Friday, May 30, 2014
May 29, 2014
6.81 Miles in 1:04:21
Mood: Lowly lit
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show
A combination of heat and a retirement party sent me out on my first night time run of the season. I'm sure there will be many more to come where I'm running in the darkness, but it felt pretty good and unusual to work up a sweat in the cool of the evening.
Darkness presents a new set of challenges such as making it significantly harder to find a good picture to take as well as making it more difficult not to frighten little old ladies as I pass. I was fortunate to find what appeared to be a Christmas tree in late May of which to take a photo. Honestly, who lights up a tree like this in spring? Weird, but as usual, I enjoyed the weirdness. As for frightening old ladies, I passed a woman who was taking her tiny dog on a walk at around 9:15 at night, and even though I tried not to sneak up on her, I'm pretty sure I gave her a minor heart attack when she turned to see me running alongside her in the street. I gave her a friendly "Hello!" as to hopefully lessen her fear, and it appeared to work as her face went from terrified to relieved relatively quickly, but I hate scaring old women at night. Hopefully I don't do that too often this summer as I run under the cloak of darkness.
I was really hoping I'd see a Dalmatian puppy for post 101, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
May 27, 2014
7.16 Miles in 1:07:40
Soundtrack: LCS Hockey Show / The Film Vault
It seems like post 100 should be more epic than this run. My run for post 99 would have been much more fitting. Instead, we hit triple digits with a pedestrian run around the neighborhood, down streets that I've traversed countless occasions. The most noteworthy thing about the entire trip was just how hot it was.
My brother who lives in Arizona would laugh to hear me say 83 degrees was hot, but the late spring sun beating down upon you really saps you of strength. The heat and sunlight had me dripping with sweat. Although I dislike being hot, when I'm exercising, there is something visceral that I really like about sweating excessively. I couldn't have been more wet if I had jumped into a pool. Well, that's not true, there were parts of my clothing that weren't drenched, but every part of my body was leaking fluid. (That sounded grosser than I intended.)
The heat had me realizing that it's getting to the time of the year where I'm going to have to start running during the night. I enjoy night runs, but it's going to make getting a good picture a lot harder for this blog. Without natural sunlight, it's hard to post amazing photos like this one of a recliner that appears to have been put out to pasture. This scene could have been helped tremendously with a paper taped to the chair that said simply, "Free". As it is, however, the chair looks almost a bit too nice to be assumed that it is being tossed out to the curb. Perhaps the homeowner just likes to sit in his driveway in comfort. I didn't want the chair either way, but I enjoyed the uncertainty. Plus that is one bright orange chair...something I'll always support as both a Bronco fan and a guy who's favorite color is orange. Weird to see this seat just awkwardly taking up space in the drivethrough out in the hot sun. That awkwardness was enough to win it the photo for my 100th post. In some ways, it feels rather fitting that it should come on a unremarkable running outing. Here is to 100 more runs...
Sunday, May 25, 2014
May 25, 2014
8.66 Miles in 1:18:31
Soundtrack: The Because Show / The Film Vault
Mood: Site Seeing
I needed a road trip run in the worst way, and I got a pretty nice one. Drove up to the Denver Zoo and parked in the covered parking lot. It was about 45 minutes prior to the gates opening, and it was already starting to fill up. That parking lot becomes a madhouse on nice days, but I was able to find a great spot right near the exit.
I ran straight towards downtown in the hopes of seeing some downtown energy, and also because I've not really ever run there. On my way I passed The Anchor of Hope Church, which struck me as a strange name. If someone is in the ocean looking for a lifeline throwing them an Anchor seems like an odd way to spread hope. I'm sure I'm missing something.
When I got downtown, I checked out the 16th Street Mall, the big blue bear by the Convention Center, the Colorado Capital building and Civic Center Park, the Tivoli, Larimer Square and the Pepsi Center. I could see the facade of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, but decided against running there, as it would have likely added another 2 miles or so to my run.
On the way back to the zoo, I spent a decent stretch on Colfax. Colfax is fun, as you'll see all manner of weird humanity. My favorite person on this stretch was a guy outside a 7-Eleven who was insistent that I should buy him a cup of coffee. He was oddly charismatic for a panhandler, and wasn't asking for money but rather just a cup of joe. I felt for him, but not enough to pay for some hot water that had been filtered through ground beans from South America. We did have a nice conversation about the weather, though.
