Friday, August 18, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Three

August 18, 2017
7.31 Miles in 1:12:09
Mood: Slow and steady
Soundtrack: Ben Folds "Rockin' the Suburbs" / Ben Folds Five "Whatever and Ever Amen"

I didn't range too far from home, as I spent a decent amount of time circling Southglenn and farming Pokemon supplies. However, it still turned out to be a pretty good run. I was in a Ben Folds type of mood, and Ben kept me company nicely as I hit up the Highline Canal Trail a bit and also circled DeKoevend a few times. I never felt like I was getting tired at all, and perhaps my snail's pace of 9'52" per mile had something to do with that, but I was able to just keep moving for the most part and knocked out my run fairly quickly with a minimum number of rests. Plus, I was able to get this photo of a Kokopelli fence. I now have fencing goals to achieve for myself.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Two

August 17, 2017
7.09 Miles in 1:10:12
Mood: Hustling to say "Hi!"
Soundtrack: The Low Anthem "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin" and "What the Crow Brings" / Lord Huron "Lonesome Dreams"

Today was my daughter Ellie's first day of Middle School. She has been apprehensive about going, so I really wanted to support her today. I wrote her a note this morning for her to read at the kitchen table as she ate her breakfast, but I also wanted to see her before she went into the school. I double checked with my wife what time she was going to drop her off at school, and I arranged my morning run so that I thought I would have plenty of time to arrive at Newton Middle School to see her off.

However, I somewhat misjudged how much time it would take to loop around to the school via the Highline Canal, and as a result, as 7:45 inched closer and I was still further away than I was hoping to be, I began to get concerned. I started running about as hard as I could push myself and at 7:42 I texted my wife hoping that I could buy myself just a couple of minutes to get there before Ellie went in. Jen was awesome and they both hung out in front of the school for a couple extra minutes so that I could wish her well before school.

I turned the corner to the entrance of the school just in time and saw my lovely daughter. She didn't want to give me a hug because I was a disgusting sweaty mess, and I don't blame her, but she did give me a fist bump and I think she was glad to see me. I know I was happy to see her, and I was glad to see she had a smile on her face and looked ready to attack the day. She even let me take her picture, which I immediately knew would be the photo for today's run. I'm hoping she had a great day at school, and I'm super glad I was able to push myself hard enough to see her as she started the monumental task of Middle School.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-One

August 15, 2017
7.51 Miles in 1:13:14
Mood: Thinking about poop.
Soundtrack: Mumford & Sons "Wilder Mind" / The Head and The Heart "Signs of Light" and "Let's Be Still"

I spent a good bit of time on the Highline Canal trail this morning and it struck me as I passed the third or fourth pile of horse poop...why is everyone just okay with horse poop? All over the city there are signs encouraging you to pick up after your dog, there are all types of baggies provided free of charge to enable this behavior, and it is generally considered beyond uncouth to just let your dog drog some biscuits and leave them there. Yet, if you are a horse owner, we just look the other way as giant excrement stones gather in a pile in the middle of the path and slowly over the course of days and weeks break down into the soil. I get that the logistics of dealing with equine feces are much more complicated than they are for Fido, but still...shouldn't somebody take up this cause? It's weird to me how no one even thinks twice about giant horse apples, but a single dog turd causes blood pressures to rise and anger to burn. Strange double standard, especially since the horse droppings are by far the more objectionable poop to me.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty

August 13, 2017
7.99 Miles in 1:14:14
Mood: Like a Rolling Stone
Soundtrack: Bob Dylan "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blood on the Tracks"

I've always like Bob Dylan, but I had never really done a deep dive into his albums before. He has a ridiculously large number of them, as one would expect of an artist who has basically been recording for as long as music has been being recorded. Sunday morning found me deciding to check out a couple of his more famous albums and I reached two conclusions upon pondering them: One, his music is really good. Two, how has nobody not started recording music under the name "Bob Dillon" just to see if he could sell a few albums to confused people who don't know how to spell the name of a legend?

I found myself in the spiritual home of my Sunday runs...Wash Park. I ended up doing this run in two parts because I briefly forgot to start my run under the "Featured" section of the running app and I almost did my run without setting the goal of doing a "Community Sunday 5K". I've done 27 of these in a row, and I almost lost my entirely meaningless (yet somehow still motivating) streak. I finished my run at .07 miles and then did the remaining 7.92 in a manner which would allow my streak to continue. That was a close one, and it explains why there are two maps, one which is a ridiculous straight line.

