Thursday, May 26, 2016

Four Hundred Sixty-Six

May 26, 2016
8.02 Miles in 1:17:07
Mood: Getting teased by a blue jay and seeing subtle Beatles stuff.
Soundtrack: The Gist / 99% Invisible / Panic! at the Disco "Death of a Bachelor" and "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die"

I saw a blue jay this morning, and boy howdy are those birds hard to photograph. I've seen a few on different runs, and every time I try to get a picture, they juke and jive like Mohammad Ali. I know he preferred to say he floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, but he should have found some way to get a blue jay into the word picture as well. I will continue to try and take a picture of any blue jay I see, but don't hold your breath for a photograph on the blog. Those suckers are elusive.

I had a hard time getting started this morning, but eventually found a decent groove, and I found myself pushing so far to the west that I saw Santa Fe Drive at one point...that's a good distance from home, which helps explain why I did eight miles today.

Today's picture was of a relatively small item that isn't particularly eye catching, but once I saw it, I loved it. Yep. It's a yellow submarine. It's almost nondescript in front of a modest home in Littleton, but once you see what it is, you really embrace it's connection to Ringo Starr, or at least I did.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Four Hundred Sixty-Five

May 24, 2016
8.26 Miles in 1:19:22
Mood: Nostalgic, I guess?
Soundtrack: The Gist / The Memory Palace / Spotify Playlist: All Out 90's / Spotify Playlist: One Hit Wonders: 90's

I listened to so much questionable music on this run. I discovered a few 90's playlists on Spotify, and decided to punt on trying to decide what to listen to, and just mellow out in 90's nostalgia. Some of the songs were great, some were less so, and some only are tolerable because they remind me of my youth. The only song I skipped (and I skipped it twice) was "What is Love?" by Haddaway because that song is maybe the worst song in the history of music.

I did listen in their entirety to such enduring masterpieces as "Mmmbop" by Hansen (surprisingly not terrible), "Mambo Number Five" (which is terrible, but kitchy), "Ice Ice Baby" (not as good as it was in the 90's), "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (Fluffy to the point of almost being nothing), "How Bizarre" by OMC (Holds up today), "Here Comes the Hotstepper" (Ridiculous and fun) "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies (Music snobs hate these guys, but I refuse to not love them) "If I Ever Fall in Love" by Shai (Much worse than I remember it being) and "Macarena" by Los Del Rio (Still mostly awful).

Looking at that list (and there were others I didn't bother to list) makes me wonder how we survived the 90's and also makes me grateful to have grown up during them.

As for today's photo...there were surprisingly few people looking to take part in this home's free weed promotion.

Four Hundred Sixty-Four

May 22, 2016
8.16 Miles in 1:16:20
Mood: Alone but not lonely.
Soundtrack: Twenty-One Pilots "Vessel" / The Gist / The After Disaster

My wife's cousin was in town for a wedding and staying with us over the weekend, and we had made plans to run together for a bit on Sunday morning. He was only going to do a mile or two at most, so he wasn't going to accompany me my whole outing, but I was looking forward to even that brief bit of company. Unfortunately, he was up on the phone late with his wife until after One AM, so when he stumbled down to breakfast he looked like he was in need of medical attention...or at least another half night's worth of sleep. He looked gray and unresponsive, and I was worried about him. He told me he felt like he needed some more rest, and I agreed that I didn't want him to die so I said he should probably stay home and get more sleep. When I got back home, he had just gotten up and looked remarkably better.

However, when I got to Wash Park, I was slightly bummed that I'd be running solo. It was a weird morning, because I felt like I was struggling, and then I looked at my times and I was running much faster than normal, so my gauge for how I was doing was remarkably off. It took me about two miles to really get into the swing of things, and then I felt pretty solid. I hit up some of my favorite parks, and then went back south through a medical center I'd never been through before. It wasn't all that remarkable, but I loved this statue that was in the middle of it. It was weird, because it was mostly stylized versions of a human family without any notable features...most of it was smooth, except the two male members of the statue were anatomically correct in the genital area, which was a little weird. Still, it didn't seem pornographic or anything, just arty and fun, so I decided to make it my photo for this day's run.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Four Hundred Sixty-Three

May 20, 2016
7.20 Miles in 1:07:02
Mood: Curious about co-worker's new homes.
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / 99% Invisible / The Allusionist / Big Head Todd and the Monsters "Wipeout Turn" / The Lumineers "Cleopatra"

A coworker of mine is under contract on a new home in Littleton. I ordered the appraisal for the home as part of my job, so I knew the address, and I wanted to go check it out, so this morning I headed out with a specific destination in mind, and that destination took on some roads I've never taken before and let me see some things that amused me endlessly.

