Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Three Hundred Forty-Eight

September 29, 2015
7.11 Miles in 1:10:12
Mood: Stone Cold Bronco Fanning through a slog of a run.
Soundtrack: The Film Vault

The Gargoyles know that it's football season! We've covered the Gargoyles and their myriad costume changes in this blog many times, but this is easily my favorite outfit in which they have been adorned. The Broncos have begun 3-0, and our stone friends are celebrating the good start of the season.

As for today's run, you can tell by the sizable gaps on the map below that I was a walking fool this morning. This was my final run as a 38 year old, and I was dragging. It started just over a mile into the run and I kept having to stop and rest. Some days are a struggle, but somehow I was able to push through enough to get to the 7 miles run mark despite it being a pretty weak effort. Still, a rough run is still better than no run. I'll rest up the next few days and try and attack things a bit harder on my birthday coming up on Thursday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Three Hundred Forty-Seven

September 27, 2015
7.63 Miles in 1:10:56
Mood: Exploring Ruby Hill and getting directions from unexpected sources.
Soundtrack: Family and Friends "XOXO" and "Love You Mean It"

I've only recently started to discover how centralized Wash Park actually is. I was looking at a map on Sunday morning trying to decide where I should run, and I realized that it Ruby Hill Park is only two and a half miles from Wash Park. I would have guessed that it was ten miles away, but apparently I'm bad at knowing how far apart things are.

Turns out that Ruby Hill is not just a clever name. There is a somewhat severe elevation gain which made for about seven minutes of painful uphill running, but ended with this excellent view of Downtown Denver as seen here. Not only did I get a great view, but also I found a cool playground with a dragon, so double bonus for me. I don't have a lot of experience with Ruby Hill Park, but it seemed like a pretty swell place on a Sunday morning.

The oddest interaction from this run came when I was on my way to Ruby Hill and I was looking for the Platte River Trail to take south on my way there. I had just passed Santa Fe Boulevard and crossed a bridge over the river, and I was anticipating that I would quickly find the trail, but it was a bit more hidden than I was expecting. A homeless man was standing on the street at the corner of Santa Fe and Mississippi holding an "Anything Helps" sign in the direction of oncoming traffic. This man waved me down and very graciously directed me in the right direction. I felt like he had two missions in life on that corner, the first of course is to obtain dollars from passing motorists, but the second seemed just as important to him and that was directing runners to a trail. It seemed like he does this so often that it's part of his job description. ( With a tiny bit more thought, I'm guessing that panhandlers don't really have job descriptions.) Either way, a big salute to the very helpful homeless man.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Three Hundred Forty-Six

September 25, 2015
7.49 Miles in 1:11:43
Mood: Confused about Shadows
Soundtrack: Florence + the Machine "Ceremonials" "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful"

This house has silhouettes of all sorts of random things around it's entire perimeter.  From camels to cowboys to dinosaurs to ballet dancers. I don't understand even a little bit what they're trying to accomplish with this. It's one of the weirdest decorating decisions I've seen, and I've see a lot of questionable decorating decisions in my day.  I have no idea what is happening here. I'm just clueless. I feel like knocking on the door and seeing if I can get an interview with the homeowner just so I can get some semblance of an explanation. I think it's important to note that this photo only shows half the property, and the other half is just as heavy with weird shadow creatures. Perhaps the greatest part of the entire oddity is that there are dinosaurs on the other side, and they have eyes. Only the dinosaurs have eyes. You have to be extinct to obtain that privilege.

In other news, It was legitimately cold as I started out this morning with temps in the low 40's. This was the first run since last spring which I decided to break out the long pants for running. This makes me a little sad, as I definitely prefer to run in shorts, but even more important is to not freeze my legs off, so I went sensible on this one. It won't be much longer before I also have to switch to long sleeved shirts and even hoodies when the real cold weather kicks in. This is the only bummer part of fall...it means the real cold will be upon us far too quickly.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Three Hundred Forty-Five

September 24, 2015
8.74 Miles in 1:22:17
Mood: Annoyed with apps
Soundtrack: Family and Friends "Xoxo" "Love You Mean It" / The Haunted Windchimes "Out with the Crow"

I was all set to allow bygones be bygones, and let Endomondo have back it's seat at the running app table of my life. Despite failing me by stopping working for Tuesday's run, they released an update, and all appeared to be well. I was a mile in to my run, and paused my run to check something on my phone, then started it up again. I took a look about a tenth of a mile later, as something felt off, and the app was paused for some reason. I started it up again, and then checked it again a third of a mile later, and it was paused AGAIN. I realized that as soon as my phone's screen powered off, for some reason the app was pausing my run. 

