Monday, February 29, 2016

Four Hundred Twenty-Four

February 28, 2016
8.19 Miles in 1:13:08
Mood: Triumphant, Joyful, Elephanty, with occasional bouts of deep hole gazing.
Soundtrack: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

Sometimes a tree dies in your yard, and rather than cutting it down to a stump, you have it carved into an elephant with a goddess on it's head. Because that's just the right thing to do.

It's still February, but the weather in Denver seems to think it's May. I am never going to ever ever complain about blue skies and sixty degree days. Complaining about days like this is like saying you are too content, have too much money, or are feeling too just doesn't compute. I attacked this day with vigor, because there aren't enough perfect days to go around, and sometime soon the snow will be falling and the weather will be miserable.

I have taken to only listening to Hamilton on Sundays, and it's become something of a treat for me to hear this amazing musical as I am partaking in my Sunday runs through neighborhoods I can only visit once a week at a maximum. I am honestly still so in love with Hamilton that I could listen through it several times a week, but in the interest of not burning it out, I've set an artificial restriction on it, which if anything only makes it better.

On the southernmost section of this run, I passed by a giant hole. I went out of my way to go past it, as I wanted to look down into it. It's this giant pit that has all sorts of construction equipment in it. All the buildings that used to stand on this spot were razed, and now they have dug this enormous hole, which I only assume it the new foundation for an enormous sixty story skyscraper. The hole is exceptionally deep, and it has all manner of cranes and earth movers in it, and it's the kind of thing that inspires little boys to play with Tonka trucks. There is something deeply satisfying to the soul of a man to see a very deep hole. I can't really explain it, but it started my run off on a great foot and my pace was fast for the entire outing and I attribute it mostly to this big hole in the ground...well, that and Alexander Hamilton.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Four Hundred Twenty-Three

February 26, 2016
6.41 Miles in 1:01:23
Mood: Confused and stinky, but still delivering the milk.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The Memory Palace / 99% Invisible

This is a goose statue that is wearing a penguin costume. I mean...I understand what the things are that I am looking at, but I don't understand the "why" of what I'm looking at in any meaningful way. I'm not judging, I'm just confused. Even if I'm not sure what is happening here. (And clearly, I'm not certain.) You can rest assured that if I ever find a statue of a goose in costume while out on a run, that sucker is getting photographed.

As for this run, it took a little while to get going, but after a bit, I found a nice groove. Then, when I was as far away as possible from a grocery store, I received a text from my wife requesting that I come home with a gallon of milk. Never mind that there was no logical path to get to a grocery store and then home again with a gallon of milk in a reasonable time frame, I wasn't keen on the idea of lugging home a gallon of milk for a mile while also trying to run.

I decided to finish up a tiny bit early, running straight home rather than going for about another 10 minutes to get another mile in, and then hopped in the car from home to get to the grocery store and then back. A terrible thing happened as I was driving to the store. I smelled something unreasonably foul, and thought to myself, "Egad, what is that horrific odor."

Then I realized that it was me. Exercise is good for your body, but not so much for your scent. Thank heavens for showers, I'm sure no one would want to have to put up with my stench, as not even I wanted to put up with it this morning.

On the plus side, I got the milk.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Four Hundred Twenty-Two

February 25, 2016
7.60 Miles in 1:09:21
Mood: Frozen and competitive.
Soundtrack: Counting Crows "Somewhere Under Wonderland" and "Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow"

It was 17 degrees when I started out this morning, and it only jumped up to 24 by the time I arrived back home. Thankfully, it wasn't windy, but it was chilly enough that halfway through the run I was experiencing the frozen cheek phenomenon. When you have big chubby squeezable cheeks like mine, and then they get really cold, it creates an experience which I can best describe as, "Oh my God, my entire face is frozen."

I have heard that if you get Botox, it can sometimes completely immobilize your face so that you are incapable of creating facial expressions. I would contend that after an hour running in temperatures in the teens, I have complete empathy with what that must feel like. I have difficulty smiling twitching my nose or trying to smile, and my speech begins to sound quite disturbed, as I have extreme difficulty making any of the sounds which require you to manipulate your face. Thankfully, this sensation goes away fairly quickly once I head indoors. Three or four minutes and I'm back to normal. Still, it's a weird feeling.