The home is lovely, she's moving into a great house in a quiet neighborhood. More importantly, I passed three different church signs which endlessly amused me. One was advertising a stand up comedy night happening this Saturday night. Stand up comedy at a church is something I'm having difficulty wrapping my mind around, but the other side of this church's is even weirder. The other side was advertising their Sunday morning service where the topic will be "Star Wars and Celtic Spirituality" which is baffling to me on so many levels. The other church sign wasn't as outrageous, but it did involve a groan inducing pun, "A church is a gift from God: Assembly Required" (Groan)

I ended up going in a different direction for my photo today, as I also passed a mailbox in the shape of an old timey truck, which is about as awesome as it gets.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Four Hundred Sixty-Two

May 18, 2016
6.88 Miles in 1:08:20
Mood: Gutting it out on graduation day.
Soundtrack: Beef and Dairy Network / Vaudeville Etiquette "Aura Vista Motel"

I just discovered a podcast called the Beef and Dairy Network. It's a comedy podcast that masquerades as a serious podcast about cows. It is charming, madly weird, different from anything I've ever heard, and at times hilarious beyond all reasonable measure. I listened to eight back episodes on this run, and enjoyed every minute of it. They are only eight to ten minutes long, and it comes out monthly, so I will probably never be able to binge on it again the way I did this morning, but that's okay. I'm now caught up on all it's history, and look forward to more episodes in the future.

As for the run, it was a struggle. I had a terrible night's sleep and a day and a half ago I gave blood, so I was tired and light headed for much of this outing. The fact that I was able to squeeze out almost seven miles from my tired body was nothing short of a miracle. I'm thankful that I am taking tomorrow off to rest and recuperate. Hopefully I'll be my old self again come Friday's run.

I had a mission on this run. I figured I'd try to see if I could visit all three major Littleton High Schools on one trip. I began by hitting up Arapahoe High School, then I headed west to Heritage, and I finished my school loop by running past Littleton High. I was too early to be able to tell if anything big was happening at Arapahoe, but outside of Heritage, I saw a lot of students in red caps and gowns getting their photos taken outside of the school, and it appeared they were getting ready to graduate or else they just really like caps and gowns. I assume that a graduation ceremony is also happening at Littleton High School this morning, as when I ran past there were about eight police officers standing next to the fence of the school and cars were pouring into the parking lot at a rapid rate. Weird that I chose to visit all these schools on one of their biggest days of the year without realizing that it was graduation day. Congrats to all the graduates that I don't know.

Today's photo comes from a random house with several cool surfer decorations in front of their house. I particularly like this photo because of the shadow that the surfer guy casts on the front door.

Four Hundred Sixty-One

May 15, 2016
8.55 Miles in 1:20:43
Mood: Hydrated and photographing Hobbit houses.
Soundtrack: Jack Johnson "In Between Dreams" and "Brushfire Fairytales"

My wife and kids were a brief part of this outing. For the second time in the past year they volunteered to help out at an Arthritis Run/Walk event. They were manning a water station, and about a half hour before the run started, I dropped by at around the 4 mile mark of my run to say hello. They are very good at hydrating runners, my glass of water was just perfect, so my compliments to the glass fillers!

Today's photo comes from a little house that faces the western edge of Wash Park. It's a cute little home with a roof that looks like it was fashioned by Hobbits. I have never seen another house with a similar roof. I've noticed it a bunch of times as I have run around the edge of the park on past occasions, but this time I decided to cross the street and get a closer look because of how cool and otherworldly its roof looks.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Four Hundred Sixty

April 13, 2016
7.29 Miles in 1:11:18
Mood: Appreciating the color green.
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "Emotionalism" and "Mignonette"

Things are getting green. I was able to take off for this run in shorts and a short sleeved shirt, and I wasn't even cold as I did so. Then everywhere I went, the world was green. The month of April is pretty solid because of it's pink trees, but May is when green really kicks in as the official color, and I am loving it. When I saw this tree, I had a feeling it'd probably be the photo for the day. It's nothing spectacular, but it's also wonderful. Viva la verde!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Four Hundred Fifty-Nine

May 12, 2016
6.16 Miles in 57:58
Mood: A bit like the White Rabbit. (I'm late! I'm late!)
Soundtrack: The Gist / The Lumineers "Cleopatara"

I was able to get out of bed early, and I was feeling good and strong and ready to go. I had eaten breakfast, gotten dressed in my running gear, and I was about to head out the door when I grabbed my phone. I quickly realized that although it was plugged in to the wall, something had gone awry in the charging process, and my phone did not charge overnight. Rather than being at 100% charge, it was sitting at a dismally low 30%.

