Friday, January 29, 2016
January 29, 2016
6.01 Miles in 1:00:12
Mood: Enjoying the slow and steady "orange-itizing" of Colorado.
Soundtrack: The Film Vault / The Avett Brothers "Country Was"
The Bronco momentum is building. Our local modern rock station is branded as "Channel 93.3". However, this week it has been renamed "Orange 93.3", which is undeniably awesome. I saw a bunch of orange and blue flags, yard signs, and banners this morning, but the the thing that almost singlehandedly got me out of bed this morning was the fact that I knew Newton Middle School had a "Go Broncos" scroll streaming across it's new digital sign. I literally might have slept in later and skipped out on running this morning had I not known that this was a thing. I wanted to get a picture of it as soon as possible on the off chance it disappeared prior to the Super Bowl.
The photo above is that Middle School sign with the dawn springing up just behind it. Taking a picture of the "Go Broncos" scroll is difficult because the letters are too large to all be on screen at once and the lights get washed out in a picture, but it is a bright blue and orange when you see it in person, and I love it.
The temps were already above 40 before I even left home this morning, so I abandoned my usual winter running hoodie and went just in a long sleeved running shirt. The wind was a little intense, but nothing unbearable. For the second straight Friday, I took it a little easy with several long walking breaks. I felt okay running, but I was mostly in the mood to enjoy the lovely morning and wasn't pushing too hard. My eyes were scanning everywhere for signs of orange, and sometimes you need to do that while moving a bit more slowly. Also, my legs were a bit shot after yesterday's solid run, so this was a light and easy outing, but still quite enjoyable.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
January 28, 2016
7.51 Miles in 1:10:57
Mood: Seeking Broncomania.
Soundtrack: The Decemberists "What A Terrible World, What A Wonderful World" and "The King Is Dead"
The Broncos are headed to the Super Bowl for the second time in the past three seasons. Two years ago, this town lost it's mind and was gung ho about the team's chances and went all in emotionally. Denver was nuts two years ago, and then the Broncos went out and lost 43-8.
It's too early to be able to tell for sure, but I'm wondering if people are scarred by that fiasco to the point that they are holding back from investing emotionally this go around. It seems like even the Broncos are even a little weird about it, deciding to wear their white uniforms instead of their typical orange home jerseys when they had a choice. It's a strange vibe 10 days out. Excited, but also a little apprehensive. We'll see how it revs up as we get closer next week.
As for the relevance of Bronco fan enthusiasm as related to this run, I bring it up only to say that I'm finding fewer examples of fandom than I did two years ago. There are definitely more flags out than usual, and I've seen a lot of people walking around town in orange gear, but everywhere I turned two years ago I was bumping into orange and blue paraphernalia, and I'm thus far not finding that to be quite as common this go around. I did find this cool banner today, and walked up to the front door of the house where it was hanging and untwisted it a bit so I could get a better picture of it.
I'm pumped about the Broncos, and it will take something rather unusual to trump orange and blue photos being posted for the next few runs in the lead up to Super Bowl 50, as I am actively seeking Bronco items. Just doing my part.
As for today's run, I followed an unusual route, ended up on several streets I've never traversed, and in general had a nice time, if only slightly disappointed by an underwhelming lack of Broncomania.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
January 26, 2016
9.29 Miles in 1:28:17
Mood: Running too far and finding wonderful things to be afraid of.
Soundtrack: The Wood Brothers "The Muse" / Dawes "Nothing Is Wrong" / Middle Brother "Middle Brother"
It was 19 degrees as I left the house today, and it was windy. This was by far the coldest run of 2016 thus far. Despite the chill, it was actually an awesome outing. I may have gotten a little too ambitious at about the five mile mark, however. At that moment it would have been wiser to head due east and back towards home, but I kept hoofing it south, extending my run by about two and a half miles and making it last 20 minutes longer than it should have. But if I am going to accidentally run way too far, better to do it on a day when I feel great, and I felt GREAT today.
The only drawback to the whole endeavor was that a long run combined with the frigid temps chilled my cheeks to the point that when I got home, I had a hard time talking. My frozen face and the resulting weird style of talking that it forced me into made my son laugh at me, and I can't blame him. I sounded ridiculous.