In addition to freezing my face, I also took the opportunity to over-exert myself six and a half miles into my run. I was walking south on Clarkson and trying to change to a different music album when a speedy woman runner flew past me. I so rarely get the chance to pace myself against another runner in the winter, because most sane people avoid going running outdoors early in the morning on days with temperatures in the teens. I guess most people don't like having a frozen face, but this woman is apparently a fellow psychopath and she was running pretty fast. So after a moment's hesitation, I began my attempt to try and catch her.

She had about a ten second head start on me, and was moving at a good clip, but nothing gets me inspired to run faster than I should more than an opportunity to catch up to someone else who is also running. I started running much faster than I had the stamina to maintain at this point in my run, and to make it worse, I was running uphill. After catching up to her, I kept up the same speed, and passed her. We were approaching Arapahoe road, and I was pretty well gassed. Arapahoe is a busy road, which necessitated me stopping, and she was only a few paces behind me.

She came up to me and said, "Great pace up that hill!"

I laughed and told her that I love it when there is someone pushing me to run harder. What I didn't mention is that I was really hoping she was going to be running in a different direction, because I was exhausted by the actives of the past five minutes, and I had no chance of keeping up this "great pace" for much longer.

I found a gap in traffic and started across the street, and she followed just a step or two behind me. I gave it my best effort for the next two minutes, but as the uphill climb kept going, I was gassed. I had to stop and catch my breath and she whizzed on past. I paused and wheezed for a couple of minutes as the cold air burned my lungs, and headed back home at a slower pace for the final mile. I was proud at how hard I had gone, but I also realized that it was silly to try and keep up with this woman who was clearly going a lot faster than I could keep up with at that point.

I think this is why I usually tend to get faster times when I run at Wash Park with it's hoard of runners. I just get competitive for no good reason, and it makes me faster. Regardless, I like being pushed, even if I can't keep up with the people I choose to "compete" with.

As for today's photo, it comes from the lake Sterne Park. I don't usually get that far west on a normal day, but I was moving faster than normal today, and I decided to try and push a little further than I'd normally go. I truly love this little lake, it's pretty idyllic, and every time I run past it, it makes me happy. Plus it has a little table in the shape of a turtle right next to it, so who wouldn't love it??

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Four Hundred Twenty-One

February 23, 2016
6.70 Miles in 1:04:01
Mood: Hoping to not be buried in snow.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The Walking Dead 'Cast

Winter returned to Colorado this morning for a brief cameo. We got about an inch of snow overnight. It was cold, but it wasn't snowing as I left this morning. I figured that the snow had passed by, and I could push through the cold. I push through cold all the time.

Things were fine for the first 30 minutes, but then the flakes began softly falling. I didn't mind the soft portion of the falling, but ten minutes later, I was being deluged by very large flakes of very heavy snow. At this point, it began getting a little bit miserable. I was about three or so away from home, and I began prepping myself for a tough trek back home. Thankfully, the snow let up after about 10 minutes and for the rest of the return trip home it never really rose above the level of a few scattered flakes.

I ended up with a shorter run than usual, as I found myself walking through the worst portions of the storm so that mileage didn't count towards my running stats. I was happy with nearly getting to 7 miles and not having to fight a blizzard, so I counted it as a win anyway.

The photo from today comes just as the real heavy snow had let up. I was in Ketring Park, and the snow had rendered the scene a frigid version of beautiful. Not my favorite form of beautiful, but I can't deny it was pretty.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Four Hundred Twenty

February 21, 2016
7.54 Miles in 1:08:39
Soundtrack: The Wombats "Glitterbug" / Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

The Red Wings and Avalanche are a week away from playing an outdoor hockey game at Coors Field. It's more than a bit odd to see Red Wings banners hanging from a Denver Area sports arena, and it reminds me a little of when the NFL placed a giant banner of Joe Flacco on the Broncos stadium facade ahead of a Broncos-Ravens season kickoff game. It feels unnatural like that did, but even more so, as it's a hated hockey team being placed on our baseball stadium. I understand why it's there, but it's odd. Still, the banners look pretty cool on the front of Coors Field, and I decided to use this picture, as it's not every day that an NHL event takes place in our baseball stadium. Next time I run past Coors, it'll be a baseball facility again, so this is my one and only chance to post a picture of these cool banners.

