but now my shoes are free to look towards other pursuits in retirement, such as spending more time with their family, world travel, and they've always wanted to take up painting. Okay, really, they are facing a future of occasionally being worn casually when I'm wearing Broncos gear and otherwise hanging out in my closet. Still, I salute you orange and blue Brooks running shoes. You have treated me well, and have truly earned your retirement. I only hope that my new black and green Brooks perform so well as you have served me.
My shoes' final run came on a blustery Tuesday afternoon where the temps felt much cooler than the 57 degrees Fahrenheit the lying schmuck of a thermometer told me right before I left. I ended up going out in a long sleeved running shirt and shorts...I think that my track pants would have been a smarter choice, but we live and learn.
The news that Donald Sterling had been banned for life from the NBA had just come down, and I was so interested in the reaction that I downloaded the ESPN Radio app so that I could listen to the Dan Lebatard show discuss the fallout. I love Dan's show, and often listen to the podcast of it the following day, but to say they are not slave to the news is an understatement. On this rare occasion of me listening live honestly wanting sports reaction, I was subjected to two straight segments of Ron McGill, the zoo guy. Ordinarily, I love this segment, but it wasn't what I was looking for and it turns out that if you listen to ESPN radio live there are a metric ton of commercials. I abandoned the show and turned towards a large slate of podcasts to accompany me on this run. This experience only cemented that which I already knew...Live radio is massively inferior to the podcast format.
This photo is of a bench where I have stopped and taken pictures tons of different times. I find it to be beautiful, flanked with old wagon wheels sitting in front of a large meadow looking towards the Rockies. I totally love this spot, and have sat on this bench a myriad of times. However, this was the first time that I actually decided to use this picture for the blog. Mostly because I had very few photo options, as it was really cold, and I didn't stop to take too many pictures. I was going to post a picture of my shoes, but the selfie of my feet was just too ridiculous to post...my hairy funny looking shins were much too prominently involved.
Monday, April 28, 2014
April 27, 2014
8.37 Miles in 1:17:00
Mood: Reluctant and Oddly vibed
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / The Avett Brothers
A gargoyle wearing a bunny mask is always going to be funny to me. Especially if it's a bunny mask missing one eye because it's been on said gargoyle for a few weeks and the weather has taken it's toll. There is an unmistakable Donnie Darko vibe to this picture. I have spent a decent amount of time just looking a this photo...it's somewhat captivating if you drink it in. Maybe I just need more hobbies. One thing is for certain, I am always thankful for the lady on Belleview who decorates her gargoyles seasonally.
Sunday's run was one that almost didn't happen. After several hockey induced late nights in the past week, I was running a severe sleep deficit, and I stayed in bed until almost 10 Sunday morning. Considering I'm up by 5 during most days, and even when I sleep in on the weekend, it's usually no later than 8, this wasn't just sleeping in, it was SLEEPING IN. Adding the late start to the cooler temps and chilly wind, and I almost bagged my Sunday run. In the end, the impulse to get out and go barely won over the impulse to take it easy, and I ended up pounding the pavement.
From the moment I left to go, things felt weird. Not bad, necessarily. Just weird. The picture for today's run perfectly encapsulates it. As if the day was trying to put on a positive face, but there was a monster underneath the smiling mask. It was a monster of a day, and I felt odd about it the entire time I was out. It didn't help that I came across one of the creepiest scultures I've ever seen on a run, either. It was a sculpture that had two vaguely human looking figures standing in line behind each other and several sharp projectiles coming from the rear figure are piercing the front figure. Also, the figures look almost as if they are nude, but in an other worldly way. It's weird and creepy. (I may post a picture of that statue on a run some day soon, but nothing was trumping the gargoyle bunny for today's run. If you REALLY want to see it, I have posted a pic of it on my Instagram account. www.instagram.com/craigthedodge)
Anyway, I'm thankful that I don't get this same weird vibe every time I go out. From the clouds and wind to the bizarre statues to the general disposition of most of the people I passed on the streets and trails, There was something disconcerting about this Sunday.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
April 25, 2014
7.01 Miles in 1:06:24
Mood: Attention Deficit Disorderish and Jello Legged
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Film Vault
I fear the era of the pink tree is nearing it's end. Another week or two at the very most. Which makes me sad, because I like living in the world of the Lorax. Truffula trees EVERYWHERE! Oh well, I'll enjoy this brief period of spring while it lasts.
