Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy-Eight

November 25, 2015
7.02 Miles in 1:09:09
Mood: Distracted by the upcoming holiday and a pink and purple sky.
Soundtrack: Peter Mulvey "Notes from Elsewhere" and "Letters from a Flying Machine"

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a little tough. Everyone's minds are already in holiday mode, but you have to still fight your way through a mostly normal work day, even though work is the last place you actually want to be. That general attitude was sort of how I felt on this run. I went out on this Wednesday, as the next several days are expected to be cold and snowy, and this seemed like my last chance to get in a run this week before the awful weather sidelines me. I was able to get over 100 miles for the month thanks to this outing, but my heart wasn't fully in it. I was definitely feeling the second straight day drag, and with Thanksgiving approaching, I did my best to plod my way through, even though my heart was maybe not fully into it. It wasn't a terrible run, but it wasn't the greatest either.

In positive news, for the second straight day, the sunrise was phenomenal. So much purple and pink. It didn't last very long, and it didn't cover the entire sky like it did the day before, but for a brief time, it was beautiful and it lit up the Denver Tech Center in a most excellent way.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy-Seven

November 24, 2015
8.05 Miles in 1:17:16
Mood: Hungry and drinking in a pink sunrise.
Soundtrack: Modest Mouse "Strangers to Ourselves" and "The Moon & Antarctica"

The managers at my office held their annual appreciation pancake breakfast for us this morning, and so rather than eating my usual bowl of cereal before heading out...I decided to hold off and wait for pancakes, bacon and sausage. The run was fine, I barely noticed a difference from my normal outing with a full belly...however I realized when I got back that not eating breakfast for three hours is brutal. I was so hungry by the time I arrived at work, which made my pancakes taste even more special. Still...I'm not planning on making it a habit to push breakfast back so far. I usually eat within 15 minutes of waking up, and I was famished by 9:00 when I finally got to eat.

As for the run itself, it was a stunning sunrise special. I see the sun come up on almost every run I take these days, but there haven't been too many really awesome ones lately. Today, however, was a truly amazing spectacle. There were pink clouds in every corner of the sky. The entire world had amazing rosy glow, and it was just a beautiful thing to behold. Those glorious few minutes during exquisite sunrises are some of my favorite times to be alive. I just keep looking up and trying to soak in all the beauty. It's so fleeting, and there is never enough time to drink it all in. Photos can capture part of it, but there is no substitute for experiencing it live in person.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy-Six

November 22, 2015
7.95 Miles in 1:14:03
Mood: Trying to beat the clock to see the Broncos
Soundtrack: Passenger "Whispers" and "Whispers II"

Sunshine on a glorious morning. I was racing the clock, as I was trying to get home in time to be able to see the start of the Broncos game. Thankfully, they don't play early games all that often, but on this occasion, the game in Chicago meant I needed to hurry.

Even though I was somewhat in a hurry, it was a great morning, and I went a bit further than I intended to is often my habit. The most irritating moment of the run was when I found myself having accidentally run into a gated community, but then I was blocked from leaving by a large fence. I didn't feel like turning around and coming back from where I had started, so I shimmied and escaped under a gate designed to keep people out. Gated communities are dumb.

Today's photo comes from early on in the run, as I saw someone had attached a fake woodpecker to a tree. There is something wonderful about a woodpecker made of wood. Oh, I also made it back in time to see kickoff...the Brock Osweiler era began with a 17-15 win.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy-Five

November 20, 2015
8.08 Miles in 1:15:01
Mood: Dark but pleasant.
Soundtrack: The Shins "Chutes Too Narrow" / The Avett Brothers "Magpie and the Dandelion" and "The Gleam"

The days are getting so short. Even with the switch to standard time, sunrise is still coming awfully late in the morning. As you can see in my photo above, when I first started out, the darkness was so complete that even the neon lights were still on and shining bright in the local liquor store. The snow that fell this week had mostly melted, but the trails are still a mess, so I ended up running along streets exclusively on this run. Although it was dark, thankfully it wasn't chilly. It was actually a quite nice morning...even if it was going to snow later that day, and there was hardly a cloud in the sky when I finished up.