I had plenty of other pictures worth choosing from, but decided on this photo due to the limited nature of the event. However, when I first started out on this run, my intention was to post a picture of the Peyton Manning Mural that I previously used on Post 284. I was going to use that picture, because since I last posted it, the artist who painted it added a Lombardi Trophy to the wall in honor of the Super Bowl Championship. That photo will have to wait for another day, though.

I also considered using a photo I took of a marijuana dispensary window. This particular dispensary window had a neon sign (much like you'd see at a bar or liquor store) with a marijuana leaf and the phrase "It's 4:20 Somewhere" underneath it. I'm not a pothead in the least, but seeing as how this was run #420, I gave serious thought to posting that picture. It also makes me think of something funny that my wife said yesterday as we were driving downtown and that distinctive skunky smell attacked our nasal passages. She said, "I think I would have voted against Marijuana's legalization if I realized I'd have to smell it EVERYWHERE." (She's not wrong. It's difficult to avoid that stench in Denver.)

If these photo options weren't enough, I also ran through Five Points, and found a whole bunch of new graffiti murals on the walls of the Art District there. I basically had an embarrassment of riches when it came to photos to post for this run. Reviewing my photos and my map reinforce my feelings that this was a truly great run...a great mix of scenery and strong legs. Plus I knew that I'd be heading downtown a few hours later to hang out with my son at the Nuggets game. All in all, a wonderful Sunday!

Four Hundred Nineteen

February 19, 2016
7.32 Miles in 1:09:06
Mood: Coyote Spotting like a boss.
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go! / Bear's Den "Islands"

The groundhog appears to have been correct! He predicted an early spring, and the weather has been so great during this week that I was able to actually run the Highline Canal this glorious Friday morning. The issue with running on this trail during winter isn't just snow and ice (although that is a big part of it), it's also that the ground is frozen and rutted and uneven and it is perilous to run on for fear of turning an ankle on the uneven terrain.

The warm weather not only had melted all the snow, even the ground was almost entirely thawed. The trail, while not in perfect shape, was more than fine for a good morning run, and I took full advantage, seeing as how it's still February and I may not get that many chances to do so, as the snow can return at any moment.

While running, I saw not one, but two different coyotes running the trail. The first one I saw as I was on the way out, and I saw this one the best. It was actually running on the trail ahead of me, and inspired me to pick up my pace to see if I could get a photo. That coyote seemed pretty chill until he saw me, and then he torpedoed away from me off the trail and into a large home development. He then stopped and looked at me. I took a picture of him, and when he realized that I was still looking at him, he blasted away and out of sight. Coyotes are skittish things.

The second coyote was also ahead of me on the trail as I was heading back. I saw him in a different portion of the trail, and he was just off the trail. As I started getting a tiny bit closer, he ran off into the woods and I didn't see him again. Still, it was pretty cool to see two of them on a single run. I see a coyote every now and then, maybe once every two months or so, but to spy two of them on a single outing was definitely a new record.

Today's picture of the "Pump House" came from a stretch of trail that I routinely run during the summer months, although I think this little building must be new, as I have never seen it before. It's fairly distinctive, so I believe it must have recently been constructed. It looks like a tiny clubhouse for kids to play in, but it does appear to be hiding a pump or some type of machinery. Although, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why a pump would be needed by this home. I don't claim to be an expert in these types of things, though. So I'll assume it has a logical use. I'm just glad they built such a goofy little building to house it.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Four Hundred Eighteen

February 18, 2016
8.06 Miles in 1:16:01
Mood: Making horse friends.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / 99% Invisible / The Allusionist / The Wood Brothers "The Muse"

What a day. What a glorious day! It was over 40 degrees outside before I ever got started, it felt so nice I didn't even bother with a hoodie (as I usually must do during the winter months), and I was cranking right along feeling pretty good as I ran today.

I started running in a southwesterly direction, and found myself taking one of the most direct routes to a distant portion of the Highline Canal Trail that I have rarely ever traversed. This allowed me to go much further southwest than I usually ever get on a normal weekday run. AND it allowed me to pass by several horses that I have never seen before.