This run was about as unzenlike as can be. I was constantly distracted and stopping taking pictures of trees, pickup trucks, and flag football games. Plus, my blood sugar was a little low by the end, so by the time I made it home, my legs felt jello-y and tired. It's not that it was a bad run, I enjoyed it quite a bit, it's just that I was constantly distracted and never fully got into a groove.
Although, at one point, I discovered a giant open area which was surrounded by back yards. It was an open area of which I was fully unaware, although I doubt it'll make it into the regular running rotation, as it was a little difficult to get into, and a lot of the paths were little more than bunny trails. Still, I always enjoy finding new surprises in areas I thought I knew, it means the world remains larger than I expect. Something I enjoy remembering when I feel like I've been there and done that.
Friday, April 25, 2014
April 24, 2014
10.43 Miles in 1:34:53
Mood: Zenlike state
Soundtrack: Mediocre Show / Len "Steal My Sunshine" / Robert DeLong "Just Movement"
There I was, something like 8 miles into this run, and it happened. I accidentily fell into a moment of zen. The sunshine was exquisite, the colors caught the light and vibrated with color, the weather was brilliant with a hint of crispness, my pace was strong and fast due to a wonderful night's sleep, and I was listening (uncharacteristically) to some music that would probably be most strictly defined as electronica. These things all blended together and suddenly I was no longer thinking, I was in another place, it was what I would imagine taking mushrooms would be like...the world just came together in the most clear and amazing way. I was one with the running path, I wasn't thinking about the day I had, or the the evening ahead, or anything other than this moment. I wasn't really even thinking about that moment, I was just experiencing it. It was like I was an observer more than a participant in the moment, but it was lovely and welcoming.
I know, that sounds like hippie crap, but it's totally true. Then the song I was listening to ended, I realized that I had gone for about half a mile running at a blistering pace (especially for that late in a run) and I was back in the world...the otherworldliness vanished in a moment and suddenly it was just another run. An enjoyable run, but not as weird as that brief trip to trippyville.
Apart from a weird psychadelic moment on the Highline Canal trail, I also made my way all the way to downtown Littleton and back on this run. On Littleton boulevard, I came across this odd buisness that as best as I can tell rents trailers and horses and sells Western wear. That was pretty cool, but next door to it was a house with all sorts of wooden carvings including a nasty looking (in a good way) Grizzly bear who had chased a wooden dude into a tree and these two cubs, which I assume belong to the terrifying bear on the ground. It was pretty cool art, and I stopped for a few minutes to take it in and drink my ridiculous sugary watermelon juice in a can.
I fully intended to take a really long run, and I enjoyed every minute of it. This was one of the best outings in weeks, and I was almost a little sad when it ended. Sad, but also exhausted. I slept like a baby that night.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
April 22, 2014
7.38 Miles in 1:07:55
Mood: Not overly pleased with short shorts
Soundtrack: The Internet! with Scott the Poolboy / Jordan, Jesse, Go!
Gorgeous weather is generally a good thing, and it's return is something I have almost universally praised. However, Even a silver cloud can has a gray lining. (That is how that cliche goes, right?) I am, of course, speaking of super fast shirtless runner guy in short shorts. This creature doesn't exist during the winter months, but once it starts getting warm, it emerges from it's winter hibernation and takes to the trails, ready to pass you up in a flash of over exposed flesh. I was passed by three such short short wearing individuals on this Tuesday afternoon run, and it's not a pleasant picture.