There is no chance that my phone battery would last through a full run listening to music and tracking my pace with the Nike Running App if I took off with my phone at only 30%. I weighed my options. I could just run without my phone, I could forget the whole thing and go back to bed, or I could let it charge up a little and leave a bit late. Well, I had no interest in running without my phone. I am addicted to tracking my mileage, and the idea of exercising without getting "credit" for it was unacceptable to me. That's probably silly, as the physical benefit of exercise will be the same whether I track it or not, but I really want to keep accurate track. Plus, I couldn't get a photo for the blog if I didn't have my phone. I also had no interest in going back to bed, as I was awake and my brain had started the day and it would not accept trying to head back to bed at this point.

So I took the only other logical option available to me, I plugged my phone in and waited. I sat there for about a half an hour, and my phone battery raised from 30% to 68%. It's still a little low, but I didn't feel like waiting any longer to get going, as I realized I'd have to cut it a bit short anyway. Turns out that feeling rushed is a good motivator to run fast and take shorter breaks. It ended up being a decent run as I nearly put in a full 10K and I felt pretty great throughout.

Today's photo comes from the funniest moment of my run, as I was jogging up a hill in a residential neighborhood, when I spotted a coyote resting on a rock pile out of the corner of my eye. This gave me a little jolt of adrenaline until I took another look and realized it was just a statue someone put on their lawn. I have no idea why this statue struck me as so real in that moment, but it definitely spooked me for half a second.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Four Hundred Fifty-Eight

May 10, 2016
7.33 Miles in 1:09:10
Mood: Enjoying the unexpected moments of brightness
Soundtrack: Fear the Walking Deadcast / The Gist / The Lumineers "Cleopatra"

The grand majority of this run occurred under cloud cover, and it was a rainy and gray day for a good portion of the entire morning, but for one brief moment, the sun peeked through a crack in the clouds and lit up this tree. The brightness of this effect was enhanced by the darkness of the morning to that point. I just turned a corner and suddenly this tree was dazzlingly bright. I felt shocked to approach it in much the same manner I imagine Moses approached the burning bush. It sound silly, but this tree and the bright light coming off of it was almost a spiritual moment in the midst of a nice but otherwise unremarkable run. It was a good moment.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Four Hundred Fifty-Seven

May 8, 2016
8.46 Miles in 1:19:00
Mood: Appreciating silly libraries, silly cars, and a wonderful security guard.
Soundtrack: Vaudeville Etiquette "Aura Vista Motel"

For the third weekend out of the past four, the weather was kind of miserable for the entire weekend after being kind of nice during the week. I'm a little annoyed at this weather quirk, but at least Sunday morning provided a brief respite of nice weather during the otherwise rainy weekend.

What you see above is the Grant Humphries Mansion. Built in 1902, it shares Governor's Park with the Governor's mansion, and it's a lovely piece of historic architecture in Denver. It also now has a free lending library in the same color and style out front which is stupendously less historic, but no less wonderful in its silliness than the mansion is in its historicity. The fact that both of these things exist symbiotically is a wonderful testimony to something...I'm just not sure what. I like it, though, whatever it is. I've run past this mansion on several different occasions, and I'm reasonably sure that this is the first time this mini mansion has been out front. I'm slightly bummed that I didn't peek inside it to see what kind of books are available.

I began this run at Wash Park, and made it all the way to Civic Center Park on this outing. It was a little bit difficult to get around Civic Center, as the Cinco de Mayo festival was in full swing, and although it seemed relatively sparsely attended, the whole park was surrounded by chain link fence. I finally found an entrance into the park, and as I ran through to the other side, I passed a cavalcade of souped up muscle cars next to a fence. Gear heads were engrossed in this monument to vehicular excess, but all I could think to do was scan the fence to see if there was any break in it which I could slip through and continue on my way. Thankfully a security guard noticed my plight and manually opened a gap in the fence for me without me even having to ask. Full marks to that guy, because it's so rare that someone anticipates the exact thing I'm hoping for and then provides it to me without me even having to ask. It was a lovely moment, and he was a lovely man.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Four Hundred Fifty-Six

May 6, 2016
11.03 Miles in 1:45:06
Mood: Biting off more than I can chew.
Soundtrack: The Gist / The Mediocre Show / 99% Invisible / The Dirty Heads "Any Port in a Storm"

I accidentally put myself into a very long run today because I failed to comprehend the difference between a straight line and a squiggly line. I now understand that a squiggly line takes much longer to traverse than a straight line, but for some reason I had forgotten this basic fact of geometry four miles into my run this morning.

