Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Two Hundred Seventy-Two

April 29, 2015
7.48 Miles in 1:13:24
Mood: Really creeped out
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / Ben Folds Five "Naked Baby Photos" / Courtney Barnett "Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit"

Sometimes I encounter brashly odd decor which impresses upon me an appreciation of people who are not afraid to boldly put a homemade dolphin fountain or an angel that closely resembles a giant smurf in their front yard. Today though, I encountered a much more subtle and frankly disturbing form of weird...the family that has twin cars.

I am not disparaging Honda vehicles. I drive one myself, and have found it to be a lovely and reliable form of transportation. However, to have two Honda Civics in the exact same color is slightly weird. To then go the next step and to place identical bumper stickers in identical places has now crossed over into a screwball category somewhere between kooky and insane. I literally did a double take as I passed by this home. This is the vehicular equivalent of those two creepy twin girls from The Shining. I half expected them to command me to, "Come play with us!"

I'm not a huge bumper sticker fan. I don't have any on my own vehicle, as they seem to be a way for people to advertise the things in their lives which would make it harder to be their friend. This twin car bumper situation is so nutty that it clearly calls for a full bumper sticker breakdown. First of all, The "Coexist" bumper sticker is pretentious and annoying. I'm all for a peaceful world, but this bumper sticker says that the person who has placed it on his car feels he is morally superior to others, and the world would be a better place if we were all a little more like him. That guy is obnoxious. Secondly, there is the Dachshund bumper sticker...which I don't hate. Wiener dogs are okay...they tend to get overexcited and pee on the floor when you pet them, but overall, you could do worse. This is easily the most likable thing on these twin cars. Thirdly, it is important to note that these are fraternal twins, not identical. The one on the left is a DX and on the right it's an LX. This just means that the one on the right has a superior options package. Despite the fact that it looks a bit older, it's probably a slightly cushier ride.

The final thing worth noting is that the car on the left has one additional bumper sticker that the car on the right does not. It is too difficult to make out from the photo, but I can confirm that the bumper sticker in question says, "Play Uke". That's right...this person is an amateur ukulele player. How do I know he is an amateur? No one outside the state of Hawaii would ever pay anyone else to play a ukulele. Run away from this house. Run away as fast as you can.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Two Hundred Seventy-One

April 26, 2015
8.49 Miles in 1:16:45
Mood: Wet. So very very wet.
Soundtrack: The Wilderness of Manitoba "The Leslieville Sessions" / Lupe Fiasco "Food and Liquor II"

I woke up to gray skies and checked the weather app immediately. Temps in the low 40's and a 100% chance of rain for the next two hours. A sane person looks at that and decides, "Perhaps another day." I look at that and think, "I should probably run at least eight miles today." To the uninitiated, a cold rainy day might seem a better opportunity to sleep in or drink coffee from the comfy confines of the great indoors. However, if you just fully commit and accept emotionally that you're going to get very wet, running in the rain can be the best.

I did in fact get very wet, as they weren't joking about that 100% chance of rain. It was a very rare situation in Denver, a day where it rains and never stops raining. We usually get our rain in short violent bursts followed by the sun peaking out, but on this day in late April, Colorado was doing it's best imitation of the Pacific Northwest.

I decided to run in Wash Park, because...Wash Park. Although there were fewer runners than normal for a Sunday morning, we're talking about a place where three feet of snow can't fully curtail the running contingent. So we the few, the proud, the soaking wet were out in force circling the park in the springy gloom, but I refused to feel gloomy. It was a lovely horrible day, and I was making the most of it.

I took a few diversions from the park trail. On the first, I found a cool gate that is covered in engraved lions that I had previously seen on another run. I thought there was a good chance I'd use the photos I took of it, but I ended up going in another direction...some day perhaps. On my second deviation from the beaten path, I did a loop of the neighborhood on the west side of the park. I found another one of those local book box libraries like I found on run 269. The first book I saw (every time I see one these boxes from now on, I will immediately see which book is the first I encounter) was "Beaches" which I assumed is the book that the Bette Midler movie from the 80's is based on.