This annoyed me, so I pulled out the trusty Nike+ app, and it worked fine for the rest of my run, and I think I'm fully transitioning away from Endomondo. Not only does it seem to work better right now, it does something I really like, as you can see on the map below...When I pause my run and walk for a brief bit, it doesn't draw a line on that section as part of my run. So now, you can see all the breaks that I take right on the map. I found that this was motivating me to try and stop less and run more. That small change made me run farther and longer than normal, and I felt great at the end of the run. So, that will probably be that for Endomondo. Welcome to the wonderful world of Nike. Hopefully this is the last time I need to post three separate sections of maps from three different running apps. The first map is the first error free mile on Endomondo, the second map is the section where Endomondo goofed up, and the third map is the Nike map, complete with a more accurate map.

In news that is NOT revolving around which app I use to run...Today's photo comes from a corner that I have passed a multitude of times, but has never actually made the day's picture until today. This whole house is very meticulously decorated, but by far my favorite part of it is this cornucopia of colorful birdhouses. I don't believe that many birds actually use these things, as they don't seem overly bird friendly, but it is interesting to see someone so devoted to birdhouses that they place about ten of them or so on their front lawn. That is dedication.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Three Hundred Forty-Four

September 22, 2015
8.05 Miles in 1:15:03
Mood: Feeling new feels about a new app
Soundtrack: Lord Huron "Strange Trails" "Lonesome Dreams"

Sometimes something forces you out of your habits, and it turns out to be a pretty good thing. I think I may be ditching Endomondo for the Nike+ running app. I haven't permanently decided that, but I really like the way their map works and the functionality of it seems a little bit better than Endomondo. I was forced to try Nike+ because after updating my phone to iOS 9, Endomondo just stopped working on my phone. It has since been fixed, but I'm undecided if I want to go back to the familiar or play with the new some more. Stay tuned.

As for this run, it felt nice, and there was something magical about watching the sunrise come up over Ketring Lake. Not too shabby an outing for the final run of summer.

Three Hundred Forty-Three

September 20, 2015
7.77 Miles in 1:12:30
Mood: Lost in a bad place.
Soundtrack: Kimya Dawson "Remember That I Love You" "Thunder Thighs"

This run was odd in that it began and ended in Wash Park, one of the most heavily run areas in Denver, but the middle chunk took me through quite likely the least jogged area of town. I had intended to run along the Platte River Trail, but much like Bugs Bunny taking a wrong turn in Albuquerque, I took a few questionable turns and suddenly found myself in a hard core industrial area. The thing about industrial areas is that they are not heavily fortified with nice things like trees or grass, and are generally unpleasant to be in. This would explain why on a Sunday, there was nary a human soul to be seen, because on a day of rest there is no good reason to be in an industrial park.

Despite it being a very ugly and empty part of town, there were a few cool things that I encountered. Oddly, there was a Tardis in a gated area that I could only partially see. I know that it is a Tardis from exposure handing around with nerd friends, although I cannot honestly tell you what a Tardis is or does. All I know is that it looks somewhat like a phone booth and is from the television Doctor Who, and I think that it has something to do with time travel. My nearest comparable would be the phone booth that Bill and Ted travel around in with Rufus. Anyway, there was a Tardis in the industrial park....for whatever that is worth.