It was at the four mile mark that I decided to run back south using the Highline Canal Trail. To this point, I had arrived at Quincy Avenue by running almost directly straight north, and had arrived at a very northerly point in my usual running territory so quickly that I was seduced by my own power. "I can go ANYWHERE!" I thought to myself.

Then I decided to meet up with where Quincy meets the Highline Canal Trail because I was mad with power. Then I started running south, and where my northbound route was straight as an arrow, suddenly I was running back and forth along the east-west axis far more than I was comfortable with. At about the seven mile mark, I realized that I was going to be running much further than I usually do on a Friday morning, and I was going to be remarkably late getting back home, which would make me late getting to work.

I texted my wife to let her know not to expect me at my normal time, and that I hadn't been abducted by pirates or anything, but I was going to be late. Then I just kept pushing my way down the trail, and eventually made my way home about 45 minutes later than I usually would have gotten back. I'd feel bad about it, but it was an awesome 11 mile run, and I felt amazing, and the weather was in the upper sixties or maybe even seventies, and I didn't really care. I regretted nothing about this epic trek to places I rarely reach (because they are far away).

Today's picture comes from the early part of my run as I was just about to make my fatal flaw and decline heading south on the much straighter University Blvd. It was right before University, as the morning sun lit up the Cherry Hills Country Club golf course in a way that made me admire the beauty while simultaneously making me slightly annoyed that golf courses take up such large swaths of awesome real estate and make them ultra exclusive so only the super rich get to enjoy them. I'd much prefer this site as a public park open to all as opposed to a beautiful golf course that is closed to the public and which I only got to view from behind a barbed wire fence. Rich people stink, sometimes, and I don't much care for their game of choice (golf) either.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Four Hundred Fifty-Five

May 3, 2016
7.17 Miles in 1:08:50
Mood: Gosling Fest 2016!
Soundtrack: The Gist / Lupe Fiasco "Food and Liquor" and "The Cool"

I am not a fan of Canadian Geese. They poop all over everything, they're loud and obnoxious, and vaguely threatening when you walk near them. They can be pretty, but they are also kind of gross, and in general they bring about as many negative things to the table as positive attributes. That said, boy howdy are their babies cute. I love me some goslings. This particular family group was chilling on the shore of Ketring Lake this morning, and I immediately pulled out the camera to snap some pictures because goslings are adorable. A woman who saw me do this played tour guide and informed me that on the other side of the lake she had seen another group of goslings, and we expressed to each other how we both loved how cute they were, and then I began running again. Not a whole lot else to report about this Tuesday morning run, but the goslings should be enough for you!

Four Hundred Fifty-Four

May 1, 2016
7.10 Miles in 1:07:18
Mood: Discovering great running trails in places I wouldn't suspect them to exist.
Soundtrack: The Gist / The Mediocre Show / The Allusionist

I skipped my Friday run due to snow falling freely and the fact that I had surpassed the 100 miles run mark for April on Thursday morning, so by Sunday morning I was overdue for a good run. I woke up early to try and get it in prior to a scheduled brunch appointment at 11:00. The first thing I did was look out the window to see gray skies and heavily falling snow. This annoyed me, and while I really wanted to run, I really didn't want to run in a snow storm.

I was a little grumpy as I sat and pouted on the couch while fiddling with apps on my phone, but decided not to go Sunday. Then after a delicious brunch, we got home and the weather had cleared up a little. It was still gray, but at least the snow had mostly stopped, and I felt there was enough of a weather improvement to hit the road.

Before I started my run, I actually drove to the Boulder Running Company to buy a new pair of shoes, as my running shoes are pretty shot. I walked in fully dressed for a run, tried on a few pairs, and decided upon some really bright (some might say obnoxious) orangish-yellow Nikes. They can practically be seen from space, and I instantly fell in love with them. I left the store, threw my new shoes in the trunk of my car. (I didn't want to get them wet.) And began my run right from the parking lot of the shoe store. Snow was lightly falling, but could wait no longer, and I have done very little exploring in this part of town, so I thought I'd see what I could see.

What I found surprised me. Turns out there are some BEAUTIFUL places to run in the Denver Tech Center. This is a place that I mostly thought was full of industrial parks with office towers and giant parking lots. While there is definitely some of that vibe in the area, there are also homes, and parks, and great lawns with cool statues (as seen above with the frisbee toss and catch combo above), and there are lakes and homes and running trails, and I found a tremendous path that I followed for two or three miles. I would never have guessed this was such a rich and vibrant area in which to run, but I was most pleasantly surprised to find so many great places to explore. I was snowed on a little bit, and hit several patches of mud, and when I got home my socks were soaked, but it turned out to be a delightful seven miles to open May.