Which brings us to today's photo: I found it a bit odd that a laundromat was advertising itself as a place to come watch baseball games, but as I thought about the sign in the photo a bit's not a suggestion or an invitation...This sign is commanding me to watch all baseball games. It doesn't tell me where to do so...maybe this place doesn't even show baseball. It is just demanding that I watch all Major League games by whatever means necessary. I like baseball, but there is no need to get so pushy about it. Besides, I watch most of my baseball games at the grocery store, not at the laundry.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Two Hundred Seventy

April 24, 2015
8.21 Miles in 1:17:59
Mood: Retracing recent steps
Soundtrack: Carbon Leaf "Indian Summer" and "Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle"

After running all the way to scout out the home that my buddy Chip sent me on Tuesday, I was thinking I wouldn't run that far in that direction for quite awhile...and then on Friday, I did it again. I even ran past that same home again, although I arrived at that destination via a slightly different route. I'm not even sure what drove me that far Northwest again, but before I even fully realized where I was headed, I was in that neighborhood again.

The funny thing is that I'll probably head up there again soon, as there is a statue in a yard that I like, and that would make a good subject for a Run and Shoot post. I took a picture of that statue on this run, but I loved this photo so much, that I figured the statue will be there on another day. Eventually I'll get to the statue, but I won't get this horse posing like this ever again.

I don't know why I like this picture so much, but I can't stop looking at it. Something about the standoffish way the horse is standing, but also realizing that although he was at an odd angle, he was watching me the whole time. (I was there, trust me, this horse was keenly aware of my activity.) I love the light of the early morning...the way the grass almost looks frosty, the early morning light hitting the trees in the background, the white horses in the distance. I just really liked how this picture came's almost dreamlike.

A dreamlike picture is appropriate for this run, because a large portion of this outing felt hazy and dreamlike to me. I say that as a good thing. I felt a little outside myself. My mind was present, but not super active, I was just listening to music and feeling the morning. It was an awesome run. Even though it was the second day in a row of running, my legs weren't rubbery, and my mindset was happy and contented. I wish more runs felt like this.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-Nine

April 23, 2015
7.32 Miles in 1:09:30
Mood: Peering into people's early morning souls and avoiding portals to the know, typical Thursday stuff.
Soundtrack: Deadcast / Avett Brothers "The Second Gleam" and "Live, Volume 3"

I approached this Take a book/Leave a book box curiously. What sort of books do people leave out for community consumption? The first book I noticed was titled (and I'm not kidding) "The Book of The Dead". That made me nervous, but then I saw a John Grisham novel and I was terrified. Clearly this community library is a portal to hell. I ran away.

It was a lovely sunny morning, and at one stretch on this run I was running on the sidewalk of a busy street as the sun shone into people's windows as they sleepily drove on their morning commute. It was about 7AM at this point, and the bright sun made it very easy to see what people were doing. I'm not sure if anything will shake your faith in the driving public like watching them drive early in the morning. One in every three drivers had a coffee mug in hand, sipping that blessed nectar in the faint hopes that it would make up for them only getting four and a half hours of sleep. Far more folks than I am comfortable with were on their smartphones as they drove. As in moving rapidly in a several thousand pound vehicle while looking down. Smartphones may be the cause of human extinction, and I'm only half kidding. A lot of people just looked miserable. People don't look their best while commuting in the morning. It's an interesting place to people watch...if you have your act together on the morning commute, I can think of no more compelling qualification for President of the United States...enough with primaries, caucuses and voting, let's just pick people who look ready attack life while in their vehicles on the way to work at 7 in the morning.

Not much else to report from today, other than the fact that I saw two wishing wells in people's front yards in a one block stretch this morning.  Perhaps that is interesting only to me, but I found it weird.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-Eight

April 21, 2015
8.65 Miles in 1:21:50
Mood: A man on a mission. A mission sent from a text message.
Soundtrack: Coldplay "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends" and "X & Y"

I received today's post as a recon mission in the form of a text message from my friend Chip. He sent me the address of this home Monday afternoon and said I should check it out for the blog. I absolutely love when my friends do my work for me. And by "my work" I mean find weird things for me to go run and see. It had been less than 24 hours since my mission was texted to me, and I was already following up on the reconnaissance. I live for this stuff. This house is a bit further out from the territory I usually roam on my runs, but the notion of finding something new always gets me excited, so I left a few minutes early this morning with a goal in mind and a hope that I wouldn't end up being TOO late for work.

