Monday, August 31, 2015

Three Hundred Thirty-Three

August 30, 2015
6.53 Miles in 58:59
Mood: Realizing that you can make something TOO Bronco-fied.
Soundtrack: Phil Collins "...Hits" / "Tarzan Soundtrack"

Sometimes, you just need to listen to Phil Collins. This was one such day. I didn't stray too far from the well beaten path of Wash Park, but Phil sang me along the way the whole time. The Tarzan Soundtrack is surprisingly an excellent collection of tunes to run with...except for a single song which features Rosie O'Donnell altogether unpleasant experience, and a track which I quickly skipped. Phil, however, is a very nice running soundtrack.

As for today's photo...even as big as a Bronco fan as I am...that SUV Limo is an abomination. It is for sale, and if you have an extra fourteen thousand in cash laying around, you can be it's new owner. Such an opportunity! I have to admit, I figured it would cost more than that, but apparently stretch SUV's are not as valuable as I would have guessed. That thing would be a monster to park, for sure.

Three Hundred Thirty-Two

August 28, 2015
7.07 Miles in 1:07:28
Mood: A mood to teach High Schoolers something they should already know.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / Jordan, Jesse, Go! / The Film Vault

I had been running for about three miles. It was a hot morning, so I had built up quite a sweat. I was running along Littleton Boulevard, close to Littleton High School, and I was on the sidewalk. Heading in the opposite direction heading straight for me was a group of six High School girls on their way to school. It was immediately evident that these girls thought they were pretty cool.

They were walking three abreast, and were taking up the entirety of the sidewalk. To the best of my knowledge, I was not invisible. I moved to the right hand side of the sidewalk, as a civilized person does, and I was anticipating that they would reciprocate because that is what one does in society while walking down the sidewalk.

"Surely, they are going to move." I said to myself.

"Any second now, they'll get over." as I came ever closer.

Suddenly, I was within ten feet, and yet still they gave no indication that any of them intended to make way for the sweaty man heading directly at them. I had two choices...I could hop into the street and run around them, giving in to their narcissism and total lack of regard for other people...or we could play chicken.

If you know me at all, you know which choice I made.

Yep. Time to play chicken.

I kept running forward, and at about two feet away, finally they realized that I wasn't messing around. The girl on the left side of the front row of cool girls, the one who should have moved several seconds prior, finally did dramatically lurch out of the way at the last moment...obviously annoyed that other humans dared to exist in the same reality as her. The girl in the second row of girls directly behind her remained oblivious either intentionally or she lives so much in her own entitled world that she just didn't feel like she owed the world to pay attention to people who might be walking towards her.

I will admit that it was with a certain degree of delight that I lowered a sweaty shoulder into her. It wasn't aggressive enough to knock her down, but it wasn't non-aggressive enough for her to avoid being jostled a bit and surely she got much more sweat on her than I imagine she wanted first thing in the morning before school.

Without saying a word, I kept running west...only now I had a very self-satisfied grin that I couldn't wipe off my face. It was one of the more fun morning runs I had ever been on, if only because I'm guessing those girls get out of the way of the next runner that heads in their direction.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Three Hundred Thirty-One

August 27, 2015
7.06 Miles in 1:08:00
Mood: Making that rainbow connection
Soundtrack: Dr. Dog "Be the Void" / The Head and The Heart "Let's Be Still"

It rains so rarely early in the morning in Colorado that when a droplet hit my leg, I was actually confused. I started looking around to see if something earth bound, like perhaps an errant sprinkler, was spraying me. Then, as I started seeing more and more drops falling in the morning sun, I realized what was happening...but it took awhile.