At one point early on in the run I saw what I believed to be a giant coyote or possibly a wolf just standing there in it's enormousness, just staring at me, possibly hungry. This beast was gargantuan, I'm talking supernaturally large. I was definitely intimidated, on the verge of frightened, even. Then I realized it was a bench. Perhaps it's not my proudest moment, but it's too funny not to share. I was on the cusp of alarm with a shot of adrenaline pumping through my body thanks to fear of outdoor furniture.
Today's photo is of a glorious old school Bronco flag, which I passed when I was about as far west as I could possibly get on this run. If I hadn't taken my extended route, I would have missed out on this monument to orange, which would have been a great loss, so yet another reason I'm pleased with just how much further I ran than I should have today. No regrets! Go Broncos!
Monday, January 25, 2016
January 24, 2016
8.01 Miles in 1:13:12
Mood: United in Orange
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / 99% Invisible
It was AFC Championship Game Sunday, and I figured running downtown and circling the stadium had worked so well for the divisional round of the playoffs that I'd run a very similar route to see if the same pregame ritual that led to a win for my Broncos over the Steelers would also work with the Patriots in town. Turns out, it did! The Broncos squeaked out a 20-18 win later that afternoon. (Although, for the record, I do not believe that the fact that I ran past the stadium in the same manner as last week had a single thing to do with the Broncos winning again. I'm not superstitious like that.)
While running, I saw a bunch of Patriots fans prepping to head to the stadium for the game. I encountered a much higher number of Pats fans than I saw Steelers fans the a week prior. One guy was walking down 14th Street in Patriot gear, and I jokingly gave him the, "Worst of Luck, today!" message. We ended up talking football in a very friendly manner for about five minutes. That guy was awesome. Then I got stuck behind a few Patriots bros as I got a bit closer to the stadium. I heard them actively discussing whether they thought it would be harder for the Patriots to face the Panthers or the Cardinals in two weeks at the Super Bowl. They were actively assuming that they had already beaten the Broncos as if it were a given. I didn't like those guys as well.
I also listened to the Bill Simmons Podcast for a good portion of my run. He's a huge Patriots fan, and he sounded quite confident in his team's chances. (Although not as confident as the Patriots bros) I was trying my best to temper my enthusiasm a bit and also settle my nerves on this run, as I was really hoping the Broncos would make the Super Bowl, but I also thought there was a very good chance that they wouldn't win and I didn't want to get my hopes TOO high. This trip was excellent for running off my nervous energy. I was pumped and perfectly prepped for the football game to get underway by the time I got home.
Today's photo comes direct from Civic Center Park. It shows the Denver City and County Building which still has a lot of Christmas decorations up, including the very cheeky Santa on the rooftop. More important to the day's proceedings was the sign temporarily declaring the street in front of this large government building as "Broncos Boulevard". I took a picture of this sign the previous week, and almost used it for the post a week ago before settling on the picture of a seahorse wearing a Von Miller jersey. This week, it was by far my favorite picture, so it made the blog. More importantly, the Broncos have once again made the Super Bowl!!!! So, for the second time in the history of this blog, my Broncos are in the Super Bowl. Once again, I'll be looking for signs of growing Broncomania enveloping this city. I am certain this will happen once again, so look forward to the next two weeks of orange and blue themed photos...as they are undoubtedly coming if I know me.
Friday, January 22, 2016
January 22, 2016
4.37 Miles in 41:49
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / Tim Barry "Rivanna Junction"
This was less a run, and more a long walk with occasional bouts of running mixed in. I was so tired this morning, my legs were dead, and I just couldn't bring myself to run. I probably could have pushed myself a lot harder, but I was taking it insanely easy today. If a four mile run can be called lazy, this was it. The fact that I even got four miles in was something of an upset.
On the plus side, it was a beautiful morning, a lovely walk, and the mountains and sky looked awesome in the background of this golf course as I passed it this morning. The sunrise itself was kind of meh, but it's effect on the western sky was excellent. All in all, this was a morning well spent, even if calling it a run is being generous.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
January 21, 2016
7.30 Miles in 1:05:52
Mood: Trying to keep it moving.
