Friday, October 30, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty-Four

October 30, 2015
6.24 Miles in 1:01:08
Mood: Comparing leaf spillage from 2013 with 2015.
Soundtrack: Twenty One Pilots "Vessel" / Family and Friends "Xoxo" and "Love You Mean It"

Happy second birthday to this blog! In honor of the occasion, I decided to take a route that would lead me past the same tree that was featured on the very first post. I found it interesting that although both photos were taken on October 30th, that the ravages of autumn were much more severe at that point in 2013 than they are thus far in 2015. There are hardly any leaves on the ground at all in comparison right now. I blame global warming, or something.

As for this run, it was somewhat of a disaster. I was a little slow and sluggish yesterday, and it was even more pronounced on this run. As you can tell by the large gaps in the map where I stopped to walk, I had hardly any energy and just couldn't get into much of a groove the whole run. I eventually cut it a little short and figured since I am over 120 miles for October, it was probably okay to let up a bit. Hopefully, I rest enough to marshall my strength for Sunday, as my brother is going to be in town, and the plan is for the two of us to go running on Sunday morning.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty-Three

October 29, 2015
7.24 Miles in 1:10:34
Mood: Making friends with Goose Mailbox builders
Soundtrack: The Mountain Goats "Transcendental Youth" / 99% Invisible / The Allusionist / Jordan, Jesse, Go!

I took a picture of this amazing goose mailbox and then started back down the street. After I was about 50 yards down the street, the homeowner came down his drive and yelled after me. I had my headphones in and was a sizable distance away, so I pulled them out and asked if he could repeat himself, as I hadn't heard him. He said in a slightly irritated voice, "May I help you?!?"

I told him that I was fine, I was just taking a picture of his epic mailbox, and that I really admired it. (Not a lie, that mailbox is amazing.) He then went from sounding annoying to quite proud. He told me that he had built it himself. I said that it was very cool, and I was impressed. He then told me that he had the plans and offered to give them to me. I thanked him for the offer, but that I wouldn't be able to install my own goose mailbox at my in townhouse community, and wished him a nice day.

The fact that I turned him around from irritated to offering me schematics in about twenty seconds made me feel pretty good about my skills at winning friends and influencing people. Perhaps I should write a book.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty-Two

October 27, 2015
8.38 Miles in 1:19:46
Mood: Spooked
Soundtrack: Ben Folds Five "Whatever and Ever Amen" / Ben Folds "Rockin' the Suburbs"

The darkness was oppressive this morning, even though the moon was full and was casting a decent amount of light upon the trail as I ran. Usually I am able to handle the dark without any issues, but for some reason today it was creeping me out. There were multiple moments in the first hour of my run where something spooked me as I was running. It was always something non-threatening, like a shadow moving across the trail thanks to headlights from a nearby road or a rabbit running across the trail, but man, it was weird today. There was one moment where I didn't notice a fellow trail user wearing very dark clothing until I was only a few feet away, and it legitimately caused me to jump in alarm. Perhaps I am being to sensitive, but I'm very glad that we turn our clocks back an hour this weekend, meaning that the sun will rise fifteen minutes into my run rather than an hour and fifteen minutes in.

Today's picture comes from a Halloween decoration that was one of the few things I didn't find creepy this morning. The closing Jack-O-Lantern lamp let off a warm orange light and was actually quite comforting for some weird reason.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty-One

October 25, 2015
12.06 Miles in 1:47:05
Mood: Strong like bull
Soundtrack: Bear's Den "Islands" / The Avett Brothers "A Carolina Jubilee" and "The Second Gleam"

This run was the longest I have ever achieved in a single outing, yet somehow I was able to maintain an average pace of 8:52 per mile for the entire trek. Those numbers make this run probably one of the top 10 accomplishments of my life. Okay, that's probably a bit overstated, but seeing as how I hardly ever break averaging nine minutes per mile even in a normal seven mile run, to do so for a full 12 miles was kind of miraculous for me. Yes, I felt a massive sense of accomplishment once it was over. I was pretty proud of myself for going so fast (by my standards) for so long.