I got back to the zoo, and still felt like getting a little bit more running in, so I decided to stop by my car and pull out my zoo membership and take a quick lap around the Zoo. Turns out that if you stay on the main path of the zoo, it's about a mile loop give or take. It took less than 10 minutes to make the loop, and although the zoo was relatively busy, it was much easier than I anticipated jogging through the zoo. I also received significantly far fewer strange looks than I anticipated. Apparently someone running through the zoo is so weird that people take no notice of it. I did stop to check out the Grizzly Bears (pictured) as well as the Giraffes and the Tiger, but apart from that, I didn't really stop running at any other time. My entire time at the zoo was significantly under 15 minutes...which makes me think that there is an excellent chance that I had the shortest visit to the zoo today.
Final thing about the zoo: There is a sign that mentioned that the female bear is in heat, so you may see some aggressive behavior from the male bear who is naturally interested. It also mentioned that the bears may be mating. "Come to the Zoo! You might see bear sex!" should probably be their new slogan.
May 23, 2014
7.31 Miles in 1:08:43
Mood: Nodding Greetings transitioning to Fear of Hail.
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Because Show
The weather was gorgeous, and as a result, there were a LOT of people out in their yards nodding greetings to me. I happily nodded back, although, there was one person out in their yard that truly disappointed me and he disappointed me in two different ways. I was hoping to get a picture of the knight's suit of armor that sits in front of a house on Grant street. My first disappointment was that the person who lives in the suit of armor house was hanging out in the middle of his yard. I never really take pictures of things in people's yards when they are sitting in their yards because I always feel super weird about it. My second disappointment came in the form of the fact that the suit of armor was missing it's shield. I have previously posted a picture of the armor in post thirty-nine but since then, a shield had been added. It wasn't anything super special...just a metallic silver colored piece of what appeared to be sheet metal. For whatever reason, it is no longer there. That made me sad. I wanted a photo of him with his shield.
The photo from today is just a nice little stream that I saw from the side of a relatively busy road. It always interests me that scenes like this can be found in the middle of the city so close to a big thoroughfare. If I had turned ninety degrees and taken this picture, you would have seen a traffic jam. It's a weird but nice feature of Colorado.
Finally, my running pace picked up the final mile or two of this run, because the rains and clouds started to move in, and we have been having a lot of hail in town lately. I don't mind getting rained on while running, but I was anxious to not get pelted with hail, so even though it was towards the end of my second day of back to back runs...I pushed hard to get to a place with a roof over my head. I was out of breath and relieved when I walked into my home having avoided hail. (It never actually did hail, but I was certain it was coming.)
Thursday, May 22, 2014
May 22, 2014
9.42 Miles in 1:29:31
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show
The weather in Denver has been rather thundery and hail filled the past several days. It was with slight trepidation that I took off on my Westward trek this afternoon. I didn't want to miss out on a run, and that desire to go overpowered my desire to avoid getting stuck in a hail storm or being struck by lightning. There was a single bolt of lightning that flashed frighteningly close to me about halfway through my run. The sound of the thunder that followed was deafeningly loud, and I rethought the soundness of my decision at that point, but it was the only lightning I saw the entire run, and thankfully I lived to tell the tale.
Part of why I was so intrigued to go out this afternoon is because I had heard tale of this dolphin statue. My buddy Doug told me that I needed to run to the home of a mutual friend, as this water feature would change my life. It may have been slightly oversold, but then again...it's a huge dolphin statue in the front yard of someone's house. Of course I approve. As I was admiring this front yard monstrosity, a woman came out from inside the house with a look of concern...something I am getting more and more familiar with as I take pictures of things in front of people's houses. I asked for permission to stand on the lawn and take a picture, and permission was granted, so for once, I wasn't sneaking a pic. The woman informed me that her son creates and sells these things and that this one is almost fully operational with water spouting from the dolphins' blow holes. Naturally, I really want to see these in action once they are completed.
I'm glad I went, as in addition to getting this homeowner approved picture, I was able to see my friend Justin and his wife Amanda. In addition, after running a bit over seven miles, I took a short walking break because I was a bit tired, and immediately I was sent a text from another friend of mine named Chip who asked me if I was catching my breath. That was a little odd, but it amused me that the first time I really stopped, immediately someone I know sees me on the side of the road and calls me on it.
The final note from this run that has to be mentioned is that shortly after leaving Justin's house, I crossed paths with a kid who was probably 14 or 15 years old, and dressed like the Artful Dodger. He had the top hat and old timey tie and jacket. He was either an extremely peculiar lad or he was on his way to a dress rehearsal for a community theater production of Oliver Twist. Maybe both.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
May 20, 2014
8.32 Miles in 1:19:11
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go!
This run was almost scrapped due to inclement weather. Right as I was about to head out, I heard thunder outside. However, when I went outside, I noticed that all the dark clouds were to the North, so I figured if I ran south, I'd be fine. The dark clouds dissipated within 10 minutes of me heading out, so it didn't turn out to be so bad.