It's not that I object to them being so much faster than I am. Being faster than me is hardly a goal worthy of fanfare. I don't even object to the shirtlessness, as when it gets really hot, removing one's shirt is an acceptable way to stay cool in a pinch. (It wasn't that hot yesterday, but in principle, shirtlessness is allowed.)
No, I object to the short shorts. Short shorts should never be worn by men. This is an ironclad rule that under no circumstances may be broken. Look fella, You aren't a Boston Celtic playing in the 1980's. While short shorts had a time and place, that time was pre-1993 and the place these days is restrictively limited to girls. Shorts are well and good, short shorts are an abomination.
As for today's photo...I am in full support of playground equipment that also functions as a photo op. Even better, when you take a picture of something that is meant to have faces poking through, but you shoot a pic without. This Fifi and Fido picture amuses me endlessly, and for no good reason. I should probably seek help.
Finally, I am proud to say that this run pushed me over triple digits in miles for April. This means that I am now one third of the way to my 12 x 100 goal (All 12 months of 2014 with at least 100 miles.) Only eight months to go. I'm feeling strong and positive that this can happen.
Monday, April 21, 2014
April 20, 2014
7.48 Miles in 1:09:17
Mood: Peaceful and Pink Tree Lovin'
Soundtrack: The Because Show / Florence and the Machine "Ceremonials"
I heart pink trees. It's spring, and everywhere you look there are pink flowers blooming in trees. Unlike those hideous little purple flowers, these trees both look and smell good. They make me feel peaceful, like nothing could be wrong with the world so long as the trees are this beautiful. This run was filthy with beautiful trees. Everywhere I looked, there they were. It made this Easter morning run feel even better. The world felt full and happy and good. I was in a great mood, and unlike Friday afternoon, I had plenty of sleep, so I wasn't dragging. Twas a swell run.
Two funny things from this trip on the trails:
1. I saw an older man, probably in his seventies. He was out with his mutt of a dog, who looked faithful but also like he was just barely putting up with the ridiculousness to which he was being subjected. The old man was pumping and flopping his limbs energetically as if he were moving at a great rate of speed, however, his actual lack of speed was betrayed by his dog who was keeping up with him with what can best be described as disinterested sluggish walking speed. Yep. Although the man looked like he was really moving, his dog was keeping up with him while barely walking. It was amusing, but you gotta hand it to the guy. He may not be able to get moving at much of a rate of speed, but at least he's still pushing himself. I found it humorous and inspiring in equal measures. This guy isn't giving up on life.
2. I was over six miles into this run when I was passed by a woman in her 20's and her dog. Although, I didn't intend to do so, something inside of me decided this was unacceptable. Almost outside of conscious thought, I began to speed up. She never got much further than 15 feet ahead of me, and in about a third of a mile, I passed her up again. As soon as that happened, I realized that she had caused me to increase my speed a lot more than I thought. Although I was getting a bit tired, I was not going to let her pass me again, so I kept pushing myself to an upcoming intersection of large street and trail. I had been planning all along to leave the trail and head down the sidewalk of the major street back to my car, and I hoped against hope that she was going to be crossing the street and continuing on the trail. Thankfully, after about another half mile, we hit the intersection and that exact scenario unfolded. Once she was out of sight, I was able to pause and catch my breath. Pride is such a stupid thing...although on the plus side, it kept me motivated through the toughest portion of the run. So I guess it's not all bad.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
April 18, 2014
6.38 Miles in 1:01:25
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Film Vault
My tank was far from full for this one, and it showed. I stayed up far too late watching the Avalanche play their first playoff game in four years, and it was a spectacular one, coming from two goals behind in the 3rd period to force overtime with less than 13 seconds to play, and then winning it in OT. It was awesome, but it didn't end until eleven, and then I was so pumped up that I didn't fall asleep until way after midnight. I had to get up at 5, so with fewer than five hours of sleep to work with, I tried hitting the road for a run.