I have been running very early in the morning ever since January when my shift at work was changed for me, and this is the first time it has even hinted at rain. It was very light, not enough to get me even a tiny bit wet, but it was definitely raining. A bit further west it was coming down hard enough to create the very rare Western sky rainbow. (As seen above) It wasn't much of a rainbow, but it was undeniably there and it was pretty cool, as usually you can't get a rainbow and the Front Range mountains in the same picture. I enjoyed the precipitation, but it's fine if it doesn't become a regular occurrence.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Three Hundred Thirty

August 25, 2015
7.84 Miles in 1:12:45
Mood: Golden Sunny
Soundtrack: Avett Brothers "Emotionalism" and "The Gleam" and "Mignonette"

The fact that I'm seeing the sun rise on runs means the days are getting shorter. That is a bit of a bummer, as I enjoy having daylight for my runs, but it also means autumn and football are coming, so it's not all bad. This particular sunrise was pretty sweet, even with hardly any clouds, as I saw it coming up with the Denver Tech Center in the background and a horse field in the foreground because South Denver has a wide range of terrain. Not too much exciting from this morning's run other than the sunrise gave everything a sweet golden glow for a few minutes, which was fun.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty-Nine

August 21, 2015
7.07 Miles in 1:08:04
Mood: Wiped Out and amazed at the largess of large rich homes
Soundtrack: Rural Alberta Advantage "Hometowns" / Lupe Fiasco "Lasers"

I did it to myself again. I just arrived at the Highline Canal Trail, and I stopped briefly to change my music when I was passed as I stood still by two women runners. I started up the music I wanted, and started chasing after them. They were setting a fast pace, but I pushed hard and got ahead of them, and then immediately regretted it. I didn't want to get passed up by them again, so I kept pushing hard for the next two miles, and they were directly on my tail for the entirety of this time.

I finally made it to the spot I had planned to exit the trail, and I stopped in exhaustion. I was about two and a half miles into my morning run and I was gassed. I walked for about half a mile and then began a steady rhythm of running for a bit and walking for a bit. It was a struggle for the rest of the morning because I had completely blown my wad keeping ahead of those ladies. Still, I managed to get seven miles of running in between bouts of walking, even if it wasn't very pretty.

I went much further North than I usually go, and I ended up in the middle of Cherry Hills Village. This is a highly affluent neighborhood, and one thing I've noticed about rich people neighborhoods is that they are not big on access. I kept trying to escape the main road I was on, but every street was a dead end. This is how I ended up so far North this morning that I hit the Southern Edge of the Cherry Hills Country Club Golf Course. It was a little frustrating not being able to find a way back to University Boulevard, but the cool part of heading so far north on Franklin St is that I was able to see some pretty amazing yards and homes that I'd never seen before. That is where today's picture came from as well, as one of the homes had a cool gated entryway with some horse statues at the top of the gate. I thought they photographed nicely, so that picture ended up as today's post.

Three Hundred Twenty-Eight

August 20, 2015
7.21 Miles in 1:09:13
Mood: Brief
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / Peter Bjorn and John "Gimme Some"

Ironically, I stopped running to take this picture.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty-Seven

August 18, 2015
7.54 Miles in 1:09:26
Mood: Trying to keep up with high school girls.
Soundtrack: Vaudeville Etiquette "Debutantes & Dealers" / The Wilderness of Manitoba "When You Left the Fire" / Twenty One Pilots "Blurryface"

Everywhere along the Highline Canal are signs warning of high coyote activity in the area, which amuses me, because I see coyotes somewhat regularly and they run away from me so fast you'd think I was the ACME Corporation. This morning, I saw something bounding on the edge of the stream to my left, and at first I thought it might be a deer. I stopped to investigate, and realized it was not one but two coyotes. They didn't see me at first, so I pulled out my camera to try and get a picture, and almost instantly, they noticed my paparazzi ways and flew away from me. I ended up with a blurry photo of the river bank. I was bummed, because they looked pretty cool and I was really hoping to get a picture.

Since my nature photography didn't work out so well, I had to settle for a picture of one of the coolest trucks ever. This old timey Chevy was sitting on Broadway at a Chevrolet dealer, and it is awesome. I took pictures of it from all sides because I heart it. It's a cool truck.