Turns out that I may need to visit this neighborhood a bit more often. I found a glut of interesting things beyond the glory you see above. This neighborhood loves its garish white marble statues. This is the same general territory that brought us THIS. I saw my old Native American friend this morning along with a few other choice marble statues today, but clearly the star of today's show was my original mission as seen in the photo above.

As I approached the home address that Chip had texted me I found that there was a man smoking a cigarette on the front porch. If this house were closer to my home, I might have just passed by this man and taken a photo of something different for today's run. However, I had run nearly five miles to that point, I still had a good jaunt ahead of me, and I didn't want to have to trek out this far again for awhile, so I decided to engage. I suppose I could have just starting snapping pictures with him standing there, but that would have been really weird and socially awkward, so I decided to ask the smoking man if he was the artist. He informed me that he was not the creative one in the house, but his roommate had created all of the art in the yard from "leftover stuff he just had lying around."

There was a lot of art in front of the home, too. The pièce de résistance clearly is this spiky headed aluminum cowboy. (I assume he's a cowboy because of the boots.) However, there was also a giant spider, a dragonfly (which you can partially see in the photo), and numerous collages made from odd things like tin can lids and old rusty gears. There is a lot of range, here. I also learned from my brief conversation with the friendly and chatty smoking man that the artist is currently on welfare, and he just likes to make stuff..."But he's going through a hard time right now."

This seemed like significantly more information than I needed about the random stranger who in all likelihood was still sleeping inside this home and to whom my only connection was my appreciation for his passion of creating art pieces and planting them in front of his home. Still, I had created a rapport with the smoking man who liked to provide me with too much information, so I asked if it would be okay for me to photograph the unemployed man's art. The smoker told me it'd be fine. I really liked this smoking guy, and appreciated his gracious approval, so I snapped several shots of the art, told him how much I appreciate creative people, and wished him a good day and began the journey home.

I discovered on this run that Coldplay is surprisingly decent running music, and it was reinforced to me how much I appreciate a lack of a strict homeowners association. My running outings would be so much less interesting if there were more draconian HOAs enforcing rigid building codes in the areas I run. God bless the freedom loving people of the south suburbs and their flair for ostentatious art in their yards. I love you all.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-Seven

April 19, 2015
8.45 Miles in 1:17:17
Mood: Unwelcomed and unfazed.
Soundtrack: Modest Mouse "Strangers to Ourselves" / Parquet Courts "Sunbathing Animal" / Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros "Here"

This photo had to make the blog, as it has not only a very prominent lawn lion, but if you look in the background...PINK TREE! Lawn Lions and Pink Trees...two of my favorite things in a single photo. Needless to say, this was a slam dunk.

The road to this photo was paved with unwelcoming streets of gold. Or rather, streets with gigantic houses where really rich people build gigantic homes with large unfriendly gates. "We have money, and we'd like to keep the rabble out." Fortunately, my style of rabble is not easily turned away. I won't climb a fence or cram myself under a gate to get by...but if you happen to leave your gate slightly ajar...well, I see that as a welcome sign. (I'm totally going to get shot some day.)

Actually, I didn't even slip through slightly ajar doors on this run. I only ran on roads with zero encumbrances, but I was tempted to slip through several slightly ajar gates just because I theoretically could have. I avoided doing so, as I'm keen on avoiding getting shot. The unwelcoming neighborhoods I did find myself in, though, were quite beautiful. I decided to venture a bit East of Wash Park, through some places I had never been before. These are homes with a decidedly large amount of largess...Let's just say I saw a lot of Lawn Lions that looked totally appropriate. I also discovered that when a housing development uses the word "Polo" in their name, they really don't want visitors. I ran through places with names like "Polo Club North" and on a few occasions, I had to double back because one entryway was open to the neighborhood, but the other end of the street confronted me with a locked gate. I found myself annoyed with rich people and their huge houses. Then I went slightly south of the Polo neighborhoods, and found some much more welcoming rich people neighborhoods that didn't lock me out with huge cast iron gates. I like that much better.