I started out on this run thinking I'd go a decently far, but I had no intention of exceeding 12 miles. However, between a detour on the Platte River Trail which sent me about a mile out of my way (off the beautiful trail that follows the river and diverted me through a rather ugly industrial neighborhood) and also a train that literally stopped on the tracks about 200 yards before it cleared a railroad crossing, forces conspired against a shorter run and sent me out on an unintentional route that was just a mile shy of a full half-marathon.

The river trail being detoured was only mildly annoying, but the train made me slightly furious. I arrived at the railroad crossing, and the trail was moving. There was a guy on a bicycle who was also waiting, and he told me that he'd been there for about 15 minutes. I checked the time my phone and stood there waiting for eight more minutes until the trail screeched to a halt still barricading the street I needed to use. I could see the end of the train, and watched as the bicyclist and a homeless man who walked up a few minutes later both walked onto the railroad property to circle the train. However, I've heard horror stories of giant fines being given to people who disrespect the railroad and cross in areas they are not supposed to walk through. There was a sign stating no trespassing, so I avoided going that way despite the peer pressure. Even as I was preparing to walk away, I saw an official looking truck head in their direction to try and head them off and perhaps slap them with a five thousand dollar fee. I'm not sure what happened to them, but I felt justified in my avoiding trying to circle the train.

My avoidance of the enormous railroad trespassing fee probably tacked on three extra miles to my run, but I still feel like it was worth it, as I avoided a ticket and actually found myself enjoying this extended running outing. I circled my way north to Confluence Park and found myself jogging southeast on the north most part of the Cherry Creek Trail that runs along Speer Boulevard. That is an awesome running trail, and I saw a huge host of runners, walker, and bikers enjoying it on this bright and glorious Sunday morning.

This is also where today's photo came from, as there is public art lining the walls of the trail. This particular piece looks like a Banksy ripoff to me, but I really liked it anyway. The rainbow behind the black and white hoodie guy was pretty sweet. I also saw a group of public art hummingbirds on another section of the wall which was pretty cool. I was mostly exhausted by the time I reached Wash Park, but I pushed through to the south end of the park on fumes and headed home feeling tired but accomplished.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty

October 23, 2015
8.45 Miles in 1:16:54
Mood: Getting hooted at, and then stumbling into beauty.
Soundtrack: Family and Friends "Xoxo" Lupe Fiasco "Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor"

After two straight days of rain which caused me to miss my Thursday run and kept me indoors for the most part, I was more than ready to get out into the world and run. I was genuinely excited to start this morning. About two and a half miles in, the Friends and Family EP to which I had been listening ended, and I stopped briefly to find something new to play on the earbuds. While I was standing on the trail, an owl started hooting madly in a nearby tree. It was such an unexpected sound, that it caught me by surprise at first. This shouldn't have been surprising as it was 6:30 in the morning, so the sun wasn't even close to rising yet, and the trail was very dark. Still, it startled me, but in a most enjoyable way. I even took out my camera and took a video. The picture is entirely black, but you can totally hear an owl hoot. It literally and figuratively was a hoot.

The rest of the run was pleasant, but non-eventful (It was pretty close to my Tuesday run except run in the reverse skating direction) until I turned a corner about a mile from home and was confronted with the scene you see above. It was just about as perfect as it could be, and I was amazed at how photogenic the world was being at that exact moment. The only problem was that there was a woman slowly jogging towards me in the distance. So I stopped in my tracks and waited for her to go on by and then took this picture. The picture turned out amazingly well, but it was even that much more beautiful in real life. It made my run to get such a cool visual in my head. There was absolutely no question what photo I'd be using for today's post.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty-Nine

October 20, 2015
8.04 Miles in 1:14:36
Mood: Embracing Standard Time and new ponds.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The Allusionist / Twenty One Pilots "Blurryface"

2015 is the year of morning running. Since I have turned into a crazy person who regularly wakes up at 5:30 AM to go running, I have finally come around on switching back and forth to Daylight Savings time. For my entire life, I have always hated it, as it meant that once we "fell back" that the sun would go down much too early. However, as we go through this final week ahead of the time change, I find myself running in the dark for nearly an hour before the sun finally comes up. This is bogus, and I realized recently how much I'm looking forward to switching back to standard time.

If we didn't switch, by the time February rolls around, I would be spending the entirely of my run in the dark. This is unacceptable. I need at least a little light to peak through before I get home. I don't want to turn into the goof wearing a headlamp as I run. So I officially throw all my support behind the time change. It's a good thing for me, and a good thing for America! It just took me nearly 40 years to realize it.