On the final two miles of running along the trail, I found myself in the midst of a high school girls cross country practice. A few of them passed me, and then really didn't want to get passed by everyone, so I kicked it into as high a gear as I had left six miles in. My sixth mile speed increased by over a minute from my fifth mile speed. Competitive nature makes me faster...and also more tired. I was pooped by the time I got home, but I didn't get passed by any more than three high school girls. I may be an honorary member of the team now. Yeah, sometimes I'm a weirdo.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty-Six

August 17, 2015
8.11 Miles in 1:15:17
Mood: Enjoying Yarn Bombing
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "Magpie and the Dandelion" and "Country Was" and "Mignotte"

Three PVC pipes sticking out of the ground must have been such an eyesore to someone that they decided to crochet three flower pipe covers. As I turned the corner, I was amused to see these "flowers" decorating the Cherry Creek Trail. I Googled "Cherry Creek Flower Crochet" and discovered that apparently this is some type of goofy trend called "Yarn Bombing". I sincerely hope to see more, because it's awesome.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty-Five

August 14, 2015
8.29 Miles in 1:18:57
Mood: Recreating award winning photos
Soundtrack: Dear and the Headlights "Drunk Like Bible Times" / The Head and The Heart "The Head and The Heart"

It's hard to get more inspired than being chased by a mom with a jogging stroller. This particular mom was very fit looking, and we were plunged into this pseudo melodrama (happening inside my head only) as we met at a stoplight this morning. We both were running from different directions this and were waiting to cross over Broadway to head down the Highline Canal trail. We exchanged a pleasant good morning greeting, and when the light changed, I took off and she took off right behind me. I didn't think too much of it until about a quarter mile down the trail I happened to look back and notice that I hadn't put nearly as much distance between us as I anticipated that I would have. Suddenly, I worried that she might have another gear, and horror of horrors...she might pass me. That would be emasculating. I've been passed by plenty of female runners, that is no big deal. However, to get passed up by someone with the added handicap of pushing a cart with their own progeny inside would be too much.

I pushed harder than I had all morning. My inspiration simply being stupid male ego. It was surely stupid, but also effective. I had one of my fastest miles late in this run thanks to this motivation. After about two miles of huffing it, she was no longer behind me. Likely, she left the trail at some point, but I prefer to think that I left her in the dust with my incredible speed. Either way, I avoided being passed, which is the result I was hoping for.

Today's photo is from a vantage point that I took a picture that won a photo contest with South Suburban Parks and Rec. I am beginning to think that I can create this picture at will, as I've done it several times now, and it always comes back as pretty awesome, so long as I take it in the morning with a bright sun and a still lake. This particular spot always looks awesome in pictures. I had assumed that I posted that picture on Run and Shoot, but a quick perusal of past posts makes it appear that I never did, so I decided to use today's picture because it is every bit as good as the award winning picture, and also because all the other pictures I took today were kinda meh.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty-Four

August 12, 2015
6.96 Miles in 1:07:59
Mood: Strugglin'
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go! / Jack White "Blunderbuss"

I was a mess today. Just a big, tired, heavy legged, way too much walking mess. I hadn't run since Sunday, so I should have been fresh, but for some reason, I had no energy at all. It was a disaster. I had no stamina. Plus, I didn't even take many interesting pictures. I ended up running mostly boring roads that felt entirely uphill. It wasn't a great outing. I still managed to squeeze almost seven miles of actual running into this slog, but sometimes they just aren't great experiences. We'll get em next time.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty-Three

August 9, 2015
8.49 Miles in 1:19:08
Mood: Discovering old historic houses and new rugby parks.
Soundtrack: Band of Horses "Cease To Begin" and "Infinite Arms" and "Everything All The Time"

The Four Mile House is apparently the oldest standing building in Denver, dating back to 1859. It was the last stop for pioneers on their way in to Denver. People could stop in for a rest, a meal, or a drink. It was named because it was four miles away from downtown Denver. (I learned all of this on Wikipedia, so if it's wrong, you know why.)