Soundtrack: Hop Along "Painted Shut" / Robert DeLong "Just Movement" / The Avett Brothers "Emotionalism"
I started out this morning with a general idea of trying to go faster than I have gone lately. I was intentionally trying to push myself, and half a mile in, I had to stop and rest because the faster pace was hurting. So I walked for a short bit, and then resumed trying to go fast. I ended up doing this walking and then trying to push myself thing for a good majority of the morning. I ended up clocking in at averaging 9:02 per mile, which is faster than I've been lately by a decent margin. I had to break it up with a few decently long walks, but all in all, I felt really good about this morning's effort.
I also had to stop in on my old friends, the Belleview Gargoyles. Today, they were decked out in winter wear just trying to keep warm, which felt appropriate for January. I was a little disappointed that they weren't in orange and blue to support the Broncos in their upcoming AFC Championship tilt, but it still was good to see that they continue to get decked out in seasonally appropriate gear. It is my great fear that one day I'll run by, and the wonderfully wacky person who dresses them up will have sold the house, and they'll just be naked. That would make me sad.
Speaking of sad, I had a short bout of intense melancholy about two miles from the end of my run when I passed by a Lost Dog sign someone had lovingly posted on a street lamp. It was a cute little Yorkie dressed up in a red coat, and then sign desperately pleaded for someone to call if they had any information about this little guy named "Bentley". I have a Yorkie to which I'm quite attached, and Bentley looked adorable, so to know what that poor family must be going through not knowing what has happened to their beloved pet really wrecked me. Here's hoping you get found, Bentley!
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
January 19, 2016
7.19 Miles in 1:10:16
Mood: Wintry White
Soundtrack: The Postal Service "Give Up (Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition)"
This was probably the warmest early morning run I've taken in a month. It also snowed almost the entire time, which lets you know about how chilly my past month of running has been. There wasn't a ton of snow, but the little amount that fell overnight carpeted the world with a fresh layer of white, so everything was bright in a way that only a fresh snow can provide. If I was one to find snow pretty, this would have been a pretty morning.
I ended up taking a picture in my award winning picture spot at Ketring Lake and decided to post it because this was about as wintry as this spot is ever going to look, and I'm hoping to capture this same spot in the apex of each season. (For a summer picture of the same spot, click here)
The music for today came exclusively from one very long album. The Postal Service's "Give Up" (a side project from electronic music artist Jimmy Tamborello and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard) this is the only album they ever released, which is a shame because it's really good. This was the deluxe 10th anniversary edition, which has twenty five songs on it and seems to go on for days. The original 10 song album is probably better, but this one is fun because it has several songs that are performed two or three times in varying ways, and they all seem to work despite their musical diversity. It's a fun listen.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
January 17, 2016
8.21 Miles in 1:18:21
Mood: Working out the pregame jitters.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / Lupe Fiasco "Lasers"
It was a Broncos playoff Sunday, and a local grocery store chain has been giving away some cool Bronco magnets throughout the state this week. Most of the locations were much too far away from me to be manageable, but the very final giveaway was happening at 7AM in a location that was reasonably close to home, and also quite close to places I routinely run, so I decided to get up early to get a "United in Orange" magnet and then get a run in early so that I could get home in time to watch playoff football (The Seahawks-Panthers game was on prior to the Broncos-Steelers tilt.)
I awoke at 6 and did my morning routine quick enough that after a 20 minute drive, I had ten minutes before they started giving away the magnets. I figured that since it was happening at 7 on a Sunday Morning that this would be a low key affair, however, I was there ten minutes early, and the line snaked it's way halfway through the store. In all, I probably waited 20 minutes to get my magnet, and there might have been a few hundred left at the very most by the time I got mine. I'm not even sure they had enough for the sizable portion of people in line behind me. I was floored at just how nuts the response to this promotion was...although to be fair, it's a really cool magnet.
After another 15 minutes of driving, I was in Cheesman Park and ready to head out to Sports Authority Field at Mile High to check on the stadium several hours before kickoff. There were signs of Bronco Madness everywhere, including at the City and County building where the mayor temporarily declared the street running along the building "Broncos Boulevard" and the Downtown Aquarium (as you can see in the photo above) where two decorative bushes that were made to look like seahorses were both wearing Von Miller jerseys. Even when I ran through downtown...an area that is usually heavy with opponent fans due to the many hotels, I saw very few Steeler fans walking the streets. This made me feel good, as even for a regular season game I'll often see a heavy dose of people in opponents jerseys. I also felt like the Steelers were largely underrepresented when I watched the game on TV, which was excellent.