I'd also like to point out that the gardeners at Wash Park are wizards and have the coolest looking flowers and plants around. So hats off to you, guys (and potentially gals). Your work is appreciated.

Six Hundred Seventy-Nine

August 12, 2017
7.23 Miles in 1:10:29
Mood: Happily appreciating the spray painted arts.
Soundtrack: Grouplove "Big Mess" "Spreading Rumors" and "Never Trust a Happy Song"

I had a rare Saturday running opportunity as my Mother-in-Law was in town which allowed me to take off while she stayed with the kids. I decided it was time to check back in with the Ri-No neighborhood to see what new murals I could find. I was not disappointed as this amazing Tortise and Hare job greeted me. I thought this one was spectacular, although I was a little bummed that the light was not ideal for a photo...although this one came out much better than I expected.

There were a lot of great looking murals, and it made me think that it had been too long since I ventured into Five Points to see what the artists living there had cooked up. I also realized that a Saturday run is a great thing, as I have the same laid back timeframe that I do on a Sunday run without having to go to work the next day.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Eight

August 10, 2017
7.58 Miles in 1:15:38
Mood: Breakfast smells, mosquitoes and classy crows.
Soundtrack: The Memory Palace / 99% Invisible / The Allusionist / Grouplove "Big Mess"

A retirement home was just build directly adjacent to DeKoevend Park, and although I have never been inside, I was able to confirm today that it is open for business. I was able to ascertain this because as I ran past it this morning in the park, the unmistakable smell of a mass produced breakfast was wafting through the air. You've probably smelled it before...a pungent smell of liquid eggs and greasy bacon and sausage. It isn't the worst smell ever, but it also doesn't signal four star dining. It's a school cafeteria or camp kitchen kind of smell. I've never smelled it before in the park, though. I must say that it feels incredibly out of place in a public park. There should be some way to partition off the smell from early morning park attenders.

Also, I was bragging with some co-workers two days ago about how I hadn't been bitten by a mosquito all summer. That was foolishness, as this morning the park was riddled with mosquitoes everywhere thanks to all the rain we've been having and the corresponding puddles of standing water. My braggadocio came immediately before a myriad of mosquitos made their own breakfast of me.

Finally, I chose this picture because a crow decided to enhance it for me. I saw a large group of crows this morning...a murder, if you will, and I thought they looked cool. Then this one flew into my landscape photo of the park and really classed it up. Thanks, crow!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Seven

August 8, 2017
8.00 Miles in 1:17:25
Mood: Why are you screaming?
Soundtrack: The Head and The Heart "Signs of Light"

This tree has a very large hole in it. This morning I imagined that it was the tree's mouth, and the tree was screaming. I don't know if the tree was angry or if it was in pain, but it was definitely screaming. I don't like screaming trees. Trees should be silent, but this one was shouting out. My imagination sometimes gets away from me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Six

August 6, 2017
8.43 Miles in 1:18:40
Mood: Surprisingly refreshed
Soundtrack: Grouplove "Big Mess"

After an amazing weekend trip to the Great Sand Dunes with my son in which I went pretty hard, slept in a tent, and generally didn't have a ton of great sleep, I figured my body would feel much like how this dead squirrel looks. Stiff and unable to move. Somehow, despite only getting six hours of sleep right before I went, I felt great. I was able to move much better than a dead squirrel.

Speaking of the squirrel...It looked like he just had an accident from a tree and missed a jump and ended up splatted right there on the trail. As an avid squirrel despiser, this did not cause me any angst. I won't go so far as to say I rejoiced that it was dead, but I didn't shed any tears either. Wash Park was gray and cloudy, and I didn't many great pictures, so I decided to go with the dead squirrel because it was the most interesting picture by far, and every now and then, I need to post photos of dead animals. It's in my contract.

Six Hundred Seventy-Five

August 2, 2017
7.64 Miles in 1:15:00
Mood: Appreciating clouds
Soundtrack: OK Go "Hungry Ghosts" / The Oh Hellos "Through the Deep, Dark Valley"

The clouds were amazing all throughout this run, but they reached their peak at about the halfway point of my run, as seen above. Overall it was kind of a gray and gloomy morning, but at this very moment, it was perfect. I love clouds.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Four

July 30, 2017
7.08 Miles in 1:03:51
Mood: Everything is coming up aces and bees.
Soundtrack: Passenger "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"

Why is there a stuffed bee pinned to this tree in Wash Park? This is a question I will likely never be able to answer, but I'm happy that I am able to ask it because for whatever the reason is, someone did this. It was no child, either, as this bee is probably six feet or more up in the air. Lovely randomness, that.