The coolest thing I encountered while in the industrial bin was turning a corner and seeing this awesome horse sculpture just hanging out in front of a gross industrial building. I'm not sure what it was there for, but it was a cool thing in the midst of very few cool things and mostly gross things. I was overjoyed when I saw it because it was one of the few interesting things I had seen and also because I instantly knew what photo would make the blog. The Tardis was cool, but it was hard to get a photo of, since I could only see the top 2 feet of it from the other side of the fence.

So, I saw a cool horse and a Tardis, but there is no chance that I'm going running in that neighborhood ever again. It was really gross. The worst part was that it was hard to find my way out. I kept thinking I was going to be able to get out, and then I was confronted by locked gates that barred my way. I'm a little scarred.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Three Hundred Forty-Two

September 17, 2015
7.55 Miles in 1:09:47
Mood: Frightened then Friendly
Soundtrack: Twenty One Pilots "Blurryface" "Vessel"

"Running is like a old lover that you can always go back to and they always make you feel good." -A woman that I ran with for about two miles this morning.

For the second time in the last three runs, I found myself in conversation with a fellow runner. This time it was a woman I would estimate to be in her mid-fifties. The things which I gleaned about her is that she is a realtor (realtors will almost always let you know this), she is recuperating from a fall where she broke both of her wrists, she REALLY likes running, and I think she's from somewhere in Eastern Europe. I couldn't quite tell exactly what part of Eastern Europe, but her accent definitely sounded generally that way.

She was quite friendly, and the thing that amused me most about her was she pulled my move. When I saw her at first she was not moving quickly. She was a bit ahead of me on the Highline Canal trail, and I caught up to her quite quickly. However, as soon as I pulled up next to her, she sped up a lot. I do this all the time when faster runners go to pass me. I had figured that I was going to quickly pass her and that would be that, but she increased her speed and matched my pace easily. I wasn't expecting that, especially since I was moving pretty fast (for me) at that point, and she had been going incredibly slow up to this point.

She commented about how nice the day was, and then kept chatting with me to the point that I realized I was going to need to pull my earbuds out. I was glad that I did. As is always the case when this happens, I enjoyed the conversation. I do hope I run into her again sometime. She was fun.

In addition to being friendly, I also had the bejeebus scared out of me early on in this run. I had just run out of a tunnel underneath University Blvd when a very bright appeared behind me. I had not noticed this light while I was in the tunnel, and then it was immediately upon me. It was bright enough to be a car headlight, which is confusing on the Highline Canal trail, and it made my heart rate jump. I turned to see a biker with by far the brightest headlight for a bike that I have ever seen. It could have doubled as a train spotlight...the kind you see bearing down the coyote in Wile E Coyote cartoons whenever the he is foolish enough to go chasing the Road Runner into a train tunnel. I calmed down pretty quickly once I realized it was just a bike, and I was even more amused when he passed me by and I saw that he had a very bright pulsating red lamp on the back of his head. This guy is into safety via luminous gadgets.

Today's photo comes from Littleton Blvd, and is the head of a pretty large bear carving. This bear appears to be angrily pawing at a tree for some reason. I don't get it, but since it's a bear, I approve. (I love bears.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Three Hundred Forty-One

September 15, 2015
7.00 Miles in 1:05:55
Mood: Awestruck by a beautiful sunrise.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / The Allusionist / Judge John Hodgman / Jordan, Jesse, Go!

Clearly, the best thing about this morning's run was the unbelievable sunrise. I took many photos of it, and they are very pretty, but I decided to use a picture that happened while the sunrise was happening without actually using a picture of the sunrise. In this picture, my back is to the sunrise, and you can see fairly plainly the pinkish hue that the world took on for a few minutes this morning. Basically, it was so beautiful that even it's reflection was beautiful. Good morning to me!

As I was taking pictures, I saw a man who was just standing on the side of the path taking in the beauty. He was doing nothing other than standing still and admiring, and I think he was on to something. I don't know how long he stood there, as he was there as I took pictures, he was there as I admired for a few minutes, and stayed standing as I ran off. Good for him, I say. Stop and enjoy those random moments of wonder. I probably should have done likewise.