In these more welcoming rich hoods, I found this circular driveway with the Lawn Lions protecting both sides of the carport and the pink tree in the background. If you think that I didn't totally walk up the circular drive in order to get a close up photo of the Lawn Lion, well, you don't know me very well. I had to get a good picture, it was for'm not just some yahoo jogger. Well...technically, I AM some yahoo jogger, but a yahoo jogger with a minuscule web presence, so that justified it.

It was a beautiful Sunday for running, and I hadn't been out since the previous Wednesday, so I decided to take an extra spin around Wash Park after I was finished with my tour of the neighborhood, because I felt amazing after three days of rest, and I wanted to keep going. I contemplated taking another lap after that, even...but I decided too much of a good thing might be a bad idea.

Still, it was an awesome run, and I just realized that I've now posted photos of lions in back to back posts. This lion is much more imposing and lion looking, though. (Although, I remain a fan of the weird tree stump lion from Post 266.) I realize I'm living on borrowed time when it comes to pink trees, as many of them are already starting to shed their flowers, but there are still many around, so I'll enjoy them while I can. Until next time...long live pink trees and Lawn Lions.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-Six

April 15, 2015
7.47 Miles in 1:12:00
Mood: Fast talkin' Lion tree viewing
Soundtrack: Deadcast / 99% Invisible / Young the Giant "Young the Giant"

As promised in post 262, Here is the odd lion carving that exists in Littleton. I have been wanting to get back over to this house ever since I discovered it last week. I slightly misjudged where I remembered it to stand and had to double back on its street, but eventually and without too much difficulty, I stood in awe before it's awkward presence.

Yes, It used to be a tree. Any doubts as to that fact (which does seem rather obvious) were put to rest when the home's resident and his Middle School aged son walked out the front door as I was standing on their lawn snapping photos. The man looked to be in his mid-50's and very docile. His son looked confused as to why I was standing on their lawn. I mostly felt sheepish about standing smack dab in a strangers lawn completely uninvited.

These situations always get me over complimentary, and despite the fact that I find this particular piece of art to be somewhere in the general vicinity of terrifying atrocity, I immediately started gushing praise to the homeowner. My general thought process on this is that people are less likely to shoot you if you speak in glowing praise of the artwork in their yard.

I told him that I really liked it. (Not a lie, as I'm a giant fan of yard atrocities.) Then I went on to tell him I found it very interesting. (Again, true.) Then I asked him if it used to be a tree. (Seemed obvious, but he told me that yes, indeed, it used to be a tree.) Then in a final act of self-preservation style flattery I asked him if he had done it himself. He let me know that he isn't that talented, so he didn't do it himself. I then told him and his son to have a great morning before they could fully wake up, come to their senses, and figure out what they might want to do to a weirdo was snapping pictures on their front lawn, and skedaddled. Thankfully, neither of them followed me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-Five

April 14, 2015
6.14 Miles in 59:34
Mood: Making the most of an ugly statue.
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go!

I've seen this statue a lot. I've always considered stopping to get a photo of it for a run. It's located just in front of the home you see in the background on a very busy section of University Boulevard, and I've driven past it thousands of times. Yet, despite it presence in my head as an entity of sorts, today is the first day I've ever taken a picture of it.

Partially that may be due to the fact that when you get right down to it...this fountain is kind of ugly. I think I've captured it in the best possible way in that I did not photograph the entire thing. The little boy leaping over a fire hydrant is quaint and pleasing, but the bottom portion of the fountain features three bowls on top of each other, the largest at it's base and each one slightly smaller as you move up the feature. I think it's meant to be a cascading fountain, although I've never seen water in it. Honestly, it's a bit of an eyesore. It doesn't really fit in it's spot so close to a busy street, and it does little to enhance the modest and somewhat dull home before which it sits. It might look nice in a setting that suits it a little better, but it mostly looks out of place here.