My Sunday run was surprisingly fast paced. After a week which I had struggled, it was nice to have my legs strong underneath me. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised by a brand new passenger album that Spotify just popped up saying, "Hey, you'd probably like this, so why not listen?" They were right, it's spectacular and I listened through it two and a half times while circling Wash Park. Such a lovely bee tree filled morning.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Three

July 28, 2017
7.89 Miles in 1:16:48
Mood: Feeling pretty good.
Soundtrack: The Bravery "The Sun and The Moon" / The Shins "Heartworms"

The Marines flag proudly flying in his yard is one thing, but the dedication to get the Marines symbol painted on his curb next to his street number was more impressive to me. Ooh Rah! Good sir.

This run put me over 100 miles for July, extending my streak to 43 consecutive months. I was a little tired, so my pace left a little to be desired, and it took a lot longer than it should have, but it felt good to enjoy a nice leisurely Friday morning. It helped that I took a slightly different route than's good to mix it up a little. Something I used to do more than I do now. I've become overly dependent on the Highline Canal, because it is wonderful, but I do miss out on exploring and seeing a wider range of things when I do so.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Two

July 26, 2017
7.41 Miles in 1:13:19
Mood: Appreciating popping pinks.
Soundtrack: The Beef and Dairy Network / 99% Invisible / Peter Mulvey "Are You Listening?" / The Shins "Heartworms"

I've listened through the latest Shins album four times now. The first time I heard it I absolutely hated it, but it has grown on me. I still can't quite figure out if I like it or not, but there are some songs that are killer. It's weird for me to have this much uncertainty after hearing something that many times. We'll see how it continues to attach to my psyche.

Today's photo is of a beautiful group of flowers. The pinks were popping out there this morning.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-One

July 23, 2017
7.03 Miles in 1:06:32
Mood: Pushing through
Soundtrack: Twenty One Pilots "Blurryface" and "Vessel"

This run was very nearly aborted. I awoke on Sunday morning after a crazy Saturday on which I took over seventy thousand steps. I did so because over the past three years it has become a new summer tradition to go on a term for a crazy long walk which happens while my wife is at work and my kids are in Arizona. The past two years I have walked from my home to Coors Field and most of the way back. In addition to this crazy long walk, I also stayed up until after midnight due to the fact that my kids finally flew back to Denver and their flight landed after 11. Then, I had a rough night's sleep, which meant that when my alarm went off at 6AM, I was working with only a few hours sleep a day after walking around 35 miles.

Although I took about 10 minutes deciding whether or not to get up, eventually I decided that I would regret it if I didn't. The first 20 minutes of being awake were a little brutal, but before long I felt like myself. As I was driving to Wash Park, I thought that I would do my best and try to get a 5K in to keep my Sunday 5K streak alive on the Nike+ Run app. However, much to my surprise, as I started running, I actually felt pretty good. And by the time I was two miles in, I decided I was going to push to try and get in a normal length run. When the sounder signaling my 7th mile went off as I neared my car, I felt like I had accomplished something pretty great, and I was proud. I also knew I'd need a nap later on this afternoon. (Which I took.)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy

July 21, 2017
7.20 Miles and 1:12:59
Mood: Concise
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "LA DIVINE" and "Robbers & Cowards" / Colin Hay "Next Year People"

This is a middle school mascot statue. I ran slow today. I have very little else to say.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty-Nine

July 20, 2017
7.37 Miles in 1:12:25
Mood: Discovering new places
Soundtrack: Panic! at the Disco "Death of a Bachelor" / Peter Bjorn and John "Gimme Some" / Peter Mulvey "Brother Rabbit Speaks/Rain"

I discovered the entrance to a park up in Cherry Hills Village called Woodie Creek Park a few weeks ago, and I knew that it was within running distance from home. I've been meaning to stop by, but finally decided today was the day. The entrance is odd because it is very narrow with a steep incline down, so it had an Alice descending into Wonderland feel to it. Especially since at the bottom of the hill was a sharp turn and it was covered heavily with trees on either side, so I had absolutely no idea what it would actually look like.

