Friday, July 29, 2016

Four Hundred Ninety-Five

July 29, 2016
4.37 Miles in 41:47
Mood: Drained but trying, especially when it was the difference between being creepy or not creepy.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / The Mediocre Show / Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness "Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness"

That map is hilarious. That is the map of a man who woke up this morning, realized he was drained, and tried to go running anyways. I salvaged four and a third mile of distance this morning which pushed me over 100 miles for July (31st straight 100 mile month for those playing along at home.) However, this run was more walk. That's okay, it was the second straight morning, I didn't get a great night's sleep, and sometimes you're just tired. Plus, it was still a lovely morning outing, even if the running aspect of the proceedings were anemic.

Today's photo comes from the corner of Bannock and Littleton Boulevard. I've noticed this brightly colored electrical box before, but I was never really able to figure out what it was supposed to be until this morning when I stopped to look at it for a moment. The reason I had never figured it out before today, is that it only makes sense when you look at the side that has the guy's face. I've usually only seen the backside of "Colorado Man" which is his backpack. However, if you only see the backpack and don't understand the context of what it's supposed to be, it's mostly nonsensical orange paint. Today I finally saw the face, then understood what the arm was, what the backpack was, and everything else. It's a backpacking avatar for the type of healthy human that is attracted to life in Colorado. Apart from the purple hair, it feels about right. But I'm not going to complain about purple hair, because it's rather awesome.

The funniest moment of this morning's run also coincides with the longest stretch that I spent actually running. I was getting ready to cross Broadway, and I hadn't even reached three miles run yet. I was stopped at the crosswalk waiting for it to turn when three high school aged girls ran up from the south and also started waiting to cross. We all crossed the street together, with them slightly ahead of me. As we ran, I quickly noticed that I was moving at almost the exact same speed as they were, about ten feet behind them. I continued at this pace for a few hundred yards, but quickly felt really creepy running so close behind them. The smart thing to do would be to stop and let them move ahead so far into the distance that they were no longer really close and I wouldn't have to worry about looking like a weird creeper. However, I instead decided to pass them so that I would be running ahead of them. Keep in mind, I've been struggling throughout this entire run and definitely don't have my strongest I'm trying to out pace high schoolers. I get ahead of them, and put a tiny bit of space between us, but not enough to feel super comfortable, and then run for about a mile at a faster pace than I had run all morning just so that they wouldn't pass me up again.

I finally realized that this was stupid and I was tired, so I swallowed my pride, took a rest, and let them ramble into the distance and out of my life. I guess in a way it was good that they were there, as it pushed me to run harder than I did at any other point in the morning, but it also wiped out whatever remaining energy I had, and the rest of the morning was spent in brief spurts of running as I tried to not be as tired as I was. It didn't really work. Maybe next time.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Four Hundred Ninety-Four

July 28, 2016
7.17 Miles in 1:09:40
Mood: Childhood is not as concrete as concrete.
Soundtrack: The Lumineers "Cleopatra" / Lupe Fiasco "Lasers" / Radical Face "The Family Tree: The Leaves"

This footprint in concrete is tiny. There are actually four or five of them on this sidewalk, and I just imagined a little three or four year old giggling with glee as he or she stepped into wet cement. This made me smile, but then I was almost immediately made melancholy. This moment in time was captured in a cute way, but I have no clue how old this sidewalk is. The maker of these footprints may be older than me. (Not likely, but not impossible.) Time marches on and it does so quickly, and makers of tiny footprints get big. In fact, this tiny foot may now have tiny feet of their own in their home, and then I started thinking about how ephemeral life on earth is.

I started thinking about time moving along and how my own kids were making tiny footprints not that long ago, and how their feet are already bigger. And how I was playing catch with my nine year old son last night, and how soon these days will be gone forever. I'm not angry that time keeps advancing, just a little sad about how quickly great times in our life disappear forever. What it's replaced by can be good too, but it's always different. You can't step in the same river twice.

These are the thoughts that entered my mind...well, that and the occasional stopping to catch a Pokemon in an areas I knew to be good places to catch Pokemon. Melancholy musings on the fleeting nature of life mixed with greedily thinking about an augmented reality game...that was me this morning. I'd say I'm complicated, but I don't even think that's true.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Four Hundred Ninety-Three

July 26, 2016
7.09 Miles in 1:06:21
Mood: Ready to get back at it after a weekend off
Soundtrack: Twenty-One Pilots "Blurryface"

After not running since Friday morning, I hit this Tuesday morning with gusto. I wanted to run trails, and did something I rarely do, which was just run on the Highline Canal my entire trip. I went to a point that I knew would get me halfway to about 7 miles, and turned around and retraced my steps. It's not the most adventurous way to run, but it's probably the most scenic. What it lacks in weird things in front of people's houses, it makes up for in artsy nature photos like the one I took above. The sun was bright, but there was still an early morning crispness, so just about everything on this run was perfect. I even felt stronger than normal after several days off, and had a pretty respectable pace without having to stop too many times.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Four Hundred Ninety-Two

July 22, 2016
7.85 Miles in 1:14:03
Mood: Reasonable
Soundtrack: Dear and the Headlights "Drunk Like Bible Times" / Twenty-One Pilots "Vessel"

A backwards R makes me think of Tetris and Russia, not a giant American style barn in a suburban park, yet look at that!