It was rough. I was starting to feel fatigued less than two miles into the run. As strong as I felt on the previous day was as drained as I felt on this trip. Just no energy, no legs, it was depressing. In fact, after pushing myself to complete a 10k, I was about half a mile from home, and I was done. I walked the final stretch home, completely incapable of finishing the run. Thankfully that doesn't happen much, but you could stick a fork in me, because I was done.
Apart from the exhaustion, the only other notable things that happened on this run included the above pictured sign on a park trail. Not sure who felt it was necessary to put a "Road Work Ahead" sign in a park for a walking/running/biking path, but it cracked me up, so I thank them. The other notable item was that I was having a bit of a low blood sugar a few miles into this run, so I stopped at Trader Joe's and bought a nineteen cent banana with a credit card. There are few ridiculous feelings in the world that give me more pleasure than using plastic to make a purchase under twenty cents.
Friday, April 18, 2014
April 17, 2014
7.52 Miles in 1:09:14
Mood: Pleasant and feeling strong
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / Florence and the Machine "Ceremonials"
Wolverine was happily swinging away while Spiderman looked on glumly from the front step. Spiderman had his hands on his chin and looked very forlorn. Wolverine seemed like he was hogging the swing. I watched on in amusement, as one does when observing two superheroes who clearly both want the same piece of playground equipment, but only one of them can possess it.
Wolverine looked to be the older brother, maybe 8 years old. Spiderman was probably six or seven. The swing was in their front yard, and Mom and Dad must have been inside. They were both decked out in very elaborate full body superhero suits for reasons that were not immediately clear, other than little boys love to be superheroes, which was probably reason enough. I wanted so badly to take a picture of this scene, as it was tremendously funny to me...but as happens far too often, my desire to not appear creepy trumped my desire to capture for posterity the amusing scene. I know that if I stopped to take a picture that I was not going to do anything more nefarious with it than post it to this blog, but the problem is that other people don't know that. So sadly, this moment is lost forever visually, and all I can do is describe to you the trials and tribulations of two Marvel heroes, one swing.
While this moment was clearly the greatest thing that happened on this run, I also was able to enjoy another glorious spring day with a run in which I felt so great. The sky was so blue, and as you can see from the photo I posted, the flowers are starting to bloom on the trees. When I ran past the pink accented by the blue, I knew I'd have to take a picture. Thankfully, photographing trees is much less questionable than snapping pictures of stranger's children. Spring is in bloom, and I picked up strength as this run went on. I stopped at the end because I had completed my loop and was ready to be home, but I felt like I potentially had another five miles in me, I felt so good. Just an all around great run on a lovely Thursday.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
April 15, 2014
9.98 Miles in 1:34:17
Mood: Ambitious and Excited to get new shoes
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go! / 99% Invisible / This American Life
On a perfect day in April, the final day of my life where I would be unaware that such a thing as Carrot Cake M&M's existed, I went for a run. (Just a tip on the Carrot Cake M&M's...don't eat them. Quite gross.) I am about to purchase a new set of running shoes, as I've put close to 700 miles on my current lovely orange and blue Brooks running shoes, and they have just about been pounded out of commission. (Plus they were the shoes that I wore to the Super Bowl, so it's probably time for a fresh start.)
I decided that I would run over to my favorite shoe store...it's called Run Colorado and combines my love of my home state with my passion of running and liberally sprinkles in the Colorado State Flag. I really love this store. I've only made two purchases there, both times nice running shoes, but every time I go in I want to buy all sorts of things that I don't need. It's a cool place with a staff that doesn't find my obsession with wanting to run 100 miles every month even a tiny bit weird. These are my people.
Here was the problem at the outset of the run. I also had a hankering for a little Fro Yo from my favorite Yogurt place, which happens to be in the complete opposite direction. Solution: Just go on a stupid long run. I went down to Yogurtland, and had a small serving of Flan frozen yogurt...delicious. Then from there, I made the trek out to Run Colorado.