Today's photo is of the sun rising over Ashbaugh Park Pond. I just discovered this park and the trail that is attached to it today for the very first time. It's on the outer western edge of my running territory, but still I'm amazed that I never had found it prior to today. It's a lovely spot, and I reached it at just the right moment, as the sun was rising and the world was pink, which gave me a wonderful first impression of the place. I will return here again in the future, that is certain.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty-Eight

October 17, 2015
7.33 Miles in 1:10:51
Mood: Cold and Awestruck
Soundtrack: Counting Crows "Hard Candy" and "Recovering the Satellites"

Running on vacation is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of going on vacation. Yes, it requires getting up at an unholy time in the morning rather than sleeping in...and the extra sleep is a lovely part of vacationing, but that time alone exploring places that you've never seen before is pretty great.

We were in Grand Lake, staying with the father of one of our good friends. His home was located on the north end of Lake Granby, and I was hoping that I'd find a great trail running along the lake. Great trails do not appear to be a big priority in this particular mountain community, however, so I quickly found myself jogging along the shoulder of Highway 34. Although this might have seemed like a bummer, it tracked near enough to the shore that I was afforded some spectacular views.

The sun was rising as I ran, and seeing it come up over the mountains above the lake was truly breathtaking. It felt like God was putting on a show just for me, as there was NO ONE else awake at seven in the morning on a Saturday. I only encountered one other person walking their dog on the final mile of my run, apart from that it was a very solitary experience. That said, it was amazing. My speed wasn't terribly fast, but I was enjoying every step and just taking in the sights and sounds of a place that I had never before been. It was excellent.

The only downside was that for the first thirty minutes before the sun peaked over the mountains it was exceptionally cold. I was strongly regretting not wearing gloves during that opening stretch, but then the sun came up and suddenly everything was groovy. The photo above was taken right before I turned around to head back in the direction from which I came, and even though it came out quite well, the iPhone still did a poor job trying to capture the beauty. It was such a great morning to be alive.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty-Seven

October 15, 2015
5.82 Miles in 59:05
Mood: Wiped Out
Soundtrack: Mumford and Sons "Wilder Mind"

As you can easily see by the huge gaps in the map of this run, I was struggling. I was still fighting a cold, and I don't think I had fully recovered from the previous day's 5K event. Less than a mile into this run, I could tell it was going to be a struggle. I had serious thoughts of turning around and heading home before I even hit the 2 mile mark.

I kept on pushing forward, and eventually I even got into a little bit of a groove in the final two miles, but I think it's safe to say that I was not fully prepared to give a full effort this morning. Still, there were some decent moments on this run. At one point as I was running along Broadway, someone in a minivan honked at me. I have no clue who it was, but I'm guessing at some point in the future they will tell me that they saw me running. This is a pretty common occurrence in my life...someone will come up to me and tell me when and where they saw me out on a run. I always enjoy it, even if it strikes me as kind of silly that they do it. I just confirm to them that yes, I do in fact run a little bit, and it's very likely they saw me at some point doing so.

The second cool thing from this run was this awesome old-timey truck being driven by a jack-o-lantern. The truck was cool enough all by itself, but having an evil pumpkin behind the wheel made it full on awesome.

Three Hundred Fifty-Six

October 14, 2015
2.97 Miles in 25:57
Mood: Trying to compete
Soundtrack: Custom 5K Music Playlist

This run was my fourth officially organized running event. It was put on by the company I work for. It was only open to fellow employees, and had a grand total of ten competitive runners, but I'm still going to count it as an organized event because there was a (small) entrance fee, an official starting point, and official times. It was a 5K Fun Run/Walk. I joined the competitive run, because of course I did.

There was also a fun run, which was even more sparsely populated than the official run, and a walk, which was how the majority of the participants took part. There was even a half 5K walk for those who didn't want to do the mile and a half loop two times. (A significant number of the participants were pretty wiped out by that walk.)