All in all, the early morning led to a great run, and I was back in time to catch all the football action. A complete win of a Sunday! (The Broncos even won, and will now face the Patriots in Denver next Sunday for the AFC Championship!)
Friday, January 15, 2016
January 15, 2015
4.48 Miles in 44:18
Soundtrack: The Beatles "Please Please Me" / Passenger "All The Little Lights"
My beautiful daughter turns 11 today, and the day opened with a beautiful sunrise in her honor. I was out trying to get a few miles, but I realized from the start that it wasn't going to be a normal full out run. After running eight miles on Thursday, my calf was hurting badly all morning yesterday and although I awoke with it feeling much better, I didn't think I should push too hard. Plus, I felt a bit like a zombie when I awoke today, and I had the added pressure of needing to be at work a little earlier than normal while also wanting to have time to watch my daughter open a few presents. So the compromise was to go easy today, going less than five miles and spending some very large chucks of the time walking rather than running. I didn't feel great this morning, but it was good to get a few slow miles in and of course, I was treated to a gorgeous sunrise.
A few other notes: Note 1. I listened to the oldest Beatles album on Spotify, and Please Please me has about four good songs, and a bunch of mediocre or worse filler. The Beatles became sublimely great, but I wouldn't say they were otherworldly in 1963. This is easily the worst album of the ones I've listened to in their entirety since they were released on Spotify. Note 2: I just purchased on Thursday a new FitBit (The FitBit One) on Thursday. This one counts not only steps, but also flights of stairs. I bring this up, because I have always preferred to run to the West rather than run to the East. I have never had a great explanation for this until today, when I went to the East to shake things up, and my FitBit gave me credit for running up 37 flights of stairs on this shorter run. I don't know what will happen when I run to the West, but I have a feeling it won't be THAT many flights, even on a longer run. So the problem with going East is the hills, man. Those hills are rough!
Thursday, January 14, 2016
January 14, 2016
8.37 Miles in 1:21:30
Mood: Worried that someone is about to fall through the ice.
Soundtrack: Mumford & Sons "Wilder Mind" and "Sigh No More"
There is a killer "Jesus walked on water" joke in here somewhere, and I just can't find it. All I find myself thinking is how dangerous it is to write Jesus' name on that thin ice. For crying out loud, you can see open spots of freezing water IN THIS PHOTO! That ice isn't eight feet thick, people!
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
January 12, 2016
7.07 Miles in 1:10:51
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The Dan Lebatard Show
I awoke in a haze this morning. The world felt dreamlike and floaty, and it took me awhile to get going. The first three miles of this run were a continuation of that feel, as I couldn't really get into a good grove, and had to keep stopping to walk and collect myself. It wasn't going well. Then I passed this owl.
I've never seen a dead owl on the sidewalk before. It was surreal, and honestly, a little frightening. As I was taking it's photo, I did so apprehensively, as it's eye was open, and appeared to be staring at me. I half expected that if I got too close that it would lunge at me, and I did NOT have any interest in getting lunged at by an apparently dead owl. I'm not sure I could survive that kind of jolt to the system. Still, it was so fascinating that I had to get a good photo, so I lurched slowly up to a dead owl and took a few pics.
Immediately after that point, it was as if I had been given a jolt of adrenaline. I was awake, I was moving, I was as alive as that owl was dead. I don't know why a dead bird of prey energized me so, but it did. It was like a different morning, and I was a different man.
This was also a run that finished with purpose. That purpose was getting more bread at the grocery store, as we had no bread with which to make sandwiches for lunch today. Oddly that final mile home as I was carrying a loaf of bread in a plastic bag was by far my fastest mile...which leads me to the wild conclusion that Olympic runners should always run with a loaf of bread in order to maximize their speeds. I'm sure that would work, because it worked for me this morning, and that's probably a big enough sample size to declare accurately that runners are faster while holding bread. That's science!
Monday, January 11, 2016
January 10, 2016
8.09 Miles in 1:14:19
Mood: Unimaginatively circling a frozen park.
Soundtrack: Bright Eyes "Cassadaga" / Bear's Den "Islands"
After snow hit the area right before the weekend, and cold temps made sure that practically none of it melted, I figured the city streets would be an icy disaster. I didn't feel like trying to avoid falling AND traffic at the same time, so I figured I'd embrace a world of no imagination and just circle Wash Park four times to get my miles in for Sunday.