This particular horse in the photo above looked almost ghostly when I first saw it today. The sun hadn't completely risen, but enough light was around to cause it to almost glow due to it's whiteness. I'm kind of a sucker for a horse, as I've mentioned on past occasions, and I started talking to this horse and it reacted in a funny way. It seemed like it was interested in me because I was talking to it. Perhaps people who have talked to this horse in the past have brought apples or something, because the horse approached me in a very friendly way. Although I was talking to it, there was a slight descent to the fence, and I didn't feel like twisting my ankle in order to get a bit closer to the horse, so the horse seemed confused. He wanted to get closer to me, but he also wasn't sure if he should go all the way to the fence since I was still six feet away on the trail. The end result was that I was talking to a horse at 6:30 in the morning and the horse was staring at me. I'm sure it would have looked somewhat awkward if someone had passed by, but no one did, and I enjoyed my time with the horse.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Four Hundred Seventeen

February 16, 2016
7.54 Miles in 1:14:06
Mood: I like what I like.
Soundtrack: The Walking Dead 'Cast / The Bill Simmons Podcast

The weather has been unseasonably warm, but I can always tell it's still winter when I step outside at 6AM. It warms up quickly due to the combination of my own body heat from exercise and the sun rising, but at the outset every morning, it's still freezing.

This morning I indulged in two things that I inexplicably enjoy. The first was the Walking Dead Cast, which recaps and discusses the latest episode of The Walking Dead on AMC. This is a silly zombie drama that was pretty good for the first two seasons, but has been slowly getting worse and worse. I can't even defend it as a good show at this point, and yet, I'm hooked. Every week that a new episode is aired, I devour it and then listen to a podcast that analyzes it further. I know that I shouldn't enjoy this as much as I do, but I can't help myself.

The second inexplicable thing was the second podcast I heard. It was Bill Simmons discussing the NBA trade deadline and possible moves that could happen. While I know that 95% of these potential trades will never happen, I always get excited about the possibility of them. I don't even know why this reckless and baseless speculation entertains me so...again, I know that it's not something I should enjoy, but I can't help myself.

I guess must of us have things that we like that we can't really defend or even explain. Today just happened to feature two of mine heavily factoring into my entertainment as I ran this morning.

As for today's photo...I applaud anyone with the creative genius to turn the head of a shovel into a blackbird. This little guy was in the front yard of a house that was also flying a Denver Broncos flag, so I feel like I'd get along with this person just fine. I wonder if they like the Walking Dead???

Monday, February 15, 2016

Four Hundred Sixteen

February 14, 2016
8.47 Miles in 1:17:33
Mood: Grateful for random giveaways and Bronco bunting.
Soundtrack: Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness "Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness" / Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Album)

I was fighting low blood sugars for the first half of this run, a little after the four mile mark, I was really struggling and had to walk for a good chunk. Fortunately, I made it back to Wash Park, and there was a Valentine's Day 5K run that was just ending, and there were tents set up giving away all sorts of goodies to whoever walked by. I gratefully accepted some Noosa Yogurt, a Clif Bar, and a Chocolate Toffee despite not actually being a part of the event. They didn't seem to mind at all, and graciously took care of my low blood sugar issue. I felt blessed to have this need met so fortuitously at just my moment of need. I was then able to get in another four miles without any issues, and I felt MUCH better while doing so.

Before my blood sugar dipped, I was running through the Bonnie Brae neighborhood. This is a very wealthy, yet highly accessible neighborhood, and as I traversed it, I was amazed that even in this neighborhood, Bronco pride is still strongly on display. They might show it in different ways that folks do in the suburbs, but they definitely show it. I noticed several orange and blue lights adorning trees, as well as a whole host of banners and the like. My favorite Bronco related thing I saw all run was this somewhat humble (for the area) house with homemade Bronco bunting hanging all along it's fence. It has definitely faded a bit since it was first put out, but it is well done, and looks really cool. Especially as seen in this photo from the street.