Once I arrived at the shoe store, I was a weird stalker and just took photos of the outside of the building without going in. I did so for two reasons: One: I was pretty sweaty, as I had run about 6 miles at that point and Two: I wasn't sure that if I went in that I could keep myself from trying on shoes and maybe even buying a new pair. There was a strong likelihood that this would happen despite the fact that I knew in my brain that I did not want to run the four miles home holding a shoe box or be the repugnant individual that tries on new shoes with sweaty socks. So I decided to remove the temptation and just stay outside the store.
This entire trip turned out to be almost exactly 10 miles, which was longer than I was intending to go, but I felt so good that I was glad I went for so long. All that to say...seriously, don't buy Carrot Cake M&M's.
Monday, April 14, 2014
April 13, 2014
6.81 Miles in 1:03:35
Mood: Hesitant then soggy
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / Lupe Fiasco "Lasers"
The forecast was calling for a 100% chance of snow. That doesn't leave a lot of room for doubt about what is going to be happening. (Ballsy meteorologists, if you ask me.) Still, I knew conditions were going to be less than ideal. There was a slight temptation to just forego the run, but that was overpowered by an even stronger compulsion to get out there. I did hold up for an hour to watch one more episode of House of Cards, but eventually the call to get out there trumped the call to see what was happening next in the world of Frank Underhill.
I've heard it said that when you ask a 'real' runner, "What happens if it starts raining?" They respond with, "Then I'll get wet." While that anecdote seems like it would come from an extremely unpleasant person who is a little too into themselves, I kind of understand the sentiment. The weather was grey and sloppy with freezing rain occasionally interrupted by flurries. Not ideal, but not nearly enough to stop me.
The resulting run was actually wonderful. I'm so glad I decided to not avoid the weather. The coolness actually helps once your body warms up enough, my pace was quick most of the trip, and I felt glorious. The only real annoyance was the inspiration for today's photo...The precipitation was fogging and splotching up my glasses almost immediately. I must have taken them off and cleared the droplets six or seven times, but each time the drops would overtake my field of vision in less than a minute. I decided to take a picture of Orchard Road as seen through my glasses to try and give my perspective from the run. I could still see, but not terribly clearly. The world as seen through a hundred drops of moisture and occasionally fogged lenses. Irritating, but not blinding. Still, it made for an interesting picture of the day, and I still put in my miles for this Sunday and even enjoyed the trip, so all in all, not so shabby.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
April 11, 2014
7.54 Miles in 1:12:02
Mood: Hating parts of nature
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Film Vault
Spring has many virtues. These horrific purple flowers are not one of them. They seem innocent enough in picture form, but when out in nature, their true evil is betrayed quickly by their scent. A smell that is best described as what a soul being slowly and mercilessly tortured to death would smell like. A powerful and horrific scent, it is an abomination that unfortunately proliferates along many of my favorite trails around this time of year. I'd like to channel my inner Al Pacino and take a flamethrower to these awful purple harbingers of putrescence. Unfortunately, I just have to live with them as I run. We're supposed to have a big snow storm on Sunday that might keep me from getting in my usual Sunday run, I can only hope that if that indeed happens at least perhaps the late freeze will kill these demons in floral form.
Apart from having my olfactory senses oppressed, there were two other notable oddities from this run. First, I saw an SUV with a giant fuzzy pink mustache on it's front bumper. Sadly, I couldn't get a good photo. Secondly, I saw a girl around 11 years of age playing an intense and competitive game of basketball against her brother while she was wearing bunny ears. I didn't take a photo of that either in the interest of not appearing mega creepy. Still, two odd sights that amused me and almost made me forget about the damage that my nose took earlier in the run. Stupid noxious purple flowers.