That is just what I did. I looped the same section of streets four times and called it a day, no diversions, nothing off the beaten path, just ground and pound around the park in a circle (not literally) pattern. It wasn't the most interesting of runs, but it wasn't miserable either. The weather was sunny, if not warm, and it felt good to get a decent number of miles in at a relatively decent pace for a change.
Since this path through the park didn't really lead me down any new roads I didn't get much in the way of a good photo op, but there was a lot of white snow on the ground which I have been told is beautiful. There was also a huge flock of geese sitting on the unfrozen portion of Smith Lake at the north end of the park which was fun to look at, and even more fun to look at was the guy with the giant camera on a tripod who was just sitting on the lake and staring at the waterfowl. He never moved the whole time I was standing there. He never looked at his camera or even seemed to be interested in photographing anything with his giant lens. He just kept staring at geese. I'm not even sure he was actually alive, although it'd be rather creepy if he was just a frozen corpse who died waiting for the perfect shot. I'm guessing he was fine, he was just very patiently waiting for the perfect shot of a goose.
(Also, this brings my streak of posting photos of ducks swimming on a frozen lake to two.)
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
January 6, 2016
7.65 Miles in 1:14:05
Mood: Reliving the British Invasion of the 60's and the 90's
Soundtrack: The Beatles "Rubber Soul" and "Magical Mystery Tour" / Oasis "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?"
It was the British Invasion morning, and I have to say that "Rubber Soul" and "Magical Mystery Tour" are both pretty darn good. (News Flash: The Beatles were pretty good.) I mixed in a little Oasis, because why not? While running this morning, I developed my new favorite theory that The Beatles are to Michael Jordan as Oasis is to Kobe Bryant. It just kind of works. (Although I like Oasis much more than Kobe.)
I felt like I was running much faster than my app told me I was today. This must be what it's like to be Peyton Manning right now (only on a much smaller scale). We are both 39 and our bodies are betraying us, as things we easily did two years ago now seem much harder. Fortunately, millions of people aren't paying attention to the pace of each run I take, Peyton has a bit more scrutiny on his athletic endeavors. I'm still running and still enjoying it, even if I appear to be rapidly slowing with each passing day. I've decided to not worry about it anymore and just do my best and be happy with that.
This run wasn't all that notable apart from two things. Firstly, the sunrise took me by surprise. I didn't see it coming at all, and then I turned a corner, and it was fully awesome for about four minutes. In that time, I was presented with the scene pictured above of geese swimming in a hole in the ice of the mostly frozen Ketring Lake with the pink light of morning making everything look quite serene and beautiful. The other notable thing I found today was a depiction of the nativity someone had placed on their roof. Little baby Jesus' manger was propped up vertically, and it looked like Mary and Joseph were getting ready to fling him to the ground. I'm pretty sure that isn't the vibe that the homeowner was going for, but it sure made me laugh this morning.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016
7.18 Miles in 1:09:35
Mood: Deflated but still pounding it out and enjoying it.
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The Dan Lebatard Show / Alanis Morissette "Jagged Little Pill"
The alarm went off this morning, and it was all I could do to pull myself out of bed. Christmas is over, New Years has passed, and we are left to deal with the harsh end of long cold winter now that all the celebratory elements of the coldest (and worst) season of the year have passed. This Christmas inflatable lying flat and deflated on this lawn seemed the perfect metaphor for early January. This is kind of how I feel right now...a bit deflated and out of oomph. I had a hard time sustaining a decent pace, and had to take several prolonged walks this morning. I actually picked up steam as the run went on, but the first three miles were brutal, and as is becoming customary lately, I was pretty slow.
I probably need to work on my nutrition and also make sure I get some better sleep, as both of those things would probably increase my stamina greatly. I also look forward to the ground thawing a bit so that I can once again use the Highline Canal trails. Right now it's nothing but street running, and it's much harder on the old body than the trails are.
Still, by the time I finished up today, I was very happy that I got out and pounded out some miles. Even a rough run can be a good time. I'm thankful that I've been able to keep grinding, even through harder times when it's not as easy to run. I do believe I'll get my groove back.