Today's run felt good. I made it reasonably far, I was going at a reasonable speed, and I saw a reasonable amount of friendly folks. All in all very reasonable. Reasonable is starting to lose all meaning in my head. Reasonable...Reasonable...Reasonable...Yup. It's gone. No meaning whatsoever.

After swearing off playing Pokemon Go on runs, I have to admit that there were about two or three occasions where I turned on the game. I even captured two PokeGyms on this run. All in all, I probably devoted about 8 minutes to playing the game on this run. I think I have a Poke Problem. I'm not ready for Poke Rehab, though. Perhaps I'll go to a meeting. "Hi, my name's Craig and I'm a Pokeholic."

Sorry, I'm just riffing today. Perhaps it's best if I close up shop on this run and end by saying it was nice and reasonable. Egad. I'll try and do better next time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Four Hundred Ninety-One

July 19, 2016
5.86 Miles in 59:47
Mood: Tired but also discovering new places.
Soundtrack: The Gist / Florence + The Machine "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" and "Ceremonials"

I feel like a total slacker when I run less than six miles. I was tired this morning, though. The first half of the run was a walk. However, I was heading due south and traversed some new areas in Highlands Ranch that I have never seen before, and I noticed that my curiosity at running through new areas created excitement which woke me up and got me moving. I saw some nice areas of Highlands Ranch...a place that I still consider to be my mortal enemy, but at least it was pretty this morning.

Today's picture comes from early on in my run when I passed a tree that had these tiny perfect berries. My picture makes them look as big as grapes, but they are SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than that.

Four Hundred Ninety

July 17, 2016
9.17 Miles in 1:31:02
Mood: Sweaty
Soundtrack: The LCS Hockey Show / Fleet Foxes "Helplessness Blues"

It took so long to get in a groove this run. I did a quick first mile and a half, and after that, I didn't really find a rhythm for about 45 minutes, as you can see from the map, I spent a huge chunk of that time walking north. I did a little over 9 miles on this run, but probably traversed 11 miles in total. I was out and about for almost 3 hours on this outing, which is ridiculous. I took over 20,000 steps in that time, which is probably a single run outing record for me.

This was a remarkably long run. Also, it was almost unbearably hot. I just kept sweating. It was also pretty fun in spite of the heat and the perspiration. I made my way through Wash Park, Cheesman Park, and City Park, and I even took a lap around the zoo. That is where this photo comes's a statue of a fish created from things that washed up from the ocean. Also, it's orange and blue, so it seems right at home in Denver.

Four Hundred Eighty-Nine

July 15, 2016
7.46 Miles in 1:14:06
Mood: Blissful, with a brief moment of anger at losing park space.
Soundtrack: The Memory Palace / The Wood Brothers "The Muse" / Tired Pony "The Place We Ran From" / TV on the Radio "Dear Science"

I felt strong, and pushed much further northeast than I've ever been on a run that started from home. It was an amazing morning, and before I knew it, I had made it all the way to Westlands Park, which probably has the greatest playground in the state of Colorado. On my way there, I found several sweet little trails leading there, and flowers and glory everywhere. I was in a good mood already, but the beauty on this run was really over the top. Then I arrived at Westlands, and I knew I'd have to take a picture of the giants hands holding up a rock, which is part of the playground, and the thing that probably puts it over the top for greatest Colorado playground.

My mood soured a little as I headed south and discovered that the grounds my running app said were a park are now being developed into a housing development. This angered me, as I don't think parks should ever be transferred into homes. Parks are sacred. I was irritated enough that I made an angry hand gesture at the developer's sign, which didn't really accomplish anything, but it did make me feel better and surely look a little crazy to anyone who passed by.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Four Hundred Eighty-Eight

July 13, 2016
7.09 Miles in 1:07:34
Mood: Contemplating crustiness and discovering that Pokemon Go isn't going to work with running.
Soundtrack: The Allusionist / 99% Invisible / The Avett Brothers "True Sadness" / Pandas & People "Pandas & People"

While on this run, I saw an old car with a "Not for Sale" sign on it. It's some sort of old time muscle car, along the lines of a Mustang or Camero something of that ilk. I'm sure it will make car aficionados crazy that I don't know EXACTLY what it was, but it's an old car...I can't bring myself to care. Suffice it to say that it's old and not in good condition. What I found so interesting is that apparently the owner must have been bombarded with offers to take this old junker off his hands, to the point that he put a sign in the window advertising just how unavailable it is. It's an anti ad. It's a guy yelling at the kids to stay off his lawn. It's an open invitation to go away. I kind of love the "crusty old man"-ness of the thing. I should put in an inquiry to see if he'd sell to me.