Friday, April 11, 2014
April 10, 2014
8.71 Miles in 1:20:32
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show
The story of this run starts before I even started running. After getting a tiny bit overheated on Tuesday, I was slightly worried about the weather being too warm for running this afternoon. I was driving home from work, and I was really hot in my car. I looked down and saw that the A/C was on, but it was almost as if it weren't working. I was far too warm for someone driving in April with the A/C on...it was as if the air conditioning was completely worthless.
"I can't believe it's this hot!" I thought to myself.
I cranked up the air to full blast, something I never do in April, yet it just got worse. For nigh on ten minutes I sat there until I realized that while the air conditioning was in fact on, the air was still set to warm. So I was blasting out air conditioned heat, overheating myself in a self-induced puddle of sweat and stupidity. I laughed when I realized what I had done, and quickly made the one adjustment that quickly made it all okay. I realized that the weather would be just fine for a nice long run, and that I was my own worst temperature enemy. Yep, sometimes I'm an idiot.
The weather was in fact perfect. April's stock is quickly rising in my month of the year rankings. I found myself blissing out on exercise and sunny day, even as I was running through neighborhood after neighborhood with very little interesting of which to photograph. This blog has been a lot of fun, but it can make me a little neurotic as I run if I find myself more than halfway through a run without seeing anything interesting.
Then, almost fifty minutes in, I finally found what my picture would be for this post. The two crows which are proudly posted at the top of this page. Although, obtaining this photo involved much more finesse than my average picture on a run. My camera app was stalling, which meant I was standing in a stranger's driveway desperately trying to get it to work. I had been working with it for about two minutes when a car drove down the street, but instead of driving by, started turning into the very driveway in which I was standing.
"What are you doing?" asked a wary middle aged woman in not as friendly a voice as I would have hoped.
I sheepishly did my best to seem very friendly and explained to her that I meant her no harm, and just thought that her crows were very cool and I was trying to take a picture of them. After I had convinced her that I was up to nothing nefarious, she warmed up to me and we had a conversation about her assorted yard decorations...which were apparently procured in Nashville, Indiana which sounded like a fun and touristy type town in Indiana. Something I had no idea existed. She also explained to me that the reason she had been unfriendly at first (apart from the obvious thing of having a goofy guy staring at his phone in her driveway) is that her home was robbed a few weeks ago, and it has really shaken her up. I wished her a happy day, and continued down the road with my picture taken and a friendly neighborhood conversation exchanged despite it's awkward beginnings.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
April 8, 2014
7.78 Miles in 1:13:37
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go! / 99% Invisible
An open letter to Nora A Floyd:
You need to take better care of your debit card. As I was running down County Line Road today, I encountered your card just sitting on the sidewalk. I'd like to recommend that you not keep your card there, as a public sidewalk is no place for an active financial instrument.
As a concerned citizen, I picked it up. If I'm honest, I have to say that my picking up of the card was less about my citizenship and more me hoping that it'd be a large balanced nameless gift card to some store I frequent. Sadly for me, but fortunately for you, it was your debit card. I say fortunately for you, because I am not the type of person who would attempt to use someone else's debit card. I enjoy my prison free life, and would like to keep it that way...plus I couldn't in good conscious steal someone else's money in such a devious way.
So, feel free to contact me if you'd like your card back. I have left you a voice mail on your phone (as found in the white pages), but thus far, you haven't called me back. Hope you're well.
Apart from finding someone's debit card, this was the first afternoon run where being too hot has come into play in awhile. Summer is coming, and with it, the need to push my runs to nighttime, as the summer heat makes running significantly less enjoyable...I was surprised how warm it got so early in April. It definitely took a toll on me, as I was pretty tired at the end of this one.
This photo was the best of a mediocre lot. Didn't see anything really earth shaking to snap a picture of on this run, but I rather liked this swing. You so rarely see a swing attached to a tree anymore...swings seem exclusively attached to swing sets in city parks these days. It was kind of cool to see an old school swing. Although I liked the swing, I thought that the branch it was attached to looked a little flimsy. I must say that it was somewhat tempting to sit down and swing away, but I went ahead and declined my opportunity to use the swing. For one reason, the branch looked a little weak to me, but more importantly...I didn't want to be the weirdo swinging under some strangers tree in their front yard. That seems like an invasion of privacy of a pretty high order, and ultra creepy to boot.