As for anything else from this run...I had managed to go a whole week since I had listened to the Hamilton cast album, but after listening to a very good Andrew McMahon album, I felt like I needed to revisit it yet again. It continues to not disappoint, the week off made it feel even more powerful. I am wary of spinning it to death, but I do love it so. Also, in what is seemingly a bi-monthly event, my earbuds died. The funniest thing about that is that I was thinking to myself earlier in this run that I hadn't had any issues with them and perhaps this was a magical pair of earbuds that could actually hold up to my running schedule. The instant I thought that, however, BOOM. They fail me less than an hour later.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Four Hundred Fifteen

February 12, 2016
7.36 Miles in 1:11:33
Mood: Contemplating how my expectations reflect my experience of the world.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The After Disaster /  99% Invisible

If this week has taught me anything, it's that I was anticipating the Broncos would likely be losing the Super Bowl. That isn't to say that I was automatically assuming they would lose, but I was hedging my emotional bets for it in case it happened. Two years ago the blueprint was set...the Broncos made it to the Super Bowl, everyone in Denver got so excited and lost their minds about them, then they lost in such an embarrassing fashion that everyone dropped them like a stinky dead fish. That precedent two years ago was burned into my expectations, so that when the Broncos actually won, I was completely unprepared.

This year's journey started down the same road as two years ago, the Broncos defeated the Patriots and were heading to the Super Bowl. People were keyed up for the big game as it got nearer, and my expectations subconsciously were expecting all the enthusiasm to die immediately after the game.

I didn't try to get Tuesday off of work prior to the Super Bowl because my brain didn't even entertain the possibility of a parade in downtown. It literally never entered my mind to prepare for the possibility. A local radio station changed it's name to "Orange 93.3" in honor of the Broncos immediately after the AFC Championship Game, and I was prepared for them to switch back to their normal name Monday morning. (They are still calling themselves Orange 93.3 as of today.) I was driven to take as many pictures of orange and blue mania popping up in local neighborhoods prior to Super Bowl 50, because in the back of my mind, I think I was emotionally figuring that it would all go away right after the game.

I say all this not to say I was hoping the Broncos would lose, or that I had no hope, either. I truly thought with their stingy defense that they had a punchers chance, but I think I was just mentally prepping for it to all end suddenly just like it did last time. Then, it didn't.

I think that is why this week has been even more incredible than I was expecting, because I truly wasn't expecting anything. It was like a big sweet orange present dropped into my unsuspecting lap. Now, as things are trending back to normal, the orange and blue stuff is still everywhere, the parade was a million goofy Bronco loving goofs wandering about with big smiles on their faces, and things remain happy as people in town walk around in a giddy stupor wearing championship hats and t-shirts trying to remind each other that it actually happened, the Broncos actually won.

This phenomenon is one reason why I really liked this picture I took this morning. These orange and blue balloons are tied to a lamppost (I assume those balloons have been there since Sunday) and they are still unexpectedly out in that front yard, even as they are starting to deflate and die because we aren't entirely sure we expected to be able to leave Bronco balloons out for this long, but somehow we have because they won. Although they aren't as robust as they were on Sunday, they still remind me of the unexpected and wonderfully improbable championship victory for which they were put out in the front yard of this home to cheer for in the first place.

My run today was the first time that the realness of it all kinda soaked in. I see Broncos flags and gear everywhere I go, and it's starting to sink in that it actually happened as balloon that wouldn't be floating limply in this front yard anymore if they had lost are still limply floating in all their glory.

This wasn't a great run around the neighborhood, nor was it a terrible one, but I felt really good at the end of it. Things are getting back to normal and this city has had an emotional shot in the arm and the spiritual lift it has provided to civic pride is as real as it is silly. It's a trivial thing that we take very seriously, and while sports often annoy and irritate us, sometimes they provide a central rallying point for a whole community to get behind and they make us feel great for a little while. The afterglow has been really fun to live through, even if I wasn't expecting it at all.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Four Hundred Fourteen

February 11, 2016
6.77 Miles in 1:05:40
Mood: Enraptured by nature's bandits.
Soundtrack: Mediocre Show / The After Disaster / The Memory Palace / The Allusionist

"That is the biggest squirrel I have ever seen!" I thought to myself. Then I realized it was actually a raccoon skittering up a tree. Then I saw it's friend stick it's head out of the tree. Both of them were warily surveying me from their position high above in a tree. This is when I knew I had to get my phone out and take some pictures.