As for my run experience, I began the race pushing way too hard, as is my custom during races. It was a hot afternoon for October with temps in the 80's, and the sun was beating down. After a blazing fast (for me) first loop I was in second place, but I knew I was in trouble because I had gone begun at a pace that I knew I couldn't maintain. Sure enough, early on in the second lap I was pretty well gassed. The combination of heat, fighting a chest cold I've had all week, and running the first mile of the race in 7:30 conspired to kick my butt. I had to stop two separate times and walk for about thirty seconds to recover. All in all, I only dropped from 2nd place to 5th place, so I still can claim being a Top 5 finisher in a long as I mumble about the size of the race. 5th place overall sounds pretty awesome, like I'm a professional or something. 5th out of 10 is the definition of middle of the pack.

All in all, I finished in under 26 minutes. My official race time was 25:59, which I am unsure about as I didn't start my Nike+ running app until I had been running for about 30 seconds, and also didn't hit stop immediate after crossing the finish line, but it feels about right. I think I could have done even better if it weren't quite so hot and I was healthy, but I am not going to complain about that time, as I was hoping to just break 27 minutes, and I beat that by over a minute.

The photo was an afterthought that I took of the front of my office building after the race was over. I thought it came out looking much better than I was anticipating it would, as I took it quickly and with little thought as I was taking it for no other reason than so I would have a photo to accompany this post.

By the time I got home my exertion was causing my chest cold to really act up, as it was like my body was rebelling against going so hard in the heat while slightly sick. We had a parent-teacher conference with my kids teachers, and I was coughing like a man in hospice at times, which was a little embarrassing.  I was pretty wiped out, which was funny to me since I only ran three miles, but it was how hard I ran those three miles that got to me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty-Five

October 11, 2015
7.77 Miles in 1:10:21
Mood: Navigating the complicated relationship between running and doughnuts.
Soundtrack: The Head and the Heart "Let's Be Still" and "The Head and the Heart"

Sometimes, you want doughnuts. I was planning to run in Wash Park, but I had a little bit of cash in my pocket, and I knew deep in my heart from the very first step on this run exactly where I was headed. Voo Doo Doughnuts was on the agenda.

After a glorious trek four miles north, I waited in line for about 15 minutes to purchase five doughnuts. The guy at the counter tried to give them to me in a box, but the thought of running all the way back to Wash Park while holding a doughnut box was too ridiculous even for me. I asked if it would be possible to get them in a bag, and he looked at me incredulously, as if it were physically impossible to get five doughnuts into a bag. I talked him into it when I let him know that I was planning on eating one of them immediately. Apparently four doughnuts in a bag is easy, but stuffing five in there breaks all known laws of physics.

The run back south was also quite pleasant, although slightly more difficult as I was trying to find a decent way to carry a bag of doughnuts whilst running without having the bag rupture and spill my treasures all over the streets of Denver. I tried several different grips and holds with varying degrees of comfort. The most comfortable way was to just grip the bag by it's top. I did this for the first two miles, but I slowly realized that the bag was beginning to rip, making this easiest method also the most dangerous. I briefly tried to run with the doughnut bag like a football, but after about half a block, I had the thought that my sweaty arm might bleed through the bag and give the doughnuts a most unwanted salty flavor. I finally settled on gripping it with my whole hand from the bottom and kept shifting hands. This was not terribly comfortable, but I figured it gave me the best chance of reaching my car without losing the doughnuts or rendering them inedible.

By the time I got home, the bag was quite a bit worse for wear, but the doughnuts had survived and were delicious. Most importantly, I didn't have to run several miles while holding a doughnut box, because that is always a silly look.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty-Four

October 9, 2015
7.26 Miles in 1:10:43
Mood: Blinded
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / The Allusionist / Rich Mullins "A Liturgy, A Legacy, and A Ragamuffin Band"

Today's picture comes from about two minutes into my run this morning. Four runners, three with headlights were approaching on the trail. These headlights were amazingly bright. I've seen other runners with this style of personal illumination out on the trails during early morning hours. Every time I've ever seen it, it always strikes me as looking somewhat akin to above ground coal miners. We live in a city with so much ambient light, that I find it odd that some folks feel this particular accoutrement to be necessary. I have always felt that they look more than just a little silly.