Monday, April 7, 2014
April 6, 2014
7.71 Miles in 1:11:48
Soundtrack: The Film Vault
Spring Sunday mornings aren't really fair. How is the rest of the year supposed to measure up to them? On a morning that could only be described as perfect, I had a beautiful if somewhat labored run. Once again, I drove up to Wash Park, and this time, I decided on a plan of attack prior to the run, I was going to head to Observatory Park and back via Denver University.
Observatory Park might be the best park in Denver. It's not huge, there aren't a ton of people there, and it features a beautiful building that is just shy of being uncomfortably phallic. I wish more modern buildings were built beautifully...there are far too many buildings erected in modern times that are basically indistinguishable from a warehouse. I suppose it's to save a dime, but you lose something with an artless structure. Dimes be damned, lets spend a little more on beauty to make the world a prettier place. I hereby declare the resurrection of classic Gothic style! (Seeing as how I'm in no way an architect, I see this not really taking off.)
As I drove home from this run, I saw a car with a vanity license plate that read, "Samwise". I liked Frodo's buddy as much as the next guy, but if you're going to fully embrace your Lord of the Rings nerdery by getting a custom license plate, I see Mr. Gamgee as an odd choice. Then again, I see getting any Middle Earth character's name enshrined on the bumper of your vehicle as questionable at best, but Sam? You're really embracing your sidekickedness with that one. Also, I just invented the word "sidekickedness". I'm not sure there is anywhere but down to go from that word creation summit, so I'm going to end this post there. Happy Running!
Saturday, April 5, 2014
April 4, 2014
7.72 Miles in 1:11:51
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / 99% Invisible / The Film Vault
I saved my least imaginative run for Colorado's least imaginative place...such is my disdain for Highlands Ranch. My dislike is probably not totally fair, but I'm not a huge fan of the gigantic suburb to the south. It just feels so generic to me, plus the streets go all wonky in every direction, and 83% of all of the roads are named with some variation of "Wildcat" in the name. Plus the residents seem to have a higher degree of self-involvement than the average Denver 'burb. That may be simply my preconceived notion based on the fact that I don't like the place, but every time I go there, I feel like people are doing something thoughtless and selfish. I'm sure they aren't actually any more self-absorbed than any other place in town, but it FEELS that way to me.
My plan was to head directly south on University, and then directly North again...which is exactly what I did. I had a very good reason for such a dull itinerary to one of my least favorite places...I wanted to get THIS photo. As much as I dislike Highlands Ranch, it does have one very cool feature...it is at the top of a hill. Since it is so high, it make it possible to get some spectacular views on a clear day. Friday definitely qualified as a clear day, so my plan was to head to this exact spot and get a good mountain shot. Granted, my phone doesn't take amazing pictures, but even with it's less than amazing capacity, the Rockies shine as pretty special.
Friday, April 4, 2014
April 3, 2014
8.42 Miles in 1:19:56
Mood: Bewildered and Amused
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show
So much snow. However, it was the spring snow variety. It fell all morning in great honking heaps, and I figured that I would likely be shut out of running for the day. The thing about spring snow however is that once the sun peaks out from behind the cloud cover it is disappears as quickly as Colorado Rockies fan hopes for a good season...that is to say it vanishes exceptionally fast. By the time I arrived at home, the sun had, in fact, come out and the major streets were almost entirely dry. This is what makes spring snow much more tolerable than it's winter cousin...it goes away in time to let me run.
I left in an expectant mood. I believed that this run was meant to be and something amazing was going to happen on this run. Less than two minutes in, I share a wave with my oldest and best friend Doug, who was driving by in his minivan...and could have potentially killed me with his vehicle as I ran out into an intersection just ahead of him pulling through it. Thankfully he was paying close enough attention that I survived the opening minutes of this outing. Still alive, and believing all these good omens belied something wonderful, I was off.