That said, I decided to make this today's picture because I did get it from it's best side, eliminating a lot of the less desirable context which makes it look a little wacky. And most importantly...I was able to include a little pink tree background. Honestly, I don't know that you could make it look any better than I did today. It looks way better on the blog than it does in person.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-Four

April 12, 2015
7.55 Miles in 1:11:33
Mood: Pushing further West than normal.
Soundtrack: Stelth Ulvang "And, As Always; The Infinite Cosmos" / The Wooden Birds "Two Matchsticks" / U2 "Songs of Innocence"

I had plans with the family, so I wanted to take less time than I normally do on a Sunday run. So rather than driving 20 to 25 minutes north to Wash Park, I decided to drive 5 or so minutes (give or take) to Ketring Park. I figured that cut out a half hour of drive time, and I could explore areas that I don't usually get to see.

Ketring Park is a mainstay of my runs. It's around three miles west of my home, therefore it represents pretty close to the western edge of my range for a run that I begin from home. I may occasionally go slightly further west on a long run, but by the time I get to Ketring, I'm committed to at least a six and a half to seven mile run. The point being...I rarely go any further west. I figured if I started from Ketring, I could push further west into parts of Littleton that I rarely ever see, and still get back at a reasonable hour in the morning. Exploring AND saving time...a great combination.

After about a mile of running west, I started noticing a bunch of people getting ready for a race. People were attaching race bibs, stretching, jumping up and down, and doing all the stuff one does before running in an organized race. It's weird for me to see a bunch of people dressed to run while out on a Sunday morning run, but especially when I'm running on city streets. I had no idea where the race was taking place, but my original plan was to run through downtown Littleton, so I kept moving in that direction. Naturally, that was where this race was beginning, so my intended route was now littered with hundreds of pre-race runners, most of whom were probably wondering why I was already running before the race started.

I diverged from the racers as soon as I could, but not before I got a few strange looks. I looked up the race on my phone, and found that it was the Platt River Half-Marathon and Relay. As I understood it, you could either run the entire race yourself, or get a team of three and run it in three shifts of 5 miles, 5 miles, and 3.1 miles. I've never heard of a relay half-marathon, but it's an interesting idea. Seeing people prepping for a race got me thinking about past races I've run, and the fun of the pre-race enthusiasm. It's a very communal event for a sport that tends to be very individual and isolated. I enjoyed feeling their excitement, but I was glad to be back by myself again.

I found myself running towards Belmar, which is an exclusive and highbrow subdivision. They have several lakes in their community, so I thought I might run through and see if I could get any lakefront views. The gates to the gated community were open, so I ran on streets that held beautiful million dollar plus homes. I saw where I could access the lakes on my map, and ran through. There were several signs which read, "Residents Only". I chose to ignore said signs, because I'm a rebel and a willing trespasser when I am annoyed by elitists. Plus no one was around, so I didn't figure I'd get arrested.

The lakes were beautiful, but I started getting a "you're not wanted here" feeling just being in the area. Even though there was no one around to give me a dirty look, it felt like the subdivision itself was giving me a dirty look. I felt unwelcome in much the same way I did when I ran through a golf course back on post 96. I was a bit relieved when I slipped away from the lakefront area and began running back to my car through public streets.

The photo for this run came just before I entered Belmar. There is a small and lovely rustic area complete with running trails and ponds, and these old buildings. I found it quite beautiful on an early morning Sunday, and quite peaceful. It was quite a spiritual contrast from the lakes I was about to experience. This little pond felt welcoming and serene. It was definitely my favorite place I encountered on my route.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-Three

April 10, 2015
7.05 Miles in 1:09:09
Mood: Sour and tired
Soundtrack: Dear and the Headlights "Drunk Like Bible Times" and "Small Steps, Heavy Hooves"

Running today was difficult. I was tired, my legs were dead, and it was hard to find the will to push. Even when you love something, sometimes you hate it. I kind of hated running today. I found myself stopping to walk way more than usual, and even though I decided to try and seek out unexplored areas to run in, I wasn't seeing anything much cool. In fact, I kept ending up on roads that I traverse all the time, even when trying to branch out. Annoying. So I didn't really get any awesome photos today, the best I had when I got back was this one, which I like because of the involvement of a pink tree as well as a pretty nice looking backyard playground and a waning moon. (I think the moon is waning, but I'm not a moon expert.)