Three Hundred Forty

September 13, 2015
7.37 Miles in 1:07:46
Mood: Mildly disappointed but looking forward to football.
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "I and Love and You" / Counting Crows "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings"

It was a bright and hot morning, and I had a deadline which kept me from straying too far from home. That deadline was the kickoff to the NFL regular season, and I was exited to get home and watch some games. I decided to head off towards Park Meadows mall, which is only a few miles away, as I was hoping to purchase a new Broncos t-shirt for my daughter, as it has become a tradition to take a photo every Broncos Opening Day, and she hasn't had a new Broncos shirt in a few years.

Sadly, I was disappointed to find that JCPenney doesn't open on Sundays until 11 AM. I had a coupon for JCPenney that I was hoping to use, but 11AM also happened to be the time kickoff for the first games was scheduled, so I immediately knew that wasn't happening. This was a bit of a bummer to me, as the neighborhood near Park Meadows is not overflowing with great places to run, so I wasn't going to get to shop and I was going to have to deal with meh scenery.

I did find one decent trail, and upon that trail I found a guy who was running a very fast pace. He passed me, and I sped up to his pace because it was a good pace and having someone to chase makes it easier to go fast. I ended up catching him, and we ran together for about a mile. I learned his name was Jared and he was a Cincinnati Bengals fan. He seemed like a nice fella, and it's always good to have a chat with someone who likes to run while you're both running. Happens far too infrequently, as it's always pretty pleasant.

After parting ways with Jared, the rest of the run was rather non-descript. I had to stop and walk for a bit for the second consecutive Sunday as once again, I had a bit of a low blood sugar. After drinking a tea, I was feeling refreshed and my sugar raised. The problem was that in the area I was in, there are hardly any trash cans, so I ended up running about a mile with a can in my hand until I arrived at my office building...a location that I knew had a trash receptacle...and deposited the can in the can.

I passed almost zero in the way of good photo ops, so what I ended up posting is this pretty grassy scene from the prettiest section of my run. I took this picture as a precaution in case I didn't see anything good. Since I posted it, obviously I saw nothing else. Oh well, all told, it was a nice, if somewhat non-scenic run.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Two Hundred Thirty-Nine

September 11, 2015
7.77 Miles in 1:12:34
Mood: Fresh and Fabulous
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "Robbers & Cowards" Caedmon's Call "40 Acres" "Long Line of Leavers"

An extra day of rest did me a world of good. After feeling sluggish and pained on a good portion of my Tuesday run, I skipped the usual Thursday run and waiting until Friday morning. This proved to be a very good decision, as I felt fresh and fast on Friday, and I ended up exploring some places I had never before been. This exploration led to some awesome photo opportunities, and I had more good pictures that I knew what to do with.

It's funny how sometimes I struggle to find a single good photo subject, and other times I am agonizing to pick between so many good ones. Feast or famine is how it goes. This was a feast day, and I ended up going with this photo of these berries because I thought it was awesome. I had no idea what these berries were, but somehow my 7 year old son knew that they were called fire berries. I don't know how this kid got so smart, but I have to keep my eye on him.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Three Hundred Thirty-Eight

September 8, 2015
7.03 Miles in 1:04:20
Mood: Casually regarding coyotes
Soundtrack: Good Old War "Broken into Better Shape" "Come Back as Rain"

Although it is hard to see in the photo, there is a coyote in this picture. You need to believe me on this, because it really is there. I was taking a break from running because my legs were hurting, and a coyote came extremely close. I was probably within ten yards of it, which was exciting, but by the time I pulled my phone out of my pocket to take a picture, it had started walking away from me. This is the best picture of the three I took, which lets you know that I didn't get a good picture, but it was still an exciting moment for me.

The coyote briefly stopped and looked at me, and looked right back. It felt like I was saying, "Hey, Coyote!" although in actuality, I said nothing...but I did feel friendly towards it. At no point did fear or nervousness enter my mind, but mostly just excitement. My biggest regret was not getting a good shot of it. No matter, it was a cool interaction for me.

As for my legs, they started to feel better about four miles into my run. I decided to take a break and skip out on Thursday's run in the hopes that giving them a few days rest will help me feel recuperated, as several of my runs lately have been hampered by soreness.