Also on this run: I took a brief break while at Ketring Park to play Pokemon Go, and realized after I had finished that this is not something that I can do while on a run. The game is active and gets people outside and moving, but it also has large portions of walking where nothing is really happening. You can't FORCE Pokemon go to make something happen, and if I regularly try to play it, even for brief moments, while on a's going to take more time than I should spend. Live and learn. (Although, I still plan to participate in this goofy augmented reality game some more in the future...just not while running.)

Today's photo is the most patriotic butterfly I've ever seen. July has to be our most patriotic month. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Four Hundred Eighty-Seven

July 10, 2016
7.25 Miles in 1:08:18
Mood: Of Pokemon and Pelicans
Soundtrack: Robert DeLong "Just Movement" / Rise Against "Siren Song of the Counter Culture"

Pokemon Go is in the midst of it's breakout weekend. It's an augmented reality game that can be downloaded to your phone and allows you to walk the earth seeking Pokemon to capture and collect, and I had just spent several hours with my buddy Doug playing it Saturday night, so as I roamed the Capital Hill neighborhoods from Wash Park to Cheesman Park and back, I was constantly tempted to open up the app and attempt to "Catch Em All". The problem would be that if I started playing, I knew that would be the end of my run. Because I don't believe this is a game that I could halfway play, when you're playing it, you're all in. I managed to keep my Poke urges under control until I finished up my normal run. (I then spent 20 minutes rambling through Wash Park on a hunt, but I considered that a win.) This game may quickly lose it's allure (although right now it's taking the world by storm), but right now, it's a legit temptation.

While actually running, I felt pretty good. It was a hot morning, and I could tell it was going to be a ridiculously hot day, but I had started early enough in the morning to avoid the worst of it. It was an interesting run and it included moments such as when I ran through a neighborhood I had never seen before, and it seemed to be completely comprised of homes that look like medieval castles. I also discovered that White Fence Farm is building a new location on 9th Street, which seems weird to me, as the greatest thing about going to White Fence Farm to me has always been "The Farm" and much less their greasy chicken, but apparently, they are bringing the chicken to the city, although clearly not the farm, as their store front is a tiny spot that will only have room to sit and eat unhealthy food and NOT view llamas. I also found a home that rather than having a gargoyle statue or perhaps a lion statue out front on their walls instead had matching squirrel statues on either side of their gate...a first for me.

However, the greatest moment of the morning is what led to today's photo. It was the moment that I was in Wash Park and looked up to see a giant Pelican swooping around Grasmere Lake on the southern end of the park. I have never seen Pelicans in Colorado before, but there were several flying and there was also a pod of about six swimming around in the water. They were participating in a weird looking group activity which consisted of them all huddled closely together as they swam and then they'd all dive underwater simultaneously. I assumed they were catching fish, but in actuality, it appeared more like they were a synchronized swimming team. It was both majestic and comedic, in a way that only a Pelican can be. The photo was just one that I snapped as a Pelican was flying overhead, and I liked the way it turned out.

Four Hundred Eighty-Six

July 8, 2016
7.96 Miles in 1:15:13
Mood: Engrossed and then wished good morning.
Soundtrack: Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything

Once again, I spent most of this run absorbed by the Theory of Everything podcast. Not much else of interest happened throughout the majority of the proceedings apart from when I was about two miles from finishing my friends Chip and Deb pulled up to an intersection that I was waiting to cross and said good morning to me before moving along. Apart from that, little else happened.

I didn't get very many good photos on this run, but I really liked this one picture that was taken just as the sunlight was hitting this pinwheel. Light makes things better so often...especially when those things are sparkly.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Four Hundred Eighty-Five

July 7, 2016
6.24 Miles in 1:01:50
Mood: Entranced by a podcast and taking photos of trees.
Soundtrack: Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything

I am currently devouring back episodes of Theory of Everything. Benjamen (yes, that's how he spells it) is an interesting and complicated person. I don't always agree with his thoughts on the world, but I find it interesting the fearless way he presents them. This morning as I ran, I was listening to a multi part series on his philosophical issues with social media he titled "The Dislike Club". His ideas on this subject are fascinating to me, even if he sometimes slips into that abstract way of talking that smart people sometimes revert to where I can no longer tell if he's making cogent points which I'm just too dumb to absorb or if he's merely babbling smart sounding gibberish.