I have a feeling Sunday will be much better, because Friday was pretty lame. If nothing else, at least today's map looks cooler than usual. And although it was far from my best run ever...I did get in 7 more miles, which gets me closer to my monthly goal and keeps me healthier than NOT running. Hooray for the bright side!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-Two

April 9, 2015
7.77 Miles in 1:12:19
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / Judge John Hodgman / Robert DeLong "Just Movement"

I will seemingly never exhaust the South Denver suburbs' supply of weird. For this fact, I am endlessly thankful. Today I ran as straight west as possible for a longer time than I usually run as straight west as possible, and I ended up on a street that I had never before traversed. On this unexplored road, I found a thing. It appears to be a sculpture made from a tree that has died in the yard. I have seen these before on past runs, so while the fact that this thing existed wasn't weird to me...the form in which it existed was remarkably weird. It's a lion, I think.

It looks mostly like a lion, carved by someone who clearly has a tiny modicum of carving talent, but falls well short of Michelangelo. (And by that, I mean the Ninja Turtle could probably out sculpt him.) This odd lion has two protuberances on the front part of it's head. I think they are meant to be ears, but they look very much like horns. The emotional expression on his poor face expresses the sadness of an alcoholic lion who really wants to quit drinking, but doesn't know where to begin. I doubt that a lion in dire need of AA is what the artist was going for, but it's how the art made me feel. It's a decidedly melancholy lion face, and also somewhat creepy.

I was going to post a picture of this lion today, but two things prevented me...1. The pictures that I took of it today are a little too dark, as the angle of the sun created terrible lighting on this subject this morning. (And I want a good picture of this weirdness for the blog) 2. I found this street lined with pink trees. I've made my feelings about pink trees well known, and there are only so many days I can post pictures of them. The lion will still be there next month (unless the homeowner comes to his or her senses) Plus, I'll have better light as the sun continues to rise earlier and earlier, so maybe I can get a better picture of this lion. So stay some point in the near future, a photo will be forthcoming.

For now, enjoy a street with almost enough pink trees on it for my tastes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty-One

April 7, 2015
8.04 Miles in 1:17:32
Mood: All the leaves are pink...and the skies are gray.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / Jordan, Jesse, Go!

I was lying in bed this morning, and I woke up at 5:12. My alarm is usually set for 5:33, but it rarely actually goes off, because I'm now a morning person freak who instinctively wakes up too early. Usually when this happens, I just lie in bed debating if I should get up or not until the time comes where I actually need to get up, and then I turn off my alarm two minutes prior to it sounding and start the day. For some reason this morning I was motivated to get moving, like, REALLY motivated to get moving. My half awake brain had somehow concocted a scenario in which if I left the house to go running before 6 AM (my usual time) that this would be a romantic gesture to my wife. Nevermind that my wife was fast asleep, and had no vested interest in what time I start running, and would probably be just fine with whatever time I begin my outing so long as I didn't make too much noise getting ready before I left.

I spent nearly 20 minutes frantically trying to rush through my morning pre-run routine so that I could be the last true romantic, until my brain woke up enough to realize the stupidity of my urgency. It was 5:40 AM, the sun wouldn't be up for 54 minutes, and I realized I could probably slow down a little. My wife was asleep, and would be for another hour and a half, and I'm an idiot.

I left the house at 6:01.

The early morning haze lifted, and once again, I found myself engaged in pink tree photography. I never noticed the proliferation of pink trees until last spring, and it made me think that perhaps last year was unusual, but if anything...there are even more pink trees this year. Perhaps I was just blind to them until something in me awoke to the pink tree phenomenon and a special filter in my brain was released allowing me to truly see the springtime world for the first time.

My wife has a theory that you see more things out in the world when you personally relate to them. When she was pregnant, it felt to her that every other woman she encountered was also pregnant. As if the world were about to nearly double in size in a nine month period. This was only her perception, of course, but I think I have the pink tree version of being pregnant. I see them everywhere when I used to rarely see them at all. Perhaps I'm a pink tree? Doubtful, but I'm rethinking a lot of things I held for granted.