These particular lamps were excessively bright. The photo doesn't do justice to just how intensely luminous these lights were. It's important to note that this photo was taken from probably 150 yards away. The effect this early in the morning was spooky and ghost like, and I was a little creeped out when I first saw them, then I pulled out my camera to get this picture, then I was blinded when they ran past. My eyes literally adjusted to their headlamps to the point that it took about ten seconds to be able to see clearly enough to continue running after they passed by.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty-Three

October 8, 2015
8.00 Miles in 1:15:27
Mood: Feeling like an intruder in a public space
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / Twenty One Pilots "Blurryface"

The world felt abandoned at 6:15 this morning. It was 45 minutes before the sun was going to come up as I started out, and I had run almost a mile without seeing a single solitary soul. I found myself in DeKoevend Park severely in need of a bathroom, so I stopped at a Port-O-Potty that I will sometimes utilize  on runs and tried to walk in. The door was stuck, which felt weird, so I tried to open it with a little more force when I received a muffled grunt that while not exactly words, conveyed the message that "I'm in here, and none too pleased with your attempts at entry."

My brain took a second to compute this, as I have never seen anyone else use this particular portable toilet at any time on my myriad runs through the park. It was doubly weird since I had not seen a single person for the duration the first mile, but suddenly I was in line to pee? Inconceivable.

I ended up running just a tiny bit further around the bend where there is a proper permanent structure restroom a little deeper into the park, because I didn't want to come face to face with the man who had made that irritated grunt if I didn't have to. Then it also occurred to me that it could have been a homeless person trying to stay warm, although that is a need to stay warm that betrays any sense of olfactory decency.

Moral of the story is that I peed, and then went on to a much better run. (My first mile was significantly my slowest, which is a rather unusual occurrence.)

Today's photo came near the tail end of the run, and I had actually oriented my entire route so that I would hit this particular spot late in the run so I could have the best possible light to get a picture of this skeleton on a Scwhinn. I couldn't have been happier with the result. There is a certain joy in the body language of this skeleton, in my opinion. He seems really happy to be on a bike. Maybe I'm reading into that, but it's how I interpret it. Halloween is a weird time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty-Two

October 6, 2015
8.25 Miles in 1:17:43
Mood: Wondering about Veterinarians
Soundtrack: Bear's Den "Islands" / Family and Friends "Xoxo" and "Love You Mean It"

Darkness and cold continue to creep in to the morning run routine, and while I'm not crazy about it, I'm working my way through it. It was legitimately chilly this morning as I set out, and it never really warmed up all that much even after the sun rose. Part of that may be due to the thick layer of clouds/fog engulfing the Denver area, which lent an aura of creepiness to the morning, but also looked kind of cool, so I forgive it.

While I didn't feel quite as invincible as I did on Sunday, it was still a solid outing. I wasn't quite as fast, but getting north of eight miles traversed on a weekday morning is a good showing, and I felt great at the conclusion.

Today's photo comes via a tip from my friend Deb, who is constantly vigilant, always looking for things for me to photograph. This particular ram graces the front of a veterinarian clinic...because when you think veterinary medicine, the first animal you think of is a ram, obviously. It may be a little weird for it's location, but I have to say I think it's a pretty cool looking statue. My guess is the vet is a Colorado State fan, which is about the only thing that would make sense here. Either that, or he or she has a very unusual specialty for a city veterinarian.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty-One

October 4, 2015
9.06 Miles in 1:21:43
Mood: Invincible
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "Mignonette" and "Four Thieves Gone"

I haven't run to Sports Authority Field on a Game Day since the playoff game in January against the Colts that ended the Broncos season. Since I am not a superstitious person, I believed that no harm could come of such an endeavor even though it ended badly last time. So I started out from Cheesman park with the stadium in mind as my destination.

It was a glorious morning, and I was well rested and felt super human. I was running at a very solid (for me) clip, and wasn't getting tired in the least. It was one of those rare occasions where I felt so strong, it seemed like I could run forever. I stopped when I reached 9 miles because I had arrived back at my car and needed to get home, but it did seem like I had another 4 or 5 miles in me if I wanted to extend the excursion. Such a great run.

During this trip, I did arrive at the stadium to find a large contingent of fans (including a surprisingly large number of purple clad Vikings fans) milling around the stadium. The gates wouldn't open for about an hour, yet people were already there at 10:30 in the morning for a 2:25 kickoff. I have no idea what you do for four hours to get ready for a game, but these people were doing it. Mostly it appears that you take selfies with the stadium.