Three Hundred Thirty-Seven

September 6, 2015
7.15 Miles in 1:04:58
Mood: Confused by the weirdest chimney ever.
Soundtrack: Jack White "Lazaretto" "Blunderbuss" / The White Stripes "Icky Thump"

Once again, I found an interesting area not far from Wash Park. Apparently, there is an unending supply of interesting places nearby that area. On this run I discovered Harvard Gulch Park which is home to a par 3 golf course with 9 holes, but more importantly a giant oddly shaped brick chimney. The chimney is unlike anything I have ever seen, and it's hard to get a sense in a picture for just how enormous it feels in person. Although it may not come through in the picture, I am confident in saying it is a eleven billion feet tall. It can be seen from space, which I am reporting exclusively, so know that you heard it here first.

Three Hundred Thirty-Six

September 4, 2015
5.22 Miles in 50:49
Mood: Feeling like I was being hunted from helicopters
Soundtrack: Ben Rector "Brand New" / Peter Mulvey "Letters from a Flying Machine"

As I mentioned in my last post, there has been a bear on the loose in Centennial. Turns out the search had intensified Friday morning, and during my entire run there were helicopters circling the area everywhere you looked. It actually felt like a manhunt was on, as every few minutes a new helicopter was above me. I'm not sure how many helicopters were engaged in the search, but it felt like 20. I was sure that it was for the bear, but it seemed like every helicopter hovered just above me for a bit looking around, and I imagined that this would be what it would feel like to be an escaped convict on the lam.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Three Hundred Thirty-Five

September 3, 2015
7.37 Miles in 1:09:33
Mood: Enjoying a sunrise and getting a little tiny bit wet.
Soundtrack: Dishwalla "Pet Your Friends" / The Head and The Heart "The Head and The Heart" / The Rural Alberta Advantage "Hometowns"

It was one of those amazing Colorado sunrises. The kind that make the sky blue and purple and orange and pink and reaffirm your faith in beauty and truth. The first ten minutes of my run were spent gazing at the sky, and the positive feelings from that have extended throughout this day, this day that also is my wife's birthday...so Happy Birthday to Jen and happy sunrise to all.

The local news was going on and on about a bear that was seen in the open spaces near my house...you know, the open spaces that I routinely run through. All through this run, I was keeping my eyes peeled to see if I could see a bear. Part of me really not wanting to encounter a bear, and part of me thinking that it would be a pretty sweet picture to post if I did, in fact, encounter a bear. Although I kept looking, I did not see a bear anywhere, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Maybe tomorrow.

Also, this picture would be much better without the stupid power lines. Man, I wish it were possible to bury all of these things for the sake of beauty.

One last thing: It actually rained on me again this morning. So after no morning rain for the entire year, I get rained on two Thursdays in a row. Weird. Maybe it's monsoon season or something.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Three Hundred Thirty-Four

September 1, 2015
7.66 Miles in 1:11:30
Mood: Being a hero and being confused by a bad album.
Soundtrack: Arcade Fire "Neon Bible" "Funeral" "Reflektor"

I was running along Ridge Road, and I noticed that there were about 30 geese in the road. Just then, I saw a car approaching, and then coming to a stop because the driver did not want to slam her car into a flock of geese. I got an opportunity to be a hero. I ran out into the street and waved my arms around like a wild man clearing the geese from the road so she could drive on...All of this was done because I am a valiant and noble goose conqueror. The lady even slowed down to share her thanks, which was unnecessary, because heroism is it's own reward.

I thought I had posted a picture of this sculpture before, but if I did, I can't seem to find that post. So on a day without too much good to photograph, this was the best I had and since this very well may be the first time I have ever posted it, it's worth seeing. This cool art is right next to a nice looking pond, but the coolest side to photograph was this side, so I couldn't get it and the pond in the same picture. Oh well, you get the idea...there is water very near this monument.

Also, I tried giving Arcade Fire's album Reflektor another listen, and I still think it is almost wholly irredeemable. I loved Neon Bible, but this one is just too weird for me. I don't get it.