Today's photo is my favorite because it's the rare tall pink tree. Usually, it seems that the types of trees with the pink flowers are somewhat lower to the ground, this was the most majestic pink tree I have ever seen, and I liked how the picture came out.

Look. I know I have a problem right now. It's just that in three weeks all this pink stuff will be over. Bear with me as I work my way through Spring. I'll eventually return to some semblance of normal as green leaves begin to replace the rosy flowers. I promise. The first step to getting better is to acknowledge that you have a problem.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Two Hundred Sixty

April 5, 2015
7.93 Miles in 1:14:45
Mood: Loving Pink Trees and Lawn Lions
Soundtrack: Judge John Hodgman

I don't know why this string of light bulbs was hanging in this parking lot. All I know is that the moment I saw them, I immediately knew I was going to try to take a picture of one of them with this pink tree in the background because I'm fancy. I was pleased with the resulting photo, and even more pleased that I could find a way to get another pink tree in the mix without the entire photo being focused on the "Hey! It's a pink tree!" phenomenon that tends to overtake me in April. Rest assured (or be warned, depending on your feelings surrounding pink trees), there is almost zero chance that this is the final pink tree for Run and Shoot in 2015.

My pictures from this run were probably 80% pink trees. The other 20% was divided up between pictures of a dead squirrel I found lying in the street and photos of doorways with lions guarding the door. I passed four different sets of lawn lions at three different houses. I love lawn lions almost as much as pink trees. They are usually placed in front of more magnificent homes, but I love a lawn lion even more when it's in front of a modest house. I've given some real thought to putting lions on the porch of my modest townhome just because it would be so ridiculous. I doubt my wife or homeowners association would approve, but man, that'd be awesome. If I ever find someone who puts lawn lions by the front door in a shared hallway of their condo building, that person might immediately be my new hero.

I started my run a bit later in the day than a usual Sunday run so that I could stay home and watch my kids break into their Easter Baskets when they woke up. One of the most fun things about having kids is seeing them get really excited about modest things like Easter baskets. I wasn't missing out on that excitement and fun, so I didn't get started running until around 11.

We are reaching the time of year where if I wait until around 11 to go running, I can wear shorts instead of jogging pants. I love when I can finally break out shorts! Winter is dying, and I'm all about it. I think that is why I love pink trees so much, they are a visual representation of no longer having to put up with snow. As for why I love lawn lions? I'm still looking for a logical reason.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Two Hundred Fifty-Nine

April 2, 2015
7.11 Miles in 1:08:02
Mood: Pinktastic
Soundtrack: Deadcast / The Film Vault

The pink trees are here! The pink trees are here!

Never mind that I lacked energy due to it being my third running day in the last four. Never mind that my enthusiasm for a regular run in my Colorado hood was a bit diminished after getting to run in Tucson and Santa Fe. Never mind any negative thing that crossed my mind, because all that was washed away with my excitement over the return of the Truffula trees.

Spring is the one time of the year when Colorado vaguely resembles a Dr. Seuss book with pink trees popping out everywhere. Last year I truly embraced my love of the pink tree in April, and we had a bumper crop of them. I'm a little worried that we may have a lesser year this time around, as they popped out a bit earlier this year, and as I type, we are expecting snowfall. God help me control my rage if winter style weather destroys my beloved pink trees just as they are beginning to peak out, as that would be a tragedy. A trivial tragedy, but a tragedy nonetheless. I'm very much looking forward to pink tree season, and it's unofficial start was today, as this was the first time I have come across them in my travels in 2015. Prepare yourself for pink tree pictures!

Two Hundred Fifty-Eight

March 31, 2015
7.08 Miles in 1:08:26
Mood: Overwhelmed and Excited
Soundtrack: The Shins "Chutes Too Narrow" / Freelance Whales "Weathervanes" / Dear and the Headlights "Drunk Like Bible Times"

I think it's time to put Santa Fe on the short list of my favorite cities. It loses points for being surrounded by the rest of New Mexico, but it does so many things right including having spectacular food, interesting architecture, and a strong devotion to art. I was excited to get up early and head into Old Town Santa Fe. Our hotel was three miles south, which made it just about perfectly distanced to be my destination for a good round trip run.