After circling the stadium fall of Jericho style, I headed towards downtown so I could run the 16th Street mall on my return trip. As I passed by the Downtown Denver Sheraton, I noticed that the ballerina statues in front had been decked out with Bronco colored dresses, which was quite awesome. All in all, by the time I made it back to the car, I felt I had appropriately pre-gamed and that the Broncos were now ready to go out and play football thanks to my running exploits. No clue why I feel that a good run equals good prep for my favorite football team, but it does. Turns out they beat the Vikings, so I guess I wasn't wrong. If only all runs could be as great as this one.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Three Hundred Fifty

October 2, 2015
7.06 Miles in 1:09:02
Mood: Commute-y
Soundtrack: TV on the Radio "Seeds" and "Dear Science"

This run was planned for me a week ago when my wife asked if I'd be willing to run to work so that she could get our van into the shop to get it's brakes worked on. I quickly agreed, because it's always fun to actually have a destination for a run instead of just doing the usual loop.

I have run to work one other time a few years ago, and when I did so last time I ran pretty much straight down Arapahoe Road. I wanted to take a different route, so I took to the internet to find an indirect but not TOO indirect route to work. As a result, I was cruising along parks, trails, and residential areas just a little bit to the north or the south of Dry Creek Blvd. If I can find a way to get somewhere that doesn't involved running on the sidewalk of a major street, I try to do so.

I called a few audibles on my way in from my original internet plan. The most major change was running on a small little paved path through a thin park looking stretch just a little south of Dry Creek. These types of trails are rather common in this area, and I have run on many just like it on runs I have taken in this general vicinity. Typically, they dump out on a major thoroughfare with an opening in a fence after a pleasant run through a grassy park. On this particular path, however, the path dead ended right into a fence, and there was no opening to get back to dry creek. It appears there used to be a break in the fence, but now the trail just dead ended. I looked over the six foot fence, and on the other side, I could see a few feet of this old trail continuing on to the sidewalk on Dry Creek. It's my guess that some HOA folk decided that they didn't want non-native undesirables traipsing through their hood, so as so often happens...someone built a wall.

I could have turned around and found another way out, but I was irritated and felt like jumping a fence, so I climbed over and hopped down on the other side with satisfaction. I so rarely get the opportunity to jump fences anymore. It took me back to being a kid, that time in your life when you much more regularly find yourself at the top of a fence. It felt good and slightly rebellious, as I was guessing that these folks didn't want me climbing over their wall.

The rest of the commute in to work went pretty well, albeit at a rather embarrassingly slow pace, and I was in a great mood as I walked in to work. It's a little strange to take a shower at your place of business, but I felt like a million bucks after I got out and headed upstairs a few minutes later to do my job. Run commuting is a really pleasant way to start one's day, and I highly recommend it. Especially if you get to hop a fence in the process.

Today's photo is literally the only thing I took a picture of on this run. I took it about two miles into my commute at the Willow Creek Open Space, as the sun was getting to rise. Sadly, there were too many clouds for a spectacular sunrise, but there was something haunting and beautiful about the obscured sunrise and the foggy fields and hills it was rising behind.

Three Hundred Forty-Nine

October 1, 2015
7.39 Miles in 1:10:33
Mood: Enjoying an early birthday morning.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / The Bill Simmons Podcast

Happy Birthday to me! My first run as a 39 year old was actually rather nice. I almost used a picture of a group of kids waiting for a school bus as my picture for the day because the sight of them just standing there on the side of the road in an early morning stupor waiting for a bus to whisk them off to school really cracked me up for some unknown reason. There was a zombie-like quality about it.

I received a birthday greeting text from my brother as I ran, which was pleasant, and I opened my first birthday present of the day in the form of a new podcast from Bill Simmons. Bill was let go from ESPN in May, and for the last five months has been completely silent as the final five months of his contract played out and he did nothing. My birthday also doubled as the day he was finally allowed to post a new podcast. I haven't been as avid a listener of his as I used to be, but was nice to hear him talking football again.

Another bonus from this run was that I found a new segment of trail that I don't believe I had ever discovered before. This is always surprising when it happens, as generally I've run to death most of the areas in a five mile radius of my house, but every now and then I find something new and different. That was a welcome surprise.

Today's photo came from a rather shallow pool of contenders, as for some reason I haven't really taken many photos on my runs lately. However, this is a nice one...a cool bird condo...great spots still available!