The parts I did connect with were very interesting conversations about whether or not social media, and Facebook in particular, are in any way good for us. He approaches it from a viewpoint that pretty much says, "No, it's not." However, I think he's fair with it. It made for interesting listening as I went, although, perhaps not motivational to my speed, as I took large walking breaks and wasn't running all that fast when I was running. Still, I was entranced by it. Such an interesting morning of listening.

I spent a good deal of time on the trail today, and I took about 10 photos of trees. I also saw a coyote (sadly, he was gone before I had my phone out) and I also saw a home that had griffin statues guarding it's front door, and another home with a bulldog statue in it's front yard. Although those photos were all cool, I ended up going with one of my tree pictures, because I really love the aesthetics of trees, and this picture with it's shadows and light really made me happy, so I went with it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Four Hundred Eighty-Four

July 5, 2016
7.17 Miles in 1:11:39
Mood: O Canada?
Soundtrack: The Memory Palace / Band of Horses "Why are you OK" / First Aid Kit "Stay Gold" and "The Lion's Roar"

Checked out the Belleview gargoyles on this run, and the gargoyle pictured above is decked out in American gear and is waving Old Glory, which seems like a perfectly reasonable decoration for the day after the 4th of July. The weird thing is that the other gargoyle is draped in Canadian flag garments and is holding up the maple leaf flag. I have nothing against Canada, but it was a little strange to see.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Four Hundred Eighty-Three

July 3, 2016
8.16 Miles in 1:17:17
Mood: Enjoying a golf course for once on a lovely day in the HR.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The Avett Brothers "True Sadness"

After hitting up some of the most southern portions of the Highline Canal on Wednesday, I decided I wanted to go even further. Almost all of this run occurred in Highlands Ranch, which also meant that it was almost entirely paved. I think I may have hit the end of the Highline Canal trail, but it's almost impossible to tell, as the trail starts splitting off and going all manner of different directions in Highlands up to HR's reputation as being absurdly labyrinthine and hard to navigate.

All the same, the portions of the trail I stuck to were pretty gorgeous, including a giant chunk that took me through a giant golf course. The trail actually winds through the middle of the golf course, which is weird, but something I enjoyed. Golf courses are beautiful places which are usually isolated and shut off so that men in gaudy pants can play a stupid game. At least in Highlands Ranch, the men in gaudy pants allow trail users to wind through their stupid game, which I appreciated. Nice of them not to keep their beautiful grounds all to themselves.

At one point during this run, I attempted to take a time lapse video with my phone as I ran. I held the phone in front of me and tried to keep it steady to see if it would produce a cool video of what the trail I was traversing looked like. What unfurled was not exactly that, but it was interesting...the screen bobbed and jiggled and you are able to get somewhat of an idea of what was happening, but it's jarring and disorienting too.

Today's photo comes from a spot on the trail just before I hit the golf course, it provided a cool view of the mountains along with a bridge that crosses the trail and leads...somewhere? I couldn't really tell where it was going, but it sure looked pretty.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Four Hundred Eighty-Two

July 1, 2016
7.49 Miles in 1:14:43
Mood: New corners of the world, rabbits, and a fresh coat of paint.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / The Allusionist / The Avett Brothers "Emotionalism"

Last night I attended my son's baseball game at a park that I was completely unaware of it's existence. As I got up this morning, I figured it might be within running distance, so I decided to try and get there. I ended up taking a route on a ton of streets that I have never tried before, and had the unusual experience of feeling like I was exploring new places on a run that began at my home. This hardly ever happens, as I have explored most of the areas that are within a reasonable distance from home, but every now and then I find a new little nook and get to see a few new things, so that was a wonderful surprise today.

I think I may have also set a new record for bunnies seen on a run. I would not be surprised if the number of rabbits I encountered this morning made it's way into triple digits. So many bunnies running everywhere. In streets, in parks, in yards, I even saw a cute little dog chasing one out of it's yard. So many rabbits.

Finally, today's photo comes from a landmark that I like to call the smurf angel. I haven't posted anything about it since post 13, but it's something I see on a very regular basis, and I notice today that it appears she has been given a fresh coat of blue paint. She was starting to look super faded, so it was about time she got a fresh coat. I don't think I'll ever understand why the person who lives on this corner thinks that royal blue is the appropriate color, but without that distinctive shade, she wouldn't be the smurf angel, so I'm for it.