I left the hotel at 6 AM, and the first few miles were quite dark. This suited me fine, as my intention was to not really start taking too many pictures until I arrived at the State Capitol Building, and then really get picture crazy in Old Town. It worked out almost perfectly, as the sun was providing enough light for pictures right as I arrived at the State Capitol.

The Capitol is an interesting building, but compared to Colorado's Capitol, it's a little underwhelming. It appeared to me to be nothing more than a large round building with the State Seal on it, surrounded by art pieces. Cool, to be sure, but nothing like the imposing and impressive Neoclassical Style prevalent in so many Capitol buildings. I took a few photos of it and then proceeded a tiny bit north into Old Town, which is where the real soul of Santa Fe is found.

The prevailing motif is adobe, but there are also some glorious Catholic churches and art museums as well. There is a quaint charm about the place, despite the fact that it is home to some high end shopping and quality restaurants. Basically, every time I turned around I saw something interesting to photograph. By the time I arrived back at the hotel, I had snapped 87 pictures...which is ridiculous for a single run, that is almost certainly a personal record.

Trying to narrow this many photos into a single choice was difficult. There are many times running in familiar neighborhoods in Colorado where my photo choices are limited. To be facing 87 photos, a good 20 of which would probably easily trump anything I normally get, made the decision process painful. I had some awesome pictures of art, a front door of a home that was gloriously ornate, two separate churches with all sorts of angles to choose from, outdoor cafes, artwork spray painted onto adobe, the state Capitol, shots of the streets of Old Town, and so many different statues. I ended up going with a statue of Saint Francis of Assisi with the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis in the background because it had the most gravitas. I'm still not sure if it was my favorite picture, but it felt the most important. Which is silly, as they are all just shots I snapped while running, but there is something substantial about this building which I felt deserved to be chosen over things like a random orange abstract sculpture (even though that sculpture was pretty sweet and gloriously orange.)

I'd love to get about 15 or 20 more runs in this area, but since we were only in town for less than 24 hours, it wasn't meant to be. Still, Santa Fe only grows in my estimation from this short visit. And I have now added a run in New Mexico to the blog bringing the total number of states to 7. (Colorado, Kansas, Washington, South Dakota, Illinois, Arizona, and New Mexico)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Two Hundred Fifty-Seven

March 30, 2015
6.45 Miles in 59:18
Mood: Thankful for a great vacation, slightly isolated by my location
Soundtrack: Trampled by Turtles "Stars and Satellites" / Blind Pilot "3 Rounds and a Sound"

It was getaway day. After an awesome vacation in Tucson which included movies, fun, spring training baseball, college basketball and so much good food that I'm still a little was time to make the trek back to Colorado. I wanted to get in one final farewell to the city in running form. I had only gone out one time since arriving, and I was overdue for a run.

I woke up early and headed out to run amid the subdivisions. The sunrise was pretty glorious, with thin wispy clouds giving just the right texture over the desert landscape. My mom's neighborhood has some decent places to run, including a lot of paved pathways...something that is not as common in Tucson as I wish it were.

There are a number of decent neighborhoods to run in, but this particular area still feels a bit isolated. The variety seems like it would run out quickly. While I didn't cover all the spots there are to run on the two times I went out, I could tell that if I were to run here regularly I'd soon be driving to find new and more interesting places to run. Still, since this was only my second run here, I had plenty of locations to scout out. I ended up heading due South to see just how far I'd have to run to find a neighboring subdivision. I found one to the south, and it's not unconquerably far away, but it is a ways. I'm not sure this makes sense, but it feels even more far away since I have to run in such a straight line for such a long time to get there.

For today's photo, I ended up at an art installation on the west end of the subdivision. This writhing mass of what look like metallic bars lights up blue at night. I really wanted to get out there and investigate it closely at night to see just how it lights up, because during the day, it doesn't look at all like it should light up. This was easily the most interesting man made object that I passed while running, and I thought it deserved to make the blog, even though I also got some cool pictures of the desert, too.

It felt good to get out into the desert air and get a few miles under my belt before the long drive we were getting ready to make to Santa Fe. I especially noticed the lower elevation this trip. As always, I feel a bit like Superman at lower elevations, as there is so much air.