I wandered into a subdivision that I had never before visited, and it turned out to be a golf course community that ran into a large wall of a dead end. I had two choices: Either back out the way I came in and back track significantly, or leap the fence you see pictured above and jog through the South Suburban Golf Course.
I know Golf Courses are not renowned for being friendly places for non-golfers to hang out, but I really didn't feel like retracing my steps out of the development, so I did the slightly nonsensical thing and hopped over the fence and began my trek through the golf course. A strange thing happened the moment I stepped foot onto the maniacally manicured lawns of the golf course...I felt a horrible sense of non-belonging. It bordered on fear, really. I knew I should be where I was, and I was afraid some overly ambitious golf course patrol was going to track me down with an aggressively driven golf cart and literally throw me off the links like I was a 1990's sitcom hooligan getting tossed out of a bar.
No one was overtly mean to me, but I received look after dirty look from several snazzily dressed white people in golf carts. It was as if I were a wholy unrecognizable creature in their world. A runner might has well have been a gorilla to them. The looks on their faces were confusion as to why I was there in the first place mixed with annoyance that I was there at all. Turns out that the golf course was way longer than I expected it to be, too. So I just kept moving as quickly as possible until I was finally free of fairways and roughs. I felt a vivid sense of relief cross my body when I was able to finally escape the course. Lesson learned: Never run across a golf course as a short cut.
Monday, May 19, 2014
March 18, 2014
7.54 Miles in 1:11:08
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / The Because Show
Mood: Doughnut Driven
This was a bit of an away game, as I drove up to one of my favorite spots to start a run...Wash Park. I had intended to go to Cheesman Park and end my run with a doughnut from VooDoo Doughnuts, but when Jen mentioned to me that it was the day of the Colfax Marathon, I thought that it might be too nuts that close to Colfax.
The pull of a bacon maple bar was too strong, however. I could not resist, so I headed directly North. Nearly four miles later, I walked in to VooDoo and procured my pastry. Thankfully the fervor seems to have died down a bit, so rather than having to wait for an hour, as I did the first time I went there, I only had to wait about five minutes. Rather than run with my single doughnut in a bag, I decided to eat it immediately and then finish up my run. Turns out that running right after eating a large doughnut with bacon on it isn't the greatest idea. I powered through, and even felt decent for the final two or so miles of the return trip, but that first couple of miles post doughnut were brutal.
Finally, we arrive at today's photo. I ask a single question about this sign: Is it worse to have a dog poop in your front yard, or have a permanent representation of a dog pooping in your yard in an attempt to make sure dogs don't poop in your yard?
May 16, 2014
7.07 Miles in 1:08:43
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Film Vault
Mood: Tired but performing
Didn't have much in the tank for this one. I was dragging by the end, as the afternoon heat is starting to get to levels that force me to run at night. Not that it was unbearably hot, but I can be a wuss. Especially on the second day of back to back runs.
This "artwork" is found about a mile and a half north of my house. It's probably the most disturbing thing I have seen on any of my runs, with the possible exception of the creepy zombie baby from around Halloween time that I posted early on in the run of Run and Shoot. This particular sculpture seems both sexual and violent...just a terrible combination. Still, it was so weird, I had to post it.
Friday, May 16, 2014
May 15, 2014
8.94 Miles in 1:23:31
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show
Mood: Relieved and Happy changing to Sheepish and Apologetic
The dentist gives and the dentist takes away. Immediately before this run, I saw a brand new dentist. She complimented me on my oral hygiene and gave me a clean bill of health which meant no cavities. This thankfully meant no pain and extra expenses to get them drilled and filled. That was the dentist giving. So I was ecstatic at this news...so ecstatic that I forgot that because I had spent an hour at the dentist, I started this run much later than normal, and if I went on a long run, I would be pushing dinner back for my whole family.
Turns out, I felt super strong and happy, and my glee at feeling so good had me running exceptionally far from home, at which point I got a phone call from my wife asking when I'd be home as dinner was almost ready. The problem was, I was about 4 miles from home, and wasn't going to be home for at least 35 or 40 minutes. This was the dentist taking away. Suddenly, I felt incredibly dumb and selfish for causing this problem to exist which shouldn't have had to exist. I booked it back home, but we had dinner about an hour later than normal, as I also needed to shower because after a nine mile run, no one wants to eat dinner next to you if you don't clean up first. So yeah, I screwed up, and it was totally my fault.
As for today's picture...it's a coyote screen door. I mean, what else is there to say???