The greatest moment of this run came when I was less than two miles away from home, and discovered a street I had never run down before. As I was running down this street, I found a glorious weird pair of statues is someone's front yard. I took photos, but it was so early in the morning, that the darkness prevented me from getting a good picture. I'm sure I'll have pictures in this blog at some point, but the ones I took on this run were pretty blurry. Mostly I was pleased that I found yet another weird thing in Littleton...Every time I think I've discovered them all, a new one pops up.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy-Four

November 18, 2015
7.45 Miles in 1:12:54
Mood: Annoyed at winter
Soundtrack: Hey Marseilles "To Travels & Trunks" / Barenaked Ladies "Barenaked Ladies are Me"

After being forced to skip running on Tuesday thanks to a winter snowstorm hitting the area, I decided to head out on Wednesday despite the fact that there was still a ton of snow and ice on the ground and despite monstrous gusts of wind blowing. As a result, I was confronted with treacherous roads and some blasts of air that felt at times like they were halting my progress. Thankfully, the temperatures were unseasonably warm on this morning (in the 40's) so at least I wasn't freezing.

To add to my annoyance, my Nike Running app had just been updated, and in the update they tied the ability to pause music with pausing the run. I suppose this is great if you want it, but it had the effect of stopping my music any time I wanted to stop to take a picture, take a brief rest, or needed to cross the street. Along with the slippery roads and strong winds, I was in a bad mood halfway through this run. My speeds were super slow as I was prancing nimbly across stretches of ice trying to merely not fall, and if I dared to walk across a particularly icy stretch, I had to do so in silence. I was cursing winter, a season I dislike much more strongly than I should as it's not really THAT bad.

Thankfully, the second half of the run, the sun came out, there seemed to be fewer stretches of ice and snow, and in general I was faster and in a better mood. I actually felt mostly good by the time I got home. Plus, I passed by this awesome old timey truck, which was easily the highlight of this run. Seriously, that truck rules.

Seeing as how we are only in November, I have to resign myself to the fact that many slippery runs lie ahead of me, and it's all going to be okay. I am trying VERY hard to not complain about winter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy-Three

November 15, 2015
7.41 Miles in 1:08:45
Mood: Enjoying a sleazy stretch of Broadway
Soundtrack: Of Monsters and Men "Beneath the Skin" / Lupe Fiasco "Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor"

Since I didn't have enough time on this Sunday morning to drive into the heart of Denver to run, I decided to run along a stretch of South Broadway a little closer to home that I've never really ran on before. For lack of a better term, let's call it the cheap motel district. There is a sleazy feel to much of Broadway, but it also has it's charm. Sometimes sketchy areas can be the most interesting. I'm not sure if I'd recommend this run for natural beauty, but the day was lovely, the sky was blue, and it felt good to get out in an area I'd never really run before.

I ran north for about three miles, and found myself at Harvard Gulch Park, which is a place I have previously discovered while running by starting at Observatory and heading south. It was interesting to bump into it from the south and realize that all these places in which I find myself are indeed connected. I understand this in my mind, but there is still something weird about linking two places on foot and truly feeling the interconnection of all the random places in the city.

Today's photo was taken while standing in the northbound lanes of Broadway. I have passed this weird grass sculpture a ton of times, but it's hard to get a good picture from your car. It was quite satisfying to be able to get up close and personal with it. These blades of grass are quite large, maybe ten feet tall, and they are much cooler when you really take time to enjoy them. I still don't really understand why someone decided to put them on a random scuzzy block of Broadway, but as with nearly all art...I'm glad someone did. It makes this section of town feel just that much cooler.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy-Two

November 13, 2015
6.37 Miles in 1:02:44
Mood: Enjoying Pumpkins who apparently know Kung Fu
Soundtrack: Of Monsters And Men "Under the Skin" / DC Talk "Jesus Freak"

Nevermind how ridiculous it is that so many people still have their Halloween decorations on display, this totem poll of jack-o-lanterns looks like it's holding a bow staff and that is amazing. Prior to reaching this house, this run was nearly a complete waste, but this one thing alone totally saved it.

It was so cold this morning, and my legs were so dead, and there is still a lot of snow on the ground, and I decided to try running on a trail. This was a bad combination of things. Because my legs were overtired, I was stopping to walk too much. However, due to the temps, I couldn't walk for too long or I would get cold. Then I tried the Highline canal, but since we got snow two days ago, it has melted and refrozen leaving huge chunks of the trail covered in rock hard snow remnants which make the ground lumpy and hard to run without twisting an ankle on the uneven surface. So I was grumpy and cold and tired and having none of it.

Then the bow staff pumpkin pile made it all better. I finished up moderately strong on dry streets, and was far less grumpy when I arrived home. It was still a slow cold run, but I eventually made the best of it after feeling sorry for myself for the first three miles.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy-One

November 12, 2015
8.08 Miles in 1:16:03
Mood: Getting the miles in even when it's hard.
Soundtrack: Freelance Whales "Weathervanes" / The Allusionist / 99% Invisible

The alarm woke me this morning at 5:33 AM. The forecast predicted temps in the teens, and I was so warm and so drowsy and my bed was so welcoming. Somehow, I still pulled myself out of bed, but the whole time I was eating breakfast and prepping to go out, I was wondering about my choice.