These days the Four Mile House is a museum and farm, and I hope to visit it at some point. On this particular trip, I merely saw the fence and the cool looking sign. (Ironically, I found it at almost exactly the four mile point in my run.) Looks like it is some history worth checking out, but on this run it was merely an interesting site seen as I ran along the Cherry Creek Trail. This is a paved trail that I didn't really realized existed, but which I am now destined to spend more time exploring due to it's excellent views and wonderful areas for runners. I love when I find something worth coming back to when I wander off the beaten path. This run started on the well beaten path of Wash Park, but something was pulling me to go investigate further East, so after about half a mile, I abandoned the well worn path of Wash Park for mystery and adventure to the North.

Actually, the mystery and adventure had to wait a tiny bit, because about a mile and a half into this outing I had some gastric rumblings so quick and painful that I had to slow to a walk and make my way directly to the nearest restroom as quickly as possible. I had to mosey about half a mile north to a large church on Alameda and University. Thankfully, it was Sunday Morning, which I understand to be peak operating hours for a church building and more importantly a church building's restroom. A woman who didn't really understand why a sweaty guy in running shorts was asking her for directions pointed me towards the bathroom, and I thanked her quickly and about ten minutes later I felt like a human again, which was nice.

From there, I headed out and found the Cherry Creek Trail which I followed for a few miles. It is insanely busy with runners and bikers, and I very much enjoyed it, but I didn't want to get too far from my vehicle, so after a few miles, I left the trail and headed back west towards Wash Park. I found myself in Glendale and noticed I wasn't too far from Infinti Park, a place where a sizable amount of rugby happens, apparently. I had never been there, although I had heard about it, so I decided to go check it out. On the large practice field, a rugby team looked to be engaged in a practice session. The larger stadium area was blocked off with fences, so I could only see it from afar, but it looked rather interesting too. I definitely want to get back here at some point and take in the novelty of a rugby game. I will have very little idea what is going on, but it looks fun.

When I arrived back at Wash Park, I decided to take the long way back around to my car so that I could get one full loop of the park done in addition to the exploring that I had already completed. It finished off a long and fun run which added two new destinations for me to investigate further at some point in the future. I'll be seeing more of you at some point soon, Infiniti Park and Four Mile House.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty-Two

August 7, 2015
7.32 Miles in 1:09:34
Mood: Checking in on old gargoyle friends
Soundtrack: Hey Marseilles "To Travels and Trunks" and "Lines We Trace"

As I began running, I noticed that the first several people I encountered were all women. Then for some unknown reason, I began counting women and men. The oddest part of this counting was the first twenty people. They were divided evenly at 10 men and 10 women, but the odd part was that I saw five women, then five men, then five women, then five men. Then this weird rhythm fell apart, and I ended up seeing 35 women and 26 men total, with no appreciable pattern whatsoever.

Today's photo comes from the world famous (probably not actually world famous) Belleview Gargoyles. The person who lives there dresses them up seasonally. I have featured them several times before on run and shoot, including post 6, post 25, post 84, and post 192. This time, they are so covered in flowers that they are actually hard to see. However, under the flowers and vines, they are dressed in bathing suits. One has on a straw hat (that had blown in front of her in the wind) and a lovely woman's bathing suit and the other (pictured) is wearing an inter-tube and goggles. Glad to see that the gargoyles are keeping up with the fashion trends, and I'll continue to check in from time to time to see how they are faring.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty-One

August 6, 2015
7.62 Miles in 1:11:32
Mood: One Love
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "Robbers & Cowards" and Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"

She finally smiled at me! My day was made at around the two mile mark of this run. For several months now, I have been noticing this Asian woman. And for just about that same amount of time, she has been ignoring me. I think she walks on the Highline Canal trail every morning, as I see her almost every time I run the trail. She makes me smile every time I see her because she almost always has a very stern look on her face, and about half the time she is wearing the same t-shirt which reads, "Jamaica: One Love" which is about the weirdest shirt I can imagine for this woman to wear. Every time I see her, I wave and smile, and until this morning, every time I did that, my greetings went unanswered. Amazingly today, she looked at me, smiled, and nodded. No matter what happened for the rest of the day, I was happy. I was acknowledged by Asian Jamaica: One Love lady, and that was golden.