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
May 13, 2014
6.57 Miles in 1:02:51
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go!
I'm sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this big silver thing in front of this apartment complex. I'm not interested in the perfectly reasonable explanation. This is a space ship. I will hear no other arguments. Aliens either live here or conduct experiments upon those who live here. Naturally they park on the lawn because extra terrestrials are notoriously inconsiderate, and it's hard to find street parking for a flying saucer.
My eyes were dilated when I went on this run. Also, it was the first sunny day in a handful of days, which seemed an annoying coincidence. I can tell that I have a running problem when despite the fact that it's bright and sunny and my eyes are unable to adjust themselves to keep out the blasts of sunshine, I still have to get my miles in. I will say that as spectacular as this space vessel looks in the picture, it's even more amazing when your eyes are dilated and the incredible shine is magnified by varials of light gleaming off of it. Aliens are cool.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
May 11, 2014
7.55 Miles in 1:09:05
Mood: Snowy and Shop inducing
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / The Because Show
The snow intermittently flittered and dumped on Sunday. Also, it is May...so this is unacceptable behavior for snow. What I want from snow in May is to completely not exist, and yet there it was...existing like mad all over everything...making it cold and wet outside. I passed a mother and daughter making a snowman on this run. And it wasn't even an anemic snowman, it was moderately impressive. I was so distraught. It was wet enough that I gave serious consideration to just bagging the morning run, but I didn't want to miss two straight Sunday runs, so I forced myself out into the elements.
If this snow did ANYTHING for me, it allowed this picture to exist in all it's otherworldly glory. Yes, this is the same backyard that has the leopard on the roof of a shed from my previous post. I ran past that home again, and somehow on my last visit, I missed that in addition to a leopard, there is also a dragon hanging out back there. (There is yet another goofy thing residing in that yard that will likely find it's way to the pages of Run and Shoot shortly.)
So, what we have in this picture is a standard suburban spring backyard with strong green spring notes in the process of being buried in frosty snow...but also a dragon. Surreal and also kinda magical. I was very pleased with how this photo came out...especially considering my glasses were a soggy spotty mess when I took it, so I wasn't sure that it would turn out as well as it did.
The snow splattered me the entire duration of the run, and actually got even worse after I finished, so by the time I was almost finished, I was very wet and running through the shopping center across the street from my home. Something about those conditions made me want to stop in to an Old Navy and buy some clothes...which of course, I did. Two shirts and a hoodie later, I was running the final quarter mile home with a plastic shopping bag. Such a weird run.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
May 9, 2014
6.89 Miles in 1:05:44
Mood: Baffled by my Neighbors
Soundtrack: Welcome to That Whole Thing / The Film Vault
Huffing and puffing along, when suddenly my heart stopped. The predator was upon me, and it had me dead to rights. My only hope was that the big cat had recently made a kill, and lack of hunger would prevent it from pouncing from it's strategically advantaged height. My lesser hope if this first hope failed was that death would be swift. Then I remembered that I was running through a suburban Denver neighborhood, and that very few leopard deaths are attributed to such an activity. The annual leopard deaths in Littleton are statistically negligible at worst.
Egads! Every time I think I've unearthed all the oddness of my neighborhood, I turn down a new street and a leopard is preparing to pounce on me from a shed in a backyard. Set aside the fact that it's a pretty cool statue...what exactly compels one to put up a rather large leopard on the roof of your backyard shed? While I never understand this sort of thing, I always approve of it...so long as it's not MY house. Thank goodness so few of the houses in the places in which I run are bogged down by pesky things like neighborhood covenants. I enjoy when people let their freak flags fly.
Friday, May 9, 2014
May 8, 2014
7.38 Miles in 1:07:54
Mood: Damp and Intruding
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / Florence + The Machine "Ceremonials"
I enjoyed the humor of a wooden bear holding up a sign on a front porch that says, "Go Away." It felt much more realistic about the general attitude most folks have towards people making advances on their front doors. I enjoyed it so much that I ignored the suggestion and I walked right on up to the home's entry and started taking pictures...I suck at timing. Just after I shot this picture...I'm talking less than 2 seconds...out walks a rather gruff looking, grizzled, bearded man.
Combine the rather dour look of this gentleman with the fact that his door expressly asked people to do the opposite of what I had done in boldly approaching the front, and add in a little bit of the fact that he doesn't know me from Adam with a pinch of him certainly noticing I was taking photos of his home, and I was very quickly panic stricken.