It was cold, but it wasn't miserable. I had to avoid trails, as they are all covered in snow, but the streets were mostly dry and welcoming, and all in all it was a pleasant if totally unremarkable run. By the time it ended, I was really glad I went.

Photos were few and far between today, with nothing all that amazing to pick. I chose to use this one, because...WHAT IS THAT THING? I'm guessing it's art, but it doesn't give warm fuzzy "I'm appreciating art" feelings. It looks like it could be some sort of torture device. Not the sort of thing I'd put in my front yard, but to each his own.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Three Hundred Seventy

November 10, 2015
7.78 Miles in 1:12:55
Mood: Birdwatching
Soundtrack: Jack White "Lazaretto" and "Blunderbuss" / Robert DeLong "In the Cards"

There is a lone hawk in that tree. I saw him about ten minutes into my run, and I thought about him for awhile that day. He seemed alone but not lonely. I don't know that animals get lonely, but there was something majestic about seeing him that morning. He was just still, it didn't appear that he was even looking for prey, he was just chilling out enjoying the morning just like I was. He was happy to be by himself. He didn't want to go anywhere or do anything, but just sit in the tree and enjoy the morning sun. I'm reading a lot into this bird, but I admired him. You rock on, hawk. Do your hawk thing!

It was an amazing morning, it was warm and bright and the world was just waking up and enjoying the day. It would snow later on, and the cold front was coming, but for this short morning period, all was right with the world.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty-Nine

November 8, 2015
8.14 Miles in 1:13:34
Mood: Pondering impermanence.
Soundtrack: Modest Mouse "Strangers to Ourselves" and "The Moon & Antarctica"

I found myself running north on Colorado Blvd, which is a busy and somewhat less than attractive major road. As I was running, I came across a building which used to be a World Savings bank location. I used to work for World Savings over a decade ago, and the company was run by a husband and wife team known throughout the company simply as "The Sandlers". The husband's name was Herb, and he always seemed like the more easy going of the two. (This is all strictly from impressions that I got from videos that they appeared in and second hand stories of people who had interacted with them...I never met either of them.) The wife was named Marion, and she had a reputation of being a hard driver. She also had a reputation of thinking she was a skilled architect, and many of the bank's buildings were somewhat odd looking and unique, and throughout the company this peculiar style was either credited to (or blamed on) Mrs. Sandler.

Anyway, these people were in my life in only a tangential way, but as I passed by the old bank of the more odd looking bank buildings of the many odd looking bank buildings credited to Marion, I laughed. The building still stands, even though there hasn't been a World Savings Bank since 2006, and today it is a mattress store. This made me laugh, because even though I never met her, I know that Marion Sandler took her bank and her architecture very seriously, and now, less than ten years after she quit, the bank is a memory and the building she was proud of is now hawking mattresses. I'm not sure this is the legacy she had in mind. Granted, she was a billionaire, and I'm sure she has a much more lasting legacy which she has left with benevolent organizations and other things which I am wholly unfamiliar, but to me, her entire legacy in my world boils down to a silly looking mattress store.
I say all that to say that things change, and it's hard to do things of lasting significance. The change of the world is seen in mattress stores, and the golden leaves which visit us every fall and foretell the change to a freezing cold winter that will be upon us shortly. We can't hold back the seasons, and we even if we pour millions into bizarre architecture, it's probably just going to end up as a mattress store. Change will always be upon us, and our time on earth is short. This is what I was thinking about on a Sunday morning run.

(I learned several interesting things researching for this post, including the fact that Herb and Marion Sandler were parodied on Saturday Night Live as emblematic of the people causing problems at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. The parody was so ruthless that NBC actually censored the replay and online version of the skit so it wouldn't come across as harshly for subsequent audiences. I learned that Time Magazine included them in their 25 people to blame for the financial crisis. I also learned that Marion Sandler passed away in 2012, and Herb is still alive and kicking. For the record, I was always a little afraid of the prospect of potentially meeting Marion, and regarded her as a vaguely evil presence hovering over World Savings...even though I had nothing to base this on other than second hand accounts and company videos she appeared in.)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty-Eight

November 6, 2015
7.20 Miles in 1:10:09
Mood: Cold and slow
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / Judge John Hodgman

It was 27 degrees outside when I left this morning. I gave serious thought to skipping out on this run, but I didn't have a good reason other than it being cold. Even though I struggled through it, I still felt pretty good when I was done. A bad day of running still beats a good day of not running.