Let me say, this was a pretty incredible run when it comes to discoveries. In addition to seeing my best friend, I also came across a beautiful old Chevy truck in root beer brown...it was tremendous. Then I discovered what I believe to be the home of Rocky the Mountain Lion. Rocky, for those who are unaware, is one of the greatest mascots in professional sports. He is the mascot for the Denver Nuggets, and at many times in Denver basketball history he was easily the best thing about attending a Nuggets game. My hint that it might be his house is that there was a gigantic van in the driveway which was plastered all over with Denver Nuggets and Rocky the Mountain Lion logos. Pretty much seemed like it must be Rocky's van, or else someone has an unhealthy and rather weird obsession. Although, if I'm Rocky, I don't think I take the company car home. I don't know if I want people knowing where I live. Still, there was the van, and even weirder, a slender female mannequin sitting on a bench right next to the front door.
Yep, you read that right, I believe that this creepy photo that I took yesterday is of the front door of Rocky the Mountain Lion, and I find it slightly disturbing to believe that a man who makes his living dressed in a fuzzy costume also has a mannequin on his front porch. This disturbs me, because I've generally considered myself a huge fan of Rocky over the years, although, if this is indeed his house, I'd still consider myself a fan, but my faith is slightly shaken.
As if finding a glorious truck and the likely home of Denver's most beloved mascot weren't enough, I then found a home with an enormous lighthouse in it's front yard. I can't even begin to understand what is going on there. This lighthouse must be at least eight feet tall. I love the neighborhoods I run in. They are gloriously, unashamedly and unabashedly weird. Trying to pick a photo from this run was far too difficult, there is no way to capture all the weirdness of this run in just one picture, but thems the rules. (Self imposed rules yes, but I'm sticking with them.)
Oh, and I didn't even mention the homemade mannequin with a moose head sitting in front of a house adorned with roughly twenty different birdhouses. So much weirdness, so little time to describe it all.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
April 1, 2014
8.93 Miles in 1:23:36
Mood: Hippie Lovin'
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go! / The Truth Podcast
If he wasn't a confused aging hippie who had clearly done a copious amount of drugs, he sure looked like one. He appeared to flag me down, and I could have sworn he had a question for me. I paused my podcast and my running app, stopped to a halt, and slightly annoyed, but trying to be friendly, I asked him how I could help him. He then proceeded to not ask me a question. We engaged in awkward small talk for about 45 seconds in which he found it amazing that my plan was to run between seven to nine miles on this outing and he laughed with me that he would die after a half mile. There is nothing like starting a run with a sketchy looking hippie confusing you into thinking he needs something and then acting just as confused that you stopped and the two of you just kind of trying to work your way naturally out of the weirdness wormhole in which you find yourself. Naturally, this was going to be a good run.
It was, too. I went in a totally new direction that I had never ventured and found some cool running paths and enjoyed a lovely Colorado day. As I was running on a new (well...new to me) section of the Highline Canal, I saw a backyard that had a large putting green in it. I went to the fence to check it out, and when I did, the large horse in the picture above barked at me. I assumed it was a horse by it's size. Turns out it's a dog...which makes more sense with the whole barking thing. I was very pleased that there was a secure fence standing between me and super dog, and he did not seem to pleased that I was in the area, and then seemed REALLY perturbed that I went to the fence to take his photo. Naturally, since I risked my life for this image, I decided that it would be the picture for today's post...although I'd have loved to have been able to post a picture of the weird hippie instead. But seeing as how our interaction was already weird enough, I decided not to pull out my phone and take a picture of him to really put it over the top.
One last thing...I almost bit it hard on this run. I clipped my foot on the sidewalk and through sheer force of will somehow managed to not spread myself across a sidewalk, which would have made this a much less fun run.
Here's the map...