January 3, 2016
7.33 Miles in 1:10:07
Soundtrack: Father John Misty "I Love You, Honeybear" and Alanis Morissette "Jagged Little Pill"
This run had a false start. I drove up to Romans Park, and was about to begin my jaunt north to Wash Park, when I felt a mighty rumbling in my gut. Rather than fight it, I hopped by in my car and drove to a nearby grocery store, made use of the facilities, and then drove right back to the starting line and did a second take on getting started.
Romans Park is directly adjacent to an apartment complex where my wife and I used to live, so there were elements that made it feel like a homecoming. Then I decided to run up and down Gilpin Ave, which is the street where my buddy used to live, and I passed by his house twice. This is a house where I spent a decent amount of time watching football and playing video games back when I used to play video games, so there was a bit of nostalgia for a bygone era as I passed by. This is a neighborhood that I haven't really ran through all that much, and this run confirmed that as a good decision. The streets are fine to run through, although honestly they are a little boring and far too hilly. It's much more interesting running through the areas north of Wash Park rather than south, but I was able to see some things I haven't seen before, and I found this excellent yet goofy eagle sculpture, so it wasn't a total loss.
Also of note from this outing: Alanis Morisette's "Jagged Little Pill" has aged quite well. I loved that album back in 1996, and listened to it religiously that year, and it still kind of rocks. Sadly, after she released that very angry and awesome album, she spent some time in India and got all spiritual and enlightened. She lost all her anger after that, and her music suffered. Thankfully, we still have "Jagged Little Pill" which was 90's angst at it's finest. I'm not sure I'll ever forgive India for transforming her, but hey, whatcha gonna do?
January 1, 2016
10.74 Miles in 1:41:31
Mood: Meandering happily with excess time on my hands
Soundtrack: Father John Misty "I Love You, Honeybear" and Vaudville Ettiquette "Debutantes & Dealers"
My family had been out of town for days, and they were going to be coming back this first day of 2016, but not until late in the afternoon. This meant I had a holiday off of work, and no real responsibilities to take care of all day, so I could be gone on my run for as long as I felt the need. Add in to that mix the fact that it was the first beautiful day in what felt like weeks and I felt great, and I determined this was going to be a long run.
I began in City Park, and although snow was still everywhere and the lake was frozen, the roads and paths were all remarkably clear, and the bright sunshine made the park warm and inviting. I thought about running through it a few times, but decided that I needed to hit up a lot of different places, so I ran south of the park and then south of Colfax. As I was crossing Colfax, I wanted to get a photo of this strange advertisement sign which was basically a mug shot of a snow-woman. (I still don't really know what was going on there.) However, there was a guy panhandling on the corner right in front of the sign, so what did I do? Well, naturally I walked up and asked if he wouldn't mind moving about ten paces so I could get a picture. Only as I was running away did I feel slightly weird about asking a beggar to move so that I could take a picture of an advertisement. Not too weird, though, as I was still glad I got the shot.
I decided my destination would be Sports Authority Field, as that made for a suitably long run and also let me see the stadium...something that is always fun for this Broncos fan. I was surprised at how many people were milling about the place. It was two days prior to the Chargers game, but I'd guess that there were still fifty or sixty people checking the place out and taking photos. This amused me, but I guess I get it. Broncos fandom makes people do crazy things.
As I was heading back, I was fighting a battle with my phone battery. Could I get back before it dropped to zero and died? It was touch and go for awhile. The charge percentage went from about 50% to 20% remarkably quickly as I was heading back to City Park from downtown. Thankfully, after it dropped below 20%, it's draining rate slowed considerably. This made me happy, as I had brought along my drivers license so that I could show it at the Denver Zoo entrance and prove that I have a membership so that I could include a quick loop around the zoo as part of my run. I was at 17% when I entered the zoo, and I was able to spend about 15 minutes there doing a quick circle around the place. While I was there, I saw giraffes (pictured), a hippo, some mountain goats chilling on a steep cliff, a cheetah surrounded by snow (which seems unnatural), and an emu who was bopping about must amusingly. Also, since it was New Years Day, the crowds were extremely light and I had clear paths everywhere I ran around the zoo. It made for a lovely final mile of a lovely run, and I still had 13% battery power left on my phone when I was finished. It was an awesome start to 2016.