The only other thing of note is today's photo. This name feels sexist, but it's the nearest laundromat to our house, and we've used it on occasion when need arises. I guess that means we've failed as feminists, but our laundry was spring fresh, so not all was lost.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Three Hundred Twenty

August 4, 2015
7.25 Miles in 1:09:16
Mood: Questioning some people's theology
Soundtrack: Florence + The Machine "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" and "Lungs"

The stick says Jesus. Naturally, I have questions. Is the stick proclaiming the good news of Jesus? Is the stick named Jesus? Is it some miraculously blessed Jesus stick? Is the stick cursing because it's a jaded stick and enjoys taking the Lord's name in vain? I fear I'll never understand the significance of the Jesus stick, but that doesn't mean that I am not pleased that it exists on the front lawn of one of my neighbors. Some mysteries are best left mysterious and unsolved, as that is where their true beauty can be the Jesus stick.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Three Hundred Nineteen

August 2, 2015
7.10 Miles in 1:09:04
Mood: Getting bossed around and saying "Hi!" to Peyton Manning
Soundtrack: Carbon Leaf "Indian Summer" and "Indian Summer Revisited"

I drove to work on a Sunday. This is not behavior that I would normally recommend, but it worked well for my purposes on this particular Sunday. I parked in my work parking lot, went inside to use the restroom...a nice benefit of having a job there is the vast supply of clean bathroom facilities for my own personal use, even on a Sunday. Then while I left my car parked in the lot, I went for a run.

There was a reason beyond sanitary toilets for my beginning a run at the place of my employment. The Denver Broncos headquarters are only about two miles away, and on this particular morning, they were holding an open house to watch practice. I've never attended a practice at HQ, so I decided to check in to see what it was like. I was surrounded by a host of people in orange who, unlike me, were seemingly there to attend the entire two hour session. I spent about ten minutes watching my favorite football team stretch. This was very boring. I came to the conclusion that although I very much enjoy watching my football team play football against other football teams, I'm less captivated by that same group of individuals stretching their muscles in preparation to practice.

Also, there are very assertive men in official Broncos paraphernalia directing all of the fans exactly how to sit on the grassy knoll overlooking the practice field. These assertive men are not terribly nice. They appear to very much enjoy bossing people into straight lines. I would be bad at this job, as the primary requirement seems to be to yell angrily and not care if people find you off putting. I do not like to be off putting, so I would fail where these men succeeded, as they did have all of the orange clad faithful in very straight rows. Straight rows to watch men's a wonderful life.

After leaving the Broncos facility, I ran through some nondescript streets. There were a few highlights such finding a Hindu temple in suburban Colorado...which was a little weird. Also, I found a street so marked with spray paint that it appeared to be a Jackson Pollack painting and I found a business with a back patio that was immaculately gardened as if it were auditioning to become one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Finally, I found the business home of Altitude Sports...the people who broadcast Avalanche and Nuggets games.

It wasn't an amazing run, but it was in a new place, and I did see Peyton Manning in the middle of it, so it was memorable. When I got back, I was able to get a large cup of ice water from my office before heading home. So to summarize...beginning and ending a run from work has it's benefits, stretching is not an exciting spectator activity, there are Hindu worship centers in Colorado, and the Broncos employ loud angry men to get their fans in orderly rows. I feel like we have all learned something today.