Turns out, it's a short and lovely gravel path alongside a small creek in a lovely bucolic setting as seen above. It is basically on the Northwest corner of Belleview and University, but it is protected by a large privacy wall that makes it seem isolated and separated from traffic. Pretty cool place, and I'm quite glad I checked it out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty-Eight

July 18, 2017
7.21 Miles in 1:10:29
Mood: Weirded out by the normalness of it all.
Soundtrack: Mediocre Show / 99% Invisible / What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law / The Gist

This was the first normal early morning Colorado run I had done in 11 days. Honestly, it felt a little weird to be back to my own neighborhood getting a run in before work because it felt like it had been forever since I had done so. Like I was a stranger in my own life.

It didn't take TOO long to feel like I was back in the flow, and after running through DeKoevend Park, Ketring Park and the Highline Canal, I was back to feeling like me.

Six Hundred Sixty-Seven

July 16, 2017
8.33 Miles in 1:17:27
Mood: Happy to be back home.
Soundtrack: The Decemberists "What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World"

I pushed my Sunday run back to the afternoon because we got back from Arizona after midnight, and I wanted more than five hours of sleep. Usually I feel like afternoon runs are too hot, but after being in Arizona for a week, suddenly a Colorado afternoon doesn't seem so warm.

I arrived at Wash Park determined to get in a substantial run, and my first loop around the park was solid, but then I started looping through the middle of the park a lot and just meandering and I lost a bit of focus. I pulled it together to get another strong loop at the end, but there was a lot of aimless wandering and distractions in the middle. All in all, I broke the seven mile mark for the first time in awhile and I even did so with a moderately decent pace.

Being back in Colorado felt amazing, the temps weren't killer and I forgot how much I enjoy grass and leafy trees. I even was able to see people setting up for a wedding in the flower garden. The alter seen above is at the head of about 100 to 200 folding chairs set up just waiting for the bride and groom to make their way on over in a few hours. It was very pretty.

Six Hundred Sixty-Six

July 15, 2017
5.52 Miles in 49:42
Mood: Running like a bat out of Arizona
Soundtrack: Conversation with my brother.

I have been considering this post for sometime, as the six hundred sixty-sixth post has some devilish baggage to it. I didn't plan it out this way, but there is something appropriate that this post should originate from Arizona, as heat is one of the state's defining characteristics. Also funny that I should have a statue of a bat as the photo...for the "Bat out of hell" purposes.

The photo was actually taken at just about the midpoint of this run. It's a very cool statue of a bat riding a bike. The significance seems to be that it is positioned directly next to a path where many bikers ride and also a bridge that is home to a large number of bats. (I just Googled what a group of bats is called, and it's apparently a colony, but if it were up to me it would be a brigade of bats.)

Of the three runs I managed while in Tucson, this was the most "normal" of them all. Bruce and I ran along the Pantano Wash, a dry river bed in middle of the city that has a popular trail for bikers and runners alike. We had a pretty good pace, and ran for a respectable distance. It was probably the least picturesque running site, but the lack of amazing scenery meant that we just kept running...which is sort of the point. We had limited time to run that morning, as Bruce had to go straight from running five and a half miles to a Crossfit class and I had 12 hours of driving ahead of me that day. The distance was only moderate, but we went hard enough that I was pretty wiped by the end.

Six Hundred Sixty-Five

July 13, 2017
3.68 Miles in 35:29
Mood: Distracted by desert plants and Pokemon.
Soundtrack: Conversation with my brother

It was a beautiful Tucson morning, and after mixed results running in nature the day before, my brother and I decided to make the lovely campus of the University of Arizona the scene for our run. Our original intention had been to get in more miles on this morning than we had previously, but we were sidetracked by some intense Pokemon Go playing as well as my insatiable need to take photos of cacti and palm trees.

I was able to see big chunks of the campus for the first time and get in some quality time and conversation with my brother, so the fact that we only gave a half effort to running was okay. It was an awesome morning and I now know what the outside of the Wildcat's football stadium looks like. (It looks like a football stadium.)

Six Hundred Sixty-Four

July 12, 2017
4.19 Miles in 40:08
Mood: It was the best of runs, it was the worst of runs.
Soundtrack: Conversation with my brother

I was ready for Arizona to be a lot of things, but humid was not one of those. However, with the arrival of monsoon season and the accompanying heavy rain storms, it was downright muggy in Sabino Canyon as my brother and I headed up the trail and began running. We were quickly drenched in sweat, which was not really unpleasant, just wet. The problem was that the entire trail up the somewhat steep hills into the canyon was brimming with gnats. These gnats were everywhere, to the point that at times we had to cut our conversations to keep them from flying into our mouths and providing us with unwanted protein. The wetness of our sweat at times caused the gnats to stick to our faces. Also, there were stagnant pools which looked to have been full of standing water for months. There was an odor emanating from many of these pools which was downright foul, although I will admit that the large frogs we saw swimming in one of the puddles were pretty cool.