In addition to being quite cold, my earbuds died less than a mile in. They were only working on the right ear, so I bailed on the Arctic Monkeys album I had just started, and switched over to podcasts, because listening to people talking in only one ear is much easier and more pleasant than trying to listen to stereo music in only one ear.

Today's photo was taken right in front of Heritage High School. For some reason they had a large chalk art drawing of a single unlaced athletic shoe in the road right in front of their school. No idea what was going on there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty-Seven

November 4, 2015
7.06 Miles in 1:06:24
Mood: Watching fall end before my eyes.
Soundtrack: Bear's Den "Islands" / The Allusionist / Peter Mulvey "Letters from a Flying Machine"

The forecast is calling for freezing rain, and possibly snow in the very near future. However, the forecast for Wednesday morning was bright and sunny, so I decided to do a back to back on Tuesday/Wednesday and take my rest day on Thursday and hopefully miss the worst of the cold front. It was a glorious fifty degree morning as I set out, and the conditions were perfect for a nice run. As I looked around, I was a little bummed to see that the leaves which were in the height of fall color splendor just a week or two ago are now mostly brown and just waiting for harsh weather to blow them to the ground. The absolute best part of the year has now officially ended, and as November is about to ramp up into cold and nastiness, I find myself a little melancholy that my favorite two month stretch of the year (September and October) is now over.

Still, although this run felt like the end of my favorite stretch, It was so nice that I took my time to breathe in the fact that it wasn't quite over. This was a great morning to be cherished. Sadly, my legs were a bit run down, so I did a bit more walking that I usually allow myself. While that makes my map look less impressive and perhaps makes my run a little less useful for physical fitness, it did allow me to drink in the morning, so I regret nothing.

Today's photo was of a bit of Halloween decor that somehow hasn't been hidden away in an attic yet. I saw this orange jack-o-lantern box a week and a half ago, and made sure to run by on the off chance that it was still there. I was quite happy to still see it, as something about a cubical pumpkin appeals to me...especially if it has symmetrical triangle eyes. It will disappear soon, as will fall, but at least it's appearance in my world is now documented for the blog. Fall rules!

Three Hundred Sixty-Six

November 3, 2015
7.53 Miles in 1:10:12
Mood: Curiouser and Curiouser and Curiouser
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / Twenty One Pilots "Blurryface" / Blue Man Group "Live at the Venetian" / Jefferson Airplane "White Rabbit"

I hit up this head shop about a year ago in Post 167 and posted how having an Alice in Wonderland mural on the side of the shop was a little on the nose, but still awesome. Turns out they really like the theme, but also want to keep it fresh, as they had the old mural painted over with yellow and then a NEW Alice mural painted on the side. I enjoy how they borrow liberally from the Disney cartoon, but mix it up with a much more psychedelic Caterpillar and Cheshire Cat.

Amazingly, this is the third Alice in Wonderland themed post on this blog. To finish up the last stretch of this run, I had to listen to Jefferson only seemed fitting. It just felt right to finish up this outing with people shout-singing to "Go Ask Alice!"

Monday, November 2, 2015

Three Hundred Sixty-Five

November 1, 2015
8.00 Miles in 1:14:51
Mood: Happy and art appreciating with good company.
Soundtrack: Conversation with my brother

I pretty much always run to a soundtrack, so to go on a full 8 mile run without earbuds jammed into my head feels kind of weird. My brother was in town from Tucson to attend the Broncos-Packers game, and we decided to get a good run in on Sunday morning. As a result I ran without music...and it was wonderful.

It's rare that I get to spend time with my brother, and getting a few hours of one on one together was a nice treat. We headed north, as I wanted to show him the cool Five Points Art district. We also went through downtown and checked out the remodeled Union Station, which looks incredible, and then ran near the Broncos stadium and Colfax to complete the loop back to City Park. We talked about exercise, and getting old, and family, and the Broncos, and art, and all sorts of other brotherly things and enjoyed the rare opportunity to hang out. It was a great start to a great day, and Bruce even managed to attend a Bronco game without seeing our team lose, which he hadn't done in several years, so all in all it was a massive success.

The photo from today comes from the art district in Five Points. One of my favorite installations is the red haired girl that is painted on beams that can really only be seen well from down the street, as it works through forced perspective, as a small piece of the art is painted on each beam and it only comes together when viewed from a certain angle. It's really cool. Especially with the old church in the background and some other cool murals in the foreground. I really dig this section of Denver. I ran through it back in July, and about 80% of the walls that I saw on this trip had changed to new and different amazing art from the amazing art that I saw back then. Such a cool section of town to check out every few months, apparently. I imagine I'll keep stopping by from time to time to keep up with the changes.