Although I had the fear of God in me, I didn't betray it in my friendly and confident hello. I quickly praised him for his sense of humor with his hilarious bear sign. Although I may have been a tiny bit over-loquacious in my praise, it worked. Turns out, despite his haggard appearance, dude was actually quite friendly. We chatted for a bit about his sense of humor and his appreciation for chain-saw rendered art, and he mentioned that he had several more pieces in his backyard. He didn't invite me back to see them (an invitation that I would have politely deferred out of a little thing called terror). However, I was left with the impression that had I asked to see them, he'd have been super willing. We left by exchanging a pleasant, "Have a good day" with each other, and that was that.
My fearless habit of photographing things may one day get me into hot water, but thankfully, this was not the day. I spent the rest of this somewhat chilly and drizzly run feeling a bit relieved, but also thinking that my conversation with this guy was really pleasant and the world would probably be a better place if more people photographed each other's houses leading to awkward conversations. I may be biased towards the practice, though.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
May 6, 2014
8.49 Miles in 1:18:28
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go!
Yep. This is a wooden cutout of a girl in a blue bonnet hanging from a 2D swing in someone's front yard. No, you're not alone. I have no idea what is going on, either. It looks super-imposed. I love people and their exceptionally bizarre decorating styles.
Good news: The achilles seems to be just fine. My leg muscles were sore at the end of this run, but thankfully, it doesn't appear that I'm in jeopardy of being on extended leave of absence from running. After missing most of December with a hamstring issue, this made me feel exceptionally good.
I left on this run wearing a pair of Iron-Man earbuds and came back wearing a pair of Skullcandy earbuds plus a gift card to Best Buy for $10.67 in my pocket.. About a month and a half ago, I was out running, and my previous pair of Iron-Man buds just died on me mid-run, and I went back to Best Buy and exchanged them for a new pair of the same thing. Turns out, these ear buds are just crap...it wasn't an isolated incident. Thankfully, Best Buy was very good about replacing them, and in addition to getting a new model from a new company, I was able to cash in with a little extra, as the previous pair cost more than then pair. So...big props to Best Buy customer service, but beware Iron-Man brand ear buds...which one would think would be made for runners, but which, in reality, fall apart in fewer than 60 days.
Finally, the Endomondo app did that weird thing were I can't pull up my normal map, again. So here it is from the Endomono website instead...
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
May 2, 2014
6.07 Miles in 57:19
Mood: Forgetful, Annoyed at being Forgetful, and Limpy
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / The Because Show
"Warning: A four year old boy has left his toy firetruck in the road. Proceed with caution."
This is the thought that crossed my mind as I ran past this sign. It amused me. Add to that the cool contrast of the blue sky with the yellow sign, and the fact that for some unknown reason it appears that someone did a bad touchup of the paint on the firetruck...and I had to use this picture for this run. (Full disclosure: I also didn't take many pictures on this run, and the pickings were slim. Still, I like this picture.)
Although in most ways, it was a solid and productive run, towards the end this run annoyed and injured me. It annoyed me, because for maybe a five to ten minute stretch I forgot to restart my running app (you can see this stretch on the map below between miles 4 and 5...that 5th mile is much too long.), so I actually was probably closer to seven miles than six on this trip, but I only report on the verifiable and tracked mileage...so 6.07 miles it is. It's dumb, because I recieved all of the actual physical benefit of the exercise, but because it isn't logged...I am annoyed.
Another irritation on this otherwise fine run is that my achilles was bothering me towards the end. I suppose the fact that this was my second run in my new shoes might have something to do with it, but hopefully it's nothing more than a slight irritation. This pain made me decide to forego my Sunday morning run for the first time in months. And as I write this on a Tuesday afternoon, I am very much looking forward to run number eighty-eight. Four days is far too long between runs.
Friday, May 2, 2014
May 1, 2014
8.00 Miles in 1:14:10
Mood: Exploratory and tired
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / The After Disaster
This is the weirdest weathervane I have ever seen. It's like Dr. Suess had an undersea fixation. What is hard to fully comprehend via this photo is just how ridiculously tall is the pole upon which this weather indicating instrument is affixed, and just how completely in the middle of these people's yard it is. This is quite the aberation to stumble across as you tour this neighborhood. I'm not going to try and misdirect you, though. I absolutely loved it. Here in the middle of a totally normal suburban string of homes is a very large pole with seafaring Timothy Leary's weathervane.
After a late night watching the Avalanche fall apart at the tail end of a Game 7 and get bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs the night before, I was working with less than six hours of sleep, and my body let me know about it. I had to take several long walking breaks during this run because I was just too tired to keep running. It's remarkable how much difference a good night's sleep makes, and how run down you can feel so quickly when you don't get one. I still managed to get in 8 miles, but it was a slog.