I know that raccoons can be nasty and destructive, but man these guys sure looked cute up in a tree. It was even cuter to have them just staring at me and watching my every movement with caution. I loved them, and stood watching them briefly just because I have never just seen a couple of raccoons hanging out in a tree while out on a run before. It was an unusual experience, so I soaked it in.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Four Hundred Thirteen

February 9, 2016
7.82 Miles in 1:15:57
Mood: Celebratory in advance of a celebration.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The Dan Lebatard Show / Twenty One Pilots "Blurryface"

It had been a day and a half since the Super Bowl, but I was still amped up from the Broncos win. The celebratory parade was happening this day, and I had taken the day off and pulled my kids from school, because the Broncos don't win the Super Bowl everyday, and this was going to be an amazing opportunity to share the excitement of the parade and rally downtown with a huge group of fellow fans in a celebratory manner. (Turns out the estimates were that over a million people joined us downtown for what was a very chill, very happy, very orange celebration.) I had to pull the kids, because sometimes things are more important than going to class or work, and getting an opportunity to make memories with a unique event like this was an opportunity I wasn't going to miss.

Early Tuesday morning, however, I was just trying to get in some solid miles. The first week of February and the copious amounts of snow that came with it have put me behind schedule for a 100 mile month. I knew that I could take a slightly longer run than normal, as I didn't have to be at work on time and I could get back home a bit later than usual. With this knowledge, I went a little further West than usual, and made it all the way to Downtown Littleton. My goal, as it has been for the past several weeks, was to find and photograph evidence of Broncomania. This goal keeps getting easier, and now that the Broncos have actually won the championship, the orange is EVERYWHERE. (And it's wonderful)

Today's picture came from the oddest bit of Bronco decor that I found. A house that was otherwise undecorated, except for a giant Bronco logo at the top. Flags are a dime a dozen, I saw an orange flag on practically every other street this run, but a large logo with nothing else? That was weird, and special. It made me happy to see such a strange decorating decision, and put me even further into what was already a pretty good mood.

As for the parade, it was a day that I'll never forget. Wonderful memories being shared with my kiddos, and just a great day. When everything was over, I wasn't ready to stop having fun, so we ended up at the zoo for an hour and a half on top of everything else we did. A truly marvelous day with two children I'm awfully fond of spending time with. Before long, the world will get back to normal, but this day was just a fun time to bask in the Super Bowl afterglow, and we did.

Four Hundred Twelve

February 7, 2016
8.49 Miles in 1:17:36
Mood: Super
Soundtrack: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

It was Super Bowl Sunday, and my favorite team was going to be involved. Not only that, but they were a significant underdog. I was skittish and excited, and I had a superabundance of nervous energy pulsing through my body. I have never been more thankful to have a glorious day to go running. I needed the release of running through the Denver city streets.

Throughout the playoffs this year, I have been starting each game day at Cheesman Park, and running a loop around the stadium for good luck. True, this is the first time that the game wouldn't be happening AT the Broncos' stadium, but I saw no reason to discontinue the habit, seeing as how it had worked so well thus far. The stadium was significantly less busy than it had been on the two previous runs, but there was still a large contingent of Broncos fans who were heading there prior to the game for what I can only describe as rites of good luck.

It was a beautiful day, but the majority of this run was spent in a bit of a daze, just prepping myself for the big game. I enjoyed Hamilton yet again (I've listened through the whole 2 and a half hour program five or six times by now, and it's just consistently amazing to me) and just hoped that I'd always associate this week's discovery of that musical with a Super Bowl victory.