That first paragraph makes it sound like this was a miserable running experience, but actually it was pretty great. Sure, it had it's downsides like noxious odors and bugs in such high numbers that it was on the verge of being classified as pestilence, but hanging out with my brother was great, the sunrise this morning was outstanding, and as you can see from the photo, the scenery was beautiful with saguaro everywhere. However, if you want to run in Sabino Canyon, I'd recommend NOT going during the beginning of monsoon season. I hear it's lovely in winter.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty-Three

July 9, 2017
3.11 Miles in 28:20
Mood: Getting out in front of a road trip.
Soundtrack: Milk Carton Kids "Prologue"

With a 12 plus hour drive ahead of me, I knew I wouldn't be able to take a lot of time to run this morning, but I also wanted to keep my Sunday 5K streak alive on the Nike + Running app. I also knew that if I didn't get some activity in early this morning, that I wasn't going to get any in all day. So I got up a little early, and pounded out a very quick three miles. I stopped running exactly one time, for about ten seconds to take this photo at the halfway point of the run, and apart from that I ran without breaks for the entirety of the run. I rarely run without stopping at all, and this run felt fairly intense as a result...even if it was less than half of a normal run. Now I'm prepped for a long car ride, and hopefully an uneventful one at that.

Six Hundred Sixty-Two

July 7, 2017
8.07 Miles in 1:17:38
Mood: There's no place like close to home.
Soundtrack: The Shins "Port of Morrow" and "Wincing the Night Away"

I had to keep rather close to home on this run so that I could be available on the home front if need be, so I ended up just circling around DeKoevend Park for the majority of this run. It was a beautiful morning, and I was able to run on the Highline Canal trail, just not very much of it and basically the same parts over and over. Although I noticed that there were a few other runners doing a very similar thing, so I got to wave hi to them a few times.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty-One

July 6, 2017
7.28 Miles in 1:10:04
Mood: Enjoying a very contemplative selfie attempt.
Soundtrack: The Wood Brothers "Paradise" / The Shins "Heartworms" / The Avett Brothers "I and Love and You"

This man looked very serious about his photography. He was spending a lot of time adjusting things to get the picture just right. I stopped to take this picture covertly while pretending to be doing something "important" on my phone because I was intrigued by his very deliberate preparations. As I was running away, I looked back to see that he was taking his own photo by the wagon wheel bench using a timer on his tripod enabled camera. I enjoyed this, for some reason.

The first mile on this jaunt was a slow struggle, and I worried I'd have a hard time getting any significant mileage. After that first mile, however, I shook loose the cobwebs and found my stride and it went from being a struggle to a lovely run. I think I started feeling better almost at the exact point that I saw the photographer shown above. He was my good luck charm, I guess.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Six Hundred Sixty

July 4, 2017
8.03 Miles in 1:13:22
Mood: Enjoying the crush of people on Independence Day.
Soundtrack: Counting Crows "Somewhere Under Wonderland"

Somebody near Wash Park does NOT like the president! I'll admit, this bit of activism amused me as I ran past it.

As far as being in Wash Park on Independence day, it was a pretty solid morning. Whereas my Sunday run here felt like a ghost town, this was perhaps the busiest I have ever seen it. The paths around the park were swamped, and there was a 10K Run being held inside the park, meaning that there were runners and walkers everywhere. Even with this mass of humanity, Wash Park was still a lovely place for a run. Although I must admit that running there on Tuesday after just running there on Sunday felt a little weird. The Tuesday holiday made it feel like a Sunday, and it was a bit discombobulating to feel like I had two Sundays in three days. I mean, I'll gladly take it, but it felt weird.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Six Hundred Fifty-Nine

July 2, 2017
8.30 Miles in 1:15:57
Mood: Hot and quiet
Soundtrack: Langhorne Slim "The Spirit Moves" / The Milk Carton Kids "Prologue" / Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps "Backyard Tent Set"

It was my first July run, and man did it ever feel like July. The temps weren't too high as I started out, but by the end of the outing I was a hot sweaty mess. It felt like the height of summer, which I guess it kind of is. It made me glad that I go early in the morning, because if I had started around 11:00, I'd be in trouble.

Wash Park was gorgeous as usual, although I was surprised at how few people were out in the park. Perhaps folks knew that it was going to be hot, or maybe just everyone has left town as for many it is a four day weekend. Either way, it was noticeably quieter than usual in the park.