When I got home, I was slightly more relaxed, since I had burned off a little of the energy, but I kept tensing up as the game got closer, and I was a nervous wreck throughout the game of course, but thankfully, the Broncos won! Had I not had this run to get somewhat centered for this day, the Broncos still would have won, but I feel like I would have had a much harder time powering through to the end, because I'm a ridiculous person who gets way too emotionally involved in professional sports, especially when it's Bronco related.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Four Hundred Eleven

February 5, 2016
7.65 Miles in 1:20:06
Mood: Forcing it.
Soundtrack: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

Forces conspired to get me out and running when, if I'm being honest, I probably shouldn't have. After huge snows hit Denver this week, I've been forced to either skip runs or *shudder* run indoors on a track. The weather has remained cold so that the snow hasn't melted. The streets are a hideous combination of ice and snow. My original plan was to limit my range to The Streets at Southglenn, the outdoor mall near my home that is fastidiously and snow banished to allow for consumer spending. However, as I took the first half lap around the mall area, I realized that there was going to be little Bronco spirit nearby, and running around in continuous circles for six or seven miles gets SO BORING. I made the bold decision to strike out onto the great frozen streets and boulevards of Littleton.

While I was running the streets I saw SO MUCH ORANGE! This city is ready for the Super Bowl, hopefully our Broncos are too. I ran super slow, as much of the time I was either running through deep snow, trying not to fall on treacherous ice, or picking myself up from the one time I was unable to maintain my balance. I fell just before I hit the five mile mark, and I slipped and went down pretty hard. I'm sure I looked hilarious landing flat on my back in record time. I went down like a sack of hammers. This marks the second time this storm's snow has put my on my back, as on Tuesday as I walked into work from the parking lot, I also took a very similar tumble. Hopefully I can keep my feet for awhile, but honestly, all bets are off.

Of the many Broncos flags and banners that I took photos of today, I chose this one for the photo, as it has flags of the Super Bowl logos of the two Super Bowls the Broncos have won plus a Super Bowl 50 flag...a Super Bowl we hope they win. I liked seeing those three logos grouped together, hopefully they remain that way for all time, and Super Bowl 50 doesn't join 12, 21, 22, 24, and 48 as failed attempts. I also found it amazing that this guy has a banner with a Broncos logo attached to the front of his house that looks like he swiped from a bar. Not pictured: His Bronco mailbox. I love this guy.

One last thing...I saw two middle school or early high school aged boys walking around before the sun came up this morning. The temperatures were in the low 20's, and they were wearing SHORTS! I know old people are constantly amazed by the weirdness of the younger generation, but I'll never understand this anti-pants trend. Being cool is one thing, but to be cool at that age you have to be freezing.

Go Broncos!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Four Hundred Ten

February 3, 2016
6.51 Miles in 1:04:48
Mood: Bored, in a NASCAR kind of way.
Soundtrack: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

It has been snowing for days. This morning it was cold and the sidewalks and streets were buried under an ungodly amount the white devil. I haven't been able to run a lick since Friday, and I was overdue. So in an act of desperation, I went to Goodson Rec Center and hit the track. The good thing about the track is that it is indoors, so I avoided snow and even was able to run in shorts for the first time in months. It is also a positive place to run in that there are no hills with which I had to contend. Thus ends the positives, although I was happy that I had a place to get in some miles, running on a track is tough sledding.

The main downside is that running in loops on a track that is less than a tenth of a mile gets awfully boring awfully quickly. The only real variation comes in the form of other people using the track. There are a lot of old men in jeans walking around, and a few other interesting track users including the woman who was there for about fifteen minutes and ran super fast for about six minutes, and then super slow for about nine, and then vanished and another woman who was walking, stretching, jogging and lunging her way through a workout that she seemed to be making up on the fly. There were also two different aerobics classes taking place over the course of my run. One which was just about to end when I was just getting started, and one that was just getting started as I was wrapping up. I also could look down into the pool area through several different windows to see bored lifeguards staring out at an almost entirely empty pool.

Running miles on a track also goes much slower than when I'm out in the open country. I would feel like I had run a mile, look at my running app and see that I'd only gone four tenths of a mile. It was good to run again, but running around doing nothing but making 90 degree right turns for an hour while the view basically never changes is tough. I am grateful that the track was there, as otherwise, I'd have missed yet another day, but I am cheering heartily for the snow to melt as quickly as possible.

On a positive note, at least I had something compelling to listen to. I spent the entire time listening to the cast recording from the smash Broadway musical "Hamilton". Which is a hip hop styled musical telling the story of the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton. It's spectacular, and definitely made the morning's run more bearable, as my mind was occupied with dazzling feats of history being recounted in a fresh and amazing way. If you have the means to check